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Saudi launches instant e-visa to achieve 2030 visitor goal

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The new instant e-visa is among several initiatives Saudi Arabia has launched over the past year to attract visitors

Saudi Arabia has launched a new instant e-visa facility as the kingdom aims to attract 100 million visitors annually by 2030.

The new e-visa will facilitate UK, US and Schengen visa holders and permanent residents of the UK, US and any EU country to obtain tourist e-visas through the ministry of foreign affairs, Saudi Tourism Authority said in a statement.

The kingdom received 93.5 million visitors in 2022.

The new instant e-visa is among several initiatives Saudi Arabia has launched over the past year to attract more visitors.

Last year Saudi Tourism Authority launched the Nusuk platform in collaboration with the Pilgrim Experience Program. Nusuk, Saudi’s first-ever official integrated digital platform, provides pilgrims and visitors an easy-to-use planning gateway for their journeys to Makkah, Madinah and beyond.

Previously, the country extended regulations to provide visas on arrival to residents of the GCC.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia announced the launch of a new stopover visa, allowing visitors to stay in the country for up to 96 hours.

International flight bookings to the kingdom this summer are up 8 percent compared with the same time in 2019. 

As of May 23, flight bookings to Saudi Arabia in June, July and August were mainly driven by arrivals from Egypt. 

They were up 204 percent compared with the same period in 2019, according to data compiled for AGBI by travel trends and analytics company ForwardKeys. 

Bookings from the UK were up 113 percent over the same review period. 

Arrivals from the US were up 58 percent.

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