Saudi: Female Tourists No Longer Need To Wear An Abaya

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Saudi Arabia will drop its strict dress code for foreign women as it seeks for the first time to lure holidaymakers and the spending that could help develop the kingdom’s economy away from its reliance on oil.

Foreign women won’t have to wear an abaya, the flowing cloak that’s been mandatory attire for decades, though they’ll be instructed to wear “modest clothing,” said Ahmed Al-Khateeb, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and a key adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

On Saturday, the government opened applications for online tourist visas for citizens of 49 countries, while others can apply at embassies and consulates overseas, Al-Khateeb told Bloomberg TV in Riyadh.

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The kingdom has already grappled with a slew of social changes over the past few years, and some Saudis are thrilled by the transformation. But others remain deeply conservative, and the sight of foreign tourists roaming the streets of Riyadh without abayas will be controversial.

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