Historically, geographically, culturally, and geo-economically, India is strongly connected with the UAE. Trade ties between India and the UAE are deeply rooted. In recent years, trade has grown tremendously between the two nations. The relationship between countries has evolved into a strong partnership in the sphere of the economy.
Trade between India and the UAE was worth approximately US$ 180 million per year in the 1970s; by 2021-22, that figure is expected to rise to around US$ 73 billion, with the UAE becoming India’s third-largest trading partner, after the US and China. Furthermore, India exported more than US$ 28 billion to the UAE in 2021-22, making it the country’s second-largest export market after the US. With a projected US$ 45 billion in non-oil trade between the two countries, India is now the UAE’s second-largest trading partner.
Why Tourism Cooperation is Important for India and the UAE
The relationship between India and the UAE, traditionally dominated by trade, energy, and diaspora ties, has been substantially growing in tourism cooperation in recent years. Tourism is a considerable sector in the UAE since it is one of the most important parts of their economy.
According to the United Arab Emirates, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation explained that the UAE is a politically and economically stable nation; it has a strategic location that links East to West; excellent transportation connectivity to major international airlines; boosted and tourism-supported infrastructure facilities; a wide range of accommodation that provides suitable and affordable options; a variety of events and functions that attract people of all ages; moreover, the UAE has unique geographical advantages because of the beauty of its deserts, oases, mountains, plains, and valleys; mangroves; beaches; and the diversity of its flora and fauna. In addition, the UAE has been organizing world-class venues for international conferences, film festivals, cultural events, and sports events. The most important attraction of the UAE is its religious and cultural tolerance, which shows that the UAE embraces people of over 200 nationalities from different cultures and religious backgrounds who live on its territory in harmony and peace. These are the major characteristics of the UAE, which promote the tourism sector and attract people from different parts of the world.
Visitors from the United Arab Emirates regularly visit India to see the country’s famed greenery, rich wildlife, and other natural wonders. India’s natural richness is a highly attractive alternative for UAE people.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been able to attract more Indian visitors in the past since it was the host of major cricket events, such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 and the T20 World Cup. UAE has developed a long-term resident visa, called the “Golden Visa,” for researchers, medical experts, and those working in the scientific and knowledge sectors, as well as outstanding students, in an effort to recruit competent professionals and researchers.
Tourism Agreements and Cooperation between India and the UAE
In March 2022, the UAE and India’s “Comprehensive Economic Partnership” (CEPA), which came into effect, will provide smooth access for Indian engineers, IT professionals, accountants, and nurses. The short-term visa policy will help in attracting professionals from India.
The introduction of long-term visas is not only convenient for professionals, but it also encourages students to study in the UAE. In this regard, the India-UAE Foreign Trade Agreement (FTA) that both countries signed emphasises that India will establish an IIT in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE has evolved into not only an economic powerhouse but also a popular tourist destination, as well as a top choice for Indian nationals seeking work and education there. The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed by the UAE and India in February 2022 highlighted the tourism sector under economic cooperation.
India’s foreign policy towards the UAE is soft, and more steps or initiatives have been started toward a robust trade and economic partnership between India and the UAE. Many systems; the MoUs and bilateral agreements have been completed in recent years, including MoUs in the field of tourism in 2015. Many high-level visits have taken place from both sides recently. Both sides’ visits resulted in many agreements being signed and an increased affinity, which clearly shows the expansion of economic cooperation, which included the tourism sector.