Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tourism will be a key pillar of Gulf economies: UrbaCon CEO

A leading Arab investor and economist has called for more investments in the tourism and travel market expecting it will provide major and significant revenue for the economy in the Gulf states in the coming years.  

In a statement commenting on The 24th annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM) event being held in Dubai, Moataz Al-Khayyat, CEO of UrbaCon, has said that "we can see now an increase in building hotels, entertainment cities, and shopping malls in the Gulf countries, and I think they will keep increasing."  

"In 2015 I commented on the tourism market in the Gulf saying that the tourism sector's positive results in GCC are a good indicator and alarm that we should do much more to face the future challenges and protect the tourism sector as one main sources of the economic growth in GCC," added Al Khayyat.

"A new report by intelligence provider BNC Network shows the growing focus on tourism sector development by the governments of Gulf countries gradually trying to diversify revenue base, and I agree with the report's conclusion that regional tourism sector will get a major boost in the years to come, but again I call for more and more investments in this sector which will be really one of the Gulf economy's pillars in the future," said Al Khayyat.    

UrbaCon Trading & Contracting has been involved in several huge projects over the last few years and has become one of the most respected building contractors in Qatar.

In addition to the Mall of Qatar, included among its projects are the Banana Island Resort, the Sheraton Doha Hotel and Convention Center, and the Lekhwiya Stadium at Al Duhail.

UrbaCon is one of several companies owned by Al-Khayat. These companies include general contracting, commercial and residential developments, building materials, various trading companies, hospitals and restaurants with operations in the Middle East. - TradeArabia News Service



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Saudi firm unveils new decorative paint range

Saudi-based Middle East Paints Factory has chosen the Gulf Interiors expo, the Northern Gulf's established annual showcase for luxury interiors, design and furniture being held in Bahrain, to launch three new decorative paint ranges – 3D, Bella and Rita.

Founded in 1993 as part of the Balahmar Group of Saudi Arabia, Middle East Paints is a leader in industrial, decorative and construction paints and has ISO and Saso 2008-9001 certifications.

Unveiling the new products, the company said the 3D and Bella lines come in regular and glittery Plus types and in many different shades – 16 for 3D and over a 100 for Bella.

However, its other range Rita is unique because its metallic colours give a special wave effect, it stated.

All ranges are meant to meet new trends in interior paints and give a special effect finish, explained Moataz Al Mahdi, the sales manager of the Jeddah-based company.

At the show, the company is also promoting construction paints and wood paints from its main Middle East brand, as well as the Classic, Racket, Mepco and Maxtra brands, he stated.

A specialist in the field of industrial, decorative and construction paints as well as wood paints and paste products, Middle East Paints Factory boasts seven production lines with a production capacity of 60 tonnes per day.

The company, which has relocated its factory to a sprawling 10,000-sq-m area in Jeddah Industrial City, boosted its production capacity last year.

As part of its regional expansion strategy, the company plans to open a manufacturing facility in Bahrain, stated Al Mahdi.

Middle East Paints Factory has introduced a number of new products into the market such as wood varnish, glaze, and a variety of eco-friendly paints including water-based decorative coatings, special-effect coatings for interior decor and solvent-free epoxy products, said Ali Omar Balahmar, its general manager.

"We have made significant investments in equipping our factory with the latest technology in paint production and testing facilities such as quality control and research and development laboratories and state-of-art machinery, besides recruiting qualified staff with wide experience in the paints sector," he added.-TradeArabia News Service



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Carlton Hotel Management targets 2,000 rooms by 2020

Carlton Hotel Management, owned by Dubai-based The First Investor group is targeting to add 683 new rooms over the next three years - up 51 per cent -  that will take its total count to 2,000 rooms from the current 1,317.

Out of the existing keys in operation, 1,142 rooms are in Dubai, 85 in Jordan and 90 in the Czech Republic.
 
