Saudi Arabia issues public behavior guidelines

Women are free to choose a modest choice of clothing. (AN photo/Essam Al Ghalib)
Updated 28 September 2019

Saudi Arabia issues public behavior guidelines

  • 19 offenses as punishable by fines
  • Women are free to choose a modest choice of clothing

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia gave the go ahead to the implementation of new regulations related to public decency as the country begins to issue tourism visas for visitors from nearly 50 countries for the first time.

Saudi Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif approved the new rules on Friday which identify 19 offenses as punishable by fines, a statement said.

The regulations will help ensure that visitors and tourists in the Kingdom are aware of laws that concern public behavior and are in compliance with Saudi law. 

Men and women are required to dress modestly and to refrain from public displays of affection. Women are free to choose a modest choice of clothing.

Saudi Police officers will be the sole authority responsible for monitoring offenses and imposing fines.

Offenders have the right to submit a grievance claim before the Common Courtesy Department and appeal any fines. 

The Kingdom encourages tourists and visitors to familiarize themselves with public decency laws in order to avoid a fine, and looks forward to welcoming all people from around the world, the statement added.


Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

Updated 11 July 2020

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

  • Saudis turn to domestic traveling and flock to their nation’s cooler cities and rural areas

TAIF: As Saudi citizens turn to domestic tourism in the country’s summer resorts, adapting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, rural areas have become targeted by local tourists wishing to get away from the soaring temperatures in most of the Kingdom’s cities.

Visitors are now choosing cold Saudi cities instead of Europe, which they are accustomed to visiting, such as Taif, Al-Baha, and Abha.

COVID-19 has postponed all plans to travel abroad, and attention has now focused on domestic tourism amid strict health protocols in parks, gardens and recreational areas.

Walid Al-Hamidi, vice president of the Tourism Development Council, confirmed to Arab News that Asir, with its facilities and attractions, was ready to receive summer visitors from across the country.

He said that under the directives of Asir's governor, who supervises all activities and events directly and constantly, many committees had been formed to prepare a successful summer tourism season, to optimize the opportunity and allow people to enjoy the exceptional ambiance of Asir.

“A comprehensive tourism plan was set up two years ago, which resulted in a successful Al-Soudah Season with the support of Asir’s Investment Authority,” Al-Hamidi added.

He noted that Asir’s directives aimed this year to build an exceptional tourism model that meets optimal health standards in dealing with COVID-19.

The model is supported by the “Nashama Asir” team — consisting of 4,000 volunteers — who have been trained for months and have all the necessary skills to make the season successful. Their work will continue until the end of the pandemic and throughout the summer.

“Everyone is ready at public facilities, gardens and parks, to serve tourists,” he said, adding “tourists coming from all the over the Kingdom will be welcomed with smiles, enhanced services, and warm welcomes.”

Dr. Sami Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taif, told Arab News that the tourism sector was the economic backbone of any country or city.

He said that Taif was considered one of the most important tourist cities, given its many attractions  that made it top of any list of places to visit in the Kingdom.

“Suspending travel abroad, and limiting tourism … due to the coronavirus pandemic, makes us, as officials and citizens in Taif, well placed for a beautiful and safe tourism season for Taif’s citizens and visitors,” said Al-Obaidi.

“Meetings are held around the clock, headed by Saad Al-Maimouni, the governor of Taif, with the participation of the relevant authorities.”

He expected all sectors, especially tourism, hospitality and a few other businesses in Taif, to recover to some extent during this season, especially now tourists have already started flocking to the region, with numbers set to increase over the coming weeks.