Boosting the Economy, Saudi Arabia Launches the Tourist Visas
Saudi Arabia will open its doors for foreign tourists for the first time. This is an effort to cut the dependence of the economy on oil.
Saturday (09/28/2019), on Friday (9/27/2019) Saudi Arabia launched tourist visas for 49 countries. Not only for that, the dress code for female tourists was also relaxed.
Saudi Arabian Tourism Minister Ahmad al-Khateeb stated that this was a historic event for his country.
Until now, the visas for foreigners have only been granted to pilgrims and Umrah, business people and the foreign workers.
Saudi Arabia also hopes to pocket of the foreign investment in the tourism industry. The country wants the tourism sector's contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) to increase from 3 percent to 10 percent.
"Tourists will be surprised at the treasures we will share, five UNESCO World Heritage sites, amazing local culture, and enchanting natural beauty," Khateeb explained.
Foreign women tourists are also not required to wear Abayas, as is required of Saudi women. However, they still have to wear a polite clothes.
In addition, there will also be no obligation for women to be accompanied when visiting Saudi Arabia.
The efforts to open up to the tourism sector are very important for a comprehensive economic reform program that carried out by the Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. This effort aims to reduce the Saudi Arabia's economic focus on oil.
Under the plan, Saudi Arabia wants to increase the number of international and domestic visits to 100 million per year by 2030. The government is targeting as many as 1 million jobs in the tourism sector to be created. (*)
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