Crown Prince launches Jeddah Downtown $20bn master development plan

Update Crown Prince launches Jeddah Downtown $20bn master development plan
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The Downtown Jeddah Project will be financed by the Public Investment Fund. (SPA)
Update Crown Prince launches Jeddah Downtown $20bn master development plan
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The Downtown Jeddah Project will be financed by the Public Investment Fund. (SPA)
Update Crown Prince launches Jeddah Downtown $20bn master development plan
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The Downtown Jeddah Project will be financed by the Public Investment Fund. (SPA)
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Updated 18 December 2021

Crown Prince launches Jeddah Downtown $20bn master development plan

Crown Prince launches Jeddah Downtown $20bn master development plan
  • PIF's Central Jeddah Development to be built in three phases, first of which will be completed by end of 2027
  • The "Downtown Jeddah" project aims to add SR47 billion to the Kingdom's economy by 2030

RIYADH: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched the master development Downtown Jeddah project, formerly known as “New Jeddah Downtown”,  to develop 5.7 million square meters with a total investment of SR75 billion ($19.98 billion).

The project will be implemented by the Public Investment Fund’s Central Jeddah Development in three phases, the first of which will be completed by the end of the year 2027.

Downtown Jeddah will then begin to receive residents and visitors from inside and outside the Kingdom.

It will be financed by the PIF and investors from inside and outside the Kingdom, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The developing company is currently working with all relevant authorities to ensure the implementation of all phases according to the approved time plan.

The "Downtown Jeddah" project aims to achieve an added value to the Kingdom's economy by SR47 billion by 2030.

Key details:

It will have 2,700 hotel rooms

There will be 17,000 residential units

More than 10 quality entertainment and tourism projects

Four landmarks will be created

The project will include four major international landmarks, namely; an opera house, a museum, a sports stadium, and ocean basins and coral farms.

There will also be more than 10 entertainment and tourism projects.

The operational works of the project will pave the way for the local private sector to participate in the development and operation of promising economic sectors, like tourism, sports, cultural and entertainment, with international standards. 

The project will also include a world-class marina and beach resorts, in addition to a wide range of luxury local and international hotels, restaurants and cafes, and various options for shopping.

Downtown Jeddah also aims to provide integrated solutions for the business sector, SPA said.

SPEEDREAD

The project will be implemented by the Public Investment Fund’s Central Jeddah Development in 3 phases.

Downtown Jeddah will then begin to receive residents and visitors from inside and outside the Kingdom.

It will be financed by the PIF and investors from inside and outside the Kingdom.

More than 500 engineers and consultants participated in the design of the master plan.

More than 500 engineers and consultants participated in the design of the master plan, representing five of the world's best expertise houses.

The Downtown Jeddah project has many natural features, including the waterfront with a water strip of 9.5 kilometers in length. It contains a marina with international specifications prepared to receive yachts from inside and outside the Kingdom, and a sandy beach with a length of 2.1 km.

Green, open spaces, and public services will constitute 40 percent of the project area.


NEOM’s hanging stadiums will help make the giga-project a top-rated tourist hub: CEO

NEOM’s hanging stadiums will help make the giga-project a top-rated tourist hub: CEO
Updated 15 sec ago

NEOM’s hanging stadiums will help make the giga-project a top-rated tourist hub: CEO

NEOM’s hanging stadiums will help make the giga-project a top-rated tourist hub: CEO

RIYADH: The hanging stadiums within Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion giga-project NEOM will make tourists reimagine and visualize the future, as the Kingdom steadily pursues its ambitions to become a global tourism hub by 2030, according to its CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr.

Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 30, Al-Nasr noted that everything in NEOM will be connected to tourism business models.

“In The Line, we want people to come and see how sports stadiums are built, and where they are built. The sports stadiums in NEOM are 300 meter high, loose and hanging in the air,” said Al-Nasr.

He added: “We did not build sports stadiums in NEOM loose just for the sake of having it loose. We believe in the best use of space.”

During his talk, Al-Nasr said that OXAGON, the industrial city in NEOM also has all the potential to become a world-class tourist destination, where visitors can come and see how the future will be.

“It is in OXAGON where all industries will be, and it is the port of NEOM. Yet, we would like to see tourists spending a day or two in OXAGON. They will see the future of industries in OXAGON. Everything in NEOM is built for the future era. We want them to come and see how future sea ports will operate,” he said.

According to Al-Nasr, NEOM’s location has all the potential to turn it into a global tourism hub.

“We are just two hours from Europe. Believe it or not, we see Africa within miles. We are a connection of three continents,” he noted.

Al-Nasr added that NEOM’s plan to launch a new airline is to ensure non-stop travel to visitors from their destination to Saudi Arabia’s mega city without any stop in the middle.

Al-Nasr further noted that NEOM’s tourism will be a blend of past and future, as the region is 5,000 years old with a rich heritage.

“NEOM is where all religions have passed through, and this is the region where prophets have passed through. So, in NEOM, we will blend the past and the future,” said Al-Nasr.

