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From cars, to trucks to motorcycles! What will Saudi women be able to do next

Ever since Vision 2030 was put in place, Saudi Arabia started moving at a very fast pace in its to-do-list for laying down the foundation for a more modern society.

The latest move in this list is allowing Saudi women to drive trucks and motorcycles.

Really?

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Saudi women drivers

This move comes three months after the Saudi authorities issued a decision to end a ban on women driving.

The Saudi General Directorate of Traffic gave details of the new regulations that will follow the lifting of the ban on the official Saudi Press Agency late on Friday.
“Yes, we will authorize women to drive motorcycles as well as trucks”, read a statement made by the Saudi Press Agency, according to local news reports. 

It added that the royal decree stipulates that the law on driving will be “equal” for both men and women.

What’s next?

Tourist visa

Saudi Arabia will begin issuing tourist visas in the first quarter of 2018, its top tourism official told AFP.

Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz said that “all government approvals are in place for the launch of electronic visas next year to all nationals whose countries allow their citizens to visit” Saudi Arabia.

Must read: 10 first Arab women breaking the glass ceiling in male dominated fields

“We are now just preparing the regulations — who is eligible for the visas and how to obtain them,” added the head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.

Saudi Vision 2030 aims to boost the kingdom’s hospitality industry from a current number of tourists visiting the kingdom estimated at 200,000.

Reforms for visa issuance and development of historic heritage sites are designed to help achieve these goals.

In September, the PIF announced that it is setting up a $2.7bn company to invest in entertainment.

AMEinfo reported on this, noting the venture is targeting more than 50 million visitors per year, more than 22,000 jobs and looking to contribute SAR8bn ($2bn) to the kingdom’s GDP by end 2030.

Did you forget flicks?

Saudi cinemas

Saudi Arabia also issued a decision to allow movie viewing again, starting from Q1 2018, following a ban on it imposed since 1980.

Shortly after lifting restrictions on cinemas, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund signed an agreement with US-based AMC Entertainment Holdings aimed at developing new cinemas in Saudi Arabia which will start showing films as early as March.

Check this: 67% of Saudis to go to the movies and many to skip the UAE

Saudi-born U.S. producer Todd Nims, who is working with the Saudi government, said that the Saudis will have studios, film commissions, and tax incentives for production.

“The government has just opened a business development unit dedicated to movie theaters, gaming and film production,” Nims was quoted by Variety as saying adding that he will be helping them develop this unit.

“I will be going to L.A. to see what is possible in that area. I want to help create that bridge,” Nims says, noting that “there will be some partnerships struck up between Hollywood and Saudi.”

The announcement was met with largely positive sentiments, with 80% of the residents supporting the change, while 67% intending to visit the cinemas.