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Baghdad international trade fair set for December
BAGHDAD : Hundreds of Iraqi and foreign firms are set to take part in an international trade fair in Baghdad on Dec. 15, the Iraqi-American chamber of commerce said Saturday.

The Destination Baghdad exhibition is intended to "allow Iraqi companies to make direct contact with foreign companies, and without intermediaries," to facilitate business deals, it said in a statement.

The trade fair, to take place under a heavy security blanket, will be the first of its kind since Saddam Hussein's ouster last year.

Among the firms set to attend are US telecoms giant Motorola, engineering firm and Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, and US firm CH2M Hill, which has notably been contracted to help rebuild Iraq's water infrastructure.

Security will be a major concern as many businessmen and employees of foreign firms have been kidnapped or attacked in recent months, prompting some firms to quit the country.

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Libya to permit US oil companies to operate

BEIRUT : A Libyan oil official confirmed that American companies will be allowed for the first time in 20 years to participate in oil exploration and division of production by next September, LiquidAfrica reported. The government will grant licenses for recovery in 15 marine and land areas.

The official also said that six groups submitted offers that were accepted. The last one was the Spanish Repsol Co., in August 2004 - a $155 million investment in the Murzuk oil field.

Libya previously offered 130 areas to attract $10 billion for investment in the oil sector up to 2010.

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Dubai records big jump in tourism revenue

Dubai recorded a 49.4 percent jump in tourism revenues in the first six months of 2004 in comparison to the same period last year, according to the Emirate's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). It said hotel revenues stood at 3.076 billion dirhams ($816 million) during the first half of 2004, above 2.059 billion dirhams ($544 million) during the corresponding period in 2003. "The record growth of nearly 50 percent between January and June 2004 in the hotel industry is an indication that DTCM's strategic plan of promoting Dubai as a year-round business and leisure destination," said Khalid Ahmed bin Sulayem, DTCM's director general.


Dubai's hospitality industry saw 4.7 million visitors in 2002, and 4.9 million in 2003, despite negative political and economic developments in the region, such as the Iraq war. In the first half of 2004, arrivals in Dubai rose 9.4 percent, with bed occupancy growing 30.6 percent. This increase is attributed to the fact that guest nights recorded an increase of 37.2 percent, reaching a high of 7.6 million, against 5.5 million during the corresponding period in 2003. Dubai earned praised from the World Tourism Organization in 2002, when it posted a 31 percent gain in tourist arrivals - the world's highest for that year.

Beirut,08 31 2004
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