The UAE unveiled its first multi-entry five-year tourist visa during the first Cabinet meeting of the year.
On Monday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai said the visa would allow tourists multiple entries into the country over five years.
It is not clear if there will be a visa application fee and no other details have yet been released.
At present, tourists can visit the UAE with a multiple entry visa for up to 90 days from the date of entry.
Sheikh Mohammed said the visa, which will be introduced within the next four months, aims to establish the UAE as a “major global tourism destination” and part of wider plans to prepare the country for the next 50 years of development.
The Emirates currently welcomes about 21 million visitors each year, he said.
“The year 2020 will be different because it is the year of preparation for the next 50, the year in which we design the future of the Emirates,” he added on Twitter.
Dubai did not hit its target to attract 20 million visitors by 2020 despite a strong performance in boosting the number of Chinese, Omani and Filipino visitors recently.
The most recent figures showed it was on course for about 16 million, having hit 12 million in the first nine months, after recording a fall in Indian, British and Russian visitors.
During the Cabinet meeting, the country’s ministers reviewed last year’s achievements and approved the new tourist visa.
Sheikh Mohammed said the visa would be available to all nationalities.
The move is expected to provide a boost to the tourism industry and make it easier for residents to bring relatives to the country for visits.
Nitin Chivilkar, an Abu Dhabi resident from Raigad in India, said he hoped the new visa would mean his friends and family could visit him more often.
Chivilkar, an assistant chief engineer at Nation Towers, said: “I live with my wife and we have a resident’s visa but this is good news for my family and friends who come to visit from India.
“I have been here for 10 years, and this is a big step forward. My sisters and friends usually have to reapply for a three-month maximum visiting visa every time they want to come and stay.
“It is easy to get and can be done within six days for about Dh300 but if this is a multi-entry visa for five years it is pretty good news for them.”
Emirati Bader Lardhi said the new visas would mean a boost in business for his adventure company Wake Up Adventures that so far catered primarily to European visitors to the UAE.
Lardhi said: “This will make it easier for Arab nationals and people from countries in Asia who have their families here but could not visit as easily as European tourists.”
“It will help us move into untapped markets because it will open up other activities they can take up when they visit family.
“Basically the UAE is becoming more welcoming in general with the special visas that have been announced like the 10-year visas. This five-year multiple entries will definitely help tourism and other industries too.”
The announcement was also welcomed by Christopher Inciong, who has lived in the UAE for 11 years and can now easily bring his parents to visit from the Philippines.
He said they had yet to visit him because of the short-term validity of the tourist visas making their journey less cost-effective.
“I will definitely get my parents to visit now. This makes it more realistic for them to come and enjoy the UAE,” said Mr Inciong, who works in marketing at an automotive company.
“The requirements before were not easy because it depended on your position at work and your financials.”
Inciong’s in-laws visit the UAE once a year and he said the new visa will likely encourage them to come to the country more often.
“This will be very great for families with kids. Before you had to plan and choose the best time of year but since the new visa is for an extended period, you have the luxury of getting grandparents here as much as they want. They can spend time with their grandkids and children on special occasions, birthdays, Christmas.”
It will be a boon for middle-income families, residents said.
“This will give a sense of security to families who live here because they don’t have to go through the visa application process every year,” said Davinder Singh, who works with an energy company.
His siblings visited the UAE twice over the past three years and would visit more frequently if given the opportunity.
“Indians love to travel and the best part is that Dubai is so close and it’s easy to get a visa,” he said.
“This just makes it more attractive for people from India. It will be helpful for people from the Gulf and from South East Asia. There have been so many entertainment hubs created and with more visitors, these attractions will also do well.”
Long-term multi-entry visas are the latest major change to the UAE’s visa system.
The changes included five-year visas for the brightest graduates and 10-year visas for business owners with significant assets in the country.
At present, visitors from some countries can secure a 30-day visa on arrival at the airport plus a 10-day grace period. This includes travellers from Britain, Ireland, Australia, China and Hong Kong, among others.
Others including European citizens from the Schengen Area can secure a 90-day visa. This includes many of the EU members, Russia, South Korea and Argentina and Brazil, among others.
Other nationalities require paid-for visas, costing, for example, $10 for 48-hours or $30 for 96-hours and $90 for 30 days.
This includes Pakistan, India and the Philippines and others.
Royal Disgrace! Oluwo Of Iwo Beats Up Fellow Monarch In Public, Osun Oba’s Call For His Suspension
Some monarchs in the Osun West Senatorial district have called for the suspension of the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, shortly after he beat up another traditional ruler, the Agbowu of Ogbagba, Oba Dhikrulahi Akinropo, during a peace meeting for monarchs in Iwo, Ayedire, and Ola-Oluwa Local Government Areas of the state.
The Oluwo, on Friday, dealt a blow on the Agbowu, whose domain falls under the Ola-Oluwa council area, claiming he interrupted him during his speech by calling him a mad man.
The peace meeting, which was convened at the instance of the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police, Zone 11 was meant to broker peace among the monarchs in the three council areas that had been enmeshed in a land tussle for more than three months.
While the Oluwo advocated for the leasehold of land, instead of outright sales for developmental projects in the area, the other monarchs insisted that their land belongs to them and they reserve the right to sell them or not.
