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Liberalisation by new rules in tourism, in Saudi Arabia

Unmarried couples will now be allowed to share rooms while on vacation in Saudi Arabia. Until now, couples had to provide proof of marriage before being allowed to share a room.

The change will not be for the residents. Under the new rules which are targeting the tourism, foreign women traveling alone will also be able to book rooms for the first time. Saudi Arabia hopes to attract an annual 100 million visitors (international and domestic) by 2030, including by pilgrimages.

Qiddya-entertainment-city
Qiddya entertainment city

Currently, more than two million Muslim visitors make the annual Hajj pilgrimage. They can do this now on a tourist visa. The country is opening up to holidaymakers as part of a push to diversify its economy away from oil. Kickstarting tourism is one of the centerpieces of Prince Mohammed’s Vision 2030 reform programme. “Opening Saudi Arabia to international tourists is a historic moment for our country,” its tourism chief, Ahmed al-Khateeb, said in a statement. However the kingdom forbids alcohol and enforces a strict social code. As an example, female tourists will be exempted from wearing the all-covering abaya robe, but will be required to dress “modestly.” Among attractions in the kingdom are Nabataean ruins in Madâin Sâlih, once part of the spice route, the palace complex in the Najdi architectural style in Ad-Diriyah, capital of the first Saudi dynasty, and the Red Sea coast.

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