Saudi tourist visa rules to be announced in 2 months

In this file photo, a foreign tourist listens to a Saudi guide near a Nabatean tombs complex in the desert archaeological site of Madain Saleh in Al Ula city, northwest of Riyadh. (AP)
Updated 24 January 2018
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Saudi tourist visa rules to be announced in 2 months

JEDDAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) will announce details about tourist visas by the end of Q1 of the current fiscal, after the approval by the commission’s board of directors, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The SCTH pointed out that the news about details, requirements, and nationality specifications mentioned in the media are inaccurate and sometimes based on deliberations that have not yet been approved.
Preparations for launching the tourist visa, according to the SCTH, continue to be carried out in full coordination with the ministries of interior and foreign affairs.
The two ministries are working together with the SCTH to lay down the standards that form the foundation on which the issuance of the tourist visa regulations will be based, according to the Tourism Law issued by a royal decree on 9/1/1438 H.
A statement by the SCTH confirmed that the requirements, regulations, and relevant details for tourist visas will be published in the official gazette at the end of Q1 of 2018 for implementation. All details will also be available on the SCTH’s official website.
Earlier in January, the director of the Tourism and Heritage Authority in the Makkah region, Mohammed Al-Omari, told Arab News: “Citizens from all the countries who have access to the Kingdom can obtain tourist visas.”
Al-Omari added: “All Muslims from countries around the world can obtain a post-Umrah tourist visa, so when Umrah is finished they can become a tourist.” This is called the extended Umrah visa for post-Umrah tourism.”
During Saudi Arabia’s trial period of implementing the tourist visa system between 2008 and 2010, more than 32,000 tourists visited the Kingdom. Their visa procedures were facilitated by a number of tour operators licensed by the SCTH.
The Tourism Visa Initiative is meant to revive the previous tourist visa system to enable visitors to discover new destinations in the Kingdom, boost the tourism sector, and develop tourism and heritage services and facilities in the Kingdom.
These updates come after previous reports that indicated that women over the age of 25 do not require a chaperone to issue a tourist visa when visiting the kingdom.


Huge free bus service to speed fans to the 2018 Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix action

Updated 11 December 2018
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Huge free bus service to speed fans to the 2018 Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix action

  • Multiple pick-up points around the city, at malls and hotels, with easy access to Ad Diriyah so ticket holders can relax and leave the car at home

RIYADH: One of the biggest free ‘Park & Ride’ public shuttle bus systems Saudi Arabia has ever laid on for an event will swing into action for the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix, which gets underway this week.
The festival of Formula E racing, entertainment, international music acts and cultural activities starts on at 4pm Thursday December 13, at the stunning UNESCO heritage site of Ad Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh.
Plus, on the evening of December 13, Enrique Iglesias and Jason Derulo will kick off the first of three incredible nights of music concerts for Formula E ticket holders. The following day, December 14, Arab music legend Amr Diab and globally-renowned pop band Black Eyed Peas will delight the audience. And, on December 15, race day, following the exhilarating 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix, US smash hit OneRepublic and superstar DJ/producer David Guetta will bring the event to an electrifying finale.
Only fans holding tickets will be able to access the entire Ad Diriyah site including the race track, the concert arena and the complimentary concerts and the 180,000 sq m Allianz E Village.
So, with thousands set to descend on the site, officials are ensuring that fans can race to the action, with a huge network of free buses created to cut down on traffic and embrace more sustainable transport alternatives in keeping with Formula E’s message.

Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Faisal Al-Saud, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, said: “Saudi Arabia is on a journey toward sustainability and Formula E’s message of renewable energy and working to minimize its environmental footprint is inspiring and important.
“We want Formula E to electrify and inspire the next generation of Saudis to embrace sustainable forms of transport.
“That’s why, in keeping with other Formula E races around the world, we’ll be encouraging ticket holders to take advantage of the ‘Park & Ride’. Cars trying to get to Ad Diriyah without specific access will not have access and will be directed to use the public ‘Park & Ride’. So, relax, leave the car at home, and leave the driving to us.
“Our partnership with Formula E is for the next decade and this is one small step we can take together. At SAMF we are committed to improving driving standards and driving conditions and encouraging responsible driving.”
Single day and three-day Grandstand ticket holders can benefit from a ‘Park & Ride’ service, which will operate from King Saud University, with space for up to 7,000 cars.
Plus, shuttle buses will operate a ‘City Park & Ride’ network from a number of locations across Riyadh with pick-up points at Al Faisaliah, Narcissus Hotel, the Hyatt Regency, Four Seasons, Fraser Suites, Holiday Inn Al Meydan, Holiday Inn Olaya, Aloft hotel, Burj Rafal Kempinski Hotel, Sheraton Riyadh Hotel, Executive KAFD Hotel, Movenpick Riyadh Hotel, Marriott King Saud Rd Hotel, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Panorama Mall and Riyadh Park Mall.
On each day it will begin operating an hour before Ad Diriyah opens. Shuttles start 3pm on Thursday (ahead of venue opening at 4pm), 1pm on Friday (venue opens 2pm) and finally 9am on Saturday (race day, venue opens 10am).
Uber, Careems or official taxis will be directed to a ‘drop off’ area in the general parking area.
Drivers without the official Formula E parking pass will not have access to Ad Diriyah and will be directed to use the public ‘Park & Ride’
If you are a Grandstand ticket holder, whether a single day or a three-day ticket holder, you need to purchase three tickets to qualify for one parking pass.
For every three Grandstand tickets purchased the buyer gets one pass into the general parking area.
If no parking pass, then you must use the ‘Park & Ride’.
Tickets are on sale here and are also available at Point of Sale units at Riyadh Park Mall, Oud Square and Doos Carting (only Grandstand tickets from Doos) and Seven Car Lounge.