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Mixed messages

Saudi Arabia to allow women to wear bikinis at luxury beach resort

By WITW Staff on August 3, 2017

Plans for a new beach resort by the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia are making waves after the announcement that women who vacation there will be allowed to wear bikinis. Normally, women in Saudi Arabia are required to cover themselves from head to toe — in July, a woman was arrested after being filmed wearing a miniskirt — but the Saudi government has said that the new resort will instead be “governed by laws on par with international standards.” In a further move to court tourists, most foreign visitors will reportedly be allowed to fly straight into the resort without a visa.

Attempts to court tourism aside, Saudi Arabia remains one of the worst places in the world in terms of women’s rights. Apart from the country’s strict dress requirements for women, women are not allowed to drive and can be jailed at the request of their ‘male guardians’ for offenses such as running away from home or even simple disobedience.

The resort is expected to compete with neighboring Egyptian resorts on the Red Sea, which have seen attendance plummet after a number of attacks — including the bombing of a Russian plane that took off from Sharm el-Sheikh in 2015.

The plan is the latest piece of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan, which is intended to help diversify a Saudi economy largely dependent on oil profits. Salman, 31, is now heir to the throne after reportedly holding the previous heir hostage until he agreed to abdicate.

Read the full story at The Telegraph.


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