Founder of Virgin group, Richard Branson becomes the first international investor to commit to Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea project that will transform a 200 kilometer stretch of Red Sea Coastline into a luxury destination. The stretch will feature hotels, residences and transport hubs. The initial investment for the project will be from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, The Public Investment Fund that will link more than 50 islands add 35,000 jobs and add 15 billion Saudi Riyals ($4 billion) to the economy.
Richard Branson recently visited the Red Sea and the tombs at Mada’in Saleh, a Unesco World Heritage Site and he later mentioned that he was fortunate to see Saudi Arabia. Red Sea project is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic plans to reduce reliance on oil and diversify the economy. The vision hopes to create 1.2 million new jobs by 2030.
The construction will begin in the third quarter of 2019 and first phase is expected to be completed by late 2022 which will stretch across the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh, just a few kilometers from Kingdom’s protected reserves and extinct volcanoes in Harrat Al Rahat area.
According to BMI Research, the tourism arrivals are expected to grow 12.8 % in 2017 to reach a total of 22.6 million.