The Chinese announced plans to develop Maldivian-style resorts in the heavily contested South China Sea Islands in 2016.
The Chinese have established Sansha City to administer several of the atolls and have started to populate the islands. Mayor of Sansha City, Xiao Jie announced in an interview to a Chinese daily newspaper in 2016 that they wished to develop a tourist destination in the islands which can be compared to Maldives.
Xiao Jie said the resorts will follow the “one-island one-resort” concept used by Maldives, and that they planned on developing select islands and reefs in the atolls, establishing a seaplane network, and offer event management, fishing trips, diving and excursions.
And now, another of Maldives’ closest allies, Saudi Arabia has announced plans to develop Maldivian-style resorts.
Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, on July 31, announced plans to develop a tourist destination stretching 30,000 kilometers along the Red Sea coastline and islands.
50 islands between the coastline towns of Umluj and Al Wajh will be developed in the Maldivian – “one-island one-resort” style.
Media reports say the islands will be developed in partnership with some of the top international hotel-chain operators.
The project is to be run by the Saudi Public Investment Fund – chaired over by Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.
Construction of the resorts is set to begin in the third quarter of 2019; phase one of the project is set to be complete by the end of 2022.
The project is part of the Saudi’s tourism and hospitality vision for 2030.
The country estimates an injection of USD 4 billion into the economy and creation of 35,000 jobs from the project.