Saudi Arabia’s flagship Red Sea Project will feature 16 hotels, two more than originally planned and all open by the end of 2023, the developer’s CEO has revealed.

John Pagano, Chief Executive of the Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), told Reuters he anticipated strong demand for the high-end coastal destination post-COVID-19, revealing that in its first phase, it aimed to attract 300,000 visitors annually.

Owned by a Saudi sovereign fund and backed by the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the multi-billion-dollar project comprises the sustainable development of 50 Red Sea islands where visitors will be able to diving, visit nature reserves and heritage sites and stay at luxury low-rise resorts.

“There will be a lot of pent up demand to go and travel as soon as the restrictions are lifted, so I see a V-shape recovery certainly, in so far as tourism is concerned,” he told the news service.

When the project is fully completed in 2030 it will attract “800,000 to one million visitors per year max”, he added.