The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) in Saudi Arabia has signed a partnership agreement with Accor, as part of which the latter will operate an expanded Ashar Resort under the Banyan Tree brand.

RCU’s partnership is part of its strategy to develop AlUla as a tourism destination for nature, culture and heritage.

Under the partnership, 47 new units will be added, which will bring the total number of the keys up to 82, along with a spa and gourmet restaurants.

RCU signed the partnership with Accor ahead of AlUla’s official opening to the world as a year-round destination in October this year.

Accor chairman and CEO Sebastien Bazin said: “In line with our commitment to grow Accor’s unique portfolio in Saudi Arabia, and as one of the first global hospitality groups to set foot in the Kingdom, we are extremely proud to take part in the development of the historic county of AlUla, thus celebrating the Kingdom’s vast heritage and culture.

“We are very excited to be working on bringing our partner brand Banyan Tree’s unique sanctuary offering to the Ashar Resort.”

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By GlobalData

RCU’s agreement with the hospitality group is part of a major series of capital projects and multiple investments made by it into 15 plans in AlUla.

Commenting on the agreement, Royal Commission for AlUla Hotels and Resorts head Bander Alharbi said: “The Ashar Resort forms part of our strategy to create an immersive boutique destination that offers transformative experiences around the year and sets the standard for authentic hospitality.”