● The development, announced at the recent Launching the Vision for AlUla event and expected to be completed in 2023, will feature a resort, residential estates, a spa, and an international summit centre ● The resort will be designed by iconic French architect Jean Nouvel The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) announced the planned creation of a premier development set amongst a picturesque sandstone setting featuring an international summit centre and a monumental resort as an anchor point to a larger portfolio of hospitality offerings for AlUla. Set in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s northwest region, AlUla contains a number of archaeological treasures and ancient cities, with evidence of major civilizations including most notably the Dadan/Lihyan and the Nabataean kingdoms. Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the prominent southern capital of the Nabataeans. The planned resort and summit centre will be uniquely integrated into its sandstone setting and is a testament to architecture rooted in Nabatean history and hosted by nature, where landscape, heritage and humanity are inextricably linked. Designed by visionary French architect Jean Nouvel and his team, the resort will be part of a fully-integrated master-planned destination for visitors with 40 keys including 25 suites, 10 pavilions, and 5 resort residential estates with an anticipated completion by 2023. There will also be 40 separate residential estates as well as an International Summit Centre. This development’s revolutionary approach to taking its creative lead from nature will pull AlUla to the forefront of architectural design and position it on the global stage. Jean Nouvel said: “The location is rooted in history, it is rooted in the history of the land, the history of the Nabateans. To be able to frame the Sharaan landscape at different heights is amazing, discovering the distant horizons, discovering the different qualities of light. It will also mean inventing, based on the irregularities of nature and geography. Architecture helps in this. Art helps. We should see what is built here as art.” The luxury travel market is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the global travel industry with outbound luxury trips projected to grow 6.2% over the next ten years, which is almost a third greater than overall travel growth according to Amadeus. The International Luxury Hotel Association further predicts that the luxury travel market could grow to USD 1,154 Bn by 2022. “The Sharaan Resort is our first step in making AlUla a leading global destination,” said Lisa Kolinac, Chief Development Officer at RCU. “The resort, including an international summit centre, will be designed in a way that harmonises the relationship between the architecture and the stunning natural surroundings. This new development will be rooted in the rich heritage of AlUla, and will be a global meeting point for leaders to meet and explorers to experience” Planning and progress on the resort is underway, and the development is open to investment. As part of its strategic roadmap to 2035, RCU plans to engage the local community and contribute SAR 120bn in growth of the Kingdom’s GDP by 2035 through these projects, as well as several other recently launched key initiatives.