Foreign women are not required to wear an Abaya

Saudi Arabia has been observing a strict dress code for all the ladies for decades. Women: either foreigners or nationals, either Muslims or non-Muslims are bound to wear an abaya in public places. The moral police in Saudi Arabia did not allow women to roam around without abaya. However, things are changing in Saudi Arabia now.

However, in the wake of expanding tourism, the Saudi government has abolished the dress code restriction for foreigners. The non-Saudi females would now be allowed to not wear an abaya in public places.

This step is taken for boosting tourism in the country so that the country would be less dependent on income generated from oil. The previous oil price shocks have made a great impact on the economy and it is now important to make it less vulnerable to oil prices and oil generated income.

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Women need to wear a modest dress

Ahmed Al-Khateeb, who is the chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and a key adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has briefed upon the matter. He said the woman is still bound to wear modest clothes.

Al-Khateeb, in an interview, told that the Saudi government will be opening the online tourists’ visas for 49 countries while the others can apply through embassies and consulates.

Many social changes have already made in Saudi Arabia: from women being allowed to hold driving licenses, to the opening cinemas and much more. These are all being done to make Saudi Arabia economically powerful. Tourism opportunities need to be explored and allowing foreign women to not follow dress code shall allow boosting tourism.

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Many changes are not yet socially acceptable

However, for many, this is not socially acceptable. While there are many who are excited about it as it would boost tourism. A 28 years old travel blogger, Njoud Fahad wrote that he is excited about the new job opportunities that would be created in the tourism sector, in food and retail.

Al-Khateeb mentioned that the government is seeking 64 million visitors by 2022 and 100 million per year by 2030. This figure includes both domestic and foreign tourists.

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The new tourist visas have been introduced which would allow for more adventurous travelers and a greater number of visitors at the pristine islands.

Tour guide Wael Alkaled said that many foreigners ask him about the places in Saudi Arabia that are less known. He constantly updates his Instagram so that people would know that Saudi Arabia is full of beautiful places.

Al-Khateeb believes that Saudi Arabia will soon be welcoming a great number of tourists. In a statement, he said that Saudi Arabia is a welcoming nation.

Source: Gulf News

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.