NEOM’s Trojena ski resort: Where mountain sports and outdoor adventure will be on offer year round

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Due to open in 2026, NEOM’s new tourist destination will offer mountain sports and outdoor adventure year round. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 April 2022
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NEOM’s Trojena ski resort: Where mountain sports and outdoor adventure will be on offer year round

  • Surrounded by the pristine mountains, Trojena is tipped to be one of Saudi Arabia’s top tourism offerings
  • Due to open in 2026, Trojena will be built using sustainable materials and powered entirely by renewables

JEDDAH: Nestled among the mountain peaks overlooking NEOM, the new smart city taking shape in northwest Saudi Arabia, the world’s first futuristic, sustainably built ski resort promises to transform the Kingdom into a major regional tourist destination.

Last month, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled plans for Trojena, the Gulf region’s first-ever outdoor ski resort, which, unlike the Alps of Europe, can be reached by almost 40 percent of the world’s population within four hours.

The site, which will feature sporting events, art exhibitions, concerts and cultural festivals, is expected to attract 700,000 visitors and 7,000 permanent residents by 2030. Planners say the project is due for completion by 2026.

Surrounded by the pristine ranges of the Sarawat Mountains, reaching 2,400 meters above sea level, Trojena is billed to become one of NEOM’s top tourism offerings, consisting of a ski village, ultra-luxury family and wellness resorts, the region’s largest freshwater lake, an interactive nature reserve, and a range of dining and retail options.

Trojena’s vision is to integrate nature and technology in order to cater to the interests and needs of modern travelers. “It will offer a seamless travel experience that can remove the traditional pain points of travel,” Philip Gullett, Trojena’s executive director, told Arab News.

“We are looking into delivering luggage via drones, using biometrics to fulfill security requirements, and allowing interested parties to explore the site first using the latest virtual reality.”




Trojena consists of six distinct districts, all centered around tailored experiences. (Supplied)

NEOM, the $500 billion project wholly owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, is located on the Kingdom’s northwestern Red Sea coast. The area’s diverse terrain and dramatic topography makes it an ideal place for outdoor adventure tourism.

Visitors will soon enjoy a wide offering of activities, from scuba diving and skiing to hiking and climbing, all within the same day thanks to the high-speed mass transit network provided by The Line.

Trojena consists of six distinct districts, all centered around tailored experiences. It will host a wellness season from September to November with plans for a yoga retreat, art residency, entertainment residency and a focus on overall health.

Situated just 50 kilometers east of the Red Sea coastline, Trojena is on average 10 degrees Celsius cooler than the rest of the region, providing a temperate climate for outdoor sports throughout the year.

From December to March, it will host a raft of winter season events, including sports, a film festival, concerts and even a fashion week.

Then, between March and May, Trojena will offer an adventure season, hosting a triathlon, paragliding, mountain biking and more, followed by a lake season focused around water sports.

Following NEOM’s lead, Trojena will be powered entirely by sources of renewable energy and will make use of sustainable materials. “This includes the implementation of whole-life decarbonization targets,” said Gullet.




From December to March, it will host a raft of winter season events, including sports, a film festival, concerts and even a fashion week. (Supplied)

“These strategies will focus on heating and cooling systems, insulation and building materials, performance-based building energy codes that address operational and embodied carbon, and measures that enhance building resilience.

“One of the centerpieces of the energy grid will be a hydroelectric system that is incorporated within the lake system, and it will also be used as energy storage to help offset the energy required for the development.”

Planners say they have adopted a sustainable approach to the site’s construction, in adherence with NEOM’s strict environmental principles and to protect the cultural heritage of the region.

“NEOM is acutely aware of the need to protect the region and that is why sustainability is so central to this project at the outset,” said Gullet.

“The master plan was developed with specific consideration of the natural terrain and the important and sensitive environments contained within.

“We will be placing assets and supporting infrastructure in a light and dispersed program to specifically protect the natural features of this region. This is an opportunity to demonstrate how human development and the environment can coexist as part of a more sustainable future.

“The preservation of NEOM’s authentic culture and heritage will be supported through the integration of technology. In terms of sites such as The Vault, the reliance on energy systems for heating and cooling will be reduced as it will be built partially underground.

“The naturally stable temperatures below ground will act to passively moderate the microclimate and will help to reduce any need to disrupt the natural landscape.”




The area’s diverse terrain and dramatic topography makes it an ideal place for outdoor adventure tourism. (Supplied)

Indeed, NEOM is actively promoting the use of recycled amenities, zero waste practices and the local sourcing of products to reduce the project’s carbon footprint.

Besides environmental sustainability, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform agenda has made the public’s health and general well-being a top priority, setting out plans for more outdoor and green spaces, sports facilities and eateries offering nutritious fare.

