Saudi Arabia will start issuing tourist visas again soon, official says
Saudi Arabia plans to resume tourist visas very soon after suspending them months ago because of the coronavirus, a Saudi official said Wednesday.
The kingdom is also working with other Middle Eastern and European nations on a unified protocol to facilitate travel, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss plans that have not been made public.
Encouraging foreign tourism is a key factor in the kingdom’s efforts to reduce its reliance on oil. In September 2019, it threw open its borders after having long been one of the hardest countries in the world to visit unless coming on a pilgrimage.
It wants the sector to contribute 10% of gross domestic product by 2030, but the virus has crimped those plans. After limiting incoming tourism in February 2020, authorities suspended all incoming and outgoing travel to try to contain the virus’s spread.