Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah area will one day be the “Beverly Hills of Riyadh”, complete with wellness facilities and resorts, according to Gerard ‘Jerry’ Inzerillo, CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority.
Plans for the Diriyah area, located on the outskirts of Riyadh, call for the adjacent 65 square kilometre Wadi Safar area – currently the site of numerous large farms – to be built-up and developed.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Inzerillo said that once completed, the area would be comparable to California’s Beverly Hills and Bel Air areas.
“One of the busiest metroplexes in America is southern California and the city of Los Angeles, but people say that Beverly Hills and Bel Air are a respite, a beautiful kind of oasis in the middle of a very urban city,” Inzerillo explained. “Diriyah is an oasis in an urban city of what will eventually become 8, 9, 10 million people.”
Inzerillo added that the Saudi government has ambitious plans for the ‘greening’ of the area, which include the planting of an additional 10,000 trees in time for the upcoming Formula E Grand Prix in December.
“It will become more environmentally friendly and family friendly,” he added. “The master-plan [in Wadi Safar] calls for beautiful, low-density, high-level wellness facilities where people can come from Riyadh for the weekend and have best-in-class resorts.”
While the area is still under development, approximately 100,000 people are expected at the Diriyah E-Prix Formula-E race later this year, up from 40,000 in 2018.
The area is also home to the At-Turaif Unesco world heritage site, which is expected to open its doors to the Saudi public – and foreign visitors - for the first time in the fourth quarter of this year.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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