Authorities in Saudi Arabia appear to be reaching out to a particularly lucrative segment of the market: LGBTQ tourists, as the country continues its campaign to draw tourists, international media reported.
Gay guests are welcome in the kingdom, according to the Saudi Tourism Authority’s (STA) website’s Q&A section, which appears to have been amended.
The website said, “Everyone is welcome to visit Saudi Arabia and visitors are not asked to disclose such personal details,” is the website’s response to the question on its FAQ page: “Are LGBT visitors welcome to visit Saudi Arabia?”
It is not known exactly when the website was updated, CNN reported.
A spokesperson for the STA said the policy had previously been in place, but an archived version of the website on March 14, 2023 and before did not have the question and answer on the page.
Same-sex sexual activity is an offense in Saudi Arabia, according to Human Rights Watch.
According to the Human Dignity Trust, which campaigns for the rights of LGBT people around the world, trans people can also face prosecution in Saudi, with “substantial evidence of the law being enforced” and “consistent reports of discrimination and violence” against LGBTQ people.