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UAE and China in talks to ease visa formalities

posted on 24/06/2004: 612 views

An agreement to ease visa formalities to help business and tourist traffic grow between the UAE and China is being negotiated by the respective governments, said officials on the sidelines of a press conference yesterday. An agreement could be announced in two months, according to a report in "Gulf News.”

Khalifa Ali K. Buamaim, manager for overseas promotions at the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said: "The governments of the UAE and China are negotiating an agreement to ease visa formalities and an announcement is expected within two months." He did not indicate what concessions could be given to Chinese visitors. "As visas are a bilateral matter and easing of formalities is based on reciprocity, the agreement and our concessions will depend on what the Chinese government is offering our citizens."

Meanwhile, China is to open its first tourism promotion office in Dubai, possibly early next year, to market its tourism attractions to the Arab world. Li Xuemin, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Tourism, said: "Currently our office in India is looking after the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East.

However, with strong air connectivity between Dubai and the

Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing, we are looking at opening a new office in Dubai to serve the Gulf and the Middle East some time early next year." With Emirates and China Southern connecting Dubai with Shanghai and Beijing, business and leisure traffic is expected to grow at a faster pace, said officials.

The DTCM plans to promote Dubai in the Chinese market in the future, said Buamaim. "There has been a 33 per cent increase in the number of Chinese guests in Dubai hotel establishments in 2003. The year 2002 recorded a 105 per cent growth in Chinese hotel guests compared with the previous year." He said: "Dubai is now the most convenient trade, tourism and technology hub, strategically located to reach out to the expanding markets of the Middle East, North Africa, CIS and Central and South Asia.

”China is an important market for us and our relations have been growing stronger with every passing day. "Dubai also plays a crucial role for Chinese companies to tap the region's vibrant and expanding markets," he added. Trade between China and Dubai has seen phenomenal growth in recent years along with the number of Chinese guests in Dubai hotel establishments. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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