On Sunday, Saudi Arabia's Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) confirmed that all massage services currently being offered in hotels, furnished apartments, and other tourist accommodation across the kingdom, have been banned.

The only exception to that rule applies to those hotel establishments that have a four-star rating or higher, Arab News reported.

"The commission has issued a circular for the operators of tourist accommodation facilities to ban massage services in such facilities, with the exception of five-star or four-star hotels and their spas, according to specific requirements and clear criteria in the fields of safety and discipline," said SCTH spokesman Majed Alshadeed.

All venues must obtain an official license before offering massage services

Omar bin Abdul Aziz Al-Mubarak, the director general of the licensing department at the SCTH said

"The decision is based on tourism regulations, which stress the importance of organizing tourist facilities and services to ensure fair competition."

Furthermore, he stated that any violations of the new rule regarding massage services can be reported through the country's Tourism Communication Center and will be subject to the penalties stipulated in Saudi Arabia's tourism regulations.