RIYADH : Saudi Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud Bin Naif approved today the implementation of new regulations related to public decency, which identify 19 offenses is punishable by fines.The regulations will help ensure that visitors and tourists in Saudi Arabia are aware of laws that concern public behavior and are in compliance with Saudi law.
The new regulations require men and women to dress modestly and to refrain from public displays of affection. Women are free to choose a modest choice of clothing.The interior ministry said it had identified 19 such “offences” but did not specify the penalties, as the ultra-conservative Islamic country begins issuing tourist visas for the first time as part of a push to diversify its oil-reliant economy.The new regulations require men and women to dress modestly and to refrain from public displays of affection. Women are free to choose modest clothing,” a statement said.Saudi Arabia on Friday said citizens from 49 countries are now eligible for online e-visas or visas on arrival, including the United States, Australia and several European nations.
Kickstarting tourism is one of the centrepieces of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform programme to prepare the biggest Arab economy for a post-oil era.But the conservative country, which forbids alcohol and is notorious for sex segregation, is seen as an unlikely destination for global tourists aside from Muslim pilgrims visiting holy sites in Mecca and Medina.Men and women must avoid “tight-fitting clothing” or clothes with “profane language or images”, read the instruction on an English language website launched by the tourism authority.
New public decency guidelines, first approved by cabinet in April, are widely perceived to be vague and have sparked public concern that they would be open to interpretation.They have also stoked fears of a revival of morality policing. Saudi Arabia’s religious police once elicited widespread fear, chasing men and women out of malls to pray and berating anyone seen mingling with the opposite sex.