The Kingdom’s Ministry of Interior announced that Saudi Arabia will reopen its doors to visitors from a select group of countries, including the UAE and the UK, where the COVID-19 cases show stability.

Visitors from the UAE, Germany, the United States, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Japan will not be permitted to enter the Kingdom on certain visas.

However, tourist visas are not yet being issued. Additionally, those who are permitted to enter will still be required to quarantine on arrival.

The announcement is based on the Public Health Authority’s report regarding the “epidemiological situation in a number of declared countries, which showed stability and effectiveness in controlling the pandemic in some of these countries.”

Foreign tourism plays a key role in the country’s efforts to reduce its reliance on oil. Before the pandemic, in September 2019, Saudi Arabia opened its borders after having been one of the hardest countries to visit, unless travelling on a pilgrimage.

The kingdom hopes for the tourism sector to contribute 10 percent of gross domestic product by 2030, but the virus has crimped those plans forcing the kingdom to limit incoming tourism in February 2020. Authorities suspended all international travel, incoming and outgoing, to try to contain the spread of the virus.

Last month, the Saudi Arabia reopened its borders for international travel amid stringent restrictions designed to prevent the spread of the virus.

The kingdom has set a target to welcome 100 million visitors to the country by 2030. The ambitious goal is made up of a 45 million and 55 million split between international and domestic visits, respectively, and includes leisure, work and religious stays.

Travellers arriving in Saudi Arabia will be required to show proof of a vaccination certificate, confirming they have received an approved vaccine in accordance to guidelines issued by the General Authority of Civil Aviation. Approved shots include Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.

All non-Saudi arrivals above the age of eight must submit a negative Covid PCR test that has been taken within 72 hours of boarding the flight. Expect for those exempt, passengers will be required to quarantine for 7 days at an approved facility on arrival, at their own expense.

A PCR test must be done on the seventh day. If the test result is negative, travellers can exit quarantine the next day. For visitors who must quarantine, they must do so in the city of arrival and arrangement of institutional quarantine will be made through the air carriers.


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