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Saudi Arabia to invest $703m to develop Darin and Tarout island

People, Person, Dimples REUTERS
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has approved the setting of the development plan based on cultural heritage, revival of natural sites and enhancing the tourism economy

Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman has approved the setting up of the Darin and Tarout Island Development Corporation with an estimated budget of SAR 2.64 billion ($702.6 million), the state-owned SPA news agency reported.

The development plan for the 32-square-kilometre island in the Arabian Gulf, which is home to 120,000 people, is based on three main pillars: cultural and historical heritage, revival of natural and environmental sites, and improving quality of life and enhancing its tourism economy.

On the environmental front, the largest mangrove forest will be created on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, in addition to constructing several environmental hotels and motels in a natural setting, the report said.

The quality of life on the island will improve with the construction of roads, infrastructure and public parks, including many stadiums and modern sports facilities.

The development strategy is expected to yield a significant economic and social impact in the region. It will contribute to GDP with an average of up to SAR 297 million annually, increasing the number of tourists to 1.36 million by 2030 and allocating up to 48 percent of the island’s area to parks, waterfronts, roads, and other facilities.

The island, which dates back over 5,000 years, has more than 11 heritage sites. The Darin Port is one of the oldest ports in the region and has served as a warehouse for goods such as musk, perfume, textiles, and spices.