Saudi Arabia: Tourist visas are finally a reality; Red Sea project launched

By EMAD AL-ABAD — The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities recently announced that tourist visas will be given to foreigners who wish to come to the Kingdom to enjoy its beautiful scenery and archaeological sites. Although tourist visas will only be issued through certified tourist companies, the decision to grant such visas is a giant step forward and will help the Kingdom’s tourism sector, which is virtually untapped.

The Kingdom is home to a lot of tourist attractions. In fact, many globetrotters and adventurers around the world dream of visiting the Kingdom just to have first-hand experience of its unique culture. Many people with interests in marine life, the environment, heritage and archaeology wish to visit the Kingdom and spend few days here.

Some 500,000 tourists visited Petra in Jordan in 2016, whereas not many have visited the Kingdom’s Mada’in Saleh, located 22 kilometers to the northeast of the town of Al-Ula in Madinah Province, although it has equal historical significance. Once the issuance of tourist visas to foreigners has been facilitated, a large number of tourists will visit this site and help create thousands of job opportunities for Saudis.

There are virgin beaches along the Red Sea that few people have seen. There are beautiful beaches in Haqel, Yanbu, Sharma, Beesh, Forsan and many other areas with beautiful sand and water. Scuba diving in the Red Sea could be a great investment. The Red Sea areas that fall within the Saudi borders have mesmerizing and breathtaking coral reefs and marine life. They are among the most beautiful areas in the world.

The southern region of the country enjoys beautiful scenery and nature. The people there boast unique and untouched traditions and heritage. The region is replete with tourist attractions, let alone a vast desert. The weather is nice all year around and there are several resorts and different entertainment activities.

We should encourage the private sector to invest in tourism and facilitate the procedures for such investment. We have to calculate each and every step we take to improve the tourism sector to ensure that the sector creates tens of thousands of job opportunities for Saudis and reflects a correct and positive image about the country, which has been damaged by Western media.

The article originally appeared in Saudi Gazette

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