With the support of ambitious projects that combine luxury hospitality, ecotourism in Saudi Arabia focuses on environmental conservation and revitalization. The Kingdom is getting ready to open its doors to a world of nature enthusiasts and travelers looking for the next magnificent ecotourism destination. With a target of attracting 100 million visitors per year by 2030, ecotourism places in Saudi Arabia and related activities will undoubtedly enhance tourism industry in the kingdom. The intention is to protect natural terrains and initiate projects inclined to revamp the cityscape with lush greenery and other developmental plans.
Ecotourism in Saudi Arabia: Objectives
While Saudi Arabia has always been known for its oilfields and industry, the government is now focusing on several ecotourism initiatives for the future. Following are the key goals and objectives of Saudi ecotourism:
1. Impact reduction: The rise in ecotourism in Saudi Arabia will mitigate the environmental impact of mass tourism and its resource-intensive infrastructure. The Saudi Arabian government will use renewable energy and dispose of waste properly to reduce tourism’s impact.
2. Environmental advantage: Saudi Arabia’s ecotourism program aims to offer a clear advantage to the environment. The government wants to contribute profits from ecotourism toward ecological conservation.
3. Decrease in oil dependence: Rise in ecotourism in Saudi Arabia is a part of Vision 2030, an ambitious goal to reduce Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil. The aim is to grow the country’s gross domestic product due to tourism from 3% to 10% by 2030.
Key eco-tourism projects in Saudi Arabia
Here is a detailed list latest projects and places in Saudi Arabia for ecotourism:
1. Green Riyadh Project – Cover of acacia trees
One of the most ambitious urban afforestation efforts globally is the Riyadh Green Project. The Green Riyadh Project aims to make the city greener and more environmentally friendly by 2030 by planting many trees. Over 10 million trees will be planted along the roads, in gardens, parks (urban and natural), around mosques, schools and universities, public buildings, healthcare institutes, car parks, and other locations. Green Riyadh will contribute significantly to the enhancement of the variety of green spaces in the Saudi capital. Experts have selected acacia trees for this project because of their inherent capacity to resist the region’s arid climate. Many experts estimate that the Green Project will have a sociological and urban impact by providing shade for pedestrians and an environmental and climatic impact by lowering air and dust pollution. It will also assist in reducing the city’s temperature by 1-2°C.
2. Red Sea Project – Environment friendly leisure travel
The Red Sea Project is a development project aimed at developing a luxury destination around one of the world’s recently discovered natural wonders. The project will set new regenerative tourism and sustainable development norms by spanning pristine lands and oceans and including a vast archipelago of more than 90 islands. Mountain canyons, dormant volcanoes, old culture, and historical monuments are all part of the destination. Hotels, residential structures, leisure facilities, and entertainment businesses will all be part of the Red Sea Project. Its overall goal is to open up prospects in the hospitality sector and to demonstrate Saudi Arabia’s vast potential.
Tourist activities: Tourists can stay in coastal villages, luxury hotels, and hyper-luxury hotels or indulge in recreational activities and excursions. Further, they can also immerse in the natural beauty of the surrounding region.
3. NEOM Project – Futuristic ecotourism site
In line with Saudi Vision 2030, the NEOM project aspires to create excellent livability, successful enterprises, and conservation results. It is a planned city in Tabuk province, in the northwest Saudi Arabia. The city will feature smart towns and communities, research areas, enterprise zones, and leisure areas. The project’s objective is to attract over 1 million citizens and tourists from all over the world. The NEOM project aims to be entirely powered by renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy. The project arose from Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, which intends to reduce its oil reliance, diversify its economy, and expand the public sector. Once the construction is completed, the city will have robots to undertake tasks like logistics, security, caring, and home delivery.
Tourist activities: Tourists visiting NEOM project can witness robots performing major tasks like delivering food, safeguarding apartments and etcetera in the near future. They can also unwind in the leisure and recreational areas, and enjoy state-of-the-art infrastructure and a futuristic lifestyle.
Popular eco-tourism activities, Saudi Arabia
1. Wildlife and nature safari – Ideal way to experience nature
Though Saudi Arabia is mainly a desert country, it offers numerous lush green areas owning to several oases. One can easily spot diverse species of animals and birds in the kingdom. It is a great place to enjoy and relax in a natural setting of mountains, valleys, lakes, and national parks. Also, desert of Saudi Arabia have their own importance and provide an opportunity to get involved in wildlife safari.
