No tourist visas for foreigners

Updated 27 December 2014
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No tourist visas for foreigners

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has rejected media reports that it would soon start issuing tourist visas for overseas visitors.
“The previous postponement of tourism visas is still valid. There is no intention at present to issue this kind of visa again,” the SCTA said in a statement on Thursday night.
The SCTA said that the decision, as published in Um Al-Qura, the official government newspaper, has clearly indicated that there has been a postponement to “an unspecified date, so all efforts of the SCTA will now be focused on completing the infrastructure and providing proper services for local tourism needs only.”
It urged the media to seek clarification directly from it on tourism matters. It stressed that its current priority is to develop local tourism for its major target markets, which are citizens and residents.
The SCTA’s response comes in the wake of media reports earlier this week that the organization would issue these visas to boost the tourism industry.
The report stated that an estimated 1.5 million people a year would come to the country on these visas, providing the national economy with about SR35 billion over five years. This was based on each tourist spending about SR5,000 in the country.
Investment in Saudi tourism and travel markets this year has been estimated at SR170 billion, of which SR70 billion was generated from domestic tourism.


The high life: Ashley Graham shows off Etihad Airways suite

Ashley Graham at an event earlier this year. (AFP)
Updated 18 December 2018
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The high life: Ashley Graham shows off Etihad Airways suite

DUBAI: US celebrity model Ashley Graham was given VIP treatment on an Etihad Airways flight this week after she wrapped up hosting the Miss Universe 2018 pageant and jetted off on her winter holiday.

The model took to Instagram on Tuesday morning to share a video taken on her flight, saying “I’m in an airplane, in the air, headed to Dubai,” although the star could have meant Abu Dhabi as that’s where the flagship carrier of the UAE is based.

Graham flew in the residence suite, which features an on-board living room, separate bedroom and shower room.

The living room on the A380 aircraft boasts a leather double-seat sofa and two dining tables, along with a 32-inch flat screen TV. The hallway leads to a bedroom with a double bed and the shower room features a full-height shower and vanity unit. And if that isn’t enough, discerning travelers are also taken care of by a private butler, who appears in Graham’s video.

Graham posted the clip after touching down in a mystery holiday location, complete with blue skies and palm trees, which she posted about on her Instagram Stories.

It wasn’t her first time in the suite, however, as a few days earlier she took to Instagram to post a photo in which she can be seen in a bedroom aboard an Etihad Airways plane.

“You’re closer to your dreams when you sleep in the sky,” she captioned the photo.

The model is taking a well-deserved break after co-hosting the Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, Thailand. The competition, which wrapped up on Dec. 16, culminated in a glittering ceremony in which Miss Philippines was crowned as the winner.

Graham gave Miss Philippines Catriona Gray a run for her money in the fashion department, however, wearing a sequence of gorgeous gowns during the show’s closing ceremony. From a figure-hugging, high-necked white dress to an emerald green gown with a peek-a-boo cutout, Graham was as glamorous as the contestants themselves.

As for her trip with Etihad Airways, the model joins an A-list set of stars who have flown with the airline in recent months, including Pakistani-Lithuanian-Australian Victoria’s Secret beauty Shanina Shaik, who starred in a campaign video for the airline in October.