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DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s $500-billion giga-project, NEOM, intends to regenerate the area by planting 100 million trees, bringing back ibex, oryx, ostriches, and cheetahs, and stopping hunting, fishing and logging.
Visitors to the city will have a guilt-free vacation and the city seeks to make holidays environmentally friendly, Andrew McEvoy, managing director tourism at NEOM, told Arab News on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market.
The net-zero city — to be powered by 100 percent clean energy — will seek to seamlessly integrate nature with technology with a blueprint for the future of work, living and sustainability.
“NEOM is very much built around sustainability,” said McEvoy.
McEvoy told Arab News NEOM’s The Line establishes a regenerative receipt that will make going on holiday more environmentally friendly than staying at home.
The Line is a 170-km city with no streets or cars, and is one of the three big projects NEOM has announced, said McEvoy.
“When you come as a visitor to NEOM, we want to give you what we call a regenerative receipt. We want to tell you that we offset all of your emissions,” the official said.
McEvoy said that visitors will not only offset all their emissions, but will also contribute to the local economy. “You’ve helped employ locals as guides, rangers, and tourism professionals,” he added.
According to McEvoy, tourists visiting The Line will have a guilt-free vacation because they have created no emissions, and added value financially, socially, and sustainably.
NEOM is also currently developing OXAGON, the world’s largest flood control structure, a port that will include cruise terminals, as well as TROJENA, a ski resort in Saudi Arabia where tourists can enjoy natural snow on Jabal Al-Lawz (a mountain), said McEvoy.
McEvoy said that NEOM is beyond sustainability as it aims to be a regenerative tourism destination.
“This is about leaving the destination better than the way we found it, which is super exciting,” McEvoy said.
Asked about NEOM’s targets for 2022, the NEOM official said for this year, the company’s targets are business-to-business.
NEOM’s goal for 2022 is to build assets, McEvoy said. Visitors will be able to visit in 2024, he added.
“We have 10,000 construction workers living and working in NEOM now,” McEvoy said.
However, he added that by the end of 2022, the number will increase to 30,000 construction workers.
According to McEvoy, ATM is about building commercial partnerships to better sell NEOM once it opens.
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