The project will occupy nearly 1,250 square kilometers on a site in the northeastern part of the existing city of Taif, with the tourist center an expansion of the popular Souq Okaz destination.
An infrastructure contract has already been signed for the first phase of a three-stage project to build a residential suburb of more than 10,000 homes. The $160 million development over 12 million square meters is the biggest in Makkah Region.
The General Authority for Civil Aviation has signed a contract to develop and operate the new Taif International Airport with a group of companies including Asiad, the Contractors Association Co. and Munich Airports Co.
The airport will be built on a 48 million square meter site 40km from Taif and 117km from Makkah. It will cost $800 million and is expected to be operational by 2020.
The new Souk Okaz City, in addition to its culture and heritage tourist attractions, will also have 1,250 hotel rooms and 130 new homes. It is being supervised by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, with participation from the private sector, and will cost almost $1 billion.
The tourism project will create 4,400 jobs, is expected to attract more than 260,000 visitors a year and will contribute about $80 million a year to the the Kingdom’s GDP.
A consortium of global companies has been selected to design a business park called the Oasis of Technology, a joint venture between King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology and the Morganti Group.
The 35 million square meter site will accommodate projects to assemble and manufacture Antonov aircraft, make solar panels and develop solar energy.
A new Industrial City, the first in Taif Province, will be built on an 11 million square meter site 55km from the city center and 29km from the airport.
The $32 million first phase will include light, medium and heavy industries, and a vocational training center.
The new university will be built at Sysid National Park. It is composed of 16 separate projects over an area of 16 million square meters, at a cost of $530 million.
King Salman was briefed on the new projects at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Sunday by Dr. Saad Mohammed Mariq, adviser to the governor of Makkah.
The king said the aim was to serve Saudi citizens and the homeland.
“Our doors, our phones, and our ears are open for every citizen,” he said.