Sa'udi Arabia - Tourism, travel, and recreation

Sa'udi Arabia is one of the hardest places in the world to visit. Tourist visas are not issued and foreign visitors must show letters of invitation from Sa'udi employers or sponsors to enter the country. Every year, however, there is a great influx of pilgrims to Mecca and Medina, cities that non-Muslims are forbidden to enter. In 1998 the number of pilgrims totaled over two million. Tourist arrivals totaled 3,700,00 that year, with receipts of $1.5 million. Evidence of a previous or planned trip to Israel is grounds for denial of admission to Sa'udi Arabia.

Traditional sports include hunting with salukis, falconry, and horse and camel racing. Modern sports facilities include the Riyadh Stadium, complete with Olympic-standard running tracks and soccer fields.

In 2001, the US State Department estimated the cost of staying in Riyadh at $175 per day. Daily expenses for travel in other areas of the country varied, ranging from $153 in Jeddah to $220 elsewhere.

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