Couples retreats just got a whole lot easier in Saudi Arabia…if taking a couples retreat in Saudi Arabia is your thing. As part of its new, more relaxed visa program, the famously restrictive country is now allowing unmarried foreign couples to rent hotel rooms together. Previously, couples had to provide documents proving that they were married before renting a room. Women will also be allowed to stay in hotel rooms alone.
According to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, “All Saudi nationals are asked to show family ID or proof of relationship on checking into hotels. This is not required of foreign tourists. All women, including Saudis, can book and stay in hotels alone, providing ID on check-in.” And while female tourists are still required to dress modestly, they are not expected to fully cover up.
These changes are the result of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to soften its image, and make the country more appealing to visitors. A ban on female drivers has also been lifted, as well as restrictions on women traveling abroad without male permission. The Saudi government hopes that a surge in foreign visitors will result in an influx of tourism revenue, which it hopes will become one of the cornerstones of its economy.