Much attention has been focused on Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Red Sea Project since the country started offering tourist eVisas to overseas visitors. This major new construction plan has been created with the aim of improving the appeal of the Middle Eastern nation’s western coast to tourists and to further diversify the country’s economy.
Whilst work on the construction of this new luxury resort development is in its relatively early stages, this article explores just what’s inside Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea tourism project. It examines the main attractions that are currently under construction, how tourists will be able to visit the new complex as well as the main goals of the work being done.
Key Facts about the Red Sea Project
The Red Sea Project was formally started in 2017 when it was announced by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Construction commenced in 2019 and the first phase of the project is expected to be completed by 2022 when the first luxury destinations will be opened for tourists visiting the country.
This ambitious new complex is to be built on the shores of Tabuk province and across 90 small islands on the west coast of Saudi Arabia. The main development will be situated between the cities of Umluj and Al-Wajh and will cover 28,000 square km of land.
What are the Goals of the Red Sea Project?
The main goal of the project is to increase Saudi Arabia’s appeal to tourists from around the world. The country has been steadily investing in its travel and tourism economy and infrastructure over the past few years and the Red Sea Project itself is one of the more significant examples of this aim. It is hoped that on completion that 70,000 new jobs will be created thanks to this development.
Beyond this, one of the main goals of the construction work is to create a resort that respects and protects the local ecosystem of the Red Sea coastline. The ongoing work is to focus on building resorts that respect the sustainability of wildlife and the environment in the region. The area is planned to be carbon neutral in the long term and will completely avoid the use of any plastic in the proposed hotels.
Red Sea Hotels and Attractions Tourists Will be Able to Experience
During phase one of the project, the Saudi Government has laid out an extensive infrastructure plan detailing the key transportation routes and initial resorts that will open in 2022. In this initial stage, 14 luxury or hyper luxury hotels are to be built as well as major new housing infrastructure and leisure facilities.
This, in turn, is hoped to boost the appeal of broader areas of the country’s new tourist zone, especially in coastal areas where visitors can enjoy the many cultural and natural wonders Saudi Arabia has to offer. Some of the top current attractions in the region include:
- Pristine beaches
- Local wildlife, such as rare sea birds
- Mada’in Saleh, a famed UNESCO heritage site
Furthermore, as the country adapts to greater numbers of tourists within its borders, it is expected that some of Saudi Arabia’s strict social customs will be relaxed around the new resorts. The country already allows foreign unmarried couples to share hotel rooms and whilst it still adheres to many of its religious traditions it is starting to ease some of these social and moral laws for tourists.
How to Travel to Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project
In addition to the many hotels and tourist resorts under construction in the west of Saudi Arabia, the government is also preparing a major overhaul to the transportation infrastructure in the region. This is still undergoing construction but is planned to consist of the following:
A New Airport Serving the Red Sea Resorts
One of the biggest new installations to be built as part of the new project is a brand new airport. It is to be designed by London-based architect Foster + Partners and will serve around 1 million passengers annually when it opens in 2030. Like the rest of the project, it will have to follow strict sustainability standards.
Major New Road Infrastructure
In addition to the new airport, the Red Sea Development company overseeing the project has announced the construction of 77 km of new roads. These new routes will include a 13km airport access road, a brand new 10km highway serving the resorts as well as interconnecting roads within the new developments themselves. These are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
There is no doubt that the Red Sea Project offers many possibilities for both Saudi citizens as well as foreign travelers. The country has much to interest visitors in terms of travel and tourism and that potential looks to be closer than ever to being reached.
Work remains ongoing on the Red Sea Project, however, traveling to Saudi Arabia is easier than it’s ever been previously. Tourists from 51 countries can now apply online for a Saudi eVisa. This offers guests to the country an easy and quick way to obtain travel authorization for up to 90 days in the Middle Eastern kingdom in under 5 working days before arrival.