In its efforts to position Canada among the top 10 tourist destinations in the world by 2025, H.E. Emmanuel Kamarianakis, Consul General of Canada in the UAE, reveals that tourists from the Emirates will play a major role in achieving this feat.
Q) How important is the UAE market to Canada?
Tourism is an important part of the excellent relations between Canada and the UAE. Canada is a natural destination for visitors from the UAE. It offers the perfect mix of top-notch urban and cultural experiences in cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver as well as some of the most unique natural environments in the world – from mountains, lakes, forests to oceans.
Like the UAE, Canada embraces diversity, and with diversity comes great food! Visitors to Canada will have the chance to sample cuisines from the world made with the freshest Canadian ingredients – from seafood and meat to produce and grains. I am confident that visitors from all backgrounds will feel at home in Canada’s multicultural and welcoming society.
Q) Are there any ME countries exempted from obtaining visa? If not, what is the method of obtaining visa for Emirati or ME/GCC passport holders and how long does the process take?
The list of visa exempt countries is subject to change. We encourage all individuals interested in visiting Canada to consult Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada’s website to find out the most upto-date information: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/ services/visit-canada.html. Visitors to Canada can either apply online (if eligible) or visit Canada’s Visa Application Centres. There are two locations in the UAE (VFS Global in Abu Dhabi and Dubai) as well as locations in Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Q) Could you share the number of visitors from the UAE to Canada over the past year?
Some 40,000 Canadians live and work in the UAE alone. With great connectivity between Canada and the UAE (nine direct flights every week, three each on Air Canada, Emirates and Etihad), it’s never been easier to travel between Canada and the UAE.
Q) Does the Consulate undertake the issuance of tourist visas?
While the Consulate General of Canada does not undertake the issuance of visitor visas, applications can easily be made online (for eligible visitors) or at one of Canada’s many Visa Application Centres.
Q) Can travel agents apply on behalf of their clients? What is the recommended procedure?
Only authorised representatives may submit an application on behalf of clients. For more information, please refer to: https://www. canada.ca/en/immigrationrefugees-citizenship/services/immigration-citizenshiprepresentative.html.
Q) What is the most visited emirate by Canadian tourists?
Although the Consulate General of Canada does not collect this information, we imagine that it is similar to visitors from other countries to the UAE. According to the UAE Government, Dubai is the most popular Emirate for international overnight visitors, followed by Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah.
Q) Does the consulate act as a tourism board in the UAE? Destination Canada is Canada’s national tourism marketing organisation and an important partner of the Consulate General of Canada to Dubai and the Northern Emirates. For travel professionals interested in learning more about promoting travel and tourism to Canada, I encourage you to take advantage of Destination Canada’s Canada Specialist Programme. For Canada travel and hospitality organisations interested in exploring opportunities and partnerships in the UAE, please contact Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service, which has offices in the Consulate General of Canada in Dubai as well as the Embassy of Canada in Abu Dhabi.
Q) What do Canadian tourists look for in a destination? Canadians are attracted to many things as they plan their international travel. For the UAE, Canadian tourists are attracted to the warm weather (especially during Canada’s winter!), world-class amenities and safe environment. Canadians are, in general, outdoor people. Some of the most popular activities include desert camping, snorkelling on the UAE’s East Coast, shopping and hiking the many local mountains and wadis.
Q) How should the hospitality partners attract the Canadian market?
The best way is to visit Canada and get to know Canadians first-hand! Canada is a highly diverse country of 36 million people. Canadians are adventurous and curious about other cultures and countries, and hospitality partners should keep this in mind.
Q) What are the main areas promoted in Canada for tourism?
Canada offers a multitude of experiences for every type of tourist. For the urban explorer, Canada’s vibrant, diverse and safe cities offer trendy neighbourhoods, innumerable shopping and restaurant possibilities, and thousands of live music and cultural events throughout the year.
For the adventure seeker, Canada is your playground: you can surf on Canada’s West Coast, hike or ski in the Canadian Rockies, explore the golden fields and farms of Canada’s breadbasket in the Canadian Prairies, canoe through hundreds of thousands of lakes across the Canadian shield, get up close to beluga whales in Quebec, enjoy beaches and scenic drives through East Coast, and catch the Northern Lights in the Canadian Arctic.
For the cultural traveller, the possibilities are truly endless – visiting craft breweries and vineyards, sampling the freshest seafood on Canada’s East and West Coasts, discovering indigenous art and Canada’s heritage across 18 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and attending world-renowned festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and the Celebration of Light international fireworks competition in Vancouver.
Q) Do explain the recommended itinerary and length of stay for visitors in the UAE to visit Canada?
It all depends on what visitors seek; Canada can offer a short escape to a year-long trip. I encourage visitors to visit https://uskeepexploring.canada.travel/ for some excellent suggestions and sample itineraries for all types of travellers.