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Crown Prince announces Sindalah, NEOM’s first luxury island development (Arab News)

NEOM faces no obstacles to making The Line a reality as KSA has the vision: Top official (Arab News)

 

Hotel, Casino and Resort News: UAE

June 2024

Wynn positioning itself as ‘best-in-class’ in free cash flow margin as it funds UAE project, analyst says

Wynn Resorts is well positioned to fund its integrated resort project in the United Arab Emirates and position itself as the “best-in-class” in free cash flow margin in global gaming, according to note to investors from CBRE Credit Research Director Colin Mansfield. CBRE estimates Wynn Al Marjan Island will be de-leveraging to Wynn on a pro forma basis relative to its 2026 estimates, declining to about 4.2x gross lease-adjusted leverage at project maturity.

News Feature

The First Casino Near Dubai Sparks a New Gold Rush

Four artificial islands in the Persian Gulf sat mostly empty for the past decade. Now, every lot is sold and cranes are everywhere.

Barely a year after Las Vegas casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. announced plans for a $4 billion resort in the United Arab Emirates, the area is crawling with construction workers erecting five-star resorts, shops and $7 million villas in what developers expect will become a major tourist hotspot.

Before that deal, the artificial Marjan islands off the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, or RAK, had spent most of the past decade as a lost opportunity, a 2.7 square-kilometer (1 square mile) white elephant largely unused after a $1 billion football-themed resort and related Real Madrid academy was scrapped for the site.

These days, every lot is sold and cranes are rising faster than the morning desert heat. Hoardings around construction sites are plastered with signs advertising the coming homes. At least 20 developers have projects in various stages of design and construction on the islands, said Abdulla Al Abdouli, chief executive officer of the state entity that developed them. He expects most projects to be completed within just six years.

The new construction will cost billions of dollars, he says. But even he’s not sure exactly how many.

Anticipating the rush of new visitors, the emirate’s small international airport is planning to build a new terminal to boost capacity to 2 million passengers a year by 2027, almost triple the some 700,000 travellers anticipated this year. About one-third of the world’s population lives within a four-hour flight.

Ras Al Khaimah, which means the head of the tent in Arabic, has a 40 mile coastline on the Persian Gulf and until now has largely catered to Russian tourists looking for a cheaper alternative to Dubai. The Marjan islands, roughly half the size of Dubai’s famous Palm Jumeirah, were completed in 2013.

On the island where Wynn is building its planned casino and resort, activity is going full speed. A dozen cranes hover over what’s to be among the company’s largest developments, at 1,500 rooms. Access to the island is restricted only to workers until the site opens to the public in 2027.

“The Wynn casino and resort has been a game changer for Marjan,” said Khalid Bin Kalban, the CEO of Dubai Investments PJSC, which is building a hotel and a residential community there. “Everyone is there in anticipation that RAK’s tourism will grow rapidly with the casino. It’s about the gaming, the shows, the hotels. You’re essentially bringing a mini-Vegas to Ras Al Khaimah.”

The introduction of casinos would be a step change for the UAE, where gambling is prohibited under Islam and is illegal in the country: Offenders can be fined or sentenced to two years in prison — or both. No casinos exist in the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, although they can be found in Lebanon and Egypt. The UAE has created an authority to provide a framework for legalized gaming, although no laws legalizing it have been passed so far.

It took decades to make Las Vegas what it is today, but officials here are thinking more ambitiously.

Marjan, the owner of the islands, is looking to build about 9,000 hotel rooms and a similar number of homes to add to the existing properties. The islands currently host six hotels with a total of 3,052 rooms along with around 3,000 apartments, many of which are serviced, including JW Marriott and Rixos. Las Vegas has almost 155,000 hotel rooms; some 10% of that total will exist here within a generation.

But for the emirate, which welcomed 1.2 million visitors last year, the existing supply sharply lags demand, said Al Abdouli, the CEO of Marjan. With about 8,000 rooms, the opportunity for developers is there to grow the market and attract new visitors, he added.

“Marjan Island is different from the daily hustle and bustle of being in downtown Dubai or Abu Dhabi,” said Al Abdouli. “It’s a getaway. Many of the visitors come from other parts of the UAE for staycations. There are mountainous areas for hiking, biking, triathlons and beaches. But the Wynn resort will be a catalyst like no other in the UAE.”

