Tighter rules on EU visas would hurt Dubai Inc.
OPINION: Changing the UAE’s open border policies in the wake of the Mossad assassination would have dire consequences for business.
February 23, 2010 5:27 by Ben Flanagan
“Whilst I cannot comment on the rest of Europe, the impact on the desire of UK companies to trade with Dubai and the Northern Emirates will be unaffected. We have been working in partnership with the UAE for decades, supporting its success and its leadership. British businessmen are pragmatic and appreciate the need for border restrictions to prevent international crime. We will adopt and honour any such decision by the Government,” he says.
However, it is difficult to see how changing the visa waiver rules would be not be detrimental to some aspects of UAE business, and act to hamper Dubai’s economic recovery.
Firstly, tourism would be hit. One senior source contacted by Kipp says that providing visas to tourists from the 33 countries would be a “logistical nightmare”. It would certainly deter some from visiting.
But more seriously, such a move would inhibit business relations between the UAE and the West. Currently, the CEO of a company with activities in the Gulf can visit at short notice; in the future, such ‘flying visits’ could take weeks to plan.
Either way, there is some doubt over whether the visa regulations will change. Given the intense media interest in the assassination of al-Mabhouh, it is understandable that such speculation will emerge in the press. Hopefully, as the interest in the case inevitably fades, so will any plan to restrict the free flow of tourists and businesspeople into the UAE.