Phase one of a masterplan for a tourist resort on a group of islands on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast has been approved by state-owned client the Red Sea Development Company (RSDC) and is due to open by 2022.
The initial phase will include 14 hotels providing 3,000 rooms across five islands, as well as marinas and a purpose-built airport.
The full masterplan, developed by American architect Wimberly, Allison, Tong & Goo and UK consulting engineer Buro Happold, envisages development on 22 islands with a total of 10,000 hotel rooms.
RSDC said the masterplan preserved "some 75% of the destination’s islands for conservation and designates nine as sites of significant ecological value". It added that the project had been redesigned several times to "avoid potentially disrupting endangered species native to the area".
The project is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategy, which is hopes to create up to 70,000 jobs and add $5.3bn to the kingdom’s GDP.
John Pagano, RSDC’s chief executive, said: "The design concepts we have presented to the board will provide visitors with a uniquely diverse, immersive experience while setting new standards in sustainable development and positioning Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map.
"With the masterplan approved, we are now identifying investors and partners who are interested in working with us on realising the objectives of the project and who share our commitment to enhance, not exploit, the natural ecosystems that make the destination so unique."
The project will be fully completed in 2030.
Images courtesy of the Red Sea Development Company