As part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 the government is planning several projects which are so large they have come to be called ‘Giga projects’.
Here is a guide to what we know.
Amaala is on the north-western coast of Saudi Arabia, roughly equidistant between Neom to the north and the Red Sea Project in the south.
Amaala is being developed over three sites located within the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve: Triple Bay, Coastal Development and The Island.
Recent news (May 2022) is that at Triple Bay, the Yacht Club is being designed by architecture firm HKS. The 7,900sqm yacht club will be set over four floors in a design inspired by local eroded rock features and traditional air movement architecture. It will have a terrace restaurant, infinity pool deck and rooftop cabana lounge, fronted by an 80m Quai d’honneur for yachting events, regattas, launches and passegiata. Around it will be a full-service 10-hectare marina with 120 berths for yachts up to 130m in length and unique porte cochere for discreet arrival by yacht tender.
Triple Bay is set across 4,155 sq. km. and is due to welcome first guests in 2024. Phase One of the development is on track to complete in 2024. It consists of eight resorts offering upwards of 1,200 hotel keys and will also feature a range of luxury food and beverage outlets, retail, and leisure facilities. Work is well underway on-site to progress enabling infrastructure, groundwork, and key assets with more than 1,000 workers already on site. More than 250 contracts have been awarded to date in excess of 5 billion riyals, with nearly one billion riyals awarded in the first quarter of this year alone, as delivery of the project ramps up on site.
A further 1.2 billion riyals is expected to be awarded in the second quarter of the year and an RFP for the Utilities PPP has already been issued to the market, to ensure the development meets its sustainability ambitions. The resort will be off grid, powered solely by renewable energy.
In total, Amaala will have 2,500 hotel ‘keys’ and some 700 residential villas, apartments and estate homes, plus over 200 shops, cafes and restaurants.
Amaala is separate from Neom and the Red Sea Project, but is described as being part of the new Red Sea ecosystem – which includes NEOM and the Red Sea Project and so all three projects are “intended to co-exist in a complementary manner to cover different target audiences by providing different offerings to match their needs” according to the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
All three projects will be served by the new Red Sea International Airport, and at one point it seemed that Amaala would also have its own airport, also designed by Foster + Partners, though this seems to have gone quiet.
Aseer Development Project
Situation in Saudi Arabia’s Southern Region, the theme of the Aseer Development Project “The Arabian Highland” in the Aseer Mountains. This was announced in September 2021 though at present little more has been released.
Neom is also in the north-west of the country, but is less focussed on being a tourist destination and more as being a new vision of urban living. The location reaches to the border of Jordan where cool winds from the Red Sea mean that it is on average around 10°C cooler than surrounding areas and the rest of the GCC.
One intention of the development is to redirect Saudi spend abroad into Neom. Saudis spend $15 billion per year on tourism, $12.5 billion on healthcare, $5 billion on education and another $5 billion on general investment abroad. Neom is slated to welcome the first inhabitants in 2024.
From June 2022, Saudia will operate direct flights from Neon Bay Airport to Dubai International Airport (weekly) with plans to expand to London “soon thereafter”. Aircraft traveling to the selected destinations will have a joint Neon-Saudia livery to showcase the Neon brand to the world.
Nadhmi Al-Nasr, Chief Executive Officer of Neom, said: “Neom Bay Airport is a key enabler of Neom’s development, facilitating efficient access to Neom for residents and business partners, and drastically improving the ease with which Neom can connect with people from all over the world.”
Neom currently has over 1,500 full-time employees representing over 65 nationalities, and numerous business partners from all over the world.
The developers say that the site “sits at the crossroads of three continents, with 40 per cent of the world accessible within a four-hour flight.”
The Red Sea Project
The Red Sea Project aims to welcome its first guests next year (2022) when the first hotels will open. Phase One, which includes 16 hotels in total, will complete by 2023. Upon completion in 2030, the destination will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. The destination will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, leisure facilities and an international airport.
The project is being developed over 28,000 km2 along Saudi Arabia’s west coast including more than 90 islands.
The destination also features mountain canyons, dormant volcanoes, and ancient cultural and heritage sites. The destination will include hotels, residential properties, leisure, commercial and entertainment amenities, as well as supporting infrastructure that emphasizes renewable energy and water conservation and re-use.
Qiddiya is an entertainment complex being built to the south west of Riyadh. Described as “a place that enables the youth of Saudi Arabia to fulfil their ambitions”