For the first time, Saudi Arabia is offering visas to foreign tourists

first_imgThe government of the kingdom, due to falling oil prices, hopes that tourism will contribute up to 2030 percent of gross domestic product by 10, compared to the current 3 percent. By 2030, they expect to attract up to 100 million tourist visits a year, both domestic and foreign. As part of the visa regime’s offer, which promises to issue visas within seven minutes, it has been announced that tourists will be exempt from wearing a traditional abaya robe, but will still have to dress decently. As of today, Saudi Arabia is offering foreigners tourist visas to visit the kingdom, and the decision was made a few days after the country was criticized by the United Nations for violating human rights, reports The Guardian. Many believe the kingdom will have major problems attracting tourists mostly due to harsh rules like a strict social code and a ban on alcohol. Saudi Arabia’s tourism officials announced a new visa program for citizens of 49 countries, including Croatia, followed by a Twitter campaign called “VisitSaudiNow”. Visas for the desert kingdom, rich in Bedouin heritage and archeological sites, are currently restricted to workers and Muslim pilgrims traveling to Mecca and Medina. Last year, Saudi Arabia began issuing temporary visas to visitors to sporting and cultural events to boost tourism growth. “Receiving international tourists into the country is a historic moment for Saudi ArabiaSaid Saudi Tourism Chief Ahmed al-Khateeb. “Visitors will be amazed by the benefits we offer, such as UNESCO World Heritage sites, vibrant local culture and breathtaking natural beauty.” The kingdom, known for torturing women’s rights activists and public executions, said it was opening its doors to tourists to reduce the economy’s dependence on oil. We passed last year писали how the Croatian travel agency Obzor putovanja became an authorized visa processing agency when visiting Saudi Arabia. So far, these visas have only included business, family or state visits, but it remains to be seen whether Obzor Travel Agency will take over tourist visas in the future. Encouraging tourism is one of the central parts of Prince Mohammed’s reform program to prepare the Arab economy for the future after oil. Some of the famous attractions in Saudi Arabia are the Nabataean ruins at Madâin Sâlih, better known as the “Spice Route”, the palace complex in Diraj, the capital of the first Saudi dynasty, and the shores of the Red Sea. In 2017, Saudi Arabia announced a multibillion-dollar project that would turn 50 Red Sea islands into luxury resorts. Although Saudi Arabia has a relatively well-established network of hotels and air traffic, serving millions of Muslim pilgrims traveling to the country for the hajj and dying, their new tourism strategy marks major changes. Source / photo: The Guardian; Pixabaylast_img read more

Greens want full legalisation of cannabis use

first_imgNewsHub 9 December 2016Family First Comment: Greens confirm their unelectability – but more importantly, they are using medicinal marijuana (which has merit as a controlled and researched drug) as a smoke-screen for fully liberalising drug laws. #saynopetodope The Green Party is pushing for the full legalisation of cannabis as part of an overhaul of New Zealand drug laws, they announced on Friday morning.Their proposal would see medicinal cannabis regulated for the chronically ill, with eventual plans to allow the legalisation of personal use.“Many New Zealander’s recognise that creating criminals out of cannabis users does more harm than the occasional use of marijuana does”, says health spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.Ms Genter says the party’s policy has changed from simply calling for decriminalisation of the drug, to setting out more specific targets and frameworks that focus on medical marijuana, which she says are in line with the Law Commission’s 2011 recommendations.It remains to be seen whether the policy would be at the forefront of a Labour-Greens coalition government, or whether it will be a central policy for the party heading into what’s likely to be a gruelling election campaign.“We haven’t yet determined what our policy priorities will be, that will be up to the party and will be all up for negotiation”, says Ms Genter.The Labour Party says it’s on the same page when it comes to the regulation of medicinal cannabis, but that’s not the case when it comes to legalising the drug for recreational use.“In terms of legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana, it is not an issue we are working on in terms of policy, we are dealing with the bread and butter issues that New Zealander’s are concerned about”, says health spokesperson Annette King.Ms King would like to see a conscience vote held for any law changes that go further than medicinal regulation.The New Zealand Drug Foundation believes based on their research that Kiwis are ready for a change to the misuse of drugs act, but acknowledges those tasked with making the changes aren’t as willing.“The public is ready for change, we’re seeing that around the world and we’re seeing it in New Zealand. Politicians aren’t yet ready, but the public is” executive director Ross Bell told Newshub in a recent interview. Anne Genter: Criminalisation of cannabis causing NZ harmNewsTalk ZB 9 December 2016A criminal approach to cannabis is not having any success in eradicating drug abuse.That’s the word from the Green Party who today released an updated drug law reform policy, which would regulate access to cannabis and allow for medicinal cannabis.Health spokesperson Julie Anne Genter told Larry Williams the current laws are out of date.“We’ve got hundreds of people who are in prison simply for using cannabis, and that’s costing taxpayers huge amounts of money, it’s hurting those people and their families.”Ms Genter said cannabis needs to be controlled just as tobacco and alcohol are.“Regulating, controlling, taxing it and using the revenue to fund health promotion and services for people is the best way to deal with substance abuse, and that’s been proven in other jurisdictions.” up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more