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No Visa, No Veil? Saudi Arabia May Ease Rules for Tourists

  • Associated Press

FILE - two veiled Saudi women enjoy the Red Sea at night, in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 26, 2007. Saudi Arabia is planning to build a semi-autonomous luxury travel destination along its Red Sea coast that visitors can reach without a visa. The Red Sea area, which will include diving attractions and a nature reserve, will be developed with seed capital from the country's Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia has announced plans to build a "semi-autonomous" visa-free travel destination along its northwestern Red Sea coast.

The Red Sea area will include diving attractions and a nature reserve - and there are suggestions that the kingdom's strict rules on women's veils and gender segregation could be waived in the tourist haven.

The resort area will be developed with seed capital from the country's Public Investment Fund.

The fund said Monday the project will be built along 125 miles (200 kilometers) of coastline and is tailored toward global luxury travelers and those seeking wellness travel, a genre of tourism associated with personal well-being and health.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism did not immediately respond to an Associated Press request for more details on the rules.

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