Saudi Arabia rules out lifting alcohol ban to promote tourism

Saudi Arabia rules out lifting alcohol ban to promote tourism By A Robin - May 27, 2022
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi tourism is doing well at global level, minister says

Saudi Arabia does not plan to lift a ban on serving alcohol as it is opening up to the world and seeking to promote its tourism industry, according to a Saudi official.

Saudi Assistant Minister of Tourism Princess Haifa Bint Mohammad said the kingdom, the birthplace of Islam, would not move to change laws banning alcohol, pointing out that with the restriction, Saudi Arabia has attracted tourists from around the world.

“Saudi Arabia has been very transparent on where it stands on everything, we were very clear,” the official said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“The short answer is that we’re going to continue with our current laws.” Princess Haifa was answering a question at a panel session on reports that serving alcohol could be allowed at NEOM, a Saudi futuristic mega-project, according to Okaz newspaper.

“We have been out outperforming globally in tourism with what we currently have to offer today,” Princess Haifa.

“There’s a lot to go around without introducing anything new,” she added.

“The prioritisation of the travel and tourism industry from the government perspective is why we managed to do so well during the pandemic and recover,” Princess Haifa said at the panel titled Saudi Arabia Outlook.

Saudi Arabia has made a 10-mark jump from pre-pandemic levels in the latest edition of the WEF Travel and Tourism Development Index published earlier this week.

The kingdom ranked 34 among more than 100 countries for development, sustainability and resiliency in industry.

In 2019, Saudi Arabia launched a new visa scheme aimed at attracting foreign holidaymakers to the kingdom as part of a plan to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

The instant tourist visa is obtained online or upon arrival at the Saudi airports.

The system is part of the Vision 2030, an ambitious Saudi plan aimed at diversifying the country’s economy.

Saudi Arabia’s pre-coronavirus aim was to attract 100 million visitors annually by 2030.


By A Robin - May 27, 2022

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