Jordan Ahli Bank appoints Dr. Ahmad Awad Abdulhalim Al-Hussein as its CEO & GM

Dr. Ahmed Awad Abdul Halim Al-Hussein has been named the new General Manager and CEO of Jordan Ahli Bank, taking over for Mr. Mohammed Musa Dawood as his seven-year journey of service at the bank has come to an end.In order to finish the path of achievement and lead the National Bank towards further progress and prosperity, Dr. Ahmed Al-Hussein will begin performing the duties of his new position today, Wednesday, corresponding to the first of February 2023.The chairman of the board at Jordan Ahli Bank, Mr. Saad Nabil Muasher, expressed his delight and pride in the appointment of Dr. Ahmed Al-Hussein as the Chief Executive Officer / General Manager of Jordan Ahli Bank, emphasizing that he has rich banking experience that spans for over 33 years in all areas of the bank, which will enable him to complete the implementation of plans, the bank's strategy, achieve its objectives, and will work to improve our operations and elevate them to better levels.From his side, Dr. Ahmad Al-Hussein remarked, "I feel very proud and happy to complete my journey which I started about 7 years ago as Deputy Chief Executive Officer / General Manager, during which all areas of the bank worked together in the spirit of one team. I look forward to achieving the bank's plans for reaching its noble objectives in a manner that helps it reach its vision and strategy and grow on multiple fronts and levels. In addition to that, I have no doubt that we will be successful in taking the bank to new heights and bringing honor to its long history”.Lastly, Dr. Al-Hussein has an impressive academic background having earned a PhD in Finance Management from Amman Arab University, a master's degree in Finance Management from the University of Jordan and a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Economics from the same institution. He is also a part of a number of companies whose successes we admire.

Stc pay's CEO to participate as KS at the 2nd edition LEAP 2023 GTIC

stc pay, the Saudi digital payments company and the largest digital wallet in the MENA region, and a leading regional operator of innovative digital technology and financial services, is preparing to participate in the second edition of the LEAP 2023 Global Technology Innovation Conference.Building on the great success of the first edition of the conference, LEAP 2023, whose main theme this year is “Into New Worlds", LEAP will bring together a group of experts and technology leaders globally with the aim of addressing the world's technical challenges. The conference is an important opportunity to meet more than 100,000 technical innovators and experts from all over the world to discover creative and pioneering ideas, build new partnerships, as well as connect with investors and inspirational people.The CEO of stc pay, Mr. Nizar Al-Tuwaijri, will participate as a keynote speaker on the fourth day, February 9, 2023, whose topic corresponds to “LEAP into the Future”, in which several industry leaders will participate, to highlight the future of financial technologies and innovative digital business products, and build a more innovative future for all.  In addition to the company's readiness to transform from a digital payment’s wallet and to STC Bank, stc pay continues its pursuit of leadership in providing the latest and best services and solutions in the world of financial technologies.On this occasion, Nizar Al-Tuwaijri, CEO of stc pay, said: "We are pleased to participate for the second year in a row in this major event, and the conference is an important opportunity for us to review and discuss the latest developments, innovations and remarkable progress witnessed by the financial technology sector in the Kingdom and around the world. LEAP brings forth an opportunity for those in the field and in various sectors and disciplines to exchange ideas, opinions and experiences, in an effort to transform the Kingdom to occupy the highest ranks of technical and technological progress globally."LEAP 2023 will take place from February 6 to 9, 2022, with many startups and more than 500 expert speakers expected to participate, from today's tech-savvy footballers to tech-savvy investors to industry speakers. The conference will also include several sessions and workshops, which will address important topics focused on building a more innovative and creative future and many other topics.

One step closer to making UAE the region’s startup hub - ZIC

Innovation through collaboration remains the name of the game as Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) launches the fourth edition of the Zurich Innovation Championship – the largest global open innovation contest with startups in the insurance sector.Following past successes, Zurich is inviting startups once again to compete for the opportunity to collaborate on solutions tailored to the needs of customers and the insurance industry.“The Innovation Championship fosters a new way of thinking and allows us to get access to ideas and solutions we may not yet have ourselves,” said Ericson Chan, Group Chief Information & Digital Officer. “For the participants, it is an opportunity to grow their business and pitch technology-driven solutions that can help meet emerging and evolving customer needs."The Zurich Innovation Championship is an important initiative that will enhance the UAE startup segment to further position it as a launchpad for local entrepreneurs across all industries. The UAE, renowned for its pioneering achievements, has launched "UAE Innovates", an initiative led by the Central Bank of the UAE to recognize and foster innovation and innovators and unite efforts of the public and private sectors and the residents to help create an extensive culture of progression and innovation. “As a strategic player in the UAE insurance market, we are encouraging homegrown startups to take full advantage of this remarkable opportunity. This is arguably not just one of the most sought-after platforms for participants in the region, but an opportunity to grow their business, pitch technology-driven solutions and actualize society-impacting ideas that can help ultimately meet emerging and evolving customer needs," said Mufazzal Kajiji, Chief Executive Officer of Zurich International Life.According to Mufazzal, this competition ties in well with the month-long UAE Innovates 2023 initiative and is expected to contribute to its objective by inspiring and nurturing startups to ultimately become successful organizations in the long run.The championships are also encouraging participation from startups based in Qatar and Bahrain as it seeks to promote innovation from the wider Middle East region.Startups can sign up in one of five categories – Customer Experience, Commercial Insurance, Distribution Partnerships, Digital Enablement and Sustainability."Previous championships have shown that the most value comes from startups with ideas to disrupt single parts of the value chain, or enablers, rather than challengers looking to disrupt the whole industry,” said Paolo Mantero, Group Chief Strategy Officer. “Our goal is collaborating together and bringing together the best of what we and the startups have to offer. This is where innovation can make a real difference.”The Zurich Innovation Championship has become an integral part of Zurich’s innovation drive. Since the first edition in 2018, there have been more than 4,500 submissions, and Zurich is now collaborating with 30 of the participating startups.For more details and sign up, please click here 1.The five challenges to be solved:Customer experience: How might Zurich provide customers with solutions and experiences that are as sophisticated and customized as the best-in-class?Commercial insurance: How might Zurich deliver innovative, tailored insurance solutions and risk services as risks evolve and secure the trust of its clients?Distribution partnerships: How might Zurich elevate its partnerships and attract new distribution partners and ecosystems to meet changing customer needs?Digital enablement: How might Zurich use technology to achieve greater agility and efficiency and underpin the right customer and employee experience?Sustainability: How might Zurich help society transition to a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable world?A yearly program to champion innovationThis year, the Zurich Innovation Championship is developing into a year-long tournament from January to December. Ten members of Zurich’s global leadership team will pick 2-3 winning initiatives per category by end-April. In the subsequent accelerator phase, stretching four months from end-May to end-September, project funding of up to USD 100,000 will be provided for each of the winning startups, together with mentorship from Zurich leaders and external experts. This will allow the startups, working closely with Zurich’s leaders and businesses, to validate how their joint solution can meet evolving customer needs and prepare an operational business plan to adopt across the Group. By end-December 2023, the proven initiatives will have kicked off, bringing to life the joint proposition.The Zurich Innovation Championship is once again working with leading players in the startup ecosystem, including F6S, Plug and Play, and SOSA. The potential for collaboration is outlined in a recent Zurich white paper from December 2022, “The Future of Insurtech Collaboration”.1- Submission open till February 27, 11:59 p.m. CETZurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurer serving people and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Founded 150 years ago, Zurich is transforming insurance. In addition to providing insurance protection, Zurich is increasingly offering prevention services such as those that promote well being and enhance climate resilience.Reflecting on its purpose to ‘create a brighter future together’, Zurich aspires to be one of the most responsible and impactful businesses in the world. It targets     net-zero emissions by 2050 and has the highest-possible ESG rating from MSCI. In 2020, Zurich launched the Zurich Forest project to support reforestation and biodiversity restoration in Brazil.The Group has about 56,000 employees and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (ZURN), is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has a level I American Depositary Receipt (ZURVY) program, which is traded over-the-counter on OTCQX. Further information is available at, Zurich Innovation Championship

