The most recent “giga project” with the goal of changing Saudi Arabia
Even though it has only recently begun its tourism journey, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is making big strides. larger than large.
In point of fact, the country is concentrating its efforts on what it refers to as “giga-projects,” developments that are an essential component of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy to drive diversification and create new economic ecosystems.
Considering that the nation only welcomed its first eVisa-carrying tourists in 2019, Saudi Arabia intends to attract 100 million visitors annually by 2030.
To attract these tourists, futuristic and occasionally contentious new destinations like NEOM, with its 170-kilometer-long car-free mirrored city The Line, and the winter sports resort of Trojena, are sprouting across the Kingdom. Other projects that focus on the nation’s ancient history include the Nabataean tombs in AlUla and the oasis towns of Khaybar and Tayma.
Another megaproject is being built on the outskirts of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Its goal is to bring 27 million of those annual visitors to a 14-square-kilometer site with historical and cultural attractions.
Diriyah is the Al Saud dynasty’s ancestral seat and the location of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif, where the First Saudi State was established in 1727. It is regarded as the nation’s birthplace.
In terms of culture and history, Diriyah is very important to Saudi Arabia today. Additionally, given that it is a crucial megaproject in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy, there is pressure to succeed.
Multi-billion dollar price tag
That’s exactly what Diriyah Gate Development Authority group CEO Jerry Inzerillo has been tasked with doing. He has been in the hospitality industry for five decades and is leading a team that wants to make Diriyah a flagship Vision 2030 project that will provide “unparalleled cultural experiences for visitors and drive economic growth for the Kingdom.”
He states, “We are committed to preserving and promoting the city’s history and culture, and we look forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world to witness its beauty and be a part of the legacy it represents.”
Building a destination is not cheap.
According to Inzerillo, Diriyah is a $63.2 billion undertaking that is “one of the largest and most complex in the world.”
However, once visitors arrive, what can they do?
At the end of 2022, the first phases of the master plan opened, including the At-Turaif World Heritage Site, which features new galleries and museums that trace Diriyah’s history, as well as relics of city walls, royal palaces, and mosques.
Bujairi Terrace is a group of restaurants built in the traditional Najdi mud-brick architectural style of the area. It includes local concepts that serve high-end Saudi cuisine and international restaurants like Angelina, COVA, and Sarabeth’s.
However, Diriyah’s plans go far beyond a few restaurants and museums.
According to Inzerillo, “We will be launching new assets every year until 2030.” “We have a rolling masterplan that adapts to ensure we stay on track.” Our objective is to construct a world-class cultural hub in the nation’s center.”
Music and lights
In Diriyah, 38 brand-name hotels and resorts will open, including Ritz-Carlton, Park Hyatt, and Raffles properties. There will also be six museums, 26 cultural attractions, more than 400 luxury and lifestyle stores, and more than 100 souqs and bazaars.
Six parks will cover an area of 2.6 square kilometers, are dotted with tens of thousands of trees, and offer walking, biking, and horseback riding trails.
The destination will also place a significant emphasis on events, and a full schedule is already in place. The Diriyah Formula E race in January and concerts by John Legend, French Montana, and Martin Garrix were among the high-energy events that took place during the Diriyah Season 2022, which began in October and ended on February 22, 2023.
Diriyah’s palm forests are at present being changed with vivid light establishments by worldwide and Saudi craftsmen, including Masamichi Shimada and Balqis AlRashed, as a feature of Diriyah Evenings, with Arabic music shows, spring up cafés and shisha lounges drawing the capital’s inhabitants.