Saudi Arabia is embarking on an ambitious building spree to attract tourists to their Country

ByAndrea Thompson

March 26, 2024

Reported to be spending around $1.1 trillion and restoring six of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as building new “giga-projects”, The Saudi Vision 2030 is to diversifying the economy.

NEOM

This is one of the largest projects at around $500 billion.  Being a tourism and business development by the Red Sea with a 468 km coastline and 41 islands,  it envisions cities, resorts, airport and airline.  There will be 9m residents and approximately 5m annual visitors.  Within this is Oxagon which is conceptual industrial post and logistics hub and authorities expect this to be the largest floating city globally.

The Red Sea Project’s climate spans from sun-soaked beaches to snow-capped mountains and around 95% of the surrounding natural landscape will be preserved in harmony with nature.

There will be an indoor Trojena Ski report with a planned opening in 2026 and hosting the Asian Winter Games in 2029.  The Anatara Hotel has already been proposed promising luxury and comfort and we will see many more exciting developments to follow as this ambitious project unfolds.

THE RED SEA PROJECT

The Red Sea Project is a transformative initiative that revitalizes tourism, transforming it into a luxurious resort destination. It encompasses an archipelago of over 90 islands in the Red Sea. These islands boast stunning beaches, dormant volcanoes, desert dunes, and towering mountain canyons. The Red Sea harbours the world’s fourth-largest barrier reef, where marine life and coral thrive in unparalleled abundance.

Sustainability is at the core of this project. It aims to be 100% carbon-neutral and adheres to a zero-waste-to-landfill policy. Single-use plastics are banned, emphasizing environmental responsibility. The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund has pledged a staggering $15 billion to support the project.

Notable resorts include the St. Regis Red Sea Resort (opening in November), Six Senses Southern Dunes, and Nujuma Ritz-Carlton Reserve (scheduled for later in 2024).  Collaborating with NEOM, the Red Sea Project aims for 3,000 hotel rooms, residential spaces, and recreational facilities. A marine life research institute is also part of this grand endeavour, with completion targeted for 2028.

Confirmed hotels include Clinique La Prairie Health Resort (65 rooms), Rosewood Hotels (100 rooms and 25 residences), and Hayasom Wellness Resort (153 rooms and 24 branded residences).

HEGRA

Situated more inland and poised to become an open-air museum to rival Petra.  This UNESCO World Heritage site at Hegra is a 12th century settlement on the pilgrimage route from Damascus to Makkah which is already an international tourist attraction itself.  The area will be rejuvenated and showcase the open-air wall carvings at Jabal Ikmah being fully accessible to tourists from around the globe.

There will be a low carbon tramway spanning the whole development and enhancing connectivity.  Nestled within the Nature Reserve and hidden within the local flora and fauns will be a luxury resort designed by Pritzker-prize winning French architect, Jean Louvel and inspired by Hegra’s Nabatean marvels.

THE MUKAAB

A proposed £37 billion skyscraper named “Mukaab”, also known as “the buildings” and expected to be one of the largest structures globally and the tallest building in Riyad.  This cube-shaped architectural masterpiece is set to be the highlight of the Murabba downtown plan in Riyadh. Located in the northwest of central Riyadh in the al Qirawan district, one of the five neighbourhoods of the planned real estate development of New Murabba.

The Murabba development spans 19 square kilometres (imagine 20 Empire State Buildings) and is set to alter the city’s landscape creating 335,000 jobs. It is built around the concept of sustainability with unique living and working areas, green areas, walking and cycling paths promoting a healthy lifestyle and community activities all within a 15 minute walking radius

The design of Mukaab is innovative, featuring a façade of triangular forms inspired by the modern Najdi architectural style as a nod to the Country’s Islamic history. The skyscraper, covering two million square meters, will accommodate a variety of shops, cultural attractions, and tourist amenities using holographic immersive experiences for visitors.  A near full-height atrium space will house a spiralling tower, adding to the visual appeal which they hope will be a premium hospitality destination.

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the chairman of the New Murabba Development Company, envisions the Murabba district as the new face of Riyadh. This ambitious project will include over 100,000 residential units, 9,000 hotel rooms, 980,000 square meters of shops, and 1.4 million square meters of office space.

Construction is due to commence in 2025.  With the first phase expected to be completed in 2027 and the entire project  around 2030.

In summary Saudi Arabia’s ambitious tourist vision aims to attract millions of visitors and enhance domestic tourism and create economic growth and opportunities.