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Alex Evans
Man with a plan
Claude Attala has intimate experience of how coherent planning and
committed implementation can help countries sell themselves, so
what are sectors like fractional doing to sell the idea?
At the eye of the (sand) storm many parts of the leisure real estate elements supporting it. Destination branding is important
in the Middle East, based in industry, OPP called upon another of its Abu Dhabi has learned from some but it needs substance and it needs
Dubai, Claude Attala has a Executive Panel members to off er some of Dubai’s mistakes and has generally to be built over time. But everyone
unique vantage point on leisure real rare insights. been more conservative. But in the has learned from Dubai’s drive and
estate. Heading up NorthCourse, a same way that Dubai partnered with coherent approach in the region.
global specialist in comprehensive Dubai has suff ered some big global sports and entertainment
research, consulting and project negative publicity since the brands to generate buzz and Major leisure resort and
management in all sectors of the announcement of Dubai World’s enthusiasm, Abu Dhabi has built one hospitality brands like Marriott
leisure real estate industry, Claude has debt problems, but what can of the best Formula One race circuits and Wyndham (which owns
an impressive background in real estate the rest of the world learn from in the world. Its investment in the both NorthCourse and RCI) have
and residential tourism. its success in building such a cultural districts on Saadiyat island, recently announced a change of
DESTINA Tasked with implementing the prominent destination brand? with architects like Zaha Hadid and strategy to develop fewer resorts
tourism master plan for Qatar as The reason Dubai was so successful Jean Nouvel involved and world- and concentrate instead on
Head of Planning and Operations for is because it set out a plan (Strategic renowned museums like the Louvre consultancy to help other resort
the Qatar Tourism Authority before Plan for Dubai 2015) to diversify away and Guggenheim, diff erentiates Abu developers. Why is this?
joining NorthCourse, Attala set up from oil, took time over it, brought Dhabi as an emirate - but its all part of It’s been a diffi cult year for
the framework for the licensing of in specialists and committed to an integrated master plan. development and market conditions
hotels and serviced apartments, implementation whole-heartedly. Qatar is diff erentiating itself by continue to hit. The lack of availability
and led a team focusing on business Crucially, it wasn’t focused on one focusing on world-class education, of credit for new projects and
development opportunities in the specifi c sector, where some other particularly in the areas of engineering, consumer fi nancing has meant that the
tourism sector for the state of Qatar. destinations get it wrong, and aircraft and the gas industry. major players in the industry needed
With Dubai still reeling from an considered a coherent whole. This is Abu Dhabi’s vision 2020 Plan focus to realign strategies. For Wyndham
avalanche of negative publicity, and what Qatar did when considering its is to build a sustainable economy and Worldwide, the majority of earnings
big question marks hanging over tourism strategy, looking at all the ensure that development is balanced. are generated through a fee for service
Abu Dhabi’s 2020 Plan has been successful because implementation has been gradual and
supported by infrastructure. Ultimately, destination branding is important but it needs substance
and it needs to be built over time.
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