Saudi Arabia scraps Tourist Visa offer forever?

Eurasia News

 Will Saudi Arabia scrap Tourist Visa offer?

The unprecedented decision by the Saudi government  in December 2014 to start issuing tourist visas was big news for travel and tourism industry. The news was published in Saudi Gazette on December 23 but then denied by the government stating postponement of decision for releasing visa for tourism. Now,  it looks the decision may not be come on surface ever.

The decision was taken by Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA)  that believed new visa regime would bring 35 billion Saudi Riyal every year to kingdom and it was decided that Saudi Arabia would  start giving Tourist Visa soon.(citing


SCTA estimated over 7 million tourists will visit to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on tourism visa from first year of its implementation if decision is not revert. Saudi Arabia was drifting its economy from oil based to tourism based under the leadership of late King.

The decision was announced on December 22, 2014 by Prince Abdullah Bin Saud Bin Muhammad, the chairman of the Tourism Committee of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI).

The Kingdom leads Africa in tourism industry due to religion tourism as over 2 million pilgrims perform Haj every year while there are no figure available about people who Umrah. Since Umrah can be performed at any time, therefore estimated number for visas for Umrah are over 3 million per year.

It may be mentioned that businessmen and many other concerned parties have been calling for the issuance of tourist visas to boost the industry in the Kingdom and the SCTA has finally responded positively to these requests.

Liberal visa policy of Saudi Arabia is accompanied by a number of other regulations to improve the accommodation sector including fines of up to SR50,000 for tourism facilities working without classification certificates.