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Saudi Arabia Looks To Attract Tourists With ‘Epic’ Offshore Rig Thrills  

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), unveiled this weekend its latest project to attract tourists to the country by offering “epic adventures” in a park, THE RIG, inspired by offshore oil platforms.

The new tourism project, to be located in the Arabian Gulf, is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to boost its international appeal and tourism offering, as well as to diversify its economy away from oil under the Saudi Vision 2030 plan, according to PIF.

THE RIG will span a combined total area of more than 150,000 square meters and is “expected to attract tourists from around the world, while being especially popular with citizens and residents of the GCC countries in the region,” PIF said in a statement. 

The project will feature extreme sports activities, live shows, three hotels, 11 restaurants, and helipads.

“This is no theme park – it’s an extreme park, an entirely new playground of adventure,” says THE RIG’s website.

The sovereign fund is supporting Saudi Arabia’s efforts to become “a leading global tourist destination,” PIF said, noting it has already set up various projects and businesses in the country, including Red Sea Development Company, Alsoudah Development Company, and the Cruise Saudi Company.

The Saudi fund, currently with $400 billion assets under management, targets to raise its assets under management to $1.07 trillion by 2025 and invest 21 percent of its assets in new and growth sectors. If the fund reaches the $1.07 trillion assets by 2025, it would be one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world. Currently, Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, the so-called oil fund, is the biggest sovereign wealth fund in the world, with a total market value of around $1.3 trillion. 

Earlier this year, the Saudi sovereign fund sold all the shares it had owned in one of Canada’s largest oil producers and key oil sands producer, Suncor. Instead, the Saudi fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, built positions in companies in the video games industry. The crown prince is a fan of video games and new technologies.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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