The UAE is easing procedures for citizens to obtain a unified tour guide licence as the country seeks to develop its tourism sector, create jobs and digitalise government services.
The initiative by the Ministry of Economy, in co-ordination with various tourism authorities in the Emirates, introduced a digital platform to make it easier to obtain a unified tour guide license, the ministry said in a tweet on Saturday. The platform allows Emirati applicants to register for a licence that will allow them to work in any emirate.
"The Ministry of Economy is looking forward to identifying Emirati talent that has passion for imparting knowledge about our nation and informing others about the UAE's tourism treasures, its history, its heritage and its captivating sites," it said.
Tourism is a key pillar of economic diversification for the UAE, known for its luxury hotels, the world's tallest building and its shopping malls. The government has rolled out a number of measures and stimulus packages to help the sector cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UAE recorded the world's second-highest hotel occupancy rate in 2020 due to government efforts to contain the spread of the virus and encourage domestic tourism. The country hosted 14.8 million guests who spent an average of 3.7 nights at 1,089 establishments last year to achieve a hotel occupancy rate of 54.7 per cent, according to World Tourism Organisation and Emirates Tourism Council data released in April.
The UAE's unified tour guide visa is valid for two years on a renewable basis and has flexible application process, the ministry said.
Benefits of the permit include applying electronically, having a single licence to work across all seven emirates, free entry into the UAE's major tourism sites, a two-year duration and flexibility for contracting as a part-time worker or independent contractor, the ministry said.