Saudi Arabia unveils new tourist visas

The visa information website indicated an easing of strict dress codes for visiting women, requiring shoulders and knees to be covered but not demanding they wear the full-body abaya.

28 September 2019 | 11:17

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 28 September 2019 | 11:17

(AFP photo).

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has announced a new tourist visa scheme, as part of efforts in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom to diversify its economy and reduce dependence on oil.

The one-year, multiple-entry visa scheme unveiled late Friday applies to visitors from 49 countries.

The visa information website indicated an easing of strict dress codes for visiting women, requiring shoulders and knees to be covered but not demanding they wear the full-body abaya.

Saudi Arabia saw profound change last year as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reforms, including opening the first movie theater and allowing women to drive.

But there is a hard limit to the reforms, as revealed by last year’s killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents and the reported torture of several detained women’s rights activists.

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