Some corners of our world are still virgin, untouched, especially desert and deep ocean landscapes. And in one area of the Saudi Red Sea, dozens of islands have never had human feet set on them, until now.
And even with planned developments beginning in 2023, tourists visiting the Red Sea Project will still need to adjust to unmatched serenity and sustainability efforts around them.
Launched by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman in 2017, The Red Sea Project covers 28,000 sqkms on the west coast of the country and is planned to have 50 hotels and around 1,000 residences on 22 islands and six inland sites by 2030, by which time it hopes to attract 1 million visitors a year.
Only 22 islands will be developed, leaving 75% of the islands untouched and only 1% of the entire destination will be developed. Nine islands will be designated as special conservation zones to protect the species that live and thrive there. Part of The Red Sea Project’s regenerative approach will be achieved by exploring new technologies, such as 3D coral printing and coral farming processes to boost coral populations.
Center stage: Sustainability
TRSDC announced a solution proposed to produce sustainable seafood and algae in a desert environment.
The CEO of future Red Sea mega destination Amaala, John Pagano, indicated that this project would set a new global standard in sustainable, multitrophic desert aquaculture where the company can turn sunlight into seafood.
“The system has a minimal environmental footprint and will aid in carbon sequestration for our flagship destination as well as future projects on the Red Sea coast in alignment with the company’s aspiration to achieve 100% carbon neutrality,” said Pagano.
LARA converts CO2 directly into chemical-free seafood using Phyto and zooplankton as transitional stages. It is constructed of a tower of three horizontal units.
The top unit uses the sun’s energy to grow microalgae which powers the entire system. The microalgae are then moved to the subsequent division down, where it nourishes zooplankton. The zooplankton is then transported to the bottom unit, where fish eat it.
The Red Sea Project developer, the Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) is recruiting, training, and educating people on sustainability, Pagano told Arab News.
The company has hired around 2,000 local people including contractors and is training people in vocational jobs and for management roles, he said in an interview on the sidelines of the FII recently held in Riyadh.
On the agriculture side of things, the company is helping farmers “learn more how to manage pests and use more environmentally sound and friendly solutions to deal with pests, grow more organic foods and give them an outlet so we can become a purchaser of them,” Pagano explained.
He said there will be no overdevelopment as this would damage what makes the place so unique and special.
Hotels under construction
Nine hotel management companies have signed up to operate hotels in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project, developer TRSDC said recently.
They will operate nine of the 16 properties under development in Phase One of the scheme, accounting for 1,700 hotel keys of its total 3,000 planned for completion by the end of 2023 on five islands and at two inland sites. First guests will be welcomed by the end of 2022.
Phase One will also have its own international airport to fly sunseekers in from around the world.
The nine are:
- Edition Hotels and St Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International
- Fairmont Hotel & Resorts, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, and SLS Hotels & Residences, part of global hospitality group Accor
- Grand Hyatt, part of Hyatt Hotels Corporation
- Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts and Six Senses, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts
- Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, a global luxury hospitality company
Marriott International recently signed an agreement with TRSDC to develop two luxury hotels as part of the highly-anticipated Red Sea Project in Saudi Arabia. The St. Regis Red Sea Resort and The Red Sea EDITION are expected to further enhance Marriott International’s footprint across the Kingdom where it currently has a portfolio of over 30 properties with more than 9,000 rooms across ten brands.
Expected to open in 2023, the St. Regis Red Sea Resort is expected to feature 90 villas, two signature restaurants, an outdoor pool, fitness center, and spa, in addition to a Children’s Club., the exclusive resort will offer the brand’s visionary spirit, avant-garde style, and bespoke service.
Also slated to open in 2023, the Red Sea EDITION will include 240 guestrooms, including one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, and plans to offer two signature restaurants, a fitness center, a swimming pool, and a spa.
SLS Hotels and Residences
SLS Hotels & Residences, in collaboration with TRSDC recently announced SLS Red Sea which will open its doors in Q1 2023. The project will bring 150 hotel rooms including 12 suites and 15 villas spanning over 800,000 square feet of single-story accommodation. The property will feature expansive one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom pool villas, each with ample space and the privacy afforded with one’s own private swimming pool.