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$810 billion in mega tourism projects across Saudi Arabia

$810 billion in mega tourism projects across Saudi Arabia

Massive investments worth over $810 billion in mega tourism projects across Saudi Arabia is expected to transform the kingdom into one of the largest leisure tourism sectors in the world between now and 2030, according to a research conducted by the Middle East and North Africa Leisure Attractions Council (Menalac), the leisure and entertainment industry council representing the Middle East’s dynamic leisure attractions sector. Here is Trade Arabia‘s from Riyadh.

Saudi to be among world’s big leisure tourism hubs by 2030

These include the $500 billion mega development Neom which leads the list of the mega projects followed by the $10 billion Qiddiyah Project, spread across 334 sq km in Riyadh. 

The third project is Amaala, or the Saudi Riviera, located in the northern region with an area of 3,800 sq km, and developing islands in the Red Sea with a total area of 34,000 sq km. 

Once completed, it will deliver a futuristic mega sustainable city.

According to the report, Saudi Arabia is looking to more than double its investment in recreation from the current 2.9% to 6% by 2030. 

Mishal Al Hokair, Board Member of Menalac, said: “Saudi Arabia has an array of dynamic plans and attractions planned over the next few years, each of which will add to the fast growing Leisure and Entertainment sector.”

“Its Vision 2030 will change the entire economic and tourism landscape of not only Saudi Arabia, but the entire Middle East region, that will have a massive positive knock-on effect on the leisure tourism industry,” noted Al Hokair.

“Once the current Covid-19 situation improves, the investment and development in the Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector will bring massive opportunities for the industry. It is time for everyone to prepare for the next big growth,” he added.

Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), the country’s tourism regulator, said the mega tourism projects being developed by Public Investment Fund will be spread over an area of more than 64,634 sq km, with a value exceeding $810 billion.

In addition, SCTH will be developing museums in various Saudi regions, and preserving Saudi heritage with a cost of more than $1.3 billion. 

Saudi Arabia foresees that the national tourism will significantly contribute to the gross domestic product as the most growing non-oil economic sector.  The tourism revenues increased to more than SR193 billion ($51 billion) in 2017, and to more than SR211 billion ($56 billion) in 2018, SCTH said in a report.

In 2017, the kingdom’s tourism sector had attracted $28.6 billion, more than six times the world average in tourism capital investment, it added.

Despite the current situation with regards to Covid-19, Saudi Arabia is pushing ahead with construction of some of these massive projects. A number of construction contracts have recently been awarded following the partial re-opening of the economy after the lockdown.

Red Sea Development Company has recently awarded construction contracts worth $1 billion while Neom has awarded Bechtel and Aecom programme management contract.

Changes and growth in Saudi tourism landscape will help leisure attractions operators in the Middle East and North African (Mena) countries. The recent reopening of the land borders by Saudi Authorities will help boost regional tourism in the GCC region.

SCTH plans to facilitate investment SR171.05 billion that will boost the tourism industry capacity and the number of hotel rooms to 621,600 rooms and boost the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP by 3.1 per cent, and increase direct employment to 1.2 million jobs.

Prakash Vivekanand, the board member of Menalac, said: “The latest news from Saudi Arabia is very encouraging. The government wants to push ahead with the mega projects that will not only boost the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) but also the tourism sector.”

It will create massive opportunities for all the players in the leisure attractions business and we could count on an exciting future for the industry in the Mena region.”

According to Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority (Sagia), the country wants to increase investment in recreational facilities to 6 per cent from the current 2.9 per cent per annum – more than double the current level, as part of Saudi Vision 2030.

“In 2017, the Saudi tourism sector had attracted investment of SR172 billion ($28.6 billion), which was six times the world average in tourism capital investments,” according to a report by Sagia. “Investments are expected to rise 5.5 per cent per annum over the next ten years to SR200 billion ($54 billion) per annum.”

