Saudi's Amaala resort will have 'its own regulatory structure', target UHNWIs: PIF
Project on Red Sea will be better than the Maldives and compete with the top 20 global destinations, says Farah Zafar, chief legal officer at the Public Investment Fund KSA - Amaala
One of Saudi Arabia’s largest tourism projects, the Amaala resort in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nature Reserve, will have its own regulatory structure, according to Farah Zafar, the chief legal officer at Public Investment Fund KSA – Amaala.
Zafar added told sister title Arabian Business that the project will target ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs), and will be geared towards becoming a transformative and unique uber luxury tourism destination dubbed the 'Riviera of the Middle East',
PIF is spearheading the project and has provided initial funding for the destination on the kingdom’s north western coast of the Red Sea.
Speaking to Arabian Business, Farah Zafar said, “We are targeting the top 2.5 million ultra-high net worth individual luxury travellers and will become the first fully-curated leisure brand that elevates luxury to transformative experiences that will curate truly authentic journeys for its visitors, across three pillars - arts and culture, wellness, sea, sun and lifestyle.
"If you look at hotel operators in Riyadh currently, they are doing incredibly well, so [restrictions] haven’t affected hotel operators in the region. Each project will have its own regulatory structure. I cannot comment on the exact structure as this is currently being developed, but what I can say is Amaala will create an environment that meets the expectations of the global UHNWI."
'Better than the Maldives'
Zafar said Amaala will be “better than the Maldives” due to the pristine coral reefs that feature thriving marine life, untouched waters and beautiful mountain landscapes.
"Sustainability is one of the key driving factors of Amaala and Vision 2030 and this project has taken a lead on preservation of the environment, the future of sustainability and the preservation of the oceans," said Zafar.
"So in time, I believe it will be a better proposition than the Maldives given the fact that it is also deeply rooted in culture and heritage. Amaala and the Red Sea are also seeking to be an extension to the Mediterranean yachting routes so our offering will be far more superior to that of the Maldives. All developments are being created in total harmony of the region’s pristine coral reefs, vibrant marine life, which will be showcased to the world on a global arena and will ensure the next generation of sustainable living and leisure."
Launched in September 2018 and on track to meet its 2028 completion date, the project covers 3,800 square kilometres across three sites featuring a total of 2,525 hotel keys and 1,496 residential units.
Amaala will sit alongside schemes such as Neom and the Red Sea Project, and will offer investment packages to the private sector.
In May, the managing director of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in India, Middle East and Africa said the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia is “equivalent” to the Maldives or Seychelles.
Speaking to Arabian Business, Pascal Gauvin said the sea’s unspoiled and preserved area will attract many tourists when project begin to open to the public.
“When I see the Red Sea, which has never been operated, I mean what a privilege. People pay a lot to go to the Maldives or Seychelles, but this is equivalent and an unspoiled area that’s never been seen before. The [Saudi government] wants to preserve the environment, work hard to preserve the site and all that is attractive to bring customers,” he said.