An exclusive interview with DGDA’s Group CEO part of Arab News coverage for Saudi National Day, by Lama Alhamawi.
Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), the entity tasked by the Saudi government to redevelop the ‘Birthplace of the Kingdom’ into a world-class destination, has revealed it shall be completing and delivering its first phase assets by early 2022.
“Everybody get ready because early in the new year of 2022 we will deliver our first assets in this progressive rolling master plan,” Jerry Inzerillo, DGDA’s Group CEO, told Arab News in an exclusive interview marking the newspaper’s special Saudi National Day coverage. “This is a very exciting time, and we feel very privileged, very honored to walk in the footsteps of such a great King and such a great Crown Prince,” he added.
Opening to the public in early 2022, the $50 billion giga-project will contain some of the world's most luxurious restaurants and hotels. All structures are built in traditional Najdi architecture style to preserve the kingdom’s rich heritage and the sentimental, historical value of the area. Diriyah is renowned globally for being home to the UNESCO-listed - and highly acclaimed - At-Turaif District.
The first phase of the Diriyah Gate’s master plan will revolve around Wadi Hanifah and Bujairi Terrace. Wadi Hanifah will contain many major parks and will undergo renovations to enhance the natural beauty of the area.
“A tremendous amount of the infrastructure will be done such as the planting of 22,000 trees, sidewalks, and streetlamps too. Now you see people jogging, running, and on bicycles,” Inzerillo stated.
Inzerillo highlighted that each year, DGDA will continuously add assets that will be open for the public to enjoy. Bujairi district will contain 18 new restaurants, of which several will be Michelin-star listed, while others will offer delicious, local Saudi delicacies.
In line with the Kingdom's Vision 2030 of sustainability and enhanced quality of life, thousands of underground parking spaces will be built to accommodate all local and international visitors.
People will have the opportunity to explore Wadi Hanifah and Bujairi and enjoy the many walking trails, expanded picnic tables, and family gathering areas.
“We are seeing great enthusiasm from the international community for visiting the Kingdom. We were doing 55,000 visas a week prior to COVID thanks to the leadership of his Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb and the Ministry of Tourism,” Inzerillo stated.
Marking Saudi National Day, Arab News – in partnership with DGDA – produced a special souvenir edition of the newspaper which will be printed across the kingdom and beyond. Arab News will also launch a digital, interactive Deep Dive called 'Diryiah: Past, Present, and Future.' The Deep Dive will contain multimedia files, interactive maps, and timelines, as well as exclusive interviews and footage.
“Every National Day, Arab News aims to stand out by shedding light through its special coverage on different aspects of Saudi Arabia’s history, heritage, hopes, and aspirations. This year, we are very proud of the outstanding work our team has done to finally tell the breathtaking story of the kingdom’s birthplace,” said Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News. “There is no doubt that Diriyah is a showpiece of what the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 is all about: embracing the world and preserving our heritage at the same time. We invite everyone to check out our coverage to understand why there is only one Diriyah,” he concluded.
The Arab News Deep Dive 'Diryiah: Past, Present, and Future' is available in English, French, and Japanese via www.arabnews.com/Diriyah