The resort island of Sindalah will be the first completed and publicly accessible resort of the Neom gigaproject in Saudi Arabia. (visualization)
Jean Claude RaemyEditor Economics
neoma That’s the name of the giant project in Saudi Arabia, which is being built in the north-west of the country on an area half the size of Switzerland. 500 billion dollars will be invested in it. 200 billion of that for “The Line” alone – a sustainable city that is 170 kilometers long and 200 meters wide and is built between two mirrored, 500 meter high walls in the middle of the desert.
This will be completed by 2030. Neom should be completed by then. The project also includes the town of Neom Bay, which includes luxury resorts and is already under construction. Or Trojena, the first ski resort in Saudi Arabia. Or a bridge across the Gulf of Aqaba that will connect Saudi Arabia to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The holiday destination Sharm-el-Sheikh, which is located there and is popular with the Swiss, can thus be reached more quickly. However, it also receives serious competition from Saudi Arabia.
Numerous tourist resorts are being built on the Saudi side of the Red Sea. The first openings were planned for 2025, but it has now been announced that things will even start in spring 2024.
A luxury island in the Red Sea
The first publicly accessible holiday destination in the Neom project will be the island of Sindalah. This is the first of a total of ten holiday destinations within Neom. Located in the Red Sea between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, it will house three luxury resorts. In addition, an 18-hole golf course, 50 boutiques, 40 restaurants, spas, diving schools, cultural institutions, a yacht club – everything the heart of well-heeled guests desires.
By the way, getting there is not a problem. Neom Airport is also under construction.
High goals set
Sustainability is a top priority throughout the project. As part of a program to restore at least 1.5 million hectares of land, Neom has announced an initiative that aims to plant approximately 100 million native trees, shrubs and grasses by 2030. Those responsible promise that resorts like Sindalah will use the most modern and sustainable technologies. The coral reefs in front of the resorts should be protected.
Saudi Arabia plans to attract thousands of holidaymakers soon. In Sindalah alone, around 2,400 guests are expected to come and go every day from 2028. So far, comparatively few tourists have visited the current sights. But tourism expansion is being pursued aggressively, and money is the least of the problems with the huge investment.
However, the ambitious project also raises questions and concerns in some quarters about the real intentions behind the construction. On the one hand, the local population is forcibly resettled for the construction of Neom, on the other hand, for some, the idea of spending holidays in the politically and socially restrictive country is horrific. One can argue that the Maldives are also an extremely conservative and restrictive country, but welcome thousands of Swiss holidaymakers every year.