Northern Ireland companies are being given an opportunity by Invest NI to bid for business from the developer behind the world’s biggest investment in the hotel/leisure industry.
Hamza Mustafa, a senior executive of Nakheel Properties, the company currently developing a £5 billion network of Caribbean-style holiday islands, known as the Palm Island and World Island developments, off the coast of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, was the keynote speaker at an Invest NI breakfast seminar in Belfast today.
At the seminar, Mr Mustafa detailed the products and services required and how Northern Ireland companies can become involved in the massive investment drive in the Dubai area that also includes many new hotel projects and a range of other developments to enhance the region’s fast growing tourism industry.
The seminar was chaired by Bill McGinnis, an Invest NI Board member and chairman of the McAvoy Group of Dungannon.
Said Mr McGinnis: “The Palm and World projects present an immense business opportunity for our companies across a broad range of sectors. The projects, for example, involve the construction and outfitting of most types of accommodation, from five-star hotels to £1 million luxury villas, and facilities for leisure pursuits, including golf and water sports.
“Invest NI has been focusing on the Dubai marketplace and has now developed a relationship with the company behind the Palm and World Islands. This seminar will help to introduce our companies to Nakheel and develop our link with them.
“Invest NI also has a well-established support network in Dubai that provides expert advice and access to modern facilities. A trade mission is also being organised to the Emirates in February. This will enable Northern Ireland companies to follow up the opportunity that our contact with Nakheel offers.
“A number of companies are already using Invest NI services there to build worthwhile business and several, for example, secured contracts to supply the Burj Al Arab Hotel, the world’s first seven star hotel. We want to encourage many more companies to focus on the tourism and hospitality sector in Dubai and the other emirates. Companies bidding for business in the region can depend on the Invest NI team there for very practical assistance and reliable advice,” he added.
Expert guidance on business in the region was be provided by Michael Craig, Invest NI’s Dubai-based trade adviser in the region, and by Rand Al Assad. Mrs Al-Assad was recently appointed by Invest NI as a dedicated marketing resource and is already helping Northern Ireland companies access opportunities in the hotel sector in the Emirates.
She is an experienced interior designer with the Jos Hansen Group, one of Dubai’s major trading houses. This combined expertise will be used to help Northern Ireland companies pinpoint and exploit opportunities in the Emirates.
The business arising from Dubai’s emergence as a global tourism centre was presented by Peter Scoffham of the Dubai government’s Tourism and Commerce Marketing Department.