RIYADH: When it comes to hospitality, The Red Sea Development Co. is pulling out all stops as it is getting ready to offer guests world-class service and unmatched luxury.
It is also leaving no stone unturned in its relentless efforts to preserve and protect the rich natural habitats and endangered species on the shores and nearby islands of the Red Sea.
To accomplish this task, TRSDC has put together an ambitious master plan and invited renowned experts in ecology, marine biology and the environment to preserve the breath-taking sceneries of the Red Sea and admire the endangered species of this region.
TRSDC’s master plan predicts a 30 percent net conservation benefit in the next two decades and leaving 75 percent of the island archipelago untouched, with nine islands designated as special conservation zones.
In addition, the company plans to power the destination with 100 percent renewable energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, all of which will be generated by solar and wind.
What’s more? It is building the largest battery storage facility globally to guarantee supply at night.
Arab News spoke to three experts to get a perspective on the company’s initiatives to safeguard the Red Sea’s flora and fauna.
Lamya AlOtai, environmental impact assessment specialist, TRSDC
Lamya AlOtai revealed that her group had spotted more than 100 bird species at the monitoring site.
Some of the most frequently spotted birds fell under the high conservation priority order of the National Biodiversity Strategy of Saudi Arabia. They included crab plovers, sooty falcons and ospreys. These species exhibit unique characteristics.
“For instance, crab plover is a lovely shorebird with an interesting breeding habit; they dig deep burrows to safeguard their young ones. They are the only wading birds to nest this way,” she said ardently.
Her dedicated consultants have identified over 1,700 crab plovers across 15 islands. These crab clovers mostly rely on crabs and the mangrove habitats in the vicinity.
“The Red Sea coast is also home to sooty falcons. They are known to live in hot arid environments, mountain cliffs, small rocky islands, and they are susceptible to disturbance.”
Saud Almutairi, environmental planning and appraisal specialist, TRSDC
Saud Almutairi confirmed that the company is keen to double efforts to ensure that tourists enjoy the natural surroundings of the Red Sea.
“At TRSDC, we are raising the bar for regenerative tourists. We are committed to delivering a tourist destination while conserving the environment and biodiversity,” said Almutairi.
“We are utilizing the best available science and technology to study birdlife and its relationship with other environmental components,” he added.
Almutairi noticed, for instance, that the falcons tend to breed in a hot arid environment on rocky islands in the small cavities facing the sea.
“So, it gets its natural isolation from any anthropogenic activity. Therefore, we conduct several surveys to ensure that we develop certain buffer zones to protect them.”
The company has also conducted several surveys to develop specific buffer zones to mitigate and manage environmental risks.
“We have set aside certain islands and areas as conservation zones to keep our main natural assets in this area.”
Noura Islam, assistant environmental management and assessment manager, TRSDC
Noura Islam has constantly kept an eye on some endangered species in the region, especially the marine turtles.
“These species play an essential role in balancing the biodiversity of the area. They’re also known to provide nutrients to sandy beaches, and these beaches are vital for their nesting practices. At TRSDC, we are actively working toward the protection of these species. By setting aside the islands, these islands will stay pristine.”
She added: “Marine turtles are the most valuable marine species in our project. We have two species, green turtles and hawksbill turtles.”
The company has been working with local entities to protect the species.
“For example, local entities rescued two turtles on our site and sent them to an aquarium to provide them with the necessary treatment. And once they regained their health, they were released back into the sea. And this is one of our success stories of how we protect the turtles on our site.”