Saudi Arabia is known for its repressive laws and outlook towards women. Women in the Saudi Kingdom can’t work close to men and the debate over whether they should be allowed to drive still continues. They are also barred from showing off their beauty or make up. They could not even try out clothes during shopping. Very recently they have won limited right to vote. The World Economic Forum in its 2016 report on the global gender gap ranked Saudi Arabia 141 out of 144 countries for gender parity. Only Syria, Pakistan and Yemen ranked lower.
However, there is still some hope left for the country as in a welcome change, it is planning to open a beach resort on its Red Sea coast where foreign women will be able to sunbathe in bikinis alongside men.
The project is said to be the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has developed a reputation of a bold reformer. Knowing that foreign visitors are unlikely to show up at beaches where women are forced to cover up- the government said the resort will be “governed by laws on par with international standards”. Alcohol is also prohibited under Saudi law and it is yet not clear if it will be allowed on the resort.
“The Red Sea project will be a luxury resort destination situated across the islands of a lagoon and steeped in nature and culture,” said the public investment fund which is financing thr project and chaired b y the crown prince.
“It will set new standards for sustainable development and bring about the next generation of luxury travel to put Saudi Arabia on the international tourism map,” the fund said.
The Saudi prince is overseeing a dramatic overhaul of the economy to lessen its dependence on oil exports for revenue.
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