Work begins on SR11bn New Taif project


Saudi Gazette report

TAIF – An international airport will be established in this resort city shortly as part of a SR11 billion New Taif project launched by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

“We have formed committees to follow up implementation of six projects under the scheme,” said Saleh Al-Sulami, supervisor of New Taif projects at the Makkah governorate.

Apart from the airport, the mega scheme includes Souk Okaz, a techno park, a housing quarter, an industrial city and a university campus, Al-Sulami said in a press statement.

He said Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is adviser to the King, has ordered the setting up of a service center in the location to speed up implementation the projects.

“We have started work on the projects with the support of Taif municipality and police, which will prevent encroachment on government land,” he explained.

Al-Sulami said all government departments involved in the project have been instructed to provide regular reports to the governorate on progress of work.

“The project aims at transforming Taif into a modern city in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its objectives,” he said, adding that the private sector will play a major role in the project.

The government has allocated SR11 billion to establish infrastructure projects and provide services such as water, electricity and roads. “We expect huge investments from the private sector to carry out various projects for the development of New Taif,” he said.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation has signed a contract to build an international airport in Taif. A consortium including Lebanon’s Consolidated Contractors and Munich Airport will complete the airport by 2020 at a cost of SR3.137 billion.

The new Taif airport, which will be the Kingdom’s third airport developed under public-private partnership, will have an initial capacity of 5 million passengers a year, which could be increased to 8 million. The project covers an area of 48 million square meters.

The government has allocated SR2 billion for the new university project, which includes construction of 16 college and hostel buildings.

Work on the housing quarter has already started on an area of 12.14 million square meters and the government has given SR590 million to provide infrastructure.

“More than 10,000 housing units will be established in the quarter and it will be one of the largest housing projects in the Makkah region,” Al-Sulami said.

The techno park will be established in cooperation with King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology. “We have given two plots of land to KACST to implement the project, which includes an aircraft assembling factory, a solar panel factory, a solar power generation plant and an advanced fodder factory.

Referring to Souk Okaz, Al-Sulami said it was one of the initiatives of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage. The government has allocated SR815 million for the project. The first phase of Souk Okaz will draw an investment of more than SR3.32 billion.

"We expect Souk Okaz will attract 260,000 tourists annually to Taif, will contribute SR294 million to the gross domestic product and create 4,400 new jobs,” he said, adding that hotels with 1,250 rooms and 130 housing units will be established as part of the project.

Speaking about the industrial city, Al-Sulami said it would be the first such city in Taif. Spread on an area of 11 million square meters, it will be located 55 km from downtown Taif and 29 km from the new airport. A total of SR120 million has been given for building infrastructure for the industrial city.

“It will have a number of heavy, intermediate and light industries in the first phase and a vocational training center,” the supervisor said.