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Saudia plans to add 500,000 seats to its domestic flights. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Cairo: Saudi Arabia’s national carrier Saudia has disclosed the imminent launch of a tourist visa for entering the kingdom on buying an air ticket as part of efforts to promote tourism in the country.

Spokesman for the airline Abdullah Al Shahrani was quoted by Okaz newspaper as saying that the new service will be launched within the “next few days” providing the issuance of a four-day visa free of charge on buying the ticket to enter the kingdom for tourism and performing the Islamic minor pilgrimage or Umrah.

He stressed activation of the carrier’s digital infrastructure to enable Saudia travellers to obtain the tourist visa on buying their tickets in line with Saudi Vision 2030, an ambitious development plan designed, among other things, to attract more tourists to the country.

“The visa will allow arrivals in the country to move in the country, attend occasions, meetings and ceremonies as well as undertaking Umrah rites,” Al Shahrani said.

“The Saudi Arabia Airlines has worked in this regard with several sectors, namely the ministries of foreign affairs, the interior, as well as Hajj and Umrah and the Pilgrims’ Service Programme,” he added.

Saudia, meanwhile, plans to increase its international flights by 40 per cent and introduce 500,000 more seats to its domestic flights, the official said.

He told Asharq TV that the carrier will also take delivery of 10 new aircraft in 2023 to cope with growth.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has sought to draw foreign tourists to the country, offering a set of facilities including the issuance of tourist visas on arrival or online for citizens of several nationalities.