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Saudi Arabia Deports Visitors For Being Too Good Looking


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Candis Valenti



Saudi Arabia, with its rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes, has long been a popular destination for tourists from around the world. However, the conservative nature of Saudi society, shaped by strict Islamic laws and customs, has often posed challenges for visitors who are not familiar with the local norms. In a surprising turn of events, it has been reported that some visitors to Saudi Arabia have been deported for the unconventional reason of being “too good looking.”


While the concept of beauty is subjective and varies from person to person, in Saudi Arabia, beauty standards are intertwined with cultural and religious values. The country follows a modest dress code, and men and women are expected to adhere to conservative clothing styles. Unruly behavior or provocative attire, especially by women, is seen as a breach of the country’s social norms. However, the unusual deportations of visitors solely based on their appearance raise intriguing questions about the severity of Saudi Arabia’s enforcement of these standards.


Recent media reports have highlighted several instances where visitors were not allowed to enter or were deported from Saudi Arabia due to their perceived attractiveness. In one incident, three men from the United Arab Emirates were asked to leave a festival in Riyadh as they were considered “too handsome” and could potentially distract female attendees. Similarly, a well-known beauty influencer from Kuwait was allegedly denied entry into the country for fear that her looks may cause public unrest or immoral behavior.


It is important to note that Saudi Arabia is not the only country that imposes strict social norms or dress codes. However, the case of deporting visitors for being “too good looking” is unique and has garnered significant attention both in the media and among the general public.


In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the background of Saudi Arabia’s strict social norms, examine specific instances of visitors being deported for their looks, discuss the possible reasons behind these deportations, and analyze the criticism and backlash against such actions. Furthermore, we will explore the impact that these deportations may have on Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry.


Background on Saudi Arabia’s strict social norms

Saudi Arabia, a country located in the Middle East, is known for adhering to strict social norms that are deeply rooted in Islamic traditions and values. These norms heavily influence the way individuals dress, behave, and interact with one another. Saudi society follows a strict interpretation of Islam, which governs many aspects of daily life, including personal conduct, clothing choices, gender segregation, and public displays of affection.


In Saudi Arabia, both men and women are expected to dress modestly and adhere to conservative clothing styles. Women are required to wear an abaya, a loose-fitting, black cloak that covers the body from head to toe. Additionally, women are obliged to wear a headscarf, known as a hijab, which covers their hair. Men are generally expected to wear traditional Islamic attire, such as thobes or dishdashas, along with a head covering, known as a ghutra or shemagh.


Gender segregation is also a prominent feature of Saudi society. Public spaces, such as parks, cafes, and restaurants, often have separate sections or hours specifically dedicated to men and families. This segregation extends to educational institutions, workplaces, and even public transportation, with separate areas assigned for men and women.


Furthermore, public displays of affection, even between married couples, are highly discouraged and considered inappropriate. Holding hands, hugging, or kissing in public are all considered violations of Saudi norms and may lead to penalties or legal consequences.


These strict social norms are enforced by the mutaween, the religious police, who are tasked with ensuring that individuals adhere to Islamic rules and regulations. The mutaween have the authority to approach and reprimand those who are deemed to be in violation of societal norms, including dress code infractions.


It is important to understand this cultural backdrop when considering the recent incidents of visitors being deported from Saudi Arabia for being considered “too good looking.” These deportations can be seen as an extension of the country’s commitment to upholding its conservative values, even when it comes to appearances.


Instances of visitors being deported for their looks

The cases of visitors being deported from Saudi Arabia solely based on their physical appearance have made international headlines, sparking both curiosity and outrage. While the notion of being expelled from a country due to one’s looks may seem baffling, these incidents shed light on the extent to which Saudi Arabia enforces its conservative social norms.


One notable incident occurred during the Janadriyah Festival in Riyadh, where three men from the United Arab Emirates were asked to leave the festival grounds because they were perceived as “too handsome.” According to reports, the fear was that their presence might attract female festival attendees and potentially lead to public disturbances or immoral behavior. While it may sound astonishing, this incident serves as a striking example of how physical appearance can impact a person’s ability to enter and participate in public events in Saudi Arabia.


