Saudi Arabia Announces E-Visa Expansion for Indian Travelers

byPriyanka JuyalLast Updated: March 14, 2024
Saudi Arabia Announces E-Visa Expansion for Indian Travelers

Key Highlights

  • Indian passport holders with valid UK, US, or Schengen visas (used at least once) can now apply online for Saudi e-visas.
  • Saudi Arabia introduced a 96-hour stopover visa and established 9 VFS Tasheel Visa offices in India to facilitate travel for Indian tourists.
  • India is among the fastest-growing markets for Saudi tourism, with a target of attracting over 12 million Indian visitors by 2030 across various categories.
  • Collaborative efforts with partners like Tata Indian Premier League (IPL) and an upcoming Diwali campaign aim to promote Saudi Arabia as a leisure destination for Indian travelers.

Saudi Arabia is opening its doors wider to Indian travelers, offering more convenient ways to explore the kingdom’s attractions. The Saudi Tourism Authority’s (Asia Pacific) recent announcement reveals that Indian passport holders who possess valid visas for the UK, US, or Schengen countries (with at least one entry) can now easily apply for a Saudi e-visa online. This move aims to streamline the visa application process and encourage more Indian tourists to experience the beauty and culture of Saudi Arabia.

In addition to the online visa option, Saudi Arabia is also introducing other measures to enhance the travel experience for Indians. The introduction of a 96-hour stopover visa and the establishment of 9 VFS Tasheel Visa offices across India are expected to provide efficient administrative services for prospective travelers, facilitating their journey to explore the diverse offerings of Saudi Arabia.

Alhasan Aldabbagh, President of the Saudi Tourism Authority’s, highlighted that in 2022, Indian tourists were among the highest spenders across all source markets. Travelers visiting friends and family constituted the largest segment.

In order to attract more Indian travelers, Saudi Arabia has rolled out strategic initiatives. Collaborative efforts with renowned partners, such as the Tata Indian Premier League (IPL), have resulted in tailor-made promotional packages aimed at positioning Saudi Arabia as a premier leisure destination for Indian tourists.

The connectivity between India and Saudi Arabia has also been significantly enhanced, with the number of direct flights increasing from 243 to 290 per week after the Eid holiday period. These developments collectively reflect Saudi Arabia’s determination to shift from being solely a pilgrimage site to a captivating tourist destination, offering a rich array of experiences to Indian travelers.

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