A nuclear deal between the US and Iran would represent a phenomenal opportunity for tourism, the ITT conference heard yesterday.
Richard Fenning (pictured), chief executive of Control Risks, told industry representatives in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah that Iran coming back as a destination would benefit all Gulf States.
He warned the politics remain complex but said there are grounds for "qualified optimism" as talks continue between Iran and the US.
Pointing out 60% of Iran's population are under 30, Fenning said: "A country with enormous employment problems for a young population needs sanctions lifted and to re-join the international community. This changes the dynamic for the whole region potentially.
"The imperative that something happens from the Iran side is strong. From a tourism point of view it's a phenomenal opportunity.
“If Iran comes back as a tourism destination it's going to be hugely exciting and all other Gulf countries will ultimately benefit."
He said the ISIS threat in Syria and north-western Iraq was unlikely to disappear in the immediate future but the threat to the wider region was overstated by a "crisis hungry" news media.
Fenning sought to play down the perception that the world is a in a state of geo-political crisis and instability.
He said he expects sanctions on Russia to be lifted gradually as a "state of unwritten compromise" emerges with the Putin regime.
Fenning described China as both the biggest global opportunity and the biggest potential risk.
"If the Chinese economy does not do what it's meant to do the consequences for international markets and currencies is pretty gloomy," he said.
"Everything else that is happening pales into insignificance in light of the challenges of the Chinese economy."
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