Al Tamimi & Company strengthens its corporate commercial practice across MENA

Al Tamimi & Company has appointed Nick Watson as Partner and regional Head of its Corporate Commercial department. With over 25 years of international law firm experience, Nick has spent the majority of his career being in the Middle East region. And for the leading law firm in the Middle East and North Africa, the two hires further strengthen its capabilities throughout its 17 offices spread across 10 countries.Nick has spent a number of years undertaking leadership responsibilities for both corporate practices, and the growth and development of Middle East business. He is highly regarded and experienced in leading cross border and domestic M&A, and capital markets transactions, advising on corporate law issues, and he has significant exposure to the UAE, Oman, and KSA markets. Nick will be based at the firm’s Dubai office; however, his role will include working with all the Corporate Commercial Partners across each of Al Tamimi & Company’s locations.Nick is joined by Suhail Mirza, who comes on board as Partner in the firm’s Corporate Commercial Practice in Dubai. Suhail has been practicing in the UAE for over 15 years specialising in M&A, Infrastructure and Technology (including fintech digital payment and e-commerce) transactions. Both appointments further emphasise the value Al Tamimi & Company places on delivering the best knowledge, experience, and expertise to its clients across the region.Commenting on the new Corporate Commercial hires, Samer Qudah, Managing Partner at Al Tamimi & Company said:“The Corporate Commercial practice is built on our knowledge and depth of understanding the Middle East and North Africa legal and regulatory landscape, and with their experience Nick and Suhail will add significant value to the team and the firm.“Our Corporate Commercial practice has been growing over the years and boasts a one-of-a-kind footprint across the region’s transactional markets. We wanted to bring on board experts with exposure to the region, and in Nick we have found the right person to lead our Practice. Along with Suhail, and our other 17 experienced Corporate Commercial Partners, the team will add more value and deepen our existing offer and enable us to meet our commitment to the success of our clients”.New Partner, and regional Head of Corporate Commercial, Nick Watson said:“I am delighted to come on board to lead Al Tamimi & Company’s Corporate Commercial Practice. The firm’s reputation is undisputable as a leader across the entire Middle East and North Africa, and this practice area is a cornerstone for the firm.“We want to continue to grow the reputation of the Corporate Commercial practice across the MENA region, and ensure our clients have access to leading practitioners, and a strong knowledge base that offers the optimum solutions. I look forward to working with my fellow Partners and colleagues across our offices, to provide clients with excellent legal services and intelligence that is synonymous with Al Tamimi & Company”.On joining Al Tamimi & Company, new Corporate Commercial Partner, Suhail Mirza commented:“Having been in the region since 2008, I have come to admire the full service offering that Al Tamimi & Company has to offer. Increasingly, clients in the region require a depth of experience and expertise that only a few law firms can offer on a regional basis. With its footprint of offices across the MENA region, I am delighted to be part of a law firm that can provide a seamless integrated service in all the key regional markets”.As the firm bolsters its Corporate Commercial practice with these prominent hires, it highlights its commitment to ensure clients have access to the best expertise and experience in the market and demonstrates the firm’s desire to achieve its ambitious vision, to be the leading law firm in the Middle East and North Africa.

Sophos details first fake apps found on Apple’s App Store

Sophos, a global leader in innovating and delivering cybersecurity as a service, today released new findings on CryptoRom scams—elaborate financial fraud schemes that prey on and trick dating app users into making fake cryptocurrency investments—in its latest report, "Fraudulent Trading Apps Sneak into Apple and Google App Stores.” The report details the first fake CryptoRom apps —Ace Pro and MBM_BitScan— to successfully bypass Apple’s strict security protocols. Previously, cybercriminals used workaround techniques to convince victims to download illegitimate iPhone apps that were not sanctioned by the Apple App Store. Sophos immediately notified Apple and Google; both have since removed the fraudulent apps from their respective stores.“In general, it’s hard to get malware past the security review process in the Apple App Store. That’s why, when we originally began investigating CryptoRom scams targeting iOS users, the scammers would have to persuade users to first install a configuration profile before they could install the fake trading app. This obviously involves an additional level of social engineering—a level that’s hard to surmount. Many potential victims would be ‘alerted’ that something wasn’t right when they couldn’t directly download a supposedly legitimate app. By getting an application onto the App Store, the scammers have vastly increased their potential victim pool, particularly since most users inherently trust Apple,” said Jagadeesh Chandraiah, senior threat researcher, Sophos. “Both apps are also not affected by iOS’ new Lockdown mode, which prevents scammers from loading mobile profiles helpful for social engineering. In fact, these CryptoRom scammers may be shifting their tactics—i.e., focusing on bypassing the App Store review process—in light of the security features in Lockdown.”To lure the victim who was conned with Ace Pro, for instance, the scammers created and actively maintained a fake Facebook profile and persona of a woman supposedly living a lavish lifestyle in London. After building a rapport with the victim, the scammers suggested the victim download the fraudulent Ace Pro app and the cryptocurrency fraud unfolded from there.Ace Pro is described in the app store as a QR code scanner but is a fraudulent crypto trading platform. Once opened, users see a trading interface where they can supposedly deposit and withdraw currency. However, any money deposited goes directly to the scammers. In order to get past App Store security, Sophos believes the scammers had the app connect to a remote website with benign functionality when it was originally submitted for review. The domain included code for QR scanning to make it look legitimate to app reviewers. However, once the app was approved, the scammers redirected the app to an Asian-registered domain. This domain sends a request that responds with content from another host that ultimately delivers the fake trading interface. MBM_BitScan is also an app for Android, but it is known as BitScan on Google Play. The two apps communicate with the same Command and Control (C2) infrastructure; this C2 infrastructure then communicates with a server that resembles a legitimate Japanese crypto firm. Everything else that is malicious is handled in a web interface, which is why it is hard for Google Play’s code reviewers to detect it as fraudulent.CryptoRom, a subset of family of scams known as sha zhu pan (???)—literally “pig butchering plate”—is a well-organized, syndicated scam operation that uses a combination of romance-centered social engineering and fraudulent crypto trading applications and websites to lure victims and steal their money after gaining their confidence. Sophos has been tracking and reporting on these scams that reap millions of dollars for two years.Learn more about the criminals behind the CryptoRom rings and these fraudulent apps in “Fraudulent CryptoRom Trading Apps Sneak into Apple and Google App Stores” on

Abu Dhabi Chamber launches its new strategy for 2023-2025

The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) launched its new 3-year strategy today spanning from 2023 to 2025, which centres on serving the Abu Dhabi Economy and solidifying its position as the “Voice of the Private Sector”.In line with its new strategy, the Abu Dhabi Chamber aims to empower the private sector in Abu Dhabi and enhance its competitiveness, making Abu Dhabi the first choice in the MENA region for doing business by 2025.The announcement was made during a launch ceremony organized by the Abu Dhabi Chamber, which was attended by Abdulla Mohamed Al Mazrui, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber; Dr. Ali Saeed bin Harmal Al Dhaheri, First Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber; and other board members. The event was also attended by a number of officials and dignitaries, strategic partners, diplomatic representatives, business councils, members from the private sector, and media.The Chamber's strategy is the result of an extensive exercise that was led by its Board of Directors after their appointment in July 2021 by Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, as they identified the need for a transformation that will allow the Chamber to provide exceptional services to support the private sector and the Abu Dhabi Economy. Furthermore, the strategy aims to establish the Chamber as a credible partner for both the private sector and government with adding value to all stakeholders. It was also anchored in the needs of the private sector and aims to foster collaboration with local and federal partners for a successful and prosperous Abu Dhabi.Strategic ObjectivesIn its 2023-2025 strategy, the Chamber focused on six strategic objectives. These include: (i) being the #1 advocator for the private sector’s needs and the main communication channel between the private sector and the Abu Dhabi government.; (ii) being the leader of the primary private sector committees in Abu Dhabi.; (iii) being the go-to entity for identifying relevant business partners, locally and abroad; (iv) being the #1 platform for ecosystem navigation; (v) being a best-in-class and fully digital service provider for Abu Dhabi businesses; (vi) and becoming the go-to entity for private sector data and insights.Strategy DevelopmentCommenting on the launch of the Chamber’s new strategy, Abdulla Mohamed Al Mazrui, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber, said: “The development of a comprehensive, integrated, and ambitious strategy for the Abu Dhabi Chamber is a major step that supports the directives of our wise leadership by connecting the public and private sectors. The Chamber already went through an organizational transformation on an internal level, which will play a key role in driving productivity and excellence to overcome any upcoming challenges.”“The Abu Dhabi Chamber's new strategy is focused on empowering the private sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and supporting it in reaching its full potential in a competitive business environment, by facilitating trade exchange opportunities and driving the growth of the economy in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Through advocacy, innovation, and digitization, the Chamber contributes to making Abu Dhabi the top choice in the MENA region for business by 2025, and consolidating the Chamber's reputation as one of the best chambers of commerce in the region and the world,” His Excellency added.Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi, Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said: “The Abu Dhabi Chamber's new strategy will contribute to making more achievements in economy and trade, for the benefit the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. The Chamber seeks to have a stronger influence in the formulation of policies, and serve as a channel of communication between the private sector, the government and the concerned parties.”His Excellency added: “The launch of the new strategy is a major step for growing Abu Dhabi’s economy, especially that the Chamber works closely with the private sector and is aware of the sector’s needs and concerns. The Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi is committed to supporting the execution of the Abu Dhabi Chamber's strategy during the next stage, to drive the growth of the emirate's economy and create more opportunities for future generations.”Dr. Ali Saeed bin Harmal Al Dhaheri, First Vice Chairman at Abu Dhabi Chamber, said: “Supported by our wise leadership, the Abu Dhabi Chamber has made great achievements since its establishment, growing its membership base to more than 133,000 members. This reflects Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading destination for doing business. Abu Dhabi Chamber’s new strategy aims to enhance the competitiveness of the private sector and expedite its growth and contribution to the national economic development.”The Start of a New PhaseKarl Magnus Olsson, Board member at the Abu Dhabi Chamber, said: “The Abu Dhabi Chamber’s new strategy aims to fulfil our duty towards the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and its business community. We will work together to make the objectives and vision of the new strategy a reality by 2025, and continue moving forward with our journey with excellence and efficiency.”Amer Fayez Kakish, Board Member at Abu Dhabi Chamber, added: “We are certain that the new strategy will bring about outstanding results for the private sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. We are keen to proceed with events, meetings, and conferences that bring the private sector and the government together, to gauge the satisfaction of businesses in the Chamber’s new strategy and enhance their contribution to influencing regulations that drive the private sector forward.”His Excellency Mohamed Helal Almheiri, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Chamber, said: “Since its establishment in 1969, the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has provided a supportive, flexible, and inclusive environment to businesses in Abu Dhabi. With our new strategy, we look forward to starting a new phase that focuses on uncovering opportunities for the business community, by providing services that benefit the Emirate and make it one of the best and most dynamic business destinations in the world for living, working, and establishing businesses.”“Over the past three years, Abu Dhabi’s private sector has witnessed rapid growth, driven by the guidance of our wise leadership, and Abu Dhabi Chamber’s support. For the next three years, the Chamber aims to achieve further success by bringing the private and public sectors together. This aims to strengthen the contribution and impact of Abu Dhabi’s business community on the sector’s development, and maintain its active presence in the local and national economy, to enhance Abu Dhabi's reputation and its leading position on the regional and global forums,” His Excellency added.A newly transformed and Global Arbitration CenterIn line with the objectives of the new strategy, the Abu Dhabi Chamber is preparing to soon launch a newly transformed Arbitration Center that will bring together international best practices for the region and local businesses to take full advantage of Alternative Dispute Resolution practices. This will further support the business environment in Abu Dhabi, making Abu Dhabi a preferred hub for Alternative Dispute Resolution in years to come.Chamber servicesAccording to the new strategy, the Chamber will play three key roles: Being a Policy Advocator, a Networker, and a Service Provider.By being a policy advocator, the Chamber will be serving as the interface between the private sector and the government, and run sectorial committees and working groups through leading the Economic Collaboration Committee, liaising with its government partners accordingly to provide a platform for the private sector to discuss the best ways to overcome challenges, propose new ideas, and raise policy recommendations. The Chamber will also organize regulation consultations and campaigns that aim to support the private sector in understanding relevant regulations and contribute to the establishment and modification of laws before they are issued. Moreover, the Chamber will organize B2G conferences, and provide credible data and research to private sector and government partners.As part of its role as a networker, the Chamber will work with different stakeholders with the aim of uncovering opportunities within the ecosystem. The Chamber will continue to organize B2B matchmaking events, which aim to bring together local companies with relevant local and international companies/organizations to promote trade and contribute to economic growth. Aside from this, the Abu Dhabi Chamber will be hosting focused topical events to support networking and discuss the most pressing topics in the business environment The Chamber will also support international delegations to facilitate trade, investments and collaboration for the private sector.As part of its role as a service provider, the Chamber aims to be a trusted platform for economic ecosystem navigation and will offer best in class digital and advisory services including, legal advice, legal mediation, attestation, and official documentation services like the certificate of origin. The Chamber conducted a complete digital transformation exercise recently and all its services are 100% digital and can be accessed through the TAMM platform.The Chamber has stressed that its role is to complement the efforts of the government through private sector engagement and this new strategy with its objectives, service offering and dedication from the Board of Directors, Chamber management, and employees. The ultimate aim is to support Abu Dhabi and realize its future vision, to strengthen the private sector and Abu Dhabi economy through advocacy, innovation, and digitization, making Abu Dhabi the number one choice in MENA for business and talent by 2025.

