Women above 25 to be allowed Saudi tourist visas; no ‘chaperon’ required

The aim of the move is to boost the tourism sector. (AN photo)
Updated 12 January 2018

Women above 25 to be allowed Saudi tourist visas; no ‘chaperon’ required

JEDDAH: Women aged 25 and over can be granted a tourist visa to go to Saudi Arabia alone, a spokesman for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has said. However, women under 25 must be accompanied by a family member.
Omar Al-Mubarak, director general of the commission’s licensing department, said: “The tourist visa will be a single-entry visa, and valid for 30 days maximum. This visa is added to those currently available in the Kingdom. It is independent of work, visit, Hajj and Umrah visas.”
The SCTH recently said that the start of tourism visa issuance would be announced during the first quarter of 2018.
“The executive regulations for tourist visas have been finalized. The commission’s IT department is currently building an electronic system for the issuance of tourist visas, coordinating with representatives of the National Information Center and the Foreign Ministry,” Al-Mubarak told Arab News.
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, to boost the tourism sector and to develop tourism and heritage services and facilities in the Kingdom.
The aim is also to create more jobs for citizens and reduce the seasonal nature of international tourism with a religious basis during the Umrah and Hajj seasons.
The initiative is part of the National Transformation Program 2020, and falls within the framework of the commission’s efforts to achieve Vision 2030, which gives much attention to the tourism industry.


Saudi Health Minister: No coronavirus cases in the Kingdom

Updated 26 January 2020

Saudi Health Minister: No coronavirus cases in the Kingdom

  • The Kingdom took measures to limit the spread of the virus

DUBAI: The Saudi Minister of Health, Tawfiq Al-Rabiah confirmed that several precautionary measures had been implemented to address the new coronavirus.

The ministry has increased monitoring and control procedures for flights coming directly from China.

Passengers coming from China through indirect flights are being contained and having their vitals inspected in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority.

“No cases of infection with the new coronavirus have been recorded in the Kingdom yet,” he added, explaining that coronavirus was an airborne virus transmitted by coughing.

The National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDC) has prepared a health guide to deal with suspected cases. The NCDC provided laboratory tests, set up the mechanism for collecting and transferring sample to NCDC’s national laboratory and issued advice to passengers going to areas where the disease has appeared.

The ministry’s Command and Control Center took precautionary measures as soon as the virus was discovered in China, the minister said.

The ministry has also implemented the international health regulations and coordinated with the relevant authorities to deal with this situation and address it.

The precautionary measures included closely monitoring the epidemiological situation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other available sources and coordinating with the Civil Aviation Authority in assessing the direct and indirect traffic from and to China in order to provide information for people planning to visit affected areas, monitor those arriving from them, implement the health assessment at entry points and follow up on them to ensure their safety,” Al-Rabiah pointed out.

The Command and Control center had previously explained that the common symptoms of infection are acute respiratory ones such as fever, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, it can cause pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome.