Q&A Ahmed Al-Fahim, executive director of marketing, communications, sales and leasing, TDIC

28 January 2013

Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company offers residential projects that appeal to a broad range of investors

MEED: What are TDIC’s key achievements to date?

Ahmed Al-Fahim: Since 2007, we have launched several joint-venture hotel projects across Abu Dhabi city. In 2009, our landmark Qasr al-Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara in the Liwa Desert opened, while our flagship development, Saadiyat Island, has achieved amazing success following the completion of Sheikh Khalifa Bridge in 2009, linking Saadiyat to Abu Dhabi via a 27-kilometre expressway. The opening of the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in January 2010 put Saadiyat on the map, not just as a world-class golfing venue, but as an exclusive destination for cultural, leisure and residential offerings. Work is also well under way on the Saadiyat Cultural District and its world-class museums.

What makes your developments environmentally sustainable?

We are committed to ensuring sustainability principles are embedded throughout Saadiyat’s development.

TDIC ensures reduction in resource use and energy consumption through international green-building standards and the implementation of [UAE-based] Estidama Pearl Rating System guidelines, sustainable lighting and irrigation strategies and sustainable transport, water consumption and waste management.

Measures to protect and enhance the Saadiyat Beach dune ecosystem have been implemented

Ahmed al-Fahim, TDIC

Island master planning has incorporated designs to reduce the impact on mangrove and wetland areas with the establishment of an inter-tidal mangrove nursery that has produced more than 700,000 seedlings. TDIC has worked with industry experts to monitor and manage the mangrove habitat, and training sessions have been provided to contractors and consultants.

Measures to protect and enhance the Saadiyat Beach dune ecosystem have also been implemented to allow the nesting of endangered hawksbill turtles to continue.

Why should third parties invest in TDIC’s projects?

In line with Abu Dhabi’s 2030 Economic Vision, TDIC is helping create destinations that ensure a long-term future for the emirate’s tourism industry by creating lifetime investment opportunities and offering top-end properties to the market.

TDIC has seen strong investor and homeowner demand for its properties on Saadiyat, with its renowned brands and premium-quality offerings becoming key selling points in today’s competitive market.

We also offer options for sale, lease and lease-to-own. At The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, 98 per cent of the apartments dedicated for leasing at The Residences have been let. The Eastern Mangroves Residences have witnessed phenomenal interest, with more than 75 per cent of the first phase of luxury waterfront apartments leased less than a month after launch.

We strongly believe we offer an outstanding choice for investors as our high-end quality products are financially viable for the long term. They are also located in safe and socially stable environments and represent remarkable investment opportunities with very promising returns.

How is the over-supply of hotels and residential properties in the Abu Dhabi market affecting your business?

Many factors affect the real estate sector, including the competitive market we are in today, the maturity of investors and availability of liquidity. Developers need to provide significant options and offerings in order to create demand for their products.

TDIC offers residential projects that appeal to a broad range of investors, prospective tenants and homeowners, allowing the company to achieve successful results and preserve its position in the real estate sector. The property market has started to show healthy signs of recovery, evident in increased interest in TDIC’s residential offerings. For those hesitant to enter the property market, our lease-to-own programmes provide a security blanket.

Our hotels and resorts have distinctive characteristics and are located in exclusive settings: serene, prime, city waterfront locations surrounded by lush mangroves and on islands next to world-class cultural institutions and beachfront championship golf courses. Each of our hotels has its own unique selling points, which is why we are seeing tremendous demand and success in their performance.

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