Saudi Arabia attracts 50,000 tourists since easing visa rules

November 24, 2019
Polish tourists visit the King Abdulaziz museum of Masmak in the old quarter of Riyadh last month. — AFP
Polish tourists visit the King Abdulaziz museum of Masmak in the old quarter of Riyadh last month. — AFP

Saudi Gazette report

Over 50,000 tourists have visited Saudi Arabia since the Kingdom eased visa regulations for visitors in September.

This figure is almost three times that number applied for tourist visas officials hope will diversify an oil-dependent economy, Al-Madina daily said in a report on Sunday.

British tourists, followed by Chinese, were the top visitors, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), has said. About 140,000 people requested tourist visas, he said.

The numbers are “in line with our expectations,” Al-Khateeb. “We are expecting that the adventurous will come first to explore the country, and this is what is happening,” Al-Khateeb was quoted as saying by the local media.

In September, the Kingdom launched a new system for tourist visa covering 49 countries including, among others, the US, the UK, Russia, China and Japan.

The Kingdom has asked foreign companies to invest in the tourist sector which is expected to contribute about 10 percent to the GDP by the year 2030.

Khateeb said the abaya (national Saudi dress for women) will not be compulsory for foreign women coming to the Kingdom as tourists.

“Women tourists, will however, have to wear modest clothes covering shoulders to knees even if they are on the sea shores," he said.

Khateeb said tourist visa is available on the Internet, through the Kingdom's diplomatic and consular missions and on arrival in the Kingdom at the fees of $120 including health insurance.

He said the tourist visa will enable tourists to stay for three months in the Kingdom and to visit all places.

November 24, 2019
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