UAE-based yacht builder, Gulf Craft has insisted that the Middle East governments should consider easing restrictions on travel between their states in order to boost the region’s tourism industry, and to support the fast-developing yachting and cruise markets.
According to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), Dubai received more than 500,000 cruise visitors last year - a number that has swelled due to recent changes in cruise regulations that now allow cruise tourists to obtain a multiple-entry visa for all UAE ports in their itinerary. Given the success of these changes, regional tourism industry members have continued to campaign for a European Schengen-style system that would allow all visitors to the GCC states to enter all states with a single visa.
Mohammed Hussein Al Shaali, chairman of Gulf Craft commented, “The yachting and cruising tourism market is very profitable and beneficial to the wider economy, so regional governments should look at supporting it through easier regulations. At the moment the procedures for moving across the region are very complicated and this is a significant challenge for growing the industry.”
Al Shaali added, “The regional yacht-manufacturing sector also faces significant infrastructure challenges, such as lack of berthing spaces. While interest in yacht-ownership is rising in the UAE and across the GCC, there is a need for businesses to provide related products and services to support the sector.
“To develop the yachting industry, you need to develop the wider industrial base. Other factors like real-estate availability and facilities play their part, but the main issue is having the industry and technology in place to support development.”
For more information, visit Gulf Craft.