Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dewa inks smart grid deal with Silver Spring

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) entered into an agreement with Silver Spring Networks International to establish a communication platform based on IPv-6 multi-applications radio frequency (RF) mesh canopy for smart grid applications, such as smart electricity, water meter and distribution automation.

The new communication platform will cover the whole of Dubai including Hatta and will serve all the communication requirements for any Smart Grid Applications.

The agreement includes the design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of RF mesh canopy for smart grids. This will allow Dewa to provide secure and reliable communications for smart electricity and water systems, as well as additional services in the future. The move reinforces Dewa’s efforts to implement the Smart Dubai initiative to make Dubai the happiest and smartest city in the world.

The agreement was signed by Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dewa, and Mike Bell, president and CEO of Silver Spring Networks.

“This agreement is part of our efforts to achieve the second smart initiative, namely ‘Smart Applications through Smart Meters and Grids’, which enables Dewa to build a wide and integrated smart grid covering generation, transmission and distribution systems,” said Al Tayer.

“Smart grid includes demand side management, assets management, power stations and networks automation, systems integration and smart metering. The Dh7-billion ($1.9 billion) smart grid is aligned with our other smart initiatives, including ‘Shams Dubai’ to install PV panels on buildings to generate electricity, and connect it to Dewa’s grid, and the ‘Green Charger’ initiative to establish the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations,” he added.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Silver Spring Networks who have a globally proven Internet of Things networking platform that will give us a high-performance network to reliably deliver multiple electricity and water services, to the people of Dubai. Also, we intend to ensure that this platform is completely scalable to easily deploy new services in the future,” concluded Al Tayer.

“Dubai has long been a pioneer in energy and infrastructure innovation to support its economic growth and sustainability goals,” said Mike Bell, president and CEO, Silver Spring Networks.

“Our open, standards-based solutions enable utilities, cities, and companies to accelerate adoption of IoT devices and services, allowing millions of devices to be securely connected over varying conditions and environments.  Dubai will join many iconic cities around the world where Silver Spring has deployed this technology.” – TradeArabia News Service

from Construction Realestate

ZonesCorp unveils plan for prefab units

ZonesCorp, a leading developer and operator of purpose-built industrial zones in the UAE, has unveiled a new development designed to support the growth of small and mediums-sized enterprises (SME) in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The new zone being developed by ZonesCorp will feature 261 prefabricated, ready-to-use units covering an area of just over 300,000 sq m. Overall 80 per cent of the units have been designated for warehousing and 20 per cent light industrial units.

ZonesCorp will create the state of the art, fit-for-purpose warehouse and light industrial complex in the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICADIII).

The project is strategically located in the heart of the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICADIII), situated in an ideal position for SMEs to serve the existing industrial & manufacturing hub and with access to world class transport links to serve local and international markets.

SMEs, which account for more than 94 per cent of the companies and 86 per cent of the total workforce in the UAE, are the chief enablers of economic diversification, innovation and the shift to a knowledge-based economy.  

Planned, constructed, and operated under the highest technical and environmental standards, the new zone will feature competitive land lease rates with the option to purchase. The average unit size will be 500 sq m but the project features flexible plot sizes that can be increased to 1500 sq m and are fit-for-purpose for warehousing and light industrial units.

Saeed Eisa Al Khyeli, director general of ZonesCorp said: “This project is designed to facilitate the growth of SMEs and to meet the growing demand for high quality flexible warehousing. We firmly believe that a flourishing SME sector is the cornerstone of any thriving economy and the UAE is no different. The project is also firmly in line with the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision to build a sustainable and diversified, high value-added economy.” – TradeArabia News Service

from Construction Realestate

Egypt's new capital city project on track

The infrastructure-related work at Egypt's new capital city is progressing well with new roads and waste water networks at the residential and ministerial districts likely to be completed by mid-2018, said a report.

The total cost of these works is estimated at E£3 billion ($194 million), reported Amwal Alghad, citing the builder Arab Contractors Company.

The company aims to complete the utilisation works in the residential and ministerial districts at the country's new capital city project by middle of next year, it stated.

The city will be built east of Cairo, between the country's capital and the planned Suez Canal hub north west of the Gulf of Suez.

It will include 1.1 million residential units to house five million inhabitants, as well as an administrative district on 2.3 million sq m of land, with a presidential palace, ministries, government bodies, and embassies, as well as a financial district, according to the plan.

The ministerial district will include ministries, government agencies and the president's office.

from Construction Realestate

Saudi cement sales may slide further

Cement sales in Saudi Arabia continues to remain weak and recent data could indicate further downward revision to market estimates of demand and sector earnings for 2017, a report said.

In the first two months of 2017, sales volume fell 20.4 per cent on an annual basis, while in 2016, cement dispatches declined 10 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) (54.8 million tonnes), added the report titled “Changing fundamentals; Reality seems tougher” published by Al Rajhi Capital, a leading financial services company in Saudi Arabia.

“In this context, we show the impact on companies based on our expectations of demand in 2017. With regard to prices, we have already seen prices decline sharply for Central and Western regions as they are most accessible to producers,” the report said.

“If demand does not pick up, we believe there could be further downside to prices, after enjoying healthy margins in the past.”

Already higher fuel prices, intense competition and inventory pile up have triggered a price war among cement companies to maintain the market shares which has negatively impacted profitability in the sector.

While dividends are likely to be cut, few companies with strong cash positions and limited future expansion might see lower impact on dividend payments. “We see limited benefits from exports as well and do not expect a near term recovery in construction sector. We also highlight current upside and downside risks in the sector. Under current market conditions, we are Neutral on Saudi, Southern, Yamama and Arabian cement as we believe that most of the weaknesses are priced in, while we are underweight on Qassim and Yanbu cement.”

70pc decline in value of awarded projects

Cement sector continues to be weighed down by weaker construction activities in the kingdom. According to the General Authority of Statistics’ 2016 GDP preliminary figures, the construction sector output in the kingdom dropped 2 per cent y-o-y in 2016, which was the first negative growth since 1999.

The current weak conditions in the construction sector is attributed to lower government spending, as Govt. adjusts to lower oil prices through spending cuts and prioritization of projects. Moreover, in 2016, though Ministry of Finance approved 1,192 construction projects (-18 per cent y-o-y) the total value of the awarded projects dropped 69 per cent y-o-y to SR24 billion ($6.4 billion).

Going forward, the construction sector has not shown any signs of recovery in the short term, which is likely to weigh on the cement sector. Construction sector is likely to depend on the private sector given government’s plan of cancelling and delaying unnecessary projects.

Demand and supply

In 2016, cement dispatches declined to 54.8 million tonnes (10 per cent y-o-y) as construction activities have been witnessing signs of spending cuts across various small and medium size projects as well as limited demand from mega projects that are nearing completion such as Riyadh metro, King Abdullah Financial District etc.

In 2017, demand is unlikely to pick up steeply given that construction activities are bound to remain weak, thus we expect sales volume to remain modest with a decline of about 12-15 per cent y-o-y (about 47 million tonnes).

