The Saudi Ministry of Tourism has recently introduced an e-visa granting to six additional countries - Turkey, Thailand, Mauritius, Seychelles, Panama, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Ministry of Tourism has stated that citizens of these countries can apply for a visit visa to the Kingdom online or request it upon arriving at one of the Kingdom's international ports. Visiting visas enable tourism, performing Umrah, facilitating business, and visiting relatives and friends.
The step aligns with the Kingdom's tourism strategy and the aspirations of the tourism sector, aligned with Vision 2030. The vision includes raising the sector's contribution to the Kingdom's gross domestic product to more than 10%, providing one million additional job opportunities, prioritizing citizens, and attracting 100 million tourists by 2030.
The e-visa enables foreign travelers to visit various Saidi Arabian regions of the Kingdom and perform Umrah rituals. The Minister of Tourism, Ahmed bin Aqeel Al-Khatib's regulations specify that tourists must comply with the regulations and instructions followed during their presence in the Kingdom. This includes always carrying identification documents.
The Ministry also pointed out that the tourist visa does not enable the performance of the Hajj, nor does it allow the implementation of Umrah during the Hajj season. It is an extension of efforts to enhance the Kingdom's openness and communication with the world. In addition, it supports development efforts and economic diversification at the heart of the vision's main objectives. On September 27, 2019, the Ministry of Tourism launched an e-visa system targeting 49 countries. Now, with the addition of new countries, the Saudi e-visa system includes 63 countries. In March of last year, the Ministry also expanded the system to cover all residents of Gulf Cooperation Council countries, regardless of their profession. This was done as part of the Ministry's efforts to encourage tourism and entertainment. It also provided opportunities for tourists to learn about Saudi heritage and destinations.
The Ministry of Tourism plans to expand the e-visa system further to include more countries and regions, in line with the Kingdom's ongoing efforts to develop and expand its tourism infrastructure.