Travel Here’s What You Need to Know Before Visiting Saudi Arabia
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For the first time in its history, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that will be opening its doors for tourism bycoming from 49 countries — including the United States.
Anyone over the age of 18 can apply for an. It costs approximately $120 and is valid for a period of one year with an option for multiple entry, and permits a maximum stay of 90 days in the country. Previously, the Kingdom issued only visitor visas for religious pilgrimage and business visas. This monumental announcement is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reform program, , which aims to reduce the country’s reliance on oil and diversify its economy by way of tourism and entertainment.
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Over the past two years, the government has also announced the launch of several ambitious projects, including an entertainment mega-city in Riyadh (reportedly, twice the size of), a futuristic beach destination along the coast of the Red Sea, and restoration of UNESCO World Heritage sites. By 2030, the government expects 100 million annual visits, increased foreign and domestic investment in hotels and associated amenities, the creation of million jobs, and an increase in tourism revenue from the current 3% to 10% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, .
To attract Western tourists and market itself as a tourist destination — on par with neighboring Gulf states— Saudi Arabia has eased some of its conservative restrictions, like granting women rights to drive and travel without a guardian, curbing the powers of the moral police, permitting unmarried tourist couples to rent hotel rooms, and relaxing dress codes.
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High-speed rail service will be available for the first time this year during Hajj, the pilgrimage by Muslims to Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca. © BANDAR ALDANDANI/AFP/Getty Images Saudi passengers walk in the platform at Mecca's train station on October 11, 2018 as the new high-speed railway line linking Mecca and Medina opens. - The Haramain High Speed Rail system will transport Muslim pilgrims, as well as regular travellers, 450 kilometres (280 miles) between the two cities via the Red Sea port of Jeddah in two hours.
Within the first 10 days of the introduction of the eVisaentered the Kingdom, according to . Although there is a lack of adequate tourism infrastructure, those curious to learn about and experience the country will find Saudi’s natural landscape and its welcoming locals incentive enough to visit.
If you find yourself heading to Saudi Arabia to explore the land uncharted to tourists, here are a few basic and cultural tips for first-time travelers to the Kingdom.
With this news, people are asking: Is Saudi Arabia Safe for tourists? Yes, Saudi Arabia is safe for tourists. As with travel to any other country in the world, be respectful of local rules and customs, be mindful of your surroundings, and carry out due diligence before traveling. Be sure to consult travel advisories before your trip.
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Public spaces may be segregated, and you will find separate entrances or seating areas for men and women. Refrain from public displays of affection.
Seek permission before photographing locals. Under the, it is a punishable offense. Other include vandalism of public property, playing music during prayer times, and dress code violations.
Female tourists are not required to wear the abaya (a cloak, previously mandated by the government). However, both men and women should dress modestly, avoiding tight fitting and revealing clothes in public. The officialtourism website provides further details on what this entails.
Stores and restaurants close during prayer times, five times a day. To make the most of your trip, plan your itinerary according to these times.
Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country. While non-Muslims are welcome and permitted to practice their religion in private spaces, preaching in public forums or on social media platforms is prohibited. Malicious propaganda against the country, government, and religion is a severe offense.
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When I first spotted Mickey Mouse, he was wearing his sailor costume and there was a line of 20 people waiting to meet the legend. There was no question: I had to be in that line, too. My turn lasted approximately 30 seconds, just enough time for a quick photo. I knew it was just a person in a costume, but also, it was MICKEY MOUSE. I could barely contain my excitement. No, I wasn’t a star-stuck 4-year-old on her first visit to a Disney park — I was a star-struck, newly engaged 25-year-old. I had dreamed of visiting the Magic Kingdom since I was a little kid and meeting Mickey just 30 minutes after I walked into the park exceeded my every expectation.
The sale, purchase or consumption of alcohol and drugs is illegal in the country.
You will find locals to be hospitable, generous, and as equally curious about you as you may be about them. It is not uncommon to be invited to share a meal or a cup of gahwa (Arabic coffee) and dates. Your hosts — and even strangers — will want to extend their welcome and offer a token of their hospitality, like food or even a small gift. It is considered rude to refuse such an offering. Just remember, always accept and consume food and beverages with your right hand.
If you are invited into a Saudi house, remove your shoes, unless your host insists you keep them on. In a traditional Majlis, (a sitting hall with floor cushions) you are expected to sit on the floor. If hosted elsewhere, you can expect a modern setup with armchairs and other furniture.
Saudis encourage and welcome Westerners asking questions about their culture. To avoid offending local sensibilities, it's best to steer clear of political or religious topics of conversation.
Familiarizing yourself with Saudi rituals like greetings and handshakes will always make a favorable impression with your hosts. “Marhaban!” (Welcome) is a common way of greeting and you may respond with “Marhabtain” (I give you two welcomes).
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Men shouldn’t extend a handshake to a Saudi woman, unless she does so first. To err on the side of caution, place your hand over your heart and greet with a hello.
Saudi Arabia wants you to visit .
Saudi Arabia has long been seen as off-limits for international tourists. But now the country is opening up fully to international visitors for the first time. © Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage Saudi Arabia's desert kingdom will announce tourist visas later tonight Details of the new visa scheme will be announced Friday at an event in Ad-Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh.Ad-Diriyah is home to the At-Turaif district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which dates back to the 15th century and was the first capital of the Saudi state.The move comes despite troubled times for the conservative country.
Saudi Arabia Travel Tips 2019
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VISITING SAUDI ARABIA!
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