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Updated April 2024

The Red Sea Project, or The Red Sea for short, is a massive luxury and sustainable tourism undertaking encompassing a vast nature reserve consisting of some 90 pristine islands, dormant volcanoes, heritage sites, and coral reef dive areas. The colossal tourism project announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed ibn Salman is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 roadmap to turn the Kingdom into a global tourism hub. 

The Red Sea Project welcomed its first group of visitors in October 2023, which was a delegation of Saudi ministers and visionary leaders. They arrived at Red Sea International Airport (RSI) aboard a special-edition liveried SAUDIA flight from Riyadh.

Read on as Wego covers everything you need to know about the Red Sea Project in 2023.

Red Sea Project opening


The first guests to the exotic Red Sea destination were welcomed by the Red Sea Global Group, the developer of this ambitious project, on October 11, 2023. As mentioned, the first guests were a delegation of esteemed Saudi leaders and ministers. They touched down at the newly operational Red Sea International Airport in a special-edition liveried Saudia flight from Riyadh. The flight was numbered SV2030, as a tribute to the contribution this project made towards achieving Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Guests were provided with a comprehensive tour of the destination, which included a visit to the St. Regis Red Sea Resort, which is currently accepting bookings to welcome guests before the end of the year. The tour also showcased the array of experiences available, such as water sports, diving, and land-based adventures. The visit culminated with an overnight stay at Six Senses Southern Dunes, the first hotel to open at The Red Sea destination.

Red Sea Project location 

The Red Sea project is located along the Western coast of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh. The area is characterized by its year-round temperate climate, with average summer temperatures reaching up to 31°C. Envisioned as an exquisite luxury resort destination established across 50 untouched natural islands in a lagoon that stretches along 200 kilometers of stunning coastline, The Red Sea will be situated on the site of one of the world’s last natural hidden treasures.

Conveniently located within an eight-hour flight of 80 percent of the world’s population, the area offers the perfect combination of luxury, tranquility and outdoor wellness pursuits to meet the evolving needs of the modern luxury traveler. In addition, the area is steeped in cultural history. The destination is crisscrossed by ancient trade and caravan routes. Rock carvings and petroglyphs stand mute testament to the destination’s extensive heritage.

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Red Sea International Airport 

The Red Sea International Airport is Saudi Arabia’s new airport, which is anticipated to serve one million passengers by the year 2030. Designed by Foster and Partners, the airport lies on an open plain between the coastal dunes and the mountains, offering a comforting and relaxing experience to all its passengers. 

The airport has been functional since September 21, 2023. At the time of writing, the major flight from this airport is run by Saudia, connecting it to the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, operating flights to and fro twice a week. Flights to Jeddah are expected to commence in the coming months.

In addition, the Red Sea International Airport now serves as the home base for Fly Red Sea, the new seaplane company launched by Red Sea Global, which will connect this airport to the resorts in the Red Sea destination and the upcoming Amaala project. A dedicated seaplane runway has been developed at the airport, running parallel to the main terminal. Plans are underway to establish a dedicated seaplane terminal in the near future.

For more information about the Fly Red Sea initiative, please visit our dedicated article on the topic.

Fly Red Sea: Saudi’s First Seaplane Company Takes Flight


Red Sea Project hotels & resorts

There are 16 hotels planned in Phase 1 that have opened by the end of 2023. As per Red Sea Global’s CEO, 3 hotel resorts are in the process of trail opening at present, and are expected to start receiving visitors by the end of October.

The Six Senses Southern Dunes is the first resort to start operations at the Red Sea destination. The property consists of a main Oasis complex surrounded by a collection of 36 guest rooms and suites, and a further 40 pool villas are dotted in strategic locations around the area. 

Ummahat Island is home to two of the most exclusive resorts of the Red Sea Project, the St. Regis Red Sea Resort, a Marriott project and Nujuma, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve. 

The St. Regis Red Sea Resort is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Here, guests can immerse themselves in a diverse range of aquatic activities, from sailing and windsurfing to kayaking and diving. The resort also boasts world-class overwater dining experiences and luxurious wellness facilities, ensuring a well-rounded retreat for all. 

Meanwhile, the Nujuma, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, shines as a diver’s paradise, with a cutting-edge diving center that caters to a variety of underwater adventures. For those seeking the mysteries of the deep, the center offers diving lessons and heritage diving excursions in the pristine archipelago, a place renowned for its untouched beauty and protected marine life. Snorkeling around the outer reef allows guests to discover the vibrant world beneath the surface.

Upon completion in 2030, The Red Sea Project will comprise around 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 island resorts, mountain retreats and desert hideaways. The destination will include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, and leisure facilities.

Red Sea Project upcoming plans

The Red Sea Project will offer scores of luxury hotels, championship-grade golf courses, a new coastal town, an international airport, a marina, and many more, all in a bid to provide an exclusive experience of unparalleled diversity for discerning global travelers. Red Sea Global, the developers of this ambitious project, estimates that the Red Sea destination will see around 450,000 visitors by the end of 2024. 


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