UAE. Dubai World Africa today announced that it will invest US$200 million in the Bilene Hotel, a luxury beach resort, golf estate and eco development along 4 kilometres of exquisite prime beachfront in Mozambique.
Situated in a popular holiday village to the south of the country, just North of Maputo, the resort spans a 1,000 ha and encompasses the 18 kilometre Sao Martinho Lagoon, nature reserve and turtle breeding area. This area is home to the largest of all living turtles, the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). As a sea turtle, the leatherback is the largest and heaviest. It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a shell; instead the leatherback turtle is covered by skin and the turtle's oily flesh. They have been known to grow up to 10 feet long, and eight feet wide.
The nature reserve will be managed by Dubai World Conservation Africa and eco tourism will be of prime focus. Lending to the organisations eco tourism interests, the pristine coral reefs will be of particular interest to wildlife and water recreational sports enthusiasts alike.
Conservation is a key focus area for the company, which is currently establishing Dubai World Conservation Africa as a holding company for a number of prime reserves in Africa.
The Dubai state-owned company, with interests ranging from real estate to ports, is to invest US$150 million in the creation of an international competition standard golf course, a magnificent five-star hotel as well as 500 golf course and beach villas and condos. The resort will be served by its own airport, Bilene Praia.
In additional to extensive watersport facilities the Bilene Hotel will also feature a diving centre giving guests the opportunity to experience some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling on the coast of East Africa, with the rich and varied marine life to be found along spectacular yet uncrowded and in many cases as yet undiscovered coral reefs.
The Dubai World Group’s strategy is to acquire high-end assets in key destinations across the world. Dubai World Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem has indicated that the company will invest about US$1.5 billion in Africa over the next five years.
Dubai World Africa has rapidly and firmly established itself as a contender in Africa’s elite property stakes. It has successfully invested in prime African properties which include the iconic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and the Pearl Valley Signature Golf Estate and Spa, both in Cape Town, South Africa, Le Galawa Beach Hotel in the Comores, Muyuni Beach Resort in Zanzibar and Kempinski Hotel in Djibouti, amongst others.
The company has already demonstrated its commitment to investing in Mozambique, securing an interest in a container terminal in the capital Maputo, which represents the gateway to Southern Africa. Dubai World also recently secured a stake in the company responsible for managing the port of Maputo, together with Grinrod and the Mozambique Ports and Railway Company, CFM.
“Growing tourism appeal and opportunities in Mozambique will serve to boost local economies and to grow both development and conservation projects,” said Sultan bin Sulayem. "We are bringing to Bilene all the necessary resources, skills and expertise that have helped us transform Dubai into the iconic city that it is today. We have the chance to create a truly world-class resort."
Sultan bin Sulayem lists Africa alongside China and India as the group’s hotspots for investment. “There are vast opportunities in Africa, opportunities unlike anywhere else in the world, such as the magnificent Bilene Hotel. Our presence on the continent places us at an advantage for African investment,” added Sultan bin Sulayem.
Dubai World Africa CEO James Wilson explains that the company has a dedicated team seeking investment opportunities in Africa. “We have a long term commitment to Mozambique and the region to ensure that Bilene becomes one of the leading tourist destinations on the continent and in the world,” Wilson noted. “The investment demonstrates confidence in the Mozambique economy and signals strengthening commercial links between the Middle East and Africa."
Wilson said he believes there are strong synergies between Dubai World Africa’s tourism investments on the continent and particularly between neighbours Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. “The huge potential of enhanced tourism collaboration in the region presents many exciting opportunities,” said Wilson.
Mozambican Minister of Tourism Dr Fernando Sumbana Junior said there is great excitement about the Bilene Hotel. “Tourism is the industry of the future and this magnificent resort will serve to promote Mozambique internationally as a superb destination, not only for tourists but also for trade,” said Sumbana.
"We welcome and encourage the development of tourism infrastructure in our country which offers a combination of virgin natural resources and a popular culture to make tourists feel at home,” Sumbana enthuses.
The minister stresses that tourism is a commercial activity which should be driven by the private sector. “Dubai World Africa’s commitment will play an important role in enhancing Mozambique’s status as an international tourism destination of choice.”