Manama: NEOM, the $500 billion (Dh1.84 trillion) mega city project in north-western Saudi Arabia, has appointed Aradhana Khowala as its Managing Director of Tourism.

“We will be working alongside Aradhana to make #NEOM an exceptional global tourism destination looking ahead to the future.” Nadhmi Al Nasr, NEOM chief executive officer, posted on the project’s Twitter account.

According to her biography, Aradhana has attended elite schools such as Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Cornell University in New York and IHM Mumbai in India.

She was described as “a member of select experts who define the future of the luxury hotel industry.”

In 2017, she was awarded the 21st Century Icon Awards for being a game-changer in tourism in association with CNBC and London School of Economics.

In 2014, Swiss magazine Bilan chose her as one of the 50 most influential next generation leaders who will likely define the future of the tourism and hospitality industry.

In October last year, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman officially announced the plan for NEOM, a 26,500 km2 project that will transform Saudi Arabia’s northwest corner into a revolutionary project of sustainable cities, villages and communities run by solar and wind power that is also home to manufacturing facilities.

He called it “a very lucrative investment opportunity under the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 plan for the future.”

NEOM is planned to provide several development opportunities that will focus on various sectors and industries, including energy, manufacturing, water, biotech, food, and entertainment.

The area designated for the massive development includes 500km of beachfront and comprises desert, islands and mountains rising to a height of 2,500 metres.