The number of GCC visitors to Dubai rose by 79 per cent between June 15 and July 2 compared to the same period last year, according to Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

The GDRFA attributes the rise to the Dubai Summer Surprises festival, which is underway at malls and shopping centres in the emirate.

It also points to the emirate’s benefits regarding visa regulations, transport infrastructure and hotel options, as well as a special team called Tasaheel that has been tasked to cater to the demands of the tourists.

“It is our endeavour to provide the highest level of services to tourists and facilitate their entry into Dubai. This culminated in the creation of a full-fledged team named Tasaheel to assist visitors to Dubai,” said Brigadier Obaid Bin Surour, Deputy Director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

Brigadier Bin Surour said the fees for tourist visas to Dubai are among the lowest in the world. A one-month tourist visa costs just Dh220 while GCC visitors pay only Dh185.

Colonel Khalifa Mattar Mubarak, Director General of Port Affairs, said the GDRFA had a staff of 1,700.

Colonel Mubarak also said that the department was gearing to launch an electronic visa service for GCC residents which would allow them to apply for visas online and receive application status updates on their mobile phones. He said the electronic visa will facilitate easy entry into the country through the UAE’s 100 e-gates.