With an aggressive expansion strategy, Carlton Hotel Management has quickly emerged as a major player in the hospitality sector with a total investment of over Dh2.2 billion ($598.8 million) in various hotel projects. This investment is set to reach Dh2.7 billion ($734.9 million) by 2020.

Hotels currently owned by the company include Carlton Downtown – Dubai, Carlton Palace Hotel – Dubai, Carlton Tower Hotel – Dubai, Marriott Executive Apartments – Dubai, Villa Rotana – Dubai, Four Points by Sheraton - Dubai, Imperial Palace – Jordan, Sun Hotel - Czech Republic and Belvedere Hotel, Czech Republic.
 
The company recently announced the purchase of the Carlton Downtown hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road. It is the third hotel to be operated by Carlton Hotel Management - a brand owned by The First Investor, and the ninth in the group’s collection of hotels.
 
Commenting on the strategic investment, Hosni Abdel Hadi, CEO of Carlton Hotel Management company, said: “At Carlton, we have long-term growth at the forefront of our agenda.  The strategy is to grow within the UAE market and then expand to key cities across Europe; London, Paris, Madrid and beyond.  The UAE continues to be one of world’s most competitive economy for travel and tourism and this is significant and vital to Carlton brand. The UAE is considered one of the most secure destinations with an outstanding hospitality and entertainment infrastructure.  We are delighted to be part of this dynamic and fast growing market.”
 
Hadi added: “The Carlton Downtown hotel is an exciting addition to our portfolio of hotels as we continue to expand our presence in the region. We are confident that the Carlton Downtown hotel will prove to be a valuable asset for us and will generate superb financial returns for the company.”   
 
Brilliantly located in close proximity to the World Trade Center, DIFC and Downtown Dubai, the 47-storey spectacular tower features 357 rooms (275 suites and 82 spacious rooms). Included in the hotel’s fabulous facilities are 7 restaurants and bars, 10 meeting rooms, a health club and spa. Carlton Downtown hotel is also home to Dubai’s highest open-air rooftop pool and bar with spectacular 360º views over the city. - TradeArabia News Service
 



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Supersonic flight the next step in GCC aviation leadership

Boom Technology today introduced its supersonic passenger airliner as well as the XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator, at Dubai Future Foundation premises.

The commercial aircraft will connect the GCC to the rest of the world with flights up to 2.6X faster than conventional airliners. For example, a flight from Dubai to Sydney which takes 14:51 today, will take just 8:17 flying supersonic. In the same fashion, Dubai to New York will be 7 hours and 35 minutes versus 14 hours today.
 
Based in Denver, Colorado, Boom Supersonic is using state-of-the-art aerospace technologies to deliver a revolutionary speedup in travel. Compared to Concorde, designed in the 1960s, Boom will be 80 per cent less expensive to operate—leading to affordable tickets for passengers and profit opportunities for airlines. Key technologies for supersonic include carbon fiber composites, advanced aerodynamics, and modern turbofan jet engines. These technologies combine to enable an airplane faster than Concorde, yet quiet, efficient, and comfortable for passengers.
 
Blake Scholl, Boom Founder and CEO said: “We are delighted to bring Boom to the UAE. UAE airlines already lead the world in travel experience, and the country is embracing other innovative transportation technologies, such as Hyperloop and drone taxis.”
 
“Supersonic flight will enhance UAE’s status as the world’s preeminent aviation hub, giving travellers more of the luxury they value most: time.”
 
The Boom airliner seats up to 55 passengers in comfort and privacy. Cruising at 60,000’, passengers experience less turbulence. Looking through the largest windows in commercial aviation, the sky is a deeper blue and one can see Earth’s curvature.
 
The Boom’s XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator, a one-third scale prototype aircraft, is under construction now and will fly in 2018. Passenger flights will begin in the early 2020s. The XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator will fly with hardware from General Electric (engines), Honeywell (avionics), Tencate (carbon fiber), with composite structures fabricated by Blue Force. Final assembly and vehicle integration are taking place in Boom’s facility at Centennial Airport near Denver, Colorado. - TradeArabia News Service
 



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Key Dubai buildings to have extra power generators

Dubai’s real estate developers and companies developing touristic, commercial and  cultural projects have been ordered to install additional power generators to ensure seamless uninterrupted power supply in their developments.

