The Bear Grylls Survival Academy will offer a variety of courses on wilderness training and expedition leadership in a desert setting. Gemma Harris reports

Saudi Arabia may be a controversial country for a lot of people but that isn’t stopping Western travel brands from working with them. Next up is renowned survivalist Bear Grylls, who is set to launch an outpost of his adventure academy in Saudi Arabia in partnership with multi-project developer Red Sea Global.

The Bear Grylls Survival Academy (BGSA) will provide opportunities to learn team-building skills, wilderness education and desert survival techniques through various courses designed by Bear Grylls himself – a former British Special Forces operative and TV presenter. BGSAs can also be found in Greece and Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE.

John Pagano, group CEO of Red Sea Global, says: “Bear Grylls is known the world over for his exhilarating and adrenaline-pumping adventures in nature’s most challenging environments. Yet, always at the heart of these exploits is the central message that nature plays a profound role in shaping us as people – instilling strength, resilience, self-belief and teamwork.

“We believe that everyone should have the chance to follow their sense of adventure and will work with the Bear Grylls Survival Academy team to develop outdoor experiences for all, whether adults or young people, irrespective of physical and cognitive ability.”Saudi desertThe Academy will offer not only survival training but also physical and mental wellbeing programmes in conjunction with Red Sea Global’s adventure sports brand, Akun.

Red Sea Global also says that it is “committed to recruiting and training local outdoor enthusiasts in the art of survival and expedition leadership, creating hundreds of jobs for Saudis in a new industry for the Kingdom”. It says: “This group of local adventurers could end up working in Bear Grylls Survival Academies around the Kingdom, leading courses themselves and creating a new generation of survivalists and adventure-seekers.”

Paul Gardiner, BGSA managing director, says: “From its steep mountains to its deep wadi valleys, across sand dunes, canyons and coastlines, The Red Sea in Saudi Arabia has some of the most diverse natural environments we’ve ever seen. We look forward to developing a series of BGSA’s signature challenges and assets that allow people to test and ultimately overcome their own limits and expectations.

“The fact that Red Sea Global has pledged to make this a wholly inclusive guest experience aligns perfectly with the Academy’s mission to bring a sense of achievement and the principle of Never Give Up to as many people as we can.”

The Red Sea project is poised to welcome its first guests with a fully operational international airport and the recent launch of the Kingdom’s first seaplane company, Fly Red Sea. Before the end of the year, the Six Senses Southern Dunes will open, followed by the upcoming opening of Amaala, remaining on track to welcome guests in early 2025.