Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Minor Hotels to open new property in RAK

Minor Hotels, a hotel owner, operator and investor, has signed a management agreement for a new Avani property in the UAE – Avani Al Marjan Island Ras Al Khaimah Resort.

Al Marjan is a collection of four pristine man-made islands in Ras Al Khaimah, set against the backdrop of the Arabian Peninsula, only 30 minutes from Ras Al Khaimah International Airport and 50 minutes from Dubai International Airport. Al Marjan is set to redefine the RAK hospitality sector with large-scale, world-class developments planned for the future, including a range of accommodation options comprising hotels, villas and residential units, in addition to marinas, retail and recreational facilities. The new property is to be developed by leading real estate developer Crowngate International and is scheduled to open in late 2019.

The 225-key Avani Al Marjan Island will be located on View Island, a tranquil island which is home to a unique blend of retail destinations, hotels and resorts.  Facilities at the purpose-built resort will include a selection of King, Twin and Disabled Access guest rooms and Avani Suites, an Avani Living Space and Pantry. The resort will also host all day dining and poolside restaurants, meeting and event facilities with a capacity of 200 people, a kids’ club and a spa. In addition, the new resort will have an outdoor swimming pool and beachfront access with 360 degree views.

Ras Al Khaimah offers a rich history and culture, along with diverse landscapes including mountains, desert and stunning coastline. Tourism in the emirate is experiencing strong growth and has become a leading lifestyle and tourist destination within the UAE, on the back of improved direct air connectivity and a host of Government infrastructure developments. Minor Hotels’ luxury Anantara brand already has a new resort under development in the emirate – the 225-key Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort is scheduled to open in 2019.

Minor Hotels currently operates 10 properties across four of its brands in the UAE, in the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The group’s pipeline for Avani hotels includes two other upcoming properties in the UAE – the 372-key Avani Ibn Battuta Dubai Hotel and the 230-key Avani Jebel Dhanna Resort in the coastal area of the Al Gharbia region of Abu Dhabi, both scheduled to open in 2019.

Ramzy Fenianos, vice president development, Minor Hotels Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “We are delighted to announce the signing of this management agreement with Crowngate International to bring Avani to the fast developing tourism destination of Ras Al Khaimah. We see a lot of potential in the emirate, both for our upscale Avani brand and in the luxury segment, where we already have an Anantara resort under development.”  

Joe McCormack, founding partner, Crowngate International, said: “Crowngate is thrilled to be announcing our new Al Marjan hotel resort in Ras Al Khaimah, which is fast becoming the emirate of tomorrow. In a very short period, Al Marjan Island has become a leading luxury lifestyle and tourist destination for visitors not just from the GCC, but internationally. To be in partnership with such a prominent global hotel management company as Minor Hotels, brings global recognition, unrivalled expertise, as well as a proven, luxury hotel brand portfolio. The Avani brand will bring a unique and refreshing blend of style and comfort to our hotel that will leave a lasting impression on all who visit.”

Launched by Minor Hotels in 2011, Acani Hotels & Resorts is an upscale, contemporary brand appealing to millennial minded travellers who appreciate quality and value. Avani currently has 17 properties in operation in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Seychelles, Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia and the UAE and the group has plans to grow the brand across its global footprint. - TradeArabia News Service



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AccorHotels to manage new Fairmont property in Egypt

Leading hospitality chain AccorHotels has partnered with real estate company Arabia Group to manage Fairmont Pyramids Hotel and Residences - Egypt's newest property which is set to open in 2020.

The management deal also includes a partnership with with the Ministry of Housing and developers of residential, retail, and commercial developments in Egypt and the UAE, said a report in Daily News Egypt.

Fairmont Pyramids Hotel and Residences will feature 250 rooms and 200 branded residences. It is located 4 km from the Great Pyramids, and three minutes from the Grand Museum, with easy access to the new ring road that constitutes a connection to the New Administrative Capital.

“We are excited to announce the addition of Fairmont Pyramids Hotels and Residences to our Egypt luxury portfolio,” said Sami Nasser, Accor’s chief operating officer of luxury brands in the Middle East. “This announcement highlights the group’s commitment to the destination and its envisioned potential,” he added.

