Bahrain firms plan big India investment
Manama, March 17, 2013
Bahrain-based businessmen are planning massive investments in the tourism and service sectors of the Indian state of Kerala, said a report.
These groups are keen to examine how they can take advantage of economic growth in the state during a high-level visit by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, to Kerala's commercial capital Kochi, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) travel and tourism committee head and Yousef bin Ahmed Kanoo director Nabeel Kanoo said businessmen were looking to put their experience in the travel and tourism sector to good use.
"Kerala presents a unique opportunity. The growth potential is tremendous," Kanoo told the GDN.
"We are looking at setting up restaurants, hotels and even a luxury resort and we think that is a real possibility. The opportunities are there but we will need to see how best to capitalise on those opportunities. There is a willingness from the local government to assist us in whatever way possible," he said ahead of the Crown Prince's three-day trip to the state.
Kanoo said the whole of India presented an opportunity but south India had its own unique aspects. "We are also looking at setting up businesses with Ayurveda, yoga and information technology," revealed Kanoo.
"The immensely popular 'Palace on Wheels' in the north is also a unique luxury product and we want people from Bahrain to enjoy that," he added.
The BCCI travel and tourism committee head said as a big business house, Kanoo would be interested in managing the new port in Kochi when it is ready.
He said the second visit of the Crown Prince to India in a year sent out a clear message that India is high on Bahrain's agenda. "This visit will further spur trade and investment between the two countries," remarked Kanoo.
Bahrain India Society (BIS) chairman and prominent businessman Mohammed Dadabhai said while many Bahraini businessmen were looking at investing in India, many in the country, particularly from Kerala, were eying the Bahrain market.
"Some of the most well-known names in Kerala already have large businesses in Bahrain but we would like more investments into the country," he said.
Dadabhai said the BIS was hopeful more investments will pour into Bahrain from India. "The visit of His Royal Highness is a clear signal that India has to be taken seriously," he said.
Dadabhai believes Bahrain, located next to Saudi Arabia, presented a unique opportunity for Indian businessmen. "This is the most central place to be from where it is possible to open a window to the world," he said.
"Indian businessmen setting up ventures in Bahrain would be in a win-win situation," observed Dadabhai.
Bahrain-India Business Council chairman and BCCI board member Khalid Al Amin is also taking part in the trip and is looking forward to investing in the restaurant and food business in Kerala.
"This is an exploratory visit which I hope will result in a lot of opportunities coming our way," he said. "India is one of the world's strongest markets and doing business there is a huge plus for anyone," he stated.
Al Amin said Bahrain's businessmen can learn a lot from the Indian expertise. "We are very impressed with the way the Indian economy is growing and we would want to become part of that growth," he noted.
Kewalram and Sons managing director Kishore Kewalram was also keen to explore business opportunities.
"We are interested in the hospitality industry but, more than that, are looking at setting up a branch of a reputed Kerala university in Bahrain," he said.
"We now have the experience in educational institutes and want to put it to good use. "There is a lot of demand for good quality Indian higher education in Bahrain and we hope to satisfy that demand," he added.-TradeArabia News Service