RIYADH: Three luxury hospitality brands have announced plans to open new hotels on the Red Sea Coastline in a boost for the Saudi tourism industry.
Business hotel Four Points by Sheraton and luxury brand Shangri-La will cut the ribbon on new locations in Jeddah this week, while Kempinski will open a five-star hotel on the coast of Al Muhar Island, part of the coastal city of Yanbu.
The three resorts offer direct access to the Red Sea waterfront.
These ventures fall in line with Vision 2030, aiming at promoting tourism and hospitality on the Saudi Red Sea, which is known as one of the last untouched coastlines in the world.
Harnessing the tourism industry is one way for the Kingdom to diversify its revenue base.
Bernold Schroeder, CEO and chairman of Kempinski Group, said: “We are impressed with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and strategic planning, which aims to create a hub for international trade linking East and West. Expanding our portfolio in Saudi Arabia is a crucial and important step for Kempinski.”
The Red Sea project plans to attract 1 million tourists a year by 2030, and add $4 billion to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product per annum. It will also generate 35,000 jobs, under plans outlined in 2017
In an analysis published on Thursday, Karen Smith Diwan from the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington said the project was part of Saudi Arabia’s “ambitious” economic diversification plans.
“If fully realized, this new tourism infrastructure will form an alternate economic platform that greatly expands Saudi Arabia’s traditional focus on religious tourism and has the potential to reshape the social and political contours of the long-predominant oil economy,” she wrote.