Saudi Arabia will open its doors to international tourists for the first time as part of a broader push to cut its economic dependence on oil.
On Friday, the kingdom will launch a visa regime for 49 countries and relax strict dress codes for female visitors.
Tourism Minister Ahmad al-Khateeb described it as a “historic moment” for the country.
“It will change the perception, they have to come and see us, they have to come and see the Saudis and live in Saudi Arabia and experience Saudi Arabia,” Ahmad al-Khateeb, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage said.
The kingdom wants tourism to represent 10 percent of the economy by 2030, from its current 3 percent, according to the plans, which were launched in 2016.
Visas have until now largely been restricted to pilgrims, business people and expatriate workers.