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New UAE federal ruling on EU visa requirements will further enhance Dubai’s popularity with European tourists

Citizens of all EU member states exempt from pre-entry visas

A new ruling by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs exempting citizens of 13 European member states from requiring a pre-entry visa to the UAE, will further enhance Dubai’s popularity with European tourists. With citizens of the other 15 European member states already being exempt, the announcement means that all citizens of the European Union holding an ordinary passport will be allowed to enter the UAE without having to previously apply for a visa.  The ruling comes into effect from 22nd March 2014.

Speaking in Berlin on the sidelines of ITB 2014, the world's largest tourism trade fair, His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said: “This is a very positive announcement from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one which will have a significant impact on the attractiveness of Dubai as a destination for tourists from the 13 countries included today in the exemption. With regards to business visitors, the exemption for citizens of all European member states further enhances Dubai’s status as the meeting point for Europe to host and conduct business with the partners from across the MENASA supra-region.  

“European countries have traditionally featured prominently in our top 20 source markets for visitors, with more than 2.8 million Europeans staying in our hotels during 2013. The lifting of visa restrictions provides for easier travel arrangements from across the continent so it is no surprise that the news has been received extremely positively here at ITB, both by our partners from the Dubai tourism industry and from the European travel industry.”  

The 13 countries that come under the new exemption are: Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. Dubai’s top 20 visitor source markets in 2013 included five European Union countries, each of which were already exempt from requiring pre-arrival visas: the UK (ranked 3rd), Germany (ranked 7th), France (ranked 14th), Italy (ranked 17th) and the Netherlands (ranked  20th).  

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri continued: “As we work towards our target of welcoming 20 million visitors per year by 2020, DTCM will continue to work with partners in the government and the private sector to ensure that Dubai’s destination offering is continually enhanced. This not only includes infrastructural developments and the provision of more hotels, attractions, events and experiences, but also includes leveraging our geographic location and the connectivity provided by our world leading aviation infrastructure. Easing such visa restrictions combines with the continual expansion of the route networks of our airline partners and the opening of our second international airport, to ensure that Dubai is ever more accessible and connected to the world.”

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