Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Everything's tickedy-boo.

I'm back in Dubai sorting, culling and packing.  How can people accumulate so much stuff'?  We arrived in Dubai with one suitcase each but we'll need a 40 foot container (possibly two) to leave.

It seems like Sunday was the start of an official 'Everything's Tickedy-Boo in Dubai' campaign. The media has bombarded the public with positive stories; Business Bay is surging ahead, there are blokes are on the radio saying property prices have reached their lowest point and the market is bouncing back. Meanwhile, down at the shops, Deira City Centre is confident of an expanding retail market and will be building 55 new shops.  Who these potential property buyers are, where they'll come from and most interesting, why they would buy in Dubai is not explained and the commentators have obviously never heard the expression 'Once bitten, twice shy'. Dubai's reputation as a safe place for investment has been muddied by the property market implosion.  What rules there were, were shown to be woefully inadequate to deal with the fallout.  Currently there are ongoing complaints and some law suits by investors who have lost their money on developments that have been shelved for the foreseeable future.  Reputation, like virginity, is something that once lost, cannot be restored (yeh I know about the operation but you see my point?)  There would need to be a vast number of people move into Dubai to get rid of the current glut of property units, (those people won't be coming from the construction industry) and did anyone say the magic word "visa"?  Where are the jobs for these people?  It also comes as a rude shock to prospective purchasers when they find that their 'residence visa' in Dubai only lasts for 6 months at a time and then they have to leave and request a renewal. So why would they?  There are markets that welcome their investment, Malaysia for example and its "My Second Home" programme. In response to the current oversupply in Dubai developers are holding back on releasing development units.  The hotel sector is reportedly taking the biggest hit, with one example being the shelving of the Kempinski hotel on the Palm Jumeirah which will remain a shell for the next two years  Ulrich Eckhardt, Kempinski’s head of the Middle East and Africa said “I’m concerned about what I consider poor planning from those in a position to approve new hotels.  He continued, "Building permission was granted without studying “existing inventory, growth rates and future demand." (Just because you get permission to build doesn't mean you have to do it surely?  I would have thought the hotel company itself would have taken a look at the state of the market but there you go....)

With oil prices rising due to the Libyan crisis the number of international travellers is expected to fall, and let's face it, the Middle East is not currently the holiday destination of choice.
Back to the Deira City Centre expansion, Q1: How long ago did they shut their 'luxury arcade' due to lack of custom? Q2: Will the expansion take over more of the car park? Will Deira CC end up like Doha City Centre in Qatar?  Doha CC is a shopping mall almost the size of Mall of the Emirates but with the car park space of Spinneys in Jumeira. Oh yes and Frederick's of Hollywood is opening 10 shops in the Middle East this despite, and this may come as a surprise to many readers, the lingerie market here being saturated - a strange irony isn't it?

Finally, the metro (which I would use regularly if it ran to anywhere near where I work from anywhere near where I live) and which according to local media carries, I don't know, about 17 zillion passengers every week, is cutting back on staff and decreasing the frequency of services.

But everything's tickedy boo.....

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