Published on : Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz said that the government approvals were in place for the launch of electronic visas next year to all nationals whose countries allow their citizens to visit Saudi Arabia.
He further said that they were now preparing the regulations as who is eligible for the visas and how to obtain them said the head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.
Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman wants to radically overhaul the kingdom’s oil-dependent economy and shed its ultra-conservative image by opening its tourism sector. Most of the visitors face an arduous process and steep fees to enter the kingdom barring those who travel to Saudi Arabia annually for the Hajj pilgrimage.
Currently the country grants tourist visas for a limited number of countries. The applications involve a range of restrictions like requirements to travel through an accredited company and stay at designated hotels.
The cost of the new tourist visa had not yet been settled but it is expected to be as low as possible as the cumulative economic impact is greater than the cash from the visa Saudi Arabia is known for worldwide longstanding bans on the mixing of the sexes, alcohol consumption and women driving that makes it an undesirable destination for many.
The kingdom has recently broken with some of its most rigid rules from lifting ban on cinema , allowing genders to mix at a national celebration and announcing that women will be allowed to drive by next June.