Middle EastNewsTravel

Saudi Arabia Allows Foreign Men and Women to Share Hotel Rooms

Visitors need not to wear all-covering black robes but should dress modestly. Alcohol remains banned.  

Saudi Arabia will allow unmarried foreign men and women to rent hotel rooms together without proving they are related, as the ultra-conservative kingdom opens its doors to foreign tourists.

Women, including Saudis, are also permitted to rent hotel rooms by themselves, in a break with previous regulations, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage confirmed in a report .

Saudi citizens will still be barred from staying together in mixed-gender rooms unless they are married or immediate family, and sex outside of marriage remains banned, the report said.

Saudi Arabia threw open its doors last week to foreign tourists from 49 countries as it tries to expand that sector and diversify its economy away from oil exports.

As part of the move, it decreed that visitors need not wear all-covering black robes but should dress modestly. Alcohol remains banned.

The government  listed 19 finable violations related to public decency.  The offences list include immodest dress, public display of affection, littering, spitting, queue jumping, taking photographs and videos of people without permission and playing music at prayer times.

Fines range from 50 riyals ($13) to 6,000 riyals ($1,600).

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