Renaissance appoints Chief Communication and Marketing Officer

Renaissance Services has appointed Mohana Prabhakar as Chief Communication and Marketing Officer. Mohana took up the role in December 2022, bringing to Renaissance her comprehensive and strategic skills in media, content creation and delivery, publishing, marketing communication and brand building.In the over three decades of her career, 21 years of which have been in Oman, Mohana has held several roles - as equity researcher, business analyst, first CEO of Apex Press and Publishing, editor, columnist and events planner. Her underlying commitment across these domains has been to differentiate, maintain quality and focus and always look for a fresh approach.Renaissance CEO, Stephen Thomas, said, “Mohana has made a transformational difference to the company’s communications from a consultancy perspective over recent years. We are now delighted to have her join us in the C-suite leadership team, where her transformative skills may be applied beyond communications. Renaissance is committed to DEI and we are seeing more and more female colleagues joining our team at every level, making a positive difference to our outlook and delivery.”Commenting on her new role, Mohana said, “Renaissance has always stood out in Oman’s corporate landscape because of its consistent focus on excellence and efficiency without compromising on the essential tenets of worker welfare and ESG. The company has many inspiring stories to tell but always with an eye on the future as we go on the Renaissance 2.0 transformation journey. It’s exciting to join at a time where I hope to contribute my experience and expertise in enhancing Brand Renaissance.”

Cinema in Oman: Nearly $2.6mln revenue in 2021

The revenues of cinemas in Oman touched two million OMR during the year 2021, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information, (NCSI).The average movie revenue in 2021 amounted to about 4,155 OMR, compared to 7,245 Omani riyals for the year 2020.Registering a growth of 720,000 OMR, the income of films and cinematic shows for 2021 increased to about 1,953,000 OMR from 1,239,000 OMR in 2020, according to the Cultural Statistics of the NCSI. The number of films shown in cinemas in 2021 was about 470, compared to 171 films shown in 2020. The number of cinemas increased by one multiplexes 2021, to reach 14, compared to 13 in 2020.The data for the year 2021 included a breakdown of the number of films shown by governorates, the number of viewers, and cinema seats. Overall in 2021, 470 films were shown, watched by about 807,000 spectators, and the number of cinema seats was 10,390.Cinema in MuscatMuscat came first in terms of the number of cinema seats, which exceeded 6,200 seats, and 100 films were shown, which were watched by about 539,000 viewers.While in the second place came the Governorate of North Al Batinah, with more than 1,800 seats for cinemas, and 100 films were shown, which were watched by about 96,000 people.In third place was the Dhofar Governorate, with more than 690 seats, and 75 films were shown, which were watched by about 40,000 people.The Al-Buraimi governorate had as 60 films shown, watched by an audience of 18,000 , and the number of cinemas in the governorate reached 628 seats.

MENA’s open banking platform Tarabut Gateway announces two senior appointments

Tarabut Gateway, MENA’s leading regulated open banking platform, announces two new appointments to its management team.  Oussama Bouhcine joins as Vice President of Customer Success and Services and Derek Lakin joins as Vice President of Engineering.With over a decade of experience in project management for technology companies, Oussama is a seasoned expert in B2B customer success management. He spent five years at software giant Microsoft, where he served as a Delivery Project Manager and successfully managed multi-million-dollar projects with major corporate clients. Prior to joining, Oussama held the role of VP of Customer Success at Dutch cyber security SaaS provider Zivver. During his tenure, he revamped the customer success management system, and established customer operations for over 7,500 clients.Similarly, Derek Lakin is a highly experienced Engineering Leader with over 20 years of experience in the software industry, having worked at renowned global technology companies such as Meta, Skype, and Skyscanner. At Meta, Derek held a leadership role in the Ads organisation in the UK and later at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California. While at Skype and Skyscanner, he led teams of engineers in the development of new applications and the improvement of existing software services, with a focus on user experience and cloud-native systems at scale.These senior hires are part of Tarabut Gateway's approach to building the company’s talent pool combining local sector expertise with international experience. These appointments follow a transformative year for the open banking platform. In December 2022, The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) approved Tarabut Gateway for its regulatory sandbox; the platform was recently selected as the Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) preferred partner for its Open Finance Lab; it entered partnerships with four leading KSA banks; and became the first regulated open banking service provider in the UAE in April of last year.Abdulla Almoayed, Chief Executive Officer of Tarabut Gateway, said:“We are thrilled to welcome Oussama and Derek as Vice Presidents to our growing team. With formidable track records at world-class software companies, they bring valuable experience to meet our high standards for technical excellence and ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction. As Tarabut Gateway looks to strengthen its presence in key markets like Saudi Arabia, and expand to new ones, Oussama and Derek are a fantastic addition to our senior leadership team, and we are proud to have them on board.”Tarabut Gateway plays a vital role in building the open banking ecosystem’s infrastructure in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. Using the company’s platform-agnostic solutions, traditional financial institutions and fintechs can connect and build their own apps in tandem with Tarabut Gateway’s platform, to power payment services, digital wallets, and other use cases, in addition to a unified and easy-to-use developer portal. Working closely with regulators, Tarabut Gateway enables seamless and secure data flows and connectivity between banks and fintechs, supports the creation of a thriving ecosystem, and ultimately provides a better consumer experience.

MAGRABi Retail Group unveils new leadership structure

MAGRABi Retail Group, the Middle East's leading eyewear retailer, marks the beginning of an inspiring new chapter for 2023 and beyond, with the unveiling of its strategic expansion plans, timed with a newly formed leadership structure.The official appointments, which have taken effect as of January 1, 2023, include:Amin Magrabi, having served as Chief Executive Officer for 14 years, will now assume the role of Chairman of the Board. This pivotal seat in the new leadership structure, will see him lead the business forward and oversee strategic expansion goals in the Middle East and beyond, with a new progressive Board of Directors setup. Yasser Taher has held the position of Chief Operating Officer for 14 years, where his entrepreneurial spirit, along with a disciplined approach to strategic implementation, have contributed to propelling MAGRABi Retail Group to its current stature. As the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Yasser becomes the first non-family member to hold this position in the history of MAGRABi Retail Group. He will drive the Group's transformation with his unrelenting vision, to position it as a world class leader in its category.Ahmed Ghobashi, formerly Chief Financial Officer, takes over the role of Chief Operating Officer with a big focus on client-centric strategies, aiming to amplify the culture of luxury and excellence across omnichannel operations at every point in the client journey, and elevate standards to compete on the international stageCherine Magrabi, formerly Vice President of Marketing, becomes Chief Marketing Officer. Cherine's entrepreneurial nature and profound understanding of the Middle Eastern client, will lead the fusion of data and creativity and the development of innovative homegrown omnichannel marketing strategies.Sabine Volcic, previously Vice President of Buying and Merchandising, will now assume the role of Chief Merchandising Officer, fostering agile strategies that adapt to the fast-evolving ambitions of clients and markets, as well as driving vertical integration, and elevating the Group's position on the global scene of luxury and fashion-forward eyewear.Its ambitious new leadership structure mirrors the transformation within the Group, and will be followed by the announcement of an innovative and progressive Board of Directors structure. These shifts are also strategically aligned with the Group's accelerated gender equity commitments, targeting a 50:50 gender balance at all levels of the organization by 2025.Amin Magrabi commented on these organizational changes:"Leading MAGRABi as CEO over the last 14 years has been the greatest of privileges. Together with Yasser Taher and with an exceptional team of leaders, we have managed to grow into the Middle East's leading eyewear retailer. This organization, born from the vision of one person 96 years ago, thrives on the passion and commitment of nearly 1500 people today. I am pleased to embark on this new journey alongside our new inspiring C-suite Executives and our new Board of Directors, balanced from a gender standpoint."Yasser Taher also commented: "Having dedicated over 20 years of my career to MAGRABi Retail Group, I have watched it evolve under Amin's leadership into an organization that has the power to move the industry forward. My vision is to consolidate our leading position across the Middle East, and capitalize on the team's exceptional skills to expand the Group further."

