x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Forbes.com writer urged to visit UAE

UAE residents urge Forbes.com contributor to visit the country.

DUBAI // The Forbes.com contributor Beth Greenfield should visit the UAE to see for herself whether or not it is a friendly place.

This is the view of Nasif Kayed, the general manager of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, who said: "I absolutely think she should visit the UAE. It's a must, actually."

The cultural commentator, Ali Al Saloom, who writes The National's weekly Ask Ali column, went further and offered to act as her guide if she visited the country.

"I am happy to host this lady. If she comes to the UAE, I'll show her around," Mr Al Saloom said. "Of course she has to come, 100 per cent, and I'll be happy to be her guide."

Mina Liccione, a New Yorker who moved to the UAE four years ago, found an Emirati, Ali Al Sayed, so friendly that she ended up marrying him. Both are comedians and together they run the Dubomedy performance training group.

Ms Liccione said: "I was pretty stunned to hear this news. The poll is ridiculous and not at all accurate."

Mr Al Sayed said: "You can't call a country that hosts 209 nationalities unfriendly. We have more countries here than the Olympics."

One Forbes.com reader called Baroon said in a comment about Ms Greenfield's article that the UAE was tourist-friendly but not expatriate-friendly. He said you would still be considered an expat after living here for 30 years and added: "You would be expat even if your parents were born here. You are always expat with limited rights."

* Colin Simpson