Damac launches phase 2 of ‘Sharia compliant’ project

Developer targets halal tourism sector with Ghalia serviced hotel apartment project


The Dubai-based real estate heavyweight, Damac Properties, has announced a limited release of units in the second phase of its Sharia-compliant luxury hotel apartment project, Ghalia.

Construction is already underway at the 38-storey Ghalia, the first certified Sharia-compliant serviced hotel apartments to be operated by Damac Hotels & Resorts, the hospitality arm of Damac Properties, the developer announced in a press statement.

The Jumeirah Village property will comprise 742 keys, with furnished units ranging from studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments, with prices starting at AED550,000, the statement said. Ghalia is designed to incorporate Sharia-compliant amenities within its luxury units, it added.

Ziad El Chaar, managing director of Damac Properties, said: “The demand arising from ‘halal’ tourism is gaining traction in Dubai. A significant number of visitors from the GCC, most notably Saudi Arabia, seek luxury accommodation options, which are also Sharia-compliant. Saudi tourists represent the largest number of visitors from the GCC, with 1.5 million visiting Dubai last year – and this number is expected to reach 2.5 million by 2020. Considering the demand for such accommodation along with the limited supply, we see this scenario as a huge opportunity to tap into. Similarly, for investors, this translates into a lucrative investment due to the potential rental yields whilst being in compliance with the financial principles of Sharia.”

According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2015/2016, the market for Muslim travellers was worth $145 billion last year, representing 11% of the global travel market, and is expected to grow to $233 billion by 2020, with a CAGR of 8.6%. Furthermore, the UAE ranks second after Malaysia amongst the top global destinations for halal tourism.

“Ghalia presents a niche opportunity to invest in Dubai’s growing hospitality market through a vehicle that is in-line with the principles and beliefs of many of our customers. A growing number of regional investors seek primarily Sharia-compliant investments and financing. In addition, Islamic banks and lenders extend funding only to hotels that follow Sharia practices. Ghalia is Dar Al Sharia-certified, making it an investment that complies with the principles of Islam,” El Chaar said.

According to Damac, Ghalia features Sharia-compliant features and amenities, such as separate ladies’ and men’s gymnasiums and swimming pools as well as dedicated dining areas for families and single men. It will also feature ladies-only floors, served by an all-female staff. The furnished luxury apartments will comprise fully-equipped kitchens and daily housekeeping services. Investors can choose to live in their units or have the option of entering them into a rental pool, with administration, management, bookings and maintenance taken care of by the operator.

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