Accor Hotels currently operates 20 hotels in Egypt, with 12 hotels under construction, encompassing 10,800 rooms and residences across the luxury, upscale, midscale, and economy segments.



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New resort mayor for Jannah Resort & Villas RAK

Jannah Hotels & Resorts has appointed Houssine El Quaroui as resort mayor of Jannah Resort & Villas Ras Al Khaimah.

Houssine will oversee all operations of the first Jannah property in Ras Al Khaimah, in addition to his present executive role as group director of opening.

A Moroccan national, Houssine brings a wealth of knowledge from a decade of extensive hospitality experience. He started his career in food and beverage service of a five-star property in Morocco and ultimately set off for greater opportunities in Abu Dhabi. He was a butler of an ultra-luxury hotel in the emirate and was eventually promoted to assistant head butler and head butler successively within a span of two years.

With Jannah Hotels & Resorts at the conceptualisation stage, Houssine joined the group, making him one of the very few pre-opening members of the growing luxury brand of hotels, resorts and serviced apartments; thus earning him the role of director of opening. In addition, he took Jannah Place Abu Dhabi and all its operations under his wing as a hotel mayor prior to taking on the Ras Al Khaimah property with 100 well-appointed suites and 24 spacious villas.

Houssine said: “I have always been delighted to be part of Jannah Hotels & Resorts wherever it takes me. The group has been my family ever since I joined and the pleasure of working with them is growing each day.

“Education is indeed a life-long process and it does not stop after one graduates. It gives me great satisfaction that I continue learning with and from Jannah Hotels & Resorts as I grow in experience and as the group expands,” he added. - TradeArabia News Service



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Gulf Air launches flight status facility on website

Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier, in partnership with OAG, the leading global provider of digital flight information, has launched an online Flight Status Facility on the airline’s official website gulfair.com.

The new facility provides booked passengers with real-time information on their Gulf Air flights including customised flight trackers, destination, weather and flight status alerts via email/SMS/Twitter that are all available in English, Arabic, German and French.
 
Yahya Ali Buali, Gulf Air director sales and marketing, said: “Today, the speed with which information is delivered is crucial to any business and it is particularly relevant and critical for airlines and an important unique selling point for today’s connected travellers. With this new facility we are keeping our passengers fully abreast of any changes to their journey and giving them destination-specific information so as to enhance their travel experience both with Gulf Air and at their final destination.”
 
“As a leader in the aviation industry, Gulf Air understands that today’s connected traveller values transparency and real-time information above all else,” said Ev Jordan, EVP Flight Status, OAG. “Through OAG, Gulf Air is able to keep travellers informed through the world’s most comprehensive status data across mobile, email and social alerts in four separate languages.”
 
Gulf Air flights can be booked online at gulfair.com, the airline’s one-stop-shop website. Fare/booking queries can also be directed to the airline’s 24-hour Worldwide Contact Centre on (+973) 17373737, or any Gulf Air sales offices and approved travel agencies. - TradeArabia News Service



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Riyadh Travel Fair targets millennial tourist market

This year, Riyadh Travel Fair - the largest travel and tourism exhibition in Saudi Arabia - will be highlighting youth travel options as it eyes the growing millennial traveller population.

Exhibitors at the event, which runs from Aptil 7-10 at the Al Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh, will be presenting digital innovations such as Virtual Reality (VR) goggles, information on new youth travel destinations, events and festivals.

More than 50 per cent of the population in the Middle East is between 18 and 34 years of age and surrounded by hi-tech gadgets. For 40 per cent of GCC travellers of all ages, social media is their inspiration when planning a trip and travel queries from the Mena region have grown 33 per cent in the last year. According to YouTube, there are over 310 million video views each day in the region and travel queries on YouTube had grown 22 per cent year on year by December 2014. In Saudi Arabia, 81 per cent of leisure travellers report having watched an online video to decide on a destination.

Capturing the millennial market has been on destinations and hoteliers’ agenda for a while now, and lifestyle-branded properties are springing up on every corner of the world.

