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Saudi Arabia starts issuing tourist visas from Sept 28

Saudi Tourist visas will be valid for 360 days from the date of issue for stays of 90 days or less

Friday September 27, 2019 3:27 PM, ummid.com with inputs from Agencies

Saudi Visa News

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced to issue tourist visas for the first time. The process will officially start on Saturday September 28, 2019.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) is launching special online service for the purpose. "It will take just seven minutes for a tourist to get the visa", it said.

Initially, tourists from a total of 49 countries including 38 countries in Europe, 7 in Asia, as well as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, will be eligible to apply for the new visas.

The visas will be valid for 360 days from the date of issue for stays of 90 days or less, and for a total of no more than 180 days in a single year.

"For residents of those 49 countries, visas will be obtainable online via a seven-minute application process, or on arrival at machine kiosks or special counters in any of Saudi Arabia’s four international airports", Arab News reported quoting the concerned ministry.

“Visitors will be surprised... by the treasures we have to share — five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a vibrant local culture and breathtaking natural beauty", Tourism chief Ahmed Al-Khateeb said in a statement.

Female dress code eased

Al-Khateeb said the Kingdom will also ease its strict dress code for foreign women, allowing them to go without the abaya robe that is still mandatory public wear for Saudi women.

Foreign women, however, will be required to wear “modest clothing,” he added, without elaborating.

Saudi Tourist Places

Marketing Saudi Arabia as a tourist location is one of the main goals of Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s ambitious plan to move the country away from its heavy reliance on oil as its main source of income.

While religious tourism has also been a key factor in Saudi Arabia’s income, with pilgrims from all over the world coming to Saudi Arabia to visit the holy sites of Makkah and Madinah, the government has been keen to market the rest of Saudi Arabia as a tourist destination as well.

Locations such as AlUla, NEOM, and the Red Sea are all being touted as potential tourist locations, with many other areas of the country preparing to meet the expected crowds as well. SCTH told reporters at the press conference that there are 10,000 historical locations all over the country, five of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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