Saudi allows foreign men and women to share hotel rooms

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Riyadh: Amidst many new rules for tourist to Saudi Arabia, the conservative Muslim kingdom is now allowing foreign men and women to rent hotel rooms together without proving they are related.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage confirmed a report on Friday.

Women, including Saudis, are also permitted to rent the hotel rooms by themselves, in a break with previous regulations.

The moves appear to pave the way for unaccompanied women to travel more easily and for unmarried foreign visitors to stay together in the Gulf state, where sex outside of marriage is banned.

In preparation for the changes, last week Saudi Arabia listed 19 finable violations related to public decency.

The offences listed on the new visa website include immodest dress, public display of affection, littering, spitting, queue jumping, taking photographs and videos of people without permission and playing music at prayer times.

Fines range from 50 riyals ($13) to 6,000 riyals ($1,600).

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