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The Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced today the establishment of “Dan Company”, specializing in agritourism and ecotourism, according to a PIF press release.
The company plans to develop unique tourism projects around cities across Saudi Arabia with attractive natural and farmed landscapes, the release said. It added that Dan aims to involve local communities in imparting experience that enables visitors to fully interact in harmony with distinctive Saudi regional culture and traditions, including arts, crafts and local cuisines.
The term agritourism refers to visitor experiences related to traditional farming, while ecotourism focuses on experiencing nature and minimizing environmental impact.
As enablers of local communities, Dan’s projects will also provide Saudi and international visitors with new experiences by granting franchises to farmers and tourist lodge operators that will receive the training and knowledge they need to help them start and build their own facilities. Additionally, the company will provide investment opportunities for the private sector and create direct and indirect job opportunities.
Dan’s first project will be located in Al-Ahsa region, and will cover 1.8 million square meters. It will feature an eco-resort, an agri-resort and an adventure resort, each catering for a niche market in the tourism sector, providing exceptional visitor experiences and offerings designed to meet the aspirations of a wide variety of tourists.
The agritourism resort will celebrate the unique produce of Al-Ahsa – which is especially famous for its rice and dates. The resort will offer various opportunities to connect hands on with earth and nature through seasonal farming, harvesting and cooking farm-sourced products, emphasizing the field-to-plate experience.
Meanwhile both the eco-resorts and adventure resorts will focus on helping connect and interact with the landscape. The eco-resort will utilize local materials with low carbon emissions, preserving the region’s flora and fauna, while the adventure resort will provide compelling and environmentally friendly experiences, including horse riding, star-gazing and climbing the rocky hills nearby.
According to the release, the company is also expected to contribute approximately $1.6 billion (SAR6 billion) to Saudi Arabia’s non-oil GDP by 2030, as it expands to other locations. Dan will support the achievement of Vision 2030 goals to diversify the economy and increase the contribution of the economies of cities to Saudi GDP.
Khalid Johar, co-head of the Local Real Estate Portfolio Department at PIF said: “The establishment of Dan Company encapsulates one element of PIF’s strategy to further strengthen tourism. It will boost economic development and contribute to national economic growth. The company will operate novel business models that integrate sustainability and embrace nature, involving the private sector and local farmers in agritourism and ecotourism. The establishment of Dan 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.”
PIF’s portfolio includes a number of strategic investments to strengthen Saudi tourism and boost city economies across the nation. These include the Soudah Development, which will create a year-round luxury mountain tourist 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 centers across Saudi Arabia.