The order comes from Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who made the decision during his visit to Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) headquarters, where he was briefed yesterday’s power outage in Dubai Mall. – TradeArabia News Service



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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Damac to open ultra-luxury five-star hotel in June

Damac Properties, a leading real estate developer, said it is set to launch an ultra-luxury five-star hotel at the prestigious Downtown district in Dubai, UAE, this June.

Boasting stunning views from each of its 52 floors, the 305-key Damac Maison Royale The Distinction offers a choice of fully serviced deluxe rooms as well as one-, two- and three-bedroom suites that are complemented by a full kitchen.

The five-star property’s amenities, including spa, recreational facilities, health club, amongst others, will ensure guests enjoy their stay at this five-star haven on the Dubai skyline and at the centre of the city’s major attractions, said a statement from Damac.

The new ultra-luxury five-star hotel, to be operated by the group’s premium hotel operator Damac Maison Royale, provides luxury hospitality and accommodation where guests can indulge in a unique leisure and relaxation experience in the city of dreams, it stated.

Niall McLoughlin, senior VP, said: "Dubai has recently reached the 100,000-room mark and has been ranked ninth among the top 10 cities with the largest supply of hotel rooms in the world. Moreover, it is poised for tremendous growth and in the next three to four years, a number of changes are culminating in the lead up to Expo 2020."

"There is no doubt that Dubai will go from strength to strength as the city continues to develop for the future and attract more tourists to meet the growing supply of hotels. Therefore, investments in the hospitality sector within strategic locations represent one of the cornerstones of this growth," he stated.

"For investors, this distinctive property presents a unique opportunity to own a luxury hotel room or apartment in the centre of Dubai’s most desirable district," remarked McLoughlin.

"With the number of visitors to the emirate and the demand for such accommodation in a prime location, owning such properties makes great investment sense. Dubai enjoys amongst the highest occupancy rates in the world – in the high eighties -  and it will continue to be an attractive tourist destination due to major events and expansion of leisure and entertainment offerings for years to come," he added.

Other attractive features of the property include the kids club, offering a wide range of activities that ensure an unforgettable stay for younger guests, said the statement from Damac.

Furthermore, Casper & Gambini’s will offer the finest international cuisines and culinary delights served in a relaxed atmosphere, with exceptional service, it stated.

In addition, in line with the service pillars of Damac Hotels & Resorts, 24-hour check-in, check-out and stay policy, free stays for children, with child-friendly facilities and entertainment, personalized services as well as “no-tipping” policy apply, it added.-TradeArabia News Service



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UAE group to develop mega city in Yemen

Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) has launched several development projects in Yemen's Archipelago of Socotra, including the first phase of its mega mixed-use project Sheikh Zayed City, said a report.

The ambitious Emirati project will boast 161 houses, a clinic, a school, a public council for residents, a mosque with a capacity of 600 worshippers, and entertainment facilities including a children’s park and football field, reported state news agency Wam, citing an ERC delegation which is on a visit to Socotra.

The team, headed by Dr Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, secretary-general of the ERC, also launched other key development projects in Socotra, said the report.

Dr Al Falahi stressed that the UAE, due to its diligence, proactively responded to the humanitarian call following the natural disasters and storms that struck the Socotra Archipelago during previous years.

Through its humanitarian arm, the ERC, assisted the needy and strengthened its response to reach out those affected, he added.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and chairman of the ERC stressed that the directives of the UAE leadership strengthen the country's development and humanitarian initiatives in Yemen.



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Hilton expands Marhaba service

Hilton is extending a truly warm welcome to Middle Eastern guests this summer as it doubles the number of properties offering its exceptional, memorable Marhaba service.