On the supply side, clinker production in 2016 declined to 55.5 million tonnes (2.6 per cent in yearly basis). Recently, Yamama and Najran Cement temporarily shut down part of existing production lines. The lines have a clinker production capacity of 5,600t and 3,000t/day, respectively. We believe that under the current weak market conditions, cutting production would be one of the realistic options for balancing the market. We anticipate cut in clinker production this year by more than 12 per cent y-o-y. – TradeArabia News Service

from Construction Realestate

GCC rail project delayed over 'technical problems'

The multibillion-dollar GCC railway project, a long-distance network connecting the six GCC states, is likely to be delayed because of infrastructural and technical problems, reported Kuwait times, citing a senior official.

Of the GCC states, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman had gone a long way in domestically executing the project and linking some of the cities together with railroads, stated Abdul Raheem Naqi, the secretary general of the Federation of GCC Chambers.  

Bahrain had recently selected a specialized international company to execute the project that would initially start operating locally before connecting various states, he noted.

On the Kuwait scenario, Naqi said constructing the railway system in the country had faced many obstacles in recent years, primarily in terms of removing farms and other private property from the proposed route, in addition to making sure that the route does not conflict with existing oil facilities.
The construction work, which was set to start next year, will now kick off in 2020, he added.

from Construction Realestate

Boeing expands pilot training network

US planemaker Boeing has announced it has officially launched its global network of Boeing Training Providers to support its Pilot Development Programme.

The flight schools – Avion Training, part of Avion Group in the Netherlands, International Airline Training Academy (Iata) in Napa, CA, and SAA International (SAA), a subsidiary of Velocity Education, in San Diego, CA – were subject to a rigorous review process before receiving final acceptance to be part of the Boeing Pilot Development Programme network.

 “With these three top-tier schools, we are removing the burden of identifying and vetting potential schools for our customers,” said David Wright, Boeing Pilot Development Programme director. “Customers can trust that Boeing has done the leg work so they can focus on what they do best – flying people and cargo around the world.”

In order to be considered for the training network, schools must prove a good safety culture, have a good industry reputation and have airline and crew-focused training.

“Boeing’s Pilot Development Programme is built to provide customers with qualified first officers that seamlessly integrate into airline operations,” Wright said. “These three schools each bring unique characteristics to the industry to help fill the future pilot demand of Boeing’s diverse customer base.”

Boeing will provide routine checks to ensure cadets are receiving Boeing’s high level of training.

The Boeing Pilot Development Programme is a fully integrated solution that takes cadet pilots through initial screening, English training, ab initio (basic classroom and flight instruction), jet bridge and type rating training at Boeing Training Providers and Boeing training campuses around the world to ensure an efficient, consistent and effective pipeline for airlines to secure qualified first officers.

The 2016 Pilot and Technician Outlook projects a need for 617,000 new pilots in the next 20 years. That equates to a need for nearly 31,000 new commercial airline pilots and more than 33,000 new maintenance technicians globally each year.

In its seventh year, the Pilot and Technician Outlook is a respected industry study which forecasts the 20 year demand for crews to support the world’s growing commercial airplane fleet. – TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

Airbus to showcase latest interiors at Hamburg expo

Airbus will showcase its new cabin innovations at this years’ Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany – the world’s largest event dedicated to the aircraft interiors industry, in-flight entertainment, connectivity and passenger services.

Journalists who attend the Airbus Media Briefing at our stand will be able to learn about several new A380 cabin efficiency enablers – including new space-creating staircase and crew-rest arrangements – and also visualise them thanks to a large four-metre long cutaway model of the entire A380 interior containing these enablers.

For the Widebody A330neo and A350 XWB, Airbus will showcase the latest amenities and comfort of the Airspace cabin, with two full-scale cabin cross-section mockups. Visitors will be able to further explore these as well as our other aircraft cabins in full immersive 3D ‘walk-thru’ virtual reality. Moreover, for its industry leading Single-Aisle cabin product, Airbus will also display some new seat innovations.

In addition, representatives from Airbus and Inflight VR will also demonstrate how they will be ready to take virtual reality IFE to the next level – into the sky for a true digital “Airbus VR Passenger Experience”.

Aircraft Interiors Expo runs from April 4 to 6. – TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

US judge extends suspension of travel ban

A US federal judge in Hawaii has indefinitely extended the suspension of President Trump's new travel ban targeting six mostly Muslim nations.

Judge Derrick Watson's ruling means Trump will be barred from enforcing the ban while it is contested in court, a BBC report said.

In a lawsuit, the US state of Hawaii says the ban would harm tourism and the ability to recruit foreign students and workers. President Trump says his revised travel ban seeks to prevent terrorists from entering the US, the report said.

Judge Watson made the ruling late on Wednesday after hearing arguments from attorneys for the state of Hawaii and the US Department of Justice.

The judge turned his earlier temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction that would have a more lasting effect.

President Trump's executive order on March 6 would have placed a 90-day ban on people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen and a 120-day ban on refugees.

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels participates in Qatar food festival

Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels has announced its fourth participation at Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF 2017) - the largest food and beverage international event in town taking place from March 29 till April 6.

By participating at the QIFF, Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels aims to boost domestic tourism and provide the public with an opportunity to know more about the global services presented at the group’s various restaurants and experience the latest cooking innovations and mouth-watering delicacies.  

This year Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels will be participating with 6 restaurants, 'Al Shurfa Arabic lounge', 'Al Terrace Lebanese lounge', 'Argan the Moroccan restaurant', 'Al Canteen', 'Al Matbakh Rooftop Grill' and La Patisserie. These six restaurants will offer guests at QIFF a wide and exquisite selection of delicious dishes and world-flavoured cuisine that undoubtedly reflect the world’s different cultures.

On this occasion, Hafidh Al Busaidy, cluster general manager at Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels, said: “We are delighted to be a part of the Qatar International Food Festival for fourth time. The QIFF has truly become one of the world’s must-experience city-based festivals, encapsulating the very best culinary hospitality that Doha has to offer.”

“The success we achieved during last year’s participation has encouraged us to be part of the eighth edition of the QIFF.  Our six participating restaurants will offer an opportunity to all QIFF audience to taste the most delicious and tastiest dishes and we look forward for more success and accomplishment.”  

To add more flavours to this year’s participation, Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels has launched its social media competition whereby all visitors are eligible to participate by clicking photo of themselves a Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels stand or for any of the offered dishes at #QIFF2017. All photographs will be entered for a raffle draw with the winner walking away with a FREE Night stay at one of the properties and one hour Spa treatment.

To get a chance to win, guests need to follow Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels facebook and Instagram pages, upload the photo on his/her Instagram using #SWBHQIFF2017, TAG Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels along with two friends. - TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

Lisbon to host Seatrade Cruise Med 2018

Seatrade has announced that Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, will be the 2018 venue for the largest cruise industry event focusing on the Mediterranean and its adjoining seas – Seatrade Cruise Med 2018.

Hosted by the Port of Lisbon Authority (APL) and supported by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) and MedCruise, the event will take place from September 19 - 21, 2018 and feature a showcase exhibition, conference and a full social programme.

