Ask any tour operator and they’ll tell you that despite ongoing political instability, the Middle East is the world’s most tourist-curious region, one which traveller’s desperately want, but are hesitant to, tick off the bucket list.

Egypt and Jordan traditionally collected the most visitors to the Middle East (although Egypt is technically located in Africa) but were later deemed too unsafe to visit after Egypt’s 2011 revolution.

Political instability forced tourists to look elsewhere to satisfy their Middle Eastern cravings, which led them to the UAE, Qatar, Oman and more recently Iran.

Now, Saudi Arabia is hoping to gain a slice of the Arab tourism pie (or shall I say fatayer), by issuing its very first tourist visas.


According to a story translated by Lonely Planet, holidaymakers interested in visiting the wealthy Kingdom will be able to apply for a tourist visa from 2018.

It’s believed that initially visas will only be permitted to those visiting the country as part of a tour group with a government-approved operator. That’s a huge step up from the current system, whereby two-week visas are only permitted to those visiting for business, visiting family or on pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia

To compliment new visas and a potential increase in visitors , Saudi Arabia is also planning to build new resorts along the coastline and develop new air, sea and land links.

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Are you keen to visit Saudi Arabia?