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Fri 27 Sep 2019 05:19 PM

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Saudi Arabia announces $27bn plan to transform tourism

Series of mixed-use tourism and entertainment projects planned including the region's largest ski slope and snow park

Saudi Arabia announces $27bn plan to transform tourism
A mixed-use shopping and entertainment destination will be developed in Saudi Arabia which will feature the region’s largest indoor ski slope and snow park.

Saudi Arabia's General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) on Friday announced a number of agreements with regional and international investors totalling about SR100 billion ($27 billion).

As Saudi Arabia opens to tourists from across the world, as part of Vision 2030, the deals reflect the potential the Gulf kingdom's growing tourism sector offers to investors.

Agreements signed by SAGIA include one worth SR37.5 billion with Triple 5 which plans to develop a series of mixed-use tourism, hospitality and entertainment destinations across the kingdom and another with Majid Al Futtaim worth SR20 billion for a mixed-use shopping and entertainment destination which will create 12,000 jobs and feature the region’s largest indoor ski slope and snow park.

Saudi Arabia expects to increase international and domestic visits to 100 million a year by 2030, attracting significant foreign and domestic investment and creating a million jobs.

By 2030, the aim is for tourism to contribute up to 10 percent towards Saudi Arabia’s GDP, compared to just 3 percent today.

Ibrahim Al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, said: “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. 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.”

Other agreements were signed with Oyo Rooms (SR4 billion) to purchase 10 or more upper-budget level and luxury hotel properties across the Saudi Arabia, a SR1.5 billion joint venture with Nenking Group/Ajlan Brothers to build a landmark lifestyle destination in Riyadh, and a deal with FTG Development to build a hotel, waterpark and retail development in Qiddiya; a 1,500 room hotel in NEOM City and a hotel situated between Jeddah and Makkah.

Other SAGIA agreements were signed with Kerten Hospitality to develop a portfolio of mixed-use projects and Tetrapylon to coordinate with leading tour operators across North America, Europe and Asia to profile Saudi Arabia as a must visit global tourist destination.

Agreements facilitated by SCTH include two with Al Khozama concerning the Mayasem Project and the Harbour Project in Jeddah, along with other investment plans plus another with Diriyah Gate Development Authority to establish a 27-hole golf course at Wadi Safar and a 40 room hotel in Al Bujairi, overlooking the Wadi Hanifah Valley and At-Turaif UNESCO World Heritage Site.

National carrier Saudia agreed four MoUs while organisations have made investment commitments collectively valued at SR36.25 billion, including Alshaya Group, Shomoul, Radisson, Alrajhi Investment and Seera Group.

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