Ferghal Purcell, COO, HMH – Hospitality Management Holding, said: “As young affluent travellers are migrating to new channels for travel planning, hoteliers too are making an effort to step up their game by being visible on multiple channels including meta-search for improved online bookings. At HMH we are geared in terms of technology with mobile optimised website and dynamic marketing and pricing strategy.”

Also commenting, Edwin Fuller, president and CEO – Orange County Visitors Association, said: “We see an increase of young middle class visitors from the Middle East. They are spending time exploring destinations not previously visited such as Southern California. The visitors are seeking opportunities to explore and enjoy the destinations of their choice they enjoy becoming part of their community enjoying the facilities, attractions, environment and weather. We are seeing an increase of multiple visits during a year and not just the summer.  Orange County California is the most single visited destination in California and the West Coast with over 4 million international guests in 2015.”

Due to rapid increase of social media usage, these ‘hashtaggers’ value authenticity, international standards, the most seamless technological connectivity, combined with a personal touch while choosing brands that can stand them out from the crowd.

Sheikh Imran Hafeez, director of Sales and Marketing, said: “We understand that young travellers, the never-ending explorers, eager for knowledge, prefers to travel to have unique experiences and to interact with local culture. Riyadh Travel Fair 2017 will showcase the potential of young traveller tourism along with its plethora of activities and experience offerings from various destinations from around the world.”
 
This year the Riyadh Travel Fair (RTF) will open its doors for ninth consecutive year. The four day event will become the focus of business networking opportunities, insightful seminar sessions, ministerial discussions and recognition of twelve months of the tourism industry’s achievements.

Riyadh Travel Fair is organized by ASAS Exhibition and Conference Organizing Company and is supported by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority as a Strategic Partner. - TradeArabia News Service



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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gulf transport project value tops $380bn

The total value of 1,381 active transport projects in the Gulf region rose one per cent in a month to Dh1.39 trillion ($379.7 billion) in February, according to a report.

In terms of value, the rail sector had the lion's share of  $190.4 billion (about 50 per cent), followed by road construction with $121.4 billion (nearly 32 per cent). The aviation sector too is active with over a 100 ongoing projects worth over $41 billion while the marine project value reached $26.5 billion, stated BNC Networks, a leading project research and intelligence provider in the region.
 
However, sector wise, the road construction sector dominated the project scenario with 1,028 projects (about 74.43 per cent) of the total 1,381 active transport projects, it added.
 
"These facts reflect the strong focus by the governments of the six oil-rich Gulf countries on improving physical connectivity that is crucial for cross-border movement of goods and services as well as economic integration of the region to become a stronger economic block," remarked Avin Gidwani, the chief executive of BNC Networks.

"Improved and efficient transport network will become vital for cross-border tourism and people-to-people engagement as the region's governments push economic development to the next level," he noted.

According to him, the transport sector constitutes seven per cent of the number of all active projects in the GCC.
However, in terms of value, transport projects account for 17 per cent of the total estimated value for all projects in the region, he stated.

Of these, 592 projects (nearly 43 per cent of the projects) with an estimated value of around $128 billion are under construction in the UAE, said Gidwani.

Some notable multi-billion dollar transport projects under construction include Riyadh Metro project in Saudi Arabia, expansion project of Kuwait International Airport (KIA) and Midfield Terminal Complex (MTC) in the UAE.

Seven transport projects with a combined value of around $890 million had been awarded in February, stated the BNC report.

The largest transport to be awarded in February was the new liquid berths terminal project at Duqm port worth $510 million (Dh1.87 billion) in Oman.

Twelve other transport projects with a combined value of $380 million were completed last month, it added.-TradeArabia News Service



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Global giants head to Dubai for big property expo

Major players from some of the world's leading real estate destinations such as Portugal, Cyprus, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, US, UAE and China will be showcasing their projects at the upcoming International Property Show in Dubai.

A focused B2B and B2C platform with a global reach that explores new real estate destinations with investment opportunities, International Property Show will be held from April 2 to 4 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

According to The Wealth Report, an annual publication by leading real estate expert Knight Frank, the chief Chinese city of Shanghai had experienced the biggest annual price hike for prime residential real estate.

