UAE businessman Khalaf Ahmed Al Habtoor is looking to spend up to $3 billion this year to expand his real estate and hotel business. 

The chairman of Al Habtoor Group, which owns residential properties and hotels, as well as car dealerships, said he is looking at certain markets in Europe, including Budapest and Slovakia, for expansion. 

“We are investing around $2.8 billion to $3 billion this year,” Al Habtoor told Bloomberg TV. 

Al Habtoor Group has at least 14 hotels in its portfolio, including Waldorf Astoria on the Palm Jumeirah, Metropolitan Hotel and Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City in the UAE. Its hotels abroad have presence in the UK, Lebanon and Hungary. 

Al Habtoor noted that his businesses have picked up during the pandemic, thanks to Dubai’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. He noted that Dubai’s property market alone has been attracting property buyers from Asia and Arab countries, which have outnumbered their peers from Europe and Russia. 

Last December, the company unveiled plans to roll out three huge residential projects in Dubai with a total cost of AED 9.5 billion ($2.6 billion). The projects will include residential towers, with one of them expected to be the largest in the world in terms of size and number of apartments. 

“The strong economic recovery in Dubai in 2022 and the high development levels that have reached new heights not even witnessed before the COVID-19 crisis were encouraging factors to be involved again in the real estate sector and increase investments in new quality projects,” Al Habtoor said last month. 

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)