As a leading platform for discussion and debate on issues confronting the Mediterranean's burgeoning cruise market, the conference forms an integral part of Seatrade Cruise Med, organised by Seatrade. Previous editions of Seatrade Cruise Med have attracted cruise line executives representing 30 brands.

Portugal’s Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, said: "Portugal is increasingly affirmed as an important and renowned player in the world cruise sector with both the country as a whole and the city of Lisbon benefiting from the economic impact of cruise ship calls.”

A sentiment agreed by the President of APL, Lidia Sequira: "To host this prestigious event is recognition of the work we have been doing in the cruise sector for many years. The hope is that this event will give an important boost to the local and national economy of this sector, especially now that Lisbon is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to welcome all the cruise ships and their guests." - TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bipex 2017 to draw top regional, global property firms

Bahrain International Property Exhibition (Bipex) will be back much stronger and better this year in October with several leading developers and real estate companies from across the region besides major players from the UK, Asia, Turkey and Bosnia taking part.

It is being organised by Bahrain Society of Engineers (BSE) from October 26 to 28 at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre under the patronage of Bahrain's Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, .

Announcing the launch at a press conference in Downtown Rotana, the chairman of the organising committee Mohammed Khalil Alsayed said: "This year, Bipex returns to underscore the critical role of the kingdom’s economic diversification by highlighting its major achievements in infrastructure, real estate, leisure projects and the pipeline of competitively valued and attractive offerings."

The expo, which is celebrating 10 years of its success, will this year strive to shed light on sustainable development in the kingdom and promote new investment opportunities, he stated.

"We have a very simple mission and that is to encourage an ever-deeper understanding of Bahrain’s potential in the real estate market and its strategic positioning as a global commercial and tourism hub for investors," remarked Alsayed.

"With increasing signs of a new economic order trying to take root globally, as seen through the Brexit vote and a new policy environment in the US, we believe that the opportunity for regional consolidation in this part of the world offers greater hope," he said.

"For trade and commerce, and the real estate sector, this can be another window for select markets in the region to offer competitive products. In the case of Bahrain, our niche market with a range of offerings catering to different market segments at attractive price-points would be key," he noted.

Alsayed pointed out that the regulatory environment in Bahrain had also been strengthened with good protection to investors and buyers of property.

"The general economic conditions are improving gradually, and with oil prices hovering in the $50-per-barrel range, we are getting used to the new normal," he noted.

"However, reports from national authorities have indicated a resilience of the real estate sector over the past several quarters. The aggregate real estate trading volume in 2016 reached BD1.04 billion ($2.8 billion)," stated Alsayed, citing EDB's last quarterly report released in January.

According to him, this resilience is also due to the supportive policy framework that considers end-users and industry players’ views.

"Importantly, the government’s role in embarking on big-ticket infrastructure projects across the kingdom has helped provide a greater level of maturity to the market while stabilising the industry in times of need," he noted.

Bahrain was last year witness to the announcement of an IPO (initial public offering) of the country's first ever REIT (real estate investment trust) which commenced trading on the Bahrain Bourse in January.

"The overall real estate landscape in Bahrain continues to adapt and evolve and Bipex will project that progress to the public and boost confidence in our economy," he added.

Last year, the expo attracted more than 8,000 unique visitors, of which about 24 per cent were from outside Bahrain including significant B2B traffic.

Over the three-day period, a total of 40 exhibitors showcased the real estate assets worth $20 billion last year, Masoud Al Hermi, the president of the BSE stated.

During the past few years, he stated, the kingdom's real estate market has witnessed a remarkable recovery and improvement.

"Many real estate projects were launched, and this year we shall witness the official inauguration and delivery of many others, in addition to the launch of several new projects during the year," observed Al Hermi.

On the other hand, the Ministerial Committee for Reconstruction and Infrastructure, which is involved in the study of the stalled projects, contributed to the re-activation of some of these projects and to seek suitable solutions for others, which has contributed to boost confidence in the ability of the Bahraini economy to overcome difficulties in an appropriate legislative and legal environment, he added.

Al Hermi pointed out that the government had contributed immensely in boosting investor confidence in the local real estate market by investing in infrastructure projects worth a whopping $32 billion with the focus being on the energy, water, transportation and housing sectors by 2020.

This coincides with expectations of increased demand for various real estate products, mainly due to the increase in the total population and in the number of tourists, which in 2016 totalled about 15 million tourists, he said.

"We at BSE maintain confidence in development of the market conditions for the better in the future, and based on this confidence, we are determined to re-launch Bipex 2017 this year in its 10th edition," he added.-TradeArabia News Service

from Construction Realestate

Middle East Concrete & PMV Live back in new format

Leading international exhibition and publishing company dmg events Middle East, Asia & Africa said Middle East Concrete (MEC) and PMV Live infrastructure and heavy machinery events will be back next year in a new format as The Big 5 Heavy and will run separately from The Big 5 construction event.

The decision, to rebrand the only dedicated platform for professionals involved in construction and demolition projects in the Middle East that require heavy machinery, equipment and concrete, comes as an effort to broaden the exhibition profile to include all heavy industries, not just concrete and PMV, and to provide a dedicated forum for the region’s heavy construction industry to network, collaborate and find new business opportunities, said the statement from dmg events.

The Big 5 Heavy 2018 will be organised into five different sections – Concrete, PMV, Roadworks, Mining and Building Materials Manufacturing - making it easy for delegates and visitors to negotiate their way around the event.

The exhibition will be the only dedicated platform for professionals involved in large and small-scale construction and demolition projects in the Middle East that require heavy machinery, equipment and concrete, it stated.

On the rebranding move, Richard Pavitt, the event director, said: "The industry demands that exhibitions cover each part of the construction cycle and this new format will ensure that this event will be the platform for construction professionals who are involved at the start of the cycle – where building begins."

"In the current format, there is not the room to provide these shows, which is why The Big 5 and The Big 5 Heavy will run independently of each other, yet complement each other perfectly," he pointed out.

The Big 5 Heavy will cover the early construction cycle from breaking ground, drilling, producing building materials, through to earthmoving and lifting, while The Big 5 will continue on by showcasing the finished products, fixture and fittings.

"Any visitor who attends The Big 5 Heavy will see a large scale international event which will be full of exhibitors from all over the world, showcasing equipment for the heavy construction industry," explained Pavitt.

"Within the exhibition will be three conference rooms that will run free-to-attend seminars and there will be an outside live demonstration area for the larger equipment and machines," he added.

The 2018 edition The Big 5 Heavy is expected to attract the region’s leading infrastructure investors and to facilitate millions of dollars of business transactions during the show which will take place from March 26 to 28 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, said the company statement.

Attendees will also benefit from the CPD certified workshops with free training on the latest trends, innovations and business opportunities provided to the construction industry professionals, it stated.

The educational offering will also extend to The Big 5 Heavy Recruitment seminars were visitors will hear from HR specialists and career coaches about job opportunities in the market.

