Officials in Saudi’s northern Hail province have announced they plan to build the largest environmental tourism park in the Middle East.
Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saad, deputy governor of Hail, told reporters on Tuesday the project would boost desert tourism and help attract more visitors to the kingdom.
The project, called Musma Park will be located 160km to the west of Hail city, reports Arab News.
Tourism is becoming an important part of the kingdom’s economy as officials try to move away from an oil-reliant economy. Earlier this month officials revealed tourism generated SR70bn ($18.66bn) last year.
Abdullah Bin Sulaiman Al-Jehani, vice president for marketing and media in the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), said this figure accounted for 6.5 percent of the country’s GDP growth.
Meanwhile, the UAE capital Abu Dhabi announced it is looking to develop eco-friendly desert resorts, similar to the popular Al Maha in Dubai, as part of its tourism plans.
Abu Dhabi National Hotels is carrying out feasibility studies into setting up resorts to attract European tourists.