- Saudi Arabia plans to facilitate the issuance of visit visas to citizens of 50 countries worldwide.
Saudi Arabia is in the process of introducing new amendments to the visa regime that are expected to cause a jump in the number of visitors to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and consequently to revive the tourism sector, which will then become one of the important financial and economic resources for Saudis.
“Saudi Arabia has a plan to facilitate the issuance of visas to citizens of 50 countries around the world to stimulate tourism and increase the number of foreigners visiting the kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their weekends or annual holidays.” the Bloomberg revealed.
Bloomberg quoted in its report three Saudi sources confirming that “the citizens of these 50 countries will be able to issue visit visas easily, as of the end of September,” while one source pointed out that it is currently reviewing the list of countries that will benefit from these Saudi facilities, pointing out that the list has not yet been finalized.
Saudi Arabia’s Okaz newspaper was the first to reveal that the authorities in Riyadh are working on a new visa regime, Bloomberg said, pointing out that citizens of these countries will have the ability to enter the territory of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the purpose of visiting or tourism under visas applied online or obtained immediately as soon as arriving at any of Saudi airports.
- The visa fee will be SAR440 (about $117), but the system will only come into effect as of September 27, Okaz said.
A spokesman for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage said later that the information released by Okaz was not accurate, but noted that “the matter is being studied and no final decision has been taken”.
According to Bloomberg, visiting Saudi Arabia has been limited to pilgrimage, Umrah, work or family reunification over the past years until Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman announced his ambitious plan to diversify the kingdom’s economy, and then, in 2016, he began the development of the tourism sector as part of his economic plan.
According to Bloomberg, the US economic news agency, the tourism projects that the Kingdom has begun to accomplish include turning the long coast of the Red Sea into an attractive area for tourists and holiday makers, as well as establishing an entertainment city near the capital, Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia first opened the door last year for foreigners to apply online for visas to participate in conferences or attend special events held inside the country.