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A tourist island in Red Sea? New study looks at the chances

JEDDAH: Makkah Municipality is preparing a study to build an island in the Red Sea, some 27 kilometers off the coast near Shoaiba.
International investment firms are involved in the study, which will be published in the near future, said the assistant secretary for the municipal investments development of Makkah Municipality.
He explained that the island would be converted into a green resort, conserving the marine wildlife, with a scuba diving club for diving enthusiasts. The resort would be located on an area of 1.2 million square meters.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) in Makkah has issued special requirements for the classification of tourist resorts. The resort will be priced according to its classification, said Abdullah Al-Sawat, SCTA executive director.
The SCTA encouraged investors in the resorts to provide requirements for licensing. Al-Sawat said the SCTA would impose strict controls on tourist resorts to ensure compliance with the classification criteria and standards.
He indicated at the same time that the SCTA through the public administration for the development of tourist sites hopes to create beaches with tourist attractions that are of interest to the residents of Makkah.
Makkah residents have recently asked the municipality and the SCTA to expedite the investments in Shoaiba Beach by establishing tourist resorts and recreational places.
Many residents said they preferred the beach for its tranquility, privacy and distance from the hustle and bustle.
Others said that the two-way road to Shoaiba Beach is dangerous and further away from Makkah than the Jeddah beach. There are no services and lighting along the road, as well as a shortage in hotels, tourist resorts and fuel stations in the region.