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Vietnam is becoming an attractive destination for investors from the Middle East, especially billionaires from the oil-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Dubai-based Kingdom Hotels Investments (KHI) is involved in a property project in the central coast city of Danang, with each high-class unit costing US$1 million.

The Raffles Residences is part of the Raffles Danang Resort and Residences project capitalized at US$65 million. The project comprises three buildings covering 15 hectares in the Non Nuoc Beach.

This will be KHI’s first property project in Vietnam, marking the company’s continued expansion in Asia.

Raffles Hotels & Resorts, a strategic partner of Kingdom Hotel Investments, is a collection of luxury hotels and resorts worldwide, according to the company.

The ongoing project helps KHI to “be well positioned to offer the market a leading international hotel property” as inbound leisure and business tourism is growing steadily in Vietnam.

Raffles Hotels & Resorts is owned by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, a leading global hotel company with over 88 hotels worldwide under the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel brands. The company also owns Fairmont and Raffles branded residences, estates and luxury private residence club properties.

KHI is the leading publicly listed hospitality real estate investment company focusing on high growth emerging markets, particularly those in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.

Jeff Tisdall, vice president for real estate of KHI, says Vietnam’s leisure, business tourism and investment opportunities are in a phase of enormous growth, with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism reporting a 15.7% rise in international tourist arrivals in the first quarter alone.

“Our premium location and luxury residences offer a unique opportunity to acquire beachfront real estate in a fast-growing destination with excellent international connections,” he said.

KHI continues to explore future expansion opportunities in the region.

Another Middle East company, Saudi Arabia’s Jehan Holding Group, last year obtained the initial go-ahead from the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong to invest US$1 billion in a high-end resort in Dalat. The resort will include villas and international-standard recreation facilities.

Prior to that, the real estate trading group Sama Dubai gave out plans to get involved in some projects in HCMC.
Many other hotel and resort industry companies from Saudi Arabia are now looking to invest in Vietnam.

Dubai World of UAE is developing two projects in Vietnam, with one of them being the US$500-million Halong Star complex in Halong Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh and the other being the Saigon Premier Container Terminal in HCMC’s Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park worth some US$250 million.

Limitless LLC, a unit of Dubai World, will cooperate with the local firm Saigon Fuel Shipping Co., Ltd, or Safuco, to develop a project comprising an industrial park, a new urban town, a port, and luxury hotels with billions of dollars needed.

Dubai World, via its subsidiary Limitless LLC, plans to invest billions of dollars to build a new urban area in HCMC’s Cu Chi District. It also has plans to cooperate with Tan Thuan Industrial Promotion Company to form a joint venture to develop 2,000 hectares of land at the Hiep Phuoc industrial and port town in Nha Be District into a port and a town.

Vietnam’s fast-growing economy, political stability and young population all have led to decisions to choose Vietnam as one of the new investment destinations.

According to international experts, the steady oil price increase over the last four or five years, which saw one barrel of oil rocketing from US$20 to more than US$100, has brought colossal profit to investors in the Middle East. The investors are planning to invest these vast sums of money in other countries.

Analysts believe that the investment capital from UAE will flow into the fields of construction, real estate, port and tourism.

This is a valuable opportunity for Vietnam to attract major investment from UAE businesses into key projects.
That is the reason why Qatar Airways is pressing ahead with a major plan to operate more flights between the Qatari capital of Doha and Vietnam’s southern economic hub of HCMC as seat occupancy is continuing to rise. Ali M. Al Rais, executive vice president commercial of Qatar Airways, told reporters in HCMC last month that the airline was using Airbus A330-300s for its four weekly flights between Doha and HCMC, but expected to increase the number of flights to five or above. Soon after launching four non-stop flights a week in March last year, the airline upgraded its aircraft to the Airbus A330-300s in respond to growing passenger demand.

One of the reasons for increasing flights between Qatar and Vietnam is that there are more people from the Middle East flying to Vietnam to sound out business opportunities.

Soource: The Saigon Times Daily

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