Saudi Arabia to offer its first-ever tourist visa to international visitors.
The Kingdom has announced that it would be opening its doors to the international tourists, this measure is a step forward to diversify the economy of the country away from oil.
Ahmed Al-Khateeb—the tourism chief said in a statement that the opening of the Kingdom to international tourists is a big moment for the country.
He said that the visitors would be pleasantly surprised by the treasures the Kingdom possess—five UNESCO World Heritage Sites—a attractive domestic culture and amazing natural beauty.
In a shift towards making the economy of Saudi Arabia oil independent, the Kingdom is introducing a new visa practice for the 49 nations and appealing to the foreign nations to invest in a sector it has hoped would contribute 10percent of gross domestic product by 2030.
The visas could be accessed online for about $80, with no bars for unaccompanied women as was there in the past. The access to the Muslim holy cities of Makkah and Madinah would not be allowed.
More details regarding the new visa rules would be announced later during a ceremony that would be taking places at Ad Diriyah—a UNESCO, World Heritage Site in the capital city of Saudi Arabia.
Presently, only the nationals of Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates could travel freely to the Kingdom.
Boosting tourism is one of the objectives of the Crown Prince—Mohammad bin Salman’s vision of 2030 reform programme for preparing the biggest Arab economy for a post-oil-era.
The announcement has come just after 2 weeks of the devastating attacks on the oil infrastructure of the Kingdom.
Khateeb said that Saudi Arabia would also be easing its strict dress code for foreign women, permitting them to go without abaya robe that is still a must public wear for the Saudi women.
He added that however, the foreign women would be required to wear modest clothing.
Presently, visas are only limited to the expatriate workers, their dependents and Muslim pilgrims travelling to the holy cities.
It says that the vision 2030 has got the aim of attracting up to 100 million yearly visits by both the national and foreign tourists.
The government informed that the sector is anticipated to create up to 1 million tourism jobs.
Back in 2017, a project was announced by Saudi Arabia for transforming 50 islands and other areas on the Red Sea into luxury resorts.