RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has launched a company dedicated to promoting ecotourism in the Kingdom.
In a press statement, the sovereign wealth fund said the newly launched firm Dan Co. plans to develop and operate high-end resorts and lodges in the Kingdom to partner with the local community and promote agritourism.
While agritourism refers to visitor experiences related to traditional farming, ecotourism focuses on experiencing nature and minimizing environmental impact.
The fund revealed that the first project by Dan Co. would be located in the Al-Ahsa region, across 1.8 million sq. meters, featuring an eco-resort, an agritourism retreat and an adventure spot.
The agritourism retreat will celebrate the unique produce of Al-Ahsa, which is especially famous for its rice and dates.
On the other hand, the eco-resort will utilize local materials with low carbon emissions, preserving the region’s flora and fauna.
The adventure resort will offer activities for travelers, including horse riding, star gazing and hill climbing.
The press statement added that Dan Co. is expected to contribute SR6 billion ($1.6 billion) to Saudi Arabia’s non-oil gross domestic product by 2030.
“The establishment of Dan Co. encapsulates one element of PIF’s strategy to further strengthen tourism,” said Khalid Johar, co-head of the fund’s local real estate portfolio department, in the statement.
He added: “It will boost economic development and contribute to national economic growth. The company will operate novel business models that integrate sustainability and embrace nature, involving the private sector and local farmers in agritourism and ecotourism.”
Johar further noted that establishing Dan Co. will also create new job opportunities in the local communities.
Developing the tourism sector is crucial for Saudi Arabia, as the Kingdom is diversifying its economy away from oil, aligned with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.
Saudi Arabia’s National Tourism Strategy aims to attract over 150 million visitors by the end of this decade, and the fund has been spearheading this journey after the launch of Vision 2030.
The fund’s portfolio initiated several strategic investments to strengthen Saudi tourism and boost city economies nationwide.
These include the Soudah Development, which will create a year-round luxury mountain tourism resort in the Aseer region.
On the other hand, Boutique Group is developing historical palaces into luxury boutique hotels.
The fund’s Saudi Downtown Co. also aims to establish and develop urban centers across the Kingdom.