Richard Branson to invest in Saudi Red Sea project, to generate 35,000 jobs

Red Sea project is expected to generate 35,000 jobs, according to the Saudi government

 Branson visited the tombs at Madain Saleh during his trip to Saudi Arabia. Image: Virgin.com
Branson visited the tombs at Madain Saleh during his trip to Saudi Arabia. Image: Virgin.com

Virgin airlines founder Richard Branson will invest in the Saudi Red Sea project that aims to turn 50 Saudi Arabian islands into luxury tourism destinations, the Saudi government announced on Sunday.

The development will begin construction only in Q3 2019, with its first phase due for completion in Q4 2022. Hotels and luxury residences are expected to be developed under Phase 1. 

The project will create as many as 35,000 jobs “once it’s up and running” and contribute 15 billion riyals ($4 billion) to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product, according to the statement released by the Saudi government in August. 

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A Saudi world class tourism destination #TheRedSeaProject pic.twitter.com/Bd2XInQnQB

— مشروع البحر الأحمر (@TheRedSeaSA) August 1, 2017

AFP reports that Branson is the first international investor to commit to the project Saudi Arabia's information ministry said, in what officials called "a clear sign that Saudi Arabia is opening its doors to international tourism". 

Branson also made a short trip to an UNESCO World Heritage site, the tombs at Madain Saleh located near a string of new hotels.

"This is an incredibly exciting time in the country's history and I've always felt that there's nothing like getting a firsthand impression," Branson said in a statement released by the information ministry.

  

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