Abdullah Al-Zahrani, Brand and Marketing Executive Director, The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), in an interview with TRAVTALK reveals that 2023 will witness a soft opening of the destination, and by early 2024 it will complete its first phase with a total of 3,000 keys in terms of hotels within the project.
Could you share the total number of hotels, attractions and entertainment venues slated to open by end of 2023?
Next year, The Red Sea will soft launch its first phase, and by early 2024 it will include 3,000 rooms, an 18-hole championship golf course, luxury marina, and retail and entertainment facilities on a fully operational hub island. By then, The Red Sea International Airport (RSI) will also be operational. First hotels to open at The Red Sea in 2023 will include St. Regis Red Sea Resort with 90 keys, Nujuma, A Ritz Carlton Reserve with 82 keys, and Six Senses Southern Dunes, Red Sea with 76 keys. Upon completion in 2030, The Red Sea is expected to host up to one million visitors each year with 8,000 rooms across 50 hotels, and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. The RSI will also be fully operational, providing a luxury seamless experience where sustainability is embedded in every aspect.
How important are the travel agents and tour operators? How will you incentivize them?
We at The Red Sea pay close attention to the needs of our partners in the travel trade and engage with them through sales missions, roadshows, travel exhibitions and FAM trips. We also hired a sales and marketing representation company in each of our target markets to keep the conversation going with the travel sector in those countries. Partnering with prestigious travel networks, particularly within the luxury and experiential segment, is on top of our list where we help expose the destination to our niche target within these networks. We work closely together so that our partners understand the uniqueness of our destination that includes more than 90 untouched island, dormant volcanos, sweeping desert dunes, mountain canyons and historical and cultural sites.
Will you sponsor any international travel trade events such as WTM and ATM?
Taking part at major travel trade events, exhibitions and roadshows plays an important role in connecting with the travel sector and spreading awareness about the destination. We often look at the most impactful travel events on the calendar and the likes of ILTM, ITB, WTM and ATM are always right up there. Earlier this year we created a ‘tunnel of immersion’ at ATM to show visitors what they can expect to find at The Red Sea, alongside other Saudi destinations to help cement the Kingdom as a leader in luxury and sustainable tourism. This August, we also exhibited at the Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, an annual event organised by the best luxury network in the world for travel advisors, hotels, cruise companies, DMCs and destinations around the world. Later this year we will be at TFest, WTM and ILTM Cannes.
Would it be true to say that the The Red Sea Project is focused on developing the MICE and Events sector in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?
The Red Sea is a pioneering luxury tourism destination that aims to offer indulgent experiences, seamlessly customised to the unique needs of each visitor. The destination will include 4,482 square meters events facilities located at Grand Hyatt The Red Sea in Shura Island.