New Saudi Visa Program, Tourism Event Set for Launch on September 27th, Report Says

A new visa scheme is coming to Saudi Arabia on September 27th that will benefit over 50 nations and will be a “game changer” initiative for attracting international tourists, a report in the English-language Saudi daily Arab News.

“Although not officially confirmed by the government, industry sources told Arab News an event to showcase Saudi tourist attractions would take place this month, with a major global advertising campaign launched in the presence of leading international travel and tourism experts,” Arab News reports. “The event on Sept. 27 will promote “the sights and sounds” of Saudi Arabia to a regional and international audience.”

Renovations underway in Ad Diriyah.

Renovations underway in Ad Diriyah, outside of Riyadh.

The plans were first reported by Saudi newspaper Okaz, which said the visas would be issued online or on arrival for a fee of SR440 ($117) starting September 27.

The Kingdom has already announced plans major plans to develop tourism destinations that will make Saudi Arabia more attractive for international visitors and help retain Saudis who typically vacation abroad. Among the major tourism projects underway include a transformation of its Red Sea coastline, a new entertainment and sports city outside of Riyadh, a new mega-city in NEOM, and properly developing and preserving heritage sites.

The highly-anticipated launch of tourist visas, though not yet confirmed by authorities, presents the first opportunity for leisure travelers to see Saudi Arabia without official business in the Kingdom.