Finally opening up to foreigners, Saudi Arabia welcomes 24,000 tourists in 10 days
Tourism is part of Saudi Arabia’s plan to diversify the economy away from oil.
- In 10 days, some 24,000 foreigners entered Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa-Saudi state television
- In the past, Saudi Arabia only issued visas to Muslim Pilgrims, workers and recently to the spectators at different sport and cultural events.
On Tuesday, a local Saudi state channel reported that Saudi Arabia would open itself up to international tourists for the first time. The country has recently decided to issue tourism visas to 24,000 tourists in 10 days.
It was announced on September 27 that Saudi Arabia would start issuing tourist visas. The country wants to diversify its economy away from oil, by opening up the kingdom to the international tourists.
“In 10 days, some 24,000 foreigners entered Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa,” Saudi foreign minister.
Before September 27, Saudi Arabia only issued visas to Muslim Pilgrims, workers and recently to the spectators at different sport and cultural events.
On Sunday, it was announced that for convenience of the foreign tourists the concerned authorities would let unmarried overseas couples rent hotel rooms together.
As part of a scheme, the visa will be delivered within seven minutes. Female tourists will not be imposed to wear abayas but will be required to dress “modestly”.
Vision 2030 Reform Program
Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is trying to make Saudi Arabia one of the largest economies of the Arab World for the post-oil era. Kickstarting tourism is included in his vision 2030 reform program.
“Opening Saudi Arabia to international tourists is a historic moment for our country” its tourism chief, Ahmed al-Khateeb, said. “Visitors will be surprised by the treasures we have to share – five Unesco world heritage sites, vibrant local culture and breathtaking natural beauty,” he said.
Citizens of countries including the United States, Australia, and different European nations, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, China, and Kazakhstan are now eligible for online visas and visas on arrival. Overall people from 49 countries are now allowed to visit the country.
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