RIYADH: The hanging stadiums within Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion giga-project NEOM will make tourists reimagine and visualize the future, as the Kingdom steadily pursues its ambitions to become a global tourism hub by 2030, according to its CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr.
Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 30, Al-Nasr noted that everything in NEOM will be connected to tourism business models.
“In The Line, we want people to come and see how sports stadiums are built, and where they are built. The sports stadiums in NEOM are 300 meter high, loose and hanging in the air,” said Al-Nasr.
He added: “We did not build sports stadiums in NEOM loose just for the sake of having it loose. We believe in the best use of space.”
During his talk, Al-Nasr said that OXAGON, the industrial city in NEOM also has all the potential to become a world-class tourist destination, where visitors can come and see how the future will be.
“It is in OXAGON where all industries will be, and it is the port of NEOM. Yet, we would like to see tourists spending a day or two in OXAGON. They will see the future of industries in OXAGON. Everything in NEOM is built for the future era. We want them to come and see how future sea ports will operate,” he said.
According to Al-Nasr, NEOM’s location has all the potential to turn it into a global tourism hub.
“We are just two hours from Europe. Believe it or not, we see Africa within miles. We are a connection of three continents,” he noted.
Al-Nasr added that NEOM’s plan to launch a new airline is to ensure non-stop travel to visitors from their destination to Saudi Arabia’s mega city without any stop in the middle.
Al-Nasr further noted that NEOM’s tourism will be a blend of past and future, as the region is 5,000 years old with a rich heritage.
“NEOM is where all religions have passed through, and this is the region where prophets have passed through. So, in NEOM, we will blend the past and the future,” said Al-Nasr.
He added that 95 percent geographical area of NEOM, which is equal to 25,000 kilometers, will be an untouchable natural reserve.
Al-Nasr went on to say that everything that is being built in NEOM will be a piece of art which will elevate the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia.
“In NEOM, we will never use the term solar panels or plants, instead, we call them solar parks. Everything we are developing, we wanted it to be a piece of art, a piece of attention and a piece of attraction to our tourism,” said Al-Nasr.