Ithra enters the metaverse with immersive digital technologies program

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) bridges the physical and virtual worlds to launch the third edition of its Creative Solutions initiative. Focused on creating immersive digital content, the Cycle 2 cohort will showcase 10 prototypes to potential investors at Ithra's landmark building and on a virtual platform on February 1, 2023.The initiative focuses on building an ecosystem of innovators working on immersive technologies including virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, haptics and immersive audio. The Creative Solutions program is designed to boost Saudi's creative economy by empowering digital content creation, and the latest crop of projects span the education, healthcare, tourism, art, technology and gaming industries. They were selected from hundreds of proposals by an international panel of judges led by Bafta- and Emmy-winning immersive storyteller Kim-Leigh Pontin, whose credits include Marvel's Eternals AR adventure, and Anne McKinnon, Cofounder and CEO of metaverse platform Ristband, the digital space where the demo day will be hosted.Participants received a grant and mentorship through an 18-week development phase, which included a technical track in collaboration with HOST Unity Centre of Excellence and an entrepreneurship track in collaboration with The Bakery."Immersive technologies have transformed how we work, play and communicate," said Miznah Alzamil, Head of Creativity and Innovation at Ithra. "We are proud of our program participants' contributions and excited to unveil their innovative products."The top proposals that made it to prototype stage demonstrate the spirit of innovative thinking driving the creative economy forward and propelling us further into a future guided by the Kingdom's talent. This truly is a global showcase of Saudi innovation."The demo day making the end of the second year in the program, also announces the start of the initiative's third cycle. Ithra's Creative Solutions program is designed to bolster professional skills development in the Kingdom, while promoting knowledge sharing and the development of original creative content and marketable solutions. The program is open to all citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia over the age of 18. Proposal submissions for Creative Solutions 2023 are open until April 13.For more information on Ithra and its programs, visit For Ithra's media kit, visit

Chiva-Som welcomes Heinrich Morio to Zulal wellness resort

Chiva-Som International Health Resorts, a global pioneer in wellness and transforming lifestyles, is delighted to welcome Heinrich Morio as General Manager at its newest wellness destination in Qatar, Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som.Zulal Wellness Resort is the Middle East’s largest and first full immersion wellness destination incorporating Traditional Arabic & Islamic Medicine practices and the world’s first family-oriented wellness offering. Heinrich brings over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry to his new role, having worked across an array of hotels in different markets, including Europe, the United States, the Indian Ocean, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Over the years, he has worked in many different functions in operations, giving him hands-on knowledge across a variety of areas, allowing him to train staff and implement new procedures to ensure guests have a memorable experience. This in-depth experience puts him in a strong position to deliver positive business results and tangible outcomes for Zulal Wellness Resort, ensuring guests have the same transformational experience they have come to expect as the Chiva-Som standard. Krip Rojanastien, Chairman of Chiva-Som International Health Resorts said, “We are pleased to welcome Heinrich to the Chiva-Som family. His professional experience and his personal wellness journey will be a great asset to the team."     “His ability to bring out the best in people and commitment to delivering the highest standards of service are just some of the reasons why we asked him to lead the team. Under his sharp leadership and with a keen eye for detail, we are confident that his expertise will prove invaluable in ensuring that Zulal Wellness Resort delivers an unparalleled wellness experience, along with the highest level of service and satisfaction to our guests,” he added.Heinrich has a strong personal ethic when it comes to wellness, which is what attracted him to Zulal Wellness Resort. His determination shows in his ‘walk-the-talk’ in terms of wellness. He has progressed from team sports to more individual pursuits, once enjoying long distance running but now using the gym more and swimming on a regular basis. On his appointment, Heinrich commented, “As people age, they begin to realise that fitness alone is not enough – therefore developing an understanding and awareness that diet and nutrition are the biggest contributors to wellness and they are anti-aging in their own right. Following my own tests for food intolerance, I can see clearly the impact of food on health. I am excited and honoured to be working with the wellness professionals and the kitchen team at Zulal Wellness Resort to lead the pursuit of wellness to guests from around the world.”At Zulal Wellness Resort, Heinrich will be responsible for overseeing all areas of operations, sales, commercials and marketing. With a culture of wellness at the forefront, every aspect of his service delivery will be focussed on providing an environment that encourages healthy lifestyles and wellbeing.Zulal Wellness Resort boasts a tranquil backdrop, surrounded by the Arabian Gulf in the north of Qatar, incorporated with Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine throughout each to restore the body, mind and spirit in a sustainable manner.Led by a team of wellness consultants, nutritionists, spa and holistic therapists, physiotherapists and personal trainers, every retreat begins with a personal health and wellness consultation to help guests set their goals. This is combined with complimentary daily activities; therapeutic treatments; full access to the resort’s wellness centre including hydrothermal area, Himalayan salt room and hammam; and personalised herbal supplements for guests to take home to support their continued wellness journey.Zulal Wellness Resort is managed by Chiva-Som, globally acclaimed pioneer and transformational leader in health and wellness for over 27 years.

Mohamad Ibrahim joins as Group CEO, the multinational FinTech and financial services provider for brokers as well as retail and institutional traders today announced a new addition to the team - Mohamad Ibrahim - who has joined the international online trading firm as the new Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO).Ibrahim will be responsible for driving’s growth strategy, develop new products and services, and ensure customer satisfaction. He will be based out of Dubai, UAE but will spend time equally across all offices and place a strong focus on penetrating new was originally founded in Australia in 2010. Today the long-established brokerage has its headquarters in Cyprus, where the multi-asset trading institution provides traders, brokers, and partners from around the world with access to trade a wide range of financial products including Shares, Indices, Metals, Energies, Commodities, Currencies and Cryptocurrencies.Sakis Paraskevov, Group COO at commented on the new hire:“Having Mohamad Ibrahim join our brokerage as our new Group CEO is something myself and our leadership team are very excited about. Mohamad brings with him a great wealth of experience and is seen as an innovator and thought leader within the global financial markets. He is an expert in providing solutions for trading a range of asset classes, has built up financial services companies from the ground up and understands trading systems and the regulatory factors that accompany their framework.” Mohamad Ibrahim, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at at said:“I’m excited to have joined the XS brand at a time when they are reinventing themselves to become a globally connected business whilst being a more technologically advanced, and faster moving FinTech firm. I’m delighted to be joining the brokerage at a time when so many exciting changes and new hires are taking place. My role will include spearheading the brokers global expansion strategy as I take on the responsibility for driving the new vision and leading on some impressive expansion plans.”Ibrahim will influence the innovative direction of and positively contribute to the business with the experience he has gathered from working within the financial services sector in senior leadership and high-level management roles for over a decade. He has held a range of positions with different financial institutions including Regional Director for the MENA region, Head of Global Sales, and Head of Business Development.

