Saudi Arabia will allow unmarried foreign couples to rent hotel rooms together as part of a new visa regime.

Previously, couples had to prove they were married before getting a hotel room.  Saudi couples will still need to be married to rent a hotel room together.

As part of the changes, women will also be allowed to stay in hotel rooms alone.

"All Saudi nationals are asked to show family ID or proof of relationship on checking into hotels," said the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage in a statement. "This is not required of foreign tourists. All women, including Saudis, can book and stay in hotels alone, providing ID on check-in."

The new regulations state that female tourists are not required to fully cover up but are still expected to dress modestly. Alcohol remains banned.

In August, the Saudi government announced a new rule allowing women over the age of 21 to apply for a passport without authorisation, putting them on an equal footing to men. They were also given the right to register births, marriage, or divorce.