World Islands off Dubai coast show signs of progress as seaplane deal is struck
The Dubai developer behind the Heart of Europe project in The World Islands has tied up with a seaplane tour operator in a sign that the project is inching towards a stage where it can attract tourists, albeit from 500 metres up.
Announced in 2009, construction at the Heart of Europe restarted late last year after legal wrangling that resulted in the developer, Kleindienst Group, paying Dh622 million to the master developer, Nakheel, in a settlement.
The project comprises six man-made private and resort islands all of which would be ready to launch by end of 2016, said Josef Kleindienst, the chief executive of Kleindienst Group. Construction is under way on the Germany island, which comprises the first phase. The company said that the second phase of the project, the Sweden island, where investors can put money into 10 seven-bedroom luxury villas, will be launched in September
The project will also include the main island called Europe, besides those named after Monaco, the Russian city of St Petersburg and Switzerland.
“Ours is an island destination and at some other island destinations many guests like to use seaplanes instead of a boat, so seaplanes are an an important element to our development,” Mr Kleindienst said.
The seaplane services will start immediately, he said, to ferry potential investors and business partners to the islands. Under the deal, the Dubai-based operator Seawings will promote tourism to The World, and will offer Heart of Europe guests preferential rates to fly over the islands and Dubai’s coastline. It would also fly guests from around the Arabian Gulf region to the project.
It marks the latest transport deal to link the project to the mainland. In April, Heart of Europe tied up with Dubai’s RTA for water taxi links. It will also sign an agreement with Ultimate Charter for luxury yacht transportation by next month, Mr Kleindienst said.
Once complete, Heart of Europe is designed to feature climate-controlled areas with rain showers and snow-lined streets, a convention centre and luxury hotels, including the Empress Elisabeth Wedding Hotel and the Mont Royal family hotel, which will have a floor under water and floating villas.
“Our goal is to have from at least each European country one food and beverage outlet,” Mr Kleindienst said. “This will allow you to have dinner in Germany, breakfast in France and lunch in Italy.”
As part of its maintenance obligations, the group will monitor and pump sand on to the beach to compensate for erosion from the sea. The beach is expected to lose between 12 and 40 centimetres of sand each year, Mr Kleindienst said.
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Updated: August 6, 2014 04:00 AM