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Saudi Arabia’s new visa policies boost tourist numbers

Saudi Arabia’s new visa policies boost tourist numbers

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow US, UK or Schengen visa holders to obtain a visa on arrival in the Kingdom will help to boost the tourism sector and the country’s economy, according to business insiders.

However, visitors wishing to access the facility need to have used their UK, US or Schengen visas before entering the Kingdom and the visas should be valid until their departure from Saudi Arabia.

Ghazi Al-Onaizi, a local tour operator, said: “Following the announcement of tourist visas, we experienced a 200 percent increase in the number of tourists.”

He said with the new service, these numbers were likely to increase by 300 percent.

Al-Onaizi said that people from all around the world were being attracted to the Kingdom. “We can see Russians, Dutch and South African nationals at various cultural activities taking place across the Kingdom,” he said.

“I have met people of around 45 nationalities and they all want to visit the Kingdom again,” Al-Onaizi said.

According to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), tourists are allowed to stay in the Kingdom for a maximum of 90 days during the year during which they can enter the Kingdom multiple times.