Friday, April 19, 2024

Sustainable Development in Action: Red Sea Global’s Vision for Economic and Environmental Success

Sustainable Development in Action: Red Sea Global’s Vision for Economic and Environmental Success

Nicholas King
Red Sea Global
Group Chief Development Officer

Nicholas King is the Group Chief Development Officer of Red Sea Global (RSG), the developer behind The Red Sea and Amaala, two ambitious tourism projects set along the northwestern coast of Saudi Arabia. These destinations will play key roles in the realization of Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s economic roadmap for the future. Nicholas joined the organization in September 2020, bringing with him more than three decades of experience in successful International real estate development. Prior to joining RSG, Nick was principal of SunCal, one of the largest private land developers in the United States. In that role he led urban development activity, as well as having a guiding hand across all projects including land developments on both coasts ranging from 2,000 to 55,000 acres. Nick had direct responsibility for the acquisition and development of numerous award-winning projects including, most recently, a three million square foot mixed-use development in the Arts District of Los Angeles designed by Herzog & De Meuron. Before SunCal, Nick operated throughout the Asia Pacific region, developing and investing in luxury residential, integrated resort, and complex mixed-use urban projects, both through his own business as well as in a leadership capacity for organizations such as ING Real Estate, Shell Real Estate and Hillwood Asia. He received his Master’s Degree in Urban Design, specializing in Real Estate Development, from Harvard University. He was awarded an MBA from the University of Chicago and completed the Global Leadership Program at IMD in Lausanne. Nick brings with him a wealth of experience in global cutting-edge development and thinking and is responsible for all Red Sea Global developments.

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How do you feel your past experience has influenced your outlook for 2024? And also, what would be the critical element in the strategy to guarantee the success in this coming year?

Nicholas King: In 2023, we achieved a significant milestone with the opening of the destination and our first hospitality assets. Moving into 2024, we are filled with tremendous enthusiasm as we prepare for multiple additional hotel openings. Our strategic focus on regenerative development drives this momentum, surpassing mere sustainability to actively enhance the environment and communities we engage with.

Rather than merely minimizing harm, our approach involves proactive measures to improve the land, water, and communities we steward. Key initiatives include pioneering technologies to grow new coral, the replanting of seagrasses and mangroves, efforts to slow down runoff, and halting inland grazing to facilitate land regeneration. These endeavors represent our commitment to transformative action across various fronts.

our approach involves proactive measures to improve the land, water, and communities we steward

Nicholas King

Our conviction in regenerative development is not only rooted in environmental stewardship but also in its resonance with travelers. Research indicates that 82% of international travelers prioritize green tourism, aligning with our belief that doing good business means doing what’s right for the planet and its people.

By prioritizing regenerative development, we not only fulfill our environmental responsibilities but also capitalize on a growing demand for sustainable tourism. This dual benefit underscores our belief that by doing good, we also do well, both ethically and economically.

With the 21 subsidiaries and the opening of the Red sea destination in 2023, how do these achievements position RSG as a key player in the vision 2030?

Nicholas King: Delivering on our promise of a sustainable destination since 2017 has been pivotal in our contribution to Vision 2030. Our subsidiaries hold a special place in my heart because they address issues that truly set us apart. At the core of our mission lies regenerative tourism, leveraging our unique position of controlling vast land and water resources responsibly and innovatively.

At the core of our mission lies regenerative tourism, leveraging our unique position of controlling vast land and water resources responsibly and innovatively.

Nicholas King

Ensuring that guests can enjoy our environment safely and responsibly is paramount. With our extensive land and water holdings, we have both the ability and the duty to manage these resources wisely. Our subsidiaries play a crucial role in this endeavor, offering solutions to enhance the guest experience while preserving our natural surroundings.

Among these, the subsidiaries closest to my heart are Water Galaxy, which caters to water sports enthusiasts, and Ormond, specializing in underwater diving experiences. Additionally, Cacoon provides land-based adventures, while E-ana focuses on events for our destination. These subsidiaries collectively enrich the guest experience, offering access to diverse landscapes and activities, from desert exploration to underwater wonders.

By leveraging these subsidiaries, guests can immerse themselves in the abundance of natural treasures our destination has to offer, whether it’s exploring paleontological sites, marveling at ancient artifacts, or encountering vibrant marine life. No matter their preference, our subsidiaries ensure that guests can enjoy our destination to the fullest, in a manner that is both enjoyable and environmentally sustainable.

How would you describe the overall impact of this project on the economic and employment sectors of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)?

Nicholas King: Those subsidiaries play a crucial role as significant job creators, aligning completely with Vision 2030’s goal of fostering high-quality employment opportunities for Saudis. We anticipate generating up to 120,000 new jobs and contributing approximately 33 billion riyals annually to Saudi Arabia’s GDP. This substantial economic impact underscores our commitment to contributing to the Kingdom’s prosperity.

Regarding gender diversity, while the development industry traditionally lacks female representation, I’m proud to report that our department boasts a remarkable 44% female workforce. Furthermore, we have several highly accomplished senior women whose experiences exemplify our dedication to nurturing female leadership within our organization. Their insights and achievements are truly impressive, reflecting our ongoing efforts to promote gender equality and diversity in the workplace.

How would you navigate the economic challenges while maintaining your commitment to sustainable and regenerative development?

Nicholas King: From the outset, we made a pivotal decision to embrace a sustainable agenda, which has since evolved into a commitment to regenerative tourism. This fundamental stance guides our every decision, regardless of economic challenges. Our values and strategy remain unwavering, serving as the cornerstone of our approach.

We aspire to set a precedent internationally by championing this stand. Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed diverse challenges across the globe. I believe that by staying true to our business ideals, we can inspire other developers in the hospitality industry, particularly those operating in sensitive environments. Our journey demonstrates that remarkable achievements are attainable when guided by a steadfast commitment to sustainability and regeneration.

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