New visa scheme: Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is planning to launch a new visa scheme as an initiative to attract international tourists, with the aim of opening the Kingdom to visitors from up to 50 countries, who will be allowed to apply for entry permits upon arrival. According to sources, as per leading news agencies, an event has been organized on the 27 September, 2019 for leading international travel and tourism experts that aims to showcase major Saudi tourist attractions and launch an advertising campaign of the same.
Saudi Arabia has identified leisure tourism as an important part of the nation’s Vision 2030, a nationwide plan to diversify the economy and reduce the dependency on oil. Until now, tourism in the nation has been dominated by pilgrimage to the Holy Cities and experts are of the view that by launching such a scheme, the tourism and leisure sector can contribute up to 10% of the Gross Domestic Product by 2030, by contributing more than $100 billion per year towards the economy. The event is also expected to feature a nationwide digital calendar for events and expand the concept of Saudi Seasons. With work already underway on a luxury resort, situated on the Red Sea Coast, an entertainment city at Qiddiya, outside Riyadh and on visitor facilities at the historic AlUla area, the Kingdom is well on its way to achieving Vision 2030.