He added that 95 percent geographical area of NEOM, which is equal to 25,000 kilometers, will be an untouchable natural reserve.

Al-Nasr went on to say that everything that is being built in NEOM will be a piece of art which will elevate the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia.

“In NEOM, we will never use the term solar panels or plants, instead, we call them solar parks. Everything we are developing, we wanted it to be a piece of art, a piece of attention and a piece of attraction to our tourism,” said Al-Nasr.


Saudi hotelier Elaf Group expands its presence with newly launched brand Joudyan 

Saudi hotelier Elaf Group expands its presence with newly launched brand Joudyan 
Updated 30 November 2022

Saudi hotelier Elaf Group expands its presence with newly launched brand Joudyan 

Saudi hotelier Elaf Group expands its presence with newly launched brand Joudyan 

RIYADH: Elaf Group, one of the leading hospitality players in the region, is now set to focus on expanding its presence with the opening of its first property under the newly launched hotel brand Joudyan in Riyadh later this week. 

This will be Elaf Group’s first hotel in Riyadh and the opening of Joudyan in the capital will be followed up with other cities outside of Riyadh.  

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh, Ahmed Al-Azzouni, director of marketing and public relations, Elaf Group, said they intend to expand in the Eastern Province and the north and south as well.  

“Joudyan will be the focus of Elaf Group’s expansion plan in the Kingdom,” he said. 

Elaf Group which offers a mix of five- and four-star hotels, promises to offer a “unique experience” of the local feel of the Kingdom to the visitors. 

Al-Azzouni added: “The hotel in Jeddah will be in the Red Sea Mall. We’re currently renovating the property and it will be reopened as Joudyan brand.” 

He said they are confident that Joudyan will soon carve a niche for itself in the hospitality industry. 

"The new brand would have multiple locations across the Kingdom,” informed Al-Azzouni. “The official opening of the first Joudyan brand would be in Riyadh this week. It will soon be followed by the opening of the second hotel in Jeddah during the second half of 2023.” 

Talking about the new brand name, Al-Azzouni explained that when you dissect the word Joudyan, joud is from the Arabic word which means alkaram or generosity. “We made sure that we created a new name that reflects that (generosity),” Al-Azzouni explained. 

“Generosity is part of the Saudi culture. And that’s what we intend to make sure our guests feel about us when they come visit us. We will also make sure that that is our core brand essence and how we do business,” he continued. 

As for Elaf hotels, Al-Azzouni informed they will be concentrated in Makkah and Madinah due to the Elaf name having its roots in the holy cities. 

The company is also planning to expand across the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Middle East regions while setting its eyes on the European market. 

“We are open to any kind of ventures and investment opportunities that is mutually beneficial to all parties,” Al-Azzouni said talking about the company’s future plans.  

Going on to discuss the overall outlook of the hospitality industry, Al-Azzouni said things were catching up with 2019. “We have seen positive numbers and things are going back to where we were in 2019,” he informed. “We’re almost there and we can feel it in different sectors including hospitality and travel and tourism. We see a positive outlook for 2023 and beyond.”   

Not surprisingly then that the group is currently working on the completion of extensive renovation and upgrading efforts in all its hotels in order to keep pace with the rapid growth in the tourism and hospitality sectors.   


Oil Updates — Crude up; Iraq plans to raise oil exports by 250k bpd in 2023 

Oil Updates — Crude up; Iraq plans to raise oil exports by 250k bpd in 2023 
Updated 30 November 2022

Oil Updates — Crude up; Iraq plans to raise oil exports by 250k bpd in 2023 

Oil Updates — Crude up; Iraq plans to raise oil exports by 250k bpd in 2023 

RIYADH: Oil prices posted gains of more than 1 percent in Asian trade on Wednesday on falling US crude inventories and a lower greenback.  

Brent crude futures firmed 95 cents or 1.14 percent to $83.98 per barrel by 0411 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed 80 cents or 1.02 percent to $79.00 per barrel. 

Venezuela to sign new contracts to boost oil output at joint ventures 

Venezuela will soon sign new contracts to boost oil joint ventures between state firm PDVSA and private energy companies, the country’s Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami said on Tuesday, a move that will benefit Chevron Corp.  

The US Treasury Department on Saturday authorized the No. 2 US oil producer to expand operations at its Venezuela joint ventures. That authorization is expected to help the country grow crude production and exports following almost four years of harsh US oil trading sanctions. 

US President Joe Biden’s administration has said sanctions on Venezuela could be eased further depending on the progress of key political talks that resumed this month in Mexico aimed at agreeing to a presidential election and other demands. 

El Aissami made the announcement on Twitter following a meeting with Chevron’s top executive in Venezuela, Javier La Rosa. Chevron was authorized earlier this year by Washington to meet Venezuelan officials, including those individually sanctioned like El Aissami. 

“It is a regular practice for Chevron Venezuela leadership to meet with authorized PDVSA and government representatives in relation to the activities that the company is authorized to undertake in the country,” Chevron said in a statement.  

