Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Niki Cutts' take on Dubai as a Trading Hub: Not a Bad Place to Hang Out

A delegate at a business conference in Dubai, Niki Cutts arrived into the immense airport late in the evening, eventually going to bed at around 3am, having relaxed in my luxury bath on the 40th floor on the all-women Chopard floor.

A shiny air-conditioned coach collected us in the morning from the hotel where we were whisked off for a coach tour of the Jebel Ali sea port. It was like Dr Who’s tardis, never-ending: massive cranes hoisting containers off ships the size of the star ship enterprise, and there in the morning haze, I could see the famous palm development.

The afternoon trip to Dubai’s diamond exchange in a shiny sky scraper gave us the opportunity to look down from great height on the pristine marina calved out of the desert. Wow, to buy an apartment around this azure glistening water would be a dream.

The next day, on the way to Abu Dhabi, we stopped off at the Formula 1 track.  A quick snap sent by SMS to my husband, of me with the iconic hotel and F1 track in the background was enough to generate a rapid, jealous response from my other half left in Prague.

But with all the glitz of Dubai, there was a serious point, Dubai had picked itself up from its near bankruptcy of some years before . There was no sign of recession, unlike the wows of Europe. Business was booming. Dubai: the great trading link between Europe and Asia. Thanks to the foresight of a former ruler, who happened to prove everyone wrong and bulldozed over their criticisms. He built his visionary massive port on the edge of a desert and indeed attracted the port’s trade.

As an entrepreneur, it is important to talk through ideas with others, but often people are unable to see the opportunities staring you in the face. If you are an Arab ruler, then dictatorship is a real option. Being a Yorkshire lass myself, bloody mindedness and suitcases full of self belief often come in handy. Sharing some personal characteristics with Arab rulers can sometimes come in handy in business.

I would encourage anyone to visit Dubai for both business and pleasure. There are indeed worst places to attend a conference.

An entrepreneurial wanderer, Niki Cutts (of Castleward) left for business adventures in the Czech Republic when it joined the EU in 2004. She was also in search of affordable property.