Saudi wealth fund PIF establishes company to boost agritourism and ecotourism

Dan Company is expected to contribute $1.6bn to Saudi Arabia’s non-oil economy by 2030

Dan’s first project will be located in Al Ahsa region, which is famous for its rice and dates. Photo: PIF
Powered by automated translation

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has established a company to develop tourism projects around cities that have attractive natural and farmed landscapes.

Specialised in agritourism and ecotourism, Dan Company is expected to contribute about $1.6 billion to Saudi Arabia’s non-oil economy by 2030, the PIF said in a statement.

It aims to develop and operate high-end resorts and lodges in partnership with the local community and will allow visitors to experience regional culture and traditions including arts, crafts and local cuisines, the PIF said.

Agritourism refers to visitor experiences related to traditional farming, while eco-tourism focuses on experiencing nature and minimising environmental impact.

“The company will operate novel business models that integrate sustainability and embrace nature, involving the private sector and local farmers in agritourism and ecotourism,” Khalid Johar, co-head of the local real estate portfolio department at the PIF, said.

It will also “contribute to the creation of new job opportunities in local communities and the promotion of unique immersive experiences that engage and entertain visitors”, Mr Johar said.

Dan’s first project will be located in Al Ahsa region, which is famous for its rice and dates, and will cover 1.8 million square metres. It will feature an eco-resort, an agri-resort and an adventure resort.

The agri-resort will offer experiences related to seasonal farming, harvesting and cooking farm-sourced products.

Meanwhile eco-resort and adventure resort will focus on providing experiences to connect and interact with the landscape. They will harness local materials with low carbon emissions, preserving the region’s flora and fauna, and offer environment-friendly experiences such as horse riding, stargazing and rock climbing.

The company will grant franchises to farmers and tourist lodge operators and train them to build their own facilities. It will also provide investment opportunities for the private sector and create direct and indirect job opportunities.

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, aims to diversify its economy away from oil as part of its Vision 2030 initiative.

Its PIF is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, with about $620 billion in assets under management. The PIF's portfolio includes a number of strategic investments to strengthen Saudi tourism and boost city economies across the kingdom.

These include the Soudah Development, which will create a year-round luxury mountain tourism resort in Aseer region; Boutique Group, which is developing historical palaces into luxury boutique hotels; and Saudi Downtown Company, which aims to establish and develop urban centres across Saudi Arabia.

Updated: December 11, 2023, 4:34 PM