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.