Work began on Monday in Morocco on the first phase of Dubai World's $350 million resort project that is set to bolster the country's tourism industry.
The Mazagan Resort is a joint venture project involving Istithmar - Dubai World's wholly owned investment firm - and Kerzner International Holdings who are set to develop and manage the luxury resort.
"The Mazagan Resort demonstrates Dubai World's deep commitment to invest in developmental projects in the Arab world," said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai World.
"Istithmar and Kerzner International are eminently placed to execute such a prestigious project in cooperation with our Moroccan partners. We are confident that Mazagan Resort will contribute positively towards Morocco's image as a preferred tourist destination," he added.
The resort - located 175 km north of Marrakesh on the Atlantic coastal town of El Jadida, formerly known as Mazagan - will span 324 hectares of coastal land and will boast a five-star hotel, villas, restaurants, and 18-hole golf club designed by South African golf legend Gary Player.
"We hope that our development adds impetus to the further growth of the tourism industry in Morocco and that Mazagan will become a destination of choice," said Sol Kerzner, chairman and CEO of Kerzner International.
"By taking a long-term approach to this development, we will help drive job creation in the region and work toward reinvigorating the tourism industry that has been a staple of the Moroccan economy for decades."
The project also involves a cluster of Moroccan government and private investors, including the government pension investment fund, CDG Développement and the Moroccan-Emirati investment fund, SOMED.
The construction process for Mazagan is expected to take approximately 25 months, with a targeted completion date in the fourth quarter of 2009.
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