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Saudi Arabia adds more countries to tourist visa list

Saudi tourist trips at Red Sea Global Red Sea Global
Saudi Arabia's e-visa should make it easier for tourists to visit destinations such as the Red Sea resort
  • Six countries added to online visa scheme
  • Valid for multiple visits over a year
  • Kingdom aiming for 100m visitors

Saudi Arabia has added six new countries to its list of nationalities that can apply for a tourist visa online.

Visitors from Turkey, Thailand, Panama, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Seychelles and Mauritius are now eligible for leisure and business travel, as well as visits for the Umrah pilgrimage.

The expansion brings the total number of countries on the list to 63 and is part of the kingdom’s plan to attract 100 million visitors per year by 2030. 

The visitor e-visa is valid for a year, grants multiple entries and permits a stay of up to 90 days. 

Since the launch of the kingdom’s visitor e-visa in 2019, it has eased access for millions and accelerated tourism growth. 

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia also announced the launch of the free 96-hour Stopover Visa, allowing tourists and other visitors to stay in the country for up to four days. 

The Saudi government sees tourism as a growth sector in its plans to develop a non-oil economy by 2030. Tourism forms a key element of giga-projects including tech city Neom, the Red Sea project and the Amaala luxury tourist resort.

Under Vision 2030, tourism is expected to contribute 10 percent of the kingdom’s GDP by the end of the decade.

Tourism revenues have grown steadily since January 2022, rising from less than $1 billion in the first quarter of last year to more than $5 billion in the second quarter of 2023, according to Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment. 

Saudi Arabia has committed $550 billion to new destinations by 2030 and plans to increase international air connectivity from 140 cities to more than 250 by then.

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