Now that the world has reopened fully and normality has been reinstated, paving the way for the return of overtourism, travelers are seeking less crowded, off-the-beaten-path destinations where they can truly relax and appreciate a foreign country without all the distraction.
One of the lesser-known destinations in the undiscovered gem that is the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, is keeping a close eye on the fast-growing trend, so much so that it is planning to launch a brand new destination to keep high-end travelers looking for more exclusivity appeased.
Next year, it's the magical Red Sea, a tourism hotspot waiting to happen where you should be headed:
Welcome To The Middle Eastern Caribbean
In the biggest piece of news to come out of the Middle East in years, their rising competitor Saudi Arabia has just confirmed a brand new luxury travel destination in their currently underdeveloped Red Sea Coast, touted as the Middle Eastern Caribbean.
The Red Sea is an enclosed body of water that the Arab Kingdom straddles.
Famous for its high concentration of salt and turquoise-blue hue, it's remained largely ignored as a tourist destination for years.
Saudi Arabia's Red Sea extends for over a thousand miles, from the border with the neighboring Kingdom of Jordan to the North and to Yemen in the South, and much of the coast remains untarnished.
This is largely due to Saudi's late opening for tourism, as only in recent years has the kingdom opened its doors to foreign visitors.
Local authorities are now keen on catching up with their fellow Gulf partners, having announced the opening of a new resort zone in the Red Sea region.
What's On The Cards For The Red Sea Coast?
According to the Red Sea project files, as many as 22 of the region's 90 islands will be developed, with the construction of up to 50 luxury accommodations comprising 8,000 rooms and an additional 1,000 residential properties by 2030.
This is one of the largest development projects seen in the Middle East currently, which should also bear witness to the launch of a giant moon-shaped resort in Dubai.
Though the final project will not be delivered until 2030 at the earliest, a number of properties are already popping up along the coast and around the 90-island archipelago.
@visitredsea Crystal clear waters at The Red Sea.💦 #VisitRedSea والمياه كريستالية.. فيه أصفى من كذا؟ 🌊 #وجهة_البحر_الأحمر #السعودية ♬ original sound – The Red Sea
As executive director Chopra stated, ‘regenerative tourism' is at the front of Saudi's new tourism offer, as the kingdom seeks to ‘enhance' the local communities and environment and offer more ‘transformative' experiences as opposed to just luxury.
The Ummahat Islands will be the first to host new hotels, namely the St. Regis Red Sea Resort, where tourists can find accommodation in villas on land or floating on water, set to compete with a Ritz-Carlton for guests.
On Shura Island, Saudi leaders are planning to build a 1.2-kilometer bridge connecting it to the region's main international airport, for the shortest possible travel distance of 30 minutes from the hub to the resort zones.
Shura itself will also feature 11 low-rise resorts designed to resemble ‘coral washed up on the beach'.
Naturally, as development spreads to other islands and coastal strips on the Red Sea mainland, visitors can expect the introduction of more state-of-the-art resorts, golf courses, marinas, and dining spots.
So far, two inland resorts have been confirmed, Desert Rock and Southern. Dunes.
There is more: Sheybarah, a quaint island 45 minutes by ferry from the mainland, is expected to become a ‘hyper-luxury', ultra-exclusive resort with numerous over-water pods – yes, it's a running theme – which architects have described as ‘bubbles of a diver'.
The Ultra-Luxurious Triple Bay
Elsewhere, in Amaala, a planned luxury tourism megaproject titled Triple Bay, a wellness hub is being built in an area of outstanding natural beauty, bounded by mountainous landscapes and a ‘sparkling' sea, where guests will be able to practice diving, yachting, and other watersports.
Triple Bay is bowing in 2024 with 3,000 rooms between 25 hotels and their adjacent 900 villas and apartments, all powered by renewable energy and boasting a zero-carbon footprint, so it won't be long until tourists can check it out for themselves.
@happy_shopyng proyek gila arab saudi#viral #fyp #fypシ ♬ suara asli – happyshop
When it comes to overtourism, Saudi Arabia is ensuring the unspoiled nature reserve that is the Red Sea does not suffer the brunt of these concurrent development projects by initially setting a cap of one million visitors a year in the area (500,000 at Amaala).
The Saudi Red Sea is home to the world's fourth-largest barrier reef, majestic mountains, inactive volcanoes, and ancient historical sites, and the visitor cap will ensure it remains an exclusive luxury travel destination.
Finally, the newly-opened Red Sea International Airport, which began operations only in September of this year, will offer visitors a truly seamless experience, as they will be allowed to breeze past security and will not be required to pick up their own luggage.
Instead, it will be sent directly to their resort.
Read more about the exciting development project here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
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