News

Saudi Arabia reopens to international tourists

Announcement comes almost 18 months after international arrivals to Saudi Arabia were suspended due to Covid-19

Saudi tourism visa holders who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to enter the country from today without the need to quarantine. Travellers will need to provide evidence of a full course of one of four vaccines currently recognised:

– Oxford/Astra Zeneca
– Pfizer/BioNTech
– Moderna vaccines
– Johnson and Johnson

All vaccines require two doses to be complete, other than Johnson and Johnson, which is administered as a single dose. Travellers who have completed two doses of the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines will be accepted if they have received an additional dose of one of the four approved vaccines listed above. 

On arrival in Saudi Arabia, visitors are also required to provide a negative PCR test, taken no more than 72 hours before departure, plus a paper vaccination certificate, certified by the official health authorities in the issuing country.

To accommodate travellers, Saudi has upgraded Tawakkalna, the country’s track and trace app, to allow temporary visitors to register with their passport details. Tawwakalna registration is required for entry to many public places in Saudi, including shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants and entertainment venues.

FOR MORE NEWS YOU CAN USE, SIGN UP FOR CONNECTING TRAVEL’S WEEKLY BULLETIN

Commenting on the announcement, Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) CEO Fahd Hamidaddin said: “Saudi is looking forward to reopening its doors and its hearts to international visitors. During the shutdown we have been working in close collaboration with our partners in the public and private sector to ensure that visitors to Saudi can enjoy a memorable, authentic and, above all, safe experience for themselves and their loved ones. Visitors seeking unexplored heritage sites, an authentic cultural experience and breath-taking natural beauty will be surprised and delighted to discover Saudi’s warm welcome.”

The resumption of the tourism visa comes as Saudi launches its 2021 summer season campaign, bringing a wealth of new attractions and events to the country. The new campaign is expected to tap into significant latent demand among the domestic and regional population, especially for larger-scale entertainment events, which have been significantly affected by measures to control the spread of coronavirus.

The STA has been preparing for its reopening, building its international network and raising awareness of the destination. As a result, international awareness has more than doubled since the beginning of the year. The number of local destination management companies (DMCs) expanded from 17 in the summer of 2019 to 72 today.

MSC Cruises will launch two Red Sea itineraries in the autumn with Saudi home ports, and major hotel brands including Marriott Worldwide, Hilton International and Accor Group will join IHG in expanding their footprint in Saudi.

Hamidaddin added: “Partnerships with the world’s major tourism players are transforming Saudi’s great ambition as a leisure tourism destination into reality. Saudi is investing more in tourism, especially sustainable tourism, than any country in the world today, and more and more partners are joining with us to share Saudi’s iconic places, profound experiences and unparalleled hospitality with the world’s travellers.”

Visitors can register their vaccination status here in Arabic or English 

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.