In another highly publicized case, a well-known beauty influencer from Kuwait claimed to have been denied entry into Saudi Arabia due to concerns that her looks might incite unrest or create a disturbance. The influencer, who was planning to attend a beauty event in the country, expressed her confusion and disappointment at being denied entry solely for her appearance. This incident highlights how even individuals with a significant following and positive influence can face prejudiced treatment based on their physical attributes.


It is important to note that not all instances of deportation based on appearance receive widespread attention. Many cases go unreported, particularly when it involves ordinary travelers or individuals without a significant platform to share their experiences. Consequently, the true extent of these deportations may be larger than what is currently known.


These incidents have generated global interest and raised questions about the criteria used by Saudi authorities to assess someone’s physical appearance. The lack of transparency regarding these criteria has led to speculation and criticism of what some perceive as arbitrary decision-making.


The examples discussed provide a glimpse into the unusual circumstances surrounding deportations in Saudi Arabia. The fact that appearance is cited as a reason for expulsion raises concerns about the potential for discrimination and subjective judgments when it comes to enforcing the country’s social norms.


Discussion on the reasons behind deportations

The deportations of visitors from Saudi Arabia for being deemed “too good looking” have raised questions about the underlying reasons behind these actions. While the specific criteria used to determine someone’s attractiveness may not be explicitly stated, it is possible to unravel some possible factors that influence the decision to deport individuals based on their appearance.


First and foremost, the deportations can be seen as a reflection of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to preserving and upholding its conservative social norms. The country places a strong emphasis on modesty and adherence to traditional Islamic values, which extend to physical appearances. The idea behind deporting individuals who are perceived as too attractive may stem from concerns about maintaining public order and avoiding situations that could potentially lead to immoral behavior or social unrest.


Another factor that may influence these deportations is the desire to protect the virtue and reputation of women. In Saudi society, modesty and the safeguarding of women’s honor are highly valued. By removing individuals who are considered exceptionally good looking, Saudi authorities may seek to prevent any potential interactions or distractions that could compromise the well-being and respect of women in public spaces.


Furthermore, these deportations can be viewed as a means of maintaining gender segregation. Gender segregation is deeply ingrained in Saudi society, and ensuring strict adherence to this principle is a priority. By deporting individuals based on their attractiveness, the authorities may be attempting to minimize any potential breaches of gender segregation and avoid situations where men and women may be compelled to interact or be tempted to bridge the boundaries set by societal norms.


It is worth noting that these reasons behind the deportations are speculative and based on an analysis of Saudi Arabian society and cultural norms. The lack of official statements or published guidelines regarding these deportations leaves room for interpretation and conjecture.


While Saudi Arabia has the right to enforce its social and cultural values, it is important to consider the potential discriminatory implications of deportations based on appearance. Such actions raise concerns about subjective judgments and the possibility of unfair treatment based on superficial attributes. Critics argue that this practice reinforces beauty standards that favor a certain type of appearance while marginalizing those who do not fit within narrow societal expectations.


In the next section, we will explore the criticism and backlash against these deportations, examining the larger implications and potential impact on Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry.


Criticism and backlash against the deportations

The deportations of visitors from Saudi Arabia for being considered “too good looking” have not been without controversy and have drawn significant criticism both domestically and internationally. Critics argue that such actions based on subjective beauty standards are discriminatory and infringe upon individuals’ rights to freedom of expression and self-presentation.


One of the main points of contention is the lack of transparency and clarity in the decision-making process. The criteria used to determine someone’s attractiveness remain vague, leading to concerns about unfair treatment and arbitrary decision-making. Critics argue that without clear guidelines, individuals may be subjected to discrimination based on their physical appearance or personal attributes, which can have a negative impact on their confidence and self-esteem.


The deportations have also been criticized for perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards and reinforcing societal expectations regarding appearance. By deporting individuals who are deemed “too good looking,” Saudi Arabian authorities send a message that only a specific type of beauty is valued and accepted. This narrow focus on physical appearance can fuel feelings of insecurity and self-doubt among individuals who do not fit within these standards.


Furthermore, the deportations have prompted concerns about the impact on Saudi Arabia’s image as a tourist destination. The incidents have garnered international media attention and have been widely shared on social media platforms, leading to negative publicity for the country. Such incidents may deter potential tourists from visiting Saudi Arabia out of fear of experiencing similar prejudiced treatment based on their appearance.


