Middle East

Saudi Red Sea project to offer visa on arrival for tourists

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea project said it will offer visas on arrival for overseas visitors following the creation of a company to deliver the ambitious project.

The project marked a milestone recently 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 newly-incorporated company will now move forward with the creation of its Special Economic Zone, with its own regulatory framework, it said in a statement.

The framework will be separate from the base economy, with a special emphasis on environmental sustainability, and will be offering visa on entry, relaxed social norms, and improved business regulations.

“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,” said its newly appointed chief executive, John Pagano.

The first phase of The Red Sea Project will include hotels and residential units, along with a new coastal town, an airport and a marina. The phase I, which will occupy an area greater than the size of Belgium between the cities of Al-Wajh and Umluj , is scheduled to be completed by late 2022. The project is expected to create as many as 35,000 jobs and contribute SR15 billion ($3.99 billion) to the local economy.

The project, unveiled last July by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is one of the key developments in Saudi Arabia’s strategy to develop its tourism sector, alongside Qiddiya, an entertainment resort near Riyadh that will be two-and-a-half times the size of Disney World. Saudi’s Vision 2030 economic development plan is targeting the creation of 1.2 million new jobs in the Saudi tourism sector by 2030.