Saudi Arabia will turn its northwestern Red Sea coast into a luxury tourism resort to rival the French Riviera, its Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced Wednesday.
The Amaala development would be ‘a natural extension of the Mediterranean Sea, and dubbed the Riviera of the Middle East’, according to the country’s top sovereign wealth fund.
Located in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nature Reserve, the resort will feature hotels, private villas, an arts academy and a yacht club.
Located in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nature Reserve on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Coast, the Amaala development will seek to attract domestic and international tourists to boost its oil-reliant economy
Amaala guests will be able to enjoy the ‘unspoilt coral reefs’ and ‘beautiful mountain backdrop’
Amaala will is the latest addition to the northwestern Red Sea coast, along with NEOM and the Red Sea Project
The new destination is a natural extension of the Mediterranean Sea, and dubbed the Riviera of the Middle East. The PIF says it will be an all-year-round destination that utilizes its unique heritage and geological points of interest
It is the latest in a series of ‘giga projects’ designed to pull the ailing Saudi economy away from oil and towards tourism.
PIF said Amaala, along with NEOM and Qiddiya – Saudi Arabia’s answer to Silicon Valley and Disneyland – will form a portfolio of ultra-projects and create a ‘tourism ecosystem’ to underpin a strong economy and boost employment.
Due to be completed by 2028, the Amaala resort will span three sites in the nature reserve and cover an area exceeding 3,800 sq. km. It will be accessible via a dedicated airport.
While the initial funding will be provided by PIF, partnership and investment packages will open up to the private sector as the project progresses.
Developers hope Amaala will provide a hub of art will rely on 4 key design elements: contemporary art, a Riviera-lifestyle colony of artists, immersive artistic moments, and sculpture
‘A vision beyond all others’: Amaala will focus on ‘wellness, healthy living and meditation’ as well as ecological preservation and sustainability
The ambitious project will take 10 years to complete and aims to attract 2.5 million ‘top leisure’ tourists
Meanwhile, Wednesday also marked the inauguration of the Kingdom’s Haramain (two mosques) high-speed rail linking Mecca, Medina and Jeddah.
The 450-km (280-mile) multi-billion dollar railway will carry an estimated 60 million passengers annually, many of them Islamic worshippers, hundreds of thousands of whom complete the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages every year.
It will cut journey times between Islam’s most sacred cities – Mecca and Medina – in half.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (R) about to enter a train at Jeddah Central Station, during the inauguration of a new high-speed railway linking Mecca and Medina, Islam’s holiest cities
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz boarding a train on the Haramain high speed railway. Described by local officials as the biggest transportation project in the region, it will transport Muslim pilgrims and regular travellers along a distance of 450 kilometres from Mecca to Medina via Jeddah
In Amaala, the PIF hopes to attract a new brand of conscientious modern tourist with what they say is an ‘all-new concept for ultra-luxury tourism focusing on wellness, healthy living, and meditation.’
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with a series of highly ambitious, billion-dollar schemes all funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund but sceptics question their viability.
In addition to NEOM and Qiddiya, the kingdom has unveiled a blueprint for the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination which includes a nature reserve and heritage sites on about 50 islands.
The reforms stem partly from a motivation to boost domestic spending and attract foreign investment as the kingdom reels from an economic slowdown
Participants watch a movie advertising Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea project in 2017, another ‘giga project’ in the series funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund
Such projects are the brainchild of Prince Mohammed, architect of a sweeping reform programme dubbed ‘Vision 2030’, which looks to modernise and open up Saudi society.
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia said it will begin issuing visas to visitors to attend sporting and cultural events from December, a first for the kingdom as it seeks to open its society up and attract international tourists.
At present, foreigners travelling to the conservative Muslim country are largely restricted to resident workers and their dependents, business travellers, and Muslim pilgrims who are given special visas to travel to holy sites.
Plans to admit significant numbers of tourists from abroad have been discussed for years, only to be blocked by conservative opinion and bureaucracy.
Amaala will be developed over three sites located within the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve on the pristine north-western coast of Saudi Arabia. The development area of Amaala will exceed 3,800 sq. km and will be easily accessible via a dedicated airport
‘Amaala will become one of the world’s top diving areas, reinventing the diving experience to become a center of excellence for submarine life’, said the PIF