Middle East developing long-term strategy, say AHIC speakers

Travel News Asia Tuesday, 2 May 2006

The global approach to business in the Middle East is changing as corporations switch to a long-term strategy in the region, according to speakers in the opening sessions of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference held in Dubai.

Dr Daniel Thorniley, senior vice president of Economist Intelligence Units corporate network, said, The Middle East has projected growth of more than 5% per annum and this looks sustainable. While the oil booms of the 1970s and part of the 1980s were wasted, we are seeing regional reinvestment and a long-term strategy in the Middle East by both governments and corporations.

Thorniley referred to the opportunistic, quick profit, cash cow Middle East of the 1970s, which has been replaced by better fiscal policies of today.

Until two years ago, the Middle East was a relative backwater, with the exception of the oil and gas sector. Companies didnt worry about brands and marketing, and the boom of 30 years ago didnt do the Middle East any good.

Today we have reinvestment, surging stock markets, a better market environment, massive liquidity, and spending.

He predicted a growth in Arab intra-regional travel, with Egypt and Libra picking up, though the UAE will remain the jewel in the Middle East crown. Thorniley tipped Turkey as the next hot market after Dubai: From 1938 to 2003, it was stagnant; now it has phenomenal potential.

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