Interview: Almamoun Alshingiti, Executive Director of Development – Sports, Qiddiya Investment Company
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce and Investment this year officially incorporated and registered The Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC). The venture wholly owned by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is focused on the development of an entertainment, sports, and cultural destination, including sporting facilities that will nurture the Kingdoms Olympic stars of tomorrow. Almamoun Alshingiti, it’s Executive Director of development for sport, discusses the objectives and visions of the project and the role he plays to deliver these world class facilities.
Can you share a little bit about yourself and your career highlights to date?
I am the Executive Director of Development – Sports, at the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC), and have 20 years of experience in business and strategy development.
I started my career with multi-national consumer-goods companies, including Proctor and Gamble and PepsiCo. Before joining QIC, I worked in the public sector on the National Sports School Strategy, developing physical education curriculums and school sports programmes for Saudi schools.
Aside from my office job, I have represented the Kingdom in Karate for many years, including on the Saudi national team, competing at the World Championships in 1992.
As Executive Director of Development – Sports at Qiddiya Investment Company, can you tell us about your role and key objectives?
This cornerstone of QIC will offer unique athletic experiences for men, women and children of all abilities, allowing them to participate in a range of sports and training programs, from beginner to elite levels.
This new opportunity will enhance the population’s well-being and produce future generations of Saudi national athletes and sports stars, with a goal to train athletes who will represent the Kingdom in the future Olympics and Paralympics.
It is my job to start laying the foundations on which these goals will be built, so I am currently cultivating the world’s best experts in the field for input and guidance, as well as developing partnerships and investment to propel the development of what will be our world-class facilities.
Qiddiya is a mammoth project with five cornerstones. Can you provide a short overview of each?
As you mentioned, QIC’s vision is based on these five cornerstones. These are values or strategic imperatives that will guide the content and delivery of a large portfolio of offerings along with the support facilities and industries needed to sustain Qiddiya as a self-contained ecosystem.
These are: PARKS & ATTRACTIONS, with amusement, theme and water parks and feature attractions; SPORTS & WELLNESS, introducing sports programs and facilities for all kinds of sports from hobbyists to professional athletes, including infrastructure capable of hosting international competitions and world-class training facilities and academies; MOTION & MOBILITY, providing adrenaline induced motor and sky sports, on road, off road and in the air; NATURE & ENVIRONMENT, exploring the great outdoors with environmental, nature and adventure activities; ARTS & CULTURE, bringing back traditional culture and arts, blending them with modern and global culture, to produce an array of historical, cultural and educational activities and events.
There will also be a range of real estate options and community services to fulfil the vision of Qiddiya to be a 24-hour destination resort community, with everything in one place.
Focusing on the Sports & Wellness offering, can you provide details on the strategic objectives for this specific project cornerstone?
Qiddiya will build a host of exemplary sporting facilities that nurture the stars of tomorrow. World-class infrastructure will be used to promote events and participation across a variety of athletic endeavours and advance sports and fitness in the Kingdom at grass roots and professional levels.
Promoting the lifestyle benefits of health and wellness, Qiddiya will boost the confidence and pride that sports can engender while creating new career paths for thousands of Saudi athletes and the sporting ecosystem of those who support them.
Can you tell us at what stage the project is and what the time-schedules for each phase are?
The Qiddiya project will be built in three phases, with the final phase completed by 2035, when we aim to host an anticipated 17 million visitors annually.
We are currently in Phase 1 of the project, which is expected to open in 2022. This phase will feature light infrastructure and anchor attractions, and we expect to attract 1.5 million visitors annually.
We broke ground on site at the end of April this year, and we were incorporated into a standalone company in May. These were two major milestones for us.
For more information on the Qiddiya project click here.