Is Saudi Arabia the next luxury destination?

Saudi Arabia is hoping to attract an influx of luxury shoppers with a new development along its Western coast. Called the Red Sea Project, a new sustainable development across 50 natural islands in a lagoon along 200 kilometres is to be a next generation luxury destination.

The project will form an archipelago that is home to environmentally protected coral reefs, mangroves, and several endangered marine species as well as the ancient ruins at Mada’in Saleh, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Red Sea project is projected to welcome one million visitors per annum by 2035, with the yearly number of visitors capped in order to protect the ecosystem and preserve the area’s natural habitat. To achieve this ambitious goal, the newly mapped semi-autonomous area will be governed by laws on par with international standards that will include no visa requirements for most nationalities.

Completion of phase one of the project is anticipated by the last quarter of 2022.

With tourism representing the second most important sector in Saudi Arabia, The Red Sea project aims to diversify the Kingdom’s tourism offerings, which to date have been centred on business travel and religious pilgrimages.

The Saudi Arabia luxury market reached a value 13.5 billion US dollars in 2017 and is projected to grow to 20.8 billion by 2023. The country's infrastructure development, e-commerce opportunities, alongside a growing tourism sector are further expected to bolster the luxury market in the country.

Photo credit: Centria Mall, Saudi Arabia

 

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