Ignoring Iraq, Turkey issues visa waivers to six states including US, KSA

Ignoring Iraq, Turkey issues visa waivers to six states including US, KSA

Shafaq News/ Turkey has lifted visa requirements for citizens of six countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman, in a bid to boost tourism in the country.

The other countries included in the visa waiver are the United States and Canada.

The decision was made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and was published in the country's official gazette. The visa waiver allows citizens of the six countries to stay in Turkey for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

In 2019, Turkey was the world's sixth-most popular tourist destination, receiving 52.5 million visitors. The country received 52.7 million visitors in the first 11 months of 2023.

Following this presidential decree, citizens from all ten member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) no longer need visas to enter the Turkish territory. Qatar and Kuwait were included in previous waivers in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Tourist numbers have increased 73 percent compared to pre-pandemic, according to the 2023 WTM Global Travel Report. This puts its recovery far ahead of France's (up 33 percent from 2019) and Spain's (31 percent up).

More than 1.6 million people from 10 Arab countries visited Turkey in the first half of 2023, spending more than $162 million a day. Saudi Arabia with 286,000 tourists, an increase of 134 percent compared to the first six months of last year, came second to Iraq with 470,000 tourists.

Citizens from Iraq, Turkey's neighbor and one of its largest economic partners, remain subject to full visa procedures despite repeated calls from the Iraqi federal government to ease them.

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