The new tourist visas will reportedly be available by the end of September 2019
4 September 2019| Last updated on 4 September 2019
It's said the visa will be available for visitors from up to 50 countries
Saudi Arabia is moving closer towards allowing international tourists into the kingdom, with a new tourist visa scheme reported to begin from September 27, 2019.
According to the Saudi newspaper Okaz, this is what you should know about the Saudi Arabia tourist visa:
- Applications are open to visitors from 51 countries
- The tourist visa will be valid for 90 days
- The tourist visa will cost SAR 440 (around US $ 117/AED 430)
It's worth noting that the sources were unnamed, and a spokesperson for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Heritage explained that while discussions are in the process, so there's nothing official just yet.
What's actually happening on September 27 is an event in Saudi Arabia that's set to promote the "sights and sounds" of the kingdom to both a regional and international audience. The event will also feature an updated progress report of their tourism projects, including the "Saudi Seasons" and a digital events calendar.
Diversiying Saudi Arabia's economy
As part of the kingdom's Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia set a goal of welcoming 30 million visitors per year in the next decade. As of now, the majority of visitors are traveling to the country for religious purposes, however, KSA aims to develop tourism beyond that and become a world-class destination for holidays, media, and entertainment.
The kingdom has been working on major tourism projects, including opening its doors to a star-studded set of music performances, lifting the ban on public cinemas, launching film festivals, announcing plans for world-record-breaking attractions, transforming its Red Sea coast into a luxury holiday destination, and developing an entertainment city near the capital of Riyadh.
For a long time, the kingdom has been one of the most difficult countries in the world for tourists to access, with entry visas limited to business trips, family reunions, and religious pilgrimages. The launch of a tourist visa is a vital part of Vision 2030 in order to diversify Saudi Arabia's economy away from oil.