Rosa Tahmaseb, Secretary General of Menalac, said: “The leisure attractions industry in the Mena region is upbeat with the new opportunities that are arising in Saudi Arabia.”

“We see massive opportunities for our industry being created by more than a $1 trillion investment in the Saudi economy between now and 2030,” she noted.

Tahmaseb called upon all leisure industry stakeholders, both suppliers and operators to explore these opportunities and ascertain how they can take a leading role in helping Saudi Arabia develop its leisure facilities in the coming decade.

According to her, tourism and entertainment are an essential part of the Saudi Vision 2030 which is aimed at diversifying the Saudi economy by reducing its dependence on oil. 

Saudi Arabia aims to develop versatile tourism destinations, which include several coastal sites, marvellous islands and distinguished heritage areas, all of which will require a high level of expertise, support and the most innovative attractions, technology and experiences to ensure the kingdom becomes one of the top tourist and entertainment destinations in the Middle East within the next few years.

“Despite the short-term setback created by the Covid-19 pandemic, the long-term prospects for our industry remain bright. One example of this can be seen in the dynamic projects planned for Saudi Arabia,” she added.-TradeArabia News Service

Social Housing and Settlements

Social Housing and Settlements


archdaily proposed article titled Social Housing and Settlements: Potential Promoters of Community Living written by Hana Abdel gives in few pictures an idea of all prevailing trends in the world. In so far as the MENA region is concerned, the WEF recommended a couple of years back that all Urban centers to rev up their preparations for the future.


Social Housing and Settlements: Potential Promoters of Community Living, © Filip Dujardin
© Filip Dujardin

When considering “How Will We Live Together”, it is important to note the projective and future tense of the phrase. The idea not only encompasses ways we already share our built environment but targets the anticipated issues that are to be tackled to facilitate communal and mutually beneficial ways of living.

When looking at what is to come, despite the most recent health concerns, economic disparities, and environmental and social calamities the world is still heading towards dense urbanization with more people moving to cities and requiring safe and healthy housing, which is not always easy to come by. In fact, a recent UN report suggested that “nearly one-quarter of the world’s urban population lives in informal settlements or encampments, most in developing countries but increasingly also in the most affluent. Living conditions are shocking and intolerable. Residents often live without water and sanitation, and are in constant fear of eviction.”

However, if these same settlement spaces are well-conceived and provide dignified living conditions, they can surely promote the development of close-knitted communities among individuals from different regions and backgrounds who were joined by similar aspirations and desire for growth. It is therefore important for architects and designers to consider and suggest settlement interventions and social housing projects that offer healthy personal and common spaces.

Social Housing and Settlements © Ricardo Oliveira Alves
© Ricardo Oliveira Alves

Below are a few examples of projects that are bringing people together and suggest practical ways of communal and cooperative living, be it through shared space usage (kitchens, halls, courtyards…) or activities engagement and maintenance of the complex (gardening, cooking), all providing opportunities for displaced, disfavored, economically challenged populations to help each other.

Shelter for Migrants and Travelers / Atelier RITA
Social Housing and Settlements © David Boureau
© David Boureau

The emergency engage to essential architecture. The first question is: How to offer dignity and functional qualities to a vulnerable population, with different cultures? The project is thought like a little town, a common notion of « habiter » regardless of geographic origin. Between public space and the most intimate space, everyone easily accommodates with a life in community.

Expandable House Part 02 / Urban Rural Systems
Social Housing and Settlements © Carlina Teteris
© Carlina Teteris

The expandable house (rumah tambah in Bahasa Indonesia, or rubah for short) offers affordable and sustainable dwelling options to the rapidly growing populations of Asia’s largest cities. Combining lessons from existing informal settlements, incremental housing precedents and principles of sustainable tropical building, the expandable house is designed to adapt to the fluctuating patterns of resource consumption and expenditure, or metabolism, of its residents.

