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French Version

Saraya Aqaba on a crest

Lebanese tycoon Saad Rafic Hariri announced at the recent World Economic Forum in the Dead Sea the launch of the $362 million Saraya Aqaba project at the port city in partnership between the public and private sectors for a 610,000-square-meter waterfront complex.

The plan envisages five 5-star hotels built around a lagoon and other residential properties.

The space will be filled out with beaches, restaurants and entertainment outlets, an aquarium, bazaar, health club and a convention center.

Construction is expected to take three to five years and will create over 3000 jobs both directly and indirectly. The number of visitors to Jordan is rising again after a sharp decline following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Three five-star hotels are now under construction in Aqaba, which offers the sea and sand that tourism officials are keen to promote, and also proximity to the serene and Spartan beauty of Wadi Rum and the country’s premier cultural attraction, the ancient stone city of Petra. Saraya Aqaba’s partners include Saraya Jordan Real Estate Development, the Social Security Corporation (SSC), Arab Bank, and the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC). Atlas Investment Group, a member of the Arab Bank Group, has been appointed lead manager for a $120 million private placement.

Majority owner Sheikh Saad Rafic Hariri established the Amman-based Saraya Jordan in April. “We are looking to the future, and what this new development aims to do is create a captivating vibrant environment, with a high quality infrastructure that will meet the needs of today’s tourist and business communities both internally and externally, as well as become a beacon highlighting excellence in visionary planning, implementation and quality management,” Sheikh Hariri said. “The spirit of creativity brought to life through the development of Saraya Aqaba will deliver an inspiring, sustainable development of the highest quality with a wide range of job opportunities,” he added. Saad Hariri’s timing appears sound, as tourism statistics in 2004 showed improvement from the previous year. Visitor arrivals to hotels rose by 40 percent compared with 2003 to reach 2.1 million.

Tourists on package tours typically stayed longer: The average visit lasted 5.02 nights in 2004, up from 4.45 nights in 2003. The total of nights spent in hotels increased by 34 percent, from approximately 3.816 million nights in 2003, to 5.033 million nights in 2004. It was reported last week that at least 10 new hotels were sprouting up around the country, including the three 5-star hotels on Aqaba’s shoreline. The first is expected to open in June and is called the Aqaba Intercontinental Hotel. It will have 255 rooms overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba and will have the largest swimming pool in the city. The hotel will be the fifth in Jordan managed by the InterContinental Hotels Group, after the Holiday Inn, the Crowne Plaza, Amra Amman and the Crowne Plaza Resort Petra.

Nearby Tala Bay, an upscale resort is expected to offer three more hotels with a combined total of 900 rooms in coming years. Zara Investment Holding, which owns six other 5-star hotels in Jordan, including the Aqaba, Petra and Dead Sea Mövenpick hotels, will build the 350-room South Marina Beach Hotel. Qatar’s Al Qamar Investment is developing the 5-star, 320-room, Marina Beach Hotel. The Oxford Business Group Saraya Aqaba on a crest

The Star

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Media of 1stjordan
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The 'First Jordan' Card
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Sole Agent for Philips & Whirlpool in Lebanon
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