Oil-rich country, Saudi Arabia has announced that it will open its doors to international tourists, opening the kingdom to visitors as part of an initiative to diversify its economy away from oil.
In a statement, Chief of tourism Ahmed al-Khateeb, said: “Opening Saudi Arabia to international tourists is a historic moment for our country.”
“Visitors will be surprised by the treasures we have to share, five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a vibrant local culture and breathtaking natural beauty.”
In a major shift, the Kingdom is launching a new visa regime for 49 countries and appealing to foreign companies to invest in a sector it hopes will contribute 10 percent of gross domestic product by 2030.
Visas will be available online for about $80 (Dh294), with no restrictions for unaccompanied women as in the past. Access to the Muslim holy cities of Makkah and Medina is restricted.
It says by 2030 it aims to attract up to 100 million annual visits by both domestic and foreign tourists.
Currently, only citizens of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the UAE can travel freely to the country.
The announcement comes just two weeks after devastating attacks on Saudi Arabia´s oil infrastructure.
The sector is expected to create up to one million tourism jobs, the government.
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27 September, 2019