Saudi Arabia is set to re-open its tourism industry with plans to resume visas by early 2021 following months of suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s tourism minister said. “For tourist visa, until now we are talking about early next year. If things get better or if any positive developments happen with regards to the vaccine, we might accelerate and have it earlier,” Ahmed Al Khateeb told the foreign media. The Kingdom closed its borders to foreign visitors from at least 25 countries in late February, followed by a complete ban on travel in and out of the country in March as the number of daily coronavirus cases increased. The move has hit the tourism sector hard, with a 35 to 45 per cent decline expected by the end of this year, Mr Al Khateeb said. However, the lifting of lockdown over the summer has allowed the country’s domestic tourism industry to recover, cushioning the blow. “This pandemic is a systematic risk that has hit everyone; however, we have seen a very strong summer after the January-May lockup period,” Mr Al Khateeb said.