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  • Ahmed Saleh

KHC and RSG forge transformative tourism partnership in Saudi Arabia

In a monumental move that signifies a significant leap forward for the transformation of Saudi Arabia's tourism sector, Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and Red Sea Global (RSG), the visionary force behind The Red Sea and Amaala, have proudly announced the successful culmination of a substantial investment partnership. The fruition of this deal will result in the creation and ownership of the much-anticipated Four Seasons Resort Red Sea on Shura Island.

This groundbreaking SAR 2 billion (approximately USD 533 million) joint venture represents a true partnership between KHC and RSG, with each holding a 50% stake, and will be the driving force behind the development and ownership of the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. Scheduled for an early 2025 grand opening, this splendid resort is strategically situated on Shura Island, which serves as the central focal point in The Red Sea destination. The resort's offerings are nothing short of opulent, featuring 149 exquisite rooms and suites, 31 exclusive residential properties, an array of six distinctive restaurants and lounges, versatile meeting and event spaces, a captivating marine discovery center, and a delightful Kids For All Seasons area.

John Pagano, the Group CEO of RSG, expressed his enthusiasm about this partnership, highlighting its alignment with the broader aspirations laid out in Vision 2030: "This partnership strengthens our unwavering commitment to transforming the tourism landscape in Saudi Arabia. We share a common vision of creating extraordinary destinations that not only drive economic growth and job creation but also preserve precious ecosystems, aligning perfectly with the aspirations outlined in Vision 2030."

Eng. Talal Ibrahim Almaiman, CEO of Kingdom Holding Company, echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the significance of this investment in the context of their broader strategy in the burgeoning Saudi Arabian market: "We are proud to partner with RSG in the execution of one of the Kingdom’s most exciting projects and look forward to creating value for our respective shareholders. This investment will form part of our broader strategy on further investments in the Saudi Arabian high-growth market."

Shura Island is destined to become the epicenter of a remarkable 11-resort development that includes not only residential properties but also an 18-hole championship golf course, a marina with 118 berths, and an exceptional array of retail, dining, and entertainment options.

The collaborative venture between RSG and KHC comes at a time when Saudi Arabia's tourism sector is experiencing an unprecedented surge. Since the inception of Vision 2030, tourism's contribution to the nation's GDP has surged from a modest 3% to a remarkable 7%, prompting a revision of the initial target of hosting 100 million visitors annually by 2030 to an even more ambitious 150 million, a testament to the remarkable progress already achieved by developers like RSG.

Sarmad Zok, CEO of Kingdom Hotel Investments (UK) Ltd, a subsidiary of KHC, emphasized the pivotal role of the Four Seasons resort in promoting sustainable tourism in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea ecosystem. He lauded the RSG team for their dedication to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, noting their commitment to realizing a sustainable vision: "The RSG team has a tremendous execution track record, and we are particularly drawn to the fact that our partners have embedded ESG to the core of their development vision. We are proud to contribute to its realization."

Gregory Djerejian, Group Head of Investments and Legal at RSG, commented on the significance of this investment deal, highlighting the private sector's confidence in their ambitious destinations. Together, they are at the forefront of pioneering a new era in regenerative tourism.

Notably, The Red Sea has already welcomed its first guests this month, with two of its hotels open for bookings and the Red Sea International Airport receiving regular flights. Upon completion in 2030, the destination will comprise a staggering 50 resorts, offering over 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. It will also feature luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment facilities, dining establishments, and leisure options, marking a true paradigm shift in the world of luxury travel.

Red Sea Global, a closed joint-stock company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, is spearheading this ambitious development. It is a global multi-project developer committed to sustainability and regeneration, striving to demonstrate how responsible development can uplift communities, stimulate economies, and enhance the environment. At its core, the protection of natural capital is paramount in all decision-making processes, in line with its vision to create a brighter future for all. As a pivotal element of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 agenda, RSG is playing a crucial role in transforming the nation by providing opportunities for young Saudi talent and the private sector while developing assets and destinations that leave a positive impact on people and the planet. RSG's portfolio includes some of the world's most ambitious development ventures, including regenerative tourism destinations like The Red Sea and Amaala, as well as the refurbishment of Al Wajh Airport.

On the other hand, Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), established in 1980, has become a global investment powerhouse with interests spanning eighteen sectors across six continents. These sectors include hotel management, real estate, digital media, entertainment, financial and investment services, E-commerce, petrochemicals, education, healthcare, aviation, transportation, alternative financing, energy, artificial intelligence, and mining. With assets exceeding 50 billion Saudi riyals, KHC continues to be a driving force in diverse industries, underlining its commitment to growth and innovation.

In summary, the partnership between Kingdom Holding Company and Red Sea Global to develop and own the Four Seasons Resort Red Sea represents a remarkable milestone in the ongoing transformation of Saudi Arabia's tourism sector. As the world eagerly anticipates the grand opening of this luxurious resort in early 2025, it's evident that the broader tourism landscape in the region is evolving at an unprecedented pace, setting the stage for a bright and prosperous future. The commitment to sustainability and responsible development at the core of this project underscores the significant strides being made in creating extraordinary destinations while preserving the environment, aligning seamlessly with the ambitious goals outlined in Vision 2030.

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