Regent Holidays to operate first tour to Saudi Arabia

By Steve Jones
Home » Regent Holidays to operate first tour to Saudi Arabia

Regent Holidays has launched its first small group tour to Saudi Arabia after an introductory trip last autumn sold out ‘in days’.

The kingdom only began issuing visas to non-religious tourists in September 2019 as part of plans to end its reliance on oil.

Regent’s 14-day Inside Saudi Arabia tour departs on 11 March and costs £5,670 per person. It will depart with a minimum of nine and maximum of 12 guests

“A recce tour last autumn sold out in days, reflecting demand for adventures to new and interesting destinations post-pandemic, so the chance to explore one of the Middle East’s least known destinations is expected to be popular,” the tour operator said.

On the Regent website, tour leader and regional specialist Marianne Grimshaw wrote: “As with so many countries, the image we see in our media is rarely representative of the lives of everyday people. By visiting Saudi we hope to be able to look behind the stereotypes, engage in conversation with different people, learn about life and exchange ideas and hopes for the future.”

The tour will take in Saudi Arabia’s cultural, historic and geological highlights including Jeddah, Riyadh, a 4×4 journey through the desert to Tabuk, the archaeological site of Hegra, the rock cut tombs of the second Nabatean City and the mud brick ruins of the old city at Al ΄Ula, pictured.

At the launch of the new visa program in 2019, tourism chief Ahmed al-Khateeb described the opening of Saudi Arabia to international tourists as a ‘historic moment’ .

“Visitors will be surprised … by the treasures we have to share – five Unesco world heritage sites, a vibrant local culture and breathtaking natural beauty,” he said.

He added that the kingdom would also ease its strict dress code for foreign women, allowing them to go without the abaya that is mandatory public wear for Saudi women. Foreign women, however, will be required to wear “modest clothing”, al-Khateeb said.

Images courtesy of Saudi Arabia Tourist Board

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