Saudi Arabia's AlUla to include community-driven eco-resort

Habitas will bring a 100-key resort to Ashar Valley

Work has started on an eco-friendly 100-key resort in Saudi Arabia’s desert canyons of Ashar Valley.

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) started construction of the project following a partnership signing with Habitas.

Though the group has more traction in Mexico and parts of Africa, Habitas is one of the leading community-focused and environmentally-conscious hospitality groups. Its hotels focus on promoting human connections, as well as experiential and immersive travel.

The first phase of the resort will be completed in Q1 2021, bringing an additional 50 keys to the Kingdom’s massive tourism development project.

Commenting on this collaboration, Amr AlMadani, CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla said: “This agreement reflects our commitment to making AlUla a global destination that offers visitors unique, authentic experiences as we protect, share and celebrate our natural and cultural heritage. Construction is underway, a fact that signals that we are actively opening up new opportunities for regional and international investors in the hospitality sector while empowering and enabling our community.”

Oliver Ripley, CEO of Habitas continued “RCU’s approach to sustainable development aligns very closely to our values and DNA and in our mission to support local communities. The world, now more than ever, needs to create places for people to reconnect with one another and with nature.”

AlUla is set to open in October this year, eventually boasting 9,400 hotel keys by 2035. Recently, RCU and Accor inked a deal for an 82-key Banyan Tree property in AlUla

Starting from October, visitors will be able to access four key heritage sites including Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008; Dadan, one of the most developed 1st millennium BCE cities of the Arabian Peninsula; Jabal Ikmah, often referred to as the ‘Lihyanite library’; and Old Town, the ancient walled city of AlUla.

Planned to enrich the local community, the Habitas resort in AlUla will offer training schools for local staff, develop local artistic talent with classes and workshops, source local food and host conversations on sustainability and environmentalism.

By 2035, RCU expects to host two million visitors annually, generating 38,000 new jobs.

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