ALULA: The historical city of AlUla is being groomed to receive 250,000 tourists and visitors in 2023, according to the CEO of the Royal Commission For AlUla, or RCU.
Located in northwestern Saudi Arabia, AlUla has been designated by the UNESCO World Heritage site.
During an exclusive interview with Arab News, Amr AlMadani said the commission has already tested the potential of AlUla with the launch of the Winter at Tantoura Festival.
Following its success, the CEO said AlUla will be open for tourists the whole year long and that will help boost the number of tourists.
Developed by RCU, AlUla managed to expand its airport in several phases, which enabled it to receive up to 400,000 visitors annually.
“The airport now can very well serve our needs for the next 10 years,” AlMadani explained.
Another upgrade of the airport will begin later, as the RCU has an ultimate 2035 target of 2 million visitors.
But the CEO said they need to see evidence of growth before committing further investments in the airport.
RCU aims to place AlUla as a viable destination for businesses by reducing their operating cost, and introducing quality of life outside the busy lifestyle of the cities.
Inspired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision to keep the development of people ahead of the development of assets, RCU launched a scholarship program supporting 600-700 students to reach up to 1,000 students in its last phase.
“We started first by the most essential sectors that we need (including) tourism, hospitality, archeology, and agriculture,” he said.
RCU sees sustainability as a major element in the development plan for AlUla driven by the Saudi green initiatives launched in October 2021.
The RCU chief said the commission hoped to draw 50 percent of the energy required for AlUla from sustainable sources by 2035.
To achieve the target, RCU is developing two sustainable power stations, bids for which will be invited in about 18 months from now. One station will be located in the north of AlUla and the other in the south.