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Thu 24 Nov 2011 07:53 AM

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Dubai’s Nakheel to launch round ‘The World’ cruises

Developer to offer day, dinner cruises around troubled island in bid to boost tourism revenues

Dubai’s Nakheel to launch round ‘The World’ cruises
Nakheel’s ‘The World’ epitomised the city’s boom-time ambition
Dubai’s Nakheel to launch round ‘The World’ cruises
Nakheel banners
Dubai’s Nakheel to launch round ‘The World’ cruises
An aerial view shows a cluster of man-made islands known as The World, by Emirati property developers Nakheel, off the coast of Dubai on December 21, 2009. The German real estate company Kleindienst has announced plans to build luxury villas and hotels on six of the artificial islands despite the huge financial woes faced by the Gulf emirate. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Nakheel,
the indebted Dubai developer, plans to launch cruises around its ‘World’ and Palm
Jumeirah islands as it moves to bolster its tourism offerings amid a real
estate slowdown.

The government-owned
company will offer tourists day and dinner cruises from the Palm around its troubled
‘The World’ project, in a bid to reposition the island as a tourism
destination, Arabian Business understands.   

Nakheel, which is restructuring some AED59bn ($16.1bn) of
liabilities, has hinted it plans to ramp up its tourism interests in an attempt
to offset tumbling revenues from its real estate sales.

The
company said Wednesday it plans to create 500 artificial reefs around Dubai in
an effort to regenerate marine life around the emirate’s coastline, and aid the
local fishing industry.

The
reefs will be positioned around Nakheel’s existing manmade islands, Ali Lootah,
chairman of Nakheel, told reporters.

“It will
help the local economy from having a good tourist industry in Dubai and
environmentally I think we did our best to protect the environment,” he said.

A United
Nations report released last month said the GCC’s offshore islands and policy
of overfishing had damaged the local marine ecosystem.  

Development
of the reefs will not be a “big financial burden” said Lootah, without
specifying the cost. “We have the materials, we have the stone, we have the
barges – we have most of this already. The materials are with us so it’s not
going to cost us very much,” he said.

Nakheel
was one of the biggest casualties of Dubai’s property crash after
overstretching itself with ambitious projects such as the offshore World island
development. The firm in September wrote down AED78.6bn ($21.4bn) from the
value of its real estate during the Dubai debt crisis.

The
World island development epitomised Dubai’s boom-time ambition but ran aground
in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Construction
on the offshore project ground to a virtual standstill in the wake of the
downturn, which saw house prices in the emirate decline by more than 60 percent
from their peak.

Richard
Paul, head of residential valuations at Dubai-based real estate consultancy
Cluttons, said Nakheel’s efforts to source new revenue through tourism projects
reflected a practical approach.

“They
are categorically a property developer - that is the heart of its business -
but with supply at levels that are not feasible for it to continue to
developing new projects, and with developments being handed over owners
associations they will be losing income on that side,” he said.

“So it
does make sense for them for the next few years to concentrate on new revenue
streams.”

A spokesperson for Nakheel declined to comment
on the developer’s cruise plans

Anonymous 7 years ago

A cruise around what amounts to sand bars? How much is Nakheel going to PAY ME to waste my time on these cruises looking at plots of nothingness?

John 7 years ago

So Nakheel are going from developer, to a holiday tour company very smart move ?

Mohamed 7 years ago

Technologically adavanced....... gone are the days to round the world in 80 days, now it's possible within 2 to 3 hours....Good.
Hope the buyers of the world brings in innovative ideas to fill the islands or Nakheel does something to fill the unsold islands before the cruise starts. Without anything interesting there in the islands it would be lauded as man made blunder instead of wonder.

Chris 7 years ago

This will be interesting based on Nakheels' track record. You will book for a dinner cruise then pay extra for a knife and fork and to use the ramp to leave the craft

Red Snappa 7 years ago

What's the interest, most of the islands are glorified shifting sand banks. Fishing trips might be more enticing, but hardly a prolific revenue stream all round. Same effect as charging for access to beach clubs, most owners won't bother if RERA go along with Nakheel's position. Anyway you simply can't charge massive amounts for boat trips either.

To be honest seems like strategic thinking is losing the plot here, but desperate times call for desperate measures I suppose. What's happening with all these DIFC based court cases revolving round The World, there were 14 in progress according to the last report I read? Heart of Europe etc?

Toby James 7 years ago

You better read the small print very carefully on your 'world tour agreement' because I am sure it will state that the tour payment is the first installment of a legally binding $20 billion property contract to buy an island!

FutureProof 7 years ago

Rather sad to seen them moving from plans to build a 1km high tower to now running boat trips around empty sand banks, charging for beach club access and other dire revenue streams. Is this really the strategic vision?