Massive Saudi plans to boost its tourism sector through huge investments

Published on : Monday, May 28, 2018

Massive SaudiSaudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund said on Sunday the country’s Red Sea Project, a vast tourist development aimed at opening the economy, has been registered as a standalone company and will be headed by a former director of London’s Canary Wharf business zone.

The Saudi government announced plans to develop resorts on about 50 islands off the kingdom’s Red Sea coast adding that the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, would make initial investments and seek partnerships with international investors and hoteliers in July.

The Red Sea Project, part of an ambitious strategy to open the economy and ease social restrictions, will be built between the cities of Amlaj and al-Wajh.

It will offer a nature reserve, heritage sites and diving in coral reefs. It will break ground in the third quarter of 2019 and complete its first phase in late 2022.

PIF has two other major initiatives: NEOM — a $500bn business and industrial zone extending into Egypt and Jordan — and Qiddiya, a multibillion dollar entertainment resort that will be twice as big as Disney World.

John Pagano, the former MD for development of London’s Canary Wharf Group, had been appointed as CEO, an emailed statement.

The Red Sea Development would create a special economic zone with its own regulatory framework, visas on entry, relaxed social norms and improved business regulations, the statement said.

This would enable it to develop and deliver a world-class international tourist destination.
The fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is believed to have assets totalling about $183bn and is set to receive a cash injection in 2019 after the share sale of state oil giant Saudi Aramco.


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