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Sun 27 Sep 2009 08:12 AM

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Atlantis development plans still in pipeline

Kerzner International chief says second phase for hotel still on cards when market conditions improve.

Plans to further develop the Atlantis Dubai resort site on Palm Jumeirah are still in the pipeline and will happen once market conditions improve, a top Kerzner International official has said.

Alan Leibman, managing director of the company that built the $1.5bn hotel and resort last year, added that he was "comfortable" about prospects for 2010.

In an interview with UAE daily Gulf News, Leibman said: "It's tough to look out too far in the future. Our business continues to be very, very short-term and visibility is still very tough to get a sense.

"The consumer is looking for a good deal, looking for value and tending to wait before they book their holidays or getaways."

He added that next year would be all about new ideas and improvement.

"I feel very comfortable that we're going into next year with some great, new ideas and thoughts on venues," Leibman said as Atlantis celebrated its first year in business in Dubai.

"We've only developed 50 percent of our land. We'd very much like to do the next phases of development but that all depends on when the market starts to turn and when liquidity starts to become available," he told the paper.

During the past year, Atlantis has had more than a million visitors through the Lost Chambers and over 650,000 guests through Aquaventure and the water parks.

Leibman said "great business" was coming out of Europe, while visitors from India and Russia was "starting to grow nicely".

"We were in high occupancy, we were able to maintain our rates and it was through a very difficult time. I mean, we opened this resort in a tough economic situation and for that, the resort is performing nicely," he said.

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