A delegation from the United Arab Emirates visited Blackpool Airport to talk about potential investments in the enterprise zone.
The VIP visit is the latest overseas interest in the project after the council confirmed it had been in talks with Far Eastern businessman Henry Teh who recently met Blackpool FC fans to talk about a possible bid for the club.
The UAE delegation included His Excellency Mahmood AlHashmi, a prominent businessman and Atif Malik of AM Corporation, Manchester, who had a guided tour of the Enterprise Zone and Blackpool Airport and signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging a mutual collaboration with Blackpool Council.
The document sets out potential areas of co-operation and objectives for both parties to explore the commercial and investment opportunities at the airport, the wider Enterprise Zone and other prospects that are part of the town’s £1bn Growth and Prosperity development plan.
Neil Jack, chief executive of Blackpool Council said: “We were delighted to welcome His Excellency to Blackpool to discuss the exciting investment opportunities that are available in the town.
“Both parties have agreed to work together, co-operating and learning from each other and to seek to achieve the optimum development potential for Blackpool.”
“His Excellency has a wealth of experience in developing similar commercial employment projects around the world and we will seek to share information and experiences as we move forward with the different phases of development at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.”
Mr AlHashmi said: “We have developed several investment destinations in the UAE and have successfully attracted over 27,000 companies in the UAE that have brought in strong FDI.
“We will use the wealth of our experience to replicate the success that we have enjoyed in the UAE to Blackpool.”
Atif Malik said, “The Enterprise Zone and Blackpool Airport will be an exciting project and I am looking forward to start work on this later in the year.
“Opening up the North of England to The Middle East was a dream of mine.”
n On the possible Henry Teh interest in the airport, a council spokesman said: “Blackpool Council can confirm that we have an ongoing dialogue with Henry Teh, Global Ports Asia, regarding a variety of potential investments.
“We have ongoing open discussions with various potential investors who have expressed an interest in a wide range of investment opportunities across the Fylde Coast.
“All such matters at this time are commercially confidential.”