Diriyah, the future of sustainable Saudi tourism

RIYADH: As the world looks to a sustainable future, Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has taken the lead in transforming a historic city into an environmentally accessible landmark for the world.
By launching the Diriyah Gate Development Project (Diriyah Gate), the Kingdom aspires to become a global tourism destination as envisioned in the development plan of Vision 2030.
The project is characterized by a combination of several elements, including ecotourism, urban development, economic growth, and the proclamation of the kingdom’s culturally rich past.
Efforts are currently being made to develop an environmental strategy that strikes an ideal balance between tourism and the city’s rich heritage.
In order to achieve this goal, the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) is currently working to establish a dedicated ecotourism zone in the south of the city, where the Barari Wildlife Conservation Center is located. .
Focus on sustainability
The authority recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Petroleum Sustainability Program to promote the use of sustainable polymer building materials in the current project.
This programme, which is controlled by the Department of Energy, ensures that hydrocarbons are always part of the global energy mix in the most efficient and sustainable way possible.
Under the memorandum of understanding, the authority will use sustainable polymer to restore and renovate the old city using the principles of traditional Najd architecture that gave the central region of the kingdom its unique identity.
What’s particularly interesting about this project is that it puts people at the center of its development process.
The authority also plans to raise public awareness of the need to protect the environment and improve the economic return of the city, which will soon become a must-visit tourist destination.
In Diriyah, we deal with multiple issues, and think of innovative and practical ways to find appropriate solutions. The authority said in a statement that some of these issues are related to environmental sustainability and others are related to improving the economic performance of cities as tourist destinations.
“Other issues also relate to how to promote awareness of the environmental behavior and impact of individuals, including the management of legislation – existing and desirable – that govern or should govern the human environment in accordance with sustainable goals, requirements and standards,” she added.
Tourism is a top priority
According to the authority, when the project is completed, it is expected that the project will attract more than 7 million tourists annually, which is in line with the goals of Vision 2030, which aims to build a sustainable economy, living environment and a vibrant society in the Kingdom.
The Diriyah Gate development project has great historical and cultural importance, especially since the Turaif region was the first capital for the Saudis.
At the just-concluded Future Hospitality Summit, DGDA Group CEO, Jerry Inzerillo, revealed that 36% of project workers are women.
He then explained that 16% of the female workforce works in the management sector.
Furthermore, he said, 40% of the workforce in the Diriyah Gate project comes from the local community in Diriyah.
During the interview, he announced that the project, upon completion, would include 20,000 housing units, and that contracts for the construction of these units had been awarded to Saudi contractors.
The Diriyah Gate Development Authority recently teamed up with the luxury Four Seasons International Hotel to build a new hotel on the site of its Riyadh headquarters.
It will feature 150 rooms and suites, spacious meeting and event spaces, a wellness center and a gym.
“Four Seasons is working with the development authority to enhance the traveler experience in Diriyah, highlighting the city’s remarkable hospitality and commitment to its rich cultural past,” Inzerillo explained.
The hotel is located next to the cultural quarter of Diriyah, along the escarpment of Wadi Hanifa, and will offer great views westward towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Al-Turaif.

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This text is a translation of an article published on Arabnews.com

Frank Mccarthy

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