Saudi Arabia plans luxury travel destination along Red Sea, will it attract foreign tourists?

Saudi Arabia is keen to place itself on the “international tourism map”, plans luxury travel destination along the Red Sea coast, but will foreign tourists still flock to Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia is making a play to put itself on the “international tourism map,” the Telegraph reports.

According to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia plans to build luxury resorts on more than 13,000 square miles of Red Sea coastline, including “50 untouched natural islands”, with the intention of making the country’s economy less reliant on oil.

The goal of the project is to attract 1 million “luxury travelers from around the globe” per year by 2035.

But why would foreign tourists want to go to a place where there so many restrictions?

Alcohol, movie theaters, and plays are banned, women are required to wear full-length robes in public, and there are limits on men and women mixing — all these restrictions defeats the purpose of a vacation for most travelers.

However, it seems there will be “semi-autonomous” zones where laws might be relaxed (more like the United Arab Emirates), although its unclear as of now exactly which laws will be relaxed at the resorts.

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If Saudi Arabia wants to attract a large number of foreign tourists, they will need to relax certain rules. “If you can’t change restrictions on alcohol and dress, that market disappears,” says one tourism expert.

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