Saudi Arabia: Is this the world’s most inspiring regenerative tourism initiative?

The Red Sea, with its pristine coral reefs as well as a dizzying array marine life, is believed to be the favorite diving destination of Jacques Cousteau.

It is perhaps not surprising that Philippe Cousteau Jr., the grandson of the famous French marine explorer Philippe Cousteau, was invited by Saudi Arabia to assist with the development of a luxury tourist destination on 50 islands in Red Sea.

The coral reef is fourth in size worldwide. It is healthy, and we are committed protecting its health,” states Tracey Lanza (Group Head of Global Branding at The Red Sea Development Company).

This doesn’t mean preserving the reef’s health. “We are committed towards enhancing the biodiversity 100%.”

The Red Sea Project, a regenerative tourism destination, is being constructed along Saudi Arabia’s northwest coast. It will be located alongside the Amaala resort.

It’s home to mountain canyons and dormant volcanoes. There are also many cultural sites along an old trade route.

Regenerative does not refer to sustainability. We want to make it better than what we found.

Tracey Lanza Group Head, Global Branding at The Red Sea Development Company & Amaala

Beyond sustainability

These projects are part the country’s effort to diversify its economy through new sectors like green tourism.

Lanza says that the Red Sea Development Company is responsible for “what I believe to be the most inspirational, most committed regenerative tourist initiative in the world,” Lanza said.

“Regenerative does not mean sustainability. We don’t want to just stop loss. We want to build the destination to be better than it was when we arrived.”

Landscape Nursery is located on the site and will supply more than 15,000,000 plants to the destination.

She adds, “So we really are seeing this as a complete shift in how tourism happens Saudi Arabia and leading the way for the rest of world.”

The company is already teaching local people skills in the hospitality industry. “Whether it be airlines or hoteliers. It’s about teaching them how hospitality works.

Amaala, the Red sea Project

These two projects have different focuses.

Amaala promotes culture, arts, wellness and sports. It will include a sports performance academy with facilities that include equestrian and polo, camel racing falconry, golf, tennis, and polo.

The Red Sea Project will focus on sustainability and what they call “barefoot luxury”, which is being in touch the land, desert, and diving.

You will have a variety of experiences: from island getaways to resort holidays, mountain retreats, and desert adventures.

Desert Rock recently launched, for instance, features a luxury Spa, Fitness Centre, remote dining areas, and guests will have the opportunity to hike, use dunes buggies, or stargaze in mountains.

It’s also a great coastal experience with snorkelling and diving on the beach.

The Red Sea Project will focus on sustainability and barefoot luxury – being in touch and connected to the land, desert, and diving.

Which place should you go?

The destination will feature hotels, residential properties, as well as leisure and entertainment facilities committed to sustainability.

Red Sea Development Company signed nine luxury hotels in the first phase. These include Edition Hotels, St Regis Hotels & Resorts; Fairmont Hotel & Resorts; Fairmont Hotel & Resorts; Raffles Hotels & Resorts; SLS Hotels & Residences; Grand Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts; Six Senses Hotels & Resorts.

There are many options available depending on your budget.

Lanza stated, “It’s exciting, this isn’t just creation and construction. This is commitment by some of the most fascinating and beautiful hoteliers worldwide.”

In late 2022, the first visitors to the Red Sea will arrive. It is not possible for more than one million people to be in attendance at once.

How do you sustainably get there?

Lanza says that airlines are a priority to her. She explains that microalgae is one way Lanza can look at microtechnologies and microalgae to make better biofuels.

“That’s not something we have right now, but it is what we are looking at.”

international airport has been developed “using responsible construction practices”. It is expected to serve one million tourists annually by 2030.

Lanza says that the project “is not going to be built and finished.” It will evolve and grow.

“I believe that the goal of the World of Travel is to bring these best practices into the world so they can be used as benchmarks by other destinations.”