Unmarried foreign couples are set to now be granted access to rent hotel rooms together in Saudi Arabia; as part of a new visa regime launched by the conservative country.
As well as foreign couples, women will also be allowed to book and stay at hotels alone moving forward.
Before this new regime, couples had to prove they were married before getting a room in a hotel.
The reason behind this change is part of a substantial effort within Saudi Arabia to grow its tourism industry.
So, what changes will be taking place exactly?
Previously, couples had to provide the relevant documents in order to prove marriage. This rule has now been erased, and unmarried couples are now allowed to book into hotel rooms together.
“All Saudi nationals are asked to show family ID or proof of relationship on checking into hotels,” the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage has stated.
“This is not required of foreign tourists. All women, including Saudis, can book and stay in hotels alone, providing ID on check-in.”
The new regulations also include rules that female tourists are no longer expected to fully cover up but are still required to dress modestly.
Further to the above, alcohol remains banned.
Why are these changes happening?
Due to a glowing reputation for being one of the strictest places on earth, Saudi Arabia is trying to improve the reputation in the eyes of tourists and investors.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has recently made some substantial changes to the country.
These include ending a ban on female drivers and allowing women to travel abroad without a male guardian’s permission.
But these changes have been overshadowed by highly controversial issues including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Simon Calder, senior travel editor at The Independent, said that the relaxing of visa regulations would likely increase the number of people travelling to the kingdom.
“Vastly simplifying the bureaucracy of obtaining a visa should lead to an immediate surge in visitor numbers – initially, I imagine, from those with an interest in the Arab world and its heritage,” he told the BBC.