Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund announced Thursday a plan to invest more in the Aseer region in the southwest.
The Public Investment Fund launched the Aseer Investment Company, which will work to attract local and foreign investment to the region in a bid to turn Aseer into a “year-round tourism destination.” The company will specifically target the tourism, hospitality, healthcare, sports and education sectors, the Public Investment Fund said in a press release.
Why it matters: Aseer has some tourism potential. The Aseer mountains are in the area, and the region receives the most rainfall in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government started its plan to improve infrastructure in Aseer in 2019.
Saudi Arabia is seeking to modernize its economy and reduce dependence on oil per the Vision 2030 initiative. Vision 2030’s target is for tourism to account for 10% of Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product by that year.
The kingdom has a long way to go. In 2021, tourism amounted to just 2.2% of the Saudi GDP, according to Statista.
The US credit rating agency Fitch released a report last month that predicted Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector will grow, but will fall short of the Vision 2030 targets.
Aseer borders war-torn Yemen, and rockets from the Iran-backed Houthi rebels have hit the region before. Aseer does not usually experience spillover from the conflict, however.
Know more: The Public Investment Fund has unveiled numerous projects in the last few weeks. Here are a few notable ones:
- The Public Investment Fund and ACWA Power announced Wednesday plans for a massive solar plant in Saudi Arabia.
- The fund’s electric vehicle company, Ceer, announced Tuesday that it acquired land near the Red Sea to build a factory.
- The fund unveiled on Monday its plans for a new airport in Riyadh. The King Salman International Airport will purportedly be powered by renewable energy.
- The Public Investment Fund issued green bonds in October. These are debt instruments used to raise funding for environmentally minded projects.