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Saudi Arabia is introducing Sharek, a new electronic visa system allowing visitors to attend concerts and sporting events.

First move to attract tourists

Before Sharek, special visas were issued only to Muslim pilgrims traveling to the holy cities of Mecca and Madinah. The new Sharek visa system is expected to attract international tourists attending the country’s hallmark events. A visa is issued electronically after purchasing a ticket and is valid for a monthlong period. The system doesn’t require a visitor to go to the embassy.

Formula E Championship happening this December

Bringing Formula E for the first time to the Middle East, Saudi Arabia will mark the Season 5 opener at Ad Diriyah this December. It’s going to be the biggest festival of racing, live music and entertainment in the country. The race will witness a track battle between 11 teams and 22 Gen2 racing for the first victory of the season. Prices for the race start from SAR495(Dhs386) to 1000SAR(Dhs997), inclusive of Sharek visa.

Part of Vision 2030

Founded by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the ambitious ‘Vision 2030’ initiative aims to make the country “a gateway to the world” by developing its three themes, ‘A Vibrant Society,’ ‘A Thriving Economy’ and ‘An Ambitious Nation.’ The vision is built on three pillars, starting with being the heart of the Arab World, becoming a global investment powerhouse and establishing the country as a hub connecting three continents: Asia, Europe and Africa.

Saudi Arabia open to the world

His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Vice-Chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, is hopeful tourists will have a “different perspective” about Saudi Arabia when they attend the Formulae E Championship. He said “I want them to see Saudi Arabia, I want them to see my country, I want them to meet the people and to see who we really are. The best way for people to see the real Saudi Arabia is to come and this is their chance. We are very welcoming and I’m sure people will have a different point of view when they do.”

Photograph credit: Sharek

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