The Diriyah Gate Development Project CEO, Jerry Inzerillo, has announced that the 20 Billion Dollar project will “go ahead in full steam.” Several parts of the project are in construction, and the first phase is projected to complete by the end of 2023. Diriyah Gate plans to turn the royal family’s ancestral home into sprawling tourism, culture, and entertainment destination, with 20 hotels, 12 museums, and a golf course. Their target is for Diriyah Gatehouse to 100,000 residents and attracts 25 million visitors per year by 2030. The money to build it will come from the government and Saudi, Gulf, and foreign investors, but if they hesitate in the current climate, the state could front funds to get it done faster, Inzerillo said. Excavation is underway for significant infrastructure and the first hotel.
The public-private investment split is in flux now, with some foreign hospitality companies that committed before the pandemic saying they “need until the fall to ascertain what the fallout in the global tourism picture is” before deciding their equity level, Inzerillo said. But there’s also been more interest from Saudi investors, with “major Saudi entrepreneurs, the royal family and non-royal families” are stepping up.
Further, a $4 billion tourism development fund was announced, and several mega-projects will launch. The chief executive of Qiddiya, an entertainment city planned near Riyadh, recently told Abu Dhabi newspaper The National that his project is sticking to its original schedule and will see a “rapid escalation” in construction contracts awarded this year.