Saudi Arabia unveils ambitious The Red Sea development project
Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman unveils the project

Saudi Arabia unveils ambitious The Red Sea development project

His royal highness Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, crown prince and deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia, and chairman of the Public Investment Fund, has announced the launch of an international tourism project called The Red Sea.

Envisioned as an exquisite resort destination established across a lagoon of 50 untouched natural islands, The Red Sea will be situated on the site of one of the world’s last natural hidden treasures, between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh, developed in partnership with the world’s leading hospitality firms.

Situated just a few kilometres from one of the kingdom’s most diverse nature reserves and captivating dormant volcanoes in Harrat Al Rahat, The Red Sea promises to emerge as a blissful coastal island retreat set against a back drop of the ancient ruins at Mada’in Saleh, renowned for its beauty and historical significance.

Just minutes from its stunning coast, The Red Sea will offer visitors the opportunity to explore the hidden treasures of the Kingdom, including a nature reserve that boasts stunning diversity of flora and fauna, located at the foothills of the dormant volcano nearby.

While an array of marine-oriented resort developments, will allow for unparalleled scuba diving among the stunning coral reefs in the waters around The Red Sea.

With tourism representing the second most important sector in the kingdom, The Red Sea will spearhead the diversification of Saudi Arabia’s leisure industry, and as envisioned in Vision 2030, aims to diversify the Kingdom’s tourism offerings to create a year-round hospitality sector, while promoting cultural conservation and economic stimulation.

The Red Sea will serve as a centre of the wellness movement and a showcase for a healthy, engaged and vibrant society – all while setting new standards for sustainable development and environmental protection, which will be central to the development of the project.

To ensure the conservation of the natural environment in accordance with the highest standards of ecological best practices the number of visitors annually will be capped, while the heritage sites in the region will be scientifically restored to welcome guests.

The newly mapped semi-autonomous area will be governed by laws on par with international standards, with the initial ground-breaking expected in the third quarter of 2019.

While, completion of phase one of the project is anticipated by the last quarter of 2022, which will include the development of hotels and luxury residential units, as well as all logistical infrastructure – including air, land and sea transport hubs.

The Red Sea will be developed with seed capital from PIF, while partnerships with top-tier international companies will also be formed to ensure new direct investment into the kingdom that will be redirected back into the country.

Partnering with global companies for development competencies, experience and financial investments, this project will attract the world’s leading names in hotel and tourism operations, to bring about the next-generation of tourism in a way that will open The Red Sea to tourists, and provide unparalleled experiences for local, regional and global visitors alike while contributing to the Kingdom’s economic growth.

For the latest on The Red Sea development follow the official Twitter account at: @TheRedSeaSA

The project will be led by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, an organisation with a diversified portfolio of approximately 200 investments, 20 of which are listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).

In addition to its listed assets, PIF has a number of unlisted equity investments, international investments, real estate holdings, loans, bonds and sukuk.

Since oversight of the PIF was transferred from the ministry of finance to the council of economic and development affairs last year, the fund has been undergoing a phased transformation program to implement a redefined strategy and mandate.

This includes expanding the management and investment teams, and services and support offices, enhancing the governance structures, engaging with the diverse portfolio and implementing an investment strategy, which is closely aligned with Vision 2030.

A new board has been appointed, chaired by the deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud.

The Public Investment Fund is developing a world-renowned portfolio of local and foreign investments and is spearheading efforts to diversify the Saudi income streams by generating huge long-term financial returns from its investments in the country and abroad.

Location

The Red Sea project is located along the western coast of Saudi Arabia, between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh.

The area is characterised by its year-round temperate climate, with average summer temperatures reaching up to 31°C.

Envisioned as an exquisite luxury resort destination established across 50 untouched natural islands in a lagoon that stretches along 200 kilometres of stunning coastline, The Red Sea will be situated on the site of one of the world’s last natural hidden treasures.

The project will form an archipelago that is home to environmentally protected coral reefs, mangroves, and several endangered marine species, including the hawksbill sea turtle.

It also boasts dormant volcanoes, the most recently active of which has a recorded history of activity dating back to the 17th century AD.

In addition, The Red Sea project’s nature reserve is inhabited by rare wildlife including Arabian leopards, Arabian wolves, Arabian wildcats, and falcons.

Tourists will also be able to visit the ancient ruins at Mada’in Saleh, which date back thousands of years, and are renowned for their beauty and historical significance.

It is also the first heritage location in Saudi Arabia to be classified as UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Red Sea will serve as a centre of the wellness movement and a showcase for a healthy, engaged, and vibrant society.

Visitors to The Red Sea resort will enjoy plenty of sunshine, pristine white sandy beaches, and for the more adventurous, various eco, historical, and cultural excursions, both on land and in the sea.

The resort will also offer popular activities including water sports – with The Red Sea famed for being one of the world’s best dive sites.

In addition to extreme sports – parachuting, trekking, and rock climbing – as well as culturally enriching visits to the Arab Heritage Museum and the Archaeology Centre.

Targeting local, regional, and international tourists, The Red Sea project is projected to welcome one million visitors per annum by 2035, with the yearly number of visitors capped in order to protect the ecosystem and preserve the area’s natural habitat.

To achieve this ambitious goal, the newly mapped semi-autonomous area will be governed by laws on par with international standards that will include no visa requirements for most nationalities.

In addition, the regulatory framework of this project will set new standards for sustainable development and environmental protection, to ensure the conservation of the Kingdom’s natural environment in accordance with the highest standards of ecological best practice.

Timeline

The initial ground-breaking of The Red Sea project is expected in the third quarter of 2019.

Completion of phase one of the project is anticipated by the last quarter of 2022, including the development of hotels and luxury residential units, as well as all logistical infrastructure – including air, land, and sea transport hubs.

Image Saudi Press Agency