The state government intervened at a stage but the latest intervention by the police through the office of the AIG Zone 11 suffered a twist when the Oluwo pounced on the Agbowu.
The incident was witnessed by the state’s Commissioner for Lands and Physical Planning, his counterpart, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, the AIG for Zone 11, and about seven monarchs, including the Onigege of Igege, the Olu of Ile-Ogbo.
Narrating the incident to journalists at the State Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo, where he was accompanied by six monarchs to receive medical treatment, the Agbowu said the Oluwo punched him for telling him that he did not sell any land in his domain but his own land.
The monarch was rushed to Asubiaro Hospital after the incident by other monarchs at the meeting. The monarchs at the hospital were the Onigege of Igege, Oba Kazeem Oyediran, Olu of Ileogbo, Oba Habeeb Adetoyese, Onifin of Ikonifin, Oba Solomon Ojo, Oluwo Oke of Iwo Oke, Oba Kadiri Adeoye and Onisara of Eesu, Oba Moshood Oparonla.
The Olu of Ileogbo, Oba Habeeb Adetoyese, who spoke on behalf of the monarchs, said, that they received an invite to a peacemaking meeting over an allegation that Oba Akanbi levelled against them.
He alleged that the Oluwo pounced on Oba Akinropo while he was making his speech at the peace meeting.
He said, “In October last year he wrote a petition against us to AIG Oyebade, that, we are threatening his life and we are selling his land. The AIG said he doesn’t want any issue in our regions, that we should solve it amicably among ourselves. The governor also gave us the same advice when we saw him on the matter
”The first peacemaking meeting that was organized for us at Iwo Local Government Secretariat, Oluwo disrupted the meeting, he came with thugs saying everybody should go to his domain.”
He said when the government realised that the meeting did not work, they organized another meeting. He said, ”Letter was sent to us for the invite and we all went for the program…when he (Oluwo) was talking, he alleged that, I, the monarch of Ile-Ogbo, was selling his lands and that, also, the Agbowo of Ogbaa Gbaa, the Onigege of Gege is also selling his land. I am selling only selling Ile Ogbo’s land and not Iwo land.
”In the meeting held the commissioner said if it is land he can’t intervene on any issue pertaining to land. He advised that the court can decide on that or that we meet the governor to sort things out.
”As the AIG was addressing us, the Oluwo started shouting that chaos and war will happen in the community. He stood up and started beating Agbowu. He beat him to the extent that it was the AIG that rescued the king from Oluwo. We are still in shock for a king to behave in that manner. When the man started feeling dizzy, we had to rush him down to Asubiaro hospital. He sustained an injury on his cheeks.
“We implore the government to suspend him (Oluwo) so that we can have peace in our domain. We have called our subjects that there is no cause for violence but he should be checked. Only the governor can caution him and if that is not done, he will destroy the entire region.”
Also, Babajide Siyanbola who is the legal adviser to Agbowo of Ogbaagbaa, said legal action will be taken on the matter.
Reacting to the allegation, the Oluwo in a statement, said that he was truly invited to make peace on his stance to curtail excessive land sales by monarchs under his domain, a pronouncement that did not go down well with those affected as they regrouped to act against his authority as the Oluwo who gave them the crown.
He said, “At the peace meeting held at AIG office, Agbowu of Ogbaagbaa interrupted me while making I am making my speech and started calling me unprintable names, pointing his staff of office at me while attempt to stick the staff in my eyes; I heavily rejected it with a force which the Agbowu could not withstand.
”How could a constable openly insult commissioner of police and make an attempt to beat the CP? Can any monarch try such with Ooni, Alaafin?” he said.
JUST IN: Uber Passenger Jumps Into Lagos Lagoon
A yet-to-be-identified man on Saturday jumped into the Lagoon around the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos State.
It was learnt that the man had boarded a car-hailing service, Uber, from Gbagada to a destination in the state.
While the driver was commuting him to his destination, the passenger told the driver to park on the Third Mainland Bridge because he had a stomach ache.
After parking, the yet-to-be-identified man disembarked from the vehicle and jumped into the ocean around 11am.
The Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, Nosa Okunbor, confirmed the incident, saying that rescue operation was ongoing.
He said, “The guy boarded Uber from Gbagada and when they got to the Third Mainland Bridge, he told the driver that he had stomach upset and that he needed to relieve himself. So when the driver parked, he got down from the vehicle, abandoned his belongings and jumped into the water.
“The incident happened around 11 am and our team has responded but I can’t confirm if he would be rescued alive or dead.”
BREAKING: 24-Hours To Swearing-In, Supreme Court Nullifies Bayelsa Gov-Elect, Lyon’s Election, Declares PDP Winner
The Supreme Court has nullified the election of Bayelsa State governor-elect, David Lyon and his running mate Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.
Chief David Lyon was to be sworn-in on Friday.
In preparation for the inauguration, the PDP flag was on Thursday morning removed from the Bayelsa Government House.
The five-man panel of Supreme Court headed by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the All Progressives Congress’ candidates as the winners of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
The apex court ordered INEC to issue fresh certificates to the candidates of the party with the next highest votes and required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election, which are the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates.
Justice Ejembi Ekwo, who read the lead judgment of the apex, made the orders after disqualifying the APC’s deputy governorship candidate, Degi-Eremienyo, as a candidate in the election.