Could UAE Governments Ease Yachting Flow?

Governments throughout the UAE should consider easing restrictions on traveling between states to boost the region’s tourism industry and support the fast-developing yachting and cruise market, said Mohammed Hussein Al Shaali, chairman of the Dubai based Gulf Craft.

Dubai received more than 500,000 cruise visitors last year – compared with just 10,000 in 1998, according to General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) statistics cited by the Emirates News Agency. Moreover, the UAE market has been boosted by changes in regulations last year that allow cruise tourists to get a multiple-entry visa for all UAE ports in their itinerary.

Regional tourism industry members have long campaigned for a Schengen-style system that would allow visitors to GCC states to enter any of them under a single visa.

The yachting and cruising tourism market in the area remains profitable and beneficial to the wider economy yet a the moment the procedures for moving across the region are  complicated and present a significant challenge for growing the industry.

The regional yacht manufacturing sector also faces significant infrastructure challenges, such as lack of berthing spaces, especially for larger superyachts, and the need for greater focus on industrial development.

At the same time 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.