The Middle East continues to be one of the world’s fastest-growing outbound travel markets; Germany alone is expected to receive 3.6 million visitors from the GCC annually by 2030. In response to this, the Hilton Marhaba programme is a tailored experience that will provide a bespoke service to guests, ensuring that their cultural needs are considered during their stay.

The bespoke service offers Hilton guests a home-from-home by providing everything from Arabic-speaking front desk and concierge team members, in-room prayer mats upon request, daily Arabic coffee service, Middle Eastern breakfast delicacies, a selection of Arabic TV channels and newspapers, and importantly, Halal food is available upon request.

Select Hilton properties across Europe are participating in the Marhaba programme including: Hilton Frankfurt City Centre, Hilton Vienna, Hilton Molino Stucky, Hilton Munich Park, Hilton Baku, and  Hilton Evian les Bains and luxury hotel Conrad Algarve.

With outbound travel from the Middle East expected to grow exponentially in the coming decade, and expenditure from Gulf nationals travelling abroad set to increase by a significant 54 per cent to over $100 billion by 2018, Hilton recognises the importance of ensuring that guests specific cultural needs are taken into account when travelling abroad.  

“Our Marhaba initiative sets us apart for travellers from the Middle East looking for a truly memorable stay overseas. The fact that we have doubled the number of hotels offering the service this year shows that no one knows hospitality quite like Hilton does,” said Andreas Lackner, regional head, brand management, Hilton. “Marhaba has been introduced to allow our guests to stay at one of our participating hotels with the confidence that no matter the occasion, or the destination, their cultural needs will be taken care of, as they would be at home. We look forward to saying ‘Marhaba’ to our Middle Eastern guests for what is set to be a busy summer ahead.” - TradeArabia News Service
 



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Etihad promotes Abu Dhabi with '48 Hour Challenge'

Etihad Airways has launched a new ‘48 Hour Challenge’ to experience a host of ‘once in a lifetime’ activities throughout Abu Dhabi in just two days.

The challenge is part of Etihad Airways’ wider stopover campaign promoting Abu Dhabi as a ‘holiday within a holiday’ for transit travellers and a ‘staycation’ option for UAE residents wanting a relaxing short-break. The city’s many highlights can now be enjoyed through a series of exciting stopover programmes.
 
To launch the campaign, Etihad Airways recently challenged Ricky Wilson, singer-songwriter, TV personality and frontman of British indie rock band Kaiser Chiefs, to spend 48 hours exploring the best Abu Dhabi has to offer. The video of his attempt is part of a global online promotional campaign and captures the excitement of the challenge visually to share with consumers on social media and across the airline’s communications channels.

“For me a stopover meant sitting in the airport, or visiting duty free, but this is not what a stopover should be,” said the singer. “It should be flying falcons across the desert, kayaking, visiting water parks….imbibing the culture of the place. Abu Dhabi has taught me that stopovers can be as relaxing as they are exhilarating. There is something incredibly refreshing about pushing yourself, getting out of your comfort zone and fully immersing yourself in a new city. I will never stay in the airport again during a stopover.

“It is an incredible place, with warm, generous and extremely hospitable people. The city perfectly combines a relaxing and chilled out vibe with excitement and adventure. It is a beautiful city with endless things to do in a short space of time.”

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer, said: “The launch of Etihad Airways’ comprehensive stopover programme reinforces what we who live in this wonderful city have known for so long – that Abu Dhabi is a cosmopolitan, dynamic and thrilling destination packed with opportunities for all visitors, whether they are looking for adventure, culture, or a relaxing beach break.

“It is our honour as the national airline of the UAE, based here in Abu Dhabi, to promote and celebrate the emirate’s sophisticated infrastructure, the hospitality of the Emirati people, and its beautiful landscape. It is the perfect stopover destination for those flying through Abu Dhabi and an ideal domestic getaway for those living in the wider UAE.”

