No tourist visas for foreigners

Updated 27 December 2014

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.


Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister reviews ‘Sama Abha’ project

Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khatib. (SPA)
Updated 09 August 2020

Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister reviews ‘Sama Abha’ project

  • Most of the castle walls are still intact, despite their age

ABHA: Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khatib on Saturday reviewed the “Sama Abha” project. He was briefed about the tourist and investment components of the project located north of Abha.
The project, which costs more than SR12 million, is part of the initiatives to improve the urban landscape of the Asir region.
With other government officials, the minister then visited the historical Shamsan Castle. It is a large rectangular building with three towers and a main entrance on the west side overlooking the city.
A 4-meter-wide door on the west wall opens to a central courtyard, which is surrounded by rooms and facilities. Most of the castle walls are still intact, despite their age.  Stones and clay were the primary construction materials of the time, and stone tools found at the site date back to the third millennium B.C. Fragments of ceramics made of red clay, from the first millennium B.C., have also been unearthed.