Saudi Arabia to begin Qiddiya project this year

riyadh qiddiyaThe project targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s entertainment, sports and cultural destination. (Image source: Apriltan18/Flickr)Construction of the recreational megaproject in Riyadh will begin this year, according to Mike Reininger, CEO of the Qiddiya project

“Planning and design were complete in 2018 and will be implemented this year,” Reininger told Arab News.

Qiddiya, one of the three megaprojects, besides the NEOM smart city and the Red Sea Project launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will be located about 40km from the city centre.

The project targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s entertainment, sports and cultural destination. It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 sq km, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is only 110 sq km.

Investors hope the project will attract high numbers of international visitors. “We will disclose more information on the construction timeline in due course,” said Reininger.

Developing the entertainment sector by creating high-quality domestic and international investments within the kingdom is one of the main goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, according to the news report. The youth demographic will be the main contributor to Qiddiya’s success since two-thirds of the Saudi population is under the age of 35. Therefore, the project aims to satisfy the recreational, social and cultural needs of the country’s current and future generations. This project will also contribute to the real estate development of the area, offering 4,000 residential units by 2025 and 11,000 by 2030. It aims to attract residents who want to buy second homes at Qiddiya for weekends and vacations.

Saudis spend US$30bn on tourism abroad every year. By providing new entertainment options for citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia, this project aims to redirect some of the overseas tourism spendings back into the kingdom.

By 2030, the number of annual visitors to Qiddiya is expected to reach 17mn in the entertainment sector, 12mn in the shopping sector and two million in the hospitality sector.

The first phase of the project will officially open in 2022, with its final phase ending in 2035.

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