The word Neom is a portmanteau of two words, the Greek word ‘Neos’ and the Arabic word ‘mustaqbal’. Neom translates to ‘future’ in English. In North West Saudi Arabia, bordering the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia is undertaking one of the most ambitious construction projects in the world. The first phase of the $500bn project is nearing completion. The futuristic city will cover an area 33 times the size of New York City – 25,500 square kilometres stretching 468km along the Red Sea coast.
The aim of the project is to create:
– an economic zone completely powered by renewable energy reducing the countries dependency on fossil fuels and
– a base for industries including other biotech sectors, exploring how we can live more sustainably in the future.
The city will have its own tax and labour laws and be an autonomous region of Saudi Arabia.
Neom will be home to 1m citizens across its 16 boroughs, and Saudi authorities are hoping to attract people from all over the world to come and live in Neom. The Saudi Arabian government want Neom to be the city of the future, a hub for innovation, finance, technology, along with a centre for sustainability.
Perhaps one of the most ambitious ideas behind the project is Crown Prince Mohammed’s plan for Neom to become a world-class tourist destination. Up until recently, Saudi Arabia prohibited individuals to visit for tourism; with entry visas restricted to business or for pilgrimage to Mecca only. Saudi Arabia recently lifted restrictions and now welcomes tourists into the country. 2021 will see the country hosting its inaugural Formula One race.
To attract more tourists to the Kingdom, Crown Prince Mohammed is planning for Neom to be home to some of the world’s finest hospitality venues, however the consumption and sale of alcohol will remain strictly prohibited under Islamic law.