Dubai Discovery Tour: May 2009
Our Dubai focus was to define some clear directives for our group and return to our town to draft an action plan; how to attract suitable economic development project partners to help us to meet our growth and diversification vision.
Key questions were;
1. How Port Hedland shifts from one major industry, exporting minerals, to 10 major industries by 2019.
a) How do we go from one major product, Iron Ore to 100 products?
b) Ways we grow one major customer, China to 1,000 customers?
c) To ensure we are environmentally responsible and sustainable as we grow?
2. Investigate proven strategies to attract new industries to places like Port Hedland?
d) Who should we target?
e) Who to link up with in Dubai to gather relevant information
f) To attract partners who understand architecture to suit our climate?
Sharing our experiences
It was an illuminating trip, packed with meetings and tours that included The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, The Department of Economic Development, The Dubai Municipality, and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
We met with VP of Development, Shelley Harrison of MAF Properties. MAF is a development subsidiary of the Majid Al Futtaim Group that introduced the concept of regional shopping malls to the Middle East and owns the largest outside North America, the Mall of the Emirates.
Ms Harrison accompanied us to some key locations in and around Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We discovered similarities with our own Wedgefield Industrial zone when visiting the Al Quoz industrial area in west Dubai where laborers’ accommodation features.
We learned about the major redevelopment of a small town, Hatta south east of Dubai and how careful planning integrated the old buildings with new construction and the Hatta Fort Hotel markets itself as an ‘oasis’ in the desert.
A most relevant trip was made to Dubai Ports World, one of the largest marine terminals in the world, where 31 countries have 49 terminals.
Within the developed areas we visited in the UAE we noticed a distinct lack of birdlife, this was a stark reminder to us about the importance of protecting and nurturing PortHedland’s natural habitat as we grow - we must have our birds and our bees!