Investors showing 'strong interest' in Saudi giga-project

Phase one of Red Sea Development involves the construction of 16 hotels and 3,000 keys

The destination will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment and leisure facilities.

Investors from within the kingdom, and at an international level, are showing “strong interest” in becoming a part of Saudi’s Red Sea Development, according to the chief development officer behind the giga-project.

Nick King, CDO, The Red Sea Development Company, told Arabian Business that phase one of the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism project is switching “from being very design heavy, into delivery heavy, into execution”.

He said phase one involves the construction of 16 hotels and 3,000 keys. “The overall phase one has 16, hotels and 3,000 keys. It’s a big, complex program of hotels, infrastructure and everything else that goes alongside it, a golf course, golf villas, retail, a marina,” he said.

“We will be launching into the market with the brands that we have signed up with. I’m sure you appreciate the dynamic of signing agreements with multiples across 16 hotels, it’s important to keep that really close to your chest until the time is right,” said King, although he added that they are international players.

He said: “I think it’s a recognition of the fact that if you want to go to the Red Sea today, you don’t have a lot of alternatives. We are opening not only a physically stunning part of the world and a stunning part of the Saudi coast to guests and visitors from Saudi Arabia, the GCC and beyond, but we’re the first that’s going to open that entire coast.”

Upon completion in 2030, the destination will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and around 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. The destination will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment and leisure facilities.

Nick King, Chief Development Officer (CDO) at The Red Sea Development Company.

And King revealed investor interest from the kingdom is strong. He said: “We’re seeing strong interest from investors to invest in the project. Opportunities like this have not been available in the past, within the kingdom, and so yes, I think there’s a strong interest in being part of this.

“Also, we’ll be the first project that’s really moving towards delivering on that 2030 Vision and there’s a huge appetite in the kingdom to be part of that. There’s a pride here, an enthusiasm, but balanced with commercial realities, of wanting to participate in transforming the economy here, and transforming the image of Saudi Arabia to the world.”

And interest is equally strong from outside the borders of Saudi Arabia. King added: “The emphasis for much of the program is more Saudi and that makes sense and I think it’s appropriate for the first wave of opportunities, if you like, to be domestic. Saudi groups should have the opportunity to participate and they should have the opportunity to benefit and bring those benefits to Saudi people.

“But we definitely see international interest on the upswing, particularly for some of the more bespoke parts of the project where it relates to health, fitness, F&B, journeys, experiences, things that around the world, there is a lot of expertise and investors are doing some very exciting things and have things under their belt that they’d love to bring to us. So when they bring those things to us, often they’re bringing capital as well.”

Earlier this year the Red Sea Development Company secured a SAR14.120 billion ($3.76bn) loan and revolving credit facility with four Saudi banks.

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