UAE authorities have introduced a multiple entry visa for businessmen, property investors and cruise passengers, a proposal that has been under discussion for nearly three years. Only tourists arriving on cruise liners are permitted multiple-entry visas. They are valid for only three months from when the visa is issued, and each visit may not exceed 14 days.
Businessmen are allowed more than one entry within six months from the date of issue, but each visit may not exceed 30 days. Property owners will be allowed entries within six months from the date the visa is issued, and can stay in the country for as long as it is valid. Their spouses and children are eligible for the same visa.
The previous visa process imposed financial burden as well as a lot of documentation procedures for the tourists of 32 nationalities who did not automatically receive visas on arrival. The move, which will enhance the growth of cruise tourism at Mina Rashid in Dubai, will allow multiple entry visit visas to the UAE for the first time.
Dubai serves as a home port for five major cruise lines: Costa Cruises, Aida Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, TUI Cruises and FTI Cruises. In addition, more than 20 cruise lines have Dubai as a port of call in their international itineraries.
In 2011, Dubai Cruise Terminals, which is managed and operated by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing for the Government of Dubai, catered for 396,500 cruise tourists who arrived from 108 ship calls. This year, Dubai is expected to see a total of 420,000 cruise tourists in the emirate. Cruise tourism projections for 2013 are 125 cruise ships and 450,000 passengers with a further increase in 2014 with 135 and 475,000, respectively.