Vision 2030 comes to the Red Sea


With its shimmering blue waters, white sandy beaches and pristine coral reefs, the Red Sea is one of the world’s major tourist destinations. But the tourist footfall thus far has been concentrated on the so-called Red Sea Riviera on Egypt’s eastern coastline. This may soon change. Saudi Arabia on Monday announced ambitious plans to transform a 200-kilometre stretch of its coastline into a tourist haven. The development will feature luxury hotels, residences and wellness centres. Fifty natural islands will form part of the project.

This Red Sea development is at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic plan that seeks to diversify the kingdom’s economy and reduce its reliance on revenues from hydrocarbon exports. The tourism project is being financed by the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Work on the first phase is scheduled to be completed as early as 2022. Riyadh believes it will create 35,000 new jobs and bring in annual revenues of 15 billion riyals (Dhs14.7bn). The developed coastline is likely to be a semiautonomous region, with a freer visa regime for travellers. Saudi Arabia’s cultural and natural heritage  —  the ruins of Madain Saleh, a Unesco world heritage site; protected coral reefs; dormant volcanoes; and a wildlife reserve that’s home to Arabian falcons leopards  —  will be opened to tourists…

Read more : The National, 02.08.2017