The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) zone is one that continues to surge forward with ground-breaking and game-changing destinations. Today though, the role of retail has changed and whilst it is still a top priority in every major development, retail is placed within a much wider framework of activities and offerings for customers throughout the territories. Here, RLI offers some insight into just a few of the many schemes that have recently completed or are in the pipeline across the region.
Overlooking the Arabian Gulf’s crystal blue waters, Bahrain Marina links Manama’s business hubs, traditional souqs, touristic and cultural districts. Bahrain Marina is designed to be a beautiful waterfront offering with limitless possibilities for each and every individual. With no opening date yet, the upcoming development by Bahrain Marina Development Company, Bahrain Marina is a place where people can strengthen their relationships with their community and reinforce their social and professional connections. One part of the overall development is the Boardwalk Shopping, where visitors can enjoy a unique shopping experience along the coast with outlets to compliment the Bahrain Marina lifestyle. A wide range of shops and stores are dotted along the boardwalk overlooking the sea, allowing an unparalleled experience unlike any other. With over a thousand parking spaces and an ample view of the water, seaside shopping is an exciting new concept for Bahrain’s retail sector, creating a serene getaway.
Al Khiran, the region’s first hybrid outlet mall is set to open in Q2 2023 and it will serve to meet heightened shopper expectation by offering a combination of high value and dynamic experiences through a mix of premium outlet shopping, unique dining options, cutting-edge entertainment and recreational leisure experiences like Kuwait’s largest marina with 900 berths, a 70,000sq m boardwalk, 1.25km walking track and outdoor gardens with an amphitheatre for year-long events. Additional features that are currently being planned before opening will include multipurpose sports facilities and a resort hotel. Under development by Tamdeen, the upcoming outlet mall will soon be the main commercial centre in the South of Kuwait serving as the Central Business District of the area.
The Warehouse will be Kuwait’s first premium urban shopping destination. The 106,000sq m project will offer shoppers over 180 retail stores including a seven-screen cinema with approximately 2,500 car parking spaces. Located strategically between King Fahad Bin Abdulaziz Highway and Fahaheel expressway in South Sabahiya, Ahmadi Governate, the Warehouse Kuwait enjoys high visibility and easy access, making it convenient for shoppers from Kuwait to visit. Under construction by developer Tamdeen, the mall has been designed to present retail, F&B amd entertainment in an industrial and urban setting that is inspired by rustic warehouses. The Warehouse Kuwait will present customers with a curated mix of home, retail, entertainment, dining and a unique pet offering in a modern contemporary setting, making it an ideal shopping destination and social meeting point.
Back in September last year the Mall of Oman by developer Majid Al Futtaim opened its doors in Muscat and the 140,000sq m mall features the sultanate’s largest cinema, a thousand-seat food court and Oman’s largest indoor snow park, which spans over 14,000sq m. More than 80 per cent of the LEED-certified mall’s gross leasable area has been leased and 300 retail outlets are in the process of launching. As for those looking to go on a culinary journey, the Mall of Oman will offer a selection of global chains for guests to choose from.
Diamond Developers, the company behind The Sustainable City in Dubai, has partnered with Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN Group) for the sustainable tourism project, Yiti. The two companies have formed a joint venture called Sustainable Development Investment Company (SDIC) and the agreement will see the development of the first phase of the Yiti Tourism masterplan. The first phase of the Yiti project will cover an area of 900,000sq m and will focus on constructing the sultanate’s first fully sustainable mixed-use project. This phase will include green public spaces, residencies, tourism, commercial and educational facilities, all tied together with well-balanced and integrated components. Visitors and residents will be able to enjoy a variety of lifestyle experiences such as restaurants, cafés, shops, an equestrian centre and a farm. The project is slated for completion
Located off Lusail City in Qatar, Qetaifan Island North by Qetaifan Projects is designed to be Qatar’s future iconic destination. The project spans approximately 1.3 million square meters, with 129,296sq m of waterpark alone. The island also features exciting entertainment attractions that the whole family can enjoy, in addition to diversified waterfronts, distinct neighbourhoods, luxurious hotels, pedestrian friendly streets, living gardens and world-class facilities that make it a modern, globally-competitive community with a unique design that is inspired by the rich culture and nature of the region. Much of the construction for the project is now complete and the entertainment landmark will then be fully inaugurated at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in November.
