Oil Rigs Get New Life as Cruise Port and Adventure Park

Saudi Arabia hopes to transform oil rigs into a floating tourism destination.

The Rig in Saudi Arabia
(Photo courtesy of Public Investment Fund)

Announced three years ago, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Oil Park Development Company recently published a master plan with renderings for The Rig, which it says would be the “world’s first tourism destination inspired by offshore oil platforms.”

Hotels and Thrill Rides

The Rig would become a 300,000-square-meter destination spread across several linked decommissioned and newly built platforms.

The self-contained resort in the Arabian Gulf would house three hotels with 800 rooms, 11 restaurants, and multiple adrenaline rides. Other activities planned include bungee jumping, skydiving, and scuba diving.

An offshore oil rig platform surrounded by water.
(Photo courtesy of Public Investment Fund)

It plans 70 activities and attractions, such as go-karting, ziplining, and a 6-000 seat arena for live entertainment. Located about 40 km offshore, guests would arrive via Dammam City and Jubail Industrial City terminals on fast ferries, helicopters, cruise ships, or seaplanes.

“This project is a unique tourism attraction, expected to attract tourists from around the world,” the PIF said in a statement.

Peak daily visitors are expected to reach 10,000 during the high season and around 5,000 on weekends. By 2032, the city aims to attract more than 900,000 visitors annually.

Boosting Tourism

Offshore oil rig against a hazy sunset backdrop.
(Photo courtesy of Public Investment Fund)

Saudi Arabia is determined to attract more tourists and compete with Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Oman as an alluring global hotspot. By 2030, it aims to attract 100 million tourists every year.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman confirmed plans for a second national airline earlier this year and to invest $147 billion in logistics and transport over nine years.

Offshore oil drilling platform in operation at sea.
(Photo courtesy of Public Investment Fund)

The ambitious project is part of the long-term Saudi Vision 2030 strategy, which aims to diversify the country’s economy. Tourism is the driving force, and cruise tourism is one major element.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund purchased a 8.2 percent share of Carnival Corporation during the cruise industry shutdown.

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