Istithmar pitches in for Zanzibar resort

Istithmar is to invest US$ 150 million in developing a new luxury resort in Zanzibar, following a strategic agreement between the company and the Zanzibar government.The 76-hectare site at Muyuni Beach will contain a 50-room residence and spa retreat, and a 150-room luxury hotel. Both of the developments will be operated by international luxury hotel brands.

In addition, private luxury beach villas will be developed for sale at the resort, as well as a fisherman’s village and water-sports centre, a sports club and children’s centre. All developments will make the most of the access to the three kilometre length of Muyuni Beach. The land overlooks a marine reserve comprising four distinct habitats which are home to a diverse array of Indian Ocean wildlife including green turtles, humpback whales, whale sharks and more than 600 species of coral reef fish.

Sultan Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai World, the parent company of Istithmar, said, “Our strategy is to develop a balanced portfolio of properties across the world in markets that will deliver the returns that we and our partners seek. Zanzibar is one of the world’s upcoming destinations and we believe that this resort will become a major contributor not just to the Istithmar portfolio, but also to the local economy and local people.”

“This is the second Indian Ocean development deal completed by Dubai World this month - following our recently cemented partnership with the government of Comoros. It marks another clear step forward in our growing relationship with Africa, which is fast becoming a major focus of our investment strategy.”

Work on the US$ 150 million project is to start immediately, with completion targeted for 2009.

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Muyuni Beach is situated on an exclusive part of Zanzibar and overlooks an atoll of coral reefs boasting some of Africa’s leading dive sites. Mnemba, a 45-minute drive from Zanzibar City, is home to the island’s famous Stone Town, a world heritage centre. The destination is a three-hour flight from Johannesburg and only a 15 minute flight from Dar Es Salam.
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