Dubai – MENA Herald: Diversification is the way forward for CIS economies as highlighted by the successful experiences of Dubai, stated experts during a panel discussion on the second day of the first Commonwealth of Independent States Global Business Forum (CIS GBF 2016).
During the panel discussion, HE Hamad Buamim, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Chamber; HE Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai; and Gerard Lawless, Head of Tourism and Hospitality at Dubai Holding and recently appointed Chairman of World Travel and Tourism Council, shared their personal experiences and the lessons learned from Dubai’s successful diversification into a non-oil based economy.
HE Buamim emphasized the importance of establishing hard and soft infrastructure to ease travel between Dubai and the CIS countries. He also called for promoting innovation and leveraging new and advanced technologies to promote the New Silk Road.
“Dubai Chamber has opened an office in Baku and we are open to exploring additional offices. However, while hard infrastructure provides the building blocks, soft infrastructure such as safe, secure and quick visa entry system can significantly enhance trade and tourism traffic.” Georgia currently offers visa free access to both UAE residents and nationals, opening up commercial and leisure travel opportunities to the country.
Speaking on the transportation of goods from West China through CIS, HE Buamim highlighted the growing importance of creating North–South trade links. He said that exports of agricultural produce to Dubai could offer high potential opportunities for CIS countries that are looking to diversify.
HE Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “The UAE was ahead of the game in being one of the first countries to recognize the importance of establishing links with the CIS. The GCC and CIS countries share several similarities, and Dubai can be a valuable partner to the CIS, having successfully diversified away from oil.
Flydubai currently services 17 cities across five CIS countries, all unfulfilled destinations previously, which has opened up trade, commercial and leisure tourism significantly to these countries.
Discussing the essential ingredients to building a successful hub, Gerard Lawless, said, “Establishing a hub requires a coordinated collective approach. This is an opportune time for the CIS countries to examine, reform and re-invent. Improving infrastructure and transparency can open up new avenues and help stimulate the economy.