The airline will also launch a special competition to promote its stopover programme. From April 28 until the end of 2017, Etihad Airways will be giving away 500 great prizes to members of the public who take up the 48 Hour Challenge and who post their experiences on Instagram using the hashtag #EtihadChallenge. The amazing prizes on offer range from 24-carat gold spa treatments to desert safari trips.

Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi stopover options include 2-for-1 deals on hotels and various activities. Guests who book a two-night stay from a choice of over 60 participating hotels in Abu Dhabi will receive the second night free. Business Class guests receive a complimentary night’s stay, while First Class guests receive two free nights. Etihad Airways’ guests flying in The Residence cabin onboard the airline’s flagship Airbus A380s will be treated to two nights at the luxurious Emirates Palace hotel.

Abu Dhabi’s world-famous leisure and business attractions include miles of beautiful white sand beaches, theme parks such as Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World, unforgettable desert safari expeditions, arts and cultural institutions such as Manarat Al Saadiyat and the soon to be opened Louvre museum, exquisite local and international dining, world-class golf, and the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and its race track, Yas Marina Circuit.

Abu Dhabi also offers a wide range of shopping opportunities to suit all tastes with a large choice of popular outlets and brands. The city boasts a selection of spacious high-end shopping malls such as the stylish Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall, Marina Mall, and The Galleria - one of the world’s most luxurious shopping centres.

Ricky Wilson successfully completed the following activities on his Abu Dhabi 48 Hour Challenge:

• A tour in a slingshot
• Racing in a supercar
• Cycling around the Formula 1 track
• Speeding down a waterslide at Yas Waterworld
• Boarding a superyacht
• Buying a suit
• Enjoying tea on the observation deck at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
• Skiing the desert sands on a snowboard
• Tasting Black Truffle Pizza
• Camel trekking
• Taking a drive on the desert sand dunes
• Learning to belly dance
• Dining in the desert
• Sleeping under the stars
• Teeing off at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
• Riding the Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
• Eating a local delicacy
• Kayaking through the mangroves
• Flying a falcon
• Haggling at the souk
• Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
• Enjoying a gold leaf facial
• Partying at Iris Yas Island
• A stay at the Yas Viceroy        - TradeArabia News Service
 



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Major 3G exhibitions kick off in Bahrain

Northern Gulf's biggest exhibitions showcasing the very best in construction, interiors and real estate opened their doors in Bahrain today (April 25) with a record number of property developers at the three-in-one event, which has now expanded to include an evening festival.

Collectively known as the 3Gs, they comprise the Gulf Construction Expo along with the Gulf Interiors exhibition and the record-breaking Gulf Property Show, said the event organisers Hilal Conferences & Exhibitions (HCE) of Bahrain.

The 3Gs are being held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and will run concurrently at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre until Thursday (April 27).

Shaikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister, inaugurated the region's high-profile event in the presence of senior government officials and other big players of the construction, real estate and interiors industry, taking part in the three-day event.

After the inauguration, Sheikh Khalid toured the exhibition stands and appreciated the innovative products on display this year.

As many as 140 local, regional and international exhibitors are taking part at the events, with the Gulf Property Show this year crossing a record 2,000 sq m for the very first time since its launch in 2013.

This year, the trade shows will also feature an outdoor music and food festival in the evening as an added attraction for visitors and families, according to HCE.

The three exhibitions are considered a valuable springboard into the multi-billion-dollar construction, interiors and real estate markets of the Northern Gulf, where the emphasis is on showcasing the latest products, services, technologies and projects available in the region.

HCE managing director Jubran Abdulrahman said the 2017 edition successfully continues the ‘one-stop-shop’ concept.

"Our aim is to promote the GCC’s capacity across the construction, interiors and real estate sectors and support the economic vision of HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain, who continues to extend his patronage to our events," noted Abdulrahman.

"The 2017 edition of the shows has seen a real growth of participants from Bahrain and across the GCC looking to offer individuals and companies with a ‘Made in the GCC’ option," he stated.

The 3Gs will also feature a raft of special offers and deals from exhibitors, he added.

