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5 July 2007


MALAYSIA Tourism Fund
New bank to promote tourism in Arab countries

A US$2 billion (6.8 billion ringgit) Arab Tourism Bank has been established to further develop and fund tourism projects in the Arab world.

The agreement for the set-up was signed Wednesday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, between the Arab Tourism Organisation and Siraj Capital Group, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Siraj Capital chairman Dr Ghassan Al-Suleiman said the bank will contribute positively to the development of the tourism industry in the Arab countries.

The Jeddah-based investment company specialises in developing, sponsoring, seeding and launching innovative investment funds, and investment opportunities in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Middle East and North Africa.

Last year, it signed an agreement with Malaysia's Johor Corp (JCorp) to develop and launch US$500 million worth of Syariah-compliant investment funds, namely a real estate investment trust (REIT) and a regional private equity investment fund (RUIF).

The REIT fund will focus on real estate investments related to tourism, education, property, industrial and technology parks while the RUIF will concentrate on investments in strategic private equity sectors like palm oil, biodiesel, oil and gas industry, and other related sectors that have technology-based components.

Both funds will seek investors and investment opportunities in both Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. The agreement was sealed in conjunction with the visit of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al Saud to Malaysia last year. Bernama




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