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IFA, Tijaria’s $50m JV To Develop Vacation Club

IFA, Tijaria’s $50m JV To Develop Vacation Club

The $50 million joint venture would fill a current market gap, a company executive said.

International hotel developer IFA Hotels and Resorts (IFA HR) has announced a joint venture with Kuwait-based Tijaria to launch their first vacation club business in the region.

The club, named Aria International, is worth $50 million and was announced during the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC).

“Aria Vacation Club is the first Middle-Eastern backed vacation club with the capacity to dominate markets in MENA, South East Asia, Europe and North America,” said Talal Al-Bahar, chairman and Group CEO, IFA HR.

“We have done our research and have addressed previous barriers to this market. We have a number of world-class assets in our stable, a proven executive team in place, the capacity to leverage the region’s most comprehensive consumer finance solution and a well-respected JV partner in Tijaria.”

He added that the club would fill a current market gap.

Abdul Fatah M. R. Marafie, chairman & managing director, Al-Tijaria added: “Timeshare is a $14 billion global business, of which the Middle East is the smallest contributor at roughly $36 million.

“When compared to another emerging market – Africa – which represents approximately $616 million, the room for growth is staggering. That makes it an extremely appealing concept to investors looking for new opportunities to expand their global reach.”

Despite its focus on the home market, the club also has aggressive global expansion plans, according to company executives.

“Aria’s geographic footprint is geared toward serving its home market,” said Joe Sita, CEO of IFA Hotel Investments, the asset management arm of IFA HR.

“Our initial focus is on growing the Club into key locations such as London, Singapore and Makkah. Expansion into tourism hot-spots and growth areas that are highly attractive to both Middle Eastern and other regional travellers such as Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia are also a priority.”

The points based vacation club is expected to begin operation in 18 months, which will coincide with the opening of IFA HR’s flagship Dubai property Kingdom Of Sheba on the crescent of Palm Jumeirah.

“We are planning to use Kingdom of Sheba as the ‘home resort’ for the programme, but we are also in discussions with additional investors, developers and hospitality partners. If another project of the right calibre comes on board and everything lines up, we see no reason to wait for Aria’s consumer launch,” said Sita.

IFA HR also recently launched a new Dhs1 billion residential resort on Palm Jumeirah Island.

The project, which is named ‘The 8’, will replicate the style of Miami Beach and will add around 300 units to Palm Jumeirah’s property inventory, the hotel developer said.

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