Red Sea Global’s Raed Albasseet talks sustainable tourism

Raed Albasseet, Group Chief Environment and Sustainability Officer of Red Sea Global (RSG) with RSG CEO John Pagano / Credit: Red Sea Global
Raed Albasseet, Group Chief Environment and Sustainability Officer of Red Sea Global (RSG), shares his strategy for tourism development and hopes for COP28

Raed Albasseet is the Group Chief Environment and Sustainability Officer of Red Sea Global (RSG), the developer behind The Red Sea and Amaala tourism projects set along the northwestern coast of Saudi Arabia. 

RSG is developing these incredible destinations while also having a positive impact on the environment it calls home – from planting millions of mangroves to creating coral reefs.

There are unique challenges presented by the Middle East’s climate and landscape, and that is one reason why Albasseet believes it is important to have COP28 hosted in the region.

“The region's direct encounters with issues such as water scarcity and extreme heat, coupled with innovative solutions to address these challenges, underscore the importance of this location,” he says.

“The UAE hosting COP28 symbolises the region's dedication to leading in sustainable development and environmental guardianship. At Red Sea Global, we are eager to contribute our insights and strategies in this forum, and engage in dialogues that are necessary for the future of our planet.”

Balancing development with protecting the environment

Albasseet has built a team of experts at RSG while developing an environmental governance and management framework to produce environmentally friendly content for the company’s development agenda.

It is a significant challenge trying to balance the desire for development – as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy – with protecting the delicate environment.

“In Saudi Arabia's rapidly growing tourism sector, our role is crucial in ensuring that projects like The Red Sea both maintain the area's natural beauty and focus on net-positive impact,” says Albasseet.

“This requires us to forge a new tourism paradigm, one that sets itself apart from other well-known destinations. It's built on the principle of harmonising high-end tourism with environmental care and the inclusion of local communities.

“A key aspect of this strategy is the deep involvement of local communities in sustainable practices. By fostering awareness and capability building, they become guardians of our valuable environment."

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RSG’s strategy for environmental stewardship

Albasseet adds that RSG’s approach goes beyond addressing the immediate impacts of tourism and localised activities like single-use plastics –  rather it is a holistic approach that promotes sustainable supply chains and “leaves the area in a better state than we found it”.

Another challenge is the transition to renewable energy in regions with developing infrastructure. To address this, RSG has developed an off-grid system, comprising five solar farms and the largest microgrid battery storage system in the world.

Albasseet hopes that the example being set by RSG could inspire others at COP28.

“I envision the conference advancing global understanding and commitment to a sustainable future and environmental stewardship,” he says. 

“I hope to see COP28 catalyse a shift in how the tourism industry views sustainability – not as a legal mandate but as a core value that enhances guest experiences and embraces local communities.”

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