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IFC INVESTS US$10 MILLION IN TOURISM PROJECT IN JORDAN


L. Joseph
Phone: (202) 473-7700
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: ljoseph@ifc.org


AMMAN, JORDAN, Feb 6—The IFC has signed an agreement with Jordan Hotels & Tourism Company (JHTC) to provide a loan of US$10 million for the expansion of the Amman Intercontinental hotel.

The US$39 million project comprises an extensive refurbishment of most of the hotel’s existing 366 rooms as well as the addition of 125 new rooms and facilities, such as a well-equipped health club, a banquet hall, a 200-car underground parking lot, and meeting rooms.  The hotel will also replace safety and telecommunications equipment, elevators, boilers, and the kitchen.  The management agreement between InterContinental Hotels Corporation and JHTC was recently extended to 2007.


“Expansion of quality tourism facilities is required in Jordan to accommodate current activity in the sector and future growth,” said Mr. André Hovaguimian, Director of IFC’s Central Asia, Middle East, and North Africa Department.  He added, “The project will not only generate foreign exchange and create direct jobs, but will have wider economic benefits, such as increasing activity in the local construction industry, additional spending by tourists outside the hotel, and upgrading of the hotel’s personnel skills.”


The newly privatized JHTC is majority owned by Zara Investment Company, a tourism holding company, headed by Mr. Khalil Talhouni, a prominent Jordanian businessman.


IFC has investments in three other tourism projects in Jordan, including the first two hotel and spa complexes on the Dead Sea.  Tourism is a priority area for the Jordanian government as well as the World Bank Group.


IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the world’s largest multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing countries.  Since 1974, IFC has approved more than US$243 million in financing for 22 projects in Jordan.