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$930m plan to boost tourism in Bahrain island

Bahrain Real Estate Investment (Edamah), the real estate arm of Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, has announced a $930 million plan to transform Hawar Island into a signature eco-friendly tourism destination with state of the art facilities, in collaboration with a private sector.

Edamah will position Hawar on the world map of island resort living, bolstering the local and regional tourism industry and creating 3000 direct jobs, which will positively impact the domestic economy, according to the Bahrain News Agency (BNA) report.

An archipelago comprising 35 islands and spanning over 51 million sq m south east of the kingdom’s mainland, Hawar makes a compelling destination for an eco-friendly experience.

With over 80 per cent of the land declared a wildlife preservation zone, Hawar is home to the world’s largest breeding for the Socotra cormorant bird, the dugong seacow, the Arabian oryx, reem gazelle, extensive sea grass and amazing coral.

The ambitious project will be developed in two phases, stated the report.

The Phase One will involve the development of a 350-key five-star lagoon resort and 150 eco-friendly apartments and villas, while the second phase will see the renovation of the 100-year old Hawar mosque and the development of a bird research centre, a 150-key boutique hotel and a heritage souq besides 155 residential villas and a 200-key wellness resort and spa.

The construction work is due to begin next year, with the resort opening date scheduled for 2019. The second stage of the development is due for completion by the end of 2021, added the report.

Reiterating the company’s commitment to transform Hawar into a global destination, Mahmood Hashim Alkooheji, the acting chief executive officer, said: “Edamah’s strategy for Hawar is considered two tier: renovating and further developing the existing Hawar resort and developing a new eco-friendly offering along 100 hectares of the northern coast to allow visitors to experience its environmental significance and majestic scenery.”

He was speaking at a press conference on Sunday at Edamah’s offices in Arcapita building, Bahrain Bay along with other senior officials.

According to him, the island offers solid foundations and opportunities for further developments that will boost the tourism industry and positively impact the local economy.

“To complement Hawar islands’ wildlife reserve, Edamah is developing an eco-friendly offering along 100 hectares of the northern coast to allow visitors to experience its environmental significance and majestic scenery,” he added.

Ahmed Al Janahi, the vice chairman of Sothern Area Development Company (SADC), pointed out that the existing Hawar resort was undergoing a complete revamp, with renovation works well underway.

The hotel is due to open its doors to visitors in July to coincide with Eid Al Fitr, he stated.

Al Janahi reiterated that the current plan for the existing resort is not only focused on renovating the existing hotel, but also aims to transform the area into a signature tourism destination, which offers water sports activities and entertainment, food and beverages (F&B) facilities and much more.

He also stated that Southern Tourism Company will be providing state of the art transportation facilities from the kingdom’s mainland to and from Hawar.

“In addition to the development of the existing resort, consultants have been appointed to build 50 luxury chalets in various areas of the islands,” revealed Al Janahi.

“Two model villas will be completed this year, which will form the pilot work for the remaining chalets. SADC is also in the process of renovating 16 serviced apartments located opposite of the current resort, in addition to the landscaping works and beach cleanup undertaken,” he added.

Mireille Babti, the chief development officer of Edamah, said preserving the environment and promoting healthy living was at the heart of its development’s strategy.

“We are promoting an offering to cater to diverse lifestyles and socioeconomic conditions, and we aim to transform Hawar into an eco-friendly offering that intertwines with nature to provide an experience of barefoot luxury that is second to none,” she noted.

“In doing so, the team is conscious of developing Northern Hawar in a holistic manner, promoting sustainability and innovation, while preserving the raw wilderness of the habitat,” she added.

Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/CONS_308178.html