Saudi Arabia will launch a new travel visa regime on Friday for 49 countries, including China, as the kingdom tries to appeal to more foreign tourists amid attempts to diversify its oil-dependent economy.
The Gulf nation will ease the process of getting a tourist visa and its strict dress code.
Tourism Minister Ahmed al-Khateeb said this is a "historic moment" for the country and indicated that tourists will be surprised by the country's "five UNESCO World Heritage sites, a vibrant local culture and breathtaking natural beauty."
Khateeb noted that China, Japan, Europe and the United States were among the top outbound targets.
Foreign women visitors will not be asked to wear the body-covering black robes, called abayas, required to be worn in public by Saudi women, but must still maintain modest dress. Restrictions on unaccompanied women will also be removed.
Visitors can apply for a visa on arrival or have an electronic visa issued through visa.visitsaudi.com. The electronic visa allows visitors to have multiple entries and stay up to 90 days in the country.