In an iconic moment, Saudi Arabia recently announced that it would be opening its doors to international tourists, giving them a chance to witness the SR100 billion plan that aims to reform the Kingdom’s tourism industry.
Indeed, Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building while Bahrain is home to the world’s largest underwater theme park, but now Saudi Arabia gearing up to showcase its high-tech cities, pristine islands, and the world’s fastest rollercoaster which beats Abu Dhabi‘s record.
Here’s everything you need to know about the five upcoming projects in Saudi Arabia.
The most anticipated project in the Kingdom, Qiddiya, is expected to be Saudi Arabia’s “pre-eminent entertainment, sports, and cultural destination.”
The first phase, which opens to the public in 2023, will include more than 45 individual projects, and 300 activities in the creative, hospitality, leisure, and sports sector. The entertainment city will also feature a theme park, a water park, a motorsports center, and sports and art venues.
The theme park is not just any attraction. For the first time in the Middle East, tourists can enjoy the thrills and rides of the iconic Six Flags in Qiddiya, instead of booking a long-haul flight to the US. The exciting park will include a raptor-inspired rollercoaster, “The Falcon’s Flight,” which is said to be the longest, tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world.
The grand project is set to create over 17,000 new job opportunities. CEO of Qiddiya Investment Company, Mike Reininger said to Arab News, “The idea behind Qiddiya is simple, yet powerful: To create a place that unlocks the opportunities and virtues that entertainment, sports, and the arts can contribute to a healthy, happy and engaging lifestyle. It’s an idea that resonates with the Kingdom’s young and smart and progressive population, who share the universal desire for these opportunities and experiences. That is the idea, which fully aligns with the Kingdom’s vision 2030.”
Another giga-project, Amaala, is set to be an ultra-luxurious destination targeting wellness and healthy living. The resort will be located in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nature Reserve, where tourists can find seven-star luxuries with private villas and a retail village.
In September 2018, when Nicholas Naples was named the CEO of this project, he said, “Amaala represents a unique and transformational luxury experience where full-fledged wellness tourism is integrated alongside a curated mix of arts, culture and sports offerings that are individually tailored for the ultra-luxury lifestyle, including the availability of a fashion scene, healthy-living services, and year-round sea expeditions.”
The destination will also feature yacht clubs, lavish cruises, international as well as local restaurants, cultural events, and concerts.
The Red Sea Project
In line with the Kingdom’s vision for sustainability, the Red Sea Project will enable tourists to explore the rich cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia’s untouched Red Sea Coast.
The sumptuous project will be located between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh. The plan boasts 90 islands, volcanoes, deserts, and mountains that are strategically placed at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
The island is “within eight hours’ flying time of 80 percent of the world’s population,” reported Arab News.
The heritage site’s first phase, which will be completed in 2022, is set to open “14 luxury and hyper-luxury hotels providing 3,000 rooms across five islands and two inland resorts on the Kingdom’s west coast, an airport to serve the destination, and marinas, along with residential properties and recreational facilities.”
Along with the utmost luxury, the Kingdom also aims to set new standards for sustainable developments. The location of the Red Sea Project went through many environmental checks to ensure that flora and fauna would remain untouched, and unaffected.
The long term model of prosperity also resulted in the ambitious high-tech city named Neom. The Public Investment Fund has invested USD500 billion in the futuristic city that will be more than 35 times the size of Singapore and will contain over 450km of coastline. Stretching over 26,500 square kilometers, Neom aims to implement technology into sixteen sectors, including food, media, fashion, and sports bringing the concept of urban and modern living to Saudi Arabia by 2020.
Ad Diriyah, also known as the “pearl of Saudi Arabia,” is a famous tourist destination in the Kingdom. The UNESCO-listed site of At-Turaif is far from the futuristic Neom city; it represents Saudi’s deep culture and heritage. The ancient ground, once known as a trade and pilgrimage route, became the birthplace of Saudi states.
Situated on the outskirts of Riyadh, the tourist destination will soon be hosting luxury resorts, international hotel brands, and entertainment choices. Although the UNESCO site has not been open to the public since 2010, the area is set to open – once again – in 2020.
Jerry Inzerillo, Chief Executive of Diriyah Gate Development Authority, is expecting 27 million tourists – only for Ad Diriyah – by the year of 2030. Ad Diriyah’s first hotel is set to open in late 2021.