Place Vendôme is an extravagant 1,150,000 square meter destination for Luxury, Lifestyle and Leisure. Inspired by the architecture of Paris, Place Vendôme features key hallmarks of St. Germain des Prés, Grand Palais and other iconic landmarks that bring a little slice of Paris to the heart of Qatar. Delivering a mix of up to 570 stores and a wide range of dining and coffee shops, Place Vendôme is the ultimate space to discover it all. Developed by United Developers and opened earlier this year, the project even has a water canal running through the interior and exterior of the facility, as well as the iconic Dancing Fountains.
Saudi Arabia‘s King Salman Park by developer Riyadh Development Company has started construction on its Royal Arts Complex, which includes a museum, theatre, outdoor amphitheatre, artist studios and cinema halls. The complex’s National Theater will seat 2,300 people, while another theatre will be able to seat 650 guests. The Royal Arts Complex will also include three cinema halls and a museum reaching up to 106m in height. Once completed, King Salman Park will be the largest urban park in the world, covering more than 16sq km. It will be a global hub for culture, arts and nature, with vast green spaces, sports facilities and immersive cultural and entertainment venues.
1364 will be a world-class shopping, dining and entertainment centre that offers Saudi society a place to express and fulfil their modern desires. The 1364 shopping centre will be a location as unique as the Diplomatic Quarter itself, with extensive greenery and water features to ensure that the project is an extension and continuation of the Diplomatic Quarter, with well blended contemporary architectural practices and a modern, attractive merchandise mix to attract young professionals and families from all over Riyadh. Set to bustle with energy and activity, day and night; there will always be something new for guests to discover at the 1364 site, from live music, casual bites, play areas and an extensive cultural scene, 1364 springs to life, offering ever-changing activities for families and trendy meeting places that create the ultimate social scene. The scheme is scheduled to open in the last quarter of this year by developer Unified Real Estate Development Co.
Being developed as part of ‘Vision 2030’, the upcoming 65,000sq m ‘Solitaire’ urban district in Riyadh is being designed by Benoy and developed by Al Marqab Investment Company, with Benoy’s scope of work covering masterplanning, architecture, landscape design and interior design services. The project sees Benoy breaking down the traditional form of a shopping mall and reinventing it as partially open-air retail streets, plazas and boutique streets alongside an elevated roof garden. He also said that the design vision is based on the crystalline forms of a geode, which inspired Benoy’s design and informed the building’s facades, internal finishes and landscape.
Master developers Aldar are quite literally shaping Abu Dhabi’s future with their visionary leisure, retail and entertainment projects across the emirate. But some of their most exciting upcoming work is on Saadiyat Island. Saadiyat Grove will play a large part in the look and layout of the island, a blended leisure, commercial and residential project that looks to be linking (or close enough) the individual culture mega projects and the beachfront entertainment district of Mamsha Al Saadiyat. The launch date is set for some time in 2023. There’ll be a ‘Town Square’, more than 70 retail stores, a gym, cinema, offices and 50,000sq m of dining space.
Still under construction by Jeddah Economic Company and lined strategically along the coastline of the Red Sea, Jeddah Economic City is design to embody a new point of view in what a mega city is all about. The City in mind is planned to breathe life into the Northern area of Jeddah, attracting investors, tourists, as well as business opportunities that will break global records, becoming the first of its kind in city life. Planned to occupy a spectacular area of 5.3 million square meters of land, the Jeddah Economic City is envisioned to reflect a new era in urban development and living, providing the inhabiting community with all that is needed in amenities, facilities, residential quarters, business areas in shops and commercial centres, in addition to diplomatic quarters. The Super Regional mall, to be called Jeddah City Mall and due to open in 2024 and be 490,000sq m in size, will be carefully designed within the City grid, laced with the convenience of restaurants, cafes, public parks, in addition to the routes connecting them, resulting in the perfect shopping experience to all commuters, tourists, visitors and business people alike.