Other new show features include the Inspiring Infrastructure Award which recognises the region’s top engineering consultancies for their inspirational work on built environments, as well as The Big 5 Heavy Product Award which will be awarded to the top products, services and technologies in the industry, it added.-TradeArabia News Service

from Construction Realestate

Bobcat rolls out new tail swing excavator

Bobcat, one of the world's leading manufacturers of farm and construction equipment, has launched its new 1.7 tonne E17Z Zero Tail Swing (ZTS) canopy model, completing the company’s 1-2 tonne range of compact excavators.

The E17Z provides an unmatched combination of features for a machine of this size, from ZTS and the roomy and comfortable operator area to the ease of transport thanks to a shipping weight close to 1.6 tonne; its impressive digging forces and working range; the smoothness of the workgroup functions; the fast hydraulic performance in terms of low cycle times and its reliability, durability and easy service access, said a statement from the company.
In the new E17Z, the ZTS functionality is taken a level further using Bobcat’s Zero House Swing (ZHS) design, in which the front upper structure is also fully protected by ensuring the front corners are kept within the swing circle when the tracks are in the fully expanded position.

As a result, the ZHS functionality on the E17Z provides the peace-of-mind of 320° of free rotation when working close to walls and other obstructions, without sacrificing on operator comfort or performance.
The uncompromised operator environment on the E17Z in combination with excellent visibility, provides unmatched operator comfort and safety, said the company statement.

In fact, the E17Z is built around the operator, providing optimal ergonomics for operators of all sizes with easy access to the pedals and controls.

The large canopy and entry/exit space provide the driver with plenty of room to get into and out of the operator’s seat and this is further helped by the left hand control console lifting completely out of the way.  In addition, when not in use, the pedals can be folded away to increase room for the operator’s feet, leaving a large flat floor area that is easy to clean, it stated.
The E17Z has a standard operating weight of 1749 kg and a maximum digging depth of 2249 mm.  Many of the well accepted features in the current 1-2 tonne range such as the retractable undercarriage, upper-structure tie-down points and advanced diagnostics are available as standard on the E17Z.

The compact size combined with great stability and a transport weight close to 1.6 tonne makes this machine the perfect choice for applications in confined areas, said the statement.
The hydraulic system on the E17Z makes the best possible use of the engine power.  Fast cycle times, combined with smooth control of class-leading breakout forces, provide maximum productivity.

Boom and arm cylinder cushioning - unique in this class - enhance the overall smoothness of the workgroup.  The E17Z incorporates the architecture of the hydraulic system on the larger Bobcat E20 model with a combination of variable piston pumps and a gear pump, said the statement.

With its optimised stability and lifting capacity, the E17Z also offers the highest versatility in operating a wide range of attachments, it added.

from Construction Realestate

Shop Bahrain celebrates its partners

The organizing committee of the Bahrain Shopping Festival ‘Shop Bahrain’ held an appreciation ceremony on March 28 for their stakeholders and partners.

The appreciation dinner was held at the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay, and aimed to thank all partners from the public and private sectors as well as the media for their involvement in the third edition of the Festival.

“The festival’s main objectives comes in line with BTEA’s strategy of hosting initiatives that enhances the kingdom’s position as an accessible family destination with close proximity while increasing tourist inbound that contributes to the national economy,” said Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, chief executive of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA).

“The third edition of ‘Shop Bahrain’ has achieved many notable achievements that have boosted the tourism sector in the kingdom as the occupancy of the four- and five-star hotels reached BD9 million ($23.7 million) during that period,” he said.

Further commenting on the festival, Shop Bahrain project director, Yousef Al Khan, said: “Through this event, we would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to all the partners who made this event a success including our strategic partners, participating hotels, malls, and restaurants.”
“We will also ensure to enhance the upcoming editions of this national initiative by providing visitors a unique shopping experience and hope to continue the partnership developed with all stakeholders,” added Al Khan.

‘Shop Bahrain’ was a 30-day celebration, held from January 19 until February 18, that provided visitors with a unique shopping experience filled with family-fun entertainment as it also awarded shoppers by providing valuable prizes through the weekly raffle draw that included 12 cars, 35,000 instant prizes, and airline tickets. This edition was co-organized by the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority and Tamkeen and held in partnership with stakeholders from the public and private sectors such as Batelco, Gulf Air, and YK Al Moayyed & Sons. - TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

UAE housing complex tender likely in Q2

The UAE government will start issuing tenders in the second quarter for a major 250,520-sq-m residential project being developed under Zayed Housing Programme, in Dubai, said a report.

The Al Khawaneej Residential Complex is its second residential project housing 341 units in the second Al Khawaneej area, reported state news agency Wam, citing a senior minister.

"The Zayed Housing Programme will approve the design and supervision of the residential complex, following a tender in the second quarter of this year," stated Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and chairman of the Programme.

The design and supervision of the project, which was launched in the first quarter, will be approved after announcing a tender for its establishment and completion in the fourth quarter of this year, he added.

The Al Khawaneej project comes following the launch of the Al Quoz Residential Complex that includes 159 housing units, as the second set of complexes that were developed by the programme in Dubai since its establishment.

The project includes six models in a variety of styles, including Mediterranean, Modern, Andalusian and Islamic, said the report.

The new project is located in the Deira, Dubai, on the northern side of the Al Khawaneej residential area, along "D97" street and in an area of more than 3,000 residential lands that were allocated by the Dubai Government for public housing, it added.

from Construction Realestate

The Big 5 Saudi draws top global construction firms

With more than 500 brands on display, The Big 5 Saudi is attracting thousands of visitors to source products from local and international construction manufacturers, said the organisers.

Market leaders from Saudi Arabia including Zamil Industrial, Sabic, Al Omran Group, Al Yamamah Company for Reinforcing Steel Bars, Saudi Industries for PVC Windows (Wintek) & Saudi Industries for Pipes Company are exhibiting along with international manufacturers of construction products.

Regional countries also have a strong presence at the show, represented by industry leaders such as Ace Crane Systems LLC, Harwal Group, RakTherm, Salam Enterprises Company and Laticrete Middle East, they stated.

Qatar is one of the country pavilions present at the event this year, with 29 companies manufacturing a wide range of products for the built environment, from concrete pipes to lighting solutions, construction panels and aluminium fabrications.

Qatar Development Bank (QDB) events officer Saoud Algosaibi dubbed Saudi Arabia as one of the biggest markets for construction not only in the Middle East but in the whole world.

"The Big 5 Saudi’s broad international participation provides its local companies exposure that goes well beyond the Saudi borders, connecting them to the global market," stated Algosaibi.

"With the aim of increasing the Qatari export by developing local manufacturers, the Qatar Development Bank is providing complete support to Qatari companies participating in the exhibition. “This is our third time at The Big 5 Saudi. Previous participations have been very successful in supporting our local construction manufacturers and this is why we keep coming back," he added.

Opportunities offered by the Saudi construction market is attracting several multinational companies as well.

"We want to make a strong presence in the Saudi market and that’s why we’ve been coming to the show for all these years," remarked Sujit Singh, the managing director of Laticrete Middle East & Africa, said.

