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Having not issued tourist visas since a limited pilot operation between 2006 and 2010, visiting the country for leisure purposes has since been virtually impossible. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Plan aims to reduce the country’s dependence on oil, and tourism will form a part of that. Prince Sultan bin Salman, who is head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and the oldest living son of King Salman, told Associated Press that the country will be opening up, “It is open for people that are doing business, for people working in Saudi Arabia, investing in Saudi Arabia, and people who are visiting for special purposes. And now it will be open for tourism again on a selected basis,” he said.
With pent up demand from travelers around the world, award winning adventure travel company Wild Frontiers is launching an 8-day Inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia tour with departures scheduled for November and December 2018 and January, February 2019.
“We ask our travelers every year which country they want us to introduce next, and Saudi Arabia is consistently head and shoulders above the rest. The near impossibility in obtaining visas has led to a large pent-up demand to visit. We are delighted that it is finally going to be possible to offer tours here,” said Wild Frontiers Founder Jonny Bealby. “This news offers a rare chance to see behind what has been perceived as one of the world’s most closed societies.”
Highlights of the trip include the Nabatean site of Mada’in Salah, featuring a number of spectacular rock-cut tombs similar in style to the Nabatean sites at Petra. Wild Frontiers’ tour will also visit the Red Sea town of Jeddha, the capital Riyadh and the Sarawat Mountains, close to the border with Yemen. This tour takes in the country’s ancient landscapes, Ottoman houses and remote mountain villages. A highlight will be a visit to the rock-cut Nabatean ruins of Madain Saleh, as well as a visit to the Red Sea.
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