Prices for prime properties in Shanghai jumped 27.4 per cent in 2016, solidifying its position as one of the top cities in the world, it stated.

Beijing saw the second-biggest increase, with price growth of 26.8 per cent, followed by Guangzhou, which experienced a 26.6 per cent gain, the report added.

“China's real estate market has strengthened over the past year due to the growing economy and increased demand for housing. In addition, international investments are driving more money into the country’s real estate,” remarked Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO, Strategic Marketing & Exhibitions, the event organiser.

The Los Angeles also ranked No.1 in North America in a survey of global real estate investors who have a combined total of $1.7 trillion to spend on property in 2017. Top choice cities for realty investment in other regions were London and Australia.

Dubai, he stated, has also proved to be an investor magnet ever since it opened its real estate sector to non-Gulf international investors.

"The emirate has not looked back from that point onwards and has maintained a commanding march in relation to business activity in its property market. Throughout 2016, investors belonging to India, UK and Pakistan topped the list of the biggest non-Gulf international investors in Dubai’s realty sector," he added.

With some of the world’s best realty destinations taking part in the International Property Show, it is an excellent opportunity for exhibitors to promote their existing and reveal their future projects, and for potential buyers to explore the best in properties, stated Shezawi.

“Dubai yet remains the top favourite realty destination for investors across the globe. Its stable political conditions and steady economic growth has supported the property market encouraging investors to diversify their investments and distribute their capital into the flourishing market,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service



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Qatar to pump $6.2bn into UK infrastructure projects

Qatar is set to invest £5 billion ($6.24 billion) in Britain over the next three to five years, thus underscoring the country’s commitment to the UK despite economic uncertainties relating to Brexit, according to a report.

The key sectors of infrastructure, real estate and energy will be targeted in its new investment plan, reported the Qatar News Agency, citing a top minister.

"Qatar is already a top investor in the UK, having invested more than £40 billion across the country," remarked Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

He was speaking at the Qatar-UK business investment forum in London, which brings together more than 400 British and Qatari business leaders and senior politicians.

Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sharif Al Emadi was upbeat on the future of British economy and indicated that he was unperturbed by the possible implications of the country’s splitting from the EU.

The country already has a stake in Canary Wharf in the capital's Docklands, as well as an interest in the Milford Haven liquefied natural gas terminal in South Wales. It also bought the Olympic Village following the London 2012 Olympics, reported BBC.

"Currently the UK is our first investment destination and it is the largest investment destination for Qatari investors, both public and private," added Al Emadi.



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UAE eyes $70bn industrial investments by 2025

The UAE government aims to attract new industrial investments worth more than $70 billion by 2025, said a report.

The investments from the Emiratis in the industrial sector has risen to Dh112 billion ($30.5 billion) last year, accounting for 86 per cent of the total investments in this vital sector to the national economy, reported state news agency Wam citing a senior minister.

"The future outlook of the UAE is transitioning to a knowledge-based economy, promoting innovation and research and development, strengthening the regulatory framework for key sectors, and encouraging high value-adding sectors," remarked Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy.

These will improve the country’s business environment and increase its attractiveness to foreign investment," Al Mansouri noted.

According to him, investments from both the overseas group and that of the GCC citizens into the industrial sector stood at Dh14 billion ($3.8 billion), he added.

Of the total Emirati investments last year, about 61 per cent was focussed on major industrial sectors along with F&B (food and beverage) platform, said the minister.

About 58 per cent of GCC investments focused on non-metalic mineral raw material and the mineral industries, while 58 per cent of foreign funding went to the F&B industries.



from Construction Realestate

Dubai group in record 300 JCB generator deal

Dubai-based Rental Solutions & Services (RSS), which provides power for construction sites and large infrastructure developments, has bought more than 300 JCB generators in a deal worth more than $11 million.

Generator manufacturer JCB Power Products said the order is the biggest yet for its newly-launched range of RS generators specifically designed and manufactured in the UK for the global rental sector.

