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The New Arab

Austerity amnesia: Saudi king splurges $100m on Moroccan holiday

King Salman's Tangier retreat is said to be his favourite foreign property [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 22 August, 2017

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Saudi king single-handedly boosts Morocco's expected tourism revenue with lavish $100 million stay in private holiday complex.

Details have emerged about Saudi monarch King Salman's recent holiday in Morocco, which will reportedly cost the royal coffers $100 million.

The king's seaside splurge in the coastal city of Tangier is expected to account for 1.5 percent of Morocco's foreign tourism revenue this year, which is projected to reach $6.5 billion, according to Haaretz.

Arriving at Tangier airport accompanied by an entourage of around 1,000 people in late July, the king was greeted by Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani before cruising to his 74-acre purpose-built summer palace.

Prior to the month-long trip, the royal entourage booked 800 hotel rooms, leased 200 cars and employed top catering companies.

The king's summer retreat near Cape Spartel is said to be his favourite, complete with luxury restaurants, medical facilities and helipads.

The luxury complex underwent huge renovation works last year, which added several new buildings and facilities for entertaining guests.

Last year, the king's royal party was escorted around Tangier by an entourage of 100 black Mercedes and Range Rovers, according to The New York Times.

While Saudi royals are notoriously known for their expensive habits, unstable oil prices and an enormous deficit have paved the way for a number of austerity measures implemented by Riyadh.

The cuts, which affected public sector bonuses and subsidies, caused a public backlash that led to some austerity measures being reversed.

With Riyadh recently reporting positive results of its deficit-slashing programme, however, perhaps the king felt deserving of a small treat.

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