Saudi Crown Prince allocates $703m for the development of Tarout Island

Saudi Crown Prince allocates $703m for the development of Tarout Island
The Crown Prince approved the development orientation of the island as well as gave the green light for the establishment of an institution for the development process (File)
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Updated 24 November 2022

Saudi Crown Prince allocates $703m for the development of Tarout Island

Saudi Crown Prince allocates $703m for the development of Tarout Island

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has allocated as much as SR2.64 billion ($703 million) for the development orientation of Darin and Tarout island, Saudi Press Agency reported.

This comes after the Crown Prince approved the development orientation of the island as well as gave the green light for the establishment of an institution for the development process.  

The island aims to improve the quality of life in the Kingdom while developing the local product by taking advantage of the comparative advantages of the island in terms of heritage, environment, and tourism.

This will also help in contributing to achieving economic diversification in Saudi Arabia.

The island is located on an area of 32 square kilometers that is inhabited by an estimated 120,000 people.

The development orientation of the island includes identifying the components and comparative as well as competitive advantages of the island according to three main pillars: preserving the cultural and historical heritage of the island, revitalization of natural and environmental sites, and improving the quality of life while enhancing its tourism economy.

In order to achieve the objectives of the developmental orientation of the island, more than 19 qualitative initiatives have been developed.

From a cultural side, Darien Castle and Airport will be developed as heritage tourist destinations and several cultural and heritage festivals will be held on the island. This will come in addition to the establishment of multiple pedestrian paths that permeate the heritage areas on the island.

A large mangrove forest is also on track to be established. Several hotels and eco-lodges in natural areas are also set to be established on the shores of the Arabian Gulf. Moreover, numerous constructions of roads, infrastructure, and public parks which include several playgrounds and modern sports facilities will also be developed.

As much as 48 percent of the island’s area will be dedicated to  public parks, waterfronts, roads and facilities.

The development orientation is anticipated to have a significant economic and social impact on the region, since it is expected to contribute to the country’s gross domestic products at an average of SR297 million annually.

The island is expected to boost the number of tourists in the Kingdom to 1.36 million tourists by 2030.  It will also generate thousands of job opportunities.


Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs partnership agreement with Hilton

Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs partnership agreement with Hilton
Updated 9 sec ago

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 $13 billion to build entertainment destinations in Saudi Arabia

SEVEN invests over $13 billion to build entertainment destinations in Saudi Arabia
Updated 5 min 36 sec ago

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

SEVEN invests over $13 billion 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 (SEVEN), announced it will invest over $13 million in establishing 21 entertainment destinations across 14 cities in the Kingdom.

The company, owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), 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 (SPA).

“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 (SMEs) 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.


KAPSARC study concludes OPEC+ efforts to stabilize market cut price volatility by 50%

KAPSARC study concludes OPEC+ efforts to stabilize market cut price volatility by 50%
Updated 29 November 2022

KAPSARC study concludes OPEC+ efforts to stabilize market cut price volatility by 50%

KAPSARC study concludes OPEC+ efforts to stabilize market cut price volatility by 50%
  • OPEC+’s market-stabilization efforts appear to have lifted the average price from $18 to $54 during the pandemic demand shock

RIYADH: OPEC+’s management of spare capacity reduced crude oil price volatility by up to 50%, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study published by King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in the Energy Journal.

The study “Oil Market Stabilization: The Performance of OPEC and Its Allies” further highlights that, OPEC+’s market-stabilization efforts appear to have lifted the average price from $18 to $54 during the pandemic demand shock, but to have decreased the average price before the pandemic by $2.50, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The reduction in oil price volatility lowered macroeconomic costs of adjustment to the pandemic and contributed to higher social welfare.

The study developed an economic mode to calculate the crude oil price that would have prevailed if OPEC+ had not attempted to stabilize the oil market using its spare capacity.

“OPEC’s role has been critical in reducing price volatility directly— by acting as a swing producer that offsets shocks to supply and demand. Its spare capacity policy is an effective tool to achieve this strategic objective,” KAPSARC President Fahad Alajlan said.

“The value to the world economy of stabilizing the oil market is substantial. In a previous peer-reviewed study, we calculated that OPEC’s management of its spare capacity annually increased world’s GDP by almost $200 billion,” Research Fellow and report co-author Hossa Almutairi said.

The economic importance of stabilizing the price of oil derives from the rigidity of global oil demand and non-OPEC oil supplies. Any shock to supply or demand requires a relatively large price adjustment to restore market equilibrium, SPA reported.

The negative impact on the global economy of the resulting price volatility was amplified by oil’s position as the leading commodity in international trade.

“The period covered by our study ends in August 2021, but I believe that OPEC+’s market stabilization efforts have consistently continued until today. We will quantify their impacts with our model once sufficient data is available,” Axel Pierru, Energy Macro & Microeconomics Program Director, said.


