02-08-2017 01:30 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Islands along the Red Sea to be converted into resorts
As energy prices are spiraling downwards, Saudi Arabia has plans to diversify its oil dependent economy. The ultraconservative kingdom on Tuesday announced the launch of a giant tourism project that will transform 50 islands and a string of sites on the Red Sea coast into luxury resorts.
The project will stretch from Umm Lajj to Al-Wajh spanning more than 180 kilometres (112 miles) on Saudi Arabia’s western coastline. A state news agency reported that the Public Investment Fund will provide for the initial investments, after which the project will be opened to international investors.
The first phase of the construction is expected to start in the third quarter of 2019. Plans include expanding a domestic airport and developing luxury hotels and housing. This first phase is slated to conclude by the third quarter of 2022.
Saudi Arabia is putting emphasis on tourism and recreation to reduce its dependence on oil as part of its Vision 2030 plan. It is trying to encourage families to spend more on recreation. For this purpose, it will launch hundreds of recreation centres across the kingdom by 2020.
This project in Saudi Arabia seems to be a far cry from the world’s most conservative countries, a kingdom where alcohol, cinemas and theatres are banned and absolute monarchy prevails.