Starting from scratch – Amaala

By | Category: Travel destinations

Very few destinations start a tourism policy from scratch.

Like Petra, Hegra has carved images in stone.

Saudi Arabia is attempting to develop a new tourism – a tourism that in the past has largely relied on pilgrims visiting places of religious significance.

When the new policy – Saudi Vision 2030 – was announced over four years ago, tourism was a key feature. At that time, it was announced that a complex would be built on the Red Sea coastline to attract a luxury traveller.

There are seventy islands off the western Saudi coastline towards the top of the Red Sea. Here, some are being developed already to provide a range of accommodation which will concentrate on luxury to start with but also family-friendly as well.

A freezone is being set up so that holidaymakers will be able to fly into a local airport rather than Jeddah (Riyadh is even further away) which will be a short flight away or about seven hours by car.

Called Amaala, the first work has just begun on transforming the area into a tourist resort. For a start, there will be a new airport as, at the moment the closest is Prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdulaziz Airport, just south of Al Ula. The airport is likely to be allowed to take international passengers as from next year.

Last year, Just about Travel, published the initial ideas about Amaala. Since then they have expanded.

Amaala is described as an ultra-luxury resort and is due for completion towards the end of the decade. Although the resort will be set in over 4,155 square kilometres of unspoiled terrain within the Prince Mohammad bin Salman Natural Reserve, just 5% of the greenfield site will be developed, with the remainder managed for conservation value. In the construction of the resort, the plan has a zero-carbon footprint as its goal and 15 sustainability criteria have been established for contractors to meet.

an impression of the proposed Amaala Rock Hotel

The plan is that the resort will have some 2,500 hotel bedrooms as well as villas, a shopping complex with over 200 shops as well as galleries and museums. Marinas will be constructed along the coastline

But that is all that is planned.

What about the area itself.

The Red Sea coast has many resorts further up the coast in Egypt so anyone that knows Sharm al Sheikh, for example, will know that the seas are clean and clear and the sand is widespread.

There are coral reefs which encourages a range of sea creatures which will in turn attract those who love to dive.

Work has begun on the development but in addition to what will be new, visitors shouldn’t miss what is old.

The area is not far from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra near Al Ula. For those who know Petra in Jordan, Hegra was the second capital of the Nabataean Kingdom and has nearly 100 well-preserved tombs cut into sandstone outcrops. But Petra is much better known amongst tourists and specialised tour operators.

The old town of Al Ula and Hegra attract tourists and wil complement visits to Amaala

The opportunity for dune buggy rides, adventure holidays in addition to the heritage opportunites mean that those holidaying in Amaala in the future will find plenty to attract them.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , ,