Nine luxury hotel brands join Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project

Nine luxury hotel brands have signed hotel management agreements for the first phase of the Red Sea Project, a large-scale development on the western coast of Saudi Arabia.

Edition Hotels, St Regis, Fairmont, Raffles, SLS, Six Senses, Intercontinental, Jumeirah and Grand Hyatt (pictured) will be the first of 16 hotels to open in the destination during phase one. Together the properties will offer 3,000 hotel rooms across five islands and two inland sites. 

The first phase of development, due to be completed by the end of 2023, will also include a luxury marina, an 18-hole championship golf course, entertainment and leisure facilities, and an international airport that will reportedly be accessible by 80% of the world’s population in less than eight hours.

The Red Sea Project is located between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh and features 200km of coastline and an archipelago of islands as well as dormant volcanoes, desert and mountains. 

Upon completion in 2030, it will host 50 hotels and approximately 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. 

Developer The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) is expected to announce additional international hotel brand partnerships in the coming months.

TRSDC chief executive John Pagano said: “Saudi Arabia is accelerating its development of a new tourism offering in the kingdom, fuelled by the ambitious Vision 2030 program.

“We are proud to unveil our collection of unique and diverse hospitality brands that cater to this growing market and underpin our commitment to creating a world-leading barefoot luxury destination which will soon serve as a gateway to one of the last undiscovered places on the planet.

“Most importantly, such partnerships with globally recognised and respected brands signifies the growing confidence in our business, our flagship destination and in Saudi Arabia as a tourism destination.”

The Red Sea Project expects to host one million visitors annually by 2030, capped in line with its sustainability ambitions, according to TRSDC. 

It also intends to create upwards of 70,000 new jobs, contributing $5.3 billion to the nation’s GDP once fully operational.

It comes amid Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 project, which is targeting 100 million visits and the creation of two million tourism jobs under three core sectors - leisure, spiritual travel, and business events and MICE.

‎“Hospitality is the anchor of The Red Sea Project,” said Jay Rosen, chief financial officer at TRSDC. 

“We are determined to create a world-class luxury destination and the hotel brands we partner with play a crucial role in delivering on this ambition.

“Our partnerships are cemented through a collaborative framework that emphasise synchronicity between all brands. In doing so, we aim to create more value and maximise destination success, empowering stakeholders to benefit from shared best practices and economies of scale. 

“The hotel management agreements unveiled today mark a significant milestone for us and we welcome more hotel operators, developers and investors to join us in our journey to build a thriving destination for visitors from around the world.”

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