Five years later, The Red Sea Project is still a living, unparalleled dream.
When I took over the helm of The Red Sea Project, what stood out to me the most was the raw enthusiasm and commitment of everyone involved to achieve what was, in my view, a plan incredibly ambitious businessman.
Today, I am more than proud to see how this commitment has resulted in significant progress.
As an organization, we have not only pushed forward to become one of the most ambitious tourism developments in the world, but we have also helped lay the foundations for a bright future for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. .
As our project celebrates its fifth anniversary, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past five years by celebrating five critical milestones in our journey that support the broader ambition of Vision 2030.
For full coverage of the TRSP’s fifth anniversary, please visit the TRSDC page
Cultivate natural treasures
Our project is located in an area of extraordinary and unknown natural beauty, and from the outset we have prioritized its protection and careful management. This approach was exemplified by a groundbreaking marine spatial planning simulation – the largest ever undertaken – which ensured our master planning process was science-driven.
The MSP has been instrumental in shaping our plans for the destination, placing the regeneration of the local environment at the heart of our concerns. This allowed us to fully understand our project area, map conservation areas, and plan to go beyond “safe” to actively improve the environment.
Guided by the MSP, we are developing only 22 of over 90 islands, with nine designated Special Conservation Areas. Thus, less than 1% of the total area of the project will be developed.
At The Red Sea Development Co., we are committed to taking a pioneering new approach to development, delivering solutions to create the world we want to inhabit. Our ambition is to deliver a 30% Net Conservation Benefit by 2040 to TRSP by expanding critical habitats that allow biodiversity to thrive and by controlling or removing pressures that impact the health of our people. ecosystems.
Pulling the economy on all cylinders
The key to building a thriving tourism industry that will fuel sustainable economic growth is to ensure it is attractive to investors. This belief was clearly demonstrated last year when we secured the first riyal-denominated green financing credit facility.
Similarly, our partnership with a consortium led by ACWA Power to design, build, operate and transfer TRSP’s green utility infrastructure has attracted foreign direct investment from UK’s Standard Chartered Bank and the Silk Road Fund of China.
Since then, we have attracted even more interest and investment from the private sector, most recently establishing our first joint venture agreement with Almutlaq Real Estate Investment Co., a subsidiary of Al Mutlaq Group, worth SR 1 .5 billion.
The fact that globally respected investors have demonstrated their support for our ambitious development has further strengthened the credibility of TRSP. It has also shown on the world stage that the Kingdom is open for business and leading the way in the development of sustainable tourism.
Encourage local talent and businesses
Engaging top local talent and working with thriving Saudi businesses has been central to our success over the past five years. Two key pillars of Vision 2030 revolve around a vibrant society and a thriving economy. To achieve these pillars, we create opportunities for Saudi businesses, and we train and hire thousands of ambitious Saudis.
The project is expected to create up to 70,000 direct and indirect jobs when fully operational in 2030. However, work to prepare the workforce has already begun. Through our Elite Graduate program – now in its third iteration – and partnerships with institutes such as Prince Mugrin University, we play a pivotal role in nurturing the next generation of Saudi talent.
We have also signed over 1,000 contracts worth over SR25 billion, with 70% of the total value awarded to Saudi companies.
Win through strategic collaborations
One of our main ambitions has been to place the Kingdom on the global tourism scene and to build relationships with international businesses and travellers. This ambition and our innovative and responsible approach to development consistently produce exciting results, quickly establishing the Kingdom as an internationally competitive tourist destination.
We have welcomed 12 iconic hotel brands to TRSP including EDITION, St Regis, Fairmont, Raffles, SLS, Grand Hyatt, Intercontinental, Six Senses, Jumeirah, Miraval, Rosewood and Ritz Carlton Reserve. These international brands will offer visitors unique experiences and allow them to explore the rich heritage and natural beauty of this unknown region.
Leading the sustainability wave
Over the past five years, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to sustainability and regeneration, responsible development and tangible progress by putting people and the planet at the center of what we do. However, this period has also seen us adapt to deliver on these bold ambitions.
While TRSP’s fifth anniversary is a milestone, today we’re bigger than just one destination. Through TRSDC’s acquisition of AMAALA, as well as an expanded mandate that will include dozens of projects along the Kingdom’s west coast, we are enabling long-term job creation for Saudi citizens and ensuring what industries we develop last long into the future.
Leaving on the wheel hats
The TRSP was announced five years ago with the clear aim of becoming a regenerative luxury tourism development that will help fuel the economic diversification of the Kingdom and deliver on the goals set out in Vision 2030. Now that the foundations are laid, our commitment to the environment, society, people and the planet will soon be on full display when we welcome our first guests early next year.
The Kingdom is going through a period of exciting change and I am privileged to be part of this inspiring work. But we do not intend to rest on our laurels. As we move forward, we will continue to encourage investment in the Kingdom, provide opportunity through environmental protection and economic growth, and play a key role in putting the Kingdom firmly on the map. of global tourism. It’s good to reflect on our accomplishments over the past five years, but it’s what we do next that excites me the most.
• John Pagano is the group CEO of The Red Sea Development Company
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News