In fact, one of NEOM’s key performance indicators is to ensure that 70 percent of its residents can practice sports for more than 150 minutes per week.

“The Relax Cluster of Trojena will offer a place to heal the body and mind, housing high-tech facilities and medical spas with tailored treatments, in addition to an outdoor wellness and personal enhancement center with innovative technologies,” said Gullet.

“We will offer world-class treatments for individual health and wellness provided by the leading doctors and therapists from around the world.”

One of the flagship attractions of Trojena will be its world-class observatory. Thanks to clear skies and a high altitude, the site will offer outstanding views of the night sky and will house a super telescope, integrated educational technologies, Observatory Pods and the NEOM Space Park.

“We want to make sure that these assets become world-renowned in the stargazing community,” said Gullet.

“This region has a long history with space and the development of the space industry is advancing. The next few years will be exciting.”


Saudi Arabia to host Islamic Development Bank Group annual meetings and golden jubilee

Updated 17 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia to host Islamic Development Bank Group annual meetings and golden jubilee

  • As the bank celebrates its 50th anniversary, the meetings will have the theme ‘Taking Pride in Our Past and Shaping Our Future: Authenticity, Solidarity and Prosperity’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host the annual meetings and golden jubilee celebrations of the Islamic Development Bank Group in Riyadh between April 27 and 30, under the patronage of King Salman.

This year’s meetings will take place under the theme “Taking Pride in Our Past and Shaping Our Future: Authenticity, Solidarity and Prosperity,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The bank describes itself as a pivotal platform for development dialogue, and said it is celebrating 50 years of fostering social and economic growth among its members. As a leading multilateral development bank, it said it expects the event to attract significant international and regional attention.

Participants will include economic, planning and finance ministers from the 57 member countries of the bank, along with representatives of international and regional financial agencies and organizations, Islamic banks, the private sector, development finance institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and chambers of commerce and industry.

Organizers said the annual gathering serves as a vital forum for the enhancement of economic ties and expansion of cooperation among participants. Its agenda includes forums, seminars and meetings on a range of topics, with particularly notable events including the Governors’ Round Table, the 18th IDB Global Forum on Islamic Finance, and the IDB Group Private Sector Forum.

Topics for discussion will include the role of small and medium enterprises in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 development and diversification agenda, strategies for the financing of efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, the leveraging of Islamic finance for the development of resilient infrastructure, and the establishment of the Arab Coordination Group Forum.

The Future Vision Symposium and the General Assembly of the Union of Consultants in Islamic Countries will also take place during the event.


Saudi foreign minister and Pakistan army chief discuss security and strategic cooperation

Updated 17 April 2024
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Saudi foreign minister and Pakistan army chief discuss security and strategic cooperation

  • Prince Faisal arrived in Pakistan on Monday for a two-day official visit, the main aim of which was to enhance economic cooperation

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, held talks in Islamabad on Tuesday with the chief of staff of the Pakistan Army, Gen. Asim Munir.

They discussed ways to enhance the “strong cooperation” between their nations in several fields, including ways to work together to improve security and strategic cooperation in ways that contribute to international peace and security.

Prince Faisal arrived in Pakistan on Monday for a two-day official visit, the main aim of which was to enhance economic cooperation. He also met President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar.

The prince was leading a high-level Saudi delegation that included Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdul Rahman Al-Fadhli, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Al-Khorayef, and senior officials from the ministries of energy and investment, and the Public Investment Fund.


Saudi authorities highlight tourism commitments during UN Sustainability Week in New York

Updated 17 April 2024
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Saudi authorities highlight tourism commitments during UN Sustainability Week in New York

  • Tourism minister says he hopes Kingdom can help lead transformation of sector into an environmentally friendly industry that supports communities and countries

NEW YORK: The Saudi tourism minister on Tuesday reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to sustainable development of the travel sector.

Ahmed Al-Khateeb said that under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has become one of the most promising and attractive global travel destinations.

He was speaking at the start of an event at the UN headquarters in New York that aims to encourage a concerted approach to enhance the resilience of the sector at the highest level and maximize its contribution to sustainability.

The event, which takes place during UN Sustainability Week, was convened by the president of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, Dennis Francis, in cooperation with UN Tourism.

Al-Khateed highlighted the efforts the Kingdom is making to address the environmental impacts of the travel and tourism sector, and noted that those efforts had contributed to the establishment, with Saudi Support, of the World Travel and Tourism Council and the World Center for Sustainable Tourism.

During the past two years, Saudi Arabia has sought, in its role as chair of the executive council of UN Tourism, to enhance the representation of the travel and tourism sector in international forums, Al-Khateeb said.

