Bloomberg reports that Saudi Arabia has approached banks to raise financing for the Red Sea Project and Qiddiya – the two tourism giga-projects the kingdom hopes will diversify its economy away from oil.
The report says that Red Sea Development Co. and Qiddiya Investment Co. have sent out so-called request for proposals to banks to see how much they could lend.
The Red Sea Project project will cover 50 islands and 34,000 square kilometers – an area larger than Belgium. Qiddiya will be the kingdom’s largest cultural, sports and entertainment city, located southwest of Riyadh.
The Board of Directors of the Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) last month approved the master plan for Saudi’s ambitious project. The Red Sea destination is set to be fully complete in 2030 – and will create up to 70,000 jobs. The master plan will support personalised products and services, with a focus on luxury. There will be a smart destination management system that will manage visitor flow.
The Qiddiya entertainment city is due o be completed in 2022, and is being developed on 334 square kilometers and will include a safari area and a Six Flags Entertainment Corp. theme park.
There are 4 “giga projects” currently under construction in Saudi: Qiddiya, Al-Ula, Neom and the Red Sea Project. In September the Public Investment Fund announced a new uber-luxury resort called Amaala.
Saudi Arabia is moving ahead with the projects, despite recent controversies involving the Kingdom.
Bloomberg also notes that some past mega projects “have struggled to get off the ground” – including the 2006 King Abdullah Financial District which remains unfinished.
These investments, it is hoped, will support the diversification of Saudi Arabia’s leisure and tourism industry.
International tourism in Saudi Arabia is forecast to grow by 5.8% per year from 2018 to 2022, according to a report from BMI Research.