Dubai’s Majid Al Futtaim has signed an agreement with global infrastructure consulting firm AECOM to help mastermind the development of the retailer’s Mall of Saudi, its flagship project in the Kingdom which is scheduled for opening in 2025. AECOM will be the lead design consultancy on the project and supervise construction of the mall, which is expected to consist of about 600 stores across 300,000sq m of gross leasable area. At present, half of the space has been reserved by retailers. Mall of Saudi will also include the largest ski slope and snow park in the Middle East, luxury hotels and branded residences covering about 2,000 keys and on a 214,000sq m area. The mall will also include a Carrefour hypermarket and 31 VOX Cinema screens, including the world’s largest IMAX and a Magic Planet.
Being developed by Azad Properties, the upcoming Souq7 development in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia celebrates legacy and culture in an entirely reimagined souq setup. It reflects modernity and innovation in line with Vision 2030, while also embracing the Middle East’s originality, stimulating the senses and inciting a sense of discovery. Following the “one-stop-shop” motto where shoppers can find anything and everything they want under one roof, Souq7 will be divided into seven main zones coming together in a beautiful mosaic that forms an all-encompassing lifestyle and retail space. The zones are food stuff zone, the family entertainment zone, an electronics zone, furniture & home supplies zone, building material zone, automotive zone and a multi-use zone. Spreading over 728,000sq m of space, Souq7 will feature 4,000 shops, around 7,000 parking spaces, 108 buildings and five mosques.
Saudi mall developer Arabian Centres Company (ACC) has signed a lease and investment agreement to develop Jawharat Al-Khobar Mall and mixed-use commercial facilities (hotel and offices) on 300,000sq m of land located north of Al-Khobar city in Al-Kurnaish district. The company said in a stock exchange statement that it plans to build the Mall in the coming six months with a budgeted development cost of between $266M to $346M. The Mall will have between 130,000 to 150,000sq m of gross leasing area (GLA). The upcoming development is anticipated to open between the second half of 2025 and the first half of 2026.
Launched by Arada last year, Nasma Central, part of Nasma Residences in Sharjah is anchored by a large-scale Spinneys supermarket, allowing residents to shop for their favourite items only minutes away from their front door. The shopping complex is complemented by several casual dining outlets including a neighbourhood Starbucks, while a pre-school and Wellfit gym are also onsite. At 55,000sq ft in size, Nasma Central is designed to provide both residents of the community, as well as visitors from the surrounding area, with access to shops, cafes and services that provide all their daily needs. Nasma Central has been designed to overlook the park, creating semi-open public spaces that act as meeting places and activity areas for visitors.
Developed by Emaar and having opened its doors back in February, Dubai Hills Mall features around 600 outlets, including retail stores, restaurants and cafés. The mall boasts a gross leasable area of two million square feet, together with four major family entertainment and leisure centres, as well as a Cineplex, hypermarket, multiple anchor retail stores, an indoor roller coaster and dedicated parking for over 7,000 vehicles. The Dubai Hills Mall project is a part of the Dubai Hills Estate project, a scheme that invites residents to live in a sophisticated address, surrounded with luscious landscaped greens and pristine fairways with the iconic backdrop of the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai skyline.
Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences, in partnership with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, announced it has reached 90 per cent construction completion of the next-generation marine-life theme park, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, Yas Island’s latest mega-development. The development, which is due to open in 2023 as the latest addition to Yas Island’s tourism offering, includes the UAE’s first dedicated marine research, rescue, rehabilitation and return centre. It will feature six different realms in a unique design offering immersive experiences as well as dynamic habitats that will house different species together, as they are in their natural habitat. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will also feature the world’s largest and most expansive marine-life aquarium, housing more than 68,000 marine animals, including sharks, schools of fish, manta rays and sea turtles.
Delivering a total of 2.8 million square feet of retail (two million square feet of leasable space) when fully complete, Reem Mall will comprise around 450 stores, including 85 F&B outlets across two food courts and a range of family-focused entertainment offerings, including the world’s largest indoor snow park. Other entertainment and leisure offerings include a multiplex cinema and a children’s entertainment area. Positioned on Reem Island, right in the heart of Abu Dhabi, the mall will offer easy access along with ample parking with 6,800 vehicle spaces. The project, costing AED 4.4bn, is being developed by The National Real Estate Company (NREC) and United Projects for Aviation Services Company (UPAC). The first unit opened at the scheme was launched in March this year and it was an enormous Carrefour hypermarket.
