From The Editors Travel

Saudi Arabia Looking to Remodel Its Oil-Dependent Economy – Announces The Red Sea Mega Tourism Project

In a move to reduce its dependency on oil revenue, Saudi Arabia today announced The Red Sea Project – a tourism-centric undertaking scheduled to start by the third quarter of 2019.

The ambitious coastal project to develop a world class resort between the cities of Amlaj and al-Jawh, covering an area of some 30,000 square km across a lagoon of 50 virgin islands in the Red Sea, was made public by His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the crown prince and deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia and chairman of the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

“The project will be a leading coastal destination, located on a number of virgin islands in the Red Sea. Besides the project, the ruins of Madain Saleh are characterized by its construction beauty and great historical significance,” said the statement.

The first phase of the project is estimated for completion in the last quarter of 2022 which will include hotels and luxury residential units, plus all logistical infrastructure including air, land, and sea transport hubs.

The initial funding for The Red Sea Project is being made available by PIF with plans of attracting the world’s leading brands of hotels and tour operators along with major multinationals companies along the way.

“The new project aims to promote international tourism by opening the Red Sea gate to the world in order to identify its treasures and embark on new adventures that will attract tourists locally, regionally and internationally. The project will be a center for everything related to recreation, health and relaxation and an integrated model for a healthy and vital society,” said the statement.

Once operational, the project is expected to create 35,000 jobs and boost the kingdom’s GDP by an additional $4 billion.

Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry has been primarily reliant on millions of Muslims who visit the country, particularly the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, for the annual Islamic pilgrimage, the “Haj.”

With the development of The Red Sea Project, the Saudi leadership is looking to diversify tourism by showing its willingness to shift its traditional stance of being a rigid Islamic nation. Steps have been taken in this direction by the powers that be by somewhat relaxing the country’s regulations on entertainment and tourism.

Not too far from Harrat Al Rahat, home to a diverse nature reserve and rugged dormant volcanoes, The Red Sea will offer world tourists a brand new coastal island destination against a beautiful and historically significant backdrop. And if we know the Saudis right, you can expect the best of the best!

While we can now rest assured that no expenses will be spared and no compromises made in making The Red Sea one of the best of its kind, let’s take a look at what the site of the mega project has on offer for visitors.

Temperate climate throughout the year with an average summer temperature of 31° Celsius.

50 unblemished islands in a 200 km lagoon along the desert nation’s breathtaking Red Sea coastline.

The proposed site of the project boasts environmentally protected coral reefs, mangroves, and plenty of marine wildlife including a number of endangered marine species such as the hawksbill sea turtle.

The nature reserve surrounding the project is home to some extraordinary wildlife including Arabian Wildcats, falcons, and Arabian leopards and wolves.\

The ancient ruins of Mada’in Saleh – a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

Check out the stunning location yourself in this video.

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