As part of a national reform plan of showcasing the “country’s rich heritage”, Saudi Arabia plans to begin issuing select visas to tens of thousands of tourists a year as per US News & World Report. The plan is part of a strategy to lessen their dependence on oil, though the country won’t be “totally open for everybody to just show up and come in.”
“It is open for people that are doing business, for people working in Saudi Arabia, investing in Saudi Arabia, and people who are visiting for special purposes. And now it will be open for tourism again on a selected basis.”
As per US News & World Report:
The religiously conservative country currently does not issue tourist visas, though it ran a pilot program between 2006 and 2010 welcoming around 25,000 visitors annually to see Saudi Arabia’s ancient archaeological sites and vast landscapes of mountains, coastline, valleys, volcanoes and deserts. No date has been set for when tourist visas will be issued again. The tourism commission’s figures show that around 245,000 Saudis work in the tourism sector. The target is to boost that to 352,000 by 2020 and to see investment in tourism upped by $8 billion to reach nearly $46 billion.
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