Designed and developed by DAMAC Properties as their flagship community mall, DAMAC Ventura is a bold new venture into retail in DAMAC Hills 1. This is a master community with 10,000 high profile residents that curates a one-of-a-kind living experience. DAMAC Ventura is conveniently located on Hessa Street and offers a well-thought mix that includes a large supermarket, premium service brands and leisure and F&B offerings. The mall will be 15,615sq m in size with a GLA of 9,940sq m over two levels, feature 38 retail outlets in total along with 300 car parking spaces. The upcoming mall is set to open its doors in March 2023.
A major scheme by developer GV Group is the revolutionary Times Square project in Egypt which is situated at the heart of Port Said, one of the most important cities and ports in the world and at 31,500sq m, the scheme is being designed to become the city’s new central hub. The development will feature multiple experiences in one place including Times Residence which is where the smart homes of Times Square will be delivered and fully finished, Times Towers which is the business hub, Times Hotel, a cozy business-orientated hotel and finally, the Times Mall will be a design masterpiece that houses a variety of retail shops, cinemas, entertainment and exquisite F&B experiences, all created with care for individuals’ and
Offering an upscale shopping experience for the inhabitants of Al Rehab City, Boulevard Al Rehab in New Cairo, Egypt is set to become a privileged location for the community. The mall will cater for all age’s groups with a various range of facilities. The concept of Boulevard Al Rehab is characterised by a well-balanced structure between commercial and retail spaces, in addition to a global brand hypermarket and wide range of international brands. The family & friends facilities combination is enhanced by a kid’s entertainment area as well as a cinema which is operated by leaders of the field. The project is under construction by United Global Company (UGC) Development with no set opening date.
Festival Avenue, the new expansion of Cairo Festival city mall being developed by Al-Futtaim Real Estate Group, will redefine the Egyptian retail market with an unparalleled shopping and lifestyle experience. Spanning over 45,000sq m, Festival Avenue will soon take Cairo Festival City Mall’s unique experience to the next level of luxury and fashion. Set to the be Cairo’s ultimate fashion forward destination welcoming international renowned brands, this top-of-the-line extension will open its doors to a variety of 80 first-to-market luxury fashion & jewellery brands that will call Festival Avenue their first address in Egypt. Festival Avenue will also offer an entertainment destination for all ages and an assortment of international restaurants with indoor and alfresco dining experience.
At over 100,000sq m, Le Carrousel Mall innovates as it offers a wide variety of places in which to live, work and play as a mixed-use destination on the shoreline of Rabat. A project which intends to benefit a wide community, Le Carrousel links residential, retail, hospitality and entertainment by integrating a business hotel, private homes, a waterfront promenade and the first outdoor mall with over 30,000sq m of shops, cafés and entertainment facilities. In collaboration with its newly appointed leasing management company, AMS AFRICA, developer IMKAN Maroc has started to roll out its mall merchandising plan to ensure the site becomes a dynamic flagship shopping and lifestyle destination when it opens in 2023.
Al-Futtaim Malls looks ahead to Zenata Mall opening in Morocco with 120,000sq m of gross leasable area. With three million visitors every year, Zenata Mall is anchored by a 26,000sq m IKEA and is now poised to become the largest mall in North Africa. Over the past year, the teams at Al Futtaim, Marjane Holding, Sonae Sierra and Société d’Aménagement Zenata (SAZ) have collaborated to develop an innovative retail, marketing and branding strategy to position Zenata Mall as Morocco’s most attractive shopping, family, leisure destination with a differentiated Food Hall. Zenata Mall, located within the innovative, ecologically healthy Zenata Eco-City, is slated to blend the contemporary and traditional zones with an 8,350sq m hypermarket, a 10,000sq m leisure and entertainment zone, 5,500sq m multiplex Cinema, a first to Morocco Food Hall and a comprehensive portfolio of over 300 stores. With roughly 15 per cent of Morocco’s total population concentrated in the immediate catchment area of Zenata Eco-City, the mall is set to place the development on the retail investment map.
