An essential plan to change Saudi coastline into a beach resort for the international market could lead to more relaxed laws on beach clothing.
The Red Sea Project, a luxury resort to be built between the cities of Amlaj and al-Jawh, will be “governed by laws on par with international standards,” a statement by the Saudi Public Investment Fund [PIF] said.
The tourism development plan is a part of the Vision 2030 reform plan, invented by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a way to prevent the country’s economy off oil and improve the local economy.
The country faces an difficult battle as the majority of tourists in the Gulf travel to the UAE, where relaxed laws on bikinis and alcohol allow for a more ‘liberal’ experience.
Saudi Arabia by contrast, has banned alcohol, implements strict gender segregation and maintains strict regulations on how women can dress.
The investment fund is working to combat these negative images of the country by focusing on the region’s pure and pristine natural beauty, which will apparently be protected by strict environmental laws.
In a document detailing nine reasons why Saudi Arabia should become a tourism hotspot, the fund talks of “abundant coral reefs”, “dormant volcanoes” and other natural wonders that have remained mostly untouched by construction.
The Public Investment Fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reportedly owns assets which are $183 billion in total, set to increase radically next year, following an IPO on a part of the state oil giant, Saudi Aramco.
The prince said more than half of the money raised from that sale will be invested in the Vision 2030 project to develop industries that are not connected to oil.