After a slew of progressive announcements from Saudi Arabia, including a ruling allowing women to drive; granting women the right to enter sports stadiums; and the right for travel agencies to grant tourist visas for the first time, a new rule could truly change the face of travel in the Kingdom.
According to Arab News, women over the age of 25 will soon be allowed to claim tourist visas to the country, and there's no chaperone required.
Omar Al-Mubarak, director general of the commission's licensing department, explained the conditions of the visa, saying: "The tourist visa will be a single-entry visa, and valid for 30 days maximum. This visa is added to those currently available in the Kingdom. It is independent of work, visit, Hajj and Umrah visas."
Women under the age of 25 will need to be accompanied by a family member.
Tourist visas will begin being issued in the first quarter of 2018, and application processes are already open.
"The executive regulations for tourist visas have been finalized. The commission's IT department is currently building an electronic system for the issuance of tourist visas, coordinating with representatives of the National Information Center and the Foreign Ministry," Al-Mubarak told Arab News.
Prior to the ruling allowing Saudi Arabia to grant tourist visas, visas had only been available for pilgrims, business people with a local sponsor, and family members of residents.
In a move to look toward a post-oil society, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations are making efforts to readjust the focus of their economies. For Saudi, become more tourist-friendly will be key to the country's longevity.