Saudi Arabia to spend $9bn developing beach for tourists

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Photo for illustrative purposes only) (AFP/Getty Images)

Photo for illustrative purposes only) (AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia will spend SR34bn ($9bn) developing a beach on its east coast into a tourism destination, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has said.

SCTA vice president Hamad Alsimaeel said the Al Uqair Development Company had attracted SR17bn worth of investments to develop the beach, while general investment in the Al Uqair area was expected to reach SR34bn, Arab News reported.

Tourists would begin flocking to the area, near the kingdom’s borders with Qatar and Bahrain, in early 2017.

The project will create 37,700 direct jobs and a further 56,000 indirect and seasonal jobs, Alsimaeel said.

Mayor of the area, Fahad Al Jubair, said Al Uqair’s unique environment, including beach, oases and desert, as well as cultural monuments and antiquities would attract tourists.

The nearby Al Ahsa Airport also will soon begin operating international flights, allowing it to compete for Bahraini and Qatari traffic.

The airport was given international status in 2011 and has been working on the required upgrades.

More than SR1.5bn ($400m) also is being spent on a new 300m square metre industrial city for women nearby, while the SR3.5bn Aqeer tourism project also is expected to attract new tourists to the area.

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