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Saudi Arabia Expects to Gain $4 Billion Annually with Red Sea Tourism Project | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A boy flies a kite on the Red Sea beach near the landmark Jeddah fountain, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP)

Jeddah – Saudi Arabia has boosted its tourist status by launching a major project entitled, the Red Sea project, a few days after it announced the revival of the tourist visa.

The Red Sea project, launched by Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz on Monday, will be implemented on one of the most beautiful and diverse natural sites in the world, in cooperation with the world’s largest hospitality companies to develop exceptional tourist resorts.

The project is expected to create as many as 35,000 jobs “once it is up and running” and contribute 15 billion riyals ($4 billion) to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product.

The project will cover 50 islands and 34,000 square kilometers — an area bigger than Belgium — between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh. It will be developed by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, with the first work expected to kick off in two years.

The Public Investment Fund, headed by Prince Mohammed, will inject initial investments into the project and start partnerships with international companies.

It said Monday it will provide the seed capital to develop the resort area, explaining that the new “semi-autonomous area will be governed by laws on par with international standards.”

The Fund said the project will attract leading names in the hotel business to “bring about the next-generation of tourism in a way that will open” Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastline to tourists from around the world.

The initial groundbreaking is expected in the third quarter of 2019. The first phase will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2022, including the development of hotels and luxury residential units, as well as all logistical infrastructure — including air, land and sea transport hubs.

The Fund added the Red Sea project will be built along 125 miles (200 kilometers) of coastline and is tailored toward global luxury travelers and those seeking wellness travel, a genre of tourism associated with personal well-being and health.