Cairo: The first air passengers, holding newly issued stopover transit visas, arrived in Saudi Arabia, as the kingdom is seeking to attract more foreign visitors with facilities.
Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia launched the four-day transit visa, allowing the holder to perform Umrah (minor pilgrimage), visit the Prophet Mohammed’s Mosque in the holy city of Medina and attend different events across the kingdom.
The first such travellers arrived on Thursday at the King Abdulaziz airport in Jeddah, the King Khaled Airport in Riyadh and the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz airport in Medina, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA reported.
The arrivals included a family, who arrived at the King Abdulaziz International Airport, news portal Sabq reported. Their nationalities were not given.
Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports said its personnel are prepared to serve holders of the transit visa, which is valid for 90 days.
The free-of-charge transit visa is issued automatically with the passenger’s ticket.
Passengers can apply for the transit visa through the electronic platforms of Saudi national carriers, Saudia Airlines and Flynas.
A digital visa will be issued immediately and sent to the beneficiary via e-mail. The holder can move across the kingdom. However, the visa does not entitle the holder to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has offered a set of facilities designed to draw more foreign tourists to the country.
They include the issuance of tourist visas on arrival or online for citizens of several nationalities.
Saudi Arabia aims to receive 25 million foreign tourists in 2023 as part of efforts to diversify its economy and bolster its tourism industry, Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al Khatib said this week.