In a revolutionary move, new Saudi Arabia sport visas will enable foreign visitors to watch events in the Kingdom for the first time from this December.
Entry to the Gulf state is highly restricted at present, with only foreign workers, Muslim pilgrims and business travelers allowed to visit.
But the new Saudi Arabia sport visa, which will also enable people to watch concerts, is the latest step to open up the Kingdom to the world.
Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has encouraged a number of high-profile sporting events to come the Kingdom, with a WWE show, the World Boxing Super Series Final and a Formula E race in Riyadh among those welcomed in 2018.
— طلال محمد العبدالله الفيصل (@tmafaisal) September 25, 2018
Next year, a European Tour golf event comes to the Red Sea coast and the Italian Super Cup between AC Milan and Juventus will be played in Jeddah.
The Saudi Arabia sport visa is due to be introduced in December, which will come too late for a star-studded friendly between Argentina and Brazil next month.
However the “sharek” electronic visa process will be ready in time for Riyadh’s Formula E race on December 15, according to Saudi General Sports Authority (GSA) vice chair Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal.
“We hope the Saudia Diriyah E Prix will see fans from around the globe come to Saudi Arabia to watch this epic sporting spectacle as now your ticket is your visa.”
The 14-day visa will cost 640 riyals ($170.65).