New Tunisian tourist resort Tunis – Nabil Zaghdoud Qatar's Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali on Tuesday laid the foundation stone of a luxury resort, being developed by Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company in Tozeur city (540kn southewst of capital Tunis). The $80mn resort, extending over 40 hectares, consists of luxury suites with prime views of a natural salt lake, conference facilities, retail areas, spa and sports facilities, an amphitheater and an Arabic-themed cultural village. Qatari Diar’s Group CEO Mohamed bin Ali al-Hedfa said the Tozeur Desert Resort was aimed at supporting Tunisia and its development following the revolution by providing employment opportunities to the country’s youth. “The project developers will work closely with local institutions to help market and promote Tozeur as a unique and high end international tourist destination,” al-Hedfa said. “More than a mere real estate project, the Tozeur resort is one of Qatari Diar’s landmark developments providing a model for sustainable living in more than 29 countries around the world,” he added.. Prime Minister Jebali described the project as “proof of the strong relations between Tunisia and Qatar”. He said: “The project will not only create jobs for our country’s youth, during construction and upon completion, it will also add a new dynamic to the region’s desert tourism.” He thanked the Qatari government and its leadership “for extending a hand of friendship to the Tunisian people and, through the work of Qatari Diar, contributing to the growth of our economy and the diversification and development of the tourism industry in Tunisia”. “Visitors to the desert resort will experience a unique mix of Arabic desert culture and an array of high-end restaurants and entertainment facilities amidst abundant natural beauty,” said a Qatari Diar official. “The resort, designed to complement and preserve the local environment, neighbours 200 water springs, an oasis and a natural salt lake,” the official said. “Tozeur, one of Tunisia’s 24 states once dubbed ‘City of Dreams’ by the Romans, is a destination for artists, film directors, politicians and journalists, who frequently fill its restaurants, cafes and markets,” he added.