Saudi Prince Al-Walid bin Talal said Saturday he would give as much as two million dollars to construct a five-star hotel in Gaza City, reported AFP.
The prince, considered the world's 10th wealthiest businessman with a personal fortune of 17 billion dollars, has been a supporter of projects in the Palestinian territories and earlier offered Palestinian President Yasser Arafat a Boeing 727.
The luxury hotel, which the prince said will have 200 rooms, will cost 35 million US dollars and be completed within 15 months, said AFP citing the Palestinian investors behind the project.
“We are very proud to participate in establishing the first hotel of its kind in Gaza,” bin Talal said after signing the deal, quoted by Reuters.
The agency also quoted Nabil al-Sarraf, director of the largest private Palestinian firm, Palestine Development and Investment Ltd (PADICO), as saying the prince signed the agreement with a PADICO subsidiary, the Palestine Land Investment Co.
Sarraf said Palestine Land would invest $15 million in the construction of the hotel, which it would carry out with PADICO and the Palestine Co for Trade Service.
He said talks were under way with the Swiss hotel chain Movenpick, in which the prince holds a big stake, to manage and operate the Gaza hotel.
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat met Alwalid during the latter’s short visit to Gaza Saturday and praised him for helping the recovery of the ailing Palestinian economy. “I thank his Highness the prince for the generous stand to support his brothers in Palestine to overcome the difficulties and the challenges,” Arafat said.
Sarraf said he expected the hotel to open in 15 months. “After completion, the hotel will create more than 500 job opportunities,” he added.
The prince was reported in August 1997 to have committed himself to taking strategic stakes in several Palestinian projects, including a $10 million stake in PADICO. He has also committed $1 million to renovating al-Omari mosque, one of Gaza's oldest religious sites – (Several Sources)
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