- SAR 159m agreement signed with leading French cybersecurity firm Thales at Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh will safeguard landmarks, buildings, and important locations across AlUla
- Advanced security and safety solutions will be integrated into RCU’s smart digital platforms to provide 24/7 surveillance and control at public sites as well as buildings housing important archaeological artefacts
In April 2018, Saudi Arabia and France signed an intergovernmental agreement on the sustainable development of the AlUla region and its transformation into a world-class cultural and tourist destination.
Born from this agreement, the French Agency for the Development of AlUla (AFALULA) aims to mobilize all French expertise (experts, operators, companies) and to support, within a co-construction framework, its Saudi partner, the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU).
The Agency brings together some of the world’s best experts in all the key areas of the project: museography, archaeology, architecture and urban planning, agriculture and botany, tourism, education, infrastructure, horses, security, water and environmental management.
The joint desire of Saudi Arabia and France is to implement, through the AlUla project, a new model of economic and touristic development focused on the preservation of the environment, respectful of history, territories and inclusive of the local population. This component of sustainable development is at the heart of the bilateral agreement signed between the two nations.
On October 25, 2023, during the 7th edition of the FII Forum held in Riyadh, a major partnership has been signed with the French group Thales for the sustainable protection of heritage sites and historic landmarks.
“The signing of this ambitious contract with the French group Thales demonstrates the multi-sectoral and high-level expertise we are making available to the Royal Commission for AlUla. We are fully committed within the framework of the intergovernmental agreement of 10 April 2018, alongside our Saudi partners, to make AlUla a global reference for sustainable development. This cooperation is also a reminder of the excellence of our French companies in cutting-edge technologies designed to facilitate the sustainable management of territories, to create responsible and safe environments and unique living spaces for all.” Jean-Yves Le Drian, Chairman of AFALULA
The contract signed with Thales covers the sustainable protection of AlUla, its historical treasures, its population and international visitors.
AlUla’s world-renowned collection of ancient artefacts, important cultural landmarks, and heritage assets will be protected around the clock using the latest digital technology and surveillance equipment as part of a new SAR 159 million ($42m) security agreement between Thales and the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU).
This Strategic Security Integration Project will see experts from the French cybersecurity firm work closely with RCU to install and maintain a range of security devices and safety solutions. The project will safeguard and continuously monitor areas of cultural and historic importance across AlUla. It will also expand to key urban and rural sites for the protection of AlUla’s community of residents, businesses, and visitors.
Home to numerous historic artefacts and ancient treasures of national and global importance, protecting AlUla County’s considerable cultural cache from harm, including damage from vandalism or even theft, is a major undertaking that requires the proven expertise of international specialists Thales.
The agreement strengthens a partnership signed between RCU and Thales in Paris in 2021 to drive forward RCU’s smart and sustainable city development goals across archaeology, tourism, culture, education, and the arts, in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan.
In order to guarantee the safety of everything from the Nabatean tombs of Hegra to natural formations such as Elephant Rock and other landmarks, the project will employ state-of-the-art security systems all connected to RCU’s Integrated Smart Operations Centre for centralised and efficient operations, enabling security teams to respond to any and all violations or threats.
The latest agreement between RCU and Thales highlights AlUla’s growing status as an important cultural, heritage, and tourism destination that attracts increasing numbers of visitors from around the globe each year, all eager to experience AlUla’s unique living museum.