Iran GCC summit: The world of tourism and business is about to experience a seismic shift. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and its member states are taking a giant leap forward with their plan to implement a unified visa system for tourists and businesspeople from dozens of countries. This initiative is comparable to the European Union’s Schengen zone visa, and it will allow travelers to visit six GCC countries – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman – under a single visa. This is a game-changer that will save travelers the headache of applying for multiple visas.
During a panel discussion on “The Future of Travel for the GCC” at the ongoing Arabian Travel Market at the Dubai World Trade Centre, it was revealed that the group is preparing to introduce and implement a common visa system for citizens, residents, tourists, and business visitors from 35 Arab and foreign countries.
Regional media reported that the GCC nations are still debating how to obtain such a visa at the cabinet level, according to Bahrain’s Minister of Tourism, Fatima Al Sairafi. “We see that happening very soon because we see people flying from abroad to Europe usually spending their time in several countries rather than in one country. We really saw the value this can bring, not to each country, but all of us”, she stated.
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Nationals from the 35 countries – which have not been named – will be able to enter Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman under a single visa, with the unified visa system apparently seeking to enhance tourism and facilitate travel across the area. In addition, GCC citizens would have the same visa-free access to all member states as nationals.
But that’s not all. There are whispers in the air that China is planning to bring Iran into the GCC. If this happens, it could have a massive impact on the Middle East and the world at large. The GCC already controls a significant portion of the world’s oil and gas, and if Iran were to join the council, they would control even more. This would have implications for the balance of power in the region, as well as the global economy.
The benefits of the unified visa system are many. It will make it easier for tourists and businesspeople to travel between GCC countries, boosting the economy and creating new opportunities for growth.
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But the potential implications of Iran joining the GCC are massive. The Middle East is a region that has been plagued by conflict for decades, and the addition of Iran to the council could have a significant impact on ethnic conflicts in the region. Additionally, the western sanctions on Iran could become irrelevant as Iran would be able to trade more easily with the GCC countries. This would have major geopolitical implications for the Middle East and the world at large.
According to the Wall Street Journal, China is preparing to hold a historic conference that will include senior officials from Iran and its six Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) neighbors.
The United States-based outlet stated on Sunday, citing anonymous officials acquainted with the arrangement, that the summit would take place in Beijing later this year, after Iran and Saudi Arabia have successfully resumed diplomatic relations.
If China is successful in bringing Iran into the GCC, the balance of power in the world could shift. The GCC and Russia would control a significant portion of the world’s oil and gas, which could have a profound impact on Europe and the United States. Furthermore, the addition of Iran to the council could bring a sense of stability and peace to the region, which has been lacking for far too long.
The world is watching with bated breath as the GCC implements its unified visa system and potentially welcomes Iran into its fold. Only time will tell what the future holds for the Middle East and the world at large. But one thing is for sure – change is coming, and it’s going to be big.
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