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Saudi Arabia Shifting Focus from Oil to Smart Cities and Job Creation

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Published on : Aug 08, 2017

For the best part of the past century, Saudi Arabia relied on its natural oil resources to fuel its economy, but the kingdom is now said to have cut crude sales to some of the buyers and limited it to only the prized buyers. Going forward, Saudi Arabia is believed to be shifting focus on its other natural resource, desert, and the plan is to build smart cities on its thousands of square kilometers of sand. Their aspiration is to decrease their reliance on crude by creating jobs and boosting foreign investment.

Saudi Vision 2030 was launched in April 2016, a blueprint revealed the intentions of the government to revamp economic city projects over the course of next decade but the progress was moderate at best. Now, in the single month of July 2017, Saudi Arabia has announced plans to construct two economic cities, with emphasis on logistics, industry and finance, tourism, and entertainment hub. While one of the city will be bigger than the country of Belgium, engulfing 50 islands and 34,000 square kilometers along its red sea coastline, another will be of the size of Moscow. The construction will start in 2019, with the first deadline to complete inside three years. Built with Public Investment Fund, the landscape located between the cities of Umluj and Al Wahj will be a global tourism destination.

Moving Beyond Muslim Pilgrims, but Alcohol Ban a Major Restraint

Sun-seeking European and North American tourists are the primary targets of this prospect entertainment hub, completely transforming the Saudi beaches that so far have been dedicated solely to Muslim pilgrims who visit holy shrines in Mecca and Medina. However, country’s objection to dressing, alcohol, and food culture are anticipated to hinder the plans.