Robert De Niro is expected to arrive in Dubai next week… and this time he means business. The veteran actor and producer (and venture capitalist) is one of many Hollywood A-listers to become involved in the Caribbean tourism industry in recent years, and has placed a significant quarter of a billion USD with Australian billionaire James Packer in a real estate project in Barbuda. Packer has already invested in the actor’s Nobu restaurants.
“It’s a beautiful place, that’s why I’m involved in this project,” De Niro shared during a conference at the Palazzo Versace in Dubai. Speaking alongside Browne, the actor was keen to reassure Middle East investors that this is a sound economic proposition.
UAE has a number of prominent investors in the island. One such investor, brokered by Arton Capital, is the developer of the Callaloo Cay project, an exclusive US$ 150 million resort. Proactive in its bid to attract UAE investment, Antigua and Barbuda is opening an embassy and a trade and economic center in Abu Dhabi, the first CARICOM country to do so.
In addition to the long list of concessions for foreign investors such as a 25-year tax exemption, another significant benefit is Antigua’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) which fuels local economic growth. Of all the countries with an active CIP, Antigua and Barbuda’s passport has been ranked as the most powerful in the Caribbean and the fourth best in the world by Arton’s Passport Index, a global ranking of the world’s passports. Citizens can travel visa-free to more than 124 countries including Canada, Europe’s Schengen zone, UK, Singapore and Hong Kong, among others.
Antigua and Barbuda have long boasted political and economic stability, and the islands currently witness a significant boost in investment and travel. Famed as the land of 365 beaches, the Caribbean paradise is a well-managed business hub, and benefits from a low-tax structure which offers investments free from personal income-, capital gains-, inheritance- and wealth tax. The government also provides strong economic incentives for foreign investors and has positioned the country for further growth by targeting emerging markets and diversifying its economy.
Located in the West Indies on the eastern edge of the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda are the largest English speaking isles of the Leeward Islands, and this tranquil island nation is shaping to be the next investment hub for Middle East investors.