UAE Padel Association launches Mashreq Padel Tour 2023

The UAE Padel Association (UAEPA), which governs the sport of padel across the UAE, has launched the Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 – the country’sfirst dedicated community tournament series for amateurs. Comprising 20 tournaments over eight competition weeks running February to December,the Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 carries a total prize purse of AED 350,000 in its debut season. The scale of the inaugural Tour and its significant prize pool underscores the UAEPA’s ambitious blueprint for growing the sport nationally by increasing adoption of the world’s fastest growing sport across all nationalities, age groups, genders, and abilities.“The popularity of padel in the UAE has exceeded all expectations at the recreational level, and we are embracing this unparalleled growth by introducing a nationwide event to further elevate the padel community, tournament standards, and players’ competitive experience,” said Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, UAEPA President. “The Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 represents a new era for UAE padel and underlines ourcommitment to develop the sport nationwide. The inaugural Tour will be a strategic enabler to realise the Association’s objectives of fostering increased standards for players, organisers, and clubs, as well as aiding the national vision of a more active population regularly pursuing healthy sporting pursuits,” added Sheikh Saeed. The Mashreq Padel Tour will traverse four Emirates in its first season, with registered players in men’s, women’s or open categories receiving ranking points linked to their final standing in three competitions: UAEPA10, UAEPA100, and UAEPAE&E, which must featuretwo-player teams comprising an Emirati and an expatriate. A fourth competition for U-16s that is open to boys or girls depending on the tournament will not be ranked. Six padel clubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ajman will host the eight tournament weeks, starting with the Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 opener at World Padel Academy in Dubai from February 17-19. The kick-off event will feature three competition categories: UAEPA10(men’s), UAEPA100 (men’s), and U-16s (open). Commenting on the padel tour, Ahmed Abdelaal, Group Chief Executive Officer, Mashreq, said: “The Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 is a testament to our commitment to supporting the growth and development of sports in the UAE. We are proud to be associated with the UAE Padel Association and this exciting new tournament series, which will provide a platform for amateur players to showcase their skills and compete for a substantial prize purse. From its early roots, padel tennis has become one of the most beloved, and it aligns with our diverse offerings at Mashreq.” First place winners in each of the UAEPA10, UAEPA100, UAEPAE&E tournaments will receive AED 4,000, AED 12,000, and AED 15,000, respectively. Second-placed teams will receive AED 3,000, AED 6,000, and AED 8,000, while the third and fourth-placed teams will win AED 2,000, AED 4,000, and AED 4,000.Classification: PublicThe UAEPA has implemented restrictions to protect the Mashreq Padel Tour’s sporting integrity and ensure competitive balance across the community-centric amateur tournaments. As a result, professional coaches, national team representatives, and professional players in the world Top-30, or players boasting a UAEPA ranking, are excluded from entering UAEPA10 tournaments. To find out more about the Mashreq Padel Tour 2023, or to enter tournaments, players can visit Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 calendar: VENUE / CITY DATE CATEGORY & ENTRYWorld Padel Academy, Dubai February 17-19 UAEPA10 (MEN)UAEPA100 (MEN)U-16 (BOYS)NAS Complex, Dubai March 23 – April 4 UAEPA10 (MEN)UAEPA10 (WOMEN)UAEPA100 (OPEN)UAEPAE&E (OPEN)U-16 (BOYS)Padel Arena, Sharjah May 12-14 UAEPA100 (MEN)Padel Square, Ajman May 19-21 UAEPA10 (MEN)Padelae September 8-10 UAEPA10 (MEN)UAEPA100 (OPEN)UAEPAE&E (OPEN)Al Forsan International SportsResort, Abu DhabiOctober 13-15 UAEPA10 (MEN)World Padel Academy, Dubai October 10-12 UAEPA100 (OPEN)UAEPAE&E (OPEN)U-16 (BOYS)NAS Complex December 8-10 UAEPA10 (MEN)UAEPA100 (OPEN)U-16 (BOYS)

Titan Eye+ announces regional entry and first international store

Titan Eye+, India’s largest eyewear company, has launched its first international store in the UAE, adding to its footprint of 860+ Titan Eye+ stores across 300 different cities in India.The brand, which has an annual production capacity of close to two million lenses and one million frames, has also announced a robust regional expansion plan with entrance into other markets in the GCC on the agenda too.Centrally located in BurJuman, the 1100 square foot flagship store will house Titan Eye+’s unparalleled range of high-quality eyewear, contact lenses, accessories, and sunglasses. A strong tech and style focus in the product mix blends seamlessly with empathy-driven in-store services to give you an eyecare retail experience that covers all bases.The UAE, with its 100+ nationalities, offers the brand a unique opportunity to tap into key insights and learn from a truly global group of customers and a tried and tested location like BurJuman is perfect as it attracts this diverse and discerning audience."Having firmly established a leadership position in India, Titan Eye+ now enters GCC with its first store in Dubai. Expertise and Empathy are the core values that drive everything at Titan Eye+, from customer service to product innovation. Our demonstrated ability to amalgamate expertise in optometry, product design and manufacturing and most importantly our obsessive affection for our customers sets us apart. While our Red Dot winning designs - Signature Frames, ClearSight and Ultima lenses are testimony to our expertise, our Google rating of 4.9/5 by 0.6 million customers epitomises our empathy. Most of our customers see us as the experts who care. This is what we bring to Dubai," said Saumen Bhaumik, CEO of Titan Eye+.In-store services include the Zero Error Eye Test promising 100 percent accuracy designed through a technological partnership with world-renowned eye hospital Sankara Nethralaya. Till date, Titan Eye+ has trained about 4500 optometrists across India in this regard.Also available will be Titan’s range of Clear Sight Lens that promise spectacle users crystal clear vision thanks to several key features. The lens has 99.2% clarity over a broadband light spectrum with the lowest colour distortion to ensure HD viewing. It is designed to protect the eyes from the harmful effects of UV rays and blue light from gadgets. It also provides 97% transparency as compared to standard coating, and better fog resistance than a standard lens. Discerning customers will appreciate the timeless style of the Titan Signature collection of frames exquisitely crafted with wood and titanium. And if new-age tech is what drives your purchasing choices, look no further than the Titan Ultima lens, a dynamic and power-packed with three technologies that allow for high image stability by reducing distortions, flatter, and thinner lenses and personalization as per the wearer’s lifestyle.Customers who visit the store can enjoy an introductory offer of 15 percent off on purchases above AED 500.

Carrefour brings self-checkout service to Bahrain

 Carrefour, owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and in collaboration with CrediMax, has launched the Self-Checkout service — a first-of-its-kind service in the Kingdom at Carrefour City Centre and Bahrain Mall Hypermarkets. The innovative feature provides customers full autonomy and ease of shopping, enabling them to scan and bag purchases as they journey around Carrefour stores using a hand-held device, easily accessed through a bank card, or a smartphone.Self-Checkout underlines Carrefour’s ongoing commitment to creating seamless shopping experiences for all its customers. The new service will allow them to skip the inconvenience of long queues. Moreover, it enables a truly contactless shopping journey as customers only need a bank card or smartphone, and are also encouraged to utilise their own bags to carry around as they shop.Using the scanning device, customers can scan the barcode of each product they would like to purchase at the dedicated Self-Checkout area to process their payment — via a debit/credit card or MyCLUB points — within minutes.Laurent Hausknecht, Regional Director of Gulf, at Majid Al Futtaim Retail said: “At Carrefour, we take great pride in offering the most convenient and integrated shopping experiences possible. We understand that today, more so than ever, customers want a premium on convenience and quality customer service. The Self-Checkout service enables us to provide that, empowering customers with more autonomy and control. Its use of cashless payments limits unnecessary contact with other customers and touchpoints, offering shoppers avoidance of longer queues and added comfort.”Ahmed A. Seyadi, Chief Executive of CrediMax commented: “We are pleased to be able to contribute and support our client’s digital journey by providing convenient seamless payment channels. Enabling users to enrich their card payment experience in their day to day lifestyle comes within CrediMax’s framework to provide innovative digital solutions that serves the Kingdom of Bahrain and its digital transformation vision.”Carrefour’s new Self-Checkout service is incredibly easy to use: when completing any transaction, customers simply scan and bag their items at the dedicated self-checkout counters. There is an option to scan a MyCLUB card barcode and select a preferred payment method. Then, shoppers can exit by scanning the barcode on their printed receipt at the dedicated gate scanner.

UAE’s national digital economy set to grow by US$140 billion by 2031

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, has issued a recent report detailing plans to drive the emirate’s digital economy ambitions, as part of its efforts to strengthen the digital economy ecosystem in Dubai and achieve the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33).The report estimates the national digital economy will grow to well over US$140 billion in 2031, up from today’s nearly US$38 billion. The study underlined the importance of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy’s efforts, and the collaboration between various stakeholders and digital startups, to firmly position Dubai as the next digital economy capital of the world.Published in collaboration with Entrepreneur Middle East and titled ‘Dubai’s Digital Economy and its Thriving Startup Ecosystem’, the report explains the fundamental role of the Chamber in supporting digital economy strategies and achieving the wise leadership’s objectives to cement Dubai’s position as a global capital of the digital economy.Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications, Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, said that doubling the contribution of the digital economy to the UAE’s GDP from 9.7% to over 20% by 2031, reflects Dubai’s endeavours to establish itself as a key tech hub and leading global destination for digital companies. Al Olama stressed that the UAE’s pioneering initiatives to build the economy of the future help create a world-class digital infrastructure and support the dynamic start-up ecosystem. “Our strategic plans will also focus on achieving the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), especially in terms of driving digital transformation, developing a sustainable business sector, and adding an average of AED100 billion per year in economic value to the emirate’s economy,” he said.“Raising the business community’s awareness about challenges and future trends is a key priority, as is highlighting the importance of digital transformation as an engine of sustainable growth for the business sector,” he added.The report provides insight into Dubai’s digital economy startups and why Dubai will become the next digital economy capital of the world. Dubai has always been known for its strong entrepreneurial spirit. Approximately 96% of all funds raised in the UAE since 2017 have been raised by startups headquartered in Dubai. In 2021, all startups across the entire country raised US$1.2 billion, the vast majority of which went to Dubai-based startups. The emirate’s startups raised more than US$2 billion in 2022, more than double the funding figures in 2021.In addition to highlighting the key strategies, drivers, and stakeholders behind Dubai’s digital economy, the report also features interviews with iconic homegrown startups, as well as recent Dubai transplants from various industries.The study goes on to reveal some of the Chamber’s upcoming plans and strategies, which include attracting 300 digital startups to Dubai by the end of 2024; attracting 100 international experts in advanced technologies; improving laws and policies that would support the growth of the digital economy; organising an international conference on the new digital economy; promoting digital transformation across national companies; and enhancing the business environment to attract global digital firms.

