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Wed 27 Apr 2016 01:53 PM

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Saudi Arabia plans new visa regulations to boost tourism

Kingdom’s new plan to issue a number of tourist visas per year is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030

Saudi Arabia plans new visa regulations to boost tourism

Prince Sultan bin Salman has said that the country would ease tourist visa rules, but that “it will not be totally open for everybody to just show up and come in,” according to AP.

The kingdom’s new plan to issue a number of tourist visas per year is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which was approved by the country’s cabinet on Monday.

At present, the country does not issue tourist visas but it did run a pilot programme between 2006 and 2010, allowing 25,000 tourist visas per year for visitors interested to see Saudi Arabia's ancient archaeological sites.

"It is open for people that are doing business, for people working in Saudi Arabia, investing in Saudi Arabia, and people who are visiting for special purposes. And now it will be open for tourism again on a selected basis," the prince told AP.

Since the country’s cities Mecca and Media attract millions of Muslims every year, the prince said allowing pilgrims to stay on as tourists and creating an industry to support that would show visitors that Saudi Arabia "is moving forward" and that Islam did not emerge in a land void of history.

"The issue is very important to us, that people come and find a country that is stable, that is secure... to show off, if you like, our country," he said.

Shafiqur Rahman 3 years ago

Very positive decision, I would like to congratulate to Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his positive thinking to growing country economy.

Jan T 3 years ago

The article's headline is quite misleading, as it is hard to see any real intention to boost tourism beyond encouraging Muslims to extend their religious pilgrimage with a shopping pilgrimage.If KSA tourism is to be something more than minuscule by 2030, it will take a lot more than easing visa restrictions for selected groups, as there is practically no infrastructure, culture or sector knowledge in place to cater for a 'boost in tourism'.

obaid 3 years ago

Do anybody know - we heard road travel by private cars from GCC is not allowed anymore for Umrah ,now is it correct?As article says they want to boost tourism but we heard contrary.We planned last year to travel by road with family but at eleventh hour the news come out people coming back from border despite having visa.

Muneer 3 years ago

Saudi Arabia is a noble country and meant for Umrah Hajj and jobs and life. No tourism please into that holy country.