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Saudi Arabia opens doors for vaccinated tourists from Aug. 1
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 30 - 07 - 2021

RIYADH — Fully vaccinated tourists can enter Saudi Arabia without needing to enter an institutional quarantine provided if they present vaccination certificates upon arrival and proof of negative PCR tests conducted within 72 hours from the time of departure.
In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency late Thursday, the Ministry of Tourism announced that the Kingdom will open its doors to tourists and lift the suspension of entry for tourist visa holders, starting from Aug. 1 (Sunday).
Visitors to the Kingdom are also required to register their data related to vaccination doses on the new electronic portal https://muqeem.sa/#/vaccine-registration/home, the statement said adding that data is also recorded through the "Tawakkalna" application and is needed to be shown to enter public places.
To accommodate travelers, the Kingdom has upgraded Tawakkalna, to allow temporary visitors to register with their passport details. Tawwakalna is required for entry to many public places in Saudi, including shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants and entertainment venues.
According to the statement, fully vaccinated are those who have received two doses of a vaccine that is approved in Saudi Arabia, which is Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson.
Travelers 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 vaccines approved in the Kingdom.
All visitors will be asked to observe the precautionary measures approved by the Ministry of Health which include wearing a mask in public and maintaining social distancing.
Those wishing to obtain a tourist visa can apply through visitsaudi.com website, the statement added.
Speaking on this occasion, Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said: "We welcome tourists again, and we are very happy to receive the Kingdom's guests again after a hiatus due to the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic."
He added: "We focused our efforts during the pause on close cooperation with our partners in all sectors to ensure a safe return through which visitors to the Kingdom can enjoy exploring its treasures, important destinations and landmarks, enjoy unique tourist experiences, and learn about the culture of generosity and hospitality that characterizes Saudi society."
The announcement of the resumption of tourism comes as Saudi launches its 2021 summer seasonal 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.
Despite the pandemic, 2020 was a breakout year for Saudi's domestic tourism industry as citizens and residents explored the country - many for the first time – enabling the continued development of activities and new products ahead of the international reopening.
The 2020 Saudi Summer campaign, which ran between June and September, generated a 33% increase in spending on hotels, restaurants, and recreation and cultural activities compared to the same period in 2019. Average hotel occupancy was at nearly 50 percent, with peak occupancy for some destinations at almost 100 percent.
Saudi Arabia also introduced the country's first-ever leisure cruise offering along the Red Sea on the Silver Spirit cruise ship, in September 2020. Cruise is being offered once again as part of the Summer season, with the MSC Belissima operating out of Jeddah between July and September.
Saudi Arabia has successfully rolled out a COVID-19 vaccine to all citizens and residents, with more than 25 million doses administered as of 28 July. More than half of all Saudi citizens and residents have now received their first shot and one if five have received two doses of the vaccine.
The announcement comes almost eighteen months after international tourism into Saudi Arabia was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kingdom launched the tourist visa program in 2019 in a historic decision, opening its heart and doors for tourists from different countries of the world. The program achieved remarkable success as 400,000 visas were issued within 6 months before the suspension of international travel due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.


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