With Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announcing the creation of the Soudah Development Company (SDC) in Saudi Arabia’s Asir region, the kingdom is set for building a luxury mountain destination that features immersive cultural experiences.
The destination adds another dimension to Saudi Arabia’s ambitious tourism goals, and complements those destinations created on the Red Sea coast and around the capital city of Riyadh.
SDC CEO Husameddin Al-Madani, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, confirmed that the company is seeking to invest more than SR 3 billion ($800 million) in infrastructure development in the targeted region.
This will contribute an estimated SR29 billion ($7.7 billion) to the Kingdom’s cumulative GDP by 2030, Madani confirmed, adding that the company will reveal more details about its general plans soon.
Madani revealed that the SDC will work on quality projects through the development of the kingdom’s tourism and entertainment sectors.
Planned developments include 2,700 hotel rooms, 1,300 residential units, and 30 unique commercial and entertainment attractions that aim to attract over 2 million visitors annually.
“Soudah is home to the tallest peak in the kingdom, with an elevation of over 3,000 meters. It also offers a large number of heritage villages, archeological sites, and juniper forests,” Madani said, stressing that the area has great potential to become a global mountain destination.
When asked on the date of releasing the SDC’s comprehensive general scheme, Madani confirmed that the company is working with a team of development experts and that the project’s plans will be announced later.
“The SDC aims to attract 2 million domestic and international tourists year-long by 2030,” Al-Madani asserted, pointing out that the size of expected investments in the development project will reach around SR 11 billion ($2.9 billion) with opportunities offered to both local and international investors.
Madani affirmed that the company aims to attract international investments to the region, give local investors opportunities, and support small and medium enterprises.
He further revealed that the SDC has practically started working on preserving the region’s heritage and culture, paying attention to its originality, and empowering the local community.