New Delhi: As Saudi Arabia is standing on the threshold of opening its doors to foreign tourists to boost its economy, it clearly can’t shake away its conservatism. According to reports, the interior ministry has identified 19 offences which would invite fines for violations of public decency.
In what sounded like good news, the kingdom said that foreign tourists won’t need Abaya, which is must for Saudi women. But it was apprehended whether Saudi Arabia, despite its untapped tourists’ attractions, will become a tourism hub or not. And the first hiccup is already there.
On its website, it has been instructed that both men and women should dress modestly in public, avoid tight-fitting clothes or clothes with profane language or images. Women should cover shoulders and knees in public. Public displays of affection are not welcomed by local culture and visitors should not indulge in it. As the sale, purchase and consumption of alcohol are illegal in Saudi Arabia, it will be deemed illegal to bring alcohol or drugs into the country.
From September 27, Saudi Arabia is allowing one-year, multiple-entry visas to international tourists to spend up to 90 days in the country. As of now, 49 countries can use the e-visa facility. No, India and Pakistan are not on the list. The list includes Brunei, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Belgium, Malaysia, Austria, Cyprus, UK, Croatia, Estonia, Andorra, Denmark, Germany, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Czech Republic, Holland, Italy, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Greece, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Iceland, Malta, Poland, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Switzerland, Portugal, Sweden, Australia, San Marino,
Ukraine, China, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
How to apply:
Go to visitsaudi.com to apply for an e-visa. Tourists from other countries not mentioned on the list of those 49 countries should connect with the nearest Saudi embassy or consulate.
Passport with a validity of more than six months at the time of entering Saudi Arabia, address of the accommodation, Visa.