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Big spenders wanted for Sindalah Island when it opens later this year

Saudi Arabia plans to open the first region of its NEOM megacity by the end of the year. The island of Sindalah will provide the first physical glimpse into the ambitious desert project, which has reportedly been scaled back from its initial plans due to financial struggles. Developers say they want the island to be an "exclusive gateway to the stunning Red Sea," adding that they planned to cater to luxury clientele and the global yachting community.

In January Marriott International said it had signed an agreement to bring Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy to Sindalah. Chadi Hauch of the hotel operator said the concept was a "great fit" for the island and reflected a "growing desire for premium and luxury apartment-style accommodation" from travelers.

If NEOM's ambitious plans become a reality, the Saudis are betting that their megaprojects can attract some high-end travelers from the glitz and glamor of its neighbor.

Developing luxury resorts like Sindalah may also help Saudi Arabia encourage tourism sooner by starting smaller.

Read the full story at Business Insider

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