Saudi tourism megaproject aims to turn the Red Sea green

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The Red Sea is home to one of the world’s largest barrier reef systems. (Courtesy: Red Sea Project website)
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The Red Sea Project will offer discerning travelers a diverse range of unique experiences. (Courtesy: Red Sea Project website)
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The Harrat Lunayyir volcano and lava field provides a stunning setting for outdoor and wellness activities. (Courtesy: Red Sea Project website)
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The Red Sea is home to abundant species of coral and marine life, including a large number of species found nowhere else on earth. (Courtesy: Red Sea Project website)
Updated 20 October 2019

Saudi tourism megaproject aims to turn the Red Sea green

  • Development will protect endangered hawksbill turtle, while coral research could help save the Great Barrier Reef

RIYADH: Key ecological targets are driving Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea tourism megaproject, its leader has told Arab News.

The development will not only protect the habitat of the endangered hawksbill turtle, but could also save coral reefs that are dying elsewhere in the world, said Red Sea Development Company Chief Executive John Pagano.

The project is taking shape in a 28,000 square kilometer region of lagoons, archipelagos, canyons and volcanic geology between the small towns of Al-Wajh and Umluj on the Kingdom’s west coast.

One island, Al-Waqqadi, looked like the perfect tourism destination, but was discovered to be a breeding ground for the hawksbill. “In the end, we said we’re not going to develop it. It shows you can balance development and conservation,” Pagano said.

Scientists are also working to explain why the area’s coral reef system — fourth-largest in the world —  is thriving when others around the world are endangered.

“To the extent we solve that mystery, the ambition would be to export that to the rest of the world,” Pagano said. “Can we help save the Great Barrier Reef or the Caribbean coral that has been severely damaged?”


ALSO READ: INTERVIEW: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea project to set ‘new global standards in sustainability’, says CEO



Saudi Arabian delegation holds UNESCO reception in Paris

Updated 15 November 2019

Saudi Arabian delegation holds UNESCO reception in Paris

  • Session attended by permanent delegates of UNESCO member states
  • Hosted by Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh

PARIS: The permanent Saudi delegation to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) held a reception to mark the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in Paris, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.
The session was held in the presence of the Saudi education minister and deputy chairman of the National Committee for UNESCO, Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh.
The session was attended by the permanent delegates of UNESCO member states and senior officials from the organization.
“Today, we see the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 objectives coincide with UNESCO’s mission through the Kingdom’s keenness to support educational, cultural and scientific projects around the world because of its regional and international status, and its roles in strengthening relations between Arab and Islamic countries and the global agenda for sustainable development in the organization’s educational, cultural and scientific fields, Al-Asheikh said in his speech.
He affirmed the Kingdom’s continued cooperation with UNESCO member states in the fields of education, culture and science, and its continued support for the organization’s programs.
He said the Kingdom is one of the founding members of UNESCO, and the sixth country to sign the organization’s charter, on Nov. 4, 1946, upon the directives of the late King Abdul Aziz.