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

 

 


Oman, UAE praise Saudi Arabia for reaching a deal between Yemeni parties

Updated 9 min 54 sec ago

Oman, UAE praise Saudi Arabia for reaching a deal between Yemeni parties

  • Gulf countries praise Saudi Arabia’s role in brokering the Riyadh Agreement.
  • The deal ends a feud between the government and the STC and refocuses efforts on fighting the Houthi militia

RIYADH: Oman welcomed on Tuesday Saudi Arabia’s efforts in bringing together the Yemeni government and southern separatists to sign a power sharing agreement. 
The two parties signed the Saudi-brokered deal in Riyadh last week to end a power struggle in the country’s south. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hailed the agreement as a step toward a wider political solution to the Yemen conflict.
Oman’s foreign ministry said it “hopes the agreement will pave the way for a comprehensive settlement in Yemen.”
Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, visited Oman on Monday and met Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The UAE Cabinet also welcomed on Tuesday the signing of the agreement and expressed confidence that it will establish a “new era of unified and effective work to meet the aspirations of the Yemeni people.”
“The Cabinet affirmed the UAE’s support for all efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia, through its leadership of the Arab Coalition, in order to stabilize Yemen and allow it to regain it role in the region,” the state WAM news agency reported.
The new arrangement calls for an equal number of ministries between the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The Kuwaiti Cabinet also welcomed the Riyadh Agreement on Monday and thanked Saudi Arabia for its efforts.
Yemen’s government was forced to flee the capital Sanaa when Houthi militants and their allies seized the city in 2014. 
The government and the STC are part of a military coalition against the Iran-backed Houthis, which also includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE.