England vs. Croatia: GCC wins either way 

July 11, 2018 4:53 pm

Source: Getty

Yesterday, we predicted France would win its match against Belgium, and it came to pass.

Tonight, England faces Croatia at the World Cup semi-finals. Today, however, we will be fielding a match of a different kind: a fantasy football game for the greatest trade volume between the GCC and the two European nations.

The referee blows the whistle, and the ball is in Croatia’s court.

READ: The harsh truth about Arab teams’ failures at the World Cup

Croatia playing offense

At the Arabian Travel Market held in the Dubai World Trade Center earlier this year, the Tours Department of Croatian National Tourist Board Croatia was present. Their acting manager, Karla Vojvodic, said that they have groups visiting from Saudi Arabia and Dubai, but they are keen to attract more visitors from the GCC.

She elaborated further, saying that an individual may stay in one of the suggested destinations in Croatia for six days and spend $2,342, not including tickets.

In 2017, Saudi tourist spending abroad totaled $21billion. It is not surprising, therefore, that Croatia is looking to reel in Saudi visitors who are known to be heavy spenders.

England not playing zone

Over two-thirds of GCC investors stated that the UK is one of the top overseas property investment destinations, according to a recent study by YouGov. The research reveals the current investment trends and attitudes in the GCC.

Real estate proved to be the preferred form of investment, with 60% of respondents considering an overseas real estate investment in the future.

Among those surveyed, 54% chose London as the UK city of choice for property investment. Strongest capital growth (33%) and the highest yields (22%) were the main factors that influenced investors’ decisions.

London, Manchester, and Liverpool were the most popular cities for UAE investment.

A game England plays well: Oil

England has always maintained a close relationship with the GCC. Ever since oil was first discovered in the region during the 20th century, England and the GCC have been locked together in a close relationship of mutual benefits.

Back then, England and the UK as a whole played a major role in helping the GCC extract the first oil to come out of their lands. For that pivotal role, England deserves a goal.

READ: Forget the stadiums. World Cup games are being played here

Luxury time out

A statement by UAE-based investment bank Arqaam Capital early this year revealed that the firm entered into a partnership with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to manage and operate Arqaam’s luxury mixed-use resort currently being developed on the island of Hvar in Croatia. The resort is expected to open in 2019.

J Allen Smith, president, and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, added: “in Arqaam Capital we have found the ideal partner for our entry into Croatia… Croatia is one of Europe’s fastest growing tourism markets and a highly sought-after leisure destination for discerning global travelers.”

UK/Saudi Off the pitch trades

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman met with UK Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this year in a trip to the British Isles. The two discussed prospects of mutual trade landing at a whopping $86 billion (£65 billion/ AED 330 billion).

“The meeting agreed [on] a landmark ambition for around £65 billion of mutual trade and investment opportunities over the coming years, including direct investment in the UK,” the PM’s spokesperson said. “This is a significant boost for UK prosperity and a clear demonstration of the strong international confidence in our economy as we prepare to leave the European Union.”

READ: 2018 World Cup: Year of the underdogs as advertisers scratch their heads

Dubai-Croatia drawing board strategies

Dubai Exports, the export promotion agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, coordinated and led a multi-sector trade mission to Croatia to capitalize on the economic prospects in the country and its significance as an efficient gateway to the wider European Union (EU), as well as to Central and South Eastern Europe.

The Croatian Chamber of Economy received interest from 20 UAE businesses looking for opportunities and trade partners in the European country. Among those are National Paints Factories Co., Selkar Trading, and Vistra Group.

Folks, it’s coming home. England does it

Dubai will be host to a UK Export Finance Team (UKEF), making the GCC only the fourth global market to have dedicated staff in-market, the UK’s Department for International Trade has announced.

In the UAE alone, UKEF has announced that there is up to $7.12 billion of capacity available to project sponsors, as well as an additional $5.69 billion available for projects in Dubai.

UKEF’s financing options including repayment terms of between two and 10 years and up to 18 in certain sectors, such as renewable energy.

READ: Arab teams’ World Cup exit is killing their fans, literally

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Mark Anthony Karam
By Mark Anthony Karam
Journalist
Mark Anthony Karam has 3 years experience in the field of visual and written media, having earned his Masters degree from the UK. You can get in touch with him here: [email protected]



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