Saudi starts 3rd phase of beach development

JEDDAH — The infrastructure development at Half Moon beach, encompassing the coastline of Al-Khobar and Dhahran, is in its third and final phase that would be completed by the end of this year.

By From Our Correspondent

Published: Wed 17 Aug 2005, 10:32 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:15 PM

On completion of the infrastructure, it is expected that private investors would be interested in building hotels, motels, resorts, villages, chalets, recreational facilities and other amenities associated with leisure and tourism, according to Bandar Al-Subaiey, director of the Dhahran Municipality, who is in charge of the development of Half Moon beach as the centrepiece of the Eastern Province's tourism development plans.

Infrastructure that has already come up along the 30-kilometre Half Moon beach coastline includes roads lined by hundreds of palm trees, gardens, parking lots, lighting facilities, and hundreds of permanent picnic-umbrella spots for local, regional and international visitors.

A total of SR25.5 million has been spent so far for the infrastructure development — SR6.5 million in the first phase, SR7.5 million in the second, and SR11.5 million for the third and final phase. Cost of landscaping and the three-phase infrastructure development has so far amounted to over SR30 million.

The infrastructure development covers well-developed reclaimed land along the beach, a network of roads connected to the main highways leading to the main cities of Dammam, Dhahran and Al-Khobar, and utility services like water and electricity.

The Dhahran municipality director said that beautification projects along the beach's coastal surroundings have been going on simultaneously to provide greenery and a natural environment.

Already dotting the Half Moon beach are 36 sites for recreational activities like biking, water skiing, camel riding, and water sports. Dhahran municipality has already licensed 19 companies and private entrepreneurs to manage the recreational sites.

There are already a number of private investments along the beach. These include the five-star Holiday Inn, which has world-class water sports facilities, King Fahd Coastal City, which is mainly a sport and recreational centre for young people and built by the General Presidency of Youth Welfare, and the Prince Muhammad bin Fahd Amusement Park, a 130,000 square metes integrated recreational facility.

Conversion of Half Moon beach into a tourist haven is part of the overall seafront development plan of the Greater Dammam Municipality, which includes Dammam itself, Al-Khobar, Dhahran, Qatif area (including Sihat and Tarout Island), Ras Tanura, Jubail, Khafji, the Nuariyah area and Abqaiq.

The seafront development covers over 70km of sandy beaches that run along Dhahran, Al-Khobar, Dammam, Qatif, Anak, Sihat and Tarout Island. So far, the government has spent over SR50 million to develop the 40 kilometres stretch of the Al-Khobar-Dammam-Qatif coastline.

Eastern Province companies and businessmen engaged in the tourism and leisure trade are organising themselves into a body called Provincial Tourism Office, which will be an affiliate of the Supreme Commission for Tourism, the apex body for tourism development in the Kingdom.

"With tourism development fervour catching on, the need for the government and private sector to coordinate and provide a unified synergy is important if the eastern province has to project itself as a centre of tourism in this part of the region," Khalid Al-Nassar, Chairman of the tourism committee at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said when he announced the formation of the Provincial Tourism Office.

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