The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is rapidly changing. In a bid to increase foreign visitors, you’ll soon be able to obtain a tourist visa to one of the more isolated nations in the world.
If I can generally summarize all that has been going on in Kingdom lately, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has strengthened his power base by stifling dissent while at the same time increasing civil liberties. Women will soon be able to drive, we may see an end to gender-segregated restaurants, and now tourist visas are coming in 2018…Saudia Arabia does not even issue transit visas right now.
> Read More: How to Obtain a Saudi Arabian Transit Visa
There is a lot more to the issue and this blog post is not the right place for it, but I encourage you to familiarize yourself with what is going on. I do find it mildly amusing that the many political prisoners are being held up at the five-star Ritz Carlton Riyadh. But forced confessions and extortion are serious matters…
Tourism in KSA?
But on the issue of tourism, you might ask…what is there to see?
There’s Mecca, of course. But if you’re not Muslim, you are legally prohibited from visiting. In fact, every person entering the city limits of Mecca is strictly checked. I doubt that will change, though I’d love to visit.
Nevertheless, Prince Sultan bin Salman told CNN’s Richard Quest that Saudi Arabia wants to double the number of tourists over the next decade. To accomplish this, it will invest in new seaside luxury resorts and create a city that will “rival” Las Vegas. There are even reports that Sir Richard Branson is ready to invest in the Kingdom.
This is more than just an oil-rich nation looking for the next big investment. The news in Saudi Arabia is nothing short of revolutionary. I enjoyed my time in Saudi Arabia and would certainly return should tourist visas be issued, especially after such a delightful flight in Saudia First Class. Would you consider a visit to Saudi Arabia?