Prices have exploded, and for the lucky few who bought early the returns have been spectacular. Bin Kalban said prices per square foot not long ago were 300 dirhams ($82), but now you can’t find anything below 800 dirhams.

At the moment Ras Al Khaimah has 12 hotels in the planning stage along with seven in construction, according to CoStar, a London-based provider of real estate data and analytics.

The broader emirate of Ras Al Khaimah today has an old Arabia vibe, mainly a vast expanse of red sand dunes with sparse vegetation. It’s a far cry from Dubai’s skyscrapers and traffic jams some 70 miles down the road.

In the race to develop tourism destinations, Ras Al Khaimah has an advantage over Saudi Arabia. Alcohol is legal, and scores of Russian and Chinese tourists already visit the emirate, despite the limited number of hotels. The casino will help attract the gamblers but will also lure families looking for a slice of Vegas in the desert — without the trans-Atlantic flight.

Still, for Ras Al Khaimah to become a sustainable destination, more investment is needed in the area’s infrastructure, along with restaurants and retail, to support a steady stream of visitors.

“There’s a plethora of different things that are required,” said Philip Barnes, chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi-based Rotana Hotels & Resorts. “That’s why I think when people are looking at tourism or hotels, you’ve got to look at big picture. Where do you want to be and where do you have the infrastructure? It’s great to get into a destination that is developing because it allows you to get a foothold. But you’ve got to be cognizant of the development” of facilities and supporting infrastructure, he added.

There are no public transport options, for example, to visit the Marjan islands from Dubai.

“Las Vegas, contrary to what most people think, is not about gambling, it’s about conventions,” he said. “The Sphere, this new concert arena that they’ve opened, drives traffic into that city because they bring big names in with big impact on the economy. It’s not just about the people coming in for the concert, it’s the hotels, it’s the restaurants, it’s the retail. When you’re looking at tourism as a whole you have to understand the whole picture.”

Even without that, developers are racing to complete property as soon as they can. A typical four-bed villa on the island costs 6 million dirhams ($1.6 million), while top-end luxury houses here can reach 40 million.

Emaar Properties PJSC, developer of the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, is building luxury apartments and townhouses, with its marketing touting its site near the upcoming casino. The Address Residences, starting at 1.8 million dirhams, will include apartments ranging from one to four bedrooms and the community will include gyms, pools and restaurants on the island’s sandy white beaches.

Abu Dhabi’s largest developer tied up with international luxury beach club, Nikki Beach, to develop three branded residential buildings, and the first batch of 570 homes was sold within hours amid strong demand from overseas and expatriate residents. Another development, Rosso Bay Residences, has also been sold in an emirate that’s trying to lure the wealthy with various plans.

Abu Dhabi National Hotels last year started building a 1,000-room luxury resort on 1 million square feet of land that’s set to be completed next year. A US-based private developer, WOW Properties, has broken ground on 474 homes to be serviced by JW Marriott, along with a 264-room hotel at a total cost of 4.8 billion dirhams. And Britain’s Aston Martin has partnered with Saudi Arabian developer Dar Global to design the interiors of luxury homes that are part of a $250 million beachfront residential community to be completed by 2028.

The momentum of so many developers building at once is going to “create more and more synergies,” Bhupender Patel, co-CEO of WOW Resorts, said in an interview. “The whole market’s about to take off like you’ve never seen a market take off in this part of the world.” (Wires, AI News)

 

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Coming from the future, before it was even launched, this is how NEOM came about, and this is how its founder,

His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, envisioned it, as he laid its foundations to be the future, an agent of progress and change. It was therefore expected that "future" be intertwined with NEOM's basic identity, its name, its values and its vision, and this is how NEOM is… from the future and to the future.

The Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM Board of Directors, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, discussed and deliberated with members of the project's Founding Board - in addition to experts and specialists in the field - about an appropriate name for such a project with a global outlook. When the Board conducted its first meetings to address related topics, among the agenda items was the search for a name that represents the identity and symbolism of this dream project, as HRH saw that the name expresses the cultural and civilizational dimension of the universality of the project. A series of discussions were circulated about the significance of the name and how it should reflect the project's global identity, human dimension and remarkable ambition.

The actual name designation journey began by defining criteria, qualities and conditions, all of which bear a clear and firm vision for selection; then, sorting and testing the lists of names proposed by the consulting team. The list included 2,000 names, which was further reduced - as per the standards and requirements - to 150 names, and then reduced again to five names. However, none of them was chosen or agreed upon.

