The LAICO hotel group, part of the Libyan Investment Authority, plans to fully reopen its five-star Abu Niwas hotel in downtown Tunis by the end of August, it was announced today. The hotel, which has been closed for eight years, has been undergoing refurbishment recently.
According to Ashraf Elataeb, the general manager of Laico Tunisia, the aim is to restart operations at the end of June, gradually building up to the grand reopening two months later.
However, the main issue, he said at a press conference in Tunis this afternoon, was that the previous management were refusing to leave the premises. LAICO had been in talks with the Tunisian authorities about the problem. Both they and the Libyan authorities wanted to settle the matter and reopen the hotel as soon as possible. But there were legal processes to follow to ensure the old management left. He was positive, though, that the August target date would be met.
The conference included LIA chairman Kilani Abdulkarim Kilani, LIA deputy general manager Kamel Algseir, and LAICO Management Company general manager Gasim Eledrissi.
Next to the Palais de Congres conference centre and near the headquarters of all the main banks, the Abu Niwas hotel was one of the two top five-star hotels in downtown Tunis until it closed. Because of its location and its facilities, the Tunisian authorities are reported to want it open again.
Refurbishment work on the hotel is said to be over 90-percent complete.
As to the LIA, Algseir noted that its management were first and foremost professionals who did not take political sides and who determined to act in the best interests of the authority and its stakeholders, the Libya public.
“We are working with both the House of Representatives and the Government of National Accord,” he said.
He also said that LIA was looking to further diversify its global portfolio and,as part of that, to invest in Tunisia.