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Date: 25/05/2011

Gulf lobbies for new visa rules to slash cruise costs

Fans of holidays on their cruise travel insurance seeking new destinations to sail to will no doubt have discovered the increasing popularity of trips around the Gulf region. However, passengers from many countries are not permitted to purchase multiple entry visas to the UAE region, adding a cost of $50 per port to the cost of the voyage.

But this is all set to change with the Abu Dhabi Tourist Authority calling for changes to the rules which would allow those travelling on their cruise travel insurance to purchase a multi entry visa, a move that would boost the tourist industry within the region.

The area has seen its tourism revenue grow and are keen to encourage visitors to the countries and cruises have enjoyed 'double digit growth' in the last few years according to official statistics. The exotic sights and sounds have proven popular with both younger cruises and older passengers, who have already enjoyed many cruises on their over 65 travel insurance.

However, the one area which has come in for criticism is the ports, with very few properly geared up for cruise passengers. While the ports have been in operation for many, many years, until recent times they have functioned as cargo docks, a very different experience from that which a cruise passenger will expect, as the ship sails majestically into port. Critics have described how tourists are led to expect a true Arabian experience but are left with a dingy disappointment at the waterside welcome.

The UAE authorities have acknowledged that their front line facilities are not quite the finished article yet and have said that plans are already in place for expansion in some of the ports, with the modern Sa'adiyat island development soon being available to greet cruise passengers sailing on their over 65 travel insurance, with museums and entertainment facilities all close at hand