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Saudi Arabia Launches Tourism Visa to Attract Non-Muslim Tourists

The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) of Southeast Asia organised a destination workshop to introduce several tourism products of Saudi Arabia in order to realise its target of receiving 100 million tourists by 2030.

Country Manager for STA in Southeast Asia, Shalin Ahmad said the objective of the workshop was to provide comprehensive information to tourism agencies about destinations for umrah (pilgrimage) and ziarah (visits to spiritual sites) as well as the entry terms of the country using a tourism visa.

According to her, the Saudi Arabian government has launched a tourism visa in September 2019 to diversify economic sources and reduce dependency on the oil sector in line with Vision 2030.

“Thus, the STA takes the initiative to go on site to promote tourism and heritage products of Saudi Arabia to three states namely Kedah, Pulau Pinang and Perak.

“It can be observed from the participation of tourism agencies at the three states that there is interest for the highlighted tourism products such as Riyadh, Jeddah and AlUla. 

“We also introduced the latest attraction which involves cruising activities exploring the Red Sea starting from the Jeddah port that lasts four to seven days,” she said during the end of the workshop at WEIL Hotel recently.

One of the participants, Operations Director of Al Haramain Global, Mohd Fadzli Azmi said the workshop by STA provided clear information about the existing tourism spots.

“We are also able to understand the differences between the umrah visa and tourism visa. Via the tourism visa, we can diversify visits to tourism locations.

“This is a good opportunity to create new tourism packages to Saudi Arabia by focusing on the non-Muslim market. Three spots which are Riyadh, Jeddah and AlUla have bright potential especially in attracting non-Muslim tourists.

“As a tourism agency, we need to be exposed by exploring the three locations before we can sell the products as new tourism packages.”

Meanwhile, Managing Director of Aulia Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd, Mohd Sallehuddin Aala, said the workshop opened new opportunities for tourism agencies which have been focusing on umrah and ziarah only.

“Before this, we were not exposed to other tourism products of Saudi Arabia. I am in awe of the uniqueness of the products, especially AlUla.

“We hope the STA can organise a Fam Trip for all tourism agencies to experience firsthand the highlighted tourism products to ease further action.”

 

Rosli Mansor

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