Vivek Mohile, the general manager (Sales & Marketing) at Laticrete in Saudi Arabia, said the company had started its operations in the kingdom a few years back and was currently working on some of the country's key projects including a hospital in Riyadh and Aramco development works.

"In light of the great potential our company sees in the Saudi market, we are planning to also build a manufacturing unit in the kingdom in future," he added.

Nathan Waugh, the portfolio events director, said: "With a focus on showcasing the latest technologies for the construction industry, The Big 5 Saudi 2017 is an unmissable platform to discover what’s new in the market, network and learn."

The expo is offering 48 CPD (Continued Professional Development) certified workshops on Project Management, Innovation & Technology, and Sustainability in Construction this year.

For the last two days, hundreds of construction professionals have been getting the latest insights from industry experts like Ayman Ahmed El Beda, the project manager and head of architecture at ACE.

Wael Khalil, a ertified project management professional with 20 years’ experience as a senior trainer & business consultant, will discuss PMOs in the context of fulfilling Saudi Vision 2030 expectations later in the day.

"There is an abundance of projects, initiatives and portfolios in the kingdom and PMOs will need to do their fair share to help reap the benefits from these available opportunities," remarked Khalil.

At the Technology and Innovation theatre, industry experts will present four dedicated workshops to visitors attending the event at 4.15pm today (March 29).

The education program will kick off with the “Future of 3D Printing and Design” by Aliasgar Chakkiwala, partner at Future Fountain Technical Works, while Mohammed Bin Saleh, the founder & CEO of Value Innovation Management Consultancy, will explain how new technologies can help SMEs take the lead in the next 10 years.

Hazim M Abdulwahid, the president of Hazim Consultancy, will discuss “Recent innovation in Bridges structural assessments” followed by a lecture from Essam Mohamed Lotffy Farid, Project Manager at Royal Advance LLC, who will take the audience through the “Role of Innovation in Change Management”.

Dr Mohammed S. Al Surf, Chairman of Education and Scientific Committee of the Saudi Green Building Forum, and Mario Seneviratne, Director of Green Technologies FZCO, will present four workshops in the Sustainability theatre of The Big 5 Saudi 2017.

“One presentation will discuss Leed tips that are effective and easy to use, that both Architects and Engineers can implement to generate a significant impact on energy consumption and saving,” remarked Seneviratne.

The Big 5 Saudi 2017 concludes tomorrow (March 30) at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events.-TradeArabia News Service

from Construction Realestate

Le Cirque Dubai appoints new head chef

Manuel Olveira Seller has been appointed as the head chef of the soon-to-open Le Cirque Dubai - a branch of the iconic New York restaurant Le Cirque - located in the Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Born in Spain, Seller began to craft his culinary skills during an internship at a traditional family owned restaurant in 1999. Since then, he has accumulated over 15 years’ experience in global hospitality at some of the world’s most exquisite restaurants. His expertise lies in the application of new techniques, Mediterranean, South American and Indian cuisine and the creation of desserts.

His career began at Spanish restaurant El Locum, located in Toledo Spain, where Seller worked as chef de partie, developing his culinary skills that he would carry with him throughout his career. In 2006, he went on to be offered a role as head chef at El Palacete, where he managed a team of four chefs who worked to ensure that new standards of quality control were implemented throughout the restaurant, as well as on the creation of a new menu.

Seller’s career accelerated vastly when he began to work for award winning gastronomic outlet, Vivir El Vino, directed by Michelin-Starred Chef Pepe Rodriguez. As head chef, he perfectly managed both banqueting and normal service, as well as being responsible for menu development, budgeting and staff development,

In 2009 he took on a role at two Michelin-Starred restaurant Sergi Arola Gastro in Madrid. This was a pivotal role in Manuel’s career as he progressed from chef de partie to sous chef in just over a year and amassed numerous new skills that included managing a team of eight chefs and adapting to the standards of a management chef within a Michelin-Starred kitchen.

After completing four years at Sergi Arola Gastro, Seller was offered not only a career changing but a life changing role at Arola Bar and Restaurant in Mumbai, India, where he joined the pre-opening team to become chef de cuisine. On accepting this role, menu creation, kitchen design, the hiring and management of eight new chefs and the creation of quality control, were all tasks that he could add to his already measureless portfolio.

Moving to the Middle East in 2016, Manuel took the role of chef de cuisine at 55&5th The Grill at St Regis, Abu Dhabi. His role took a new path to include media relations on behalf of the outlet, organisation of culinary photoshoots, the creation of culinary promotions to include Friday brunch, managing food costing and budget and working directly with the procurement team to guarantee quality control.

Manuel has brought his impressive collection of skills and experience to the pre-opening team at Le Cirque in the role of head chef. “Food is my passion and having the opportunity to work with the team in New York to develop a menu that reflects the current UAE market has been a personal challenge, yet thoroughly rewarding. We’ve developed some truly distinctive dishes that will become signatures of the Dubai venue." - TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

The Ajman Palace Hotel wins prestigious award

The Ajman Palace Hotel, managed by HMH – Hospitality Management Holding, was declared the GCC winner of the ‘Best Ramadan’ award at the glittering 2017 GCC Food and Travel Awards ceremony held at Palazzo Versace in Dubai on March 27.

Congratulating the team about this extraordinary achievement Ferghal Purcell, COO of HMH, said: “It is a very proud moment for us to receive this prestigious and exclusive industry recognition. It is an immense achievement based on our three years’ endeavor, whereby we have not only positioned ourselves against our direct competitors in Ajman and Sharjah, but the UAE as a whole. It serves as an ideal platform to launch Ramadan 2017 which is going to be absolutely unique as always.”

Highlighting The Ajman Palace Hotel’s commitment to excellence, Purcell added: “The award will continue to inspire us to build on our success and deliver the highest quality and service standards. The ‘guest experience’ is our number one priority.”

The finalist for 2017 GCC Food and Travel Award were:

• The Ajman Palace Hotel - UAE
• Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi – UAE
• Four Seasons Bahrain Bay  - Bahrain
• Madinat Jumeirah Dubai - UAE
• Jumeirah Messilah Beach - Kuwait
• The Chedi Muscat - Oman
• The W Doha - Qatar
• Waldorf Astoria Jeddah - Saudi Arabia. - TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

Dusit International forms JV in Japan

Global hospitality company Dusit International today announced the formation of Dusit Colours Co., Ltd., a joint venture company launched in partnership with Colours International, operator of the E-Hotel chain, in Japan.

Marking Dusit International’s debut in Japan, Dusit Colours aims to develop and operate Dusit-branded hotels and hotel management related education. As part of the agreement, both companies will work closely together to develop a distinctive hotel franchise model informed by the best of Thai and Japanese hospitality cultures and traditions.

Dusit International owns 49 per cent of the company, while Colours International owns 51 per cent. The joint venture company will explore opportunities in several major Japanese cities, including Kyoto, as candidate sites for hotels under Dusit International’s five-star Dusit Thani brand, and is also considering projects under other Dusit hotel brands, including dusitD2, DusitPrincess, and Dusit Devarana.

