Over the last year, Saudi Arabia has been working on creating a number of leisure destinations that offer a myriad of activities and experiences in a smart, tech-centric environment. From its uber-luxury destination Amaala, which is located along its northwestern coastline, to the smart, cross-border, half-a-trillion-dollar city NEOM, the Kingdom has been aiming to create a new tourism concept focused on wellness, healthy living, and meditation.
In addition, Saudi Arabia has been focusing on providing increased support and avenues for healthy living, assigning Princess Reema Bint Bandar Bin Sultan as Vice President of the General Sport Authority (GSA) in order to increase overall participation – particularly of women – in sports.
Today, these two focuses – wellness-centric tourism destinations and increased active living – are coming together in three of the Kingdom’s mega city developments: NEOM, Al-Qadiya, and the Red Sea Project. At the Future Investment Initiative session this week, Princess Reema explained that efforts are being made to create sports infrastructure in the three cities, with a particular focus on the use of technology and innovation. She also went on the explain that the sports authority has been cooperating with municipalities across the Kingdom in order to create ample spaces for people to exercise easily.
“About 13 percent of Saudis are exercising, and we seek to raise this percentage to 40 in line with the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 […] The Saudi society is really interested in the sports sector, for only around 3,000 people were expected to attend some of the sport events, but we were surprised by the huge draw of more than 100,000,” she said.
In addition to work being done to equip the new city projects with health and sport facilities, Princess Reema also took the opportunity at the event to draw attention to development work being done in areas such as the mountainous region Asir, which offers the perfect natural terrain for active living.