Saudi Arabia Removes Abaya Restriction for Foreign Tourists

Saudi Arabia has introduced a new visa regime for 49 countries announcing various changes to its decades-old conservative approach.

Among the significant relaxations on offer for foreign travelers is the Abaya condition. According to new rules, female foreign tourists in the country will no longer be required to wear all-covering robes or Abayas.

In an interview with a leading news agency, KSA’s tourism chief Ahmed al-Khateeb said that abaya is no longer mandatory for touring women, but modest dress is, including at public beaches.

The Kingdom has also relaxed its social code regarding the segregation of men and women in public places. However, the ban on alcoholic beverages remains intact.

“We will have enough tourists to come to Saudi Arabia to enjoy other things,” he said.

He said that the visas are available online for about $80 without the restriction for unaccompanied women as in the past. However, access to holy cities of Makkah and Madinah is still prohibited.

Al-Khateeb hoped that the tourism sector will contribute 10% of gross domestic product by 2030.

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