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On the 27th of September at the InterContinental Sofia Hotel H. E. Mr. Mesfer Al Ghasib, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Bulgaria,

has officially announced to the Bulgarian media representatives that the issuing of tourist visas for the country has begun. They will benefit the citizens of 49 countries important for the development of tourism in the country, including Bulgaria.

The new visas will be valid for one year, for multiple visits with a stay of up to 90 days. The issuing procedures have also gotten easier- tourists will receive them either online or at special airport desks upon arrival.

The strict requirements for the clothing of female foreigners are liberalized as well - the regulation for wearing "abaya" - black clothing covering the whole body - is eliminated. But it is emphasized that they must dress modestly in order to respect the culture of the country. The tourists who do not profess Islam will still not be able to visit the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The ban on alcohol use remains in force.

The purpose of the reform, initiated by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saudand officially announced by the Minister of Tourism Ahmad bin Aqil al-Khatib, is to open the country to visitors from abroad and diversify its economy, with the tourism sector expected to reach 10% of its domestic product gross by 2030.

"I would like to invite Bulgarians to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and enjoy what we can offer them as tourist destinations. The diversity is great and I think that the so-called floating sands in the deserts will be interesting for the Bulgarians". In support of the ambassador's words photos from the country were specially projected in the hall for the journalists – resembling the unique natural sights, interesting traditions, architectural masterpieces. Brochures promoting the cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia were also distributed.

Photos: "Diplomatic Spectrum"