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Saudi tourism project set for $13.3bn investment

Aqeer Beach development to attract sum over course of next 25 years

Infrastructure works on the beach-based project are already underway.
Infrastructure works on the beach-based project are already underway.

A beach project in the south-eastern Saudi Arabian province of Ahsa is expected to attract $13.3bn (SAR50bn) in investments over the next 25 years, businessmen related to the project have told local media.

Up to 80% of the investments in the Aqeer Beach project, on which infrastructure works are currently ongoing, are expected to come from Saudi and other GCC firms – particularly Qatari and the Emirati investors.

Abdullah Al-Arfaj, head of construction and projects at Aqeer Development Company, said the entry of investors in the project in later stages of development is expected to boost the number of tourists to the resort from different parts of the Kingdom and neighboring countries.

Aqeer was selected as the location to develop a major new tourist destination in the Kingdom by a strategic partnership between Al-Ahsa Governorate and the Supreme Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), Al-Hayat quoted experts as saying.

Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers agreed to allocate about $373.3m (SAR 1.4bn) to meet the basic infrastructure requirements of the project, of which $266.6m (SAR 1bn) will be utilised for power connection and the remaining $106.6m (SAR 400m) for water and sanitary services.

The infrastructure works in Aqeer were taken up following the establishment of Aqeer Development Company with a capital outlay of $719.9m (SAR 2.7bn) last September.

Aqeer Beach project includes a recreational zone with integrated services spread over an area of 570,000m², while the shoreline extends over 1km, according to Al-Arfaj.

The recreational area will include lakes, islands, bridges, water games extending over an area of 30,000 m², in addition to landscaped land covering 120,000m². The area will also include large trees and shrubs, a mosque, toilets, restaurants and chalets, he added.

Businessman Ibrahim Al-Dosari believes the project will turn out to be the biggest investment of its kind in the region due to its proximity to Gulf ports and with Al-Ahsa being one of the biggest agricultural oases in the world.

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