The Saudi Arabian government has for the first time enacted new immigration laws that allows unmarried couples to share hotel rooms while on vacation in the country.
Previously, unmarried couples, visitors and citizens couldn’t share the same hotel rooms unless they provided proof of marriage, and anyone found guilty of committing the ‘crime’ faced jail time or cane lashes.
In the new law enacted this week, Saudi nationals will still need to provide proof of marriage before sharing hotel rooms as the law only applies to international visitors.
“All Saudi nationals are asked to show family ID or proof of relationship on checking into hotels,” the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage said in a statement.
“This is not required of foreign tourists. All women, including Saudis, can book and stay in hotels alone, providing ID on check-in.”
“The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage has recently approved the new regulations of tourism accommodations,” a Saudi Government spokesperson told CNN.
Another new law enacted by the Saudi government- Foreign women under 45 years traveling alone can now book rooms for the first time. Before foreign women needed an older figure to be able to book rooms.
According to the new visa rules, women, both foreign and nationals will still need to dress moderately.
Saudi Arabia, tainted with bad human rights records over the years- coupled with the alleged state sponsored killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, enacted the new visa rules to boost tourism, with a plan of attracting an annual 100 million visitors (international and domestic) by 2030, with tourism contributing up to 10% of GDP.