Dubai to open its doors to Israeli tourists in 2020
The United Arab Emirates' biggest and most luxurious city will be the official host of 2020 World Expo and is expected to allow tourists holding Israeli passports to attend the 6 months event; sources say the UAE's gates might remain open for Israelis permanently
For most Israelis, the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates was nothing more than a lucrative, unattainable vacation destination. That dream, however, might now become a reality. Ynet has learned that as an official host of next year's World Expo event, the Gulf nation is expected to open its gates to Israeli tourists in 2020.
The World Expo, an international exhibition designed to showcase achievements of nations, takes place once every five years, lasts for up to six months, attracts millions of visitors from all over the world, and is considered by many to be the "Olympic Games" of innovation.
Most of the world's countries take part in the event where they showcase their country's newest innovations all in order to encourage shared cultural experiences and technological advancements, among other things.
In October 2020, the world-famous event will take place in the city of Dubai, the most advanced Arab city in the world, the most populous city in the UAE and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE.
Expo 2020 will set up a pavilion where Israel will present its latest achievements in the sphere of innovation and sustainability.
"Israeli and the UAE's authorities have been in talks for awhile, in order to allow those with Israeli passports to attend the Expo in Dubai," a source within the Expo's management team said to Yedioth Ahronoth. "These talks are happening because both sides want to see the Expo turn into the biggest exhibition in the world, the UAE invested tremendous amounts of money and thought into the event and they want Israelis to be welcomed as well."
Another source said the Expo in Dubai could be a great pilot run during which Israeli tourists would be allowed into the country, and it turns out to be a success the UAE "might leave its doors open to Israeli tourists permanently."
"I believe Israelis will come to visit even after the Expo," said a senior official in the UAE's Ministry of Tourism. "Even now we have a few Israelis visiting us, and we will be happy to accommodate all Israeli tourists."
Even though Israel and the UAE have no official diplomatic relations, the two countries do share economic ties and Israelis are allowed into the country if they hold a foreign (non-Israeli) passport or a special visa.
As part of the growing relations between the two countries, Israel opened a representation office in the UAE's capital, Abu Dhabi, in 2015, in order to advance technological innovations between the two states. In addition, last year the UAE officially recognized its small Jewish community as part of Dubai's population.
According to an American source affiliated with the UAE authorities of the United Arab Emirates, the country doesn't just want the Israeli tourists, they also want the innovators as well and are therefore expected to make the process of entering the state much easier to those with Israeli passports.