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Oman launches 'The Wave' - a premium resort development
Oman's largest tourism development to date has been launched to the international press and has been named 'The Wave'.

An illustration of The Wave
Stretching along 7.3 kilometers of pristine beachfront just west of Muscat and occupying 195 hectares (2mln sqm), the $ 805 million (RO 310mn) resort project is ready for development.

'The Wave is designed to contribute to the experience of Oman, a country with a fascinating heritage and astonishing natural beauty,' explained H.E. Mohsin bin Khamis Al-Balushi, Oman's Under Secretary of Tourism, at the launch party. 'We have a clear vision for The Wave which will be a fully integrated premium tourism and residential resort in Oman. The country offers graceful living in an authentic atmosphere unspoiled by commercial excesses, and is not flooded by low-end package tours.' Indeed, Oman is emerging as a new destination for the upscale traveler and international resident, with full government support to strengthen this trend.

With the Sultanate of Oman contributing the original land and part of the equity, domestic and international investors are invited to join forces with the government. 'This project is part of the Government's strategic plan in developing the Tourism sector. It's a unique opportunity for investors with experience in developing similar large scale projects,' H. E. Mohsin bin Khamis explained.

For the first stage, a projected total of $ 82 million (RO 31 mn) will be invested to reclaim some 400,000 square meters of land, develop the infrastructure and build a golf course, marina and yacht club. Next, developers will invest $ 485 million (RO 186 mn) to construct the hotels, villas, apartments, restaurants, shops and leisure centers for an exclusive resort with a final value of $ 805 million (RO 310 mn).

Comtrust, the e-solutions business unit of Etisalat, recently held a complimentary training session at the Etisalat Academy in Dubai. The three-day seminar offered the UAE’s higher education community, including representatives from Zayed University, UAE University and the Ajman University of Science and Technology, a unique insight into the regional development of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

AV8air unveil a trio of success
Manchester's newest airline - AV8 - is launching three new routes to Dubai, Athens and Port Elizabeth in South Africa. AV8air has been set up by Sale-based independent tour operator CT2.
Dubai will be the first new route to take off with selected departures offered over Christmas and the New Year break and twice weekly flights will start between February and April.

UAE, USD36bn under construction
The Arab Real Estate and Construction Association
said USD36bn is being invested in UAE real estate and infrastructure, and double that amount is expected in the next five years. It placed the UAE at the top of a list of Arab construction markets that includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt.

Rotana, USD490m hotel projects
Abu Dhabi based Rotana Group has launched 10 new regional hotel projects with a total investment value of USD490m. This includes a Dubai beachfront hotel at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, and the world's tallest all-suite hotel, also in Dubai. Other hotel locations will include Doha, Kuwait, Beirut, Damascus and Fujairah.

$5bn Dubailand project stuns local business
Dubai Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has topped all his previous visionary initiatives with the upcoming $5 billion Dubailand theme park.

Dubai has launched one of the biggest construction projects in the world, the $5 billion Dubailand mixed-use theme park, a Middle East answer to Disneyland.

To be built on two billion square feet of land behind the Emirates Road stretching from the back of Emirates Hills down almost to The Creek, the theme park consists of 45 separate projects from a space exploration exhibition to full-size dinosaur enclosure.

Al Habtoor, USD490m projects
The Al Habtoor Group is investing USD490m in construction projects in Beirut and the UAE. At the Dubai Marina USD123m twin towers are being added to the Metropolitan Beach Resort, and the group has bought a 500,000 sqft plot on The Palm Jumeirah which will be handed over next month.

MAF, USD300m Syrian mall
The UAE's Majid Al Futtaim Group has won permission from the Syrian government to build a USD300m shopping mall. MAF already has a Middle East chain of shopping malls from Dubai to Qatar and Oman as well as Egypt. Its Mall of the Emirates is under construction in Dubai.

Construction begins on Qatar's largest real estate project - The Pearl of the Gulf
His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar, today officially inaugurated the State's largest real estate project, the Pearl of the Gulf.


In a move designed to streamline user experience, deliver better services, efficient transaction processing and 24/7 availability, the UAE Ministry of Labour announced today the implementation of a SmartForms portal built in co-partnership with Global Information Technologies (GIT) using Microsoft technologies.

The Ministry had previously achieved significant business gains by transferring all its forms to the SmartForm format. Recognising that further benefits could be achieved through developing the solution into a portal, and thus extending the solution not only to large companies, but also typing centers.

United Arab Emirates

Dolphin Energy Ltd. announced recently that the first shipment of natural gas from Oman under the Dolphin Gas Project has successfully reached Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE). This heralds the first cross-border gas transmission in the history of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Dolphin will transport this gas through its recently completed 24-inch, 182-km gas pipeline to a new power and desalination plant at Fujairah, UAE. Dolphin will supply 135 million cubic feet of gas per day to the UAE once the new cross-border pipeline commissioning process is complete.

VECO appreciated the opportunity to play a part in the Al Ain - Fujairah Project and is very pleased to hear of this historic accomplishment.

UAE contractors invited to bid for Iraq deals

Dubai: Opportunities for subcontractors from the UAE and the GCC region to help rebuild Iraq will be spelt out at a special meeting here next week.

Representatives from eight US companies that won $6.7 billion worth of contracts will meet potential subcontractors in Dubai to discuss ways of taking part in Iraq projects.

The meeting will be held at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel on April 20.

Jason Davis, US Consul General in Dubai, said the conference offered local businesses the opportunity to take part in rebuilding Iraq.