Pemulung House / IBUKU
Courtesy of IBUKU
Courtesy of IBUKU

To improve this image, IBUKU was commissioned by a large company to develop a project that would create healthy, well organized housing compounds for garbage collectors while becoming a mean for social transformation.

SOS Children’s Village In Djibouti – Urko Sanchez Architects
Social Housing and Settlements © Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas

A –  It is a medina for children – A safe environment, with no cars, where the narrow streets and squares become places to play

B – It is a medina with plenty of open spaces – Public and private spaces are clearly defined. And in the private, the inside and outside areas melt, allowing residents to maintain certain outdoors living.

C – It is a medina with lots of vegetation – Where the inhabitants are encouraged to take care of their plants and benefit from the result.

The AYA Housing / Studio Twenty Seven Architecture + Leo A Daly JV
Social Housing and Settlements © Hoachlander Davis Photography
© Hoachlander Davis Photography

Care is taken to organize separate entrances to the Health Clinic and Short Term Family Housing on different faces of the building. The building is intended to complement the developing SW skyline while creating an optimal living experience for the tenants with natural lighting and views out to the city.

White Clouds / POGGI & MORE architecture
 © Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas

A new social housing project in Saintes has totally reinvented what living together means. A seemingly inhabited cloud effortlessly signals the entrance to a recently rehabilitated working-class neighbourhood, known as ‘Les Boiffiers’, dating back to the 1970s.

Centre Village / 5468796 Architecture + Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited
Social Housing and Settlements © James Brittain Photography
© James Brittain Photography

Serving underprivileged families, Winnipeg’s Centre Village housing cooperative utilizes design to help revitalize a neglected inner-city neighbourhood and to provide its residents with a unique setting that inspires pride and encourages community-building.

Apartments on Ave. Maréchal Fayolle / SANAA
Social Housing and Settlements Courtesy of SANAA
Courtesy of SANAA

There is an inherent dynamism to the distribution of buildings: the courtyards appear to open and close as you walk through them, establishing an open dialogue between communities.

Social Complex in Alcabideche / Guedes Cruz Arquitectos
© Ricardo Oliveira Alves
© Ricardo Oliveira Alves

The central building, within the same modelling and principles, contains all of the common services necessary for proper functioning and quality of living.

Bogerse Velden Social Housing / META architectuurbureau
Social Housing and Settlements © Filip Dujardin
© Filip Dujardin

The repetitions not only create rhythm in the streetscape, thereby enhancing clarity and recognisability, but also forge a collective identity.

Note: The quoted texts are excerpts from the archived descriptions of each project, previously sent by the architects. Find more reference projects in this My ArchDaily folder created by the author.

This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: How Will We Live Together. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics here. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact archdaily.

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30MW Sidi Mansour wind farm in Tunisia

30MW Sidi Mansour wind farm in Tunisia

Climate Fund Managers (CFM) and UPC Renewables (UPC) will develop a 30MW Sidi Mansour wind farm in Tunisia. It is reported on African Review of 24 July 2020.

This Sidi Mansour Project is meant to help Tunisia reduce its imports of fossil fuels. It announced earlier on in 2016 the launch of its solar energy plan, to make its electricity generation mix through renewables ten-fold to 30%.

Tunisia boosting renewable energy drive

30MW Sidi Mansour wind farm in Tunisia
The Sidi Mansour Wind Project is set to assist Tunisia in meeting its renewable energy goals. (Image source: Free-Photos/Pixabay)

The project will be one of the first wind independent power producers (IPP) in the country. Climate Fund Managers is participating as co-developer, sponsor, financial advisor and E&S advisor to the project, through the development and construction financing facility under its management, Climate Investor One (CI1). 

UPC will lead the development of the project with its local team that will lead land securitisation, permitting, grid connection, wind resource assessment and engineering and procurement contracts.

“We can start the construction of the Sidi Mansour wind farm in 2020, helping stimulate the Tunisian economy, create local jobs and a social plan for local communities while respecting international environmental protection guidelines,” said Brian Caffyn, chairman of the UPC Group.

