RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's residents can travel to Gulf Cooperation Council countries using their national electronic identification provided that they comply with two conditions, a statement by the General Directorate of Passports known as Jawazat clarified.
To be able to travel with their digital ID to GCC countries, Saudi inhabitants are required to obtain a visa as well as a travel document.
In addition, residents must adhere to the conditions and requirements set by the country to which they are traveling, the Jawazat statement said.
The Kingdom has recently followed a series of steps that facilitate travel requisites to further promote easy travel across the region.
Saudi Arabia in May lifted a two-year suspension, implemented at the peak of the pandemic, on using national ID cards for travel to and from Saudi Arabia for all GCC citizens.
The Gulf region dominates Saudi tourism as the primary destination for its residents, according to data from the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA.
Almost 3.9 million trips were made by Saudi residents to GCC countries in 2021, making up 46.2 percent of aggregate outbound tourism in the Kingdom.
In an October report, the World Tourism Organization listed Saudi Arabia as top of the G20 countries for the flow rating of international tourists in the first seven months of 2022.
The report, released during the G20 tourism ministers’ meeting held in Bali, Indonesia, did not detail the exact number of travelers who visited the Kingdom, but claimed the sector saw a growth rate of 121 percent in the first half of 2022.
During the event Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said the surge in tourist inflow aligns with the Kingdom’s economic diversification policies and aims to increase tourism’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product, as outlined in Vision 2030, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Calling Saudi Arabia one of the fastest-growing markets for tourism, Al-Khateeb said the Kingdom’s tourism sector is accelerating at a rate of 14 percent compared to the pre-coronavirus pandemic period.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 450,000 tourist visas were issued, since the Kingdom’s Tourism Authority launched the tourist visa program in 2019, by targeting 49 countries in the initial stage, and facilitated access to tourist visas electronically or through entry points to the Kingdom within specific regulatory controls.