Saudi Arabia’s new visa rules could open up travel to millions of visitors

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Saudi Arabia is making it easier for millions of tourists to enter the Kingdom by streamlining and easing its visa options for residents of several countries, starting September 1.

Residents of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – can now apply for electronic tourist visas (eVisas), according to the Ministry of Tourism. Saudi Arabia.

UK, US and EU residents can now apply for a visa upon arrival. Additionally, holders of a valid tourist or business visa for the UK, US or Schengen countries will be able to apply for a visa on arrival, provided the other visa has been used at least once to enter the issuing country. .

Additionally, potential visitors who meet Saudi Arabia’s visa requirements no longer need to report to their country’s embassy before entering Saudi Arabia.

“Through harnessing digital innovation and streamlining traveler travel, Saudi Arabia is increasingly welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe,” Tourism Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb said.

The new visa rules are another step taken by the Kingdom towards its ambitious goal of becoming a leading global leisure destination. The Saudi government intends to invest $1 trillion in the tourism sector over the next 10 years.

“Facilitating a tourist visa for millions of GCC residents and expanding visa on arrival supports our ambition to welcome 100 million visitors a year by 2030, to the biggest new tourism destination of leisure in the world,” said Saudi Tourism Authority CEO Fahd Hamidaddin.

To achieve its ambitions, the Kingdom has worked hard to expand its international air connectivity. Its goal is to increase the number of direct international flights from 99 to 250 and become an aviation hub in the Middle East. To achieve this, Saudi Arabia offered financial incentives to airlines, expanded existing airports, launched a new airline, invested millions and reduced airport charges.

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