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Over 16 mln GCC citizens visited Gulf countries in 2012 2.4 mln Gulf nationals entered Kuwait last year

RIYADH, Dec 6, (KUNA): Nationals of states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are treated equally in all member countries in terms of having the right to reside and travel among the six nations by their IDs. Over 16 million GCC citizens travelled among the six Arab Gulf countries in 2012, noted a report published by the GCC Secretariat, ahead of next week’s Summit of leaders of the Arab Gulf states. The facilitation of movement of people also contributed to fostering of social bonds, and is one of the major factors for the common Gulf market, said the report. Statistics, released by the GCC Secretariat, said the movement of Gulf citizens increased from 4.5 million people in 1995 to over 16 million last year, a surge of 256 percent. The number of Gulf nationals who entered Kuwait last year amounted to 2.4 million against half a million in 1995. Bahrain received more than 4.7 million citizens of the other member countries last year compared with 1.7 million in 1995.

The number of Gulf nationals who visited Saudi Arabia in 1995 was 2.1 million but sky-rocketed to over 5.8 million in 2012, an increase of 176 percent. Oman received 487,000 GCC nationals last year, an increase of 2,335 percent when compared with only 20,000 people visiting the Sultunate in 1995. The Saudi citizens were the largest segment among the Gulf nationals benefitting from the free movement, acounting for 46.8 percent or 7.5 million of the total number. They were followed by Bahrainis with 16.5 percent, or 2.7 million. The Kuwaitis were 2.6 million or 16.2 percent. It was followed by the Qatari, Omani and the UAE citizens with 7.3, 7.2 and six percent respectively. The free movement of people has contributed largely to economic growth with the six GCC countries are linked with economic interest. The resolutions of the GCC summits have also provided educational, health and social services for the citizens in all member countries

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