A Saudi Tourism Official announced that women older than 24 will be granted a tourist visa without a male guardian
Pack your bags ladies – we’re going to Saudi and leaving the guys at home! It has been announced that women older than 25 years of age will be able to get a tourist visa and travel to the Kingdom without a male guardian.
According to Omar Al Mubarak, the director general of licensing department of Saudi Arabia's Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, the tourist visa will be a single-entry visa that is valid for a maximum of 30 days.
There is, however, a catch: even though women can travel to the Kingdom on their own, they are not allowed to roam around by themselves. According to the Saudi Gazette, women need to be part of a tour group from a certified tourism company to be eligible for the visa.
Tourists visiting Saudi Arabia are requested to respect the traditions and culture of the country.
Tourist visas have previously been available for foreigners to visit Saudi Arabia but not without great difficulty and steep prices. Women were also not allowed to visit the Kingdom without a male guardian.
We are still waiting to find out what the new tourist visa is going to cost but Prince Sultan bin Salman, the head of the tourism commission, said that they are going to keep the costs as low as possible. According to the Prince, they believe that the cumulative economic impact will be greater than the income they will make from charging too much for the visas.
This latest announcement is part of Saudi’s Vision 2030 to wean the Kingdom’s economy off of its oil dependency and create alternative income streams. Saudi’s untapped tourism industry is expected to be one of main income sources for this vision.
Tourist visas to Saudi Arabia will become available to travelers later in 2018. The Kingdom is also busy with numerous tourism developments such as a luxury resort by the Red Sea, the new Neom development and renovating a number of the historical and archeological sites throughout the country. 2018 truly seems to be the year to keep an eye on Saudi Arabia!