The Sidi Mansour Wind Project is set to assist Tunisia in meeting its renewable energy goals. “As potentially the first Wind IPP in Tunisia, this project will be a testament to how CI1’s full lifecycle financing solution can unlock investment in renewable energy in new markets,” according to Sebastian Surie, regional head of Africa for CFM.

In January 2019, UPC was selected as one of the four awarded companies under the “Authorisation Scheme” tender for its 30MW Sidi Mansour project in Northern Tunisia and subsequently signed a PPA with Société Tunisienne d’Electricité et du Gaz. Over its lifespan, the Sidi Mansour Project is expected to lead to a reduction of 56,645 tonnes equivalent of carbon and create more than 100 jobs. The total investment size of the project is expected to be approximately US$40mn.

Doha to grow hotel room inventory by over 10,000

Doha to grow hotel room inventory by over 10,000

TopHotelNews on Projects gives on this July 16, 2020, an infographics City overview: Doha to grow hotel room inventory by over 10,000. It is written by Juliana Hahn. The picture of all Top Projects in the Middle East Hotels under construction was already covered by the same media.

Doha’s diverse hotel scene will keep expanding with growth driven by large international groups, according to our analysis of the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database.

Our research indicates that Doha’s hotel market will grow by 37 projects and 10,885 rooms in the next few years.

We take a closer look at the development pipeline and check out a few of the most hotly anticipated openings.

Doha braces itself for a busy end to 2020

15 hotels are slated to open in Doha in 2020, adding 3,490 rooms to the city’s inventory. Nine of these hotels are already in the pre-opening phase, which means it’s quite likely that most projects will finish and launch on time.

Another 12 hotels are planned for 2021, bringing 3,540 additional rooms. Ten new properties with 3,855 rooms are signed off for 2022 and beyond.

The split between four- and five-star hotels is a dead heat in terms of the number of new properties. However, the 19 planned four-star hotels will have a total of 4,798 rooms, while the 18 new five-star properties will have 6,087 rooms combined.

International hotel groups dominate in Doha

French giant Accor leads the list of most active hotel groups in Doha with five projects on the cards, spanning 1,925 rooms.

Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide aren’t far behind though; they’re planning to open four properties with 1,209 and 1,126 rooms respectively.

Hotly anticipated Qatari hotel projects

Doha already boasts many exciting properties, but several hotly anticipated openings look set to give them a real run for their money in the coming years.

After having its opening delayed by over two years, Accor’s first Majlis Grand Mercure Hotel is now due to start welcoming guests in late 2020. The 238-key hotel will be housed in a 41-storey development and feature extensive business, sports and leisure facilities, as well as nine food and beverage outlets.

JW Marriott West Bay is another delayed yet extraordinary hotel that will soon open its doors. From Q2 2021, the 297-room hotel will start trading from a soaring 53-storey tower. Here, a cantilevered swimming pool on the 30th floor will offer stunning views of the city and ocean. Guests will also be able to indulge in the extensive food and beverage offering, state-of-the-art sports and wellness facilities, and perfect location on the Corniche.

Meanwhile, one of Hilton’s most familiar brands will soon debut in Qatar with the opening of Hilton Garden Inn Doha Al Sadd. The 225-room property will launch by late 2020 and welcome guests to a great location in the heart of the city’s commercial district. It will feature three restaurants, a health club with an outdoor pool, and a selection of meeting rooms.

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A Strategy for North Africa in the current Century

A Strategy for North Africa in the current Century

In Sandhour of July 10, 2020, A Strategy for North Africa in the current Century has developed taking into account all things that contributed to how North Africa sub-region of the MENA came into being and rendered into what is witnessed in the present times.


