A rendering of an island resort at the Red Sea Project A rendering of an island resort at the Red Sea Project

Saudi Arabia's The Red Sea Project master plan has been given a seal of approval from its board of directors, with the first phase scheduled to open by 2022.

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) stated that the master plan was developed in partnership with WATG and Buro Happold and included design concepts from global architecture firms.

The first phase of the project includes 14 hotels with 3,000 rooms across five islands and two inland resorts. It will also include yacht marinas, leisure and lifestyle amenities and an airport to serve the destination, as well as supporting logistics and utilities infrastructure.

The project also aims to be eco-friendly, according to an official statement,. The final master plan preserves some 75% of the destination’s islands for conservation and designates nine islands as sites of significant ecological value. Environmental studies were consulted to ensure the area is protected during and after the development.

Sustainability was highly considered: there is a target of a 30% net increase in biodiversity over the next two decades; environmental factors such as water salinity, temperature, visibility and tidal flows will be tracked and measured; a range of policies are being developed including zero waste-to-landfill, zero discharge to the sea, and zero single-use plastics, with a commitment to achieve 100% carbon neutrality. In addition, the destination will rely solely on renewable energy and have no connection to the national grid.

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As a component in Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, the project is expected to create up to 70,000 new jobs and to contribute as much as SAR 22 billion (US$5.3 billion) to the nation’s GDP

The destination will be fully completed in 2030, and will see the development of 22 of the 90+ islands at the destination, providing up to 10,000 hotel rooms across island resorts, mountain retreats and desert hideaways. The destination will also offer luxury residential properties and a range of commercial, retail and recreational facilities.