DAVOS — Assistant Minister of Tourism Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed ruled out the option to change laws in Saudi Arabia to introduce alcohol in the Kingdom.

The official was asked, in a panel session about Saudi Arabia at the World Economic Forum, on the possibility of offering alcohol in new destination such as NEOM.

“Saudi Arabia has been very transparent on where it stands on everything, we were very clear and we even heard it from our head of state on where we stand on serving alcohol,” Princess Haifa said.

“The short answer is that we’re going to continue with our current laws.”

The official pointed out that the Kingdom “is doing very well” when it comes to attracting tourists and opening the country for visitors from around the world.

She added: “We have been out outperforming globally in tourism with what we currently have to offer today.”

Princess Haifa concluded her answer by saying: “There’s a lot to go around without introducing anything new.”

Saudi Arabia has been opening up to the world through sweeping economic and social reforms since 2018.

A year later, the Kingdom introduced the first ever tourist visa to visit the country which has six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Red Sea coast and the Empty Quarter.

When the Kingdom launched the tourist visa program in September 2019, it achieved remarkable success as 400,000 visas were issued within 6 months before the suspension of international travel due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the Kingdom introduced the new visa regime, the question that has been repeatedly asked quite often is whether the Kingdom will allow offering alcohol in public like other GCC neighboring countries.

Saudi officials have continuously refuted any claims that the country might loosen up on allowing alcohol in public.

Saudi Arabia hopes to boost tourism with creating new tourism destinations such NEOM, the Red Sea and Qiddiya to offer wide range of options for leisure and entertainment which rely on natural resources such as sun and sea.

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