Japan is among the top 10 destinations for travellers worldwide and draws ever increasing numbers of visitors each year. Visitor numbers grew by an average of 33 per cent per annum between 2011-2015, and in 2017 the country recorded its most successful January yet by welcoming almost 2.3 million international visitors. With Japan preparing to host the Olympics in 2020, Dusit International is confident this upward trend will only continue and is delighted to be exploring options in this lucrative market.

“Two core areas for Dusit’s profitable and sustainable growth include balance and expansion,” said Suphajee Suthumpun, group chief executive officer of Dusit International and director of Dusit Colours. “In the next three years we aim to broaden our portfolio to have more than 50 per cent of our operations outside of Thailand, and entering key markets such as Japan will be essential to reaching this goal. We are delighted to partner with Colours International for this joint venture. Their local expertise and knowledge will prove invaluable as we explore projects designed to delight visitors and residents alike in Kyoto.”

Yoshihiro Matsumoto, president of Colours International, said: “Both Dusit International and Colours International are known for delivering distinctive hospitality inspired by the cultures of their native countries, so there’s a real synergy between our operations. We look forward to making this joint venture a resounding success.” - TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

Kuwait Yacht Show returns for 5th edition

The fifth edition of the Kuwait Yacht Show (KYS), Kuwait’s leading event for yacht and boat lovers, opened at Al Kout in Fahaheel on March 28.

The four-day event, which has moved to Marsa Al Kout for the first time since its launch in 2013, will run from till March 31, making Kuwait once again the focus of the marine world in the region.

After four years of growth, and as part of the Kuwait Yacht Show’s mission to continually expand and promote the nation’s marine sector, the show is being held in Marsa Al Kout - part of Kuwait’s largest waterfront leisure and retail destination.

Marsa Al Kout is a luxurious, state-of-the-art marina and yacht club with facilities for more than 150 boats. The marina sits right next door to Souq Al Kout - the community hub of southern Kuwait with its stunning views, and Nag’at Al Kout, the area’s traditional fishing wharf where local fishermen ply their trade. With the addition of the upcoming Al Kout Mall and the five-star Rotana Hotel, this unique blend of traditional and modern experiences will make up the largest waterfront leisure and retail destination in Kuwait, boasting a 1.6km stretch of immaculate beachfront.

"This year, so many things are getting us excited," said Nouf al-Hajeri, operations director of the Kuwait Yacht show organiser, PH7 Group "Our water presentation has 2017 yacht models mostly between the sizes of 50 to 95 feet which reflects the market’s needs here in Kuwait. SF Yachts are presenting Riviera 6000 and Monte Carle Yachts 86, Seas & Deserts are having a lineup of 7 Azimuts between the sizes of 43 to 95 feet, Sunseeker represented by Powerboat center is docking two brand new models 68 feet and 52 feet, Bader Al Yahya is displaying 3 Galeons and other boats by Suprema and Sealine and Alboom marine is display a collection of boats and yachts by Gulf Craft ranging between 36 and 63 feet. We also have fishing boats and jetboats for watersport lovers with brands like Robalo and Chaparral. Other Brands include Searay and Bostonwhaler by Seas & Deserts and IMG boats represented by their dealer Fahad Al Ghareeb."
The on land display features Marine Equipments and supplies and boats ranging between 20 feet to 50 feet from many brands including Gulf Master, Silsan and Halul. International brands include Cigarette, Jeaneau, Bombardier Recreational products, American boat brand Axis, Mercury, Evinrude and Suzuki Engines, Kawazaki recreational products, Navigational products, fishing, diving gear and much more.
"To entertain our guests, we are having on stage competitions on a fishing simulator with great prizes from some of our exhibitors. We will also give the stage to Hawana Bahry team who are organising debates, short talks and share unique videos of sea adventurers exclusively with KYS."

"All this and more, we are looking forward to keep growing the Kuwait Yacht Show year after year. With the guidance of the President of the International Federation of Boat Show Organisers, Goetz Jungmichel, who also is the organizer of the Dusseldorf Boat Show, one of the largest boat shows in the world, we are surely looking forward to taking the show to the next level," al-Hajeri said.

A private initiative by PH7 Group, The Kuwait Yacht Show (KYS), has secured enthusiastic support from the states Ministry of Commerce and Industry – a sure sign of the value Kuwait places on the marine economy, and an official acknowledgment of the value this now well-established yacht show has imbued on the international image of the nation.

Al-Hajeri stressed the importance of the sponsors, media supporters and Al Kout’s management “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our automotive Sponsor Ali Alghanim & Sons; our media sponsor Al-Anbaa and our partners GIG Insurance, 4 Fest Contracting, Men's Passion, Vacations and Bahri for their continued support," she added. “Each person, organization or entity collaborating with KYS knows how vital a role they are playing in the success and continuation of the show. Every yacht owner who has agreed to free his space for KYS, every sponsor who has contributed in building KYS and every media partner who has helped in promoting the show locally, regionally or internationally has truly become a great ally and it is with honor that we thank each and every one of you.”

The show will be open from 4.00pm until 9.30pm each day till March 31. - TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

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

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

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.

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

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

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

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

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, 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

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

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

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

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

from Construction Realestate

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

from Construction Realestate

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.

from Construction Realestate

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

from Construction Realestate

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

from Construction Realestate

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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Chinese tourist arrivals to Sharjah up 63pc

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority is focussed on increasing visits from China as the emirate witnessed tourism from the Asian country jump up 63 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015 figures.

As part of efforts to further drive Chinese visitor numbers, SCTDA is hosting 15 of the major outbound Chinese travel companies from the east coast of China on a familiarisation visit to Sharjah over the next week.

The travel operators will be fully immersed in the emirate and exposed to all its facets, from shopping, to heritage and destination activities, during their stay. As part of the programme, they will attend a workshop with key local industry stakeholders, with the objective of signing contracts for increased business over the coming years.

The new visa on arrival for Chinese visitors has really offered wider opportunities for further potential growth.

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA said: “The year 2016 brought many achievements and successes to Sharjah. The emirate is reaping the benefits of the forward-thinking initiatives and bold projects and campaigns we have been working on all year. This year in the first two months we have already exceeded all expectations. The roadshows covering major cities in China and India are already showing net gains and we have just returned from successful events in Germany and Russia. These countries firmly retained their spots among the top ten source markets for Sharjah, with China and Russia registering double-digit growth rates in 2016 which we are anxious to develop further throughout 2017."

Additional familiarisation visits have been planned to align with sales visits and overseas exhibitions, covering key cities in China. Work will also begin with Malaysian markets this year. - TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

Apicorp buys key stake in Saudi utility project

Acwa Power, a Saudi-based developer, owner and operator of independent power generation and water desalination plants, and Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp) have signed a sale and purchase agreement for an eight per cent effective stake in Shuqaiq Independent Water & Power Project (Shuqaiq IWPP) in Saudi Arabia.

Shuqaiq IWPP is one of Acwa Power’s early greenfield developments in Saudi Arabia.