On the domestic front, there has been a mixed response to the deportations. While some individuals view the actions as necessary for preserving societal values and upholding traditions, others see them as excessive and unnecessary. Critics argue that the focus should be on promoting diversity, inclusivity, and acceptance rather than enforcing rigid beauty standards.


It is important to note that some Saudis have also expressed their disapproval of the deportations, emphasizing the need for a more open and tolerant society. They argue that it is the responsibility of the authorities to create an environment that respects individual rights and allows for personal expression, including varied appearances.


As criticism mounts, there is a growing call for Saudi authorities to reevaluate their approach to enforcing social norms and to establish transparent guidelines that are fair and non-discriminatory. The aim is to strike a balance between preserving cultural and religious values while respecting the rights and dignity of individuals.


In the next section, we will explore the potential impact of these deportations on Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry.


Impact on Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry

The deportations of visitors for being considered “too good looking” have the potential to impact Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry, which has been a focus of the country’s economic diversification efforts in recent years. The incidents have generated negative publicity and raised concerns among potential tourists, leading to uncertainties about the country’s hospitality and inclusivity.


One immediate consequence of these deportations is the negative perception of Saudi Arabia as a welcoming and inclusive tourist destination. Visitors may feel hesitant about traveling to a country where their physical appearance could be a reason for expulsion. This kind of negative publicity can hamper the efforts made by Saudi Arabia to attract tourists and promote itself as a global travel destination.


Furthermore, individuals who have experienced or heard about such incidents may choose to share their stories on social media platforms or travel forums, further amplifying the negative perception of Saudi Arabia as a destination. Word-of-mouth has a significant impact on tourists’ decision-making process, and negative experiences shared by previous visitors can deter potential travelers from considering Saudi Arabia as their next travel destination.


The deportations also risk alienating a significant portion of the global tourism market. Many tourists value diversity and inclusivity when choosing a travel destination. However, the perception that Saudi Arabia enforces rigid beauty standards can be perceived as exclusionary, potentially leading to a decline in interest from tourists who prioritize acceptance and respect for individual differences.


On the other hand, some argue that the strict enforcement of social norms is an essential aspect of Saudi Arabian culture and should be respected. They believe that those who choose to visit Saudi Arabia should be aware and respectful of the local customs and traditions, including the conservative dress code and the expectations around public behavior.


However, to mitigate the potential negative impact on the tourism industry, Saudi Arabia can take steps to promote its diverse cultural attractions, natural landscapes, and historical sites. Emphasizing the richness of its heritage and highlighting its commitment to welcoming all visitors, regardless of their physical appearance, will be crucial in rebuilding a positive image and reassuring potential tourists.


Moreover, investing in comprehensive tourism campaigns that showcase the country’s cultural heritage, warm hospitality, and the unique experiences it offers can help counter any negative impressions resulting from the deportations. Collaborating with international influencers and travel organizations can also help in changing perceptions and attracting a broader range of tourists.


Ultimately, finding a balance between enforcing social norms and creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for tourists will be crucial for the future of Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry. By showcasing the country’s cultural richness and commitment to diversity, Saudi Arabia can overcome the challenges posed by these deportations and attract visitors who value a unique and authentic travel experience.



The deportations of individuals from Saudi Arabia based on their perceived attractiveness have brought attention to the country’s strict social norms and their potential impact on tourism. While the practice may be rooted in the country’s commitment to upholding its conservative values, it has faced criticism for being discriminatory and arbitrary.


The lack of transparency regarding the criteria used to determine someone’s attractiveness raises concerns about subjective judgments and the potential for unfair treatment. Additionally, the deportations perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards and risk alienating potential tourists who prioritize diversity and inclusivity.


The negative publicity surrounding these incidents can have a direct impact on Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry, as it may lead to hesitation among potential visitors and contribute to a negative perception of the country. To counter this, Saudi Arabia should focus on promoting its cultural attractions, hospitality, and commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all tourists.


Investing in comprehensive tourism campaigns, collaborating with influencers, and highlighting the country’s diverse offerings can help rebuild a positive image and attract a broader range of travelers. Striking a balance between preserving cultural values and promoting inclusivity will be crucial to ensure the future success of Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry.


Ultimately, by addressing the concerns raised by the deportations and embracing the principles of acceptance and respect for individual differences, Saudi Arabia can create an environment that not only attracts tourists but also showcases the rich cultural heritage and unique experiences that make it a truly memorable destination.