Arabic-Jewish Competition on Geo Market Increasing Investments
Mere days have passed since the Chamber of Business announced the increasing interest of businessmen from the world’s Jewish community in Georgia’s hotel sector, and now a real estate agency has added to the great news by claiming that the data of recent years shows a much larger volume of investment is also coming from Arabic countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, etc.), as well as from Arabs living in Israel.
Arabic investments are made in Tbilisi and Georgian regions for the construction of fashionable villas. Thus, representatives of large investment groups are visiting Georgia on a weekly basis.
Notably, hotel Millennium Biltmore was an investment of $140 million. Owner of the hotel, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan of the UAE, said that he has already invested $250 million in the Georgian economy. Under his ownership is the largest Arabic investment company Dabi Group, which also owns Terra Bank in Georgia.
Ras al-Khaimah Emirate has made a $70 million investment in one of Tbilisi’s hotel attractions, the five star hotel Sheraton Metekhi Palace, where an additional of $25 million worth of reconstruction is underway.
The Georgian government declared that there is growing interest not only in hotel investment, but in tourism as well, which is proved by the increased number of flights. Moreover, Turkish investments in construction and hotel management are also notable, among them famous brands like Rixos Borjomi and Rixos Tbilisi.
Itsik Moshe, President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business, stated last week that Jewish investments in Georgia are worth approximately $500 million and are mainly concentrated in the real estate business and tourism. Apart from investments, Jews were the first to introduce modern technologies, management and many other innovations, which Georgian companies are implementing successfully to this day. Of late, the focus has shifted towards three-star and high level boutique hotels, for example the one constructed on Gergeti Street in Tbilisi.
Moshe also pointed to the fact that businessmen and Sheikhs from Arabic countries, as well as other regions and countries, coming to Georgia is a positive trend, which proves Georgia to be a “democratic, developed and high-potential country which is becoming more attractive on the international arena”.
It is the prerogative of the Georgian side to ensure equal openness of the market to investors from all backgrounds. The Chamber Head further highlights that, based on the Jewish practice and attitude of the local Jews, according to his information, Jewish businessmen do not exclude partnership with representatives of pro-European Arabic countries working in the hotel field in Georgia.
Moshe remembers that at a meeting of the Peace Commission of Knesett,, where he was present as an invited member, he came out with the initiative to get Arab Sheikhs and leading Jewish companies to begin joint investment projects in Gaza in order to increase trust. He also believes the Israeli –Arabic conflict will be peacefully regulated and that in many fields, including tourism, healthy competitiveness will arise. Led by Israeli House, an international press conference is planned to be held in Georgia about the issue of regulating the Israeli-Arabic conflict. Joint companies can play a major role in this process.
Businessman Gidon Hackmi, who worked in Europe for years, stated that representatives of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jews in Europe have successful partnerships in the technology and business fields. For example, the Jewish Sapra Bank has high trustworthiness among Sheikhs from the Persian Gulf who have their bank accounts there.
Former General Manager of the international Turkish network of Rixos Hotels, Gokhan Sarper, has wide experience in working in Persian Gulf countries and has managed Rixos in the said region, where it became one of the most successful brands. He believes that there are many examples of successful partnerships between local companies and Jewish investors in Turkey and he sees enormous potential in this sense in Georgia. Notably, it is thanks to Gokhan Sarper that Rixos entered the Georgian market.