Leisure cruise ships will set sail on the Red Sea as part of the Saudi Tourism Authority's campaign to encourage residents to explore more of the country as the Kingdom continues to ground international flights.
The authority said in a tweet on Tuesday (July 28) it "invited top cruise companies to operate the new cruise programme" that will offer residents tourism itineraries along the Saudi coast of the Red Sea.
STA stressed that health and safety precautions will be in place amid the ongoing pandemic.
The STA's domestic tourism campaign from June 25 to the end of September promotes ten tourist destinations: Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City; Abha; Tabuk; Khobar, Dammam and Ahsa; Al Baha; Al Taif; Yanbu and Umluj; and Riyadh.
"Together, these locations offer fertile valleys, quiet beaches, dense forests, cool climates, mountain peaks, buzzing cities, historic villages and more. Travelers are encouraged to visit multiple destinations to take advantage of the different packages and activities available, from sea trips and diving, to museum visits and hiking," said STA.
The tourism authority said early July its research revealed that 57% of Saudi residents are concerned about travelling on holiday by plane but 85% were still planning to take a break of around ten days this year. 78% expressed curiosity to explore their own country.
Saudi Arabia already has plans to develop its Red Sea coast.
The Red Sea Project is led by The Red Sea Development Company that will develop the region according to the masterplan designed in partnership with WATG and Buro Happold.
The first phase is scheduled for completion in 2022, and includes 16 luxury hotels holding 3,000 keys, 14 marine resorts, five islands, two resorts, an international airport, and leisure and lifestyle amenities.
The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2030 and is expected to create up to 70,000 new jobs and contribute up to 22 billion riyals ($5.3 billion) to the country's GDP. The project is part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 strategy that aims to diversify the country's economy away from hydrocarbons.
The Red Sea Development Company is backed by Saudi sovereign fund PIF. In October, pre-COVID pandemic, the development company's CEO told Reuters it was seeking a loan of more than 10 billion riyals ($2.67 billion) from four to five local banks to finance the tourism projects.
© SalaamGateway.com 2020 All Rights Reserved