Within 10 days of the announcement of the opening of e-tourist visas, the Saudi Foreign Ministry registered the issuance of 23 thousand visas for tourists from 10 countries, according to statistical data announced by the ministry.
Tourists from China recorded the largest percentage of arrivals to Saudi Arabia, with more than 7,000 visas, followed by tourists from the UK with more than 6,000 visas, while tourists from the United States and Canada accounted for more than 3,000 visas, and Malaysians 1,100 entries.
The Foreign Ministry has issued visas for tourists from France, Russia, Germany, and Australia as well as Kazakhstan.
Last month, Saudi Arabia launched the electronic tourist visa, within a plan to boost tourism in line with the Saudi Vision 2030.
“The Kingdom opens its doors to the world at this historic moment,” Tourism chief Ahmed al-Khateeb said during a ceremony held by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage at Diriyah.
“We are a people who welcome visitors and offer hospitality to guests,” he said.
He added that foreign investors have so far agreed to invest SAR115 billion (USD30 billion) in the tourism sector, an indication of confidence in the Saudi market and its promising opportunities.
According to the National Tourism Strategy, the Kingdom aims to receive 100 million visits per year by 2030, compared to about 41 million at present.
By 2030, the Kingdom will be one of the top five countries receiving tourists worldwide, with revenues of up to 10 percent instead of the current 3 percent of gross national income.