Riyadh (Web Desk): Saudi Arabia is set to start issuing tourist visas to unaccompanied women for the first time in its history from April 1, 2018.
Local media reports that the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman hopes the ambitious initiative will help boost tourism to the country to 30 million visitors by 2030 as it is hoped the increased tourism will also help raise £39 billion by 2020.
To meet this target, the first tourism visas will be issued to travelers from 1 April 2018, alongside business travelers, pilgrims making religious journeys and people visiting relatives.
For the first time, women aged 25 and above will be issued a 30-day single-entry tourist visa without a male companion but women under 25 must travel with a chaperone.
This is a substantial shift from 2006-2010 when the Kingdom largely closed the country to leisure tourists.
The plan to issue new tourist visas was revealed in a new report ahead of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018 which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 22-25.