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The New Arab Staff

MbS launches company to develop Saudi mountain resort

The mountain resort in Asir province aims to attract 2 million visitors annually [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 February, 2021

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Souda Development Company will invest $3 billion into a tourism project which includes 2,700 hotel rooms, 1,300 residential units, 30 attractions.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has launched a company to develop a "luxury" mountain resort in the kingdom's southwestern Asir province.

Soudah Development Company (SDC) is fully owned by Riyadh's sovereign wealth fund, chaired by the 35-year-old prince.

SDC will invest $3 billion into a project aimed at enhancing "the vistor experience in Soudah and parts of Rijal Alma'a Governorate in the Asir region", according to a press release sent to The New Arab.

It features plans to build 2,700 hotel rooms, 1,300 residential units, and 30 "unique commercial and entertainment attractions".

The project goals are lofty and in keeping with the de facto Saudi leader's Vision 2030 plan to drive the kingdom away from its economic dependence on oil revenuess.

The press release says the year-long destination for Saudi residents and tourists will contribute an accumulative $8 billion to the national GDP by the end of the decade, aiming to attract 2 million visitors annually and create 8,000 jobs.

Bin Salman has launched several ambitious development projects for the ultra-conservative kingdom.

One of those is the Red Sea Project along the kingdom's west coast, set to be made up of nearly 50 resorts and incorporating at least 22 uninhabited islands.

Read also: Saudi Arabia unveils plans for Red Sea 'giga-resort'

Those figures come on top of plans to build a vast and futuristic city in the kingdom's northwest, also planned to be completed as part of bin Salman's Vision 2030.

Tribal activists have accused Saudi Arabia of forcibly displacing locals to make way for the Neom mega-city.

Thousands of people have already been evicted from their homes and in April last year, tribal activist Abdul-Rahman Al-Huweiti was killed by Saudi authorities while resisting the eviction efforts.

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