Saudi Arabia is set to reopen its borders to international tourists starting from tomorrow (August 1), according to senior Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) officials.
The announcement comes almost eighteen months after international tourism into Saudi Arabia was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Once the borders are open, anyone with the tourism visa will be able to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Moreover, if they are vaccinated then they will not be required to quarantine.
Under this new rule, travellers will need to provide evidence of a full course of one the four vaccines currently recognized: two doses of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of the vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson, they stated. A new web portal has been created where travellers can submit their vaccination status and get it verified.
Travellers who have completed two doses of the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines will be accepted if they have received an additional dose of one of the four vaccines approved in the kingdom. Travellers will also be required to provide a negative PCR test upon arrival. The test should be taken no more than 72 hours before departure and an approved paper vaccination certificate.
To accommodate travellers, Saudi has upgraded Tawakkalna, the country’s award-winning track and trace app, to allow temporary visitors to register with their passport details. Tawwakalna is required for entry to many public places in Saudi, including shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), said,
"Saudi is looking forward to reopening its doors and its hearts to international visitors,"
"During the shutdown we have working in close collaboration with our partners in the public and private sector to ensure that visitors to Saudi can enjoy a memorable, authentic and, above all, safe experience for themselves and their loved ones. Visitors seeking unexplored heritage sites, an authentic cultural experience and breath-taking natural beauty will be surprised and delighted to discover Saudi’s warm welcome,"
Hamidaddin pointed out that the announcement of the resumption of tourism visa comes as Saudi launches its 2021 summer seasonal campaign, bringing a wealth of new attractions and events to the country.
The new campaign is expected to tap into significant latent demand among the domestic and regional population, especially for larger scale entertainment events, which have been significantly affected by measures to control the spread of coronavirus.
According to him, the Saudi Tourism Authority has been preparing for the reopening, building its international network and raising awareness of the brand. The Authority has also built an international network of more than 3,000 tour operators, travel agents and other partners through virtual roadshows, training programs and direct outreach.
News Source: Trade Arabia News Service