Destinations

Saudi Arabia extends visa policy for international visitors

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Saudi Arabia has taken a further step toward opening the country to international tourists amid growing international tension in the Gulf region.

Visitors to Saudi Arabia can now use existing UK, US, and Schengen area country visas to obtain visitor visas at airports, regardless of their citizenship, the nation’s tourism organisation said on Friday.

The move marks the latest step in the Kingdom’s aspirations to receive 100 million visitors annually by 2030, as it moves to diversify its economy away from oil.

As it stands, the tourist visa allows for a stay of up to three months per entry, with visitors able to spend 90 days a year in Saudi Arabia. The visa is valid for one year, with multiple entries.

Visitors intending to benefit from the new regulation must have previously used the visa to travel to any one of these countries before entering Saudi Arabia.

Regional political tensions to hurt tourism marketing plans

Heightened tensions after the US’s killing of a leading Iranian military general last week will, however, cast a pall over the nation’s tourism marketing plans for the foreseeable future.

In an updated advisory shared across the profile of multiple Gulf nations, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the following of the region’s current political climate on Smartraveller:

“The security situation in the Middle East region is unpredictable and likely to become volatile. Australians should remain vigilant, and monitor developments via the media and our travel advice.

“On 3 January, a US airstrike near the Baghdad International Airport killed an Iranian senior commander and Iraqi paramilitary leaders,” it said.

Smartraveller advises travellers “Reconsider your need to travel” to Saudi Arabia.

SCTH’s announcement builds on the Kingdom’s historic visa launch late last year – a move criticised for its timing, just days after the human rights record of the country was called into question.

International citizens from nearly 50 countries can now apply for e-visas or visas upon arrival to Saudi Arabia.

Australia, Germany, France, Japan, Portugal, Spain, and the US are among those currently able to apply. However, the SCTH said, last year, this would be rolled out to all countries.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Travel Agents

“Couldn’t ask for a better outcome”: AFTA chief reacts to historic government rescue package for agents

Darren Rudd has almost run out of superlatives to describe the federal government’s $128 million boost to the sector.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Western Australia to finally lift border restrictions for NSW and Victorian travellers

It appears Marky Mark McGowan couldn’t help but steal some of the thunder from Queensland on its big border reopening day.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

$80K-per-week Queensland property sees booking influx as state’s border reopens

You could buy a semi-decent property in the suburbs with the money it would cost to stay in this lavish place for a couple of weeks.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

STUDY: Only a quarter of Aussies will travel interstate this summer

The research shows there is still a significant amount of work to do in encouraging Aussies to take to the skies.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airline hosts ‘flights to nowhere’ with a romantic twist

The ‘flights to nowhere’ trend has taken an unexpected turn, with one Asian airline organising speed-dating flights over the festive season.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Travel agents to be handed $128m federal government lifeline

It’s not quite the $250 million ask that AFTA was after, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

SAY WHAT? QT Gold Coast posts job ad for a ‘director of sunshine’

Wondering what the role entails? Think outlandish costumes, poolside hijinks and a theatrical recruitment process.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

United Airlines increases non-stop service between Sydney and LA

Oddly enough, the US carrier seems to be experiencing increased demand for flights to LA, despite there being an overseas travel ban in place.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Official travel agencies chosen for 2023 Rugby World Cup

Here’s a positive rugby-related travel story that, thankfully, doesn’t make any mention of the Wallabies occupying last place on the Tri Nations table.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Aussie music stars front new digital campaign for Destination NSW

Do the likes of Ocean Alley, Amy Shark, Guy Sebastian and Troy Cassar-Daley usually feature in your Spotify playlists? Well, now they’re featuring in a fresh tourism campaign.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Travel companies among 13 parties charged over White Island tragedy

by Ali Coulton

The eruption resulted in 22 deaths, with many still recovering from the traumatic event that occurred during a cruise ship excursion on the New Zealand island last year.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Property owner scores early wins against Virgin Hotels, as lawsuit proceeds to trial

A juicy court case between Virgin Group’s hospitality arm and a disgruntled hotel owner has seen the latter chalk up a couple of early wins.

Share

CommentComments