DUBAI – The Hassan II Golf Trophy will have a distinct Dubai feel to it with Emaar Properties, one of the world’s largest real estate companies, throwing its weight behind Morocco’s longest-running tournament.

The Hassan II Golf Trophy by Emaar, featuring a stellar star-cast headed by Ernie Els, will be held at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat from November 5 - 9 this year, promising to further enhance Morocco's status as an ideal golfing and tourist destination.

The Dubai-based Public Joint Stock Company, Emaar made its name by introducing master planned lifestyle communities to the UAE and has taken the winning formula to the rest of the world.

With six business segments and more than 60 active companies, Emaar has a collective presence in over 36 markets spanning the Middle East, North Africa, Pan-Asia, Europe and North America.

“Our entry into the Moroccan market is a significant part of our international expansion plan. Already, we have seen the great potential in the Moroccan market with our several development projects, and now our association with the Hassan II Golf Trophy as the Title Sponsor will further enhance our growing ties with this great country,” said Mohamed Ali Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties.

“With Morocco’s tourism industry is undergoing a significant change as part of its ‘Vision 2010’ initiative to attract 10 million visitors by 2010, tournaments such as the Hassan II Golf Trophy will play a role in achieving the goal,” he said.

Emaar has a long and rich association with golf, having created some of the finest golf courses and it's only natural for them be associated with top-class events.

“Morocco is a natural fit with the types of world-class communities we offer,” he said, adding: “It has distinctive natural beauty, from rocky coast to snow-capped mountains, and a climate conducive to year round outdoor living and leisure. As a destination and a place to live it is increasingly sought after,” Mr Alabbar said.

Since its inauguration in 1971 by His Majesty the late King Hassan II, the Hassan II Golf Trophy has dramatically grown in stature and popularity, thanks to a quality field it attracts every year.

Last year Open champion Padraig Harrington carded 12 under par 280 to win the event which attracted 24 top professionals, including Mark O’Meara, Darren Clarke and Jeev Milkha Singh, and 72 amateurs.

“We welcome Emaar's initiative in our country. Their backing of the event is fitting for a company which has already established its credentials while investing in Morocco,” His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid said.

“Morocco has deep feelings of respect and regard for the people of the UAE. And I am confident that our association will provide a new impetus to the historic ties,” said Prince Moulay Rachid, himself a keen golfer and the architect of the country's highly-successful professional and junior golf development program.