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  • Thursday, December 16, 2010

    The Most Expensive Christmas Tree in the World is in Abu Dhabi

    Get down to the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, and with your leeriest accent say "Check out the baubles on that one". Why? Because Emirates Palace has erected in it's lobby an outrageous tree with sapphires, precious stones and 181 diamonds to a value of $11m. Why do something like this? For the reasons that the media pick up the stories. It's great marketing! No doubt many will even question if places like Abu Dhabi have Xmas trees. Those of you that live in the UAE will know that many of the hotels do have Xmas trees and expats have tried to recreate the atmosphere of Chrimbo with a mish mash of mulled wine, carol singing, sitting on Santa's lap (?), and the like. It's perfectly normal and completely accepted. All in moderation, of course.

    And for those of you unfamiliar with all the marketing stunts, this is the same hotels which was the most expensive to build and the same one that has the gold dispenser.

    Guinness is flying in to certify a new world record, apparently. One would have thought they would have changed their headquarters.

    In the words of the WSJ, "Money may not grow on trees, but in this oil-rich emirate, it’s at least hanging from the branches." Scrooge is certainly not in Abu Dhabi this Xmas.

    UAE hotel boasts 'most expensive Christmas tree ever'
    Abu Dhabi’s $11 Million Christmas Tree


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    Wednesday, December 15, 2010
    Friday, December 03, 2010

    Qatar 2022

    Congratulations to Qatar. Probably the biggest surprise this afternoon, was the fact that the World Cup is coming to the Middle East. While Qatar is tiny compared to the nations that were vying to be the host, what is more astounding is that there is so much to be done. Fifa wanted to do new things - and by taking the World Cup to Russia and the Arabian Gulf, that certainly brings new ground.

    2022 is a long time away, but before you know it Brazil 2014 will be over, people will be preparing for Russia 2018 - and the heat will be on Doha, quite literally. There is so much infrastructure to create, that this is will be a huge boost to the economy. And since the US was in the group that missed out on the 2022 World Cup, expect there to be some Arab bashing along the way - especially if it hasn't started yet - everything that Dubai got over the last 10 years and then some: slave labour, heat, alcohol, sharia, backward laws - rightly or wrongly it will haunt Qatar for the next 11 and half years.

    But, this will be a great games and will bring much additional tourism to the region. By 2022, Abu Dhabi will be well established - and Dubai even more so - and so expect combination tours of the Gulf countries, from people travelling across the whole world to be involved in the greatest show on earth.

    There will be issues - desert heat of 50 degrees in the sun, and although there is talk of cooling systems in the stadiums, the Gulf is not the best place to be during the heat season. Will there be enough hotel rooms or will fans be flying in from Dubai for matches. From the video, you will see that nearly all of the stadiums are yet to be built. And Qatar has to grow beyond just Doha. There are many more - but no doubt they have already bee solved. If the Qataris are smart enough to land the World Cup, they will be smart enough to get it right. "Expect Amazing" - indeed.


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