Saudi issues 350,000 tourist visas in Q4 2019
KSA started welcoming tourists from 49 countries in September last year
Saudi Arabia has issued more than 350,000 tourist visas in the final quarter of 2019 reported sister publication Arabian Business.
The figure was revealed by the Saudi Commission and National Heritage chairman of the board, Ahmed Al Khatib at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Kingdom started welcoming tourists from 49 countries in September last year. In its first phase, visitors from countries such as the US, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and China were able to apply for e-visas or visas-on-arrival.
The tourist visa was later extended to other nationals holding a commercial or tourist visa from the US, UK or the EU’s Schengen area explained Arabian Business.
PwC Legal Middle East immigration and employment leader, Anir Chatterji told Arabian Business: “The general consensus is that these numbers will continue to grow and help to diversify the country’s economy.
They continued: “British tourists, followed by Chinese, were the top visitors of the 49 nationalities who were initially announced as eligible nationals to avail of a tourist visa to the Kingdom.”
Multiple international hotel operators recently announced expansion plans in KSA at the Saudi Arabia Hospitality Tourism Investment Conference (SHIC) following the new visa. As the Kingdom grows its leisure tourism sector, the likes of IHG, Hilton, Marriott International, Millennium Hotels & Resorts and Accor all unveiled multi-year long plans for the Arab country.