In an effort to boost its tourism industry, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is considering issuing tourism visas.
Recent reports stated that there are high expectations for a big boost in the market next year, after Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) approved provisions to issue tourism visas and regulate the system.
If proposals are finally approved, the SCTA would issue visas in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and Foreign Affairs. Several investors and businessmen in tourism are pushing for the tourism visa, procedures for its issuance will be clarified by the SCTA in coming weeks.
“Tourism agencies are waiting for the official system to deal with tourism visa. This system will assert the visa’s period and fees. The tourism sector can create real profits and job opportunities,” Abdullah Al-Subaie, director, Al-Khallej Travel and Tourism agency was quoted in Arab News.
According to experts, volume of investment in Saudi tourism and travel market this year is estimated at SAR170 billion, of which SAR70 bn was generated from domestic tourism and SAR100 bn from inbound tourism including pilgrims. Domestic tourism alone has seen a remarkable growth recently, with volume of spending in the sector, surging from SAR59 bn in 2010, to SAR103 bn in 2014.