The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) has announced that the regulations for tourist visas have been completed and submitted to the higher authorities for approval, according to an SCTNH statement quoted by the Center of International Communication (CIC) on Sunday.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH), in cooperation with the ministries of interior and foreign affairs, has completed tourist visa regulations, the SCTNH said in the statement.
The regulations under which tourist visas will be issued were reviewed in a series of meetings and workshops with relevant government institutions, the statement said.
Beyond the governmental review, investors, tourism and transport workers, and groups of beneficiaries and service providers were also given a chance to comment.
An integrated electronic system to process and record visa transactions has been developed under the supervision of a specialized team headed by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
SCTNH has worked in accordance with the National Tourism Development Strategy, which was formulated in 2004, to provide a comprehensive vision for the development of tourist visas which were granted to a limited number of individuals prior to the establishment of SCTNH.
“The National Transformation Program 2020 has adopted the ‘tourist visa’ as one of the important initiatives with high economic feasibility,” the statement said.
Prince Sultan Bin Salman, president of SCTNH, has stated previously that the Kingdom, as part of its campaign to attract tourists from abroad, is committed to promoting local values and cultural heritage.
The tourism sector has been earmarked by the government as a key driver for growth in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy.
Some 900,000 Saudis work in the travel and tourism sector. Last year alone, Saudi Arabia welcomed an estimated 18 million visitors, most of whom came to perform the Haj and Umrah.
The Kingdom has some important archaeological and historical sites, including Madain Saleh in the northwest, built by the ancient Nabateans; and Diriyah, a small historic city about 20 kilometers from the capital.
Both are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Other UNESCO sites are Al-Balad, or Historic Jeddah, and the Rock Art archaeological site in Hail region.
Saudi Arabia has also announced other major tourism projects as part of Vision 2030, including the Red Sea Project, a coastal lagoon covering some 50 untouched islands stretching along more than 150km of unpopulated coastline.