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Al Marjan Island banks on tourism to drive developer interest

Rohma Sadaqat /Dubai
rohma@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 13, 2017
Al Marjan Island banks on tourism to drive developer interest
Abdullah Al Abdooli, MD of Al Marjan Island looking at the island's scale model during Cityscape Global at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

(Photo by Dhes Handumon)

Al Marjan Island is looking forward to a growing influx of visitors in the coming years, which will solidify the destination's attractiveness among developers looking to launch new projects, experts say.

Abdullah Al Abdooli, managing director of Al Marjan Island, told Khaleej Times that Ras Al Khaimah presents a lot of opportunities for developers and investors, especially given the success of the emirate's tourism sector. CBRE confirmed that Ras Al Khaimah is the fastest-growing hospitality and tourist market in the region, with the industry witnessing a growth of 8.7 per cent between 2014 and 2017, surpassing that of the UAE, which has grown 5.7 per cent in the same period.

"Al Marjan Island in particular offers a lot of return on investment for developers," says Al Abdooli. "It is the vision of the government of Ras Al Khaimah to reach three million visitors by 2025. To achieve that number, we need an additional 15,000 hotels keys in the emirate. Out of this number, roughly 8,000 will be in Al Marjan Island. We expect that 4,000 hotel keys will be added at the island by 2020."

Al Marjan Island is a 2.7 million square meter cluster of four man-made islands in upscale Ras Al Khaimah that extends 4.5km into the Arabian Peninsula. The project is home to several luxurious developments including the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa, Marjan Island resort and Spa, and Rixos Bab Al Bahr.

"We've attracted investments from major international investors and global developers that have aided the increase of the residential and hospitality offering," Al Abdooli said. "Around 70 per cent of Al Marjan Island is sold, and 30 per cent is under commercial negotiations. It has taken us about five years to sell this amount, but 100 per cent of the infrastructure has been completed. We have 2,000 residential units already operational since 2014."

The island is all set to welcome two new resort developments to its hospitality portfolio. Fam Holding has acquired a 126,000 square foot plot to develop Al Mahra Resort. The new property is scheduled to open in 2021, with 548 guest rooms, food and beverage outlets, meeting rooms, swimming pool, a wellness club, and a spa and gym. Additionally, the resort will also contain over 5,500 square feet of retail and provides access to the private beach equipped with cabanas and water sports. Construction is slated to begin in early 2017 and will be completed in three to four years.

"We started negotiations with Al Marjan Island last year during Cityscape," said Dr. Faisal Ali Mousa, chairman of Fam Holding. "Ras Al Khaimah is a beautiful destination and we are confident about the success of our project. We are in the final stages of the design and have already opened an escrow account with Dubai Islamic Bank. The market feedback in the first week alone has been amazing, and 20 per cent of the hotel has booked. We expect to sell everything within the next six months. We have a lot of confidence, not just in the destination but also in the emirate as a place to invest."

The other development is a Dh400 million 4-star beachfront project by MR Properties. This is the developer's second project on the island, following the successful operation of the 723 room DoubleTree by Hilton, which has the largest room inventory for Hilton Worldwide in the UAE. The hotel is expected to open by the fourth quarter of 2019, spread over an area of 10,886sqm. Aimed mainly for the business and leisure travellers, the 500-key beachfront development will feature retail, recreation facilities and beach activities.

"Our first development, DoubleTree by Hilton has spelt major success for the island and Ras Al Khaimah, and we are confident that with the development of this second hotel, Al Marjan Island will appeal to visitors from across the world," said Mohammed Ruqait, chairman of MR Properties.

- rohma@khaleejtimes.com

 

author

Rohma Sadaqat

I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.


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