Saudi Arabia will Introduce Tourist Visas ‘Soon’, Tourism Authority Head Confirms

Saudi Arabia plans to start issuing tourist visas “soon,” Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, head of the Saudi tourism authority, said in a statement according to several reports.

Prince Sultan did not give an exact time frame.

The Kingdom issues separate visas for the millions of pilgrims that visit Saudi Arabia each year for the Hajj and Umrah, but does not currently permit general tourists from entering. However, as the Kingdom plans to jolt to life a potentially large and lucrative travel and tourism industry with Vision 2030, Saudi leaders will look to expand access for foreigners to visit.

Red Sea Tourism in Saudi Arabia aims to create jobs, attract visitors.

Red Sea Tourism in Saudi Arabia aims to create jobs, attract visitors.

As the AFP notes, Prince Sultan’s comment was made in advance of Saudi Arabia’s first archaeology convention in Riyadh next week as the government seeks to showcase some of its historic sites. Much of Saudi Arabia’s history has not been seen by outsiders, and Saudi Arabia’s historical sites are still being discovered today.

Just last week, with the help of Google Earth, researchers examining the deserts of Saudi Arabia found around 400 unreported stone structures in the Arabian Desert, likely built by nomadic tribes thousands of years ago.

Also in October of 2017, a Saudi-French team discovered several sites with ancient artifacts and a large number of rock-and-animal drawings which date back to the Stone Age.