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Sputnik V Vaccine, a new key for Saudi Arabian Tourism

Russian Sputnik V vaccine now approved for Israel entry.

Russians love to travel. Soon those vaccinated with Sputnik V can add Saudi Arabia to their bucket list. This also includes Hajj, and Umrah pilgrimage from many regions.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has granted approval for entry of individuals vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine starting from January 1, 2022. 

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Saudi Arabia joined 101 other countries approving entry of individuals vaccinated with the Sputnik V vaccine following the extensive cooperation and discussions between the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia and RDIF, supported by the Ministry of Investments of the country.

Granting approval for Sputnik V vaccinated to visit Saudi Arabia and further joint steps in fighting the pandemic were in the focus of the meeting between Health Minister of Saudi Arabia Fahad Al-Jalajel, Minister of Investment of Saudi Arabia Khalid Al-Falih and RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev in Riyadh earlier in November.

The decision reached will enable Muslims from all over the world vaccinated with Sputnik V to participate in the Hajj and the Umrah pilgrimages to Islam’s holiest sites in the cities of Mecca and Medina. 

Upon entering the country, persons vaccinated with Sputnik V will be required to quarantine for 48 hours and take a PCR test.

Countries opening their borders for those who have received the Sputnik V vaccine are demonstrating the will to help their tourism industry and businesses to recover more quickly. As Saudi Arabia opens its borders for the Sputnik V vaccinated, this decision will play an important role in increasing the tourist flows and establishing new business ties between Russia and Saudi Arabia, including through activities of The Russia-Saudi Economic Council. 

Established in 2019, The Council aims to develop bilateral economic and trade ties as well as investments between Russia and Saudi Arabia across all sectors. It is Co-Chaired by Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, and HRH Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, the Kingdom’s National Guard Minister.

Overall, separating authorization of COVID vaccines from vaccination certificates is another important step to avoiding vaccine discrimination and supporting governments’ efforts in safely re-opening borders for both locals and tourists. 

Key requirements of 102 countries that allow visits following Sputnik V vaccination[*]:

  • Sputnik V vaccinated individuals may visit a total of 31 countries without any additional COVID-19 related approval; 
  • Other 71 countries request negative PCR or positive antibody tests or have additional requirements at entry. 

Only 15 countries require vaccines other than Sputnik V. Only 5 of these countries (less than 9% of international travel journeys), including the U.S. (representing less than 3%), fully rely on the WHO’s approved list of vaccines which Sputnik V is expected to be added to this year. 

Sources: ministries of respective countries, tourism sites

* Visa and (or) other entry permit needed, A person should also meet other requirements not related to coronavirus restrictions. The analysis of entry opportunities is based on requirements for the population of most countries, and may not reflect restrictions or indulgences in force for selected countries or certain categories. 27 countries still have borders closed for visitors from the majority of other countries

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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