Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince-led Public Investment Fund (PIF) has launched the 3,800km2 Amaala, which it describes as an “uber-luxury” wellness tourism destination on the country’s north-western coast. PIF said Amaala will “sit alongside Neom and The Red Sea as part of the gigaprojects investment portfolio” that is part of the Saudi Vision 2030 programme.

Ground will break on the project in Q1 2019, and Phase 1 will open in Q4 2020. Project completion is set for 2028. PIF said Amaala was expected to generate 22,000 jobs across the hospitality and tourism, leisure, and retail sectors. This would support the opportunities it will create in the “construction and ancillary industries”.

The project will be accessible through a dedicated airport, and is aimed at “the world’s top 2.5 million leisure travellers”. It will feature 2,500 luxury hotel keys, 200 retail establishments, and 700 villas.

PIF – which is led by Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, HRH Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud – will provide initial funding for the project, and spearhead its development within the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve. In a statement, the sovereign wealth fund said that “attractive partnership and investment packages” will be offered to the private sector for project participation.

READ: PIF is GCC's largest project developer with $534bn pipeline

The project is “a natural extension” of the Mediterranean Sea, according to PIF, which called it “the Riviera of the Middle East”. Along with Neom and The Red Sea, PIF said it Amaala would help Saudi Arabia establish “a unique tourism ecosystem, supporting economic diversification”.

Amaala is expected to feature “extraordinary architecture and unprecedented luxury” in its hotels and private villas. It will also feature a “quaint retail village, and an academy of the arts” feature local Saudi Arabian artists. Additional features due to be developed for Amaala include marinas, a yacht club, galleries, and dining venues.

Nicholas Naples has been named chief executive officer of Amaala, and will lead development and operations for the destination.

Commenting on the project, Naples said: “Our concept will provide a rich service offering that exceeds customers’ expectations by providing a comprehensive suite of services not commonly found in one location that is unique by all measures.

“The Amaala experience will be enhanced by its setting, spread across beautiful, untouched natural sites.”