Saudi Arabia is opening its gates for tourists worldwide as of today, including for the Romanian visitors, within an ambitious project to introduce online tourist visas for 49 countries, Romania included. The announcement has been made by the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Bucharest H.E. Abdulaziz Mohammed Al Aifan in a press conference today.
Visas to Saudi Arabia have been restricted to pilgrims, business people and expatriate workers until now.
“It is an important day for Saudi Arabia and we are happy to share it with the Romanian citizens, who will be able to visit Saudi Arabia anytime, by accessing the online tourist visa system. The opening of Saudi Arabia to tourism is part of the implementation of Vision 2030 that seeks to cut the country’s dependence on oil and to diversify the economy. The target by 2030 is that tourism can contribute with over 10 percent to the country’s GDP, as compared to 3 percent at present. It is an ambitious project that I am convinced we’ll meet and we’ll have over 100 million visitors by 2030, while also luring new investments and jobs”, said ambassador Abdulaziz Mohammed Al Aifan.
Romanian tourists willing to discover new places, unique in the world, will be able to enjoy five UNESCO sites: Madain Saleh in Al Ula, the largest preserved site of the Nabatean civilisation, the Al Turaif district in Ad Diriyah, the first capital of the Saudi State, the historical city of Jeddah, a gateway to Mecca, boasting an unique traditional architecture, The Rock Art in Hail region, with petroglyphs and inscriptions on the rock showing representations of human and animal figures covering 10,000 years of history, and Al Asha Oasis, the largest oasis in the world.
Worth mentioning are also the Red Sea coast and the Rub Al Khali Desert and many other special sights waiting to be discovered by tourists worldwide.
“We invite you to visit Saudi Arabia and to enjoy our hospitality. I can assure you will leave with your heart full of joy and many cultural treasures,” the Saudi ambassador also stated.
Saudi Arabia has launched the tourist visa regime today in all 49 countries, with the Tourism Minister Ahmad al-Khateeb describing it as a “historic moment” for the country.
Foreign women visitors will not be required to wear the body-covering abaya robe required to be worn in public by Saudi women, but must still dress modestly. There will also be no restrictions on unaccompanied women visiting the country.
Non-Muslims will still not be allowed to visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and the ban on alcohol will be maintained.