Saudi Arabia will reopen its borders to tourists on Sunday for the first time in 18 months after imposing restrictions at the start of the pandemic to curb the spread of the coronavirus, reports AP.
The historically closed-off kingdom introduced electronic visas for tourists in late 2019, just before the pandemic struck.
Saudi Arabia is looking to rebrand itself as a unique tourist destination for nature lovers and curious travellers as a way to boost non-oil revenue and create more jobs.
Citizens of 49 mostly European countries, as well as the U.S. and China among others, will be allowed to enter the kingdom under the new rules without quarantine if they provide a negative PCR test before travel and have vaccine certificates proving two doses of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or a single dose of the vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson.
Travellers vaccinated with the Chinese Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccine must have received a third dose of one of the other vaccines.
Earlier this week, the kingdom warned that any citizen who travels to red-listed countries, such as the neighbouring emirate of Dubai where the delta variant is present, could face a three-year travel ban.