Saudi Arabia pitches net-zero hotels at FII Brazil summit

Saudi sovereign wealth fund highlights state mining company Ma’aden’s sustainability efforts, including preservation of seaside mangrove thickets

Regis resort on the western coast of Saudi Arabia, part of the Red Sea tourism mega-project (Getty Images)

As Saudi Arabia invests billions of dollars to adorn its western Red Sea coast with uber-luxe resorts, the kingdom is encouraging foreign tourists to relax on the beach secure in the knowledge that their state-of-the-art hotels are aiming for net-zero emissions.

Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb told the 1,500 delegates attending the Future Investment Initiative Priority Summit in Brazil on Thursday that his nation is committed to sustainable tourism in its sprawling $1.5 trillion Neom mega-project, building developments that adhere to environmental best practices.

Speaking at the Copacabana Palace hotel overlooking Rio de Janeiro’s far-more-developed Atlantic coastline, Al-Khateeb laid down a welcome mat for international investors looking to sink money into the Saudi sand.

“The kingdom’s doors are open for business,” the Saudi minister said at the summit, a spin-off from the annual “Davos in the Desert” conference in Riyadh that is backed by the Public Investment Fund. “We are keen to provide a favorable environment for international investors, and the investment facilities aim to make doing business in the kingdom in the most efficient and the least expensive way.”

While home to Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, the Gulf nation is stressing its commitment to the environment at the Brazil conference. The PIF, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, issued a report on Thursday that highlighted the state mining company Ma’aden’s sustainability efforts, including projects for biodiversity management, vegetation improvement and the preservation of seaside mangrove tree thickets in coastal areas.