Almulla, UK group in Islamic hotel chain tieup
Dubai, May 3, 2008
Dubai-based Almulla Hospitality and UK-based Jasper Capital have joined hands to set up a real estate company that will develop international chain of Cliftonwood, Adham and Wings hotels.
Almulla Hospitality plans to tap into the growing Muslim travel market with a hotel chain operating under universal codes such as no alcohol and Halal food only, said a company official.
The deal with the Jasper Capital Group of the UK will help structure the financial real estate company to develop plans for an international chain of Islamic-compliant hotels with 150 properties worldwide.
The company plans to set up 90 of such hotels n the Middle East and North Africa, said Abdulla Mohamed Almulla, chairman of Almulla Hospitality.
"At the launch of Almulla Hospitality we had announced that our goal is to achieve, within five to seven years, 150 properties worldwide under management," Almulla said. "We are very pleased to assign Jasper Capital Group of the UK to structure a plan toward achieving our goal."
Stewart Jack, CEO of Jasper Consult Limited, a member of investment banking and management consultancy Jasper Capital Group, said he was delighted to work with Almulla Hospitality to achieve the strategic objectives in Shari'ah compliant hotel management.
Jack has previously worked in the banking industry in the UAE and managed the development of an Islamic bank project in Europe.
Almulla Hospitality plans to grow its property portfolio through management contracts, joint venture investments and selective acquisitions across the world using a variety of investment structures.
All financial structures involved will conform to the Islamic ban on interest.
"What makes our plan different in the Islamically-compliant hotel market will be our Shari'ah compliancy board; our three brands serving all market segments based on top international standards; and a clear focus on the cultural aspects of our target market," Almulla added.
"There are individual Shari'ah-compliant hotels throughout the world," Almulla added. "But our brand proposition is international – whether the country is Muslim or not - so that guests will be confident of our universal consistency.
"The Muslim traveller market is growing around the world due to increasing wealth combined with conscious lifestyle living and represents 10 per cent of the world tourism market - one of the fastest growing segments."
"Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where hotels are run on Islamic principles already, are showing increased demand. Then there is the inbound traffic from the Arabian Gulf and other Islamic countries to cities such as Dubai which is a major centre of tourism growth. Additionally, there is a trend in Europe to serve a growing local and visiting Muslim segment," Almulla added.-TradeArabia News Service