Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, 28th July 2013: The development of Hawar Islands, a key tourist destination in Bahrain and home to a unique eco-system that draws thousands of tourists from around the world, has been a top priority for Southern Area Development Company (“SADC”), which is owned jointly by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co (“Mumtalakat”), Social Insurance Organization (“SIO”), and Eskan Bank.
SADC announced today the signing of a Lease Agreement with VK Universal Property Management Company (“VK Universal”) to lease, operate and manage Hawar Islands' hotel facilities, which are set to be operational by year end. The ceremony, held at Mumtalakat's offices, was attended by Chief Executive Office of Mumtalakat, SADC Board of Directors and The Chairman and Senior Management of AL Namal & VK Universal. Under the terms of the agreement, the hotel will be operated by Best Western International Inc., which owns Best Western Hotels.
Commenting on the signing Mumtalakat's Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mahmood Hashim Al Kooheji, said: “As the investment arm of the Kingdom of Bahrain, we actively support the growth of the Kingdom's burgeoning tourism sector. Hawar Islands are of particular strategic importance to these efforts due to its location, unique environment and its potential for development. We look forward to working with our partners to position Hawar Islands as an ecofriendly tourism destination.'
The development of Hawar Islands is expected to contribute considerably to the growth of the Kingdom's hotel and tourism sector, which has seen a significant 26% growth in 2012 according to the EDB Q1 Report (February 2013) – ‘Looking at 2012'.
Commenting on the signing ceremony, Mrs. Sabah Al Moayyed, Chairman of SADC said, “We are committed to the rejuvenation of tourist facilities across Hawar Islands and the Southern Region of the Kingdom, in cooperation with reputed and experienced industry experts. Therefore we are pleased to announce the signing of this agreement with VK Universal which brings wide-ranging experience in the development of world class tourism projects across the region and internationally. We are certain that this project will support Hawar Islands' unique offerings and attract more tourists in the future, ultimately benefiting the Kingdom's standing as a tourist destination.”
Mr. Varghese Kurian, Chairman and Managing Director of VKL Group stated, “We are very proud to sign this contract with Southern Area Development Company to promote Hawar Islands' tourism and hospitality services. Hawar Islands are a beautiful group of islands recognised as a world heritage site due to the island's unique environment, which attracts tourists for the ambience, water sports, local culture and the relaxed friendly atmosphere. We are committed to promoting tourism opportunities for families, individuals and corporates in unique settings such as these, and VK Universal will work with SADC to draw on the strengths of both organisations to build and promote sustainable tourism ventures. We are thrilled to have signed this agreement with SADC and we are very optimistic that this partnership will encourage international tourists to visit the Island due to its diverse ecology and the cultural activities on offer.”
Phase one of the renovation of the hotel facilities is set to commence imminently to renovate and refurbish the hotel facilities, upgrade the serviced apartment buildings, clean and modify the existing hotel beach and landscaping and paving works. Phase two of the re-development will see a further expansion of the hotel through the construction of additional hotel wings adding a capacity of 100 keys, along with a seafood restaurant and two multi-purpose halls. In addition to the plans announced today, the hotel will also contain restaurants, a gym, a number of meeting rooms, swimming pools, and access to the beach and water sports facilities.