Saudi Arabia plans to drop a requirement for men and women visiting the kingdom to prove they’re related to share a hotel room, part of authorities’ efforts to open the country to tourism.
While Saudi families will still have to document family ties, visitors will only need to provide a passport, according to the official Twitter account of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.
It’s the latest move since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vowed three years ago to develop the country as a tourist destination, shifting away from strict policies that allowed visas for business trips, religious pilgrimages and family gatherings. Officials have said tourism is a way outside the oil sector to draw foreign spending.
Last month, Saudi Arabia announced it would drop its strict dress code for foreign women, who will no longer be required to wear an abaya, the flowing cloak that’s been mandatory attire for decades. “Modest clothing” will still be called upon, according to Ahmed Al-Khateeb, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.
–With assistance from Zainab Fattah and Vivian Nereim.
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