Saudi Arabia plans luxury Red Sea resorts

Plan to turn 50 Red Sea islands into a new destination
Saudi Arabia is understood to be planning a huge tourism development, turning 50 islands on the Red Sea into luxury resorts.
The move, designed to attract foreign tourists as well as domestic visitors, is part of a drive to create new revenues for the Saudi economy following the fall in oil prices.
It’s unclear whether the kingdom’s conservative dress codes and other restrictions will be relaxed, but visa restrictions will reportedly be eased in the tourist zone.
The Red Sea development, part of a Vision 2030 plan that also includes enhancing cultural gems, will be built along 200 kilometres of the western coastline. It is being driven by the kingdom’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who became first in line to the throne in June.
Attractions will include coral reefs, dormant volcanoes and a nature reserve featuring rare animals such as Arabian leopards and falcons. Activities will include trips to the ancient site of Madain Saleh, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as parachuting, rock climbing and trekking.
Construction will begin in 2019, with a new airport, luxury hotels and housing expected to be complete by 2022.
Saudia Arabia is notorious for its conservative laws and currently bans alcohol, cinemas and theatres, while women are instructed to wear loose-fitting, full-length robes and a head scarf if they are Muslim. Women are not legally allowed to drive and typically must secure a male guardian’s permission if they want to study or travel abroad.


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