Dubai economy to ride Expo demand in 2018-19

Dubai economy to ride Expo demand in 2018-19
Expo 2020 is one of the major opportunities for Dubai businesses toderive benefits, says Hamad Buamim.

dubai - Growth in tourism, trade and aviation sectors will benefit businesses

By Waheed Abbas

Published: Tue 16 Jan 2018, 5:27 PM

Last updated: Tue 16 Jan 2018, 7:31 PM

Driven by investments in technologies, innovation and Expo 2020 projects, the growth curve of the Dubai economy will continue its upward trend both this year and next, said a senior executive of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on Tuesday, Hamad Buamim, president and CEO of Dubai Chamber, said the emirate's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 3.2 per cent in 2017 and growth will pick up this year to 3.5 per cent.

Buamim projected higher growth for Dubai in 2019 as new projects commence and more people come in for Expo 2020.

"Expo 2020 is one of the major opportunities for businesses to derive benefits. I believe the Dubai government will undertake more initiatives to boost the economy. We think growth in 2018 will be slightly higher than in 2017 and 2019 could be even higher," Buamaim said.

He noted that Expo 2020 alone could give more than one per cent boost to the economy.

"Ahead of 2020, more and more consumers and visitors will flock to Dubai. In addition, the government will also pump back the funds collected from the implementation of VAT [value-added tax] for the development of projects and infrastructure. Therefore, we hope macro growth will be positive," he added.

Acknowledging some challenges related to the geopolitical situation in the region, Buamim, however, focused on the opportunities for businesses because sectors such as tourism, trade and aviation continue to thrive.

"We see challenges in certain sectors but also opportunities in other areas, especially technology. We will see more construction happening which will benefit the whole supply chain. As we get closer to Expo 2020, projects will take off in 2018-19."

He noted that the Chamber would promote the emirate in Latin America in 2018.

"Trade for our members grew by about two per cent in 2017 and we expect this will be replicated for Dubai's total trade. We have already witnessed an increase in the number of people coming to Dubai airports. All these support tourism, logistics and financial services. 2018 will be an extension of what we saw in 2017, especially the latter half," he said.

In 2017, 16,300 companies became members of the Dubai Chamber, bringing its total membership to 2,17,000, an increase of eight per cent.
Exports and re-exports of Dubai Chamber members grew two per cent year on year to reach Dh277 billion in 2017. Saudi Arabia remained the top export and re-export market for Chamber members with a value of Dh103 billion, a growth of 17 per cent.

The Chamber received 1,013 visiting delegations from 58 countries while it led delegations to 49 countries and 61 cities and participated in 87 international events.

It plans to open three new representative offices in India, Argentina and Panama in 2018, bringing the total number of international offices to 11.

Dubai Association Centre issued 10 new licences in 2017, taking the total number of licensed international associations to 42.


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