via Faisal al-Nasser/Reuters
Some good news for travellers around the world! Following months of Covid-19 lockdown, Saudi Arabia will issues tourist visas again starting January 2021. Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb told Bloomberg that visas may be rolled out sooner depending on “positive developments” regarding a vaccine.
“It’s possible the process could be accelerated and visas made available at an earlier date,” he told the American media outlet.
The association aims to support travelers and even offer training to Saudi travelers to become “the best ambassadors for the 'Kingdom of Humanity'.”https://t.co/94MMC1Ip7I— About Her (@AboutHerOFCL) September 16, 2020
The Kingdom hopes that its G20 presidency will facilitate global travel in a pandemic. Since March 15, Saudi Arabia stopped international travel and closed off its borders in a swift response to the pandemic. Domestic travel was allowed again on May 31 and on Sept. 15, the Kingdom allowed foreign workers holding resident permits to return to the Kingdom and others to leave. Earlier this month, the Interior Ministry said that the Kingdom will lift all restrictions on air, land and sea transport after Jan. 1, 2021.
Domestic tourism saw a rise and rescued the significant decline of international tourism. Minister Al-Khateedb said that the country is still on track to expand the sector by 10 percent with 10 locations selected to promote domestic tourism.
Summer 2020 is all about playing detective and exploring the Kingdom’s natural hidden gems, cultural landmarks, and pristine beaches.https://t.co/vUyR8w8BfM— About Her (@AboutHerOFCL) June 25, 2020
As domestic travel increased by 31 percent this year compared with the previous 12 months, tourists flocked to popular destinations such as the stunning Abha mountains and the paradise-like Umluj islands.
From diverse landscapes to magnificent mountains and lush valleys to a range of archeological and cultural landmarks, Abha is perfect for exploring.https://t.co/NhCm0CqLKR— About Her (@AboutHerOFCL) August 24, 2020
Despite domestic efforts to cushion the fall of the tourism sector, Al-Khateeb said that the hard-hit sector forsees a 35-45 percent decline by the end of the year.