From concerts and festivals, to the ease of entry due to its new e-visa, Saudi Arabia has been working on boosting non-religious tourism, with impressive results to date. In just over a month, more than 24,000 visitors have already made their way into the Kingdom, and this week there are talks of another major step that will be taken in 2020 to increase those numbers.
According to various media reports, Saudi Arabia is currently in talks with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on creating a joint visa by 2020 that will allow more visitors to visit both countries. UAE’s Minister of Economy, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, was quoted was quoted by Al Eqtisadiah newspaper as saying, “This initiative aims at taking advantage of the enormous potential and great measures taken by Saudi Arabia to facilitate the entry of tourists to the Kingdom.”
As reported by Saudi Gazette, Al-Mansoori explained that the implementation of the joint visa will also “benefit national companies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and will give much stronger impetus to cooperation and coordination between them. It will also revitalize the tourism sector as well as airports and hotels.” He pointed out that the number of flights between the two nations will need to be increased following the launch of the new initiative.
Al Mansoori was speaking at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, which saw over 300 decision-makers from 30 countries attend the event. FII is an annual investment forum that was launched in 2017 and is hosted annually in Saudi Arabia by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund. It provides a “platform for expert-led debate between global leaders, investors, and innovators with the power to shape the future of global investment. It is focused on utilizing investment to drive growth opportunities, enable innovation and disruptive technologies, and address global challenges.”