On 27th May 2018 the The Red Sea Project marked a milestone with its incorporation as a standalone closed joint-stock company, The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), wholly owned by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
The Red Sea Project was launched on 31st July 2017, by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund, to create a world-class, luxury, sustainable tourism destination along the west coast of Saudi Arabia. It is one of three giga projects announced under the Public Investment Fund (PIF)
The Public Investment Fund stated that the incorporation of The Red Sea Development Company underscored the importance of the transformation project, which will promote the inclusive and sustainable economic growth of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by developing the country’s tourism sector, a central aspiration of Saudi’s Vision 2030.
The newly-incorporated company will now move forward with the creation of its Special Economic Zone, with its own regulatory framework separate from the base economy with a special emphasis on environmental sustainability, issuing visas on entry, relaxed social norms, and improved business regulations.
The company has recruited John Pagano, the former managing director of development for the UK’s Canary Wharf Group as its Chief Executive Officer. The company also declared in October 2017 that the British Virgin Group founder Richard Branson as one of its board members.
“The destination will provide a unique sense of place for visitors and offer nature lovers, adventurers, cultural explorers and guests looking to escape and rejuvenate, a wide range of exclusive experiences, combining luxury, tranquility, adventure and beautiful landscapes,” – John Pagano, Chief Executive Officer of TRSDC.
The first phase of the Red Sea Project — which will occupy more than 34,000 km² between the cities of Al-Wajh and Umluj — will include hotels and residential units, along with a new coastal town, an airport and a marina, and is due for completion by late 2022. The project also includes plans to develop resorts on some 50 islands off the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast to be a year-round destination with a wide range of unique experiences for visitors.
The Red Sea Project will create as many as 35,000 jobs and contribute SR15 billion ($4 billion) to the local economy.
The country’s Vision 2030 economic development plan is targeting the creation of 1.2 million new jobs in the Saudi tourism sector by 2030.