Diriyah draws 500,000 visitors in 3 months, says CEO

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Diriyah Gate Development Authority CEO Jerry Inzerillo highlighted the progress of the Public Investment Fund’s Diriyah giga-project on the sidelines of the PIF Private Sector Forum held recently in Riyadh.

“We have to give tremendous praise to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. If it wasn’t for King Salman, we wouldn’t have Diriyah; we wouldn’t have the UNESCO World Heritage site,” he said.

Reflecting on the achievements of Diriyah, the CEO discussed the vision for the project and progress made to date.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a “very clear vision of where Diriyah would be,” he said. ”I can see his vision clearer now, and he deserves so much credit because people are coming from all over the world.”

Inzerillo said: “We had half a million people in the last three months and everybody’s saying the same thing: We had no idea the Saudis were so kind, so warm, and so welcoming. Diriyah is so beautiful. It looks so authentic. This makes our heart very happy and the credit goes to the crown prince.”

Speaking on a panel on day two of the forum, the CEO highlighted the DGDA’s achievements and the role of the private sector in the Kingdom.

Jerry Inzerillo, the chief executive of Diriyah Gate Development Authority. (Huda Bashata/AN)

“Today was a very special day because this PIF investment forum is very strategic because now we have all the giga-projects going around the Kingdom, and it’s about partnerships and relationships,” he told Arab News.

“So, to gather thousands of people together to see how we can contribute to each other and help each other as we move toward Vision 2030, our colleagues from PIF did a brilliant job and it’s been very successful so far.”

Inzerillo highlighted the DGDA’s achievements since the recent opening of Bujairi Terrace and the World UNESCO Heritage Site of At-Turaif last December.

“We had a very successful 2022. We opened over $2 billion of assets in 2022. Now we’re getting ready for all the openings for December 2023,” he said.

“We’ll do the second phase of the UNESCO World Heritage site. We’re building the second phase of the Bujairi Terrace, and after the 20 successful restaurants we opened, we have 10 more coming,” he said.

The CEO said that Diriyah is also gearing up to open its first hotel and museum.

“So it’s going to be a very busy, very interesting and very fun year.”

In January, Diriyah was named PIF’s fifth giga-project, reflecting its status as a destination for culture, history and tourism.

“Well, we’re thrilled, as you saw the crown prince’s announcement to be officially announced as the fifth giga-project for PIF. This gives us tremendous global prestige,” he said.

In February, the Diriyah Gate Development Authority was ranked among the top 10 workplaces in the Kingdom for 2023 in the large enterprise category, according to the Global Authority on Workplace Culture.

“We have the happiest staff in the Kingdom and our community is thriving, and quality of life is thriving in Diriyah. So a lot of credit, almost all the credit has to go to the crown prince,” Inzerillo said.

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