The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) had announced the launch of the tourist visa on that day while simultaneously marking the World Tourism Day.
According to the SCTH, tourist visas will be issued on a one-year, multiple-entry basis, allowing tourists to spend up to 90 days in the country.
They can get their visas manually via the Kingdom’s missions and electronically without preconditions (e-visas) or upon arrival in the Kingdom during the admissions process (visa on arrival) for 49 nationalities from Europe, Asia and America.
More than 7,391 Chinese tourists have been issued visas to visit the Kingdom, according to the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, allowing for the Chinese being the nationality to obtain tourist visas the most.
The figures showed that tourist from Britain make up the next biggest numbers — 6159, while tourists from the United States came third with 2,132 visas. The Canadians were issued 1,612 despite a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.
Among the top ten countries completing the growing demand for tourist visas are: Malaysia fifth with 1,107 visas, France sixth with 744 visas, Germany 557 visas, Russia 484 visas, Australia 476 and Kazakhstan 421 visas in that order.
The new tourist visa allows for those wishing to visit the Kingdom to discover its landmarks any time throughout the year.
Among the most important features of the Saudi tourist visa, is that the visa holder can benefit from it in performing Umrah.
In addition, a male relative need not accompany women, except during the Haj season, and there is no need for a sponsor to visit the Kingdom, as required for work visas.
Previously, the work visit and Haj visas were the main non-immigrant visa options for travel to the Kingdom.
The granting of tourist visas comes within the Kingdom’s plan to create one million jobs and reach 100 million tourists by the year 2030.
The new tourist visa programme marks a significant transformation for the Kingdom and is in line with Vision 2030, its flagship initiative to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenue.
Darul Ihsan Media Desk