Saudi Arabia is going to issue tourist visas on late September

Opening up the country for tourism is seen as part of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s modernisation and diversification efforts.

Saudi Arabia is edging closer to allowing tourists access to the kingdom with a plan to open visa applications at the end of September.

The plans were first reported by Saudi newspaper Okaz, which said the visas would be issued online or on arrival starting September 27.

The conservative Islamic kingdom has long been one of the hardest countries in the world to visit, largely limiting visas to business trips, religious pilgrimages or family reunions. But in 2016 — as the oil price rout wreaked havoc on its finances — the government said it wanted to develop tourism as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic diversification plan.

Authorities have put particular focus on advertising Al Ula — an area in the northwest layered with the ruins of ancient kingdoms.

The new visas could attract more adventurous travelers.


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