Middle East Business Review – 7 Mar

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DUBAI TOURISM FIGURES UP BY 10%

According to official figures released by Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the number of tourists visiting Dubai rose by 10% to a total of 9.3 million last year while the number of guest nights rose by 23% to more than 33 million. Revenues recorded a 20% growth, hitting AED16bn ($4.3bn) as visitors’ average length of day increased 12% to 3.6 days. “We have been successful in boosting the number of tourists to Dubai due to our initiatives to enhance our position in established markets and tap new and emerging tourism source markets. The substantial gains by hotels and hotel apartments reflect, once again, the vibrancy and dynamism of the tourism industry in the emirate,” Khalid A bin Sulayem, DTCM director general, said.

HILTON ANNOUNCES 41 HOTELS FOR MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA REGION

Hilton Worldwide Middle East and Africa pledged opening of 41 properties for the region as part of its ‘strategy of ambitious growth’. “Hilton Worldwide’s unwavering momentum in seeking out practical and productive partners and properties in Middle East & Africa is setting the regional pace and return for the company. We’re experiencing increased optimism in the region and this is reflected in the number and quality of enquiries we are receiving. Today’s announcement is good news for the company and good news for the area’s hospitality industry.” Rudi Jagersbacher, president, Hilton Worldwide, Middle East & Africa, said in a statement. Hilton Worldwide expects the openings of the luxury brands Conrad Dubai and Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah this year.

DUBAI STOCK MARKET SINKS TO 2-YEAR LOW

The Dubai index suffered from record fall in one day during the last two years as investors reacted nervously to the outcome of tomorrow’s Greek sovereign debt swap deal. The Dubai Financial Market General Index sank 81.41 points, closing at 16,077.77, down 4.82% from yesterday’s end. The fall is the steepest since January 2010.

‘SKIP CASES’ ON THE RISE IN DUBAI

According to the Dubai Police, thousands of expatriate motorists in the UAE are abandoning their cars and returning to their home countries in a bid to avoid paying off their outstanding loans on vehicles after defaulting on the terms and conditions of their car finance agreement. “Because motoring is becoming more expensive, the owners are more inclined to give up their car when they can’t afford the payments. Sometimes, a car may sit idle for some time before being recovered because if it’s not causing an obstruction and it’s not reported to us or Dubai Municipality, we wouldn’t know about it,” Hafiz Amin, of the Dubai Police, said in a statement.

QATAR SEEKING LONG-TERM LNG DEALS WITH ASIA

Qatar, the world’s largest LNG exporter, is seeking long-term contracts, stretching to as many as 20 years, with Asian countries in its bid to secure its financial interests amid recent discoveries of shale gas in the US, Australia and Africa that are likely to knock down prices. According to a Bloomberg report, the world’s biggest LNG producer is seeking to complete larger and longer export deals amid a surge in global supplies that’s encouraging buyers to call for an end to costing the fuel based on oil prices. “What we are hearing is there is pressure on the long- dated pricing of LNG contracts, and it’s possible that Qatar is looking at securing long-term offtake in anticipation of reduced spot prices because of a glut five years down the line. The sense is that the current spot market remains tight but pricing is coming off on the longer-dated contracts,” Neil Beveridge, a senior analyst at Bernstein in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg.

GE SUGGESTS ME WILL BEAT CHINA, ASIA GROWTH RATE

General Electric Co. said it expects Middle East and Latin American nations will outpace growth rates of China and other emerging economies in Asia thanks to their resources. According to the US giant’s forecast, sales growth in the “resource-rich” regions of Latin America, Australia, the Middle East and Africa will register a 20 to 25% increase, outpacing 10 to 15% growth in Asia. “We think that within the next 10 years, the growth markets will contribute 50 percent of the company’s revenue up from about 37% currently,” John Rice, a GE vice chairman who runs the company’s foreign operations, said at an investor briefing in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.

(By Moign Khawaja – Editor: Arabian Gazette)
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