Chevron is a minority partner in four oil joint ventures in Venezuela with PDVSA, which have produced this year between 60,000 and 100,000 barrels per day of crude. The new license authorizes the US company to export its projects’ oil to the US.  

Iraq plans to raise oil exports by 250,000 bpd in 2023 

Iraq has plans to raise oil exports by 250,000 barrels per day in the second half of next year to reach 3.6 million bpd from the current 3.35 million bpd, Iraq’s state news agency quoted Saadoun Mohsen, a senior official at the country’s state oil marketer SOMO, as saying on Tuesday. 

EU inches toward deal on Russian oil price cap this week 

EU countries are inching toward a deal this week on a price cap on Russian oil, a way to adjust the cap in future, and on linking it to a package of new sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, diplomats said on Tuesday. 

The deadline for a deal is Dec. 5 because that is when the EU’s own full embargo on purchases of Russian seaborne oil, agreed upon at the end of May, kicks in. 

The price cap, a softer measure proposed by the Group of Seven nations, is supposed to replace the tougher EU plan to protect global supply and prevent a price surge, but there is disagreement among the 27 EU countries on the level of the cap. 

“Consultations have been ongoing since last Wednesday and we are inching toward an agreement, we are closer and closer,” Reuters reported quoting one senior EU diplomat involved in the negotiations.  

The G7 proposal, presented to EU governments by the European Commission, was a price cap in the range of $65-70 per barrel — a level that diplomats said was fixed in September when Russian oil traded at $68-76 per barrel on the market. 

“The idea was that a cap of around 5 percent below the market price would work to make the Russians sell while reducing their revenues,” a second senior diplomat said. “But since then prices have kept falling and are now below the cap level, so that level achieves no objective,” he said. 

Poland, Lithuania and Estonia, therefore, rejected the G7 proposal saying the cap should be closer to Russian production costs, which are estimated at about $20-25 per barrel. The three countries, which all border Russia, back a $30 price cap. 

They also argued that, given changing global oil markets and Russia’s ability to finance the war, the price cap should not be set in stone, but be a dynamic tool that could be reviewed often under a mechanism yet to be agreed. 

(With input from Reuters)  


Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs partnership agreement with Hilton

Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs partnership agreement with Hilton
Updated 30 November 2022

Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs partnership agreement with Hilton

Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs partnership agreement with Hilton
  • The new accord will help them launch several projects in the hospitality sector

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund signed an agreement with Hilton on Tuesday to promote strategic partnerships between the two entities. 
The new accord will help them launch several projects in the hospitality sector, wrote state agency SPA.
Hilton will provide its global experience to help the Tourism Development Fund develop hospitality establishments and entertainment facilities for tourists. 
The changes are inspired by the needs of family-oriented attractions, such as water parks, restaurants and cafes, and adventure activities.


SEVEN invests over $13bn to build entertainment destinations in Saudi Arabia

SEVEN invests over $13bn to build entertainment destinations in Saudi Arabia
Updated 30 November 2022

SEVEN invests over $13bn to build entertainment destinations in Saudi Arabia

SEVEN invests over $13bn to build entertainment destinations in Saudi Arabia
  • The new destinations will include more than 150 entertainment areas in a bid to spur the industry’s growth

RIYADH: The Saudi Entertainment Ventures announced it will invest over $13 billion in establishing 21 entertainment destinations across 14 cities in the Kingdom.

The company, known as SEVEN and owned by the Public Investment Fund, said the new destinations will include more than 150 entertainment areas in a bid to spur the industry’s growth and attract tourists, reported the Saudi Press Agency.

“The announcement comes in conjunction with the efforts seeking to consolidate the sector’s position as a basic pillar for diversifying sources of national income, creating jobs, and contributing to raising the quality of life for citizens and residents, in addition to supporting the empowerment of Saudi cities to obtain a better position among global cities,” the statement read.

Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Daoud, chairman of SEVEN’s board of directors, said the new entertainment areas aim to enhance visitor experiences and establish partnerships with key global entertainment leaders.

“We believe the entertainment sector in the Kingdom is full of opportunities, and its role in the local economy is growing, and that it constitutes a solid basis for job creation, as it is a strong engine for many other economic sectors,” he said.

With the new venture, Al-Daoud said SEVEN would work to provide opportunities for local small and medium companies and develop Saudi talent through global partnerships.

The company had earlier started construction work on one of its entertainment destinations at “Al-Hamra” district in Riyadh, with an investment of over $800 million.

The project will include indoor viewing wheel, surfing area, air-flying zones and electric karting tracks. It is expected to attract 6 million visitors annually, according to the company’s statement.

SEVEN was formed in December 2017 as part of Riyadh’s push to localize Saudi spending on entertainment under the Vision 2030 mandate. 

The company plans to develop over 20 entertainment complexes, 50 cinemas and two theme parks in the Kingdom.

SEVEN’s pipeline includes projects in Dammam, Jeddah, Makkah, Obhur and Riyadh, as well as its planned entertainment complex in Abha, which will have a built-up area of over 70,000 square meters.