Travel & Gastronomy

Saudi Arabia bets on tourism with the inauguration of a luxury train

A luxury cross-country train will be inaugurated in Saudi Arabia in 2025. The result of a collaboration between Arsenale, an Italian luxury train construction company, and Saudi Arabia Railways. This initiative is part of the country's strategy to boost its tourism sector, which is expected to represent 10% of its GDP by 2030.

Eva Morletto

By Eva Morletto22 mars 2023

The interior of one suite on the Orient Express train, La Dolce Vita, Italy. The "five-star luxury" train that will be inaugurated in 2025 in Saudi Arabia will be named Dream of the Desert (Orient Express)

A luxurious train inspired by the splendor of the mythical Orient Express will be inaugurated in 2025 in Saudi Arabia. The train will be the result of a collaboration between the Italian company Arsenale and the Saudi Arabia Railways. It will be the first convoy of its kind in the country. The agreement was signed during the Saudi Forum of Tourism by the president of Arsenale, Paolo Barletta, and the president of Saudi Arabia Railways, Bashar Al Malik.

The restaurant coach of the Orient Express train, La Dolce Vita, Italy (Orient Express)

This "five-star luxury" train will be named Dream of the Desert and will be the exceptional transportation vehicle with a cross-country route from the capital Riyadh to Qurayyat, a small historic town on the Jordanian border. The design of Dream of the Desert will be inspired by the traditional Saudi design. Arsenale, which specializes in the construction of luxury trains, had already built the eleven cars of La Dolce Vita, the convoy that revived the myth of the Orient Express two years ago. Arsenale had signed the contract with the Accor hotel group, which now owns the legendary railway company.

The agreement includes an initial investment of 61 million euros, of which 51 million will be dedicated to the design and production of the cars, and an additional 10 million euros for logistics in Italy. This agreement is very important for Arsenale, as it is part of an expansion strategy aimed at making the Italian company a leader in the luxury rail travel sector. The first six trains will benefit from a total investment of approximately 160 million euros for the Italian sector. President Barletta emphasized that the wagons will be built in workshops located in southern Italy, specifically in the regions of Puglia and Sicily. This initiative will give a new boost to the economy of these regions, which are among the most disadvantaged in Italy.

As announced by the Saudi Press Agency a year ago, Saudi Arabia has committed to invest the sum of 100 million dollars for the foundation of the Tourism Development Fund, in partnership with the World Bank. The aim is to diversify the country's income from activities, threatened by the fossil fuel crisis. The country guided by Mohammed Ben Salmane aims to boost tourism in order to welcome up to one hundred million visitors each year. Tourism could then represent 10% of the country's Gross Domestic Product by 2030.

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