Saudi Arabia discredit information allowing foreign men and women to share hotel rooms

After Saudi Arabia scraps ban hindering women from travelling, the Muslim kingdom has permitted a new tourist visa regime to attract holidaymakers.

Concerned individual’s train of thought has suggested that the measure will allow foreign men and women to rent hotel rooms together without proving they are related.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage confirmed a report by Arabic-language newspaper Okaz, adding: “All Saudi nationals are asked to show family ID or proof of relationship on checking into hotels. This is not required of foreign tourists. All women, including Saudis, can book and stay in hotels alone, providing ID on check-in.”

Saudi Arabia threw open its doors last week to foreign tourists from 49 countries as it tries to grow that sector and diversify its economy away from oil exports. As part of the move, it decreed that visitors need not wear all-covering black robes but should dress modestly. Alcohol remains banned.

Saudi Arabia has been relatively closed off for decades and until recently unrelated men and women, including foreigners, could be severely punished for mixing in public. Strict social codes have been relaxed in recent years and previously banned entertainment has flourished.

The changes are part of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious economic and social reform agenda.

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2019-10-05

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