What motivated the wellness focus of the AMAALA project?
AMAALA was conceived following extensive market research into our target clientele, in order to identify key interests and motivators surrounding travel and tourism. Once we had identified the top ten drivers, we narrowed our focus to the top five, crafting the pillars on which AMAALA would be identified. This led to the final AMAALA pillars of Art & Culture; Wellness & Sports; and Sun, Sea & Lifestyle; all rooted in philanthropy.
Built with sustainability at its core, AMAALA’s trio of communities – Triple Bay, The Coastal Development and the Island – will represent three different sets of experiences for visitors.
- Triple Bay will be the world’s most exclusive wellness retreat supported by world-class luxury resorts, recreational activities. Also, at Triple Bay will be a sports performance academy and activity sports club facilities including equestrian, polo, camel racing, falconry, golf and tennis.
- The Costal Development will be home to leading arts and cultural events and feature a contemporary arts museum and a cultural district.
- The Island will become one of the world’s most exclusive enclaves offering exquisitely designed Arabic botanical gardens showcasing works of art, sculptures and breath-taking landscapes surrounding elegant private villas.
As a luxury destination, what is the expected consumer profile?
AMAALA will cater to discerning travellers from around the world, with an interest in AMAALA’s pillars. Catering to singles, couples, and families from across the region, as well as global destinations such as China, Brazil, Russia, India, Europe, the U.S. and Japan, AMAALA seeks to strike an emotional chord with visitors through the creation of transformative experiences, individually created to guests needs, while the exclusivity of the destination aligns it with the connoisseurs of fine living.
A year-round destination with a unique heritage and landscape, pristine ecosystems and world-class yachting opportunities, AMAALA’s unparalleled marine life also make it a world-leading diving spot.
AMAALA is a very complex project including several key features – how will these be phased/timed?
The Master Plan has been approved by the Board with extensive feasibility work currently underway and people already on site. We will break ground in early 2020 with development being done in phases and expect the entire project to be completed ahead of the realisation of Saudi Vision 2030.
Despite its amplitude, AMAALA project is described as “a natural extension” of the Mediterranean Sea. Tell us more about the environmental strategic approach.
Sustainability is at the heart of AMAALA with the goal of being net carbon neutral from the day one of operations. Sustainability has never been done on a project of this scale before, in that, existing properties sustainability aspirations largely involve playing catch up to balance offsets, while AMAALA will be meeting these standards from the ground up, creating a coastal oasis that elevates the role of responsible tourism globally.
Design & development will be carried out according to the highest global standards and we will be working with partners to meet and aspire to the highest levels of sustainability throughout the design, build, and operation phases.
We have about fifteen criteria for sustainability covering everything from the use of full solar fields to waste management and recycling. An example of this is our plans for water production: there will be a dedicated desalination plant that has zero impact on the pristine coral reefs. All wastewater will be treated and reused in agriculture, while all organic waste will be used in agriculture, including Triple Bay’s organic farm. Only biodegradable materials will be used within the resort, while energy requirements will be met using renewable sources, leading to the entire AMAALA development having a zero-carbon footprint.
Part of the project is an international airport. How do you envisage the inclusion of an airport given the luxury positioning of the hotels/resorts?
A guest’s journey begins from the moment they step onto an airplane. Through the creation of our own dedicated airport, visitors will be enjoying the highest standards of curated guest experience from the moment of their arrival.
Initially serving private jet and charter traffic arrivals, our ultimate goal is to receive commercial flights, given the proximity of AMAALA to major destinations within the region, and further afield.
Are you envisaging international luxury hotel/ resort brands / companies to manage properties as a third party operator?
We will be working on several different business models with a range of partnerships being discussed with local, regional and international luxury hotel operators, brands and properties. We are also looking at establishing hotel/resort brands of our own.
Which would you consider as the main comp set?
We have benchmarked against the best resorts, destinations and cultural centres around the world to create the best of the best. The values, experiences and journeys of self-discovery that AMAALA will offer will differentiate us from other resorts and destinations because we have the advantage of being able to build from the ground up whereas others have evolved organically over time.
AMAALA will redefine today’s luxury resort experience, and the tourism experience in its entirety, through the provision of unique amenities and ultra-personalised services. This means each guest will play a leading role in shaping their own journey through the pillars that tie AMAALA together. With a focus on personally crafted, transformative experiences and transformational luxury, a stay at AMAALA is more than just a holiday, it’s a lifelong experience.
An immersive and interactive destination, guests will be able to indulge in individually personalised programs, encompassing body, mind and soul, inspired by art, wellness and the purity of the Red Sea. Guests will enjoy curated wellness and rejuvenation programs, elite level tennis, golf and soccer training, alongside family-related activities such as equestrian, competitive polo, camel beauty and falconry events. Watersports include sailing, yachting, diving, snorkelling, and windsurfing. AMAALA will also feed the soul through arts and cultural offerings, with opportunities for philanthropic art co-creation.
How will the project benefit the local communities? And also indirectly those who will be employed
The tourism sector is one of the most promising parts of the Kingdom’s diversification efforts with a view to strengthening the Saudi economy by attracting 22.1 million international visitors and creating thousands of jobs for young, aspiring Saudis by 2051.
AMAALA sits as part a new Red Sea ecosystem, which aims to establish a unique tourism offering in support of the kingdom’s economic diversification. The project will act as a key driver of Vision 2030’s objectives, cultivating investment opportunities, supporting economic growth with a focus on the development of new economies and driving employment in new economic sectors such as wellness, healthy living and sports, art and culture; and sea, sun and lifestyle.
The impact will be significant, especially in the north-western region. AMAALA will deliver a number of longstanding economic benefits to the Kingdom including a contribution of 0.64% to GDP by 2030. We anticipate providing around 20,000 direct jobs rising to around 50,000 including indirect job creation.
A unique part of the project is the Nature Reserve. Tell us more.
Because we are located in the Mohammed Bin Salman Nature Reserve, we have been given a unique opportunity to act as custodians of the land where we are and to protect what is there. AMAALA is in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 sustainability goals and the preservation of heritage sites. These values are also in line with those of the UN Vision 2030 goals, which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia places great importance on.
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