Located on the western shores of Saudi Arabia, 130 km north of Jazan, the plant has a capacity to generate 850MW of power and 212,000 cu m of desalinated water per day.

The project achieved financial close in 2007 and started commercial operations in 2011. It has a 20-year power and water purchase agreement with Water & Electricity Company, Saudi Arabia.

As per the deal, Apicorp will buy a 13.33 per cent equity stake in Shuqaiq International Water Company (SIWEC), thereby giving them an eight per cent effective stake in Shuqaiq IWPP, said the statement from Acwa.

Headquartered in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Apicorp was set up in 1975 to foster the development of the Arab world’s oil and gas industries. It is owned by the 10 member states of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC). It also operates a banking unit in Bahrain.

Prior to this transaction, Acwa Power had a 40 per cent effective share in the project, after having acquired a six per cent effective stake in 2014 from Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan, to add to its original 34 per cent stake in the project.

This transaction complements the MoU for a co-investment initiative signed by Apicorp and Acwa Power in 2014, suggesting close collaboration in various projects in the fields of power generation and water desalination across the core geographies of Saudi-based power plant developer.

Commenting on the deal, Dr Raed Al Rayes, the deputy chief executive and general manager of Apicorp, said: "Shuqaiq IWPP ranks among the major developments in Saudi Arabia’s water and power sector and makes significant contributions to meeting the country’s rising demands in this field."

"We are proud to support Acwa Power in their growth plans through this transaction, which enhances and diversifies at the same time our equity portfolio by increasing exposure to the power generation sector that has stable profit rates and low risk," stated Dr Al Rayes.
"We look forward to working with our partners at Shuqaiq IWPP and to developing similar partnerships with companies in the same sector," he added.

Rajit Nanda, the chief investment officer of Acwa Power, said: "This transaction is a reflection of the confidence that our partners have in Acwa Power, and in the way we develop, build and operate our assets."

Apicorp, he stated, has been a valued partner for many years, and this transaction capitalises on the alignment of the business objectives of the duo.

Kashif Rana, the chief financial officer of Acwa Power, said this transaction is a result of its evolving portfolio and corporate finance strategy.

"We are focusing on ensuring that our portfolio carries an optimum risk-return profile, while having a balance sheet that being efficient capital-structure wise will also support our growth plans," he added.

With an investment value in excess of $30 billion, Acwa Power has a major presence in 11 countries including in the Middle East and North Africa, Southern Africa and South East Asia regions.-TradeArabia News Service

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Kuwait's Alargan posts 37pc jump in revenue

Alargan, a leading real estate company based in Kuwait, has reported revenues of KD26.8 million ($88.4 million) for 2016, marking an increase of 37 per cent compared to KD19.5 million ($64.3 million) the prevous year.

Announcing the 2016 results, the Kuwaiti real estate firm said its net profit for the year stood at KD1.8 million in comparison to a net profit of KD16.7 million, while its earnings per share (EPS) was 7.09 fils for the year ending in December over 65.32 fils the year before.

The increase in operational earnings were driven by the performance of the company’s core income-generating assets, advancements in new developments and strong sales of residential units, as well as yields generated from real estate investments in prime locations in the world, it stated.

Commenting on the performance, Khaled Al Mashaan, the chief executive and vice chairman of the board of directors of Alargan International Real Estate Company, said: "Despite a significant increase in our operational earnings, our bottom line in 2016 shows a decrease in comparison to the previous year because of an exceptional one-time gain of KD26.2 million from a divestment that was accounted for in 2015."

"Putting the one-time gain aside, operating profit increased in 2016 to KD2.95 million in comparison to a KD7.07 loss in 2015. Expenses decreased by 14 per cent from KD29.1 million in 2015 to KD25.1 million in 2016," he added.

Impressed with the results, the board of directors has recommended the distribution of 10 per cent cash dividends of the share nominal value (10 fils per share).

Al Mashaan said the company continued to deliver on its 2015 strategy which focuses on improving the performance of its core income-generating assets while operating through a combined developer and investor business model in an aim to deliver a sustainable business that adds value to shareholders, and provides life-enhancing and sustainable solutions in the region.

Alargan’s high-profile resort and commercial developments continued to generate stable revenues from rents and leasing in Kuwait and Bahrain, he stated.

According to him, the company has completed procedures to start leasing in its Alargan Business Park located in the Free Trade Zone, an area expected to boom with businesses following the completed transfer of the area’s management, and permissions provided to local investors and foreign investments bullishly supported.
Developments in Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman continued to advance and sales of housing units under development in Bahrain and Oman saw a strong growth during the year, he noted.

"Our most significant mixed-use and residential developments in 2016 were without a doubt the Al Waha and Telal Al Qurm projects in Oman which received great acclaims last year and saw the delivery of the first residential phase in Telal Al Qurm," remarked Al Mashaan.

"The new residential phases of our Jeyoun community in Bahrain followed in the success of ARGAN Village. Our commercial developments in Kuwait continue to attract demand thanks to the unique experiences they provide to visitors," he said.

Operating in a combined developer and investor model, Alargan has investment in the real estate sector in stable prime locations in Europe, the US and the UK to generate regular income and provide the opportunity for capital appreciation derived from asset values at exit, he added.-TradeArabia News Service

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Sterner named Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi GM

Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, a luxurious hotel in the UAE capital, has promoted Mark Sterner to the role of general manager.

A highly accomplished hospitality professional with over 21 years’ experience, Sterner has held the role of hotel manager of the iconic five-star hotel since 2014. He oversees the entire hotel operations whilst continuing to lead the team to exceed every guests’ expectations.
A seasoned leader of multi-national hotel teams, Sterner joined Viceroy Hotel Group in 2012, taking the helm at Viceroy Maldives as general manager. Prior to this, he garnered extensive experience in key roles at prominent hotels throughout the world including The Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, Sandy Lane in Barbados, Rosewood Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands, The Carlyle in New York and Burj Al Arab in Dubai, to name a few.

During his time with Yas Viceroy, Sterner has showcased an outstanding ability to deliver on Viceroy’s ethos of offering each guest unparalleled luxury and outstanding experiences alongside world-class hospitality and service. In his role as general manager, he leads a talented team to mastermind the strategic positioning and operations of the five-star hotel, ensuring it continues to lead as a standout luxury destination in the region.

Commenting on the appointment, Mark Griffiths, regional vice president and managing director of Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, said: “Over the past five years, Mark has proven himself to be a dedicated, talented and forward-thinking hotelier. We are delighted to recognise his achievements with his appointment to general manager. His ability to implement creative and strategic plans and improve the guest experience across all facets of the hotel has been the key to his success.” - TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

India remains top tourism source market for GCC states

Major tourism hotspots in the GCC are experiencing a surge in Indian visitors as the region prepares to showcase its offering to leisure and business travellers at this year’s Arabian Travel Market, at Dubai World Trade Centre, April 24-27.

