“THS Investments LTD Co”
Themos Papalas belongs to the group of the “first Greeks in UAE”.... He lives in UAE for more than 15 years and he shares with us his experience as entrepreneur throughout all these years
You belong to the Greek Emirates staying for more than 15 years in the Emirates. For sure the differences have you seen in the area’s growth are huge.
I am living in UAE since June 1997, more than 18 years and still I think that was yesterday that I arrived here in Dubai with my Wife Sofia and our 2 sons Antony & Harry aged 12 & 8 on that time. In the beginning we were staying in Dubai and then to Fujairah, Sharjah and finally to Dubai since 2003.
Dubai was much smaller and the city was ending in Interchange No. 2 in the Safa park. After that it was completely desert. Where is now the Dubai Marina buildings, there were only 3-4 hotels and nothing else. On that time Sh. Zayed Road had only 2 lanes per direction and no radars!!! Yes, I have seen Sh. Zayed road WITHOUT Radars, but with hubs! Many Hubs! Till Abu Dhabi you should meet more than 50 hubs! Also no skyscrapers in Sh. Zayed Road only 3-4 buildings between interchange 1 & 2.
Surely you’ve seen the difference the Greeks flocking longer in the region than before. Talk a little bit for this change?
In 1997 we were only about 300 families in UAE (1000 persons altogether). Now the number of Greeks living and working to Dubai are something about 8-10,000 persons as per the Greek Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Thanks to Emirates & Etihad airlines there are few thousand Greeks working in those 2 Companies. Also a big number of Shipping, Construction and Trading companies have been established in UAE, resulting for more and more Greeks migrating to UAE. It is good to see more people migrating to Dubai even Doctors, and Lawyers, having our Greek Community increasing its population. The results are that now we have 3-4 Greek Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Greek Theatrical Shows and Greek Music Events.
What is the Greek reality in the Emirates and that can cover a Greek who seeks his fortune abroad?
UAE has become the nest of many Greek Professionals. Of course UAE cannot be compared with Germany or Australia where many Greeks have been migrated, as Greeks here is UAE should be more specialized and cannot work at lower job positions as those jobs are done exclusively by other nationalities. But for experienced and specialized Greek Professionals there are still some good opportunities.
You participate actively in in various actions of the Greek community. Are those actions quite strong, aiming to unite the Greeks and what is needed to unite the Greeks in the region more?
Unfortunately, we the Greeks in UAE we don’t have an official Greek Club as still it is not permitted by the local laws.
We have established the Hellenic Business Council, trying to promote the Greek Companies & Greek business opportunities here in UAE, and also there are some private efforts with monthly gatherings where we meet once per month to meet new & old Greek residents in UAE.
You are dealing many years with tourism. Please tell us a little about your work and what your plans are for the future
From 1997 till 2005 I was dealing in the Marine Industry holding Several Managerial Positions in Shipping Companies.
From 2005, I have established my own Company “The Holidays Shop” www.holidaysshop.ae offering Fully Serviced & Furnished Apartments in Dubai for people looking for high quality, fully furnished holiday accommodation, for short term or long term leasing.
In 2013, I have established the “THS Investments LTD Co”, offering investment opportunities in Egypt, with returns more than 20% per year! Also by this company we offer PR & Advisory Services to Greeks who want to establish a Free Zone Company and/or Bank Accounts in Emirates without any hassle and delays, even without being in person here in UAE.
In 2014, with another Greek Partner we have established the www.voyabook.com an online travel site, offering lowest priced travel deals across the globe. We provide worldwide, top of the range deals across hotels, car rentals, vacation rentals, activities and more.
Do you regret for something being here in Emirates?
Yes!! I REGRET that I came to UAE on 1997 and NOT Earlier!!! Also I am missing my Family Members and Friends who are living in Greece, I miss the nice weather of Greece, I miss the blue colour of the Greek Sky, I miss the lovely beaches of Greece, I miss the Greenery of our mountains but most of all I miss Greece!!!