This has resulted in UN Tourism and the Kingdom cooperating on a package of initiatives to help achieve this goal, including a Best Tourism Villages award, a Tourism Opens Minds initiative, and a working group to reimagine the future of tourism, Al-Khateeb added. He also noted his country’s efforts to ensure the tourism sector was properly represented on the agenda for UN Sustainability Week. 

Saudi Arabia topped the UN World Tourism list in 2023 in terms of growth among major tourism destinations in the number of international visitors. It also topped the list of G20 nations in terms of the number of international tourists, welcoming more than 27 million last year, Al-Khateeb said. He added that authorities in the Kingdom are developing plans and strategies to attract more than 70 million international tourists a year by 2030.

By then, he said, the Kingdom aims to have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than 278 million tonnes annually, designated 30 percent of land and marine territory as protected areas, and planted more than 600 million trees.

“The Kingdom has taken significant steps to launch the Sustainable Tourism Global Center, with the aim of accelerating the travel and tourism sector’s transition to climate neutrality, protecting nature and empowering communities around the world,” Al-Khateeb said.

He also highlighted major Saudi projects such as the NEOM smart city development and the Red Sea tourism project that aim to ensure they have positive effects on the climate, environment and local communities.

He also expressed the Kingdom’s aspiration for all countries to make concerted efforts, and be open to cooperation, to achieve the goal of sustainable development in the global travel and tourism sector.

Al-Khateeb said that through this important UN event, he hopes the Kingdom can spread a message to the world about the need to preserve the environment, and can help lead and support the transformation of tourism into an environmentally friendly industry that supports communities and countries worldwide.

UN Sustainability Week began on Monday at the UN headquarters in New York and continues until Friday.


Saudi crown prince discusses military escalation in the region with UAE president, Qatar emir

Updated 17 April 2024
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Saudi crown prince discusses military escalation in the region with UAE president, Qatar emir

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received two separate calls from UAE president Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Qatar’s emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Saudi Press Agency said early Wednesday.

The calls discussed the recent military escalation in the region and its repercussions on safety and security, in addition to the latest developments in Gaza.

They also underscored the importance of exerting efforts to prevent the situation from worsening and to spare the region the dangers of this escalation, the SPA added.


Saudi Arabia highlights its environmental and sustainability efforts at Our Ocean Conference

Updated 16 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia highlights its environmental and sustainability efforts at Our Ocean Conference

  • The Saudi delegation at the two-day event is led by the CEO of the National Center for Wildlife, Mohammed Qurban
  • During 8 previous events since the conference was launched in 2014, participants announced 2,160 commitments worth $130 billion

RIYADH: Saudi authorities showcased their programs and plans for environmental protection and sustainability initiatives on Tuesday, during the first day of the 9th Our Ocean Conference in Athens.

Delegates at this year’s event, the theme for which is “Our Ocean: An Ocean of Potential,” include representatives of governments and businesses, as well as activists and experts on marine environments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

They are discussing topics such as protected marine areas, sustainable blue economies, maritime security, the relationship between oceans and climate change, sustainable fishing, and ways to combat marine pollution. Other issues to be addressed during the conference include sustainable tourism in coastal areas and on islands, ways to reduce plastic and microplastic pollution in marine environments, green shipping, and the green transition in the Mediterranean.

The Saudi delegation at the two-day event is led by the CEO of the National Center for Wildlife, Mohammed Qurban. The initiatives in the Kingdom highlighted at the conference revolve around ways to protect oceans and other water resources, and the sustainable utilization of marine resources.

“Our participation in the work of this global conference reflects the Kingdom’s keenness to support the efforts and endeavors aimed at achieving Sustainable Development Goals, protecting the seas, oceans and water resources, and the sustainable use of marine resources in a way that reflects the trends of the Kingdom and (its) Vision 2030 (development plan) to support environmental protection efforts,” said Qurban.

He highlighted several key national projects that are underway, including the Saudi Green Initiative, which aims to expand protected areas of the Kingdom to encompass 30 percent of its total land and sea territory, and plant 100 million mangrove trees by 2030.

“The Kingdom remains resolute in its mission to safeguard nature and its invaluable ecological treasures, with a special emphasis on the Red Sea region,” Qurban said. “We stand ready to deploy all necessary resources and efforts toward sustainable conservation endeavors.”

Participation in forums such as the Our Ocean Conference encourages the invaluable sharing of knowledge, a cross-pollination of ideas, and collaborations in the creation of innovative ways to tackle environmental challenges and promote sustainable practices, he added.

During the previous eight events since the conference was launched in 2014 by the US to fill a gap in global ocean governance at the time, participants have announced 2,160 commitments worth $130 billion, organizers said.

Other items on the agenda this year include ways in which oceans will meet the needs of future generations, ways to encourage governments, businesses and other organizations to adopt long-term commitments that have positive effects on oceans, and efforts to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals relating to oceans, seas and marine resources.