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Saudi Arabia to issue its first tourist visas

American visa theme. Close up of USA visa stamp

The kingdom has just announced the opening of its borders to non-religious tourism. From now on, everyone is able to apply for a visa to visit the country.

The announcement was made this morning. For the first time in its history, Saudi Arabia will issue tourist visas, accessible online to citizens of 49 countries. Until then, sesames had only been granted to pilgrims, expatriates and, more recently, to visitors who had exceptionally come to attend sporting or cultural events. 

As we know, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman wishes to diversify the country’s economic resources in order to prepare for the end of the oil era, and this is even one of the main lines of his reform plan called “Vision 2030”. In fact, the government hopes that tourism will reach 10% of GDP by 2030. Thus, the kingdom wishes to make the world discover its riches, whether natural, cultural, or historical, with, in particular, 5 sites classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

 

Flexible dress code for women 

Ahmed al-Khateeb, Director of Tourism, said in the statement accompanying the announcement that the kingdom will soften the dress code for foreign women, who will not be forced to wear the abaya, the dress traditionally mandatory in public for Saudi women, which is also changing.