Saudi Arabia eases restrictions on women staying in hotels


Saudi Arabia has introduced new regulations allowing women in the conservative kingdom to rent a hotel room without a male guardian and foreign men and women to share a room without proof of marriage.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage said on Sunday that women will be allowed to stay alone in hotels without a male guardian with just a proof of identity, residency permit or passport.

The new regulations allow foreign tourist couples to share rooms using only their passports, with no document of marriage needed. In the past foreign men and women seeking to share rooms had to provide such proof.  Proof of marriage is still needed for a Saudi couple when seeking to share a room.

Riyadh aims to increase international and domestic holiday visits to 100 million a year by 2030.

It hopes that by that time the tourism sector will contribute more than 10 percent towards the kingdom's gross domestic product, compared to 3 percent now.

Last week, the kingdom announced a new visa system that allows people from 49 countries to apply for e-visas and visas on arrival.

Saudi Arabia has been introducing social and economic reforms as part of its Vision 2030 plan, launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a bid to open the country up to investments and diversify the kingdom's oil-reliant economy.    (dpa)

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