Saudi Arabia to turn an oil rig into a huge tourist park

Saudi Arabia is trying to reduce its dependence on oil, but that doesn’t mean it can’t capitalize on its oil industry for use in other areas, such as inspiration for a new tourist attraction.

What Saudi Arabia wants is to give a new life to an oil rig, turning it into a huge resort with an amusement park. It is the new tourism project called The Rig, which has been announced by the Public Investment Fund ( Public Investment Fund , PIF) of Saudi Arabia.

It is a resort of more than 1.6 million square feet (150,000 square meters) located literally on an oil platform in the Arab Gulf. This will have three hotels (with approximately 800 rooms in total) and 11 restaurants, which will be connected by a series of platforms.

The project, described as the “world’s first offshore oil rig-inspired tourism destination,” will bring “a multitude of hospitality offerings, adventures and watersports experiences” to visitors, and that’s exactly what can be appreciated. with the promotional video released by the PIF in mid-October.

The resort will have a roller coaster, waterslide, Ferris wheel, Go Kart-style cars and a performance venue, plus additional activities such as bungee jumping and scuba diving. It can even be reached by ferry, yacht, cruise ship or helicopter.

The Rig is being designed under the long-term strategy of Saudi Vision 2030, which seeks to reposition Saudi Arabia as one of the main international tourist destinations and diversify its source of income.

As a project in the tourism and entertainment sector, one of PIF’s key strategic sectors, this is expected to be a significant added value for the local economy.

The PIF said in a statement: “This project is a unique tourist attraction, which is expected to attract tourists from all over the world.” However, he added that this complex is likely to be popular with residents of the countries belonging to the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCEAG): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and, of course, Saudi Arabia.

Millions of religious visitors make pilgrimage to the Saudi holy city of Mecca each year, yet the country’s conservative laws restricting women’s freedoms, along with the troubling history of human rights there, have made it a unwelcoming or flashy destination for people who can travel the world.

But the country is determined to reposition itself as an attractive global hotspot, capable of competing with nearby places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman.

In fact, earlier this year, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salmanse, confirmed plans for a second national airline and the investment of $ 147 billion for transportation and logistics over nine years. The country’s current main airline is Saudia, formerly known as Saudi Arabian Airlines.

By 2019, Saudi Arabia received around 59 million tourist trips and these numbers are expected to continue to increase to 100 million tourist trips by 2024.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s entertainment sector is projected to be worth $ 1.17 billion by 2030 and grow by 47.65 percent per year, according to a recent industry report (via Arab News ).

Finally, to guarantee the sustainable preservation of the environment in the vicinity of the project – a highly important factor, considering that it is an oil platform – it “will follow the best practices and leading world standards, which will further support the efforts of Saudi Arabia. in the protection of the environment ”.