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Sun 17 Feb 2019 10:06 AM

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Dubai 'no longer' a destination for Europeans, says Flavio Briatore

The city is experiencing a 'difficult time', is 'very expensive' and has too many restaurants, according to ex-Formula One boss and owner of Billionaire Mansion restaurant

Dubai 'no longer' a destination for Europeans, says Flavio Briatore
Ex-Formula One boss and restaurant manager Flavio Briatore

Dubai is "no longer" a destination for Europeans due to its high cost of living, ex-Formula One boss and restaurant owner Flavio Briatore told local radio station Dubai Eye on its Saturday show Starting Up.

The owner of Billionaire Mansion and Sumosan restaurant in Taj Hotel said Dubai is experiencing a difficult time as it is "very expensive" and has too many restaurants.

“I believe that in Dubai, there are too many brands. [There are] a little bit too many brands here. Dubai in this moment has a very difficult time. It’s not like before. It’s no more the destination for European people. It’s no longer the destination like before,” he said on the show.

“Five, seven years ago, you talk with everybody, they want to go to Dubai. Emirates fly from everywhere to Dubai. They did a fantastic job. Now, it’s a lot of competition. There are a lot of new places and Dubai is very expensive.”

Briatore, who runs a number of restaurants and clubs across Europe, said the cost of setting up restaurants in Dubai is particularly expensive. For businesses to survive, they must offer entertainment as well as good food, he said.

“The cost of restaurants is very high, because [the cost of] everything is high… To survive, you need to be very special… You need quality, entertainment, energy and local people, tourists, you need everybody; young people, old people,” he said.

“This world has changed completely. It’s entertainment now. It’s not only about food. The big 2-3 [Michelin] star restaurants are having a difficult time. People want to go out to have fun… It’s entertainment,” he added.

The new show Starting Up, which is held in collaboration with business set up firm Virtuzone, acts as a guide to launching new businesses in Dubai. It was launched with the aim of attracting more entrepreneurs to Dubai.

In 2017, Briatore told Arabian Business that Dubai needs more European visitors from Italy, Spain and France.

“The market in Dubai is very good, [but] I think Dubai needs to attract more European people, because at this moment you don’t have so many European people. It’s easy for Europeans - it’s just a five, six-hour flight. Very few hours and little jet lag and you’re sure from the month of October to the month of April that you’ll have very good weather,” he said.

“You have the best hotels and you have good service, too. But I think Dubai needs to be promoted more in Europe, because it is still not a destination. You don’t have a lot of Italian tourists in Dubai. You have a few English, but Dubai deserves very high quality of tourists — Italian, Spanish, French.”

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