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The New Ibiza is . . . Saudi Arabia-

Author: Jonty Skrufff (
Saturday, February 28, 2004
Middle Eastern hot spot Saudi Arabia announced this week that they're opening up their kingdom to tourists within the next three to four weeks, offering tourist visas to selected holidaymakers.

Authorities hope the policy will create up to 2 million jobs, the Guardian reported this week, though as the newspaper pointed out, certain cultural differences could hinder their plans.

"The sun and sand are guaranteed but Club 18-30 devotees should think twice before stripping off on the beach or canoodling under the palm trees," the Guardian advised.

"And those with a taste for wacky-backy [marijuana- drugs Ed] risk getting their heads chopped off."

The Saudi's new official tourism website also urged potential visitors to think twice before booking a trip, pointing out 'those who don't abide by the Saudi traditions concerning appearance and behaviours', 'those under the influence of alcohol' and 'Jewish people' will be refused visas.

Female tourists will face additional restrictions such a ban on driving as well as strict rules on what they'll be allowed to wear.

"It is advisable for female visitors to always have a light scarf with them as there are places where they will be required to cover their head and face," the site warns.

They'll also have to steer clear of top religious cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh who recently decreed, "Allowing women to mix with men is the root of every evil and catastrophe. It is highly punishable."

'If a woman is arriving in the Kingdom alone, the sponsor or her husband must receive her at the airport . . .'more