Saudi Arabia has announced that as part of its 2030 vision for the kingdom, the country will be developing a huge number of tourist resorts on the country’s Red Sea coast. The resorts will be built on 50 islands and will cover a stretch of coastline 125mi/200km long.
According to the BBC, the first phase of the project will involve the construction of the luxury hotels and resorts, and the construction of a new international airport is expected to start by 2019 and be completed by 2022. According to the vision 2030 project, the new touristic area will include:
- Pristine protected coral reefs
- Extinct volcanoes
- A Wildlife and Nature reserve featuring rarities such as Arabian leopards and falcons.
Visitors to the tourist resorts will also be able to visit the nearby UNESCO world heritage site Madain Saleh, where they can take part in trekking, rock climbing and parachuting amongst other activities.
Needless to say, questions will arise about whether the Saudi government will relax their strict laws on these new resorts. Normally, women have to wear full-length gowns in public, and alcohol, theatres, and cinemas are banned in the kingdom. Without relaxing the rules, it is hard to see the resorts being attractive to western tourists, although the Saudi government may be targeting tourists from majority Muslim countries.
The development of new resorts should open up some great new pristine diving destinations in the Red Sea. Although there will be concerns about the environmental impact of such huge resorts on the surrounding ecosystems, including marine life.
You can read the full BBC story, or check out the video below for some Saudi Arabian diving action.