Saudi Arabia plans to build 'Riviera of the Middle East'

15:32 | 28/09/2018 Cooperation

Saudi Arabia plans to build a 'Riviera of the Middle East' in bid to become a global tourism destination with high speed trains linking its holiest cities.

Developers hope Amaala will provide a hub of art will rely on 4 key design elements: contemporary art, a Riviera-lifestyle colony of artists, immersive artistic moments, and sculpture

Saudi Arabia will turn its northwestern Red Sea coast into a luxury tourism resort to rival the French Riviera, its Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced Wednesday.

The Amaala development would be 'a natural extension of the Mediterranean Sea, and dubbed the Riviera of the Middle East', according to the country's top sovereign wealth fund.

Located in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nature Reserve, the resort will feature hotels, private villas, an arts academy and a yacht club.

It is the latest in a series of 'giga projects' designed to pull the ailing Saudi economy away from oil and towards tourism.

PIF said Amaala, along with NEOM and Qiddiya - Saudi Arabia's answer to Silicon Valley and Disneyland - will form a portfolio of ultra-projects and create a 'tourism ecosystem' to underpin a strong economy and boost employment.

Due to be completed by 2028, the Amaala resort will span three sites in the nature reserve and cover an area exceeding 3,800 sq. km. It will be accessible via a dedicated airport.

While the initial funding will be provided by PIF, partnership and investment packages will open up to the private sector as the project progresses.