Published December 12th, 2005 - 11:34 GMT

Kuwait’s IFA Hotels & Resorts (IFA) has again shown its commitment to South Africa by announcing its latest achievement in securing one of North America’s largest luxury hotel groups, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc. (Fairmont) to manage its new resort in Zimbali.  This follows its strategic announcement in September to list on South Africa’s JSE. The announcement augurs well for the creation of over 2,000 jobs in the province through a project value of over US$ 250 million.

The strategic alliance between IFA and Fairmont started on Dubai’s world famous Palm Island and further extended into Africa in a Joint Venture between IFA, Fairmont and Kingdom with the recent acquisition of a Kenyan Hotel portfolio. This alliance is clearly translating into business results for South Africa where Fairmont will enter into the hospitality sector through its first venture in the country with the Fairmont Zimbali.  This also creates an ideal platform for the alliance to explore other opportunities in the burgeoning South African leisure market.

Fairmont has welcomed guests since 1884 to a remarkable collection of hotels, resorts and vacation ownership homes including London’s Savoy, The Fairmont San Francisco, the Fairmont Monte Carlo and other luxury properties situated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, Barbados, the United Arab Emirates and now, South Africa.

Mr. Talal Jassim Al Bahar, Chairman and Managing Director of IFA, said “IFA has again delivered on its commitment to South Africa by appointing Fairmont to manage its new Zimbali development, ensuring that it brings the highest level of hospitality standards to South Africa and following on with our vision to become one of the leading foreign tourism and property investors in Africa.  It is also a clear signal to investors that IFA intends to maintain its superior quality offering by partnering with some of the biggest and most respected names in the business.”

Fairmont Executive Vice President, Mr. John Johnston says, “This latest development marks another successful milestone in Fairmont’s management-focused growth strategy and builds upon our recent announcement to manage five renowned properties in Kenya.  Our relationship with IFA has perfect synergy, with its ability to identify prime locations for development and tourism investment, and lead our joint initiatives further.   We look forward to offering our clientele exceptional experiences at the Fairmont Zimbali.”

Investor confidence into the region is high - statistics from the South African Department of Economic Trade and Investment show an annualised increase of 9% with a total investment of US $ 20 billion into KwaZulu-Natal in the period 2003 to 2006.

The anticipated influx of visitors for the 2010 World Cup as well as the pending construction of the King Shaka International Airport at La Mercy, to be operational by 2009, augurs well for the development of tourism in the region. A luxury branded resort will be required in the area to manage the numbers seeking accommodation, from the holidaymaker to businessman and from family to the keen golfer.

The new Fairmont Zimbali will be developed by IFA Hotels & Resorts with a project value in excess of US$ 250 million and will consist of a luxury five star hotel, a golf course, spa and vacation ownership products, including Fairmont Heritage Place (private residence club), offering a range of ownership alternatives to suit the specific needs of each investor.

Fairmont has also been appointed to manage the recently announced Gary Player designed golf course to be constructed at Zimbali Lakes.  The new signature course will be the latest addition to Fairmont’s network of award-winning greens, joining the likes of Canada’s Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club, home to the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.  Player joins an esteemed list of designers that have crafted some of the finest golf courses Fairmont guests can enjoy, including Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr., Stanley Thompson, Greg Norman (at the soon-to-open Fairmont Mayakoba, Mexico) and Tom Weiskopf, the latter having designed the existing Zimbali Coastal course.

“We believe Fairmont’s diversity and vast experience will bring a new dimension to the South African hospitality sector, creating the basis for other investments with Fairmont in South Africa to join its fast growing international network of luxury resorts.   IFA’s portfolio stretches around the world and includes the Sheraton Algarve in Portugal, The Fairmont Resorts on Palm Island, Dubai, the Movenpick Hotel & Residence Laguna Tower Dubai, the Kempinski Alabadiyah Hills in Beirut, the Zanzibar Beach Hotel & Resort, Tanzania and the opening of the YOTEL hotels in London Heathrow and London Gatwick in summer 2006 and in central London in 2007. We are also considering other projects in the Indian Ocean and Asia,” said Werner Burger, President & COO, IFA.

Gordon Hibbert, MD of IFA’s joint venture partner Moreland Developments, comments “Our partnership in the development of this premier eco-resort has added an international dimension and value to Zimbali and we are delighted and honoured that Fairmont has selected Zimbali as the destination for its pioneer project in South Africa, which will further enhance the resort’s international status”.
ABOUT IFA HOTELS & RESORTS – www.ifahotelsresorts.com

IFA Hotels & Resorts is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait’s International Financial Advisors (IFA), and is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading international companies engaged in the development of premier integrated and mixed-use hotel and tourism resort projects throughout Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean and Africa.

