Red Sea hotel brands to to be revealed soon

John Pagano

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) has signed a few hotel management agreements at the recently concluded Arabian & African Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) but will only share them at the end of October at the Future Investment Initiative taking place in Riyadh.

The Red Sea will welcome its first guest at the end of 2022, in a limited manner with a few resorts opening. At the end 2023, the balance of the first phase of the Red Sea will open up with a total of 16 hotels and then in mid-2024, Amaala will see the opening of 9 hotels. There are expected to be 25 hotels between the two projects and a total of 4,200 rooms.

Also announced earlier at AHIC, TRSDC and Amaala, both owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), are to come together as one entity. The move will bring the organisations much closer together to leverage synergies and skill sets while also cut the costs of duplicated functions, John Pagano, who is chief executive of both companies, tells TTN's Kim Thomson.

“We will limit the number of visitors. We could accommodate 10 million visitors a year with a site that is so big, yet we are only developing a very small fraction of it with the aim of limiting the number of visitors. We are not going to overdevelop, and therefore, we won’t have overcrowding.

“Environment first, commercial profit second,” says the CEO.

“The message that we want to get across is that we are doing things differently. Our new motto for the coming year is ‘Leading the Way’ and to show there is a different way to do things and if you have the will, you can do it and I hope others will follow our lead.

The new luxury is about experiences, it’s less about ostentation and less about gold gilding, Pagano says. “This is an integrated tourism destination – we are leveraging the unique characteristics of the different parts of our site to create different experiences. If you go to the Maldives, for example, you know what you are getting, it’s one thing, with us, you get that, plus a desert experience, a mountain experience, a volcano experience, so it’s really trying to offer something for everybody and my expectation is that people will come and do multiple experiences in one single trip.

“I am not exaggerating when I say we have the best coral reef system in the world because it’s been largely untouched, and it hasn’t been effected by climate events like other parts of coral reef systems the world. Mother Nature has been kind to us. Where we are that much further north and the uniqueness of the Red Sea itself, has meant that our corals have thrived where others have suffered. We are doing a lot of research today and on an ongoing basis to help us understand. We are working with our partners to study and share this with the rest of the world and maybe offer hope for coral reefs around the world.”