By Bernd Debusmann Jr
The first phase of the development will eventually include 16 hotels, totalling 3,000 hotel keys
Saudi Arabia’s multi-billion dollar Red Sea Project plans to begin welcoming guests to hotels at the end of 2022, with as many as five hotels open by the end of the year, according to John Pagano, the CEO of the Red Sea Development Company.
In an exclusive interview with Arabian Business, Pagano said that the first phase of the development will eventually include 16 hotels, totalling 3,000 hotel keys across five islands and two inland locations.
The first phase will also include entertainment facilities, an airport, and the wider infrastructure needed to support a significant number of staff members and an influx of tourists.
“We’ll be welcoming our first guest at the end of 2022. That’s what’s on the horizon. We’re working towards opening the resort,” Pagano said. “Not the full 16 hotels, but probably five by the end of 2022. The balance will open in 2023.”
As part of the initial phase of the project, the Red Sea Project will also include a ‘town’ for around 15,000 workers.
“We’ve already committed SAR 5.3 billion ($1.41 billion) of signed contracts that we are executing on site,” Pagano added.
Upon completion in 2030, the site will deliver up to 8,000 hotel keys across 22 islands and six inland sites. The project area covers 28,000 sq km, slightly smaller than the size of Belgium, and is the only one of Saudi Arabia’s ‘giga-projects’ dedicated completely hospitality driven.
According to Pagano, the site’s development has not been significantly impacted by delayed caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“It had a limited effect, with some delays, most related to restrictions on travel and the free movement of materials,” he said. “I’m pleased that as we come out of the other end of it, we were able to mitigate a large part of that…..we got concessions [from the government] that allowed us to keep this site operating.”
A full interview with John Pagano will feature in an upcoming edition of Arabian Business magazine.