Assistant Minister of Tourism Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed has denied reports that Saudi Arabia will legalize alcohol to attract tourists, even in the futuristic megacity Neom. Princess Haifa’s answer automatically crushed all speculation about introducing alcohol in the country.
While speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Princess Haifa said that the Kingdom has done well in attracting tourists since launching the tourism e-visas in 2019, and the rules will remain the same, and no alcohol law will be amended.
She further explained that Saudi Arabia is very transparent about its stance on all matters, including their position on the serving of alcohol that King Salman has regulated. Saudi Arabia prohibits any alcohol-related actions from possessing, consuming to manufacturing alcohol.
Princess Haifa stressed that banning alcohol in the Kingdom would not affect tourism. She argues that her country is competitive globally in tourism with just what they currently offer. She said that there were a lot of new things they had to go through without introducing anything new.
Saudi Arabia climbed ten places in the WEF 2021 Tourism and Travel Development Index, which measures sustainable and resilient sector development, released at this week’s Davos Summit.
The country opened up to foreign tourists in September 2019 by launching tourist e-visit visas, which successfully issued 400,000 visas in the first six months of its launch.
Earlier this month, Andrew McEvoy, Head of the Tourism Sector at Neom, said that alcohol is certainly not an option for the city. Even so, his party must be competitive by adjusting to what competitors’ destinations have to offer.
However, it seems that McEvoy’s claim cannot be entirely valid given that, to date, the Saudi government had not made any specific comments regarding alcohol sales, including when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declined to comment in a recent interview about easing alcohol rules.