Ubayyah horse festival showcases Saudi equestrian heritage

DJEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched an electronic visa service for cruise passengers.

Via Twitter, the ministry said on Sunday that the electronic visa would be issued to people arriving in Saudi Arabia via cruises and that applications could be filed through its electronic platform.

Proof of cruise ticket purchase is required to apply for the visa, he added. Applications will then be processed before a visa is issued through the ministry’s embassy digital platform.

Tourism plays a crucial role in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan for economic diversification.

As a result, Saudi authorities plan to invest up to $ 200 billion and welcome 100 million visitors by 2030. Vision 2030 aims to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to gross domestic product to 10%.

Part of the Kingdom’s strategy involves creating jobs and building additional tourist facilities, including hotels.

Last month, Medina-based Prince Mugrin University signed an agreement with Cruise Saudi, a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, to train national executives in the field of tourism.

As part of the deal, young Saudis will be offered professional programs in various tourism specializations. It aims to develop the capacities of the local workforce in the cruise industry, tourism and hospitality sectors. Cruise Saudi aims to create 50,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2035.

Likewise, Saudia, the Kingdom’s national airline, signed an agreement last November with MSC Cruises and Cruise Saudi to provide 20,000 seats on its flights from Europe and North America to Jeddah.

Military and government officials are working around the clock at the Jeddah Red Sea Operations Center to provide entry licenses to tourist yachts. The multi-agency center assists foreign yacht owners and local agents in Arabic and English, allowing them to enter Saudi waters.

It is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to boost tourism through maritime activities, said Cmdr. Hasan Al-Asmari, the director of the center, told Arab News.

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