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The Red Sea Development Company aims to protect marine heritage, promote and champion the importance of environmental consideration of the sea, and encourage safe participation with the marine environment through outstanding resort experiences. The site contains more than 90 natural islands, large desert areas, and volcanoes.
They aim to establish unique, sustainable development standards by respecting nature with its beauty, preserving the destination with its living creatures, and creating opportunities for local employment and education (Cousins, 2020).
The Red Sea Development Company focuses on implementing programs that incorporate environmental awareness, local wildlife, and plastic recycling (Naar, 2020).
The project is planned in a way that considers the natural ecosystem of the area. It has several key goals, which include:
First, Ms. Cousins (2020) specified that the Marine Spatial Planning project protects marine habitats and guarantees that endangered species do not get harmed or affected in the development, and works to protect the marine environment in KSA. This project is run in conjunction with academic experts from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and TRSDC. They also brought specialists in various disciplines such as biologists, ecologists, oceanographers to study the destination and develop solutions to protect those species.
To promote community engagement and participatory action, the initiative runs several events and competitions to inform, promote, and disseminate education. For example, 'Brains for Brine,' an international competition challenge, was launched during the partnership with KAUST. This challenge intends to solve the problem of lacking natural freshwater and control brine disposal as a waste product of water desalination. They also created an Ecotecture Design Competition concentrated on new sustainable development standards through architecture and design. TRSDC had an agreement with Saudi universities and architectural schools to enable students to participate in the competition by designing eco-friendly facilities in modern styles. The purpose of this challenge is to improve the marine ecosystem and assure sustainability.
Additionally, an agreement was held with ACWA Power. The project's destination will capture energy through solar and wind with no connection to the national grid, and it will have the largest battery storage facility in the world.
Leaders for Sustainability is also a program educating the locals about the control of waste and recycling, specific to marine areas. This teaches stakeholders how to clean debris on marine areas of the destination and remove any excess on the islands and shorelines (Cousins, 2020).
(The Red Sea Development Company, 2020)
Ms.Cousins (2020) mentioned: “We seek to build a new kind of tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, aligned with Vision 2030 and the 17 SDGs. TRSDC is committed to pushing the boundaries of what it means to be sustainable and investing heavily in renewables is helping to set new global standards in regenerative tourism”.
SDG-related efforts will go hand-in-hand with the adoption of Vision 2030, which has already achieved considerable progress. The main focus areas include continuing the process of aligning state initiatives and initiatives with sustainable development priorities and goals. Strengthening the infrastructure to track progress towards SDGs' achievement at a national and sub-national level, and promoting global collaborations around SDGs through development support (The Red Sea Development Company, 2020).
The Red Sea Development company's contribution to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment is essential, and the groundbreaking new principles for sustainable growth are at the core of the Red Sea Initiative. As the general population of Saudi Arabia may be unfamiliar with the importance of the marine ecosystem, this development serves as a unique opportunity to enthuse and educate.
The collaborations will include various sectors, from hospitality and entertainment to large-scale infrastructure enterprises, including transport and services.
The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), after all those efforts, is committed to turning the city into a year-round leisure resort, respected by international tourists and by the locals and the global business community.
According to Ms. Cousins (2020), the project will contribute upwards of 100 billion SAR to the Saudi economy during the construction phase. Once fully operational in 2030, it will contribute 22 billion SAR per year. More than 70% of the total value of contracts awarded has been to Saudi companies up to this date. Key partners have opened manufacturing facilities, which provided new job opportunities for the local community and generated demand for the supply chain.
The company has hired 45 locals to be trained and then operate one million sq ft landscape nursery at the site and a further 30 employees to work as Sustainability Stewards. Ms. Cousins (2020) noted that “The Sustainability Stewards will lead local education, engagement, and outreach programs while promoting all TRSDC sustainability programs aimed at protecting and enhancing the environment. More importantly, it is hoped that this initiative will inspire environmentally sustainable behavior of people living around the site, as well as those visiting”.
Preparing young Saudis for jobs in the future is also a key aim, and they partnered with the University of Prince Mugrin to provide 120 scholarships to students studying hospitality. They also launched an Elite Graduate Program, welcoming 31 ambitious and talented graduates in January this year.
• Naar, I., 2020. Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Company launches sustainability stewards program. Al Arabiya, English.
• Cousins, R., 2020. Interview With The Red Sea Development Company.
• Theredsea.sa. 2020. Saudi Vision 2030 | The Red Sea Development Company. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 November 2020].
Rebecca Cousins, Public Relations Associate Director
The Red Sea Development Company is a closed joint-stock company. It is one of three Giga-projects published by HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in 2017. Giga-projects will open up new economic opportunities, build opportunities, foster entrepreneurship activity, and accelerate economic growth following Vision 2030 objectives (Saudi Vision 2030 | The Red Sea Development Company, 2020).