Saudi Arabia has reopened its borders to international tourists starting from 1 August, according to Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) officials. With this move, all tourism visa holders who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to enter the country from next month without the need to quarantine.
Under this new rule. travellers will need to provide evidence of a full course of one the four vaccines currently recognized: two doses of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of the vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson, they stated.
The announcement comes almost eighteen months after international tourism into Saudi Arabia was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The kingdom launched the tourism e-visa program in September 2019. Travellers who have completed two doses of the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines will be accepted if they have received an additional dose of one of the four vaccines approved in the country.
Saudi Arabia has also opened a web portal at here for visitors to register their vaccination status. The site is available in Arabic and English. Travellers arriving in the kingdom will also be required to provide a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure and an approved paper vaccination certificate, certified by the official health authorities in the issuing country, said senior officials.
To accommodate travellers, Saudi has upgraded Tawakkalna, the country’s award-winning track and trace app, to allow temporary visitors to register with their passport details. Tawwakalna is required for entry to many public places in Saudi, including shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants and entertainment venues.
“Saudi is looking forward to reopening its doors and its hearts to international visitors,” said Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA). “During the shutdown we have working in close collaboration with our partners in the public and private sector to ensure that visitors to Saudi can enjoy a memorable, authentic and, above all, safe experience for themselves and their loved ones. Visitors seeking unexplored heritage sites, an authentic cultural experience and breath-taking natural beauty will be surprised and delighted to discover Saudi’s warm welcome,” he stated.
Hamidaddin pointed out that the announcement of the resumption of tourism visa comes as Saudi launches its 2021 summer seasonal campaign, bringing a wealth of new attractions and events to the country. The new campaign is expected to tap into significant latent demand among the domestic and regional population, especially for larger scale entertainment events, which have been significantly affected by measures to control the spread of coronavirus, he added.