Amaala, Neom: Saudi Arabia is building tourist destinations for the jet set

2 min reading time

Published on 27/09/18 - Updated on 17/03/22

Saudi Arabia is trying to diversify its economy by creating new tourist destinations. In addition to the construction of its cities, which are currently in the planning stages, the ease of obtaining visas and the easing of certain ultra-rigorous Islamic laws will have to be studied in order to make these destinations attractive abroad.

Amaala, Neom... names that are unknown today, but should not remain so for long according to the Saudi Sovereign Fund. Through the Vision 2030 strategy, these two cities are part of projects aimed at accelerating the diversification of Saudi Arabia's economy and reducing its dependence on hydrocarbon exports.

The Neom project consists in creating a futuristic city of 26,000 km, 250 times the size of Paris, for 500 billion dollars.

As for Amaala, it has the ambition to become the "newest destination on the jet-setter map" and is already nicknamed by the fund "the Riviera of the Middle East.” These two projects on the Red Sea would create synergies: "All of the developments on the Red Sea are intended to coexist in a complementary manner."

In concrete terms, the area around Amaala will have its own airport, 2,500 high-end and luxury rooms, 200 retail stores and 700 villas. It will be open to international and national tourists for whom, wearing a bathing suit and alcohol could be allowed. The project would also create jobs (nearly 22,000) and would therefore benefit the country's economy, which is marked by a high unemployment rate: 12.8% in the third quarter of 2017.

In order to develop Amaala, Nicholas Naples, who previously managed Integrated Resorts International in Hong Kong, was appointed Chief Executive of the Project. He says that “Amaala will awaken the world’s imagination by rephrasing the current concept of the luxury tourism experience, especially in terms integrative wellness, specialty treatments and related recreational offerings. Our concept will provide a rich service offering that exceeds customers’ expectations by providing a comprehensive suite of services not commonly found in one location that is unique by all measures. The Amaala experience will be enhanced by its setting, spread across beautiful, untouched natural sites."

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