GIGA Projects – Redefining the Kingdom
Announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016, the Saudi Vision 2030 seeks to transform Saudi Arabia and diversify the largest economy in the Middle East away from its historic dependence on oil. Part of this Vision 2030 includes the construction of multiple projects that are so epic in scope they are being classed as giga-projects. Over the coming four pages, RLI takes a closer look at a selection of these upcoming schemes to find out what makes them so extraordinary.
An ambitious vision for an ambitious nation, the Vision 2030 plan is setting out to create a vibrant society, overhaul the nation’s economy and reduce its overall dependence on oil. At its core, the plan sets out the strategy to increase non-oil revenue to more than US$160bn by 2020 and US$266bn by 2030 from a baseline of US$43bn in 2015.
The giga-projects are the focal points of this plan, will be driven by new technology, innovative and sustainability goals and are being designed to develop the Kingdom’s infrastructure. These developments are globally unique in scope and ambition, and all of them aim to stimulate broader economic growth. Each of these projects will open new areas of economic activity, create jobs and drive economic development across the Kingdom and are the pivotal parts of Vision 2030.
At the forefront of the Vision 2030 plan initiated by the Saudi government to modernise the country, the AIUIa project is part of a series of major projects to diversify its economy and raise its profile from an international perspective. AIUIa is being developed as a living museum and a global destination for history, heritage, cultural and ecotourism with an emphasis on sustainability and community-inclusivity, offering visitors an immersive and responsible experience. The region encompasses more than 200,000 years of unexplored human history including the Nabataean city of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site; the ancient North Arabian Dadanite and Lihyanite Kingdoms, whose scripts contributed to the evolution of the Arabic language; and AlUla Old Town, a stopping point for pilgrims from 1100CE. In accordance with the will of Saudi Arabia and of France, AlUla has the ambition to become, thanks to the most advanced knowledge and techniques, a flagship project in terms of sustainable development, focused on the absolute preservation of the environment, respectful of history and inclusive of local populations. The project is a joint development between the French Agency Afalula and the Royal Commission for AIUIa (RCU).
Designed to evolve and elevate the very best in travel, AMAALA, located along Saudi Arabia’s north western coast, is a global wellness ultra-luxury destination that focuses on transformative personal journeys inspired by wellness, arts, culture and purity of the Red Sea. Owned by the Public Investment Fund and a key contributor to Vision 2030, AMAALA will establish new standards in luxury and wellness. Set in the Prince Mohammad bin Salman Natural Reserve across three unique communities, AMAALA builds on Vision 2030 and is designed to harness and showcase the Kingdom’s greatest strengths. AMAALA is helping to create a more sustainable economy through the development of new tourism, wellness and cultural experiences for Saudi citizens and visitors from around the world. The 4,155sq km year-round destination will offer 3,000 hotel rooms across some 25 hotels, as well as private residential villas, apartments and estate homes, alongside high-end retail establishments, fine dining, and wellness and recreational facilities. The project will also be split into three main sections, Triple Bay, The Coastal Development and The Island. Set to become the epicentre of the arts in the Middle East, its will feature a contemporary art museum and cultural district.
Aseer Development Project
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began a tourism strategy in September last year to develop the southwestern Aseer region with $13bn to attract more than ten million visitors by 2030. Tourist attractions on Aseer’s mountain peaks will turn the province into a year-round destination, exploiting the tourism potential of its geographical and natural diversity, culture and heritage. In addition, it will provide new job opportunities, boost life quality and upgrade essential services and infrastructure in the region. Developer PIF plans a $3bn investment to build 2,700 hotel rooms, 1,300 residential units and 30 commercial and entertainment attractions in Aseer by 2030. The Aseer Region Development Project strategy is projected to positively impact the economic and social prosperity of the Aseer region. The region itself is surrounded by rich culture and beauty of its nature, making the location ideal for the project and what it aims to accomplish. The Crown Prince revealed that the project aims to cater to visitors from both within and outside the country. He also added that the project is motivated and underpinned by the natural assets that are present in the region. He said that the natural assets could be used to showcase the richness of cultural heritage.
