As part of a plan to diversify its economy and make it less dependent on oil, Saudi Arabia is opening itself up to international tourism. The kingdom announced it will be offering visas to non-religious tourists for the first time from Saturday. The visa program will be available to nationals from 49 countries including the United States, the EU's Schengen zone and the United Kingdom, according to The National.
Saudi Arabia is a notoriously strict country with a grim human rights record and it regularly carries out public executions. Female tourists will be allowed to enter the country without being forced to wear the abaya which is mandatory for all Saudi women, though they will still be required to dress modestly. Alcohol will remain forbidden.