Project regenerative tourism

As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pans out their course of action for Vision 2030, one of the most aspiring projects announced by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince, Chairman of The Red Sea Development Company was the Coral Bloom concept in the kingdom which will include 11 hotels designed to suit the need of the hour post-covid.

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) together with architectural firm Foster + Partners created the concept and designed to blend in with the island’s pristine natural environment. TRSDC, the developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism project, has since shared the striking vision for its main hub island at the destination, Shurayrah.

“We expect guests to be awed by what they see when they first arrive at The Red Sea Project, enjoying a truly immersive barefoot luxury experience. The Coral Bloom designs, taking inspiration from the incredible flora and fauna found uniquely in Saudi Arabia, promise to make that vision a reality,” said John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC.

“Shurayrah Island is the gateway to The Red Sea Project so it’s important that it sets the standard in groundbreaking architecture and sustainable design, not just for our destination, but globally too. This is achieved by going beyond simply protecting the environment, to applying a regenerative approach,” he added.

Protect and enhance

Biodiversity considerations take center stage, with the plan designed to avoid disruption of the island’s mangroves and other habitats, providing natural defenses from erosion, while new habitats are created through landscaping to enhance the island’s natural state.

The proposal also outlines designs for the island’s 11 hotels, adapted to suit traveller expectations post-Covid-19 including more space, and immersed into the landscape to effectively form part of the sweeping dunes, allowing the island’s natural beauty to reign supreme.

The design sees new beaches created on the dolphin-shaped island along with a new lagoon. These enhancements will contribute to raising the level of the land, providing a defensive layer from the global threat of rising sea levels. Importantly, the changes aim to preserve or enhance what already exists on the island, without damaging any habitats or natural shores.

Immersive hotel design

There will be 11 hotels on Shurayrah, which will be operated by some of the most distinguished hotel brands in the world. The island’s natural landscape will be used to dramatic effect with all hotels and villas nestled within the landscape. The absence of high-rise buildings will ensure the spectacular vistas remain uninhibited, while creating a sense of mystery for guests as the island slowly reveals itself.

The hotel designs have also been responsive to the changing world and traveller demands over the last 12 months. There will be no internal corridors for example, in response to a growing demand for space and seclusion following the coronavirus pandemic. The resorts themselves will be created using lightweight materials with a low thermal mass and manufactured offsite, meaning more energy efficient construction and less impact on the environment.

Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners, said: “Our vision for Shurayrah is inspired by the island’s natural state, with the hotels designed to give the impression that they have washed up on the beaches and nestled among the dunes almost like driftwood. The materials we use and the low impact they have ensures that the pristine environment is protected, while the additions we make to the island serve to enhance what is already there – hence the name, Coral Bloom.”

Regenerative tourism

The Red Sea Development Company is committed to delivering a 30 per cent net conservation benefit by 2040. It is creating the world’s largest district cooling plant powered by renewable energy 24 hours a day to facilitate efficient centralised cooling across the destination. The entire destination will be powered by renewables, underpinned by the largest battery storage system in the world.

In line with this commitment, the destination’s master plan is informed by an extensive marine spatial planning exercise and leaves 75 per cent of the project’s islands untouched. Shurayrah is one of only 22 islands selected for development.

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