Agencies, Saudi Arabia
Now, women aged 25 and above, wishing to travel to Saudi Arabia alone, can be granted a tourist visa, stated a spokesman for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). This move signifies that it will not be necessary for women over 25 to travel with any family member or companion.
However, women under 25 must be accompanied by a family member.Commenting on the initiative, Director General of the commission’s licensing department, Omar Al-Mubarak, said, “The tourist visa will be a single-entry visa valid for a maximum of 30 days. This visa is added to those currently available in the Kingdom. It is independent of work, visit, Hajj and Umrah visas.”
The SCTH added that the issuance of the tourist visas will be announced during the first quarter of 2018. “Regulations for tourist visas have been finalized and an electronic system is being built in coordination with the National Information Center and the Foreign Ministry,” Al-Mubarak was quoted in Arab News.
Moreover, while the tourist visa system was being implemented between 2008 and 2010, over 32,000 tourists visited the Kingdom during this period. The visa procedures for these tourists were facilitated several tour operators licensed by the SCTH. The move is aimed to revive the previous tourist visa system and attract more visitors to the Kingdom, besides, creating more job opportunities.
10,000 women to drive taxis in Saudi Arabia
Ride hailing applications in Saudi Arabia are preparing to hire Saudi female chauffeurs, months ahead of lifting a ban that prevents women from driving or owning driving licenses in the country, a agency report said.
The ride hailing applications Uber and Careem recruited their first female drivers in Saudi Arabia, after the Kingdom announced plans to lift the ban on women driving by June 2018.
Female customers currently represent 80 per cent of Uber’s Saudi rider base and 70 per cent of business for its Dubai-based counterpart Careem, according to statistics shared with agency by both companies.
The apps are a lifeline to women with no independent way to get around the Kingdom.
All drivers employed by the two firms are male — mostly Saudi nationals driving their privately-owned vehicles.
Following the ground-breaking royal decree that announced plans to lift the ban on women driving in September 2017, both companies have been preparing to hire their first female drivers.