HCE exhibitions director Ahmed Suleiman said: "Our exhibitors are aware that the shows represent a very good opportunity to sell their products and are looking to entice deal making at the shows with attractive offers."

Gulf Construction Expo, Gulf Interiors and Gulf Property Show are open between 10 am and 9 pm till April 27 at the BIECC. Entrance is free.-TradeArabia News Service



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Bahrain to start work on key highway projects

Work will soon start on major road development projects aimed at transforming the kingdom’s highways and streets to free traffic flows, said a report, citing a senior minister.

Minister of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Essam bin Abdulla Khalaf presented an overview of a number of the highways and main streets development projects, including Al Fateh Street, to His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa during a meeting held at the Qudaibiya Palace, reported BNA.

HRH Prime Minister stressed the significance of developing the streets as per highest global standards to ensure a smooth traffic flow taking into account the future investment projects.

The projects being planned include an underpass at the Gulf Hotel intersection and an overpass for traffic approaching from the north of Al-Fateh Street in the direction of Prince Saud Al Faisal Street.

The development plan also comprises increasing the number of lanes to four on each sides, as well as constructing a U-shape course at the Al-Fateh Street and Tarafa Al-Abid intersection, said the BNA report.

HRH Prime Minister was later briefed by Khalaf on the ministry's operational procedures for Al Fateh Street development project, as well as the preliminary procedures, hiring contractors and consulting companies and preparing tender documents for the implementation of the project.

The detailed designs and tender documents have been completed in conformity with the directives of HRH Prime Minister on the implementation of the project, added Khalaf.



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Passenger traffic at DXB up 7.4pc in Q1

Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport (DXB) climbed 7.4 per cent during the first quarter of 2017 to 22,496,596 compared to 20,948,690 recorded during the same period last year, according to traffic results released today by Dubai Airports.
 
The year to date totals follow March results which saw a 3.8 per cent increase in passenger numbers to 7,511,431 compared to 7,237,509 reported in March 2016. The more modest growth rate in March was due to the timing of the Easter holiday which fell during March in 2016 and during April in 2017. The number of passenger flights in March grew 1.0 per cent to 34,634 compared to 34,303 last year while year-to-date flight numbers were up 0.5 percent to 100,638 compared to 100,116 recorded during the first quarter of 2016.
 
The average number of passengers per flight in the first three months of the year was 224, compared to 209 during the corresponding period in 2016, an increase of 6.8 per cent.
 
During the first three months of the year, Eastern Europe was the fastest expanding market in terms of percentage growth (33.3 per cent) as the appreciation of the ruble against the US dollar over the past year has increased spending power in Dubai and spiked demand in the Russian market. Asia was the next fastest growing market (22.6 per cent) which benefited from additional capacity provided by Emirates and flydubai in markets such as Thailand, China and the Philippines, followed by South America (22.2 percent).
 
Conversely, the impact of travel bans and electronic device restrictions is starting to be felt on North American traffic figures, which were down 4.3 per cent during March of 2017 versus the same period last year. Year to date traffic to and from North America is up 2.5 per cent.
 
India remained the top destination country during the first three months of the year with a total of 3,031,866 passengers, followed by the UK (1,618,334 passengers), Saudi Arabia (1,572,963) and Pakistan (1,166,642). London topped the list of destination cities during the period under review with 974,950 passengers, followed by Doha (797,729 passengers), Bangkok (633,496) and Mumbai (618,638).
 
Freight volumes were also on the rise in the first quarter of 2017 with 636,479 tonnes passing through DXB, up 3.5 per cent from the 615,144 recorded during the same period last year. This result was positively impacted by an 8.4 per cent boost in cargo volumes in March with 235,503 tonnes being handled compared to 217,202 tonnes in the same period last year.
 
Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said: “While there are fluctuations in growth market-by-market the overall trend is quite positive as evidenced by the 7.4 per cent increase in passenger numbers during the first quarter. That result keeps us well on track to meet our 2017 forecast of 89 million passengers.” - TradeArabia News Service



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