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Red Sea airport prepares for first international visitors

Saudi Arabia's Red Sea International Airport will be the gateway to an area with 50 resorts Red Sea Global
Saudi Arabia's Red Sea International Airport will be the gateway to an area with 50 resorts
  • Flight from Dubai due this month
  • Kingdom hopes tourism surge continues
  • First Red Sea resorts now open

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Airport will record its first international visitors this month when a flight from Dubai arrives on April 18.

Red Sea Global, the developer behind regenerative tourism destinations The Red Sea and Amaala, said the flight, operated by Flydubai, marks the start of a new twice-weekly route. 

Regular domestic flights operated by Saudia have been servicing Red Sea International Airport since September.

Red Sea Global Group CEO John Pagano said the flight was “a further step in making Saudi Arabia one of the top tourism destinations globally”.

The Saudi Tourism Authority said the country attracted over 100 million visitors last year, including more than 27 million international tourists.

Saudi’s tourism sector has achieved a full recovery since the pandemic, with a 56 percent growth in international arrivals in 2023 compared to 2019 – the highest in the G20 bloc.

The 2023 increase was driven by a 65 percent increase in international visits, with close to 11 million more inbound visits compared to 2022. 

International visitors were recorded as having spent more than SAR100 billion.

Red Sea International was built to provide an easy route for guests travelling to Red Sea resorts. Two luxury resorts are now open – Six Senses Southern Dunes and St Regis Red Sea Resort.

Three more are on track to open this year, including Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve (one of only seven worldwide) in the coming weeks. This will be followed by Shebara and Desert Rock

Red Sea International Airport’s terminal will open in full next year and will be divided into five ‘mini terminals’ that can be operated independently or concurrently depending on demand to reduce energy use. 

Upon full completion in 2030, The Red Sea will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

The Red Sea destination is powered by five solar farms containing 760,000 panels, and one of the world’s largest battery storage facilities is already built and operational.

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