AlUla Development Company is launching operations with the aim of turning the city into a global tourism destination in Saudi Arabia.

The company, which is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), plans to deliver hospitality, residential, retail and infrastructure projects as part of the tourism push.

Planned developments include more than 7,500 hotel keys, 5,000 residential units, a staff village comprising more than 1,000 units, as well as infrastructure support, according to a statement on Monday.

"AlUla Development Company will create jobs and opportunities for local businesses and communities whilst preserving one of the world’s largest and oldest cultural sites," the statement said.

"The company’s mandate is in line with PIF’s strategy on unlocking the capabilities of promising sectors in Saudi Arabia that can help drive the diversification of the economy, increase private sector engagement and improve quality of life to support Saudi Arabia’s position regionally and internationally as a leading tourism and cultural destination in line with Vision 2030."

The company will work in collaboration with the Royal Commission of AlUla (RCU) and private sector entities.

AlUla is expected to contribute about 120 billion Saudi riyals ($32 billion) to Saudi Arabia’s economy.

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The RCU forecasts that the population of the area will triple to 130,000 by 2035, generating about 38,000 new jobs.

The RCU was established in 2017 to preserve and develop AlUla, in line with the heritage and preservation priorities of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 programme.

AlUla is among a number of projects in Saudi Arabia which form part of its diversification efforts.

Others include the $500 billion Neom smart city in the north-west of the kingdom, the Red Sea Project, which includes an archipelago of 92 islands, 50 dormant volcanoes, mountain ranges and sand dunes, and Ad Diriyah, the 300-year-old city considered to be the birthplace and capital of the first Saudi state.

Visitors to Saudi Arabia spent 27 billion riyals during the first six months of last year, making tourism one of the kingdom's most promising sectors.

The Ministry of Investment said 3.6 million foreign tourists visited the kingdom during the second quarter of the year, greatly contributing to a plan to diversify sources of income as part of Vision 2030.

2023-01-30T13:45:28Z dg43tfdfdgfd