2006, October 30
Aga Khan and President Rahmonov Initiate Dushanbe Serena Hotel
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 30th October, 2006 – President Emomali Rahmonov today laid the foundation stone of Dushanbe’s first five-star hotel in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
The Dushanbe Serena Hotel, a US$25million project whose 120 units will range from luxury rooms to long-stay apartments, will incorporate conference and shopping facilities, restaurants and a roof-top recreation centre and swimming pool. The hotel, to be managed by Tourism Promotion Services (a subsidiary of Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development) is being developed following a design from the award-winning architectural firm, ARCOP, a Montreal-based firm.
“The construction of this hotel can significantly contribute to modern tourism development and creation of a business ambiance in the country,” said President Rahmonov noting that “this year much has been done to establish the basis for modern hotel enterprises, including the introduction of tax benefits for the construction of a series of projects in the tourism sector”.
Echoing this sentiment, the Aga Khan spoke of “a long-term commitment to a process of tourism development that can have deep and lasting benefits for Central Asia.” Emphasising that this was a process that would rely on constructive partnerships, he said that the government’s eager encouragement and active engagement would be vital to the success of the project.
Other partnerships contemplated by the proposed Dushanbe Serena Hotel include linkages with an Institute for Tourism and Leisure Industries being developed by the University of Central Asia in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The Aga Khan also explained the Serena concept as going beyond providing services, creating employment, setting quality benchmarks and generating urban renewal to include “developing human resources, elevating corporate ethics, practicing good citizenry and inspiring public confidence.”
Planned construction on the project is scheduled for 2007.
When completed, the Dushanbe Serena Hotel will join several Serena properties across the region to help strengthen tourism development in areas rich in cultural sites, physical attractions and economic opportunity. These include Serena units in Kabul, Afghanistan, and at Islamabad, Quetta, Faisalabad, Gilgit and Swat in Pakistan. In Tajikistan a further property at Khorog PastChid, in addition to the new Serena in Dushanbe, is also under development.
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1. The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of private development agencies working to empower communities and individuals, often in disadvantaged circumstances, to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in Central and South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The Network's agencies work for the common good of all citizens, regardless of their gender, origin or religion. Its underlying impulse is the ethic of compassion for the vulnerable in society. Its annual budget for philanthropic activity is US$300 million.
2. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) is an international development agency dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship and building economically sound enterprises in the developing world. AKFED focuses on building enterprises in parts of the world that lack sufficient foreign direct investment. It also makes bold but calculated investments in situations that are fragile and complex.
AKFED operates as a network of affiliates with more than 90 separate project companies employing over 30,000 people, with annual revenues in excess of US$1.5 billion. The Fund is active in 16 countries in the developing world: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Senegal, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania and Uganda.
3. Serena Hotels and lodges enjoy a long-established reputation for the highest standards of comfort and service within environments that meticulously promote indigenous architectural, craft and cultural traditions. Serena builds hotel capacity in regions that are underserved with business and tourist accommodation by other hotel chains. Serena properties have been at the forefront of human resource development, the generation of foreign exchange revenue and providing employment to local residents while bringing environmental sensitivity to the tourism industry in the regions where they operate.
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