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Tue 23 Jan 2018 10:31 AM

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New tourist visa for Saudi imminent

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage to issue new guidelines by end of Q1

New tourist visa for Saudi imminent
The Tourism Visa Initiative, which was initially trialled between 2008 and 2010, is designed to encourage more visitors to the kingdom throughout the year

The launch of a new tourist visa for Saudi Arabia is on track with precise rules on their details, requirements and nationality specifications to be outlined by the end of March, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage has confirmed.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the precise details are awaiting final approval from commission’s board of directors, which they expect to happen before the end of the current fiscal year. SCTH issued the statement as details about the visa’s details were being misreported in the media.

The Tourism Visa Initiative, which was initially trialled between 2008 and 2010, is designed to encourage more visitors to the kingdom throughout the year and, by doing so, develop the industry, enhance facilities and build heritage services. Outside of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, the kingdom currently only issues tourist visas for a limited number of countries – and even these are conditional on using SCTH-licensed tour companies and accredited hotels.

Opening up the country for tourism is seen as part of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s modernisation and diversification efforts. In August, he announced a new tourism development project to turn 50 islands and a string of sites on the Red Sea into luxury resorts.

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