During the Founding Board discussions, some members considered giving the project the name of HRH, the President of the Founding Board, either directly or by incorporating his name within the project name. As such, two names were suggested: "NEOVIA MBS" and "NMBS," but the opinions of the members were split. The team that was not in favor clarified that HRH, the Chairman of the Board, leads major national projects, and HRH being Chairman of NEOM Board of Directors is sufficient to deliver a message to the world that reflects the direct connection of HRH to the project. They did, however, support HRH's principal idea that the name should be neither Eastern nor Western, and also not belonging to a specific language or culture, in addition to being neutral and rather open to the entire world.

The Board members then brainstormed for words representing the project sectors and its basic pillars. What followed was choosing the initials of those sectors and merging them to obtain a distinctive name that preserves the identity of the project, and this resulted in the name "NEO MSTACBEL," whose initials MSTACBEL symbolize the main project sectors, such as Media, Sport, Technology and Energy. And then the word was abbreviated and symbolized by the letter M, meaning "Mim" in Arabic as a symbol for two words: It is the first letter of the Arabic word for future (mustaqbal) and also the first letter of the name of HRH Prince "Mohammed" bin Salman. Then the letter "M" was merged with the word "NEO" from the Greek language, which means new, to form the name that constitutes the beacon of change in the world. The name "NEOM" was henceforth formed and agreed upon unanimously by the Board.

Thus, the name NEOM was formed with the approval and endorsement of the Founding Board as the official name of the project; a true reflection of NEOM's vision and the reality that will be achieved - Allah willing - to contribute to building a promising future for future generations. From that moment on, the lights of NEOM have pierced the sky, heralding a luminous dawn, a promising future, and a rich life in a land built by man for the sake of all humanity. (Credit: Neom)

 

NEOM: News

HRH PRINCE MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN ANNOUNCES SINDALAH, NEOM’S FIRST ISLAND DEVELOPMENT

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NEOM, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, December 5, 2022 – His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince, Prime Minister and Chairman of the NEOM Company Board of Directors, has announced the development of Sindalah, the first luxury island destination in NEOM and one of the most important projects supporting Saudi Arabia’s national tourism strategy.

A main gateway to the Red Sea offering bespoke nautical experiences, Sindalah is expected to start welcoming guests to enjoy its exquisite facilities and exclusive offerings from early 2024. It is anticipated that the development will create 3,500 jobs for the tourism sector and hospitality and leisure services.

Extending over an area of approximately 840,000 square meters, Sindalah, is one of a group of islands that will be developed in NEOM, each according to its unique vision and design.

His Royal Highness said: “This is another significant moment for NEOM and a major step in the Kingdom realizing its tourism ambitions under Vision 2030. Sindalah will be NEOM’s first luxury island and yacht club destination in the Red Sea, providing a scenic gateway to the Red Sea that will become the region’s most exciting and attractive tourism location. It will be a destination where travelers can experience the true beauty of NEOM and Saudi Arabia, above and below the water, making Sindalah the future of luxury travel.”

Adding to NEOM’s growing tourism offerings, Sindalah will reshape the luxury international yachting calendar offering a new season for visitors and guests to enjoy. It will feature a prestigious 86-berth marina, an ideal destination for accommodating luxury vessels, while offshore buoys will house superyachts. Providing one-of-a-kind nautical experiences, Sindalah will offer 413 ultra-premium hotel rooms, in addition to 333 top-end serviced apartments. A luxe beach club, glamorous yacht club, and 38 unique culinary offerings will provide an incomparable experience in the Red Sea.

With its incredible array of amenities, state-of-the-art marine facilities, strategic location and exceptional natural landscapes, Sindalah is expected to become established as one of the most alluring islands in the Red Sea.

Building on its ability to design new tourism opportunities from the ground up, NEOM is working with world-class leisure and hotel brands to make Sindalah an exclusive and glamorous destination in the Red Sea for the world’s yachting community. NEOM is developing the island to be a premium destination surrounded by a stunning and diverse marine environment which has one of the world’s most beautiful coral reserves.

Sindalah is also expected to become a popular golfing destination by offering enthusiasts the opportunity to experience a world-class 6,474-yard (5,920 meters) par 70 course. With its 18 tees, the Sindalah golf course will deliver two unique nine-hole experiences.

