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Djibouti Launches Programme to Support Ecotourism Entrepreneurs

Djibouti — The Djiboutian government is offering financial support to entrepreneurs with a new loan programme aimed at boosting the tourism industry and utilizing environmentally sustainable solutions.

Under the programme, which was launched April 2nd, current hotel operators will be able to apply for funds provided by the Djibouti Economic Development Fund (FDED) at advantageous interest rates to expand their businesses and go green, Director General of the National Tourism Office of Djibouti Mohamed Abdillahi Wais told Sabahi.

Funds will be available for operators of traditional hut complexes, which make up the majority of hospitality accommodations available to tourists, to build or rebuild their properties as eco-bungalows using biodegradable materials and solar energy, he said.

In addition to current operators, he said, the money will also be available to young university graduates interested in starting their own tourism-related ventures.

The programme is a quick and effective way of increasing accommodation capacity in areas with high tourism potential, Wais said.

"Only the capital has the infrastructure necessary to accommodate and cater to tourists, but unfortunately it is the regions in the interior of the country that have virtually all of the country's tourist destinations," he said, adding that the funding will ensure that ample and adequate accommodations are available for tourists nationwide and bring Djiboutian tourism to a "new era".

"These eco-bungalows must be sufficiently attractive in terms of aesthetics and comfort while also respecting the local style of architecture so that they will appeal to tourists' tastes," he said. "This means that they need to be built using local natural resources, such as brick, stone or straw, depending on the region."

Tourism can be an effective driving force for poverty reduction and environmental protection as it creates jobs and generates income, the minister said. For this reason, he said, "young people must therefore drive it and we must encourage them to set up their businesses in the tourist services sector".

"Even at the best of times, revenues derived from informal activities such as tourism in Djibouti only just make it possible for families to meet their immediate needs, essentially food and education, so it gives them no opportunity to invest and offers no prospects for development," said Mohamed Farah, an economist at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Farah added that with an appropriate strategy, such as building eco-bungalows, the tourism sector could generate 30,000 direct jobs, compared with the current level of 4,500, and contribute more than 10% to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), as compared with the current 2%.

Hassan Houmed, 28, who owns a small hut complex in Sable Blanc beach in Tadjourah district, said he applied for a loan to replace his six existing huts with eco-bungalows and to add six more accommodations.

"The financing offered by the Djibouti Economic Development Fund ranges from 5 million to 10 million francs ($28,000 - $56,000) according to needs and is repayable over a period of five to ten years and beyond," Houmed told Sabahi. "I have applied for a loan of 7 million francs ($39,000), and according to the initial findings of the FDED's financial advisors, my business with its new eco-bungalows offering bed and board to tourists could turn a [net] profit of nearly 400,000 francs ($2,200) per year."

Applicants must submit a full business plan and work with FDED architects, he said, adding that he expects to receive the funds and start construction in one month.

Currently Houmed offers the bare minimum to tourists at his facilities -- his huts are outdated, have no electricity or toilets, and only provide mats to sleep on.

"Tourists did not queue up to stay there," he said, adding that he hopes his business will expand and attract more tourists with the improved aesthetics and amenities of the new eco-bungalows.

Jaleelo resident Hawa Elmi also welcomed the government's initiative, saying it will create jobs and help revitalise local economies.

"A project like this one will significantly reduce poverty in our region because here we [barely] survive," said the 52-year-old who works as a housekeeper for a local hotel operator. "These eco-bungalows and the massive influx of tourists that will follow will bring jobs for many women like me and provide income generating opportunities to others."
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Kuriftu Branches Out to Djibouti With Luxury Lodge On Red Sea Island

Though only at the beginning of its design stage, modern construction techniques mean that Kuriftu Resort & Spa will be enticing tourists to Moucha Island in a year's time

Kuriftu Resort &Spa is building in Moucha Island off Djibouti what could be the tiny nation's second resort at a cost of seven million dollars.

Kuriftu got a 50-year lease for a 500,000sqm land on Moucha Islandin December 2013. It hired Eyasu Siraj Consulting Architect two weeks ago to carry out the design in two and half months, said Tadios Belete, who co-owns Boston Partners plc with his wife.

The resort will be made with prefabricated material, which is ordered from Bali Prefab World, an Indonesian firm that designs and builds hardwood prefab houses, cottages, villas, bungalows, up-market homes and gazebos. Bali Prefab will deliver the parts, which account for 90pc of the entire construction, in six months, says Tadios.