Fremantle partners with AI dubbing start-up Papercup

Fremantle partners with AI dubbing start-up Papercup. The two-year deal will see Papercup localize hundreds of hours of video entertainment content from Fremantle’s catalogue of world-famous talent shows into Arabic.This content – from world-renowned Fremantle formats including Idols, Got Talent, and The X Factor – will be available on Talent World. The YouTube channel, which will be known locally as ???? ???????, will use Papercup’s AI technology to automatically translate and dub Fremantle video content into Arabic, in a move that aims to reach millions of new viewers across the Arab world over the two-year partnership. The move is set to bring a huge new audience to Fremantle’s high-quality content at scale, without the costs and barriers associated with traditional studio dubbing.The partnership follows the successful launch of Fremantle’s Spanish YouTube channel in collaboration with Papercup. The company’s patented AI Dubbing platform localized hours of Los Mejores Talentos En Español (The Best of Got Talent Spain) and the channel amassed millions of views in its first few months after launch.Founded in 2017, Papercup offers an AI and machine learning-based system that localizes videos into other languages using synthetic voices with true emotional depth. Content that has been AI dubbed by Papercup has already reached over 350 million people in the last 12 months alone, in non-English speaking territories.By deploying its bespoke systems to create expressive synthetic voices specifically suited for video, Papercup generates engaging translated content that outperforms subtitled offerings and can be delivered at a speed and price that traditional dubbing struggles to match.The cutting-edge AI tools will allow Fremantle to localize hundreds of hours of content in a high-quality and scalable way.Robert Cocker, Head of Social and Digital Platforms, Fremantle said: “Our talent shows are loved by audiences all over the world, and we are delighted that this partnership with Papercup will allow us to bring our content to even more fans. With over 216m YouTube subscribers and 182Bn views, Fremantle has an incredible track record in building engaged audiences, and we are excited to see how Talent World will grow.”Jesse Shemen, CEO of Papercup said: “At Papercup our mission is to make all the world’s videos watchable in any language. We empower global companies to reach an international audience eager to watch videos in their native language which they couldn’t access before. With the proliferation of entertainment content out there, competition for viewers’ attention is ever-increasing. By partnering with Fremantle to localize content with high viewership in existing markets, we enable them to sustainably scale that success in new markets.”

Xposure 2023 ‘Trade Show’ to offer promotions, discounts & activities

Xposure International Photography Festival is back and better than ever, bringing together some of the most trusted and innovative photography brands in the industry. From world-renowned companies such as Leica, Sony, Nikon and Canon, to local retailers such as Hot Cold Studio and Ibrand Connect, Xposure is set to be the ultimate destination for photography enthusiasts. With a wide range of activities, workshops, discounts, and competitions on offer, visitors are sure to leave the festival inspired and equipped with the latest tools and techniques to take their photography to the next level.The products, brands and technology on show at the Xposure Trade Show is aimed at all sorts of customers, from enthusiasts and amateurs all the way through to industry professionals. Whether the visitor is somebody who likes to take snaps on a mobile phone or is the world’s leading Director of Photography, there will be many things to grab attention and interest at the Trade Show this year. The festival’s product platform gives people a chance to talk and network directly with suppliers, manufacturers and technology experts giving visitors and smaller retailers a chance to gain information about the products and the market, while also experiencing exclusive discounts and promotions one can only find at Xposure.Leica, one of the most iconic brands in photography, will be showcasing their latest range of cameras and lenses, offering visitors the chance to get hands-on with the latest technology. Fuji Film will be hosting a live photo studio competition, with the winner being awarded an exciting prize. Nikon will have a section of their booth dedicated to encouraging visitors to touch and try their latest camera and lens models, as well as hosting Nikon School Workshops. Sony will be hosting their own workshops live on the Xposure website, besides offering prizes for their portrait, video, and wildlife photography contests.Hot Cold Studio will be offering a range of discounts on their products, including on the Tether Tools Rock Solid Series, Capture One PRO 23 licences and all demo tripods. GrandStore will also be offering discounts on all their products.Ibrand Connect will be showcasing a wide range of brands, including H&Y Filters, Leofoto, Yc Onion, Shimoda Designs, TourBox, Video Spinny, Hollyland, YoloLiv, Western Digital and BenQ. They will also be offering significant discounts on these brands, in addition to creating a reel studio in the middle of the stand for interviews.Advanced Media will be featuring Godox photography equipment for all your lighting needs and Canon will be offering exclusive promotions and discounts on their cameras and lenses. Samsung will also be participating in Xposure’s Trade Show, hosting 3 Galaxy Smartphone Workshops at the screening room and a ‘Nightography’ Workshop featuring their new night mode hosted by influencer, ‘Croydan’ at the screening room. Spacetoon will be hosting activities for kids as well as live shows, while BHM Store will be offering exclusive discounts for all Xposure visitors, as well as free giveaways during their photo talks.Other brands such as Kinokuniya, Action Filmz Rentals & Studios, Gamma Production Services, Future Art Broadcast Trading, Analog The Room, Instant Photography Class/Activation will also be showcasing their products and services, and offering discounts and special promotions.Those coming to the 7-day festival are encouraged to visit the Trade Show and take advantage of the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of photography during the Xposure International Photography Festival at Expo Centre Sharjah from 9-15 February. With so much on offer, it's an event not to be missed!

17 countries participate in the Asian Badminton Championship

The Dubai Sports Council and the Emirates Badminton Federation announced the organization of the Asian Championship for Mixed Teams for Badminton, which will be held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence in the UAE, Honorary President of the Emirates Badminton Federation, and with the support of the Dubai Sports Council and the Emirates Badminton Federation The plane, organized by Beyond Bounders Sports Consultancy in Expo City from 14 to 19 February 2023, with the participation of 17 Asian countries.This came during a press conference held at the headquarters of the Dubai Sports Council, in which Saeed Mohammed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council, Jassim Kenso, Vice President of the International Badminton Federation, and Noura Al Jasmi, President of the Emirates Badminton Federation, spoke in the presence of Nasser Aman Al Rahma, assistant. Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council, and members of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Badminton Federation.He also spoke at the press conference, Musa Nashed, Secretary General of the Asian Badminton Federation, and Dr. Satya Menon: CEO of the Blue Ocean Corporation Group, and the Indian badminton player PV Sindhu, ranked 6th in the world, who won the silver of the 2016 Rio Olympics and the bronze of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.During the press conference, the championship trophy was unveiled, and the draw ceremony was held for the participating teams, namely: China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, India, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan, Syria, Lebanon, and Pakistan in addition to the UAE. The tournament includes competition in the categories of men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles. The tournament opens with group matches, followed by the knockout stage. The tournament will give players the opportunity to qualify for the World Badminton Championships, which are the Sudirman Cup, Thomas Cups, Uber and other major tournaments. Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council, congratulated the Emirates Badminton Federation on the assumption of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan as honorary presidency of the federation, stressing that the federation is on the threshold of a new stage of development and prosperity, and he welcomed the attendees, as well as the Olympic champion, the world player B.V. Sindu, ranked 6th in the world. World, and he said: "We are proud to cooperate with the Asian Badminton Federation and the Emirates Badminton Federation to host this great continental event in which 17 Asian countries, including the world's strongest countries, participate in this Olympic sport, and this championship comes as an extension of the world badminton championships that Dubai was a pioneer in In hosting it, where 4 world championships were held in the Hamdan Sports Complex, it was the finals of the world championships that were held for four consecutive years.Saeed Hareb added: “Badminton enjoys great interest in the United Arab Emirates in general, and in Dubai in particular, as it is an Olympic sport. Danish Viktor Axelsen, who trained in Dubai and managed to win the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and we hope that this championship will inspire a number of young men and women in the country to practice and develop in it, leading to honorable representation of the country in world championships and Olympic tournaments.Hareb concluded: "The organization of the tournament in Expo City will increase the splendor of the competitions, and will inspire the competitors to present their best. We support all efforts to spread this sport and provide means of success for its championships in cooperation with the UAE Badminton Federation, which will contribute to enhancing the diversity that the Dubai Sports Council is keen on." And event organizers in order to provide an opportunity for sports fans and the public of more than 200 nationalities to follow different sports tournaments.Noura Al Jasmi, President of the Emirates Badminton Federation, thanked the wise leadership, and praised the role of the Dubai Sports Council and the support of the General Sports Authority, and explained that the event is being organized for the first time in Dubai, and the Dubai Expo headquarters was chosen as a global tourist destination, and the participating teams are staying at the Roof Hotel. Expo, which is close to the competition site, and emphasized the provision of all means of support to the participating teams by the Emirates Badminton Federation and the Beyond Boondreas company organizing the event.Noura Al Jassmi said: "The UAE has strengthened its position as a leading sports center. We are honored and pleased this time to host the Asian Mixed Team Badminton Championship. We are very happy with the reactions we have received so far, and we expect the number of fans to be large, befitting such a big event." My best wishes to the Emirates Badminton Team.Jassem Kanso said: We are happy that the tournament will be held for the first time in Dubai, which gives the tournament great weight, thanks to Dubai's position on the global sports map, and the International Federation is pleased to provide all means of support for the tournament.Speaking about the tournament, Asian Badminton Federation President Anton Sopowo said: “We are proud that the first major badminton event in Asia will be held in West Asia. Hosting the 2023 Asian Mixed Team Championship in Dubai will create new excitement among the participating members, especially More importantly, this event will be a major contribution to the growth of badminton in the West Asian region, and this is the first time that the UAE will host the Asian Badminton Championship, which will gain it importance as a qualifying window for the Olympic Games. ".On the other hand, said Dr. Sathya Menon, Lung.

