Saudi Arabia to Lift All COVID-19 Entry Restrictions for Tourists
Last week, the Saudi Arabian government lifted all coronavirus-related restrictions for tourists holding valid visas as well as business and religious visitors. This makes the country one of the most accessible worldwide destinations amid the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Saudi Arabia closed its borders as one of the first countries around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the emergence of the coronavirus, the Saudi Arabian authorities have maintained stringent health and safety rules at all public places, like restaurants, hotels, offices, etc.
In general, Saudi Arabia opened the country’s borders to international tourism in September 2019, while after less than six months the borders had to be closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The KSA focused on building domestic visitation to boost their tourism sector. That is why 11 destinations were opened offering more than 270 tourism packages.
No restrictions for tourist visa holders
Holders of tourist visas who wish to visit Saudi Arabia no longer need to provide vaccination certificates or PCR tests to enter the KSA. The country has also removed entirely an institutional quarantine. Moreover, all travelers from countries classified on the red-list can now also enter Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom has also decided to lift the social distancing rules across the entire country, while the obligation to wear masks will remain only in enclosed public spaces.
Previously, visitors had to provide a negative PCR test performed no earlier than 48 hours prior to the arrival, while quarantine was mandatory for travelers from certain countries and some countries were red-listed too.
Electronic visa to the KSA
Saudi Arabia has been offering electronic visas to tourists from all over the world since 2019. Applicants from eligible countries can obtain an electronic visa to the KSA entirely online without needing to visit an embassy or consulate.
Saudi Arabia offers only one type of e-Visa which is issued for tourism-related purposes, including Mecca Pilgrimage (Umrah).
Vaccination campaign in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has been executing a national vaccination program and administered over 61 million vaccines which account for 99% of the population over 12 being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Saudi can pride itself on the relatively low number of coronavirus cases reported. Taking into account total cases per million in the entire population, the KSA ranks 152nd in the world classification. It is significantly below the global average.
According to the Minister of Tourism in the KSA, this decision to restore the pre-pandemic life in the country was possible thanks to the successful vaccination program as well as other efforts aimed at minimizing the coronavirus spread.
By lifting restrictions, the authorities support thousands of people whose businesses depend on tourism and increase revenues to companies severely affected by the results of the COVID-19 pandemic.