Aqaba is set to become a major tourist destination with the announcement of two major tourist developments, worth more than $1,200 million, at the Cityscape exhibition in Dubai on 29 November. Called Ayla Oasis and Tala Bay, the two projects will be the kingdom's first integrated resort and residential communities.
Engineering work is under way on the estimated $700 million Ayla Oasis project. The development, which includes 3,000 residential units, five hotels, a marina village, an artificial lagoon and an 18-hole golf course, will be built in three four-year phases according to a masterplan drawn up by the US' EDSA. Prequalification for the first phase is expected to take place by the end of the third quarter, with an award made by the end of 2005. The developer is Ayla Oasis Development Company, owned by Saudi Arabia's Arab Supply & Trading Establishment (ASTRA)and Bahrain's Al-Maseera Investment Company. The local Aqaba Gulf Contracting Companyis already carrying out the three-year phase 1 construction work on the estimated $500 million Tala Bay project, located 14 kilometres south of Aqaba. The scope of works includes the construction of 300 residential units, 120 commercial units, three hotels, a beach club and a marina. The remaining two phases will expand the site to include a golf course, hospital and additional residential and commercial units. The development will be built over 15 years. Tala Bay's developer is Jordan Projects for Tourism Development, a public shareholding company. US architectural firm EllerbeBecket prepared the project's masterplan. Italian architect Alfredo Freda drew up the masterplan and concept design for the marina.
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