The UAE’s Council of Ministers has approved the formation of an interim committee to prepare a policy for transit visas in the country.
The programme is intended to encourage transiting passengers to travel out of airports to experience the UAE’s tourism offering before their next flight.
Under the plans, the council will study the facilitation of travel to UAE tourist spots for passengers connecting in airports.
Around 70 per cent of total passengers at the UAE’s airports last year fell into the transit category and research has indicated the country could benefit from the provision of visa and tourist services for these individuals, according to the announcement.
The Council of Ministers has ordered the formation of a working group to prepare a general policy for transit visas under the chairmanship of the Federal Authority for Identity and Nationality.
“The team will prepare a general policy for transit visas in the country. The policy will include visa fees, mechanisms to increase the number of users and study the implications of enhancing the experience of transit passengers and promoting tourism in the country,” according to state news agency WAM.
Tourism is a key pillar of the UAE’s diversification plans and has been a growing focus area for government authorities in each of the seven emirates.
In recent years, the government has granted Russian and Chinese passport holders visas on arrival under efforts to boost tourist numbers.
Both Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport have been positioned as regional hubs for international passengers connecting to onward destinations around the world.
Tapping into this traffic has become an increasing priority as cities like Dubai strive to attract millions more tourists in the coming years.