1. Please share the progress of the development of The Red Sea. When are the first guests expected? Your plans for tourist numbers in the first year?
A: The Red Sea is on track to welcome guests in 2023 with the opening of our first three hotels, Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea, St. Regis Red Sea Resort, and Nujuma, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, with the first opening this summer. The balance of phase one, which will include a further 13 hotels, will complete next year. The destination boasts diverse and remarkable landscapes of beaches, canyons, mountains, mangroves, lagoons, and access to the world’s fourth-largest coral reef. Additionally, guests will be able to make use of a new international airport, an 18-hole championship golf course, a luxury marina, and outstanding entertainment, wellness, and leisure facilities made up of exquisite F&B and retail outlets.
To maintain our commitment to protect and enhance the natural environment of our destination, we will be capping the visitor numbers. Once the hub island opens in 2024, we will be working to welcome visitor numbers of around 300,000 per year. Once fully completed in 2023, we will welcome a maximum of one million guests annually.
2. How do you plan to showcase your destination in the Indian market differently from Saudi Arabia Tourism?
A: The Red Sea and Amaala are two of the world’s most ambitious tourism developments, delivering luxurious travel experiences in a way that goes beyond sustainability, seeking to have a regenerative effect on the environment and local communities. What we are offering is a unique way to experience travel in unseen parts of the world.
We’re offering guests the chance to discover a wealth of unspoiled beaches and secret sandbars scattered amongst the fringes of untouched islands, as well as majestic mountains and sweeping dunes. We are also developing our own experiences brands, with WAMA & Galaxea focused on water sports and diving, and our most recently announced brand Akun, which will offer on-land and in-the-sky adventure experiences. Combined, we can now offer a full trio package of sporting experiences ahead of our first guests arriving at The Red Sea this year.
India is a key market for us, which is why we have already made it a priority to build relationships with the Indian travel trade industry and hope to welcome many of its tourists to our destinations soon.
3. RSG is the visionary company behind some of the world’s most ambitious development ventures, including luxury regenerative tourism destinations such as The Red Sea and Amaala, please highlight the key luxury projects associated with this.
A: To offer unparalleled luxury to our guests, Red Sea Global has partnered with some of the finest and most globally renowned hospitality and wellness brands at both The Red Sea and Amaala. These include Six Senses, Ritz Carlton Reserve, St Regis, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts®, longevity clinic and wellness brand, Clinique La Prairie, and destination wellness resort operator Jayasom to name a few. We are thrilled that these marquee brands will bring their world-renowned expertise to our ambitious projects.
4. Tell us about your other sustainable luxury tourism project, Amaala.
A: The ultra-luxury destination, Amaala, will open its doors to travellers in 2024. Located along the northwestern coast of Saudi Arabia, it will be the first global integrated family wellness destination to offer transformative personal journeys. Amaala will be a distinctive wellness destination owing to its cutting-edge facilities and an enticing year-long events calendar.
The destination will initially have eight resorts, 200 residential apartments, a marina, and a yacht club within 4,155 sq. km. of various natural ecosystems and a distinctive environment. We recently announced hotel partners to include Clinique La Prairie Health Resort, Jayasom Wellness Resort and Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.
5. Talking about sustainable tourism and its positive impact on the environment, your approach to development prioritizes people and the planet – could you please highlight this?
A: We consider it our mission to set the global benchmark for responsible development. For us, that means going beyond sustainability and delivering regenerative tourism. That means regenerating the environment, ensuring there is more flora, fauna, and biodiversity than before we were here, as well as regenerating local communities, ensuring they benefit from these developments. We are creating upwards of 120,000 new jobs by 2030 between our two destinations and will contribute SAR 33 billion (USD 8.79 billion) annually to the Kingdom’s economy upon completion.
We are setting out to achieve a 30% net conservation benefit by 2040 by enhancing biologically diverse habitats including mangroves, seagrass, corals and land vegetation to help biodiversity to flourish. We have built the Middle East’s largest landscape nursery, which will provide more than 30 million plants for landscaping our destinations. We are also planting and restoring as many as 50 million mangroves, one of nature’s best defences against global warming and a hotbed for marine biodiversity.
Added to this, we are building the world’s largest battery storage facility, so that our first tourism destinations, The Red Sea and Amaala, can be powered by 100% clean energy around the clock. With a potential output of 650,000 MWh, we can reduce CO2 emissions by nearly one million tons annually. These efforts will help drive Saudi Arabia towards a greener, more equitable future.
6. How will these projects help conserve the natural habitat of Saudi Arabia?
A: Each of our destinations is set in pristine landscapes with delicate ecosystems that need to be nurtured, monitored and carefully shared with our guests. Both The Red Sea and Amaala are home to a variety of species, many of which are unique to Saudi Arabia and often regarded as endangered. The lagoon of The Red Sea destination has 314 different species of coral and 280 species of fish alone. We are working with experts to ensure we are science led to implement the most advanced environmental, scientific practices at every stage of development and thereafter.
For example, of more than 90 islands, only 22 will be developed, leaving 75% untouched. We will be designating nine islands as special conservation zones. In 2022, we also unveiled the design of our marine life Institute located in Triple Bay, Amaala, which will function as a scientific research centre, central to our broader environmental ambitions for the Red Sea, as well as a tourist destination.
7. What kind of investment is being made to bring the ambitious plans to reality?
A: Both The Red Sea and Amaala – each a multi-billion-dollar project – are part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s long-term vision for diversifying its economy. We are currently contracting works at a rate of almost SAR 2 billion per month, with an anticipated SAR 30bn in procurement contracts for The Red Sea and Amaala in 2023. We have awarded SAR 8.1bn of contracts so far this year and are well placed to achieve the SAR 22bn remaining for the year.
8. Once completely operational, what is your forecast in terms of tourist numbers for both destinations?
A: With sustainability at the heart of Red Sea Global’s development plans, the tourist arrival numbers will be capped at both destinations. fully complete, The Red Sea will not exceed more than one million tourists per year, and at Amaala we welcome a maximum of 500,000 guests per year.