Qatar exports tourism development

Qatari Diar’s Al Houara Resort in Tangier, Morocco

IN addition to developing its own tourism industry, Qatar has recently been expanding its overseas investments in the sector.

The latest move has been in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Qatari-government-owned Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment and Development Company and the government of Eritrea. Qatari Diar plans to invest in, develop and construct several tourism projects along the Eritrean coast, specifically in the Dahlak Kebir island area. The company already has other North African developments scheduled – for Egypt, Sudan and Morocco, and has opened an office in Cairo to act as a regional centre. It is also in the process of establishing Qatari Diar - Asmara for its development of the Eritrean projects.  Other Qatari Diar projects have been revealed for Ras al-Hadd in Oman and Lattakia in Syria. Officials say the company has identified as many as 22 destinations around the globe for similar investments. 
Qatari Diar was expected to approve the conceptual design for a $250 million to $300 million development in Sharm El Sheikh during the first quarter of 2007; the project is expected to include a hotel, condominiums, villas and an aquatic park, spa, retail facilities, dive centre, beach club and art gallery covering a total built-up area of 135,000 square metres. Qatari Diar also signed a deal to buy and develop a Thomas Cook-owned property located on the banks of the river Nile in Cairo.
Last November, Qatar's First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani, who is also Chairman of Qatari Diar, said the company was in talks with Britain’s Ministry of Defence to buy the 13-acre (5.2 hectare) property known as Chelsea Barracks, located in the heart of London. Martin Lloyd, of the property arm of the MoD, was quoted by the UK press as saying Chelsea Barracks could be worth about £250m ($484.4m). 
By Gina Coleman