Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on an investment drive in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) RegionDownload logo
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on an investment drive in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Region
Tourism Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu engaged with potential investors during her four-day visit in Dubai, to strengthen relations between South Africa and the UAE into a more comprehensive strategic partnership.
Minister Sisulu had bilateral engagements with key Investors in the GCC Region, Mr. G Pennon, Chairman of the SOBHA Group, a multinational real estate and construction group, Chairman of Emirates Group, His Highness, Sheik Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Makhtoum, CEO of the Bin Otaiba Hotel Group, Khalaf Bin Ahmed Al Otaiba and CEO of MILLAT Investments, Mr Hamza Farooqui.
The UAE is one of South Africa’s top bilateral trade partners in the Middle East, with total exports worth ZAR 25.4 billion in 2018.
Of concern to the potential investors, was that safety and security in South Africa continues to be a hindrance to sustainable investments.
The National Tourism Sector Strategy and Tourism Sector Recovery Plan aims to promote South Africa as a preferred destination for tourism investment by highlighting opportunity areas in major attractions, especially in underdeveloped areas with high tourism potential.
Through the Tourism recovery Plan, tourism intends to match specific tourism investment opportunities to potential financiers and thus contribute towards the Presidential Investment Mobilisation Drive, launched in 2018 to generate about $100 billion (or R1.2 trillion) fixed investments over five years.
The Bin Otaiba Hotels (BOH) is one of the diversified hospitality platforms worldwide. In South Africa, the group owns amongst others the Radisson in Sandton and Hyatt Regency in Rosebank. Unfortunately, some BOH owned hotels in South Africa closed due to the impact of the Covid-19 and other local government factors.
The Emirates group is one of the largest Airline groups in the World. South Africa has a code sharing agreement with the Emirates, which gives the Airline access to South Africa’s domestic routes while Emirates promotes South Africa on its Airline’s Global Network. “Airlift is key pillar for South Africa’ tourism recovery and therefore it is critical to collaborate with Emirates to support our turnaround strategy: said Sisulu.
His Highness, Sheik Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Makhtoum, says Emirates long-term plan is to grow the tourism business instead of being dependent on passenger transit only as previously. The SOBHA group has diversified interests and investments in the UAE, India, Oman, Bahrain, Brunei and Tanzania. Mr. G Pennon highlighted that South Africa has the potential to grow the economy through land development.
CEO of MILLAT Investments, Mr Hamza Farooqui says the tourism ecosystem can grow if there is unconditional collaborations and would be prepared to work with South Africa. MILLAT is a leading private equity firm with interests in hoteling and hospitality and owns the Hyatt Regency in Cape Town.
Minister Sisulu acknowledged that although tourism has the greatest potential for long-term sustainable growth, safety and security does indeed hurt the South African economy. She reiterated that the South African government has put in place measures to address issues of security in the country. ‘We will continue to create a conducive environment for tourism investments.” The Minister believes that lessons can be learnt from the GCC region. The region plays a critical role in contributing to South Africa’s economic growth and job creation.
Minister Sisulu thanked the UAE and GCC region for having faith in South Africa and for their affirmation in wanting to continue to invest in South Africa.
Despite the COVID -19 challenges, the Bin Otaiba Hotels (BOH) CEO, Khalaf Bin Ahmed Al Otaiba, believes that South Africa has potential and wants to invest on mega projects in the country.
Some of the prominent investors from the GCC region with physical presence in South Africa are:
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Department of Tourism, Republic of South Africa.
- Otaiba Group (UAE) with an investment in the country estimated at R3.5 billion, the Hilton Durban, Port Edward in Port Elizabeth, the Hyatt in Rosebank and the Radisson- Blu Sea Point in Cape Town.
- IFA (Kuwait) with an investment estimated at R10 billion in the Zimbali Resort in KwaZulu-Natal, Boschendal Farm Estate in the Western Cape and the Legend Golf and Safari Resort in Limpopo.
- Adel Al-Sumait (Kuwait) with an investment estimated at R203 million invested in Al-Thandiwe Safaris in Limpopo
- Dubai Investment Corporation with an investment estimated at R420 million in Shamwari Game Reserve, and a stake in the One & Only Hotel in Cape Town