Saudi women travel abroad for driving lessons

Women want to be ready for the lifting of the kingdom’s driving ban next year



The decision to lift Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving is creating a lucrative business for tour operators as women travel abroad with the sole intention of taking lessons.

Arabic newspaper Al-Watan cited travel agencies in Jeddah as confirming that five-day packages are being offered for air tickets, accommodation and two hours of lessons from driving instructors on a daily basis.

Companies are charging around SAR3,900 ($1,040) for the packages, with Egypt a popular destination.

The move shows the eagerness of some women in the kingdom to drive from the moment the current ban is lifted on June 24 next year, following a historic royal decree from monarch King Salman.

Recent rule changes from the Directorate General of Traffic mean driving lessons of 30 to 120 hours must be taken before would-be drivers can take a driving test to obtain a licence.

The traffic department is soon expected to issue regulation to allow women to drive in the kingdom.

Read: Saudi prepares regulation to allow women to drive

A survey released last month indicated more than 80 per cent of women in the kingdom intend to get behind the wheel when the ban is lifted.

Read: Study reveals 82% of Saudi women plan to drive

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