Boom- and -Bust
A few kilometers off the coast of Dubai, more than 200 tiny, man-made islands bake under the sun. Reclaimed under the watchful eye of Construction Engineers and Quantity Surveyors five years ago, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, they were to be one of the emirate's most spectacular projects; an archipelago of resorts and luxury houses laid out in the shape of a world map. Apart from a few villas and a beach club, the islands are currently empty.
About 70% of the land was sold however since then, most of the buyers have lacked the cash or the will to go ahead with the construction development plans they were previously so excited about. Many years after a corporate debt crisis drove Dubai to the brink of default, it is still littered with relics of the disaster in the form of unfinished real estate construction projects.
Boom Time Again
Dubai is however now laying the building blocks for another economic boom, based on its role as a tourism and business hub for the surrounding region and a haven for money from India, China and fast-growing countries in Africa. The next boom is likely to be more gradual than the last, partly because financing will not be as cheap and plentiful as it was during the excesses of the last decade. During this new wave of growth Dubai will serve similar functions as Hong Kong and Singapore in Asia, supporting and profiting from growth in industry and trade in a large region surrounding it.
Dubai’s ruler signaled a push for growth in Q4 2012 when he announced plans for a huge tourism and retail development including construction of the world's largest shopping mall, over 100 hotels, and a park 30% bigger than London's Hyde Park. These construction projects will undoubtedly attract the return to the emirate of Project Managers, Engineers and QS’s in significant numbers.
The Dubai government's central projection is for the population to rise above 3 million people by 2020 from just over 2m at present. One other significant factor in Dubai's investment decisions is whether its bid to host the World Expo 2020 is successful. A decision is expected this year. Local officials have estimated the event could draw 25 million visitors to Dubai!
Location, Location, Location
One of the emirate's advantages is its geographical location, which lets it serve as an air transport hub between Asia, Europe and Africa; Dubai overtook Hong Kong to become the world's third-busiest airport for international passenger traffic in 2012.
Dubai is Back!
One thing that is clear is that Dubai is definitely “back” in business. Last week the Dubai Financial Market hit 2,108 points, its highest since November 2009. The economy is forecast to expand by an annual average of 4.6 percent between now and 2015.
Richard Poulter is Also Back....
Yes, I will be back in the UAE to attend the Abu Dhabi Lighthouse Club monthly gathering on the evening of Wednesday 22nd May 2013 at 'The Club', and also the Dubai Lighthouse Club monthly gathering at the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club on Monday 27th May 2013.
If you are interested to discuss construction jobs in the UAE (or Hong Kong/Asia) or looking to secure additional staff resources for your project, please join me for a chat & a beer. Please email me a CV or submit one via the Maxim website beforehand if you can!
I look forward to seeing you there!
+971 50 874 8705 (UAE)
+852 5444 0094 (HK)