Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has waived a mandatory requirement for hotel establishments, tourism companies, and event organisers to obtain a Public Relations Officer (PRO) card prior to conducting industry transactions such as requests for permits and approvals for a range of tourism and travel-related activities and services.
Following this deregulation measure, hotels and tourism companies including travel agents, tour operators and event management businesses can now submit requests and applications online via the Dubai Tourism portal, saving time and reducing operating costs.
Previously, based on an Executive Council of Dubai Resolution of 2012, companies in the tourism industry were required to register their official representatives with Dubai Tourism and obtain a Public Relations Officer (PRO) card for all transactions. Tourism and travel service providers were charged AED1,000 per PRO card which was subject to an annual renewal fee, with penalties imposed on companies that violated the provision.
Commenting on the regulatory exemption, Khalid Bin Touq, executive director, Tourism Activities and Classifications Sector, Dubai Tourism, said: “The cancellation of this precondition for conducting official transactions is in keeping with the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into a fully-fledged smart city and the Dubai Paperless Strategy launched by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai.
“The latest deregulation steps taken by Dubai Tourism form part of the ongoing efforts to eliminate barriers to entry and growth for SMEs and start-ups, and reflects our commitment to bringing relief to small businesses and entrepreneurs by minimising red tape and introducing hassle-free processes. The enhancements will also help create strong synergies with our network of stakeholders by providing them with yet another incentive to boost performance, as we work closely together to achieve the goals of the 2022-2025 tourism strategy.”
The new measure follows the recent cancellation of a regulatory prerequisite that required tourism-related service providers to furnish a bank guarantee to Dubai Tourism prior to obtaining a trade license from the Department of Economic Development.
Dubai Tourism had introduced three proposals to support the government’s economic stimulus programme aimed at making it easier to operate and grow a business in Dubai including attracting more transit passengers to visit the emirate, introducing the time share concept to increase the appeal to families, and to encourage more luxury yachts to visit Dubai’s waters.