China's «Belt and Road» Initiative to spur trade flows: Dubai's retail giant

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DUBAI. KAZINFORM - Chinese consumers have become an important factor in Dubai's retail sales with the "Belt and Road" Initiative creating more trade flows, said the head of a Dubai-based retail giant on Wednesday, Xinhua reports.

The initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, is aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.

Alain Bajjani, the Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim, regional retail and hospitality giant, said the initiative would bring chances for Dubai as a traditional connected hub for trade and tourism in the region.

With 450,000 Chinese tourists visiting Dubai in 2015, inbound traffic from China increased by 29 percent year-on-year, topping the leader board, according to the official Dubai's tourism authority.

"That is why we implemented a China outreach program," said Bajjani, "we do active marketing in China with tour operators to lure more visitors in."

Bajjani spoke to Xinhua on the occasion of the company's announcement earlier in the day to invest 30 billion dirham (8.17 billion U.S. dollars) in its home market within the next 10 years.

He added that the company is also expanding in Central Asia which shows its commitment to the New Silk Road. "Any economic integration that actually promotes and facilitates inflows of people and goods is beneficial to companies like ours," he said.

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