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Saudi Arabia and Vietnam Explore E-Visas and Reciprocal Visa Exemptions

Amid efforts to boost their tourism sectors, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam are engaged in discussions to introduce electronic visas for Vietnamese tourists and potentially establish reciprocal visa exemptions. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s official visit to Saudi Arabia provided an opportunity for Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung to hold talks with Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud, who also serves as Deputy Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia.

Princess Haifa disclosed Saudi Arabia’s intent to introduce e-visas for Vietnamese tourists and collaborate with local travel agencies to tailor tourism packages for visitors from Vietnam, who possess a distinct cultural background compared to Saudi Arabia.

To enhance tourism and economic ties, both countries are exploring the possibility of direct flights between them. Currently, there are no direct flights connecting Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, resulting in travel times ranging from 11 to 33 hours.

Significant progress has been made in the negotiations for visa-free travel, with Saudi Arabia presenting a draft visa exemption agreement for diplomatic and official passport holders to Vietnamese authorities. Once ratified, this agreement will facilitate reciprocal visa exemptions for tourists from both countries.

Statistics indicate that approximately 2,000 Saudi Arabians visit Vietnam annually, but in 2019, only 600 Saudi tourists explored Vietnam, partly due to travel restrictions in place.

As part of its efforts to diversify revenue streams, Saudi Arabia is working toward attracting over 100 million tourists by 2030, positioning tourism as the country’s second most significant source of income after oil. The formal introduction of tourist visas in September 2019 has proven successful, with over 90 million visitors, including both international and domestic travelers, visiting the kingdom last year. Saudi Arabia’s commitment to promoting tourist-friendly policies is expected to continue as part of Vision 2023.


Hamna is a seasoned journalist and a valued contributor to a leading Pakistani news website. With a Master's degree in Journalism from the University of Karachi, she specializes in political analysis and international affairs.

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