Saudi Arabia Set To Reopen to International Travelers

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Saudi Arabia is set to reopen its borders to foreign visitors, as part of a new policy of “moderate” Islam. This will allow Saudi women to enter the country for the first time to participate in the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, which is required of all Muslims.

Saudi Arabia, one of the few countries that bans women from driving, is set to open to foreign residents and tourists, especially those from the United States and Europe. A long-awaited law that will grant Saudi women the right to drive could take effect on June 25, 2017. “This is a big, big step for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia,” said Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, a human rights group. “It will take Saudi women one step closer to true equality and they should be proud of themselves.”

On Saturday, April 21, Saudi Arabia announced that it will reopen its borders with neighboring countries, including Qatar and Bahrain, for the first time in a decade. The change is part of a new government initiative to address the situation in those countries that have been locked in a bitter political dispute.

Saudi Arabia has declared that international tourism would resume on August 1st, with tourists from 49 countries eligible for tourism e-visas. Those who have received complete COVID-19 vaccination will be permitted to enter the country without being quarantined. Travelers may register their vaccination status in advance through an online site.

Foreign newcomers must additionally provide evidence of a negative PCR test done no more than 72 hours before to departure, as well as a vaccination certificate authorized by the issuing country’s official health authority.

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The award-winning track-and-trace app ‘Tawakkalna’ has been updated to enable temporary visitors to register using their passport information. Tawakkalna will be a necessary tool for visitors, since it will be needed to access numerous public areas like as restaurants, shopping malls, theaters, and entertainment venues.

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Reopening from COVID-19

The news of Saudi Arabia’s reopening comes almost 18 months after incoming international travel was halted owing to the spread of COVID-19 across the world. The Kingdom has just recently launched an e-visa scheme for tourists in September 2019, only months before the coronavirus epidemic.

“Saudi Arabia is looking forward to extending its doors and hearts to foreign visitors,” said Saudi Tourism Authority CEO Fahd Hamidaddin (STA). “Throughout the closure, we have worked closely with our governmental and private sector partners to ensure that visitors to Saudi Arabia have a memorable, genuine, and, most importantly, safe experience for themselves and their loved ones. Saudi Arabia’s warm welcome will surprise and excite visitors looking for undiscovered historical sites, genuine cultural experiences, and breathtaking natural beauty.”

The Saudi Tourist Authority (STA) was formed in June 2020 with the goal of collecting hitherto untapped tourism income. It has been striving to increase brand recognition and expand its worldwide network. Since the beginning of 2021, worldwide awareness of Saudi Arabia as a leisure destination has more than quadrupled thanks to STA’s marketing initiatives.

STA has also established representative offices in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Russia/CIS, with plans to open a dozen additional foreign operations in the next 12 months. The number of local destination management firms (DMCs) in Saudi Arabia has grown from 17 in Summer 2019 to 72 presently.

Saudi Arabia’s first appearance at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in 2021 resulted in a slew of good outcomes and prospective collaborations. IHG, Marriott Worldwide, Hilton International, and Accor Group are among the major hotel brands that have declared intentions to expand in the area. Saudia, the country’s flag carrier, has struck a reciprocal loyalty agreement with Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates’ national airline (UAE). Last but not least, MSC Cruises intends to launch two Red Sea excursions in Fall 2021, both of which will use Saudi homeports.

MSC Cruises Magnifica MSC (photo via MSC Cruises)

“Saudi Arabia’s big goal as a leisure tourist destination is becoming a reality thanks to partnerships with the world’s leading tourism players,” Hamidaddin added. “Today, Saudi Arabia invests more in tourism, particularly sustainable tourism, than any other nation in the world. Saudi Arabia’s iconic locations, deep experiences, and unmatched hospitality are being shared with the world’s visitors through an increasing number of partners.”

When the Saudi Ministry of Health opens its borders, all visitors will be required to follow the Saudi Ministry of Health’s preventive public health measures, which include wearing masks in public areas and keeping social distance. Over half of all Saudi nationals and residents have gotten at least one dose of an authorized vaccination series, with 20% having received all three doses.

Saudi Arabia, home to the holiest sites in Islam, is set to reopen its borders to international travelers, after more than two years of a ban on non-Saudi citizens, according to an official.. Read more about when saudi arabia start international flights and let us know what you think.

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