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Saraya Aqaba Waterpark set to open on July 3 in Jordan

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A story by Bea Mitchell on blooloop of 15 Jun 2021 illustrates well the ambitions of those countries around the Red Sea in terms of diversified economic development. It is about the Saraya Aqaba Waterpark set to open on July 3 in Jordan. The employment of Jordanian people will obviously improve as of this summer. But not only; here is the story.

The picture above is for illustration and is of Mashable ME.

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark set to open on July 3 in Jordan

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark, the first world-class water park in Aqaba and the largest in Jordan, is scheduled to open on July 3.  

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark in Jordan features more than 25 rides, slides and experiences across more than 28,500 square metres. It opens in Aqaba on July 3.

The water park’s rides and attractions are inspired by Jordan’s iconic landmarks, including Dead Sea Drop, Wadi Rum Race and Aqua Jerash.

Dead Sea Drop guests will take a vertical plunge, while Wadi Rum Race is a competitive multi-racer. Aqua Jerash features play attractions for young guests, including slides, waterfalls and rotating water jets.

“We are excited to announce that Saraya Aqaba Waterpark will be the first of its kind waterpark in Aqaba and the largest in the kingdom,” said Chris Van Der Merwe, general manager of Saraya Aqaba Waterpark.

25 rides, slides and experiences

“At Saraya Aqaba Waterpark, guests from Jordan and around the world are in for an aquatic adventure like no other with slides, rides and experiences suitable for guests of all ages.

“The water park has been carefully designed with families in mind and as such guests can expect a family-friendly environment, both in and out of the water.

“We are looking forward to welcoming you at Saraya Aqaba Waterpark for unforgettable memories that will last for a lifetime,” added Van Der Merwe.

Also opening at the water park is the Rose City Diner, alongside refreshment kiosks around the park serving snacks, ice cream and drinks. The attraction’s signature shopping outlet is called Al Siq Souk.

Jordan’s landmarks inspire rides

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark is located within the Saraya Al Aqaba Residential City, which features a combination of residential, business, leisure and entertainment facilities.

Saraya Aqaba Waterpark was developed by Eagle Hills and is operated by Farah Experience LLC, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based Miral Asset Management LLC.

“Over the years, Farah Experiences has garnered deep industry expertise managing and operating award-winning theme parks and attractions in Abu Dhabi,” said Julien Kauffmann, CEO of Farah Experiences.

Images: Eagle Hills Jordan

Bea Mitchell, A journalist specialising in entertainment and attractions, Bea loves theme parks (mainly Disney) and is particularly interested in things of a gothic, horror or fantasy nature

Upsizing could become key travel trend

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With the advent of the pandemic and its ensuing lockdown, life changed for the many peoples of the UAE. But of all aspects of life, travelling is to do with remote working and all its direct consequences reviewed here. So despite the Grim short-term Forecast for the Coronavirus-era Economy why upsizing could become a significant travel trend?

Upsizing could become key travel trend, says study

DUBAI, Financial situations worsening for consumers has been widely discussed amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, many consumers managed to bypass this financial squeeze and have incidentally become efficient savers. 

This trend should not be overlooked by tourism companies which need to realise that not all travelers will be wanting a budget-friendly option for their next holiday, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

With saved cash that has accumulated during the pandemic, many travellers may be planning to spend more than usual on their next trip. 

According to GlobalData’s survey, when global respondents were asked if they were concerned about their personal financial situation, 13% stated that they were ‘not concerned’. Although this is still significantly less than the 34% that stated they are ‘extremely concerned’, it means that over one in ten of the global travel market could be financially unaffected by the pandemic and have even saved a considerable amount.

Ralph Hollister, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Many of the travellers that make up this 13% are likely to be white-collar workers that can work effectively at home. Due to spending the vast majority of their time being confined to their homes in the past year, the urge to travel would have built up. This urge, combined with a significant increase in savings, could mean that many of these travellers will have developed a ‘treat yourself’ mentality, to combat the impact of the pandemic which has increased boredom and frustration for many. This mentality could be present as these consumers start planning their next holiday, which could result in them spending more on room upgrades, business class flights and higher quality rental vehicles.

“As well as saving money on commuting, eating out and on other recreational activities, many of these consumers who have been unaffected by the pandemic have also saved by not booking a holiday last year, or by having their cancelled trip refunded. This could mean that for their next trip, they will go bigger and better on more luxurious travel services and products. This trend could also be driven by a ‘now or never’ mentality, as when travellers have the opportunity to go on holiday, they will spend significantly more and stay for longer in case another situation like the Covid-19 pandemic reoccurs,” Hollister said.  –TradeArabia News Service

8,000 new hotel rooms on their way to Turkey

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TOPHOTELNEWSProjects in a Country overview: 8,000 new hotel rooms on their way to Turkey [Infographic] by Juliana Hahn is a succinct picture of the future hospitality situation of that country.

8 December 2020 

CGI of the proposed Mandarin Oriental Etiler development in Istanbul (Photo: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group)

Our researchers have checked the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database and found that Turkey’s hotel market will maintain consistent growth in established destinations over the coming years.

