Capital sets sights on Dubai investors to back future vision
A WEEK-LONG drive is to be launched to sell Edinburgh to Dubai investors, as talks take place on setting up a direct air route to the Middle East.
Economic development leader Tom Buchanan and senior council officials are expected to attend the week of events that are designed to promote links.
It is hoped that it will raise awareness of projects like the "string of pearls" vision for the development of Princes Street.
Oil-rich sovereign funds are seen as among the likeliest options for inward investment in the current climate.
It is also hoped that a follow-up event in Edinburgh could re-examine the feasibility of a direct flight route between Edinburgh and the United Arab Emirates.
However, Edinburgh Airport operator BAA today admitted that securing the new link would be challenging without route development funding being available from the Scottish Government.
The Scotland Week networking drive is being organised by Edinburgh-based Native Events, which launched the Middle East Business Club in Edinburgh earlier this year.
The company aims to bring together senior individuals from Edinburgh and Dubai in early December in a series of events to coincide with the Dubai Rugby Sevens and Leisurecorp golf contest.
Councillors will be asked to approve Edinburgh's participation at a meeting next week. It is expected that the council will need to meet some of the accommodation and flight costs, although full details are not yet known.
Councillor Buchanan, who has previously tried to attract investment into the city at real estate events like MIPIM and MAPIC in Cannes, said: "It is important that Edinburgh and Scotland have events that introduce investors to potential investments.
"There is no doubt that, amongst world events, MAPIC, MIPIM, and those in Dubai are some of the key events to be at."
A new council report said that Gulf investors have focused on the leisure and property development markets.
The council is also looking to promote further links with the British Arab Chamber of Commerce and "examine the feasibility of a direct flight route between Edinburgh and the Emirates".
A spokesman for BAA said: "We are in regular discussions with airlines and have long been seeking a direct service between Edinburgh and the Middle East.
"However, we are doing this in the absence of the Scottish Government's route development fund, which helped Glasgow secure a direct link several years ago. The fact we do not have that fund available now makes it more difficult."
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Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
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Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
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