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NEOM, which combines Greek and Arabic words to signify New Future, is the upcoming huge futuristic megacity in Saudi Arabia. With an overall size of 26,500 sq km, it will be 33 times the size of New York City. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman announced the plan for NEOM in 2017 as part of the Vision 2030 Reform Program. NEOM is currently in the development phase in the northwest part of Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea. The city will act as a modern-day, high-tech laboratory where innovation and entrepreneurship will set the course for the New Future. The city will also be a popular tourist destination offering worthwhile activities and events.
What is NEOM?
NEOM is a futuristic city offering science-bending technology. The project will be along the coast of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk province. The sprawling 26,500 square km site will be a self-sufficient residential and tourist haven driven entirely by renewable energy. It is a super-ambitious $500 billion smart city project that will attract five million visitors by 2030. NEOM will have three districts stretching across mountains, deserts, and the sea. The plans for NEOM include flying drone taxis and a fantasy amusement park inspired by Jurassic Park. The project highlights a giant artificial moon that will light up the night skies.
NEOM comprises three regions. The Line is a 170 km long sustainable city capable of housing a million residents. The Oxagon will be the world’s largest floating industrial complex. The Trojena is a fantasy in the pristine ranges of the Sarawat Mountains. It will be the ultimate example of engineering innovation and architectural creativity.
Oxagon is designed to be the economic and industrial zone in NEOM and will be the largest floating structure in the world. The core development area will be 48 square kilometers and accessible to 40 percent of the world through a four-hour flight. Designed as the economic blueprint for the work and living of the future, Oxagon will be the epitome of sustainability. The city will redefine the world’s approach to future industrial development while remaining focused on protecting the environment and creating jobs.
2. The Line
The Line is a 170 km-long linear modern city touted as the ultimate model of urban living. It has multiple hyper-connected communities. All amenities are available within walkable and seamlessly integrated stunning landscapes and public parks. The Line will be a car-free city. The physical and digital infrastructure will be beneath the ground and offer all the essential utilities. Everything in the city will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The Line will be innovatively hyper-connected by an intelligent digital framework using artificial intelligence and robotics. NEOM data will be analyzed to create a predictive system. It will help in shaping ever-improving service solutions for residents and businesses.
Trojena is planned to be the beyond fantasy iconic, world-class destination like no other on this planet. It blends natural and developed landscapes to create visually dramatic locations. Trojena will have six districts designed to deliver customized, human-centric experiences for residents and visitors alike. The city is located 50 km from the Gulf of the Aqaba coast and has elevations ranging from 1500 m to 2600 m. Other highlights include a ski slope, water sports, mountain biking, and advanced wellness facilities. An interactive nature reserve is also part of the Trojena infrastructure. Everything will be housed in an area encompassing 60 square kilometers.
Tourist attractions in NEOM
Authorities anticipate NEOM to be the world’s most unique and path-breaking tourism project. Its USP comes from the fact that it is built on the most ancient land and shaped by the world’s leading design experts. NEOM will stand apart for its immersive digital experiences and seamless tourist spots.
Some of the key highlights of this spectacularly designed and challenging tourism platform are:
- Innovative design-led form
- Heritage and culture of unmatched authenticity
- Nature experiences in its truest form
- Travel designs that encompass the latest technologies
- Authentic Arabian service culture
- Out-of-the-world luxury experiences
- Regenerative travel solution
The top tourist attractions in NEOM are:
1. Wadi Tayyb – ESM
Wadi Tayyb-Esm is an ancient canyon that gets water from a spring. It is one of the world’s most beautiful canyons and creates stunning visuals as the water weaves through the 400m tall basalt, sandstone, and granite towers. Finally the water flows into the Gulf of Aqaba. The Wadi offers the perfect opportunity for adventure lovers to indulge in hiking, snorkeling, and swimming. Tourists can also go for spotting wildlife.
2. Midian Tombs
The Midian Tombs are stated to be the last remnants of the prehistoric Midian lands. They are located on the northwest side of the Arabian Peninsula, on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. The place has a rich history dating back to the 12th century. Midian is said to be the place where Prophet Moses stayed for ten years in exile. The tombs are carved into the mountains encircling Al-Bad. They are mentioned in the Quran and the Bible. Tourists can enjoy the unique sight of an oasis in a parched area when they visit Midian. Water from the shallow wells in this region help cultivate mango orchards and other fruits offering serene views.
3. Hisma Desert
The Hisma desert located in Tabuk is famous for its dreamlike scenery and rich traditional heritage. The mountains here extend all the way to the Wadi Rum in Jordan. The Hisma desert was used as a reliable pathway by pilgrims and merchants. Some incredible rock formations make up for the informational tourist destination. The landscape has giant trees to add to the place’s splendor. The vessel-shaped Shaddad Mountain is famous for its inscriptions in Thamudic, Nabataean, Sheba, and Arabic.
4. Jebel al Lawz
Jabel al Lawz, or the Mountain of almonds, is located in northwest Saudi Arabia and rises 2549 meters above sea level. It is one of the highest peaks in the Kingdom. The height and location of the mountain, which lies uniquely between the desert and the Gulf of Aqaba, can drive the temperature of the area below zero. It is also the only place in the country which gets snowfall nearly every year. Jebel al Lawz is famous for its archeological sites, including an ancient quarry and very old rock art. Visitors can also view some rock paintings and carvings.
5. Gayal Beach
Gayal Beach is one of the most stunning coastlines along the Red Sea. The beach is famous for its kaleidoscopic coral reefs and a variety of marine life. Tourists can enjoy the sight of a majestic sunset as the sun goes down the Tiran Island in this secluded cove. Gayal Beach presents a genuinely unique picture-perfect scenario with its impressive golden sands framed by the crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea. The swath of glittering palm trees completes the breathtaking picture. Tourists can also enjoy swimming and snorkeling on Gayal Beach or relax and soak in the abundance of natural beauty.
6. Catalina Seaplane
The military seaplane is the remnants of the ruins left behind after an American family landed the plane on Arabian Beach. The firing by the locals, who mistook the aircraft for some hostile elements, rendered it unfit for flying, causing its abandonment. The Catalina Seaplane’s enormous wreckage has been lying on the windy beach for over half a decade and is a giant magnet for tourists. At times, the tide can be really high and reach the plane. Visitors can reach out to this page of history and click pictures to make their visit memorable.
The aim of NEOM is to become the most competitive free zone on Earth. NEOM will operate independently of Saudi Arabia’s laws and regulations. It is a model city with its regulations and authority. The $500 million megacity is a part of the Kingdom’s plan to move away from oil as its primary driver of the country’s economy. The land of the future will have sustainability as its core idea. NEOM will offer a range of unique development opportunities for investors and business owners, such as:
- Direct access to the Saudi markets
- Comprehensive supply systems powered by innovative techniques
- Favorable industry-specific regulatory settings
- An idyllic environment designed to deliver a rich quality of life
- Futuristic urban planning
The key pillars of this futuristic project include prioritizing human lives and their comforts, enhancing tourism to manifold and introducing the next generation of living and transport systems powered by AI. Digitalization and sustainability will be the hallmark of the NEOM project.
NEOM will be the most exciting and vibrant global hub epitomizing the future of human civilization. The goal is to offer its inhabitants everything they need to lead an idyllic lifestyle powered by extraordinary economic prospects. NEOM seeks to push the boundaries of innovation and tech-powered creativity and tourism in Saudi Arabia like never before.
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