EBRD, IFC, Cboj Boost Sustainable Tourism In Aqaba

(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN - The European bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Capital Bank of Jordan (CBoJ) are supporting sustainable tourism in Jordan by providing a US$ 81 million financing package for the development of Ayla Marina Village, which is part of the Ayla Oasis regeneration plan, according to a statement for The Jordan Times.

The multi-currency package includes a $71 million loan provided equally by the EBRD and IFC, and a JD7.1 million loan from CBoJ, the EBRD announced on its website.

Ayla Marina Village is Jordan's only coastal city and a major tourist attraction. The area has benefited greatly from Ayla Oasis's sustainable hospitality, retail, and entertainment facilities that are spread over 4.3 million square metres of de-mined, former high-security land on the western edge of the city along the Red Sea.

With this new financing, Ayla Marina Village will build a new and sustainable hotel called the Pulse Hotel, which will offer 76 rooms aimed at both the leisure and corporate markets. The building will be certified according to the EDGE Green Building Certification, enhancing the overall value of the destination. The new financing will also extend existing loan maturities, the statement said.

In addition to the financing, the EBRD will provide a comprehensive technical cooperation package funded by its Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Multi-Donor Account. The technical assistance will address the shortage of critical skills by introducing new work-based training programmes for people entering the tourism and hospitality industry, easing the transition from education to employment. The training will be offered through Ayla's Makarem Training Academy, which was established with the EBRD's support. The technical cooperation will also support a new regulatory framework for work-based learning.

EBRD's First Vice President and Head of Client Services Jürgen Rigterink signed the project on behalf of the EBRD today in Aqaba.“We are delighted to partner with the IFC and CBoJ in the development of this futuristic project and to continue our work with Ayla, which started a decade ago. The development of the Ayla Marina Village is leading to the redevelopment of the city's waterfront into a new, sustainable tourist destination, creating more employment opportunities and boosting the economy”, he said.

Following the signing ceremony, the IFC Regional Director for the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan Khawaja Aftab Ahmed said:“To drive sustainable growth in Jordan, we need to attract more foreign investments and strengthen the private sector's capacity to create jobs, especially for women and youth, in key industries such as tourism and associated sectors. This financing will also help improve the resilience of the tourism industry and the overall Jordanian economy at a critical time,” the statement said.

Capital Bank of Jordan's CEO Tamer Ghazaleh stated,“We are proud to support the Ayla Marina Village project, which aligns perfectly with our commitment to sustainable development and economic growth in Jordan. This initiative enhances Aqaba's appeal as a premier tourist destination, creates significant employment opportunities, and fosters skills development in the local community. By collaborating with the EBRD and IFC we are investing in a brighter, greener future for Aqaba and the entire nation.”

Ayla's Managing Director Sahl Dudin said,“We are pleased to renew and expand our partnership with the EBRD, IFC, and CBoJ. This collaboration underscores the confidence these prominent financial institutions have in Ayla and Aqaba's dedication to sustainability and good governance. The investment will support the construction of the Pulse hotel and further development of Ayla Marina Village, enhancing Aqaba's appeal as a premier tourist destination while creating significant local employment and skills development opportunities.”

Since 2012, the EBRD has invested more than 2 billion euros through 71 projects in Jordan, most of which are in the private sector, according to the statement.


Jordan Times

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