Saudi Arabia threw open its doors to foreign tourists on Friday (Sep-27), launching a new visa regime for 49 countries and appealing to foreign companies to invest in a sector it hopes will contribute 10% of gross domestic product by 2030.
Tourism chief Ahmed Al-Khateeb said abayas will not be mandatory for women tourists, but modest dress is, including at public beaches.
Visas will be available online for about SR 440, with no restrictions for unaccompanied women as in the past. Access to the holy cities of Makkah and Madina is restricted.
Tourists from 38 countries in Europe, 7 in Asia, as well as the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, will be eligible to apply for new visas
More details, including which countries are eligible, are expected to be announced later on Friday during an unveiling ceremony scheduled to take place at Ad Diriyah in Riyadh.