Dubai Chamber highlights the emirate’s business potential to Dubai World Cup delegates

Dubai: The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented an insight into business opportunities arising from Dubai Expo 2020 and the Capital of Islamic Economy initiative during a business luncheon hosted in honour of 30 international business and thought leaders attending the Dubai World Cup Long Weekend organised by Falcon ‘&’ Associates at the Chamber headquarters on Sunday.

Approximately 50% of the international guests present included those from the UK, US and Australia, while other guests included those representing markets of Africa, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan and Singapore, many of whom were experiencing Dubai for the first time.

In his presentation, Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, highlighted Dubai’s economic performance in the past year and the growth prospects expected this year in light of Dubai’s winning of the honour to host Expo 2020 and the subsequent creation of investment opportunities for the business community.

He informed the delegates that last year Dubai achieved its best growth seen in the last five years due to the exceptional performance of its leading economic sectors including trade, tourism, logistics and finance as inflation was less than 2% and GDP growth recorded was 5%, and is expected to reach about 5-7% beyond 2014-2015.

Buamim further informed that the trade sector showed a strong growth of 8% during the year 2013 in comparison to the year 2012, stressing that trade with a share of 30% of the total GDP was the largest contributor to Dubai’s economic growth last year.

He also shed light on the tourism sector, which he said achieved high growth figures in terms of the numbers of visiting tourists, hotel occupancy and revenue ratios adding that the number of tourists to Dubai increased to 11 million from the 7 million visitors arriving in the last five years, reflecting Dubai’s status as a favourite global tourist destination.

Also, the Dubai International Airport emerged as the second busiest international airport in the world as 66.4 million passengers passed through the airport registering a growth of 15%, while the volume of air cargo was 2.44 million tonnes, with a growth of 7%, and the Dubai Duty Free registered USD 1.8 billion sales, with a growth rate of 12%, making it the largest duty free market in the world, said Buamim.

Speaking about the future drivers of the emirate’s economic growth, he said that Islamic Economy and Expo 2020 will play a major role as the World Expo, during its six months, is expected to attract 25 million visitors and create in excess of 277,000 jobs while $23 billion is set to be added between 2015 and 2021 and the widespread spending planned for Expo presents opportunities for international businesses.

Also, the Islamic Economy is another big player as in the presence of over 1.6 billion global Muslims whose numbers will increase to 2 billion offering ample opportunities for the emirate which has recently launched the initiative, Dubai, the World Capital of Islamic economy by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

He also informed that over the next five years the halal food sector will grow from USD1.008 billion to USD2.5 billion, while the halal tourism sector will grow from USD137 billion to USD284 billion over the next five years, while the volume of expenditure on clothing was USD225 billion in 2012, representing 11% of the total global spending on clothing.

The President and CEO of Dubai Chamber called upon the attendees representing international companies to invest in Dubai which he said is the city of the future as the emirate has become a global destination for major exhibitions, events, conferences and sporting activities. Dubai is the best location for global investors looking to expand into regional markets, he said adding that the Islamic economy is not confined to the Islamic financial services but includes other sectors like halal food, travel and lifestyle.