Red Sea Development Co could issue contracts worth $2.7billion by the end of next year, the firm’s chief executive has said.
John Pagano also told Bloomberg TV that the first phase of the Red Sea Project, which is aiming to completely overhaul Saudi’s image as a tourist destination with a luxury development across an archipelago of more than 90 islands, is expected to be completed by 2022, and will include hotels and a commercial airport.
“Between now and the end of the year, we hope to award another two to three billion riyals in contracts, and on to next year, it will probably be six or seven billion more as we move further into the construction of the destination,” he said.
The Red Sea Project, which was first announced in 2017, covers 28,000 square kilometres - an area about the size of Belgium - and will target regional and international luxury travelers.
It is part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to transform the economy and cut its reliance on oil. The government on Saturday opened applications for online tourist visas, allowing citizens of 49 countries to have access to the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry has mainly been driven by visitors coming for religious reasons.