The Red Sea Project to increase conservation 30% over two decades: CEO

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The Red Sea Development Company is set to deliver a 30 percent increase in conservation attempts over the next two decades, the CEO of the project John Pagano told Al Arabiya English in an exclusive interview.

Pagano said that sustainability and conservation are at the heart of the company's The Red Sea Project, pointing to the process by which the resort location was chosen as evidence. Resort scouting identified an island in the southern part of the lagoon as a critical nesting ground for the endangered hawksbill sea turtle.

“We've done the work in order to identify where we should develop and where we shouldn't develop,” said Pagano during an interview on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.

The commitment to conservation does, however, present challenges for the project.

“If we if we were to destroy this place, then we would destroy the environment, and the thing that makes this place so special and unique is the environment. We worked extra hard to make sure that we didn't damage it. On the contrary, we sought to actually improve on it,” he added.

The project is one of the Saudi Arabia’s three mega-projects aimed at boosting its tourism sector announced in October 2017, along with the megacity NEOM and Amaala, another resort on the Red Sea.

Situated on Saudi Arabia’s western coastline, the 28,000-kilometer luxury tourist destination features an archipelago of over 90 islands – although authorities only intend to eventually develop 22 – mountains, dunes, canyons, and volcanoes.

The development of Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry is a key goal of Vision 2030 and has been aided by the launch of tourist visas last month.

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