In both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, India was the top performing source market in 2016. In Dubai, 1.8 million Indian nationals arrived last year compared to 1.6 million in 2015 and in Abu Dhabi, which welcomed a record-breaking 4.4 million visitors in total in 2016, 323,388 were Indian. According to the figures from Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, this marks an increase of 15 per cent on 2015.

In Oman, 3 million tourists visited the sultanate in 2016, of which 299,568 were Indian. Historically, numbers increased 17 per cent in 2015 compared to 2014 and, over the last five years, Oman has seen a 60 per cent increase in the total number of arrivals from India.

Earlier this year, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar and Minister of Interior, met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the topic of visas on arrival for Indian nationals. When the new regulations are introduced, the transit market is also set to benefit, bringing even higher numbers into Qatar and building on the 182,920 who visited in the first half of 2016.

Simon Press, senior exhibition director, ATM, said: “The number of visitors to the GCC from India has been strong for a number of years due to the excellent political, trade and business links the region enjoys with its neighbour.

“UNWTO (United Nations World Travel Organisation) data shows that 62 million Indians have passports, yet many do not travel. However, the demographic patterns we see currently - an increasing younger population and a growing middle class - provide strong indications that the country is about to see a steep rise in the number of nationals travelling abroad, as well as the number of foreign visitors it welcomes.”

India has been named the largest growing outbound tourism market in percentage terms, with the UNWTO predicting 50 million Indians will travel overseas annually by 2020.

Although more than 300 flights a week already operate between Abu Dhabi and major Indian cities, in 2016 Etihad Airways announced an expansion of its Indian network through its partner Jet Airways with the two airlines expanding their services by 28 weekly flights and three new destinations. Last year, Air India Express also added three non-stop flights from Sharjah to both Chandigarh and Tiruchirapalli; and in Dubai, airport authorities set a target to add 50,000 seats per week to existing Indian routes.

Press said: “The GCC has positioned itself as a perfect stopover destination for travellers from India who are going on for business purposes, or to visit family, in countries such as the UK and Canada, both of which boast large Indian populations. Countries in the region are therefore looking to capitalise on this by encouraging them to make stopover visits.”

According to figures published by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the number of overnight visitors flocking to the emirate in 2016 rose to 14.9 million from 14.2 million a year earlier, led by visitors from India, Saudi Arabia and the UK. There is expected to be a further increase in Indian visitors in 2017 largely due to the opening of the Bollywood Theme Park at Dubai Parks and Resorts (DPR).

Inspired by Bollywood blockbusters, the park is part of the wider DPR development, which also includes Legoland Dubai and Motiongate Dubai. Opened at the end of October 2016, the official projection for visitor numbers in 2017 stands at more than six million, with ambitions to welcome 19 million a year by 2020.

India will be under the spotlight at this year’s Arabian Travel Market, with a dedicated session on the ATM Global Stage, entitled: ‘Capitalising on Experiential Travel: China and India Mega Source Markets’. Filippo Sona, director, head of Hotels Mena region, Colliers International, will discuss how countries in the Middle East can increase promotional activities to attract more visitors from two of the future biggest inbound source markets: China and India.

For more information on ATM 2017, log on to: - TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

Alitalia to cut 2,000 jobs

Alitalia CEO Cramer Ball has confirmed that up to 2,000 jobs will be cut, which is a 50 per cent reduction in office staff and a 20 per cent reduction in non-flying operational roles, said a report.

"Headcount reductions are a painful but necessary action," said Ball, "but these changes are essential if we are to compete effectively in the extremely tough European aviation market."

The move comes as part of a new restructuring strategy,which identifies a series of actions to boost revenues and reduce costs in order to achieve profitability by 2019, said a report in AeroTime.

The business plan will also see the airline work towards cutting costs by €1 billion ($1.07 billion) by 2019. Two-thirds of these savings will come from non-labor related costs.

The airline currently employs 12,500 people and headcount cuts will include permanent and temporary roles. The plan also contains a new Collective National Labour agreement to make Alitalia’s cost base more competitive.

If Alitalia achieves profitability by 2019, then it will add six new long-haul aircraft between 2019 and 2021, in addition to two aircraft joining in 2017 and 2018. “The airline is also planning to launch 10 new long-haul routes between 2017 and 2021 and to recruit up to 500 new crew members by 2019,” Alitalia said.

Alitalia is 49 per cent-owned by Gulf carrier Etihad Airways, with Italian banks making up most of the remainder.

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

'The Yard' Food Festival opens in Bahrain

Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, chief executive officer of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), yesterday launched the first edition of “The Yard” Food Festival.

The event, located at Seef District next to ‘The Courtyard’, is organised by Faalyat Management and will run for two weeks, until April 8.

Commenting on the launch, Shaikh Khaled said: “We are delighted to launch such unique local festivals and initiatives that aims to energize the tourism sector in-line with the major events and activities that are being held in the kingdom and during the neighboring countries main holidays.”

“We trust that this festival will be a great success as it focuses on the hospitality sector and also aims to showcase the new and existing Bahraini concepts to a larger audience.” he added.

“The Yard” is considered as a diverse platform that provides food lovers an opportunity to try a number of local Bahraini food projects and enjoy the fun-filled activities. The festival will be held on the weekdays from 11:00am to 3pm, and 5:00pm to 10:00pm, and from 5:00pm to 11:00pm on the weekends. - TradeArabia News Service

from Travel Tourism Hospitality

$480m development projects under way in Saudi Arabia

Saudi government is presently working on development projects worth more than SR1.8 billion ($480 million) at Al Leith and Adham in the western region, said a report.

The ongoing projects include in Al Leith include the construction of transformer station besides the building, repair and expansion of major roads and setting up of a social security office and technical college, reported Arab News.

Prince Khalid Al Faisal, the adviser to King Salman and governor of Makkah Region, visited the project sites to study their progress, it stated.

In Adham, Prince Khalid reviewed recent development projects, which included the asphalting, lighting, flood-prevention works, and the establishment of public facilities and playgrounds, it added.

from Construction Realestate

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Alara signs Oman copper concentrate supply contract

Alara Resources, an Australian minerals exploration company with a portfolio of projects in Saudi Arabia and Oman, said its local unit has signed an off-take agreement for the supply of copper concentrate from the Al Hadeetha Project, Washihi Reserve .

As per the agreement signed by Alara Oman Operations Private Limited, the annual concentrate production of 35,000 wmt (wet metric tonnes) will be shipped at regular intervals from the Sohar port.

There also exists the possibility of supplying the material to the Omani smelter in case it restarts. However, the project financial model allows for sea freight and other charges associated with the sale of concentrate from the port at Sohar, said the statement from the company.

After considering offtake proposals from several competing companies, the company entered an agreement with Statdrome, which have over 15 years’ experience in non-ferrous concentrates trading, including copper sales in and out of Oman.

Alara's Omani unit said the agreement also includes a pre-payment of $6 million to assist in funding project construction costs and mine start up.

The funds will be drawn down in instalments during the project construction phase, starting once the mining licence is issued, said the company in a statement.

The agreement forms an important part in financing and development of the mine and processing plant at Washihi, and has been completed in discussion with bank representatives, it added.-TradeArabia News Service

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