$500bn Mega City | Aradhana Khowala Is Tourism Head Neom

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s $500-billion futuristic city, Neom has appointed Aradhana Khowala, an industry veteran, as its Managing Director of tourism.

An ambitious project of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Neom is aimed at turning the kingdom into a leading global hub that exemplifies the future of human civilisation by offering its inhabitants an idyllic lifestyle combined with exceptional economic prospects.

 Set to be the world’s first independent special zone stretching over three countries –  extending across the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, Neom will become a new vibrant destination located in the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia spread over a sprawling 26,500-sq-km area.

Khowala, who is CEO and founder of UK-based Aptamind, is considered a global authority in the tourism and hospitality industry and holds over 17 years of experience in four continents across 70+ different countries.

In 2017, she was awarded the 21st Century Icon Awards in association with CNBC and London School of Economics as an inspirational game changer.

Announcing the appointment, CEO Nadhmi Al Nasr said: “We will be working alongside Khowala to make Neom an exceptional global tourism destination looking ahead to the future.”

Earlier this week, Neom had announced that it would soon reveal its advisory board that will include “a team of the world’s leading minds and experts, combining the best and brightest global experts to develop the future.”

Neom had also announced that it was ensuring the foundations; plans and people were in place before construction.

“We are developing the masterplan, undertaking environmental assessments and evaluating bids for the construction of accommodation and offices for the engineers and supervisors to start work,” it stated.

Khowala has an MBA from the prestigious Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland and also read at the renowned Cornell University in New York.

A keen industry practitioner, she is a regular speaker, moderator and presenter at the foremost Family Office conferences as well as Tourism Summits. She also is a guest lecturer for MBA level courses at different Universities and organisations focussed on the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Sectors.

She also serves on the Board of ETC which is a charity that beautifully weaves together her passion for Africa with the purpose of educating the children – a cause very close to her heart.

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