Saudi Arabia’s 1200 miles of Red Sea coast provide unspoiled diving and are a leading opportunity for growing the Saudi tourism industry.
Tourism official Salah Altaleb said the country isn’t targeting mass tourism, but select tour groups interested in nature, diving, hiking and cultural sites. “Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country that hosts the two holiest sites in Islam and these facts need to be respected whenever (tourists) travel around, enjoy themselves and engage with people,” he said.
For Nouf Alosaimi, these diving locations are a business opportunity. The serene waters north of the bustling city of Jiddah are the scene of a dramatic experiment to encourage tourism in the reserved and traditionally closed kingdom. It’s exciting for Alosaimi on multiple levels. It’s bringing new opportunities for women, as a corner of the country is carved out with somewhat relaxed rules. And it’s opening up miles of untouched coastline teeming with unexplored seascapes for her and other divers.
“We are here on an island in middle of the Red Sea. We want to discover this place,” Alosaimi said before her dive. “We may find this island beautiful for a picnic. We are creating a diving product here.”
Alosaimi, a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, is a pioneer in her field, holding a local record for the deepest dive by a Saudi female at 345 feet. The technical dive required five tanks and lasted more than 70 minutes.
Read more about this project at The Columbian.
Diving is Cornerstone of Red Sea Project
As part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to diversify the economy away from oil, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is developing a project to turn 125 miles of its Red Sea coastline into a global tourism destination.
By appealing to international beach vacationers and capitalizing on the growing trend of eco-tourism, this Red Sea mega-project is set transform Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry, with completion of the project’s first phase set for 2022.
Launching this project as an international diving tourist destination comes as a confirmation of the success of the outputs of the Kingdom Vision 2030, pointing out that this project represents great addition to the development and renaissance projects in our country, according to Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awad bin Saleh Al-Awad.