|Kuwait, February 2004 - With the major exhibition devoted to the reconstruction
of Iraq taking place in Kuwait this month, the northern Gulf emirate is
poised to exploit its strategic location as a gateway in to that country.
Kuwait International Fair, organisers of Rebuild Iraq 2004, claim more
than 1,000 companies from 45 countries are taking part in the event, boosting
Kuwait’s claim to provide an ideal staging post for those seeking contracts
in every sector, from oil and gas through to education, sanitation, agriculture,
medical services, IT, telecomms and hospitality.
American administrators have indicated that contracts valued at around US$13 billion will be awarded in 2004, with another tranche of $6 billion in 2005, while trade between Iraq and its GCC neighbours has increased dramatically following the removal of UN sanctions, including a recent deal with Kuwait to revive an old agreement to import gas from Iraq.
“Initially, we are seeing an influx of cars and electrical goods, for example, but there will be demand for much more as the infrastructure is repaired and manufacturing revived,” said Yaghi.
A recent report by Global Investment House stated that investor confidence toward and within Kuwait had increased dramatically as opportunities had opened up in both Iraq and neighbouring GCC countries – boosted by the decision to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership in certain sectors.
“Le Meridien’s joint venture with the Al A’amal group has been extremely timely, with plans for five properties and state-of-the-art meeting facilities coming to fruition just as Kuwait enters a boom period,” said Yaghi.
The group currently operates the former Ritz Kuwait and has a further two properties opening shortly: “With refurbished and new hotels, we have introduced the latest wireless technology to enable business executives to keep in close contact with their principals, either in the Gulf region or overseas, and this is becoming a major selling point in the hospitality sector here,” Yaghi explained.
London-based Le Méridien is a global hotel group with a portfolio of over 135 luxury and upscale hotels (36,000 rooms) in 56 countries worldwide. The majority of its properties are located in the world’s top cities and resorts throughout Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.
|Also See:||Le Meridien Hotels Pursues Seamless Rebranding for Kuwait Properties / December 2003|
|A’amal Hotels Company Appoints Le Meridien to Operate Ritz Kuwait; Will Convert to Art+Tech Designer Property / May 2003|