Renaissance Village Duqm has been built on the simple formula of highest standards, lower costs through economies of scale, says Stephen Thomas, CEO, Renaissance Services. Muhammed Nafie reports
What are the salient features of Renaissance Village Duqm?
Renaissance Village Duqm is a world-class project. It started with Special Economic Zone Authority for Duqm (SEZAD)’s vision to provide the workforces in Duqm with high standards of living at an affordable cost. Renaissance Village Duqm is the answer to that. We have built it on the simple formula of highest standards, lower costs through economies of scale. It’s a 16,960-bed permanent facility built with lots of amenities such as recreation, gymnasiums and different cuisines, but at the cost of or even lower than staying in a temporary porta cabin camp that has to be removed at the end of the project.
Renaissance Village Duqm offers accommodation to all levels of employees, white and blue collar. The room rates start from $10 per day (eight persons in a room), $12 (6 persons), $14 (4), $20 (2) and $40 for a suite. The packages offered to occupants include free laundry and other housekeeping facilities.
It is all about looking after people. We say we are looking after your people. But it’s also saying that you are looking after your people, when you choose to put them in a facility like this. Some countries have had a lot of problems when it comes to looking after their workforces. Oman will be showing the world this is how you look after people.
What is the total cost of the project? Is it fully owned and operated by Renaissance?
The project cost is RO75mn. The operating company is 100 per cent Renaissance; the property owning company is Renaissance Duqm Accommodation SAOC; t’s a partnership of which Renaissance is the majority stakeholder with 52 per cent. Our partners are Sovereign Wealth Fund, Royal Court Affairs, Omani Pension Fund, Omani finical institutions like Bank Muscat, local community investor with Al Khonji family. Multiple people are going to benefit from it.
When is the company expected to achieve a break-even?
A break-even factor can be achieved with an occupancy rate of 46 per cent, which the company hopes to cross in 2018.
The project started when the oil price was above $100 per barrel. How is the current market scenario going to affect your occupancy?
We have not built this for a short term; we have a long term vision. The projects in Duqm, as we know, are taking a little longer. The refinery took very wisely a lot of time to make itself more cost-effective. But the projects are coming and the vision behind Duqm is essential to diversify Oman’s economy. It happens a little bit slower, and if we will get a little bit more efficient because of the lower oil price, we are fine with it. Ours is a long-term and sustainable project for Duqm.
Do you have plans to expand the facility in the future?
We have 70,000 squre meteres of land. There is scope for expansion depending upon demand and the demographic of demand as well. There are plans for a Duqm Beach Club hospitality project, which is currently in the design stages. It will happen in a year’s time.