If you thought that this oil-rich country was only going to make news about the lavish, opulent lives of its Sheikhs and for its ongoing conflict with Iran, then think again! For the first time ever, Saudi Arabia has launched e-visas for tourists.
It could be said that gone are those days where Saudi Arabia was a conservative, restrictive nation.
It seems that in a pleasant development of sorts, Saudi Arabia has forged a new future for itself, eager to recalibrate and rekindle its image in the rest of the world. It appears that no longer is the famous Middle Eastern country interested in being seen or viewed as an inaccessible country.
And what could possibly demonstrate the above as intricately as Saudi Arabia launching e-visas for tourists (or passport holders) from as many as 49 countries of the world?
But now that it is known that Saudi Arabia has launched e-visas for the tourists in a dramatic shift from a rather conservative touristy approach of the past, what nations stand in benefit of this landmark shift?
The e-visas can be applied by residents of the following countries: the United Kingdom, Japan, China, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, European Union, among the many countries.
Covering the dramatic development in wider detail, among the leading publications in all of New Zealand shared the following:
Now the new e-visas can be applied for online for SR440 (NZ$185). The official website for Saudi Arabia e-visas, is visa.visitsaudi.com. Other websites will try to charge a fee for helping you with the process.
This comes as the country drops its strict dress code for foreign women as it seeks for the first time to lure holidaymakers to the kingdom.
Foreign women won’t have to wear an abaya, although they’ll be instructed to wear “modest clothing,” said Ahmed Al-Khateeb, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and a key adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as reported by Traveller.
In addition to the above, it is pertinent to note that the Saudi Arabia tourist visas will be valid for 12 months and will be useful for multiple entries. Now, if that’s not a pleasant development from the standpoint of tourism and international relations, then one wonders, what is?
The kingdom has already grappled with a slew of social changes over the past few years, and some Saudis are thrilled by the transformation.
Others remain deeply conservative, however, and the sight of foreign tourists roaming the streets of Riyadh without abayas will be controversial.
The conservative, Muslim-dominated country has, in the course of the past, made several pieces of dramatic news for its strict and conservative approach with respect to tighter norms for the share of its women population.