Saudi Arabia has issued new guidelines that allow women travelling in the country to book hotel rooms without a male guardian.

It also now allows foreign unmarried couples to share a room without evidence of marriage.

These guidelines come after the kingdom launched its first tourist visa programme last week to boost tourism and diversify its oil-based economy, reported Al Jazeera.

Confirming a report by the Saudi daily Okaz, the country’s Commission for Tourism and National Heritage announced the new guidelines on Twitter.

According to the commission, Saudi women can now rent hotel rooms after submission of proof of identity, while foreign visitors need to show their residency card or passport.

Foreign couples also need to show their passport or residency card and need not submit a marriage certificate.

Earlier, women had to submit permission from a male guardian to book a hotel room.

Saudi couples, however, still have to offer evidence of marriage at the hotels.

The tourism authority said: “All Saudi nationals are asked to show family ID or proof of relationship on checking into hotels.”

This move is seen as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) efforts to push for huge reforms in the country. Recently, the country lifted a ban on movie theatres and women driving.

The country expects tourism to contribute up to 10% of the gross domestic product. Currently, tourism contributes only 3%.

Earlier, visitor visas were issued only for religious pilgrimages, family visits or for business purposes, but now visas will be issued for tourism.

The one-year, several-entry visa programme enables visitors to stay for up to 90 days at a time.