Dubai is the first stop in a seven-nation tour to select subcontractors in different fields of construction.

The $6.7 billion worth of contracts is part of the $18 billion budget pledged by the US government for post-Saddam reconstruction.

The envoy said representatives of those awarded contracts will tour Amman, Madrid, Rome, Sydney, Seoul and Istanbul, in addition to the Dubai conference, in the coming weeks.

Businesses and contractors from the UAE and the rest of the region have good chances of winning subcontracting work in Iraq and the conference will offer interested parties the right opportunity to look into working with a number of leading American companies.

John T. Lancia, Commercial Attaché of the US Commercial Service, told Gulf News that the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad has recently awarded new contracts to Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), Parsons Corp, Lucent Technologies, Washington Group International, Contrack, Flour-AMEC and Perini and Shaw International.

He said parties intending to attend the Dubai conference are encouraged to pre-register directly through the programme's Web site at www.

Lancia said the Dubai event will feature 12 major CPA contractors in one of the largest gatherings of prime contractors to date.

He added that the deputy director of the Authority's project management office will provide an update on major projects and major contracts awarded to date and plans for future development in Iraq.

He said no prior conditions were set for the qualification of subcontractors apart from those set by the main contractors.

"We looking to see participation in the rebuilding of Iraq from all over the world. That is why we have conferences in seven locations around the globe," he added.

Bahrain airport plans $200m expansion

Front 2004' - a new window for the Middle East construction industry
The first of its kind in the Middle East, 'Front 2004' will be staged from 14 to 17 March 2004 at Expo Centre Sharjah. Jointly organised by DURMA Messe Stuttgart International GmbH and Expo Centre Sharjah, 'Front 2004' is the Middle East's first, specialised exhibition on the structural openings industry, including doors, windows, blinds etc.

Speaking at the press conference, Mr. Eckhard Schlecht, Division Director of DURMA Messe Stuttgart International GmbH, said, "In nearly every country in the world, you see the presence of construction fairs. In the GCC, there is SAUDI BUILD in Riyadh and the BIG 5 in Dubai. But only few fairs show the FRONT special sector "skin of the house", which means windows, doors, roofs and walls."

"The leading fair worldwide on this sector is R + T - International Trade Fair for Roller Shutters, Doors/Gates and Sun Protection, running for a long time in Stuttgart. Supporters of R + T are Messe Stuttgart, Federal German Association of Roller Shutters and Sun Protection as well as BVT - the National German Federation of Door and Gate Manufacturers, who have taken over the professional sponsorship of 'Front 2004' in Sharjah," he added. Speaking on the joint venture, he said, "We are proud to co host 'Front 2004' with Expo Centre Sharjah. An additional connector between Expo Centre Sharjah and DURMA Messe Stuttgart is the cooperation in the MidEast Watch and Jewellery show and the Middle East Industrial Show."

"With 'Front 2004', we will not only promote synergy effects between our fairs in Sharjah and Stuttgart but also between our home countries, UAE and Germany, and I am sure additional cooperation will follow in the best sense of the traditional Arabic-German friendship." he further added.

Mr. Fasahat Ali Khan, Deputy Director General of Expo Centre Sharjah said, "After shifting to our new facility, we are adding more B2B shows to our calendar. The reason being that new Expo Centre Sharjah is the ideal platform for conducting specialised trade shows as we offer the essential marketing elements to mobilise the potential of the industry. Our objective, apparent from 'Front 2004', is to create better business opportunities for the regional and the international markets by providing tailor made options for the various industries.

Discussing the concept behind launching the show, Mr. Michael Muller, Director Sales and Marketing, Expo Centre Sharjah, said, "Construction activity is on the rise in the region, which in turn has boosted the growth for the market for structural openings such as doors, windows, roofs, walls, blinds etc. and their allied products. At the same time, there is a void for a marketplace for them. Though there are many general fairs but a specialised window to focus on the structural openings industry is lacking. With 'Front 2004' a platform has been erected for the players in the structural openings industry to converge, share ideas and discover new markets for sourcing the required products and services".

Commenting on the structural openings industry, he said, "The construction activities in the region not only require quantity, which translates into volumes, but more importantly, quality, which mainly depends on the superiority of elements and expertise of the structural fittings. An example lies in the New Expo Centre Sharjah itself, which has incorporated operational walls in its exhibition halls and revolving doors at its entrance, both top of the range German products."

To be sure, with infrastructure development placed high on the agenda of the GCC's respective governments, the construction industry has been growing on all fronts, with a large number of residential and commercial buildings, hotels and resorts, shopping malls and boutiques, industrial complexes etc. coming up. As a result, the region's construction spending has increased from US $ 45 billion in 2001 to US $ 50.2 billion in 2002.

Falling in line with Expo Centre Sharjah's corporate strategy of hosting specialised trade shows of an international appeal and with over 150 exhibitors likely to participate in the show (most of them from the international arena), 'Front 2004' is poised to be a highly specialised trade fair of international proportions. The new Expo Centre Sharjah, with its state-of-the-art facilities and services, is all geared to host the singular event.

Adwea signs $541m refinance deal

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) in the UAE has signed a Dh1.9 billion ($541 million) deal with a consortium of local, regional and international banks to refinance its first independent water and power project (IWPP).

Bahrain last year moved ahead with two landmark projects which are set to place it firmly on the world map - the $1.7 billion aluminium smelter expansion and the Formula One race track. Besides these developments, a string of mega projects are set to unfold, bringing cheer to the construction sector.