The first five units have already been pressed into service in Oman supported by JCB dealer Muscat Overseas Group. They are being used by a global oil and gas company which needed urgent standby power to support their operations.

RSS operations director Garry McMahon said: "We have a choice of generator suppliers in the Middle East, but we chose JCB Power Products as its range is the best rental selection we have seen."

"The brand presence of JCB in our region also ensures that our customers know we are working with quality equipment and providing the best possible back-up," he stated.

JCB Power Products MD Jonathan Garnham expressed delight at winning its biggest export order of the year from  one of the Middle East’s biggest providers of standby power.

"JCB Power Products launched its RS rental range just a year ago and it is proving extremely successful in a very competitive global market where JCB provides unrivalled service and support," he noted.

McMahon said RSS offers rental generators across the Middle East, providing power for construction sites, large infrastructure developments, and petrochemical facilities.

The company was established in 2007 as a global provider of rental power, temporary cooling and mobile water solutions.

According to him, the British-built generators will span from the smaller 60 kVA outputs to the maximum 500kVA – enough to power 15,000 homes.

They all feature JCB’s market-leading LiveLink for Power telematics system, allowing customers to actively manage fleet utilisation, service scheduling and remotely diagnose faults and installation issues, stated McMahon.

The generators will be used across the Middle East including Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. They will be supported by JCB’s extensive network of dealers in the Middle East.

JCB Power Products employs more than 200 people and has its headquarters in Stafford, UK as well as a production facility in Newtown, Wales and New Delhi (India).-TradeArabia News Service



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Monday, March 27, 2017

Churchill Drilling Tools wins top export award

Churchill Drilling Tools, an oilfield service company specialising in drilling innovation, said it has won top honours in the High Growth Markets Exporter of the Year category at the 2017 HSBC Scottish Export Awards held in Glasgow, UK. The award specifically recognises export achievement in high growth markets of interest to Scottish-domiciled businesses including the Middle East and South Asia - with success measured in terms of growth in sales and market penetration.

In the case of Churchill Drilling Tools, the company decided to expand in the Middle East last year and has succeeded in establishing itself as a reliable and trusted supplier of innovative well contingency technology, said a statement from the company. From its regional hub in the UAE, Churchill has secured a dominant market share for its technology and has seen its revenue exceed targets by a factor of four, it stated.

Mike Churchill, CEO and commercial director, said: "Our export journey has been incredible. For example, in the Middle East, we have gone from a standing start in 2016 to today being the leader in our market. This export success is a reflection of customer demand for our tools."

"We put the customer front and center in everything we do and we make use of our family driven, close knit technical team to provide the personal service our customers need and expect. The levels of repeat business and the development of new in country relationships reflect well on our approach and we will continue to pursue a people driven strategy as we seek to expand further," he added.-TradeArabia News Service

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Engineering Contracting Company posts 8pc growth

Engineering Contracting Company (ECC), a leading civil engineering and construction company in the UAE, has registered eight per cent growth in 2016 despite the slowdown in the market.

ECC’s positive annual growth figures are largely due to its delivery, reputation and strong financial position, said the company in a satement.

The company has also grown in terms of manpower and machinery, currently employing more than 7,000 highly qualified team members, it added.

The solid results come at a time when ECC is celebrating its four decades of success in the UAE, said a top official.

"Throughout our 42-year history, we have successfully weathered both market challenges and periods of rapid development by pacing our own expansion. Our growth and current position can be credited to our strength as a company and long-standing reputation in the UAE," remarked its founder and chairman Hatem Farah.
 
Its key clients include The Ruler’s Office, Emaar Properties, Dubai Properties, Dubai Islamic Bank, Dubai Investment, Deyaar, Damac, Union Properties, Etisalat, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Dubai Festival City, Zayed University and Roads Transportation Authority.

The group, through its sister companies; Abanos Interior Fit Out and Joinery, United Masters and Prime Metal Industries, provides all construction related services for its clients, said Farah.

One of the most diverse contracting companies in the region, ECC boasts several milestone projects including the reconstruction of the Deira Clock Tower and Hatta Village, he added.-TradeArabia News Service



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