One of the rather peculiar features of capitalism is having its nemesis–socialism– as its twin flip. Surely, corporations and equity are forms of socializing the capitalist gain and it has been the case since the inception of capitalism in its modern form in the early 18th century, setting it apart of the previous mode of venturing sole merchants and their financiers. There were cheating and abuse, and still are, yet the learning curve smoothed up the functioning of capitalism.

Another, even more bewildering, aspect of capitalism is its susceptibility to speculation. Stock markets, commodity prices, oil, currency valuation rise and fall– incrementally at times and suddenly at others– based on speculations trickling down from pundits to people. The fluctuations are functions of information-based assessments. Alas, information is asymmetrical between social groupings; nations; and regions leading to local and global stratification. Nevertheless, advances in cultural and intellectual infrastructure improve checks and balances and drive capitalism towards more democratization.

However, despite the mass democratization of the 20th century and designed social ends embedded in market economies, increasing socialization of capital, we presently face problems in terms of increasing numbers that are losing out in the present Socio-economic mode. The cyclical nature of those problems point to congestion in the global economic system, as has been pointed out over and again by generations of economic thinkers. However, the increasing socialization and rising overall capabilities of ordinary citizens vouch for a progressive history. Anyway, the ongoing technological disruption, which is unprecedented in kind and potential, will definitely restore balance to the global economic system. A transition to a new energy regime is a main pillar of the technological disruption.

The oil and gas commodity is the pillar of the contemporary industrial civilization. And the Middle East happens to be the fulcrum point of oil economy. From the early 70s on, there has been much hype about peak oil, partly driving improvements in energy efficiency, and search for alternative energy sources and carriers.

Countering peak oil is the obviously politically motivated infinite fossil resource hypothesis. It goes without saying that it is a hoax which goes against simplest arithmetic.

As far as I’m concerned, the trapezium model for oil reserves is the most plausible one. It states that reserves rise along the the side of a trapezium, flatten then slide along the opposite side. Depleting wells are countered by technological progress which enables economic development of previously useless layers, as well as deep sea, arctic and other unreachable reserves. Still the fact that reserves are finite in addition to cost factors raise the stakes of alternative energy and the sliding of proven reserves starting from 2030s.

The expected predominance of batteries in transport by mid century and the recent breakthrough in fusion energy where super conducting electromagnets made up of barium and copper that are stable enough to capture the heated plasma which ignite the fusion fuel made up of hydrogen sister atoms, creating more output energy than input; point to way lesser role for fossils in the short mid-term future. Yet, fossils will still be high on the global energy portfolio for at least two decades. However, speculations are not based on laws of physics, rather they are psychological processes in the first place and hence the current contours point towards sustained low prices for oil and gas.

Further, chaotic leadership in the Gulf, population pressure and prospects of war are not likely to mark up fossils because of new ports in Oman, Qatari Iranian understanding, neutralization of Iraq, Iranian economic crunch, and geographic isolation of wells in Saudi.

The most precious energy commodity poised to replace fossils are rare earth minerals for batteries like lithium and cobalt though they are in no way likely to have the same strategic controversy because of the availability of sister alternatives for Lithium ion batteries like sodium and fluoride. Also, we don’t refill a battery with lithium for every kilometer run. Barium and copper pop up high as the material for super conductors necessary for fusion. Sahel and sub-saharan Africa lack a detailed map for the prospects of rare earths, yet the proven diversity and richness of the continent in metals such as copper; as well as fossils, renders it likely that the continent will be a futuristic mine.

So.. what has got the middle East to offer the world on the strategic table, now with the declining weight of fossils? All what I can think of is Islam, proximity to sub-saharan Africa, and big legitimate armies in North Africa along with a historical experience that values stability.

With the right strategic reassembly and new alignments, North Africa can act as a bridge for stabilizing sub-saharan Africa, reforming Islam and re-inventing the Near East through new understandings with the global system based on rational comprehension of reality. It is highly unlikely for Ethiopia to play that role due to ethnic and religious rifts and the prevalence of too much of a lethargic culture, as proven by the failure of relocation from Asia of textiles to Ethiopia .

