Saudi Crown Prince-led board okays Red Sea Project masterplan
US firm WATG and Buro Happold from the UK jointly developed the design, with investors now invited to work on the gigaproject
The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), tasked with building Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project, has received approval for the gigaproject’s masterplan from its board of directors.
According to its website, TRSDC's board is chaired by HRH Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, First Deputy Prime Minister, President of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, Minister of Defense, and chairman of Public Investment Fund (PIF).
TRSDC is a wholly owned entity of PIF, and its board also includes HE Dr Mohamed Waheed Hasan, Fifth President of the Maldives; Eng Nadhmi Al-Nasr, chief executive officer (CEO) of Neom; HE Yasir Al-Rumayyan, CEO, managing director, and secretary-general of the board of PIF; and HE Dr Nabil Alamoudi, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Transport, among others.
The developer said the masterplan was developed in partnership with US architecture firm WATG, and Buro Happold from the UK. It also included design concepts from "some of the world’s most prominent architecture firms".
Phase 1 of Red Sea Project, due for completion in 2022, includes 14 luxury and hyper-luxury hotels – providing 3,000 rooms across five islands and two inland resorts. Yacht marinas, leisure and lifestyle amenities, and an airport to serve the resort will also feature during this phase, alongside “the necessary supporting logistics and utilities infrastructure”.
The development, one of the major gigaprojects planned in the kingdom, is set to play an important role in driving Saudi Arabia's economic diversification by attracting about one million tourists annually, contributing $5.9bn (SAR22bn) to the kingdom's gross domestic product.
TRSDC said its masterplan preserves some 75% of the destination’s islands for conservation, and designates nine islands as sites of significant ecological value. The process required several redesigns to avoid potentially disrupting endangered species native to the area.
Speaking on the milestone announcement, John Pagano, chief executive officer of Red Sea Project's developer, TRSDC, said: “The design concepts that we have presented to the board will provide visitors with a uniquely diverse, immersive experience, while setting new standards in sustainable development, and positioning Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map.
“With the masterplan approved, we are now identifying investors and partners who are interested in working with us on realising the objectives of the project, and who share our commitment to enhance, not exploit, the natural ecosystems that make the destination so unique.”
Part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy, the destination will be fully completed in the same year, the developer added.
The approved master plan will steer the development of 22 out of more than 90 islands at the destination, providing up to 10,000 hotel rooms across island resorts, mountain retreats, and desert hideaways.