The Middle East is a high-growth region for tourism, with many countries choosing tourism as their path to build for the future and ensure long-term prosperity.
According to forecasts, the total contribution of the travel and tourism industry to the GDP of Middle East countries is expected to reach around $486.1 billion by 2028.
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In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai has carved out a position as an all-year-round destination for global travelers, most notably from Europe, with the region constantly developing new sites to build on this reputation.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), plans have been unveiled to develop new cities with an abundance of leisure and entertainment facilities. The biggest is megaproject NEOM—a planned $500 billion high-tech city on the country’s northwest coast and the flagship project of the KSA’s Vision 2030.
While in Qatar, the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will play a massive role in boosting tourism in the region.
With growing tourism in the Middle East, the construction industry will play a big role in bringing these projects to life. Let’s look at five of the top tourism construction projects set to make their mark on the region:
1. Six Flags Qiddiya, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Located 40 miles from Riyadh City in Saudi Arabia, Six Flags Qiddiya theme park is scheduled to open in 2023 and is part of the wider Qiddiya development.
Stretching 28 rides over 32 hectares of land, the Saudi Arabian megaproject will be three times the size of Walt Disney World in Orlando.
The project is one of the three main giga-projects within Vision 2030, the framework that aims to diversify the country's income, with NEOM and the Red Sea Project—a luxury tourist destination—as their fellow counterparts. These projects aim to increase tourism to KSA to ensure that visitors to the Kingdom will contribute 10% of the GDP by 2030.
Eventually becoming home to a sports stadium, a water park, a safari park, theatres, residential units, hotels, and the world’s longest, fastest, and tallest rollercoaster—Falcon’s Flight—Qiddiya is set to become the capital of entertainment, sports, and the arts in Saudi Arabia.
2. Hatta, UAE
In 2020, Hatta in the UAE welcomed over one million visitors, increasing by 60,000 people from 2016. The town near the border of Oman has been transformed in recent years into an adventure getaway, with mountain biking and kayaking popular activities.
In October 2021, the latest version for the town was announced. The announcement unveiled significant investment plans to turn the town into a more prominent destination for residents and tourists with an inland beach, lake, cable-driven mountain railway, a summit station, panoramic viewing platform, sustainable waterfalls, a hotel, and hiking trails among the proposal.
The project is part of a 20-year Hatta Master Development Plan, an integral part of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan—aiming to transform the emirate and create a truly interconnected, people-led city that balances community with tourism and modernity with heritage and nature—launched in 2021.
3. The Red Sea Project, Saudi Arabia
The world's most ambitious regenerative tourism project, the Red Sea Project, is a luxury destination being created on the Western coast of Saudi Arabia between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh.
The project is managed by The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) and is branded as a sanctuary offering indulgent and customizable experiences.
At 28,000 sq km, the project is another key giga-project in the Saudi Arabian Government’s Vision 2030. The master plan for the project was developed in partnership with WATG and Buro Happold.
When the project is completed in 2030, it will include approximately 50 resorts across mountains, deserts, and the sea. The luxury destination will offer more than 8,000 hotel rooms and 1,000 residential properties. Luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, and leisure facilities will also be included in one of the most ambitious tourism development projects.
4. Atlantis The Royal, Dubai, UAE
Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai—one of the most iconic holiday destinations globally—will welcome a new member of the Atlantis family on the Palm Jumeirah.
Atlantis, The Royal is Dubai’s newest mega-resort. The Royal consists of two separate wings: 231 residences will become some of the most coveted global addresses on the right. In contrast, the left will consist of 795 guest suites for a truly luxury hotel experience. An infinity swimming pool will join both sides, sitting nearly 100 meters above the ground.
The guaranteed icon of the Dubai skyline will be different from its iconic sister, with the resort said to have a “playful contrast between fire and water” and offer visitors the opportunity to experience “villas in the clouds.”
The $1.6 billion building will open its doors at the end of 2022.
5. Yiti-Yenkit Development, Oman
In September 2021, the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) announced the development of Yiti-Yenkit (Yetti-Yenket) project in Muscat, the nation’s capital.
Extending over 11sq km, the project will be one of the largest urban developments in the country. The first phase of the project was signed in January 2022, with an investment value of US$1 billion.
The project is part of the Oman Tourism Strategy 2040—a key component of Oman Vision 2040—which aims to promote its tourism products and improve its competitiveness by introducing unique opportunities in key tourism locations.
Once complete, the coastal resort will house sustainable mixed-use facilities, including green public spaces, residences, commercial and educational facilities, restaurants, cafés, and an equestrian center.
Building Better and Boosting Tourism with Tech
The Middle East has long been a beacon for digital innovation, with the construction industry in the region benefiting from innovative tech.
With impressive tourism projects abound throughout the region alongside infrastructure projects and other megaprojects, uptake in digital tools to keep projects on schedule and budget is set to ramp up big time.
As well as reducing risk, eliminating errors, removing data silos, and helping projects get future-ready, construction technology and digital solutions—such as Common Data Environments (CDE)—help create order out of construction project chaos.
A CDE can ensure everyone has the most recent information in real-time—from the field to the office. In the most basic terms, its central repository provides a single source of information for the project. It is used to collect, manage, collaborate, and share project information with the project team.
With this one collaborative platform, ambiguity and unpredictability are tackled, and teams are well-positioned to deliver the breathtaking projects the Middle East has become synonymous with.
Ready to follow in the footsteps of these exciting and innovative projects? Discover how adopting a construction technology platform can help get you started. Find out how the Asite CDE can help you transform your projects here.
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