Work forges ahead on Saudi megaproject despite pandemic

Work on Saudi Arabia’s epic Qiddiya entertainment megaproject has been forging ahead despite a global economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

While many countries have been forced to stall or scale down similar construction schemes due to the pandemic, it has been business as usual in the Kingdom for the building of the ambitious visitor destination.

To ensure the tourism project has been able to remain on track, Qiddiya Investment Co. (QIC) — which is driving the development — obtained the necessary permits to carry on with construction on the site while closely monitoring health and safety measures outlined by the authorities.

Qiddiya, an initiative born from the Vision 2030 reform plan and supported by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, is located southwest of Riyadh, and is set to become the Kingdom’s capital of entertainment, sports, and the arts.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, Arab News spoke to QIC officials about the project’s latest developments and the company’s plans to continue with construction.

Preliminary construction — to prepare the site for the subsequent phases of development — commenced at the end of 2019 and is due to be completed next year.

QIC Chief Executive Officer Michael Reininger said: “After taking the necessary precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of our employees and contractors, we obtained the necessary work permits to continue work on the site.