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Saudi Arabia’s $27bn plan will transform tourism

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Saudi Arabia has announced an SR100 billion ($27bn) plan to transform tourism. It will build destinations with local and international investors, including Triple 5 and Majid Al Futtaim.

Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) confirmed the agreements and MOUs.

These include entertainment destinations from Triple 5, Saudi’s largest indoor ski slope and snow park from Majid Al Futtaim, and a water park at Qiddiya.

The news comes as Saudi Arabia opens to tourists as part of Vision 2030, which looks to reduce the country’s dependence on oil.

Saudi Arabia hopes to increase international and domestic visits to 100 million a year by 2030. The aim is for tourism to contribute up to 10% towards Saudi’s GDP.

Saudi will welcome its largest ski slope and snow park

Ibrahim Al-Omar, Governor of SAGIA, said: “In Saudi Arabia, the market fundamentals are in place for a vibrant tourism industry, and we believe that the private sector will play a crucial role in unlocking this potential.

“At SAGIA, our role is to empower and enable domestic and international investors by identifying and developing new opportunities, fostering partnerships and shaping regulatory reforms.

“Signing these agreements today represents a milestone for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as we continue charting a path to a new diversified economy.”

Ahmad Al Khateeb, Chairman of SCTH, added: “These exciting and wide-ranging agreements are only the beginning of the investment opportunities that will arise within Saudi Arabia – the fastest growing tourism sector on Earth.

Hotel, water park and retail development at Qiddiya

“We anticipate more businesses from around the world will establish operations within the Kingdom, as its unique attractions, culture and natural beauty become more widely appreciated.”

Agreements and MOUs signed by SAGIA include:

  • Triple 5 (SAR 37.5 billion) plans to develop mixed-use tourism, hospitality and entertainment destinations.
  • Majid Al Futtaim (SAR 20 billion) will create a mixed-use shopping and entertainment destination with Saudi’s largest indoor ski slope and snow park.
  • FTG Development (SAR 5.5 billion) is building a hotel, water park and retail development in Qiddiya, as well as a hotel in Neom.
  • Nenking Group / Ajlan Brothers (SAR 1.5 billion) are investing in a landmark lifestyle destination in Riyadh.
  • Kerten Hospitality (SAR 270 million) will develop mixed-use projects across Saudi Arabia.

Shopping and entertainment from Majid Al Futtaim

As for agreements facilitated by SCTH, Saudia airline is launching the first commercial flights to Neom, and has signed agreements with the Red Sea Project and Al-Ula.

Images: Invest Saudi/Visit Saudi

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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