Saudis hit the high seas as tourism opens

Foreign tourism and domestic holidays are ramping up in Saudi Arabia

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SAUDI ARABIAN MAN ON BOARD, KOMAIL ALOMRAN, SAYING: "No one ever expected to have something like this - a cruise on this level, scale and with the available activities - in Saudi Arabia. It's amazing. Everything is available, there is a gym, entertainment, activities for children. It's nice if someone wants to bring his family. It is a must-try experience."

Tourism was restricted in the country

until Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began a drive in 2016

to diversify the economy away from its dependence on oil

Since then, Saudi Arabia has introduced tourist visas

and launched tourism projects, some along the Red Sea coast

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SAUDI ARABIAN WOMAN ON BOARD, DALAL MOHAMMED, SAYING:"My sister and I came on the cruise trip. Five years ago, it would have been a dream to go on a cruise alone without male guardianship, but with the great vision, thank God, the dream came true."

The government has said it wants the sector to contribute

10% to gross domestic product by 2030

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