Saudi Arabia lifts ban on travel to Turkey ahead of prince visit

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi at the second day of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, 29 June 2019. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN / POOL
By Bloomberg
20 Jun 2022 0

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia ended a ban on travel to Turkey on Monday, re-opening a major channel for tourism and investment ahead of a visit by the crown prince to help repair ties.

Saudi citizens will once again be allowed to travel to Turkey, Ethiopia, Vietnam and India, the Interior Ministry said, linking the decision to developments in the pandemic. Travel to Turkey and several other countries was prohibited for Saudi nationals during the Covid-19 health emergency, with the threat of a three-year ban on foreign travel for violators. The decision coincided with a period of particularly tense relations between the two regional powers.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Turkey this week for talks aimed at improving ties, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

The trip comes after years of rivalry and rancor between the two nations, exacerbated by the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. The Turkish leader is trying to boost ties with Saudi Arabia and other regional neighbors as he aims to increase trade and lure investment.

Before Covid-19, Turkey was a favored tourism destination for many Saudis, who viewed it as a relatively affordable and culturally familiar vacation spot. Nearly 750,000 Saudis visited Turkey in 2018, despite the strained diplomatic relations.

By Vivian Nereim
Jun 20, 2022, 1:43 PM
Word Count: 223

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