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Saudi Arabia Tourism Continues to Grow and Expand

Written by Linda Hohnholz

From luxury tourism destinations to a new tourist destination in Yanbu City, Saudi Arabia is shining the light on tourism development that continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

The Board of Directors of NEOM has revealed the development of Magna, its luxury lifestyle coastal destination. Part of NEOM’s regional sustainable tourism portfolio, Magna is situated on the stunning Gulf of Aqaba coastline and comprises the recently announced premier destinations of Leyja, Epicon, Siranna, Utamo, Norlana, Aquellum, Zardun, Xaynor, Elanan, Gidori, Treyam, and Jaumur, according to a NEOM news release.

The 12 destinations will span 120 kilometers and are poised to set a new global standard in luxury sustainable tourism. As the physical embodiment of the ambitious and future-focused Saudi Vision 2030, Magna will be developed with a core focus on cutting-edge technology, world-class architecture, and ultra-modern amenities that seamlessly merge with nature.

Each destination is individually unique, with its own distinct offering for residents and guests, yet they will seamlessly blend to form a unified destination. They will be woven together by the conservation, preservation, and rejuvenation of native flora, fauna, and the breathtaking natural landscape. The development will comprise 15 luxury hotels, 1,600 hotel rooms, suites and apartments, and over 2,500 premium residences across its destinations.

Chief Executive Officer of NEOM Nadhmi Al-Nasr said: “NEOM’s premier coastal region of Magna is a treasure of tomorrow, steeped in natural beauty and advanced technology. Aligned with our three pillars of redefining business, conservation, and livability, Magna will play a key role in building a strong tourism ecosystem within NEOM. Importantly, Magna will contribute positively to the national economic diversification efforts and to the broader Saudi Vision 2030 goals, helping to position the Kingdom as a global leader in luxury tourism.”

In line with the transformative Saudi Vision 2030, Magna and its destinations will stimulate the Kingdom’s economy by creating 15,000 jobs across the tourism, leisure, and hospitality sectors. The development is projected to contribute SAR 2.6 billion to the Kingdom’s GDP by 2030, accommodate 14,500 residents, and welcome more than 300,000 overnight visitors annually. Magna presents an unprecedented opportunity for investors and developers to be part of one of the world’s most pioneering projects, with sustainability embedded in every stage from design to construction and long-term maintenance.

Magna is NEOM’s newest region within the evolving giga-project development in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, following Sindalah, THE LINE, Trojena, and Oxagon.

Baheej Tourism Development Company, a joint venture between ASFAR (the Saudi tourism investment company owned by PIF) and the Tamimi-AWN Alliance, has announced the development of the waterfront area of the Royal Commission at Yanbu. Their first project in Yanbu will cover 85,000 square meters and feature three iconic leisure assets: a Beach Escape, a Tourist Activation Center, and a Lifestyle Hotel. Additionally, the project will include a fourth component to be announced at a later stage. Each of these components will provide rich and comprehensive experiences, as well as sustainable tourism offerings.

Visitors will soon be invited to explore the ancient city of Yanbu, rooted in a rich history dating back to the 16th century, and boasting a distinct identity defined by its architectural marvels and sandy beaches. Baheej envisions Yanbu as an iconic destination showcasing Saudi Arabia’s rich culture, history, and natural wonders, offering one-of-a-kind inspiring experiences to visitors.

CEO of Baheej Nora Al Tamimi said: “We believe that destinations are not just built but discovered, and Baheej’s commitment lies in uncovering Saudi Arabia’s hidden gems. Our strategic collaborations aim to curate unparalleled experiences that showcase Saudi Arabia’s rich culture, history, and natural wonders. Yanbu City’s contemporary infrastructure, captivating environment, and attractive coastal landscapes make it an exceptional gateway to the Red Sea Riviera. We anticipate the complete unveiling of our destination and its components by the end of 2027.”

Al Tamimi envisions the project unfolding in three phases, prioritizing community engagement, sustainability, and minimal environmental impact. Through meticulous analysis of risks and investment opportunities, Yanbu is set to become a sought-after tourist destination both locally and internationally. Baheej’s integral role includes integrating local culture and environmental sustainability, elevating Yanbu’s appeal and fostering regional development. This commitment underscores a transformative journey for Yanbu’s hospitality landscape, blending community heritage and environmental stewardship seamlessly.

The launch of Baheej’s project in Yanbu City aligns with Saudi Vision 2030’s targets, aiming to foster a prosperous economy and vibrant society. As a diversified developer and destination management company, Baheej aims to craft accessible tourism experiences meeting international standards while remaining contextual and sustainable. These initiatives are part of a broader strategy to transform Saudi towns into thriving, sustainable destinations. Baheej’s commitment to reshaping urban spaces extends to announcing additional projects in other cities by year-end, underscoring its strategic vision for reshaping and revitalizing urban spaces across the region.