LONDON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has launched an online portal for airlines operating in the kingdom to register immunisation data for all foreigners travelling to the Gulf Arab state, the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) said on Wednesday.
The portal will facilitate procedures upon arrival in the kingdom and link visitors’ data with the Saudi mobile app that tracks coronavirus cases, it said.
As of May 20, non-citizens arriving from eligible countries who are fully vaccinated against or recently recovered from COVID-19 will no longer be required to quarantine in designated government hotels.
This applies to residents, government and business travellers or those visiting friends and family, but not to foreign tourists, according to the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA).
STA Chief Executive Fahd Hamidaddin told Reuters on Monday that the kingdom would soon reopen to foreign tourists without specifying when exactly this year.
Saudi Arabia liberalised its tourism industry in 2019, making it easier for foreigners to apply for tourist visas to the kingdom, which had been relatively closed off for decades.
The Gulf state is targeting 100 million annual visits by 2030, up from about 40 million a year before the pandemic, for tourism to account for 10% of gross domestic product, up from 3% in 2019, by 2030.
(Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by Toby Chopra)