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Current Affairs

Saudi Arabia to offer tourist visas for the first time

Date: 27 September 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Saudi Arabia has said it will offer tourist visas for the first time, opening up the kingdom to holidaymakers as part of a push to diversify its economy away from oil.

 

Background

Kickstarting tourism is one of the centrepieces of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 reform programme to prepare the biggest Arab economy for a post-oil era.

 

Details

  • Saudi Arabia will open applications for online tourist visas to citizens of 49 countries.

  • Visas are currently restricted to expat workers, their dependents and Muslim pilgrims travelling to holy sites in Mecca and Medina.

  • The government hopes tourism will contribute up to 10% of the gross domestic product by 2030, compared to 3% currently.

  • Since oil prices have been reeling lately there is a need to look for alternative sources for economic growth.

Indian visa policy

  • India offers Freedom of Movement to countires like Nepal and Bhutan, whose citizens can enter India without Visa and can live and work freely.

  • India has expanded Visa on Arrival for more than 40 countries, who can obtain their stay certificate after their landing in India.

  • India also extends e-Visas for more than 100 countries globally, where visas can be obtained through online application.