RIYADH: Since it was announced to the public five years ago, The Red Sea Project was set to be a pioneer.
It was the first of its kind in the Kingdom. A tourism project designed to provide responsible tourism while developing pristine islands that were untouched for centuries.
It introduced the concept of regenerative tourism where the developers and operators should focus on not only preserving what's there, but adding to it.
Throughout its short journey, TRSP achieved significant milestones.
Not only is it achieving tangible progress and getting closer to bringing its vision to reality, but its positive impact is noticeable, in line with Vision 2030.
To mark TRSP’s fifth anniversary, Arab News has collected a series of its firsts during this period, all of which are helping to set new standards in regenerative tourism and responsible development.
One of its latest achievements is that TRSP announced its first joint venture investment in July with Almutlaq Real Estate Investment Co, valued at over SR1.5 billion ($400 million).
Together, they will develop Jumeirah The Red Sea, a luxury resort situated on the Red Sea destination’s hub island, Shura, currently under construction and expected to open in early 2024.
This achievement follows another national first: early this year, it reached a financial close on a SR14.12 billion term loan facility and revolving credit facility with four leading Saudi banks Banque Saudi Fransi, Riyad Bank, Saudi British Bank and Saudi National Bank. It represents the first-ever riyal-denominated green finance credit facility.
Sound finances come from good governance. Last year The Red Sea Development Co., the developer behind the project, released a guide to best practices in governance for other organizations in Saudi Arabia to implement and benefit from, offering evidence of always putting the good of the Kingdom’s business community first.
Another world’s first achievement during these five years is becoming the asset owner globally to achieve the prestigious BIM Project Kitemark for its digital project delivery and adoption of Building Information Modelling.
Similar certifications include becoming one of the first developments in the Middle East to achieve accreditation for excellent quality management systems through ISO 9001: 2015 and the first regionally to secure the first stage of LEED platinum certification for the destination’s plans and designs.
Finally, the project took on the Kingdom’s first-ever underwater excavation, exploring an 18th-century shipwreck. The wooden merchantman is the most intact and best-preserved wooden shipwreck in the Red Sea. Geological and paleontological evidence of millions of years of activity across TRSP’s area above the water is also revelatory, offering the promise of educational attractions for future visitors as well as Saudis who are keen to understand their past.
Looking back on five years of firsts, group chief administrative officer at TRSDC, Ahmad Darwish, said: “From day one, we set out to forge our path towards a different type of tourism, one that was good for the planet and the Kingdom. Milestones like this provide a moment to reflect on our achievements and, when considered together, they astound even me. However, our focus is on the future, welcoming our first guests early next year and together, continuing to lead the way as pioneers in regenerative tourism.”