The announcement of Sindalah affirms the accelerated pace in the development of NEOM towards achieving the ambitious vision of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, with the development of its flagship projects such as THE LINE, its designs recently revealed by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince; TROJENA, its global mountain tourism destination that will be the Arabian Gulf’s first outdoor skiing retreat; and OXAGON, its reimagined manufacturing and innovation city. All NEOM projects are aligned to redefine the way humanity lives and works in harmony with nature.


 

About NEOM

Coming from the future, before it was even launched, this is how NEOM came about, and this is how its founder, His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, envisioned it, as he laid its foundations to be the future, an agent of progress and change. It was therefore expected that "future" be intertwined with NEOM's basic identity, its name, its values and its vision, and this is how NEOM is… from the future and to the future.

The Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM Board of Directors, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, discussed and deliberated with members of the project's Founding Board - in addition to experts and specialists in the field - about an appropriate name for such a project with a global outlook. When the Board conducted its first meetings to address related topics, among the agenda items was the search for a name that represents the identity and symbolism of this dream project, as HRH saw that the name expresses the cultural and civilizational dimension of the universality of the project. A series of discussions were circulated about the significance of the name and how it should reflect the project's global identity, human dimension and remarkable ambition.

The actual name designation journey began by defining criteria, qualities and conditions, all of which bear a clear and firm vision for selection; then, sorting and testing the lists of names proposed by the consulting team. The list included 2,000 names, which was further reduced - as per the standards and requirements - to 150 names, and then reduced again to five names. However, none of them was chosen or agreed upon.

During the Founding Board discussions, some members considered giving the project the name of HRH, the President of the Founding Board, either directly or by incorporating his name within the project name. As such, two names were suggested: "NEOVIA MBS" and "NMBS," but the opinions of the members were split. The team that was not in favor clarified that HRH, the Chairman of the Board, leads major national projects, and HRH being Chairman of NEOM Board of Directors is sufficient to deliver a message to the world that reflects the direct connection of HRH to the project. They did, however, support HRH's principal idea that the name should be neither Eastern nor Western, and also not belonging to a specific language or culture, in addition to being neutral and rather open to the entire world.

The Board members then brainstormed for words representing the project sectors and its basic pillars. What followed was choosing the initials of those sectors and merging them to obtain a distinctive name that preserves the identity of the project, and this resulted in the name "NEO MSTACBEL," whose initials MSTACBEL symbolize the main project sectors, such as Media, Sport, Technology and Energy. And then the word was abbreviated and symbolized by the letter M, meaning "Mim" in Arabic as a symbol for two words: It is the first letter of the Arabic word for future (mustaqbal) and also the first letter of the name of HRH Prince "Mohammed" bin Salman. Then the letter "M" was merged with the word "NEO" from the Greek language, which means new, to form the name that constitutes the beacon of change in the world. The name "NEOM" was henceforth formed and agreed upon unanimously by the Board.

Thus, the name NEOM was formed with the approval and endorsement of the Founding Board as the official name of the project; a true reflection of NEOM's vision and the reality that will be achieved - Allah willing - to contribute to building a promising future for future generations. From that moment on, the lights of NEOM have pierced the sky, heralding a luminous dawn, a promising future, and a rich life in a land built by man for the sake of all humanity. (NEOM)

 

 

Wikipedia

Neom (styled NEOM; Arabic: ???? Neom, Hejazi pronunciation: [n?'jo??m]) is a city being built in Tabuk Province in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is planned to incorporate smart city technologies and function as a tourist destination. The site is north of the Red Sea, east of Egypt across the Gulf of Aqaba, and south of Jordan. It is planned to cover a total area of 26,500 km2 (10,200 sq mi), extending 170 kilometres along the coast of the Red Sea.

Saudi Arabia aimed to complete major parts of the project by 2020, with an expansion completed in 2025, but it is behind schedule. The project has an estimated cost of $500 billion. On January 29, 2019, Saudi Arabia announced that it had set up a closed joint-stock company named Neom. The aim of this company, which is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, is to develop the economic zone of Neom. The project is planned to be totally powered by renewable energy sources.

Experts have expressed skepticism about the ambitions of the megaproject.According to a 2022 report in The Economist, only two buildings have been constructed thus far, and most of the project area remains bare desert

Inauguration of the project

The city was announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on October 24, 2017. He said it will operate independently from the “existing governmental framework” with its own tax and labour laws and an "autonomous judicial system."Egypt announced in 2018 that it is contributing some land to the Neom project.