Throughout the world, IFA Hotels & Resorts has entered into strategic alliances and Joint Venture partnerships with companies such as Nakheel, Kingdom Hotels Investment, FPD Savills, Moreland Developments (Pty) Ltd in South Africa, and has also made strategic acquisitions in growth tourism based companies such as Cendant’s Resort Condominiums International (RCI), of which IFA owns 50% of the company for the Middle East.

IFA Hotels & Resorts is in the process of listing, with the first stage being through a reverse listing of IFA Hotels & Resorts (South Africa) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) later this year.

In the Middle East, IFA Hotels & Resorts is the largest investor on The Palm Jumeirah, the iconic man-made island in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. IFA Hotels & Resorts is developing the 400-room Fairmont Palm Hotel & Resort located on the trunk of The Palm, with some 560 luxury apartments adjacent to the Hotel at the Fairmont Palm Residence. On the Crescent of The Palm, adjacent to Atlantis, IFA is developing a 1,000-key mixed use destination resort, comprising a Hotel, Vacation Club, Residences and Private Residence Club, also to be managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. Elsewhere on The Palm, IFA owns two shoreline residential buildings on the trunk, Al Nabat and Al Haseer, in addition to the development of the prestigious Palm Golden Mile.

The Golden Mile development, a Joint Venture project with Nakheel, (developers of The Palm), is a US$300million development set along the heart of The Palm, the trunk, featuring in excess of 850 luxury apartments as well as 220 boutique shops and restaurants. The project stretches along a 1.5 kilometre canalside corniche, transforming it into one of the world’s most unique and sought-after waterfront retail destinations.

Elsewhere in Dubai, IFA is developing the Laguna Tower, a forty-storey mixed-use tower comprising residential apartments, a Condo-Hotel managed by Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, in addition to retail and restaurants along the waterfront.

IFA Hotels & Resorts has recently launched its prestigious Alabadiyah Hills resort development in Lebanon, an ultra-luxurious mountainside retreat in Bhamdoun, overlooking Beirut. Formerly on the site of a presidential palace, the 7.5 hectare project will comprise high end residential villas and apartments, in addition to a world renowned spa and beauty clinic, which will be managed by Kempinski Hotels & Resorts.

In South Africa, IFA is involved in a joint venture at the existing Zimbali Coastal Resort. Zimbali is a 370 hectare (925 acre) tropical coastal residential and resort estate located on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, 25 km north of Umhlanga Rocks and bordering on the south of the popular holiday destination of Ballito. Zimbali consists of two distinct but uniquely complementary residential and resort estates - the Zimbali Coastal Forest Estate and the Zimbali Lakes Golf Course Estate.

Within Zimbali, IFA Hotels & Resorts owns the exclusive Zimbali Lodge which is managed by Sun International Limited, and is developing a second international beach front hotel at the resort, in addition to a world class golf course designed by Gary Player.

IFA Hotels & Resorts is also the force behind the super-premium Sheraton Algarve Hotel and Pine Cliffs Resort in Portugal; part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection; and the Zanzibar Beach Hotel and Resort on the historic Tanzanian spice island which will be managed by Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts.

Throughout the world, IFA Hotels & Resorts aims to link its resorts in Dubai, South Africa, Zanzibar, Lebanon and Portugal to new parts of the globe, such as Mauritius, Eastern Europe and the Far East. This will offer residential investors and tourist visitors alike, to follow IFA Hotels & Resorts throughout a unique network of world-class hotels, residential resorts, vacation and residence club destinations.

IFA Hotels & Resorts programme of brand acquisition and developer partnerships will continue into the future and is evidenced by the ever growing strength of product range unique to a single company within the hospitality real estate industry.

•        IFA - Hotels & Resorts
•        IFA - Lifestyle Membership Clubs
•        IFA - Vacation Ownership
•        IFA - Fractional Ownership
•        IFA - Hotel Ownership
•        IFA – Residences
•        IFA – Travel & Tourism

This unique and wide reaching product range will enable IFA Hotels & Resorts the ability to continuously anticipate and deliver to the varying property investment and leisure needs of consumers through a multitude of socio economic and demographic groups.

About Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc.
FHR is one of North America's leading owner/operators of luxury hotels and resorts. FHR's managed portfolio consists of 83 luxury and first-class properties with more than 33,000 guestrooms in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, Barbados and the United Arab Emirates. It holds an 83.5% controlling interest in Fairmont Hotels Inc., North America's largest luxury hotel management company, as measured by rooms under management.  Fairmont manages 44 distinctive city centre and resort hotels such as The Fairmont San Francisco, The Fairmont Banff Springs and The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.  FHR also owns Delta Hotels, Canada's largest first-class hotel management company, which manages and franchises 39 city centre and resort properties in Canada. In addition to hotel management, FHR holds real estate interests in 23 properties and an approximate 35% investment interest in Legacy Hotels Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns 24 properties.
Please select images from: www.fairmontimagegallery.com


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