Further cuts to MENA construction sector expected for 2020

Further cuts to MENA construction sector expected for 2020

Posted in Construction, on July 5, 2020, Further cuts to MENA construction sector expected for 2020 as the region appearing to be hit with a triple whammy, per GlobalData, would sound in our opinion as a realistic assessment at this conjecture of the construction industry in the MENA.


The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) construction sector is expected to be bit by the triple whammy of lower oil production, low oil prices and contracting non-oil sectors. Leading data and analytics company GlobalData has further cut its construction output growth forecast for the region for 2020 to -2.4%, down from the previous forecast of 1.4%, in light of continued spread of COVID-19.

Yasmine Ghozzi, Economist at GlobalData, comments: “Construction activity for the remainder of 2020 is set to see poor performance. While there is usually weak construction activity in the holy month of Ramadan and during the hot summer months of June, July and August, this is usually compensated by strong performance at the beginning and end of the year. However, this will not be the case this year due to the strict lockdown policies that extended until the end of May.

“The sector is expected to face headwinds in 2021 with a slow recovery, but the pace of this will be uneven across countries in the region. Fiscal deficits and public debt levels will be substantially higher in 2021. Fiscal consolidation will hinder non-oil growth across the region, where governments still play a considerable role in spurring domestic demand.

“In addition, public investment is likely to be moderate, which will translate into fewer prospects for private sector businesses to grow – especially within sectors such as infrastructure. Expected increase in taxes, selected subsidy cuts and the introduction of several public sector service charges will influence households’ purchasing power, having a knock-on effect on future commercial investments.”

Amid the worsening situation with regards to the COVID-19 outbreak and the decline in oil prices, GlobalData has further cut its forecast for construction output growth in Saudi Arabia to -1.8% from its previous forecast of 2.9% in 2020 and expects a recovery in the sector of 3.3% in 2021. The government’s decision to host limited annual ten-day Hajj entails a possible loss of estimated revenue at more than US$10bn, adding more pressure on the Kingdom’s economy. 

Ghozzi adds: “GlobalData has estimated a contraction of 2.1% in construction output growth in the UAE but expects a rebound in 2021 of 3.1%. In one of the largest global energy infrastructure transactions, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) raised US$10bn by leasing a 49% stake in its gas pipelines for 20 years. This landmark deal is important especially during the prevailing industry downturn in order to keep profitability.

“GlobalData has also cut further the growth rates for Qatar, Kuwait and Oman in 2020 to -3.4%, -7.8% and -8.1%, respectively. Qatar’s economy this year will be affected by decline in tourist arrivals, low consumer spending and low oil prices. Nevertheless, strong fiscal stimulus and spending on infrastructure projects should provide support.

“The negative outlook for Kuwait is weighed down by lower oil prices and the prospect of a higher fiscal deficit, possibly compromising the government’s capital spending on construction and infrastructure. Business unfriendliness constitutes a barrier to reforms in the Kuwaiti economy; the extensions in tenders’ deadlines compounded by an inflexible bureaucratic procurement setup that slows decision-making will delay progress for several Kuwaiti megaprojects.”

Egypt’s construction sector is set to continue performing well despite poor performance of the non-oil sector in April. GlobalData expects construction to grow at 7.7% in 2020, slowing from 9.5% in 2019, given a short-term slow down due to the pandemic and 8.9% in 2021, and to continue maintaining a positive trend throughout the forecast period. In the Arab Maghreb, GlobalData has further cut forecasts for construction growth in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria to -3%, -2.1%, and -2.5%, respectively, in 2020 and 0.7%, 1.2% and 1.9%, respectively, in 2021.

GlobalData has a bleak view of Iran’s construction sector throughout the forecast period. A slowdown in economic activity caused by the virus outbreak and a possible wave of further US sanctions (in the event Trump wins a second term) will continue to wreak havoc on its economy, and drastically affecting construction activities.

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