Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush intends to open an office of the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau in Dubai, United Arab Emirates to help attract financial investment from the area.
Mr. Bush recently visited the UAE to explore ways of strengthening ties between Cayman and the Arab nation.
He said the rising financial industry of the UAE will pose competition to the Cayman Islands.
‘We can either have them in competition or we can work in partnership with them,’ he said.
Mr. Bush said the UAE is in the process of creating many of its own investment vehicles, but noted that investors there like to diversify their portfolios.
‘We believe that in a good partnership with them, the Cayman Islands financial services will have the opportunity to benefit,’ he said.
Mr. Bush saw similarities between Cayman and the UAE, where tourism is also a big part of the economy.
‘Tourism is really growing there,’ he said. ‘You can’t imagine the kind of ultra-rich, really upscale tourists they attract,’ he said.
Cayman can learn some lessons from the way tourism is approached in the UAE, Mr. Bush said.
‘We market to the upscale tourists, too,’ he said. ‘Despite what we’ve done with cruise tourism, under no stretch of the imagination are we a mass tourism destination.
‘But to continue to get the kind of upscale tourism that we want, we can’t go on building small hotels, or airport hotels as I like to call them,’ he said.
Mr. Bush noted that Dubai has 30 five-star hotels and a six-star hotel.
‘That’s where we have to go – upscale, with larger hotels,’ he said. ‘We need to address our tourism product from that standpoint.’
To help further relations between Cayman and the UAE, Mr. Bush said he asked one of the princes there to become an official Friend of Cayman, and that he was considering the request.