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In the past, Saudi Arabia may have been best known for its oil. More recently however, the kingdom has initiated several ecotourism projects as a part of their Vision 2030: an ambitious plan to decrease the kingdom’s oil dependence in part by increasing tourism through such efforts ranging from the creation of large-scale “giga-project” developments to a massive tree-planting campaign.

Several such ecotourism efforts that are currently underway in Saudi Arabia are highlighted below

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The Red Sea Project


A luxury tourism development project that spans an archipelago of 90 islands on the west coast of the kingdom and the shores of the Tabuk province. Among the stated goals of this giga-project:

1. Attract international tourism to these pristine islands
2. Create up to 70,000 jobs
3. Protect the ecosystem on the Red Sea coastline
4. 100% renewable energy

Green Riyadh


The Green Riyadh project aims to plant 7.5 million trees across the capital city to be watered with recycled water from new irrigation networks designed to reduce waste. The stated goals of this project:

1. To increase the city’s per-capita share of green space from 1.7 m2 to 28 m2
2. Reduce temperatures
3. Encourage healthy lifestyles

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The NEOM Project


NEOM is a giga-project in the Tabuk region of Saudi Arabia that will include smart towns and cities, research areas, enterprise zones and entertainment spots. The project’s mission is to attract more than 1 million residents as well as tourists from around the world. It will introduce a new model for urban sustainability and be a place that is focused on setting new standards for community health, environmental protection and the effective and productive use of technology. NEOM will also adopt a pioneering solar technology to produce environmentally friendly water. NEOM will also be the home to the world’s largest green hydrogen project, which aims to eliminate more than 3 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

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