Meraas, the Dubai Government-backed real estate company, plans to develop a series of hospitality projects in the UAE region of Hatta, as part of the 10-year Hatta Development Plan intended to position the mountainous area as a global destination for eco-tourism.
“Supporting and enhancing the integration of leisure, hospitality, tourism and transportation is key to transforming this highly popular destination into a world-class area that offers families a diverse leisure experience,” Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman of Meraas, said on Tuesday.
The first phase of the development includes a 20-room mountain lodge intended to provide a tranquil retreat with views of the surrounding Hajar Mountains landscape. There are also plans for a “campers’ hotel” built out of Airstream trailers on the banks of the Hatta dam.
Visitors will be welcomed to Hatta by a giant "Hatta" sign located at an elevation of around 450 metres in the Hajar Mountains, acting as a gateway to exploring the area. An adventure centre and interactive tourism information hub will also open under the plans. The first-phase projects are scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year.
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The second phase of the project comprises a variety of additional hospitality and retail facilities intended to “create further touch points between local and international tourists and the rich Emirati culture”, Meraas said.
Projects will incorporate state-of-the-art sustainable materials with unconventional designs to add character and charm, the developer added.
In April, The National reported that Dubai received 4.7 million international overnight visitors in the first quarter of 2018 – a 2 per cent rise from the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).
The first quarter "yielded stable performance supporting strong growth for all adjacent sectors including hotels and airlines,” Helal Al Marri, director general of Dubai Tourism, said at the time. “We expect to build on this strong base to accelerate momentum through the summer and beyond, on the back of our strategic investments, partnerships, and policies geared to drive strong growth in 2018.”
The Hatta Comprehensive Development Plan was announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in 2016, to raise Hatta’s international profile and increase the variety of tourism and hospitality projects there, with a focus on eco-tourism.
“Hatta is known for its beautiful scenery – mountains, lakes, wadis, farms, dams and fresh air and the development of eco-tourism demonstrates our commitment at Meraas to implementing the vision of our wise leadership by creating economic opportunities for young people, local businesses and entrepreneurs in Hatta,” Mr Al Habbai said.
Meraas is the developer behind popular Dubai mixed-use destinations City Walk, La Mer, Blue Waters, Last Exit and a range of hospitality and residential projects.