Saudi Arabia announced on Friday, that tourist visas will be issued for the first time to visitors around the world.
According to Arab media, Saudi Government has announced that tourist visas will be issued for the first time to visitors from 49 countries.
Tourists from 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 Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage made the announcement at an event in Ad-Diriyah.
Tourism chief Ahmed Al-Khateeb briefed the participants regarding the visas in the ceremony.
Kickstarting tourism is one of the centerpieces of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform program to prepare the biggest Arab economy for a post-oil era.
“Visitors will be surprised by the treasures we have to share, five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a vibrant local culture and breathtaking natural beauty.”, Ahmed Al-Khateeb said.
Tourism chief says foreign women are not required to wear abayas, provided that they wear “modest clothing”.
The visas will cost 300 Saudi Riyal (80 US Dollars), with an additional cost of 140 Saudi Riyal for travel insurance.
The electronic tourist visa will be issued within a record time of seven minutes and the beneficiaries of the visa include tourists from 49 countries.
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.
Saudi Arabia will start issuing tourist visa from Saturday, Sept. 28, according to Ahmad Al-Khatib, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.
Muslims making the holy pilgrimage will be allowed to tour anywhere in the country as part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to boost tourism and the economy.
Previously, Umrah pilgrims were restricted to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and the port city of Jeddah.