TRANSFORMATIVE JOURNEYS

Saudi Arabia 2020 | ENTERTAINMENT, CULTURE & SPORTS | INTERVIEW

The Amaala resort along the Red Sea coast aims to cater to a global market for luxury travel with the highest standards the hospitality industry has to offer.

Nicholas Naples
BIOGRAPHY
Nicholas Naples joined the PIF in September 2017 as CEO of Premium Luxury Integrated Resorts, which led in September 2018 to the announcement of Amaala, a luxury tourist destination on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast. Naples brings three decades of experience in luxury hospitality into the project. He previously worked with hotel chains Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons, leading various multi-billion dollar, integrated resort development projects, in addition to five-star hotels, retail malls, and mixed-use resorts. He was previously CEO at Integrated Resorts International. Naples holds a master’s degree in management from Cornell University – Johnson Graduate School, School of Hotel Administration.

Could you tell us more about your vision for the Amaala project, developments thus far, and what visitors may expect in the future?

Amaala is set to become a curator of transformative journeys, taking inspiration from the arts, wellness, and the natural wonders of the Red Sea. Amaala will redefine today's ultra-luxury travel experience and the tourism experience in its entirety. Through the provision of unique amenities and personalized services, each guest will play a leading role in shaping their own bespoke experience, as we celebrate the pillars that tie Amaala together. Catering to singles, couples, and families from across the region, as well as travelers from destinations such as China, Brazil, Russia, India, Western Europe, the US, and Japan, Amaala differentiates itself through its values and unique experiences. An immersive and interactive destination, guests will be able to indulge in customized adventures, culture, history, sports, relaxation, and one-of-a-kind retail shopping experiences. Segregated into three phrases, construction is scheduled to begin by the end of 2019, with all phases expected to reach completion by 2028.

How does Amaala fit into the Kingdom's master plan to attract more foreign visitors?

The tourism sector is one of the most promising parts of the Kingdom's diversification efforts to advance the tourism sector by attracting 22.1 million international visitors by 2051. Amaala, one of the projects under development along the Saudi coastline of the Red Sea, aims to tap into the flow of visitors both regionally and internationally with a view to providing an exclusive, personalized offering for its guests. Situated within the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve, the project will also contribute to the sustainability goals of Vision 2030 and the preservation of heritage sites. Amaala is to be built with a zero-carbon footprint as a primary goal, utilizing international sustainability standards in our operational protocols, covering everything from the use of solar power and advanced waste management technologies to sustainable farming, recycling, and much more.

In recent years, the public ecosystem around culture, entertainment, sports, and heritage has been expanded, with various project-specific entities like Amaala, NEOM, and the Red Sea Project. Could you tell us more about the synergies between the various entities?

Through the creation of world-class entertainment destinations, the improvement of visa issuance procedures for visitors, and the preparation and development of the country's historic and heritage sites, the Kingdom is taking great strides in the growth of its culture, entertainment, sports, and heritage. A transformative idea, Amaala is crucial to the new Red Sea destination resort portfolio, which aims to establish a unique tourism ecosystem.

What are the opportunities for the private sector—in hospitality, entertainment, F&B, leisure, and construction—to get involved in the Amaala project?

Targeting over 2,500 hotel keys and over 800 residential villas, Amaala opens numerous opportunities within the private sector. From apartments and estate homes to high-end retail establishments, we will partner with private-sector companies, world-class operators, and market investors specialized in the hospitality sector to provide a customized experience for guests. The project will also act as a key driver of Vision 2030's objectives.

What are your primary ambitions for the year ahead, and what is the prospective timeline of development?

With a government-approved master plan, we continue to work with world-class suppliers and contractors to bring the vision to life, while engaging with global architects and designers to develop world-class facilities in a sustainable manner and enhancing the natural landscape. Over the course of the coming year, we look forward to the official groundbreaking, as we begin to see progress unfold toward the vision unveiled in September 2018.