Expo 2020 boosts growth, investment opportunities

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Expo 2020 boosts growth, investment opportunities

Business leaders upbeat on realty, retail, hospitality and banking sectors

By Abdul Basit (abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com)

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Published: Mon 27 Jan 2014, 12:26 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:18 PM

Expo 2020 is set to produce investment opportunities in in infrastructure, tourism and transport development, according to a new guide by Oxford Business group. — Kt file photo

Expo 2020 is set to produce investment opportunities in in infrastructure, tourism and transport development, according to a new guide by Oxford Business group. — KT file photo

The World Expo 2020 win provides a further boost to Dubai’s strong economic recovery and it will attract huge investments in almost all sectors in the emirate.

This was echoed by industry specialists from real estate retail, hospitality, banking, education sectors and Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s top official at a panel discussion at the launch of Oxford Business Group’s (OBG) new investment guide for 2014.

The Report: ‘Dubai 2014’ examines the new investment opportunities, which the Expo 2020 is set to produce, particularly in infrastructure, tourism and transport development.

“2013 is the best year we ever had during the past five years across the board. Major highlight of 2013 and its impact on 2014 was Expo 2020 announcement. This is really a turnaround event,” Hamad Buamim, chief executive officer of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in his opening remarks at the launch of the report.

Talking about the chamber’s association with OBG, Buamim said: “One of our important mission is to provide information for businesses, investors ….”

Referring to Expo 2020, he said: “We started this year with high tone.” Last year was a great year in terms of real estate recovery as the rebound was quite well, he said, adding: “Growth will continue in property sector, but I don’t see same growth level in 2014.” He mentioned that it’s not bubble this time.

CBRE managing director for Middle East Nicholas Maclean also said that today’s market is not like the emirate had from 2005-2007. Now it’s more regulated, he added.

Dubai Islamic Bank chief executive officer Adnan Chilwan said: “I think financial institution fueled the bubble and today a lot has happened in terms of regulation.”

Dubai Chamber’s Buamim said main drivers of economic growth in Dubai are trade, tourism, hospitality, supply chain logistics, and aviation. Real estate and constructions support these sectors, he added.

Andrew Jeffreys, OBG’s chief executive officer, said that the legacy of a debt burden from the 2009 real estate crash was coming under control. “Dubai is making a robust recovery from the recent downturn, as its 2013 first-half-year growth of 4.9 per cent shows,” he said. “With GCC imports and exports up, and non-oil foreign trade also on the rise, our report indicates that Dubai can take plenty of positives into the new year, even before its Expo preparations begin in earnest.”

Regional editor, Oliver Cornock added that he feels the Emirate’s financial turnaround makes for fascinating reading, while the economic effects of winning the right to stage the 2020 World Expo were huge. “Dubai is intent on building its tourism base to 20 million a year by 2020 and the Expo is anticipated to attract another 25 million over the six months it is staged, which will take the Emirate into 2021,” he said.

Majid Al Futtaim chief executive officer Iyad Malas said Dubai continues to strengthen its infrastructure that attracts investors and tourists. Population growth and tourists arrival are going to drive real estate growth and other sectors in the emirate. He mentioned that its not only Dubai, but whole UAE will benefit from the Expo 2020, specially Abu Dhabi because of its close proximity of the exhibition site. Dubai World Central will also attract a lot of investment, he added.

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