The initiative emerged from Saudi Vision 2030, a plan to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors. Plans call for robots to perform functions such as security, logistics, home delivery, and caregiving] and for the city to be powered solely with wind and solar power. Because the city will be designed and constructed from scratch, other innovations in infrastructure and mobility have been suggested. Planning and construction will be initiated with $500 billion from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and international investors. The first phase of the project is scheduled for completion by 2025.

In July 2020, the US's Air Products & Chemicals Inc announced that it would build the world's largest green hydrogen plant in Saudi Arabia. Air Products will jointly own the US$5 billion project, Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power and Neom. In May 2022, Indian conglomerate Larsen & Toubro was awarded the contract for construction of a 2,930 MW solar power generation plant, a 1,370 MW wind power farm, a 400 MW battery energy storage system, along with a power transmission network of around 190 km.

Name

The name "Neom" was constructed from two words. The first three letters form the Ancient Greek prefix ??? Neo- meaning “new”. The fourth letter is from the abbreviation of Arabic:, romanized: Mustaqbal, (Hejazi pronunciation: [m?s'tagbal]), the Arabic word for “future.”

Location

The Neom project is located in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, in the northwest of the kingdom, extended along with Aqaba Gulf and 468 km of coastline with beaches and coral reefs, as well as mountains up to 2,500 metres high, with a total area of around 26,500 km2.

Directors

Klaus Kleinfeld was announced as the inaugural director for the Neom project upon its launch by Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman on 24 October 2017.[25] In 2018, Kleinfeld signed Gladstone Place Partners LLC for "Communications Services" for the Neom project, for a fee of $199,500 plus expenses of $45,000.

On 3 July 2018, Kleinfeld was announced as the new advisor to Muhammed bin Salman from 1 August 2018 onwards. Nadhmi Al-Nasr would succeed him as the new Director of Neom from 1 August 2018.

Public relations

According to a US Justice Department filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), the Saudi mega-city developing firm NEOM Company hired Edelman, an American public relations and marketing consultancy, for assistance with public relations on the “smart-city” project. As per their three-month contract with the Chicago-based Edelman, Neom paid Edelman $75,000 per month for international work done. Under this contract, the PR firm provided communications support in various sectors, including strategic counsel, stakeholder identification and engagement, media relations, and content development. Neom and Edelman refused to comment on the deal. In two years since 2019, Edelman counted as the fourth PR firm hired by Neom, following BCW, Ruder Finn, and Teneo.

Based on reports by human rights organisations, Saudi residents have pushed against the development of Neom, which would require the resettlement of 20,000 residents, including Bedouin tribe members. A tribesman was also allegedly shot dead on refusing to give up his land, raising humanitarian concerns.

In July 2020, a sponsorship with the League of Legends European Championship gathered significant backlash from the professional League of Legends community, including gamers and the league's staff. The backlash was centered around human rights abuses from the Saudi government, particularly its record on LGBT rights. As a result of the backlash, the sponsorship was cancelled within several hours of the announcement.

Some of the illustrations for the Neom project were taken from the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, leaving commentators to note that "using an actual shot of Singapore to depict an upcoming construction project in Saudi Arabia is an odd choice".

In March 2020, Neom signed a partnership deal as a principal partner with Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team.Two years later, Neom became the title sponsor for McLaren Racing's electric motorsport division as NEOM McLaren Electric Racing from the 2022–23 season with McLaren's Formula E and Extreme E divisions renamed as NEOM McLaren Formula E Team and NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team respectively.

In March 2021, Neom signed a four-year global sponsorship agreement with the Asian Football Confederation.

Neom hosted Extreme E's 2022 Desert X-Prix and held the naming rights to the series' Island X-Prix in Sardinia. Before the latter race, the project's energy company Enowa formed a multi-year partnership with Extreme E as its "Official Green Hydrogen Power Partner" and the sponsor of the "Hyperdrive" feature.


The Line
The Line, Saudi Arabia

In January 2021, the project unveiled plans for The Line, a linear city 170 kilometres (110 mi) long and 200 metres (660 ft) wide within the Neom area. It is planned to house 9 million residents without conventional cars, with all basic services within a 5-minute walking distance.

The design for Neom, The Line project, was further modified in July 2022. Instead of constructing a city consisting of multiple buildings on a linear plan, it will be consolidated into one giant structure that is 500 metres (1,600 ft) tall, 200 metres (660 ft) wide and 170 kilometres (110 mi) long..

(Wikipedia)