Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, announced on Thursday the accreditation of a development approach for the Darin and Tarout Island and future initiatives of the island, reported the Saudi Press Agency.
He also announced the establishment of a development corporation for the island.
The announcements were in line with a Council of Ministers decision.
The generous approval also included the allocation of an estimated budget of SAR 2.644 billion, with the aim of improving the quality of life and developing the GDP, by taking advantage of the island's comparative advantages in the heritage, environment and tourist aspects in a way that contributes to economic diversity.
The development plan of the 32-square-kilometer island, home to 120,000 people, includes identifying the island's comparative and competitive advantages according to three main pillars for shaping the future of Darin and Tarout Island, which are: preserving the cultural and historical heritage of the island, the revival of natural and environmental sites, and improving quality of life and enhancing its tourism economy.
More than 19 qualitative initiatives have been developed to achieve the goals of the island's development plan.
On the cultural side, Darin castle and airport will be developed as heritage tourist destinations. Several cultural and heritage festivals will be held on the island. Multiple pedestrian trails that pass through the island's heritage areas will be established.
On the environmental side, the largest mangrove forest will be created on the shores of the Arabian Gulf. Several environmental hotels and motels will be built in natural areas. The quality of life on the island will be improved through the construction of roads, infrastructure and public parks, including many stadiums and modern sports facilities.
The accreditation of development approach is expected to yield a significant economic and social impact in the region by contributing to GDP with an average of up to SAR297 million at an annual basis, increasing the number of tourists to 1.36 million by 2030, and providing thousands of career opportunities, as well as allocating up to 48% of the island's area to parks, waterfronts, roads and facilities.
This development approach is part of keenness of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the development process to include all cities and governorates based on the comparative advantages of each region. The Crown Prince has directed stakeholders to address all development obstacles on the Darin and Tarout Island, mainly in environment and construction aspects, provide job opportunities for residents of the area, and increasing its contribution to the GDP for the welfare of citizens through developing economic and tourist activities and benefiting from comparative advantages and investment on the island.
The island enjoys historical significance, where it dates back more than 5,000 years, and boasts more than 11 heritage sites. Darin Port is one of the oldest in the region and was previously known as a seaport and active market, where it was a hub for goods, such as musk, perfume, textiles and spices.
The approval for accrediting the development approach of the Darin and Tarout Island and establishing the Darin and Tarout Development Corporation are in line with goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 in realizing a prosperous economy.