Agthia Group sees 14% increase in net profit during 2022

Agthia Group PJSC today announced preliminary and unaudited results for the fiscal year ending 31st December, 2022, reporting a rise of 14 percent year-on-year (YoY) in net profit to AED 247 million.According to its report, the Group's net revenue increased 33 percent YoY to AED 4.07 billion, with growth of 97 percent on a two-year basis. Revenue growth from our Snacking and Protein segments increased by more than 70 percent YoY, with high single-digit growth in our agri-business and continued market leadership in UAE bottled water.Net operating income grew faster than revenue, up 39 percent YoY to AED 351 million, with greater scale and diversification across the business supporting product and channel optimization and further cost and production efficiencies.Agthia Group’s total assets stood at AED 6.8 billion by end-2022, with total shareholders’ equity of AED 2.8 billion.Khalifa Sultan Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Agthia Group, said, “Agthia’s strong performance this past year, in a challenging external environment, clearly demonstrates management’s ability to acquire and consolidate value accretive businesses while leveraging synergies and maintaining a profitable core. I am confident that Agthia will continue to deliver value for all stakeholders in both the near and longer-term as it executes its strategy.”Alan Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Agthia Group, said, “The strong revenue and profit growth over the past year, across both recently acquired and legacy businesses, is a testament to the tireless efforts and agility of all our colleagues across the Group. Our strategy to acquire, integrate and grow attractive businesses in value-add categories continues to bear fruit, and two years into our transformative journey to a leading food and beverage company in the MENAP region and beyond, we are far bigger, more efficient and have greater capabilities than ever before.”

DFM Company posts net profit of AED 147.1 million in 2022

Dubai Financial Market Company (PJSC) today announced its consolidated results for the fiscal year ending on 31st December 2022, registering an increase of 41.7% in net profit to AED 147.1 million compared to AED 103.8 million in 2021. With a total revenue of AED 351.2 million, up 19% compared to last year’s AED 294.6 million, DFM reins in a successful close to 2022.In the fourth quarter of 2022, the Company posted a net profit of AED 58.1 million compared to AED 65.7 million in the corresponding period of 2021, while its total revenue of the period reached to AED 113.4 million compared to AED 111.5 million in Q4-2021.During a Board meeting today, the Board of Directors reviewed and approved the annual results before they are presented for ratification at the Company’s Annual General Meeting, which will be held based on the approval of the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA).The Board of Directors also recommended the distribution of a cash dividend of AED 134.7 million, equivalent to 1.68% of the capital and 100% of the total retained earnings available for distribution. Moreover, the Board also resolved to submit a recommendation to the AGM to adopt a new fixed dividend policy, stipulating that the Company annually distributes a minimum of 50% of its net profit as opposed to the current practice of cash dividend every two years.Profound progressCommenting on the achievements of 2022, Helal Al Marri, Chairman of DFM Company said, “2022 has been a promising year for DFM. Our results for the fiscal year are a testament to the strength of our Company’s operating model and the profound progress we are making in transforming our business, pursuing new opportunities, and accelerating the development of UAE capital markets. We truly believe that DFM’s state-of-the-art infrastructure, pioneering regulations and dynamic business model will serve as a springboard to drive the Company’s sustained growth and position Dubai as a hotspot for global financial activity.”“Our relentless focus on our capital markets development strategy has borne fruit, making DFM one of the most active markets globally for new IPOs and listings with the successful listing of 5 IPOs for leading government-related and private companies. We also launched a new general index that provides global best practices for indices and greater transparency for investors. DFM has also intensified its efforts to diversify asset classes with the introduction of trading in crude oil contracts (Micro Oman Crude Oil Futures) and the launch of new equity futures, strengthening its position as one of the leading regional markets in terms of diversification of investment opportunities and asset classes," added Helal Al Marri.Key growth indicatorsDFM ended the year on a strong note with trading value increased by 24.5% to AED 90 billion compared to 2021, and the market capitalization of listed securities increased by41.4% to AED 582 billion. The DFM General Index also advanced by 4.4%. Foreign investors maintained their strong presence in 2022, accounting for 48.7% of DFM’s trading value with net purchases amounting to AED 5 billion. meanwhile, their share of the market capitalization was 19% at the end of the year.Over the past year, DFM has attracted 167,332 new investors. The 23 times jump compared to 2021 brought the total number of DFM investor base to over 1 million investors from 212 nationalities, in a clear indication on the success of DFM’s digital onboarding journey.

Dubai Business Women Council concludes 2nd phase of the EAP

The Executive Accelerator Programme, jointly launched by the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), New Metrics, a specialized consultancy firm, and Reach Digital Works, has successfully completed the second phase of its four-stage training program. This exclusive program, open only to DBWC members taking part in the 5th cycle of the Mentorship Program, brought together over 35 participants.The Executive Accelerator Programme is a comprehensive training course that includes a series of interactive training workshops. It was tailored to provide particular training that addresses the specific needs of DBWC members over a period of six weeks. It also aims to provide solutions to the challenges identified by participants during the fifth cycle of the mentorship program.The training program has completed its first and second phases with great success and positive feedback. The two phases have focused on launching and managing projects with seven training workshops being organized as part of the program.The remaining two phases will focus on developing projects and improving the digital and smart presence of companies.A team of subject-matter experts and specialists, affiliated with " New Metrics " and its partners, as well as " Reach Digital Works” is managing the entire training program, which will come to an end in mid-February.Nadine Halabi, Business Development Manager at DBWC, stated that the Executive Accelerator Programme is an innovative solution that will help participants overcome challenges in the labor market and bridge the gap between their current skills and the skills required by the job market.Halabi highlighted that the program is designed to provide participants with the essential knowledge and expertise they need to better understand the market, plan their projects, develop their skills, and grow their businesses."The council is committed to providing cutting-edge, modern training programs in line with the government's strategic goals and the evolving needs of the business world," said Halabi, adding that through the current advanced training program, the council looks forward to enhancing the abilities, expertise, and competitiveness of its members, as well as supporting women entrepreneurs in their professional pursuits.The training covers a variety of topics, such as identifying the target audience and acquiring new clients, planning a customer journey to achieve the desired impact, generating ideas, and creating and growing a business.It also focuses on maximizing financial resources and obtaining high revenues at a low cost, as well as marketing strategies, negotiation and persuasion techniques, and creating positive customer experiences.Additionally, the training will also discuss developing a governance model, creating KPIs, maintaining growth and expansion, evaluating and leveraging partnerships, promoting leadership methodologies, and developing decision-making processes. The importance of creating and maintaining a digital presence through website management and digital marketing will also be addressed.Not only will the program enhance the chances of participants obtaining the support they need, such as financing, skills, or expertise, as well as business relationships, and training, but will also provide tailored technical solutions for their services and products.For her part, Maya Omeiri, Partner at New Metrics said: “We are proud of the true impact we're making on the journey of these women. We measure the success of this program by the greater level of meaningful interactions, the stronger connections, the noticeable confidence gained in the skills and most importantly the numerous identified opportunities to move forward their businesses.”“New Metrics Team is proud to dedicate joint efforts with DBWC to help women succeed, as a business community the onus is on us to work harder to bring diversity, crucial to achieving lasting innovation and economic growth,” Omeiri added.New Metrics is a leading experience management consultancy with a presence across the EMEA region. Its partnership with the Dubai Business Women Council represents a significant step forward in providing participants in the mentorship program with advanced skills that enhance their expertise and enrich their knowledge in the workplace.Established in 2002 under the umbrella of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the Dubai Business Women Council is the UAE’s leading platform for the personal and professional development of business women in the Emirate of Dubai. It aims to support female entrepreneurs taking their first steps in the world of business. The Council plays a vital role in enhancing the contribution of women to the country's economy and promoting economic development in all sectors of the business community.

Signings worth $7.2bln at 7th iktva Forum as Aramco Digital Company launched

Aramco signed over 100 agreements and MoU’s, valued at around $7.2 billion to help advance a diverse, sustainable and globally competitive industrial ecosystem at the 7th edition of the In-Kingdom Total Value Add (iktva) Forum and Exhibition. The program achieved 63% local content in 2022, up from 35% in 2015, when iktva was originally launched.The forum, which runs from January 30 to February 2, is held under the theme of ‘Accelerating Future Success’. It highlights collective localization efforts in key focus areas including Digital, Sustainability, Industrial, and Manufacturing. The first day of the event attracted more than 10,000 visitors and the exhibition space included more than 290 companies.The event, which was held under the patronage of HRH Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Governor of the Eastern Province, was also attended by Minister of Energy, HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.The gathering provided a platform for the launch of Aramco Digital Company, a wholly owned subsidiary which aims to accelerate digital transformation within the Kingdom and the MENA region.Ahmad A. Al-Sa’adi, Aramco Executive Vice President of Technical Services, said: “The local supplier ecosystem is a top priority for Aramco as well as a major contributor to the Kingdom’s economy. Through this mega program we are helping to create a culture of innovation and provide high quality jobs for our growing population. The launch of Aramco Digital Company is a great example of such innovation in action, providing state-of-the-art AI and emerging technology expertise in a vital sector of the economy.”The iktva program encourages the establishment of regional headquarters in the Kingdom. Since inception, more than 150 investments have been made in Kingdom including products manufactured for the first time in Saudi Arabia. The company has also established 16 national training centers (NTCs) in 10 cities, covering more than 60 trades. To date, they have graduated more than 48,000 Saudi nationals.Major signings include:Zoom: Strategic Partnership AgreementTaulia Inc: Collaboration to implement supplier financing solutionsDHL: Intention to enter a definitive agreement to form a joint venture and offer procurement and supply chain servicesMinistry of Investment of Saudi Arabia: Development and promotion of investment opportunities and the Regional Headquarters ProgramAccenture: System Integration and Digital Solution ServicesHassana Investment Company: Establishment of a facility management national championAchilles: Development and localization of Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) rating services2023 iktva award winners:Best in Overall iktva: (Services): SLBBest in Overall iktva: (Construction): Nesma & Partners Contracting Ltd. Best in Overall iktva: (Manufacturing): Siemens EnergyBest in Training & Development: HalliburtonBest in Supplier Development: Baker Hughes CompanyBest in Saudization (Services): ARO DrillingBest in Saudization (Manufacturing): Cameron Al Rushaid Co. Ltd.Best in Exports (Services): JGC Gulf International Co. Ltd.Best in Exports (Manufacturing): Jubail Energy Services Company (JESCO)Best in ESG: Samsung Saudi Arabia Co. Ltd.Best SME Award: Engineering Corner for Inspection Co. Ltd.Best SME Award: Saudi GeophysicalBest SME Award: Techno Rubber Company Limited

