Ali Al Rahma on the pros and cons of visas and travelling.
As we approach the end of the winter season and the start of the summer season, vacation and holiday plans come to mind. From exotic beaches, to the jungles, or cosmopolitan cities, people are ready for a getaway. To plan holidays properly, the first thing to do is to check whether the country you are visiting requires an appointment-based visa or visa-on-arrival. If it’s an appointment-based visa destination then that has to be taken care of first. Once that has been completed then planning accommodation and other activities can follow suit.
For Omanis, the most preferred destinations so far seem to be South-East Asia, and destinations near the Baltic Sea. This is due to the fact that they are all visa-free or visa-on-arrival countries. For example, a newly popular destination, Georgia, has a visa-on-arrival for one year, which I think is a world record for visa duration. With that, all you require is your passport, airplane ticket, and off you go!
Europe is also becoming popular but due to the visa restrictions, application process and the long-awaited appointments for the visa, it surely holds people back from going to the West. I’d love to visit castles in Europe that were built in the 14th century, and walk in the narrow alleys in Eastern Europe or cross the border from one country to another. The last time I visited Europe was in 2014, and I’ve never visited again due to the long application process. There are almost 20,000 Omanis who visit Europe each year, and definitely twice that amount who wish to visit but divert their destinations to visa-on-arrival countries. Oman has been in talks with the EU to allow its citizens to travel visa-free since 2014 but we are still waiting for the outcome. Surely it will benefit Oman and the EU once an agreement has taken place, and will boost the economies and tourism. It’s a win-win situation for all! I am ready for a vacation right now, and my mind is thinking: where to next?