(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) A surge in the number of mega projects under development in the UAE, ranging from hotels to entertainment venues, has lead to Dubai cementing its position as a hub for the stone industry, experts at Middle East Stone noted.
According to BNC, a raft of new mega projects valued at $29.19 billion were launched in the Mena's residential, hospitality, retail, healthcare and commercial sectors over the last 12 months. Leading the way is the UAE with projects worth $11.57 billion.
"Over the next two years, demand for natural stone materials will continue to be driven by projects surrounding Expo 2020," said Avin Gidwani, CEO of BNC.
"The huge level of urban growth and infrastructure development we are witnessing in the Middle East makes this market an enormously lucrative one for stone suppliers globally. The GCC alone accounts for 20 per cent of the global stone market, creating a regional market worth an estimated $5 billion a year, which is expected to create a demand for 19.6 billion metric tons of stone by 2020," said Yan Wang, event director of Middle East Stone.
Gianpaolo Bruno, trade commissioner to the UAE, Oman and Pakistan for the Italian Trade Agency, believes that the perception of stone as a luxury material and recent association with sustainability has secured its position as a desired product. "Stone is the world's oldest building material... nowadays the use of natural stone is more and more associated with sustainable and environmentally-friendly building concepts."
Rohma Sadaqat I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.