Saudi Arabia has announced new plans for a large-scale tourist project that will see 100 miles of Red Sea coastline transformed into a ‘exquisite luxury resort destination’. The project, part of the Kingdom’s wider Vision 2030 initiative to move its economy away from its reliance on oil, is reportedly going to cost around US$4 billion.
One of the biggest attractions for potential western tourists will be the area’s semi-autonomous status, meaning that it will be governed by laws on par with international standards. This means conservative rules on alcohol and restrictive dress rules may not apply in the new resort.
Saudi Arabia has also pledged to make the new tourist resort eco-friendly, and has said that there will be a nature reserve. “Visitors will be able to enjoy nature through various experiences including stargazing, camping, hiking on dormant volcanoes, or observing rare animals and plants in their natural habitat,” it said.
There are several historic sites in the Red Sea area, including the ancient ruins at Mada’in Saleh, and holidaymakers will be able to visit the Arab Heritage Museum and the Archaeology Centre. Saudi Arabian authorities also stated that holidaymakers will also be able to participate in scuba diving, rock climbing, trekking and parachuting.
The first phase of the project, which includes the development of hotels, residential units and infrastructure, is hoping to be completed be the last quarter of 2022, predicted the country.