Saudi Arabia to start welcoming LGBTQ tourists, in major shift from Sharia law

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LGBTQ tourists can now visit Saudi Arabia, according to the kingdom’s official tourism site.

The website of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) seems to have had its Q&A section updated to state that gay visitors are welcome in the kingdom.

EsB learnt that LGBTQ+ travelers are a lucrative market, according to Darren Burn, CEO of Out Of Office, a luxury travel planning service for the community, and of Travel Gay, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ travel platform.

‘Research shows they spend more money in a destination than heterosexual couples, and tend to travel more times a year,’ he told CNN.

Homosexuality, however, remains illegal in the country, though homosexuality laws are not always enforced.

The Saudi Tourism Authority’s website visitsaudi.com updated a section under its FAQs page stating ‘Are LGBT visitors welcome to visit Saudi Arabia?’ The answer to the question reads as follows:

‘We don’t ask anyone to disclose personal details and never have. Everyone is welcome to visit our country.’

It is not known exactly when the website was updated. A spokesperson for the STA said the policy had previously been in place, but an archived version of the website on March 14, 2023 and before did not have the question and answer on the page.

According to Human Rights Watch, same-sex relationships are prohibited by law in Saudi Arabia.

This is due to the conservative culture and traditional interpretation of Islamic law, which forbids homosexuality.

Same-sex relationships are punishable by death or flogging in Saudi Arabia.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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