#UAE’s new #TransitVisa policy shames East Africa


(Posted 21st June 2018)

Cabinet 2

New Visa rules approved by the UAE cabinet last week is bound to bring a lot more visitors and a lot more cash into the economies of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and the other parts of the Emirates.
Every passenger in transit, be it on Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai or Air Arabia, now qualifies for a 48 hr free transit Visa – which it is understood applies both ways of the journey, depending on a traveler’s ticket.
A further 48 hours can be added to the Visa for a token 50 Dirham to be paid either on entry or on extension with minimal formalities.
The UAE, already a giant in terms of arrival numbers – especially Dubai – unlike countries in Africa, has seen the value of visitors spending money, even during a two or four day period, while much higher ‘entry fees‘ are slapped on visitors who want to stop over in Eastern African countries or generally in the home hub cities of African airlines.
This move by the UAE and the intransigence of East African governments and their wall building immigration departments is likely to further boost passenger numbers for the Gulf airlines flying to the same destinations as African carriers do, such as Guangzhou for instance but also Bangkok and other destinations as far as Europe and North America by offering their passengers not just such superb Visa deals but stopover packages often at next to nothing cost.
No doubt will Africa’s tourism private sector associations pick up on this latest move by the UAE to divert traffic via Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah – the latter the home base of Air Arabia – and will hopefully be able to engage with their governments to reduce Visa charges to make stopovers in their own countries more attractive, besides boosting their national airline’s fortunes.