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Greece Welcomes Visa Waiver for UAE Travelers, Expects Boost in Tourism Revenue

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the European Union (EU) have signed a reciprocal bilateral short-stay visa waiver agreement exempting the UAE citizens from Schengen visa and making the UAE the first Arab country to receive such a visa waiver for its nationals. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty / Gulf News

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the European Union (EU) have signed a reciprocal bilateral short-stay visa waiver agreement exempting the UAE citizens from Schengen visa and making the UAE the first Arab country to receive such a visa waiver for its nationals. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty / Gulf News

Greece is among the countries set to benefit from the Schengen visa waiver for UAE nationals that came into effect on Thursday, as UAE citizens will now be able to travel to 34 EU countries without having to obtain a visa.

UAE citizens holding diplomatic, special, service and ordinary passports can now travel without a visa to EU countries which make up the Schengen area for stays of up to 90 days.

Gulf News reports that Greece receives more than 300,000 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) tourists every year, with the UAE accounting for over 25 percent of these. In the meantime, Greek tourism professionals and government authorities have been boosting ties with a number of GCC member states through more official visits and increasing participation in tourism fairs.

Giorgos Daskalakis, Vice-President of the Hellenic Association of Travel & Tourist Agencies (HATTA), told Gulf News that he sees an immediate impact of the decision on Greece’s tourism sector and add that it will inevitably boost Greece’s tourism revenues.

“The number of tourists from the UAE will go up by 40-50 percent within the year,” he told Gulf News on Wednesday, during the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) held in Dubai on May 4-7.

Other countries expected to see their tourism revenues pick up are Switzerland and Austria, anticipating tourism business from the UAE to almost double in the near future.

According to SETE Intelligence figures, Greece has seen a 33 percent increase in the number of arrivals from the UAE, last year.

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