Morocco’s $350 mn resort breaks ground

Ground was broken officially in the popular Atlantic coastal town of El Jadida on Monday (25 June) on the first phase of the luxury Mazagan Resort.The $350 million joint venture project that involves Dubai World subsidiary Istithmar PJSC, Kerzner International Holdings Limited, and a cluster of Moroccan Government and private investors.

The Moroccan partners include the Government pension investment fund, CDG Développement, the Moroccan-Emirati investment fund, SOMED, and the mutual insurance companies, La Mutuelle Agricole Marocaine d’Assurances and La Mutuelle Centrale Marocaine d’Assurances MAMDA-MCMA.

Present at the ground breaking event for this unique development was the Prime Minister of Morocco, HE Driss Jettou, and the Minister of Tourism, Craftsmanship and Social Economy, HE Adil Douiri.

Kerzner International Holdings Limited, a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, and luxury hotels, will develop and manage the Mazagaon Resort, which will span 324 hectares of coastal land (when completed the whole resort will cover 514 hectares) and will feature a 500-room, 1,000-bed five star hotel, multiple restaurants including Mediterranean, Portuguese and Moroccan restaurants, a private lounge club, a club House, a buffet restaurant and five light meal restaurants.

This project will be also incorporate kids clubs for children and teens, fantastic pools, gardens and a lagoon area. The resort’s conference centre will house a ballroom for up to 1,000 people, meeting rooms and a board room.

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The Gary Player-designed golf club will offer 18-holes of world-class golf along the coastal strip, surrounded by 150 private residential villas spread out among the undulating dunes adjacent to the beach. The Mazagan Resort will also feature a high quality spa and health centre.

El Jadida is a seaport town and popular tourist resort 175 km north of Marrakesh. It was founded by the Portuguese in 1513.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman, Dubai World, said: ‘His Majesty King Mohamed VI and the people of Morocco hold a special place in our hearts. We are privileged to play a role in the development of this great nation. The Mazagan Resort demonstrates Dubai World’s deep commitment to invest in developmental projects in the Arab world. Istithmar and Kerzner International are eminently placed to execute such a prestigious project in cooperation with our Moroccan partners. We are confident that Mazagan Resort will contribute positively towards Morocco’s image as a preferred tourist destination.’

Once completed, the resort will reflect the rich and colourful architectural language of Morocco’s indigenous building style. The design of the Mazagan resort is intended to capture the essence of Morocco and to provide guests, who will hail from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, including Morocco, with a truly memorable experience.

Sol Kerzner, Chairman and CEO, Kerzner International, said at the ground breaking event in El Jadida:

‘We were drawn to Morocco because of the magnificent appeal of the country and the potential for tremendous tourism growth in the region. It is our goal to work alongside the Government and the Ministry of Tourism, not only to build world-class hotels and facilities, but also to develop a long term sustainable community in this area. We are looking forward to being an integral part of the rich fabric of this unique country for many years to come. “

‘We hope that our development adds impetus to the further growth of the tourism industry in Morocco and that Mazagan will become a destination of choice. By taking a long-term approach to this development, we will help drive job creation in the region and work toward reinvigorating the tourism industry that has been a staple of the Moroccan economy for decades.

‘Without the vision and support of the Moroccan government and H.M King Mohamed VI, we would not be undertaking such a substantial investment and development in Morocco. We are proud to be a part of this renaissance for the Moroccan tourism industry and for the Moroccan nation.’

The construction process for Mazagan is expected to take approximately 25 months, with a targeted completion date in the fourth quarter of 2009.
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