KSA firm to invest $100m in Maldives

Updated 11 March 2014

KSA firm to invest $100m in Maldives

A Riyadh-based real estate investment and development firm announced on Monday its plans to develop a tourist property worth $100 million, which promises to offer lucrative investment opportunities for Saudi investors.
The Best Choice Real Estate Development plans to develop a tourist resort in Vadinolhu Island, located in Laamu Atoll in the Maldives, which will be ready in 2017.
The company plans to develop Vadinolhu Island’s seven-hectare area as an eco-friendly five-star resort based on the Maldivian Resort Island concept. The premium resort will feature 100 beach villas, including water bungalows and luxury suites and will offer world-class dining services, wellness facilities, and leisure activities. The site is being developed as a perfect getaway for tourists, while offering significant returns on investment to financiers.
Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, is currently visiting the Maldives on an official visit, as part of his Asia tour.
“The Maldives offers tremendous investment opportunities, especially in the hospitality sector, as it has rapidly emerged as a destination of choice for international tourists. Our aim is to develop Vadinolhu Island as a high-end resort with world-class facilities to promote it as a complete family destination,” Mohamad Rabih Itani, CEO of Best Choice Real Estate, said.
“We have already designed a business proposal targeting potential investors to collaborate with us in the operation and management of the resort. We are confident of achieving an operating profit in the second year with the cash payback period at six years,” he added.
The Maldives is one of the most recent investment destinations in South Asia; its tourist rate has been on the rise since 2012 and it is expected to attract 1.2 million visitors by the end of 2014. Its exotic beauty, panoramic view and clear waters have made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the past few years.
Due to its investment-friendly policies, the Southeast Asian Island offers attractive opportunities to keen investors, especially those interested in resort management.
Vadinolhu Island is an unexplored isle in close proximity to the domestic airport and offers immense potential for investors.
Best Choice is emerging as a property solutions provider of choice via its strategic mix of high-end developments, market research, and professional staff.
With headquarters in Bahrain and branches in Turkey and Maldives, the firm offers end-to-end real estate investment and development solutions focusing on international markets and major regional destinations.


Etihad and Air Arabia start Abu Dhabi-based budget carrier

Updated 46 min 7 sec ago

Etihad and Air Arabia start Abu Dhabi-based budget carrier

  • The new Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will be launched in due course: Etihad CEO
  • Etihad invested heavily in carriers around the world

LONDON: Etihad Airways is setting up a low-cost carrier with Air Arabia in what is a major change of direction for the Abu Dhabi-based airline.
It represents Etihad’s first tie-up with another airline since its ill-fated equity alliance strategy which saw it take stakes in a number of struggling European carriers, some of which went bust, including Air Berlin.
Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will operate from Abu Dhabi International Airport and will target rising demand from the budget segment, the pair said in a statement on Wednesday.
Etihad Group CEO Tony Douglas said: “This exciting partnership supports our transformation program and will offer our guests a new option for low-cost travel to and from Abu Dhabi, supplementing our own services.”
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Dubai-based Emirates invested heavily in their premium-cabin offering during the UAE’s boom years, tapping into strong regional demand for business and first-class travel. However, the sharp fall in oil prices since 2014 and a regional economic slowdown has hit premium travel hard and forced both carriers to cut costs and lay off staff.
Etihad’s move into the low-cost segment mirrors a similar partnership between Emirates and flydubai, the low- cost carrier started in 2008.
Etihad and Air Arabia did not say when flights would start or which routes would be served, but that further details “would be communicated in the near future.”
While premium travel continues to face headwinds in the Gulf, demand remains strong in the budget segment. Low-cost carriers accounted for a 17 percent share of seat capacity to and from the Middle East in 2018, compared to only 8 percent in 2009. 
Etihad Airways currently flies to about 80 destinations with a fleet of 108 Airbus and Boeing aircraft that carried 17.8 million passengers in 2018. Air Arabia, which is listed on the Dubai Financial Market, operates 54 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft and serves 170 routes.