UAE's slowing economy affecting PR business in the region

Plummeting oil prices in recent years continues to have a knock-on effect for business in the Gulf country, says the general manager of a Dubai-based PR shop.

Shamal Communications' James Lakie says the region’s economy is impacting turnover for PR firms
Shamal Communications' James Lakie says the region’s economy is impacting turnover for PR firms

An economic downturn in the oil-rich UAE is continuing to have a knock-on effect for communications firms in the region, according to the GM of a Dubai-based PR agency.

James Lakie, general manager at Shamal Communications, said due to "several macroeconomic factors", the region’s economy has slowed in the last couple of years - and the ripple effects are impacting turnover for PR shops across the Emirates.

"Due to several macroeconomic factors, the region’s economy has slowed in the last couple of years," Lakie told PRWeek Middle East. "Oil prices are beginning to climb again, albeit slowly. However, with the FED increasing interest rates by 25 points last October and again in December, and two additional rate hikes expected in the US in the coming year, the pressure on the UAE’s economy is likely to continue and have an impact across all industries."

Lakie added that while globally the PR industry, much like the rest of the communications world, is in flux and clients are increasingly demanding integrated communications campaigns that span multiple platforms, the core of the Middle Eastern market remains good client relations.

"While social media has undoubtedly been a game-changer in the PR industry, I still believe that the crux of our business is strong media relations and good contacts within the industry. The ability to be able to speak to a journalist that you have cultivated a relationship with over a period of time, to pitch a story or interview opportunity is invaluable, particularly from a B2B perspective."

Established in Dubai in 2004, Shamal Communications is an independent, full-service communications consultancy, which delivers strategic English-Arabic communications solutions.

It is is a founding member of WorldWise PR Affiliates, a strategic alliance of well-established, independent public relations firms in key locations throughout the globe including Miami, New York, London, Milan, Paris, Moscow, Hong Kong, China and Singapore.

Thumbnail image ©GettyImages


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