The Head of the Saudi Tourism and Heritage Authority announced that the kingdom will be opening its doors international tourists before 2020 begins
15 September 2019| Last updated on 16 September 2019
International visitors hoping to tour the kingdom can start planning right now
Following earlier news that Saudi Arabia will soon begin issuing tourist visas in September, the Head of the Saudi Tourism and Heritage Authority, Ahmad al-Khatib, announced that the kingdom will be welcoming international tourists before 2020.
The reveal was made during a meeting of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) set in Russia.
During his speech, al-Khatib said, "Saudi Arabia is proud to be one of the first countries to work with the organization in the preliminary studies for the Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST) project."
The kingdom is considered one of the largest countries in the region and plans to establish itself on the global map as a world-class tourism and entertainment destination. As part of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan, KSA has set a goal of welcoming 30 million visitors in the next decade. Majority of its foreign visitors travel to the country for the annual Muslim pilgrimage, however, Vision 2030 also aims to develop local tourism beyond it.
Major projects to transform Saudi's media, arts, and leisure scene are already underway, including lifting the bans on public movie theatres, developing a massive entertainment city near Riyadh, opening art academies, hosted concerts headlined by international performers like Liam Payne and k-pop band BTA, launching film festivals, and more.
With UAE's close proximity to Saudi Arabia, many residents can benefit from easy access due to the low-cost flights already available including short travel time. By KSA opening its doors to international tourism, many visitors will be able to take in the spectacular views, explore the history, and visit various sites of Saudi Arabia.
The launch of a tourist visa is a vital part of Vision 2030 in order to diversify Saudi Arabia's economy away from oil.