“Tourism is decentralized enough to make it a great macroeconomic bet for Abu Dhabi. I believe Bynum’s team should look into this,” proposed Hanif. “The parallels are there.”
The key, according to Ibrahim, is in event-based domestic tourism instead of infrastructure-based international tourism. Abu Dhabi has a strong event calendar spotted with high-appetite concerts, sports events, and the F1 Grand Prix.
Concerning the contextual differences between the two cities, Ibrahim maintains that the differences strengthen his case. “Tulsa has a unique proximity to talent. I hypothesize that Tulsa may not need to subsidize events as much as AD has to.” Hanif’s team has not reached out to Tulsa City Council, citing a busy schedule.
The city of Tulsa is the second-largest in Oklahoma and has historically relied on a strong energy sector. Recently, the city has diversified into finance, technology, and aviation. While there is a sizable portion of tourist activity that generates revenue for Tulsa, it is nominal compared to Abu Dhabi city.
“The river parks are under-marketed. This is where Tulsa should be asking ‘what would Abu Dhabi do?’ Look at how the mangroves and islands in Abu Dhabi have been marketed,” Hanif points. “Market what you have in natural beauty, and hire entertainment acts. Simple but not easy.”
Ibrahim Hanif is a business strategist and investor best known for the management of Hangman Capital. He also produces educational content and business research for entrepreneurs in the United States, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.