Tourists of all nationalities in need of a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates will soon be able to apply for a multiple-entry visa valid for five years, as the Arab country moves on to boost tourism and income from this industry.

First announced in October 2018, the decision to extend the validity of these visas was taken during the first meeting of the UAE Cabinet in 2020 known as the Year of Preparation, meant to set the stage for the next 30 years of the UAE’s development, was chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

The decision was announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum himself on twitter, who also said that the UAE already receives over 21 million tourists each year.

Today we approved the change of the tourist visa system in the country so that the duration of the tourist visa is five years and multiple-entry for all nationalities. We receive more than 21 million tourists annually and our aim is to establish the country as a major global tourist destination,” he tweeted,

Explaining the decision throughout the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed said during the meeting that the UAE wants 2020 to be a year of development, growth and competition with leading countries in economy, competitiveness and wellbeing, stressing that the UAE was gearing up for the next 50 years.

The preparation for the next 50 years is a challenge we accept along with our federal teams. We are confident that these teams are up for the challenge and able to create a positive change in the lives of our citizens and to achieve the objectives of the agenda 2021,” he said.

He also asserted that year 2020 leaves behind 50 years of achievements and welcomes 50 years of perseverance and hard work in the service of the nation and its citizens.

The five-year visa will be introduced as a part of wider plans to prepare the country for the next 50 years of development and will be implemented by the end of March, this year. Details about the fee structure for the new visas have not yet been revealed.

So far, tourist visas for the UAE were issued for a duration of 30 or 90 days, from the date of entry.

The UAE currently receives over 21 million visitors per year, while Dubai alone attracted 12 to 16 million tourists in 2019, with a high number of Chinese, Omani and Filipino visitors. Yet, Dubai remains far from its 20-million target due to a record fall in Indian, British and Russian visitors in recent years.

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