Moucha is a coral island in the Gulf of Tadjoura, just off the shores of Djibouti. The three-kilometres long island is surrounded byMaskali Island and other smaller islands. These islands are known for their diving opportunities, as well as for swimming, snorkelling and fishing activities.

Kuriftu chose to go prefab for this resort in order to launch the service as quickly as possible, and because prefabrication takes shorter for the construction work, Tadios said. Opening is expected in a year's time.

The resort will have complete spa service, one restaurant that serves international and sea food, three presidential rooms, 47 premium rooms, one conference room, three break out rooms, one out door cinema, wedding gazebo, two big swimming pools, two pool side bars and a children's playground.

Kuriftu plans to employ over 200 people at the resort.

"The Island has a unique feature of white sand and very clear water thatEthiopian lakes lack," Tadios said.

Moucha Island already has one resort owned by Lagon Bleu Village, which, according to Trip Advisor, is one of six five-star hotels in Djibouti city. Tourists at the resort have appreciated the location of the diving places, with modest reviews for the food and accommodation, which, in 2013, included limited hours of electricity.

Kuriftu plans to facilitate solar generation and water treatment solution mechanism since Moucha Island does not have infrastructure that connects it with other areas of the country.

Kuriftu will continue construction in phases to develop on its leased land.

Eyasu Siraj, the designer, is also designing Kuriftu's Burayu Resort & Spa in Burayu town, Oromia Region, 23km from Addis Abeba, and Geralta Resort & Spa in Tigray Region.
Djibouti et une société chinoise signent un accord de financement de projets de développement touristiques

DJIBOUTI (Xinhua) - Cet accord prévoit aussi que le groupe chinois va en outre établir son siège régional à Djibouti.

Le groupe international chinois Touchroad va financer la construction d'importants projets de développement touristiques à Djibouti, a-t-on appris mardi de sources officielles.

Un accord de financement en ce sens a été paraphé lundi en présence du chef de l'Etat djiboutien, Ismail Omar Guelleh, entre le Premier ministre djiboutien, M. Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed, et le PDG du géant chinois Touchroad, M. He Liehui.

La société chinoise Shanghai Touchroad International Group va financer à travers cet accord la construction d'un chantier naval à Obock, située au nord de Djibouti, ainsi qu'un nouvel aéroport et d'hôtels de standing pour touristes fortunés dans les îles de Ras Syan et des septs frères, situés également au nord de ce pays.

Cet accord prévoit aussi que le groupe chinois va en outre établir son siège régional à Djibouti.

Pour le président de l'Autorité des Ports et des Zones Franches de Djibouti, M. Aboubaker Omar Hadi, présent à la cérémonie de signature, ce choix de Touchroad s'explique par la stabilité politique de son pays, sa position géostratégique et son économie libérale.

Shanghai Touchroad International Group est une société qui opère sur une vingtaine de pays africains, au Sud-Est comme à l'Ouest du continent.

Après la vente à l'international de produits de base traditionnels, le groupe privé chinois a élargi ses activités à d’autres domaines tels que l'exploitation des ressources minières, le tourisme, les médias culturels et le secteur financier.

Djibouti and a Chinese company signed a financing agreement for tourism development projects

DJIBOUTI (Xinhua) - The agreement also provides that the Chinese group will establish its regional headquarters in Djibouti .

Touchroad Chinese international group will finance the construction of major tourism development projects in Djibouti , we learnt on Tuesday from official sources.

A financing agreement to this effect was signed Monday in the presence of the Head of State of Djibouti , Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti between Prime Minister Mohamed Kamil Abdoulkader and CEO of Chinese giant Touchroad , Mr. He Liehui .

The Chinese society Touchroad Shanghai International Group will finance through this agreement the construction of a shipyard in Obock , north of Djibouti , and a new airport and luxury hotels for wealthy tourists in the islands of Ras Syan and the seven brothers , also located in the north of the country.

The agreement also provides that the Chinese group will also establish its regional headquarters in Djibouti .

For the president of the Ports Authority and Free Zones of Djibouti , Mr. Abubaker Omar Hadi , who attended the signing ceremony , the choice of Touchroad be explained by the political stability of the country , its geostrategic position and its economy liberal .

Touchroad Shanghai International Group is a company that operates on a twenty African countries , South East and West of the continent.

After the international sales of traditional commodities , the Chinese private group has expanded its activities to other areas such as the exploitation of mineral resources, tourism , cultural media and the financial sector.
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