UAE developer Arada has awarded a major contract worth Dh475 million ($129 million) for the construction of four buildings in the Vida Aljada hotel complex in Sharjah as the country’s tourism sector continues to boom.
As part of the contract, Dubai-based Gulf Asia Contracting Company will build the 175-room Vida Aljada hotel, as well as 255 branded residences and 149 branded serviced apartments at Arada’s Dh24 billion Aljada mega project in the emirate, the company said on Thursday.
Owned and developed by Arada and operated by Vida Hotels and Resorts, the Vida Aljada is the first of three Emaar Hospitality properties that will be built at Aljada. The others include The Address Aljada and Rove Aljada.
Work on the Vida Aljada complex will begin immediately and is scheduled to take 30 months.
“We are confident that Vida Aljada and the further properties we are building in partnership with Emaar Hospitality will set a new benchmark for hospitality in Sharjah, significantly strengthening the tourism sector and adding value to the local economy,” said Ahmed Alkhoshaibi, group chief executive of Arada.
The UAE’s tourism sector has continued to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, with its revenue topping Dh19 billion during the first half of 2022.
The total number of hotel guests in the same period hit 12 million as countries eased travel restrictions.
Hotel guest numbers in the country also climbed 42 per cent during the first six months, compared with the same period before the pandemic.
Sharjah welcomed 963,000 visitors in the first nine months of 2022, according to Sharjah Tourism, marking an increase of about 17 per cent from 825,000 tourists in the January to September period in 2021.
Hotels in the emirate made roughly Dh108 million in revenue during the third quarter of last year, up 24 per cent from Dh87 million during the same period in the previous year.
Passenger traffic also more than doubled at Sharjah Airport in the first half of last year. The airport recorded a total of 41,189 aircraft movements in the first half of 2022, compared with 21,709 in the same period during the previous year.
Arada, a joint venture between KBW Investments — a company controlled by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed — and the Basma Group of Sharjah, is also expanding to Dubai and announced the launch of a Dh2 billion residential project in the emirate last year.
Last month, Arada also awarded two contracts worth Dh939 million in total to speed up the construction of its Dh8 billion Masaar project in Sharjah.
The company is in talks with different entities including the Ministry of Housing and Roshn, a Public Investment Fund company, on plans to start a project in Saudi Arabia, Arada vice chairman Prince Khaled told The National in an interview on the sidelines of Cityscape Dubai in November.
It also aims to expand to Australia.
In October, the developer closed a $100 million Islamic bond deal after it tapped into an existing $350 million sukuk that was issued and listed on the London Stock Exchange in June.