Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced their plans on Wednesday to build a luxury tourism destination on its north western coast, the latest of the kingdom’s mega projects.
The project is called “Amaala” and is “a natural extension of the Mediterranean Sea, and dubbed the Riviera of the Middle East”, the PIF said in a statement.
The development will feature luxury hotels with 2500 keys, 700 private villas and apartments, an airport, an arts academy, a retail village, marinas, and a yacht club.
The retail village will consist of galleries, ateliers, artisan workshops and bespoke retail outlets, with international and local signature dining venues.
They did not announce the size of the project, but said the “initial funding for the project will be provided by PIF”. As the project progresses, partnerships and investment opportunities will be availed to the private sector, the statement said.
The PIF have announced Nicholas Naples as the CEO of Amaala. Naples has worked with Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Ceasers Entertainment
Amaala will begin construction in Q1 of 2019 and the first phase is expected to be completed in Q4 of 2020. The project, aimed at “the world’s top 2.5 million leisure travellers”, will be completed in 2028.
The kingdom is currently in the process of planning and building multiple giga projects, such as the $500bn Neom city, known as the Silicon Valley of the Kingdom and the Red Sea project, a luxury tourist resort, worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
“Amaala will sit alongside NEOM and the Red Sea project as part of the giga-projects investment portfolio, helping to… [support] economic diversification,” PIF said.
Boosting tourism is one of the key pieces for Vision 2030.
On Tuesday, the Kingdom announced they will be issuing tourist visas to visitors attending the sporting and cultural events of December, this is a first for the Kingdom.