Mideast capitalizes on tourism opportunities to drive regional growth 

Mideast capitalizes on tourism opportunities to drive regional growth 
Updated 29 November 2022

Mideast capitalizes on tourism opportunities to drive regional growth 

Mideast capitalizes on tourism opportunities to drive regional growth 

RIYADH: For decades, the Middle East relied on its economic success by cashing in on its rich natural resources, such as oil. But now, the region has veered from the path to building a tourism industry using its soft power of culture and nature. 

“We are blessed to be the first region in Saudi Arabia to have an approved strategy by the government out of the 13 provinces, and all measures to protect nature and the culture (of the Kingdom) are underway,” said Prince Turki bin Talal, chairman of Aseer Development Authority, while speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Global Summit in Riyadh on Tuesday. 

The authority has been under the spotlight since last September when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled a strategy to develop the Aseer region into a global tourism destination highlighted as the “Arabian Highland” by investing SR50 billion ($13.3 billion). 

“The idea is to make Aseer a great place to live, not just to visit. So, whoever comes here comes back again. That’s really our desire,” said Prince Turki. 

The enthusiasm is palpable in Oman, a nation investing in human capital development to drive tourism in the country and the entire region. 

“There are a number of Omanis working in Qatar for the World Cup and also in the hospitality sector. They have been trained in Oman with an international curriculum. We are developing them for the country and helping the region,” said Hashil Al Mahrouqi, CEO of Oman Tourism Development Co. 

On the other hand, Bahrain is geared up for its cruise tourism as it expects more than 50,000 tourists to visit the country in the six months until May next year as part of the 2022-2023 cruise season. 

Cruise tourism represents an integral part of the nation’s 2022-2026 strategy to promote Bahrain’s status as a global tourism hub. 

“We have done very well in creating those unique tourism offerings that leave Bahrain with a story to tell,” said Fatima Al Sairafi, Minister of Tourism, Bahrain. 

In fact, the Red Sea is opening the floodgates of tourism opportunities in the region, with countries collaborating to draw global tourism traffic toward the Middle East. 

“Marketing cruising in the Red Sea region has much better chances of success than just marketing Saudi Arabia by itself,” said Fawaz Farooqui, managing director of Cruise Saudi, a 100 percent subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund that works with the government to build the offshore and onshore cruise ecosystem. 

The company has collaborated with Egypt and Jordan to develop cruise tourism in the region and is currently in talks with Oman to hoist their sails when the wind is fair. 


Saudi heritage town Diriyah to host 16 additional global hotel brands 

Saudi heritage town Diriyah to host 16 additional global hotel brands 
Updated 29 November 2022

Saudi heritage town Diriyah to host 16 additional global hotel brands 

Saudi heritage town Diriyah to host 16 additional global hotel brands 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s historic town Diriyah is set to host 16 new hotels as its master developer Diriyah Gate Development Authority has signed deals with additional global hospitality brands to bring its total of hotel management agreements to 32. 

These new hotels will be situated across two of DGDA’s masterplan areas – Diriyah and Wadi Safar. 

Amongst the luxury hotels to open are Anantara, part of Minor Hotels; Corinthia Hotels; Marriott International’s EDITION Hotels; Taj Hotels; The Langham and the Waldorf Astoria Diriyah. 

The birthplace of the Kingdom will also offer several upscale hotel options: 1 Hotels; Pendry Hotels & Resorts; and Treehouse Hotel. 

Additionally, Diriyah’s hospitality masterplan will unveil several upscale lifestyle hotel choices including Hyatt Place; Marriott International’s Moxy Hotels and Radisson Hotel Group’s Radisson RED brand. 

Agreements for hotels in Wadi Safar have been signed including Faena Group via a global venture with hospitality group Accor; Montage Hotels & Resorts; and The Chedi, by GHM Hotels. 

The infrastructure of Diriyah’s first phase of hotel construction will feature local landscape and traditional Najdi design themes. 

DGDA's group CEO Jerry Inzerillo, said: “We are excited to further Diriyah’s position as Saudi Arabia’s historical and cultural epicenter by bringing international hoteliers to operate within Diriyah. Each and every hotel brand offers a special, distinctive experience for visitors, all united by a shared promise to provide a unique set of high-quality services measured to global standards for all of Diriyah’s guests.”  

He said the opening of these hotels signifies their ongoing promise to transform Diriyah into one of the greatest gathering places in the world, welcoming visitors from around the world into the Kingdom, in line with Vision 2030’s aims and objectives.

Previously announced hotel management agreements included Address Hotels + Resorts, Armani Hotels & Resorts. Baccarat Hotels & Resorts, Campbell Gray Hotels, Capella Hotels and Resorts, Fauchon L’Hotel, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Orient Express Hotels, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt Hotels, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Resorts. 

Diriyah recently announced the opening of two of its most significant locations: At-Turaif, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Bujairi Terrace, a premium dining destination overlooking At-Turaif.