Best sites for wildlife and nature safari in Saudi Arabia
Asir National Park is one of Saudi Arabia’s most unspoiled wilderness areas, as well as the country’s first national park. The national park dates back to the late 1980s and features a variety of picnic and camping areas, nature walks, and hiking paths. It is home to over 300 different bird and animal species. For those who like a day of dune buggy riding, dune bashing, kite flying, sandboarding, picnics, and barbeques, Al-Kharrarah Park is a popular site to visit. The national park also has a hidden lake which adds on to the beauty of the area.
2. Hiking and camping – Peak into the Arabian desert
Hiking is a popular tourist activities that are performed at various sites present all across the country. Tourists have the option of trailing in the valleys, or climbing up many renowned mountains of Saudi Arabia. The kingdom also features a salt rich crater that provides excellent hiking opportunity. Further, one can camp at many hiking sites and camping sites located in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Popular sites for hiking and camping in Saudi Arabia
Gubaloovka OHV Trail is a 95.6-kilometer point-to-point route near Riyadh that’s popular for camping, scenic driving, and off-roading. It’s open all year. Another good hiking site is Al-Wahba Crater. It is 820 feet (250 meters) deep and readily explored on foot, making the area ideal for hiking. However, visitors should bring their fuel, tents, blankets, food, lots of water, and extra supplies while arranging a camping trip to Wahba Crater.
3. Diving and shipwrecks in the Red Sea – Beautiful red coral reefs
Named after its stunning red corals, Red Sea is noted for its comprehensive and diversified environment. It has several fish species and a wide variety of pristine reefs with magnificent sizes. The sea offers excellent spots for scuba divers and snorkeling enthusiasts. In addition, the Red Sea also features some of the fascinating shipwreck sites.
Popular diving sites in Saudi Arabia
Ann Ann Wreck, Jabal Al Lith, Cable Wreck, The Farasan Banks, Al Lith, Boiler Wreck, Miss Marie Wreck, Seven Sisters, and Abu Galawa are some of the popular sites in Red Sea.
Characteristics of eco-tourism in Saudi Arabia
Here are significant characteristics of Saudi ecotourism:
- To inform tourists about the importance of conservation
- To lessen the negative impacts on the environment and society
- Using ecological and social baseline studies and long-term monitoring programs to analyze and mitigate effects
- To illustrate community demands and provide conservation benefits, and emphasize the importance of accountable local governments and people
- To concentrate on the need for regional tourist zoning and visitor management strategies for locations or natural regions likely to become eco-destinations
- Profits will be regulated by maintaining and preserving the ecosystem and protected areas
- Improve the nation’s, communities, and local trades’ financial benefits, particularly for those who live near natural and protected regions
- Rely on environmentally friendly infrastructures, minimize the usage of fossil fuels, protect local plants and wildlife while still supporting the natural and cultural ecosystem
Making Saudi Arabia more environmentally friendly is one of the Kingdom’s primary goals. Additionally, Saudi Arabia recognizes the potential of ecotourism and is seeking to establish itself as the region’s preferred destination. Ecotourism will attract tourists worldwide by offering intelligent towns and cities, research regions, enterprise zones, and entertainment locations.
Eco-tourism In Saudi Arabia FAQs
Which are the three main ecotourism projects in Saudi Arabia?
Red Sea Project, NEOM Project, and Green Riyadh Project are the three main ecotourism projects in Saudi Arabia.
Are the ecotourism projects in Saudi Arabia a part of Vision 2030?
Yes, the ecotourism projects in Saudi Arabia are a part of Vision 2030.
Will smart towns be a part of the NEOM Project?
Yes, smart towns will be a part of the NEOM Project, where robots will perform major tasks like home delivery and many more.
Where is the Red Sea Project located?
The Red Sea Project will be located on the Red Sea coast of Tabuk province, between the cities of Umluj and Al-Wajh. The proposal will also include ninety undeveloped offshore islands between the two cities.
Which are the popular ecotourism activities in Saudi Arabia?
Hiking, camping, and diving are the popular ecotourism activities in Saudi Arabia.