Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport sees record 2023 with almost 11m passengers

Saudi developer Red Sea Global celebrates 2023 achievements and sets out 2024 goals

RIYADH: By the end of 2023, Saudi developer Red Sea Global had established 21 subsidiaries and celebrated several landmarks, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday. This helped cement its position as one of the fastest-growing businesses in the Kingdom and a key participant in national efforts to achieve the goals of the country’s Vision 2030 development and diversification plan, it added.

“In 2023, The Red Sea destination welcomed its first guests, marking a pivotal moment for RSG and the Kingdom’s burgeoning tourism industry,” the SPA said. “In addition, the company unveiled its third destination, Thuwal Private Retreat, further expanding its growing portfolio of developments along the Red Sea coast.”

John Pagano, RSG’s group CEO, said: “Our mission to develop new destinations as beacons of responsible tourism, showcasing the best in sustainable and regenerative development, gains unprecedented urgency as our planet continues to face challenges in relation to the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.

“Our resorts are representative of positive change, supporting local communities, preserving cultural heritage, and contributing to the conservation and enhancement of the environment. We are truly excited by our accomplishments to date and are confident that our goals for 2024 and beyond will continue to push boundaries and shape the future of regenerative tourism.

“Together, our dedicated workforce and committed partners are determined to continue driving economic growth, creating job opportunities, protecting and regenerating environments, while delivering unforgettable experiences for our guests at The Red Sea, Amaala and future destinations.”

The SPA said the destinations RSG is developing are particularly appealing due to their unspoiled landscapes, rich biodiversity, enticing cultural heritage, and world-class hospitality offerings.

“New experiential brands Akun, Galaxea and WAMA are playing a role in unlocking these elements in a sustainable manner to provide truly unique and memorable moments for guests as they explore the unexplored,” it said.

Last year there was an ongoing global shift toward more sustainable travel, the SPA added, as highlighted by the 2023 Sustainable Travel Report, which found that 76 percent of international travelers are determined to support more sustainable travel options in 2024, despite economic pressures.

“Last year RSG announced its ‘Coral Commitment,’ vowing to protect and regenerate corals in the Red Sea and beyond, (and) at the same time the company unveiled the new brand for its marine life institute at Amaala, which it has named Corallium, and announced the results of phase one of its Coral Gardening Pilot Project,” the SPA said.

RSG will this year take delivery of a $1 million coral-breeding lab, which will allow its team of scientists to produce juvenile coral throughout the year.

The company said it opened its first mangrove nursery, in which 1 million seedlings have already been planted, and it plans to plant a further 50 million mangrove trees by 2030.

It added that it has developed more than 20 acres of new wetlands through a sustainable approach to utilities that can treat waste water without the need for chemicals, which can be used to create new habitats that enable biodiversity to flourish.

In addition, RSG said it has installed more than 760,000 photovoltaic panels at five solar farms, which will be able to provide all the energy required to power phase one of The Red Sea, placing the “destination fully off-grid.”

In terms of resort accommodation, Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea, and St. Regis Red Sea Resort have already opened, and Nujuma and Ritz-Carlton Reserve preparing to welcome their first guests soon. In addition, 38 stainless steel over-water villas and 35 beach villas have been completed at Shebara resort, and a resort at Desert Rock is on track to start welcoming guests this year.

Red Sea International Airport has also opened and has been servicing a regular schedule of domestic flights since September, and it has so far welcomed more than 11,500 passengers.

“Looking further ahead to 2025, (RSG expects) the completion of 11 luxury hotels on Shoura Island and the completion of the main terminal at” the airport, the SPA reported.

“Likewise, Amaala, Triple Bay, will welcome the first guests in 2025 as the first eight hotels begin to open their doors, in addition to the one-of-a-kind Corallium marine life institute and iconic yacht club.”

Progress is also being made on a sustainability-focused staff village that will provide housing for those who work at the destination, and RSG said five international operator brands, including Six Senses and Clinique La Prairie, as well as additional hotel partners, are expected to be officially confirmed in the coming months.