As part of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) is transforming Diriyah into what will become the world’s largest cultural and heritage destination. Located 15 minutes from Riyadh, Diriyah will become the world’s largest cultural and lifestyle mud city. Celebrating 300 years of Saudi Arabian history and heritage, Diriyah is destined to become a world-class lifestyle destination with Saudi’s greatest collection of museums and cultural attractions, luxury international hotels and resorts and luxury retail, leisure and dining experiences. Built in the fifteenth century and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, it was here that Diriyah’s ruling family lived under the leadership of Imam Mohammad bin Saud, the forefather of Saudi Arabia’s current King, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. A SAR 65bn cultural and lifestyle development, inspired by the timeless Najdi architecture of At-Turaif, Diriyah is the ancestral home of the Royal Family of Al Saud, the birthplace of the Kingdom. On completion, Diriyah will become Saudi’s premier lifestyle destination to visit, live, work, shop, dine and celebrate the wonder of the Kingdom’s rich heritage and culture.
Launched in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and with a name that means “new future”, NEOM stands as the flagship project of Vision 2030 and post-oil diversification plans. As a $500bn mega-city of the future, it aims to become an international hub for a wide range of sectors and services. Completion is scheduled for 2030, but with a 26,500sq km site and 450km of coastline, growth and development of the area is expected to continue well beyond then. Located on the north-western edge of Saudi Arabia, the site is in proximity to Egypt, Jordan and Israel, and eventually aims to incorporate territory from neighbouring countries. The region has particularly favourable climatic conditions, with temperatures roughly 10° cooler than the GCC average. A key part of NEOM is THE LINE is a civilisational revolution that puts humans first, providing an unprecedented urban living experience while preserving the surrounding nature. It redefines the concept of urban development and what cities of the future should look like. No roads, cars or emissions, it will run on 100 per cent renewable energy and 95 per cent of land will be preserved for nature. THE LINE will be only 200m wide, but 170km long and 500m above sea level.
Something new, exciting and fun for the people of Saudi Arabia and the world, Qiddiya will be a disruptive destination that offers innovative and immersive experiences integrated on a scale never been seen before. It will be a place that offers unique, elevated and fun experiences… and joyful moments to cherish for life. The wide range of offerings will be based on five cornerstones: Sports & Wellness; Nature & Environment; Parks & Attractions; Motion & Mobility; and Arts & Culture, making Qiddiya the capital of Entertainment, Sports and the Arts, not just in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but of the world. Family-friendly theme parks, sports arenas suitable for international competitions, academies for sports and the arts, concert and entertainment venues, racetracks for motorsport enthusiasts as well as outdoor and adventure activities alongside nature and environment experiences are just some of the fun attractions being developed. Qiddiya will also include a variety of real estate options and community services. In short, Qiddiya will be a place that enables the youth of Saudi Arabia to fulfil their ambitions.
Having been established in 2019 by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund (PIF), ROSHN specialises in developing integrated urban neighbourhoods featuring residential communities with modern standards across the kingdom. The idea behind the project’s launch was to meet the demand for new housing supply while developing integrated neighbourhoods, localising international best practices, incorporating the latest technologies in construction, and enhancing the quality of life. As a Saudi giga-project, ROSHN creates comprehensive communities to elevate the standards of living in Saudi Arabia and contributes to the objectives of VISION 2030, including enhancing the quality of life for the Kingdom’s residents. Soon after launching in November 2020, the real estate giant unveiled its very first project, a community in Riyadh. Spread across 20sq km, the megaproject comprises more than 30,000 homes, and is an integral part of ROSHN’s 10-year mandate to develop communities across the kingdom. In August 2021, the project was officially named “SEDRA”. The mega development is strategically located north of Riyadh, south of King Khalid Airport, and within close proximity to Princess Nourah University. The giga-project also aims to raise the rate of homeownership to 70 per cent in the country and the design of SEDRA is inspired by Salmani architecture.
The Red Sea Project
The Red Sea Project is the world’s most ambitious luxury tourism development, offering an exclusive experience of unparalleled diversity for discerning global travellers. The Red Sea Development Company, established in 2018, is fully owned by the Public Investment Fund and will lead development of the project. Directly employing 35,000 people, the project showcases the landscape and rich cultural heritage of the Red Sea Coast. The Red Sea Project aims to welcome its first guests this year 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 28,000sq km along Saudi Arabia’s west coast including more than 90 islands. The site 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.