bangkokThailand, a hot spot for tourists from all over the world, is out of bounds for Saudi citizens. According to Gulf News, in spite of a travel ban imposed by Saudi Arabia, around 17,000 Saudi nationals visited the country last year, informed Abdul Elah Al Shuaibi, a Saudi diplomat in Bangkok.

Al Shuaibi, the charge d’affaires, also said that only a modest 90 of the 17,000 Saudis visitors registered their names with the embassy. The majority of the visitors hesitate to inform the embassy as they are concerned that the embassy would report their names for illegally travelling to the south-east Asian country. In Al Shuaibi’s opinion, Saudis choose to travel to Thailand because of the political issues that trouble other popular destinations.

The travel ban came into force in 1989 after a series of murders and robberies plagues Saudi citizens in Thailand. In particular, the Blue Diamond heist, in which a precious blue diamond and over 100 kilos of gold were stolen from the palace of a Saudi prince, instigated the restriction. Three diplomats and a businessman were also killed in Bangkok soon after the heist.

Before the travel restriction, Thailand saw more than 75,000 visitors every year from the kingdom, according to Thai media.

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