Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Law: Everything you need to know about regulations, permits, penalties
Practicing Tourism – Criteria and Requirements
This article emphasizes the criteria, requirements, and permits necessary for engaging in tourism activities falling within the jurisdiction of the Ministry. It includes the classification of activities and the issuance of necessary approvals, permits, and licenses.
Providing best services with compliance
Under this article, the commitment of licensees to provide the best services in adherence to approved standards is underscored.
Licensees are expected to comply with the requirements and conditions for licensing, ensuring the validity of their classification during the specified period.
Additionally, entities are mandated to register all data of their employees with the Ministry and update it in case of any changes within three months.
Financial guarantees for tourism activities
This article of the law details the financial guarantees required for tourism activities, specifying conditions, amounts, and collection procedures.
This includes obligations to the Finance Ministry, third parties, and fines.
Entities engaging in tourism activities are required to enter into an agreement with the Finance Ministry to provide the necessary financial guarantees.
Collaboration and adherence to strategy
Detailed in this article of the law is the necessity of collaboration between the private sector, local communities, and relevant government agencies to achieve the objectives outlined in the law.
Private agencies are mandated to adhere to the criteria and conditions specified in the law and are subject to the powers granted by the law to regulate and oversee tourism-related matters.
Planning and protecting tourist destinations
Outlining the process of identifying, allocating, and protecting tourist destinations, this article includes setting environmental protection standards, specifying competencies and responsibilities of government agencies, and proposing the transfer or participation of the Ministry in specific matters related to tourist destinations.
Prohibition of actions harming tourism reputation
This article prohibits actions that may undermine the reputation of tourism or cause damage to tourist destinations.
The Ministry, in coordination with the Interior Ministry, is responsible for preventing and protecting resources and destinations from encroachment or harm.
Electronic platforms and information database
This article details the establishment of electronic platforms and a comprehensive database to provide information on all aspects of tourism.
The Ministry will integrate relevant platforms, ensure international best practices, and regularly update information for stakeholders, including tourists, service providers, and investors.
Inspections and precautionary measures
This section of the article states that based on inspections by competent authorities, if a facility is found as an imminent threat to public health or safety, precautionary measures will be implemented. This could also include the closure of the facility.
In case of the facility being an accommodation, it will lead to immediate evacuation and guests will be moved to an alternative accommodation.
Outlined in this section of the article is authorization of the Ministry to determine fees for activities related to tourism licenses. It specifies that fees will be issued in accordance with the law and its regulations, ensuring transparency and fairness.
Visa Approvals for Tourists
This section outlines the procedures for issuing tourist visas, emphasizing coordination between the Ministry, the Interior Ministry, and the Foreign Affairs Ministry. This includes specifying rules and procedures for the issuance of visa approvals.
Established in this section of the article are the duties of inspectors appointed by the Minister, allowing them to investigate violations, review relevant conditions, and ensure that tourism activities comply with the law.
Inspectors will have the authority to receive complaints, gather data, and refer cases for further action.
Violations will be detected, recorded and referred to the committee detailed in Article 15 of the tourism law.
This section of the article mandates the formation of a committee, comprising at least three members, including a legal specialist.
The committee will review violations and issue penalties based on the gravity of the offense, excluding penalties stipulated in Article 16.
Remuneration of members will be determined based on the decision by the Minister and regulations will be specified.
Penalties for Violations
This article details the penalties for violating the law, including warnings, temporary or permanent closure of facilities, lowering classification, suspension or revocation of licenses, fines, and compensation for damages. The law allows for an appeal process within 60 days of receiving the penalty notice.
Detailed in this article is the committee’s authority to impose fines, doubling the amount for each day of continued violation.
Repeat offenses within one year will be considered more severe, and the decision will include the impact and gravity of the violation.
This article specifies that the law becomes effective 90 days from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.
Saudi Arabia’s new Tourism Law aims to create a structured and regulated environment for the growing tourism sector, providing clear guidelines, promoting collaboration, and enforcing compliance to ensure sustainable growth and protection of the Kingdom’s tourism assets.