44 new hotels with 8,183 keys are in the pipeline across Turkey. We find out more about these upcoming openings.

Steady growth in the years ahead

Over the years, Turkey has established itself as a top destination for both business and leisure travellers, which has led to the country’s hotel market growing consistently. Our researchers have found that this trend is set to continue in the near future.

Five more launches with 893 rooms are still due before the end of 2020, all of which are already in the pre-opening phase. In 2021, 15 hotels with 2,254 keys will open their doors, while the country’s offering will grow by 14 properties with 2,438 rooms in 2022. Ten more projects are in the pipeline for 2023 and beyond.

The split between four- and five-star hotels will be almost even, with 21 properties falling in the four-star category and 23 in the five-star luxury sector.

Turkey’s key growth areas

The economic hub of Istanbul will get 16 additional hotels with 2,785 rooms in the coming years.

This puts it well ahead of the popular beach destination of Bodrum, which will add five properties with 493 keys. Meanwhile, the capital Ankara has three ongoing projects with 500 rooms in total.

International brands expanding in Turkey

Radisson Hotels & Resorts comes out on top on a brand-by-brand basis, with three new hotels and 553 rooms in the works.

There’s not a great deal in it however. Indeed, Hilton Garden Inn and DoubleTree by Hilton will also both open three properties apiece, albeit with just 505 and 480 keys respectively.

Noteworthy hotel projects in Turkey

In early 2022, Mandarin Oriental Etiler will open as part of a new luxurious lifestyle development in Istanbul’s fancy Etiler neighbourhood. There will be three towers in total, one of which will house the 409-room hotel, while the other two will be home to Mandarin Oriental-branded residences. The hotel will have three restaurants and bars, and a selection of adaptable meeting spaces with outdoor areas and terraces. There will also be a spa, fitness centre and pool.

Due to open in Q3 2022, the 240-room Radisson Hotel Apartments Delta Istanbul Esenyurt will be in the Esenyurt district, an up-and-coming area currently witnessing a veritable construction boom of new residential and retail complexes. From here, guests will have easy access to Ataturk Airport and the city centre. The hotel will be part of the Delta Holdings-managed Wish Istanbul, a 135,000 sq m mixed-use real-estate development consisting of two imposing towers, and boast an all-day-dining restaurant, a lobby lounge, a pool bar and grill, a conference centre, a spa and an outdoor pool.

Elsewhere, the 183-key Address Residence Istanbul will be part of a mixed-use development near Emaar Square and boast one of the largest shopping malls in Turkey on its doorstep, complete with a family entertainment centre, ice-skating rink and megaplex. The hotel’s crown jewel will no doubt be its spa, offering 1,000 sq m of facilities, Hammam and Rhassoul offerings, a pool with aqua tonic features, a VIP Spa Suite with six private treatment rooms, and thermal suites overlooking the city. The opening date is envisioned for late 2020.

We also ought to draw your attention to Four Points by Sheraton Kağıthane, which is primarily geared towards business guests and will offer a variety of meeting rooms and conference facilities. This 173-key property will launch by mid-2021, providing visitors with convenient access to the local business community.

Saudi Arabia to build 100% renewable holiday resort

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The Red Sea Project will be the Middle East’s first tourism destination powered solely by renewable energy as Saudi Arabia to build 100% renewable holiday resort. Billions of dollars are planned to invested in mega tourism projects across Saudi Arabia; could this be the only green one?

Hugo Harrison-Carr on  

Developed by The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), the Red Sea Project, is a luxury tourism destination located along 28,000 km2 of Saudi Arabia’s west coast. The development, due for completion in 2030, will consist of 50 hotels and around 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

The ACWA Power consortium has been awarded a public-private partnership (PPP) contract to design, build and operate the renewable power, potable water, wastewater treatment, solid waste management and district cooling for the 16 hotels, international airport and infrastructure that make up phase one of the project. 

Energy will be generated via solar panels and wind turbines to meet an initial demand of 210MW with the ability to expand in line with the development. 

In total, development is expected to generate up to 650,000 MWh of 100% renewable energy, which TRSDC believes will save 500,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions yearly. It will also have the world’s largest battery storage facility of 1000MWh, allowing the resort to remain entirely off-grid 24/7.

Three seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plants will also be constructed to provide clean drinking water, plus a solid waste management centre and a sewage treatment plant that will enable new wetland habitats to be created to supplement irrigation water for landscaping.

TRSDC chairman, John Pagano said: 

“This is a pivotal moment for us as we seek to build a new kind of tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, aligned with Vision 2030. We’re committed to pushing the boundaries of what it means to be sustainable and investing heavily in renewables is helping us to set new global standards in regenerative tourism”.

ACWA Power chairman, Mohammad Abunayyan said: “Powering the Red Sea Project and all utility services exclusively with clean, renewable energy sources is a commendable strategy, and enabling it through a public-private partnership contract underlines TRSDC’s groundbreaking approach which sets a new benchmark in sustainability and environmental stewardship.”

$810 billion in mega tourism projects across Saudi Arabia

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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