DIFC announces ‘DIFC Metaverse Platform’

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) today announced the launch of the ‘DIFC Metaverse Platform’, in line with the Dubai Higher Committee for Future Technology and Digital Economy’s aim to attract technology innovators from around the world.The platform is part of a comprehensive strategy being developed by Dubai International Financial Centre, the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, to accelerate Dubai’s status as a global metaverse leader.The DIFC Metaverse Platform is aligned with the Dubai Metaverse Strategy, which aims to add $4 billion to Dubai's GDP, support 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030 and attract 1,000 companies specialised in blockchain and metaverse technologies. The platform also supports the objective of the recently launched Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to generate economic value worth AED100 billion from digital transformation annually.Commenting on the announcement, Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Higher Committee for Future Technology and Digital Economy, stated that the UAE adopts advanced technologies in its aim to keep pace with global changes, reflecting the directives of its leadership, in transforming the country and Dubai to become a leading hub for utilizing the best technology and developing capabilities.Al Olama added that this Metaverse platform is the first in a series of initiatives that aim to strengthen Dubai's position as a global platform for the latest digital trends and accelerate the pace to achieve the objectives of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy.Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “The Dubai government has shown great foresight in introducing a metaverse strategy that has the objective of making the emirate a global hub for technology and innovation. The development of the integrated DIFC Metaverse Platform will accelerate the achievements of Dubai’s aspirations in this sector. The initiative is a natural extension of our Innovation Hub proposition that has shaped the technology and innovation landscape in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.”The DIFC Metaverse Platform includes three key initiatives. The first is an accelerator programme with a dedicated physical studio for metaverse technology that will promote the development of a creator community and venture building. The platform will also address the metaverse policy development and legislation on open data, digital identity and company law frameworks in the metaverse. Further, the initiative will foster the development of a metaverse community that will explore ways to enhance the metaverse experience for customers.The Metaverse Accelerator Programme, the first initiative to be launched under the umbrella of the platform, will start accepting applications this month. In the coming years, the programme seeks to attract more than 500 applications, identify 50 of the most promising graduates from the programme and stimulate investment opportunities that will help the sector grow.The programme demonstrates DIFC’s commitment to support innovative metaverse start-ups by introducing them to the region’s largest players. The programme also helps them explore partnerships, gain exposure to investors, access a regulatory sandbox and obtain marketing support.In early November, the region’s first and largest FinTech Accelerator – DIFC FinTech Hive – hosted its annual Investor Day on the Metaverse Platform, giving the region’s finance ecosystem a first-hand experience of the technology. DIFC Fintech Hive also partnered with Emirates NBD to launch and co-create their own Metaverse Accelerator programme, which received more than 100 global applicants.The Metaverse Accelerator Programme will run over a period of six months, during which the cohort of start-ups will be introduced to training and workshops to upskill and reskill themselves in both technical and intrapersonal aspects of the metaverse. The programme also aims to facilitate partnerships between start-ups and corporates to create proofs-of-concept and new metaverse solutions.For more information, please visit: Metaverse Accelerator Programme (

Sharjah Shopping Promotions concludes with soaring sales, grand prizes

The Sharjah Shopping Promotions, organized by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), ended on a high note, with sales soaring beyond AED 200 million, a 30% increase from previous records, serving as a testament to its success.The city-wide event culminated on Sunday at Sahara Center with a celebratory ceremony where Mohammad Qasim Hassouni from Iraq became the envy of all as he drove away in a brand-new Infiniti car, the grand prize in the final draw.The raffle draw was a celebration of winning as five lucky individuals walked away with five tourism packages, and 13 more were awarded vouchers ranging from AED 2,500 to AED 10,000. Shopping was elevated to new heights with discounts reaching 75% on top international brands, making for a truly unforgettable experience.Ibrahim Rashid Al Jarwan, Director of Economic Relations and Marketing at SCCI, stressed that this year's Sharjah shopping promotions were successful by all standards, marked by high sales and a strong turnout from visitors and tourists from around the world. This was due to the Chamber's innovative approach in partnership with strategic partners to enhance the experience of residents and visitors during the event.Al Jarwan attributed the uniqueness and continued success of the Sharjah shopping promotions to the strong partnership between the government and private sectors in Sharjah.For his part, Jamal Saeed Bouzanjal, Director of the SCCI Media Department, stated that the success of this year's promotions is yet another testament to the Chamber's continuous efforts to drive economic development in Sharjah through programs and initiatives, adding that the event was a prime opportunity for local shopping centers and shops to grow their businesses and boost revenue.Meanwhile, Hana Al Suwaidi, Head of the SCCI's Festival and Shows Department, said that during the Sharjah Shopping Promotions, the Emirate was alive with a mix of entertainment, festivities, and unique events, solidifying its reputation as a family-friendly tourist destination that caters to all family members' needs.

Rory McIlroy wins Hero Dubai Desert Classic to claim first Rolex Series title

Rory McIlroy won his first Rolex Series title with a third victory at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic after a dramatic final day at Emirates Golf Club.The World Number One has a CV to rival the greats of the game, with four Major Championships, four Harry Vardon Trophies and three FedEx Cups to his name but he arrived in the UAE still missing a triumph in one of the DP World Tour's prestige events.He put that right in fine fashion on a Monday finish over the Majlis Course, birdieing the 17th and 18th in a 68 to finish at 19 under, one clear of American Patrick Reed.Reed's 65 made for a thrilling finish as the duo went toe-to-toe over the back nine but it was McIlroy who emerged the victor to move to second in the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.Australian Lucas Herbert - the 2020 winner of this event - finished third at 16 under, a shot clear of England's Callum Shinkwin and two ahead of Frenchman Julien Brun.

Eric Masalawala appointed Operations Manager at Premier Inn Dragon Mart

 Premier Inn MENA has kicked off the new year with the appointment of Eric Masalawala as Operations Manager at Premier Inn Dubai Dragon Mart Hotel.Eric has more than 15 years’ UAE hospitality experience, working with major international brands including Radisson Hotel Group, Ramada Hotels and Hilton Hotels & Resorts in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ajman.Born and bred in the UAE, Eric has a bachelor’s degree in hospitality from Swiss Hotel Management School in Montreux, Switzerland and an MBA in General Management from Dubai’s Emirates Aviation University.The 304-room Premier Inn Dragon Mart opened in 2019, and welcomed more than 156,000 local and international guests last year. The property is a stone’s throw from Dragon Mart – the world’s largest Chinese trading hub outside China – and its 5,000 shops, restaurants and attractions.“I am delighted to join Premier Inn and work with this exciting, much loved brand as it expands its footprint in the region,” said Eric. “I look forward to using my extensive experience to further enhance the guest journey in line with Premier Inn’s vision to be the Middle East’s hotel brand renowned for high value and high quality.”Premier Inn, the UK’s largest – and favourite – hospitality brand, currently operates seven hotels in Dubai, two in Abu Dhabi and two in Qatar.

Genetec recognizes Data Privacy Day by sharing physical security best practices

In recognition of International Data Privacy Day, Genetec Inc. (“Genetec”), a leading technology provider of unified security, public safety, operations, and business intelligence solutions, shared data protection best practices to help physical security leaders protect privacy, safeguard data, and enable trust without compromising security.Data privacy has become a top global priority. Today, 71% of countries have initiated data privacy legislation, and companies that haven’t taken appropriate steps to protect data are facing tens of millions of dollars in fines for violations. In the physical security industry, acquiring digital information such as surveillance footage, photos, and license plate information is necessary to help protect people and assets and provide a valuable source of actionable business intelligence."Security and privacy are not mutually exclusive,” said Christian Morin, Chief Security Officer at Genetec Inc. “By following best practices and ensuring privacy is designed into their physical security solutions, organizations can have the highest levels of security while respecting personal privacy and complying to privacy laws.”Best practices for ensuring video surveillance, access control and automatic license plate recognition systems meet data privacy standards include:Collect and store only the data the organization truly needs. Reduce your exposure to risk in the event of a data breach with simple steps. Consider adjusting a camera’s field of view so it doesn’t record areas that do not require monitoring. Set protocols to automatically archive or delete physical security data based on relevance. And carefully control what data, how much and for how long it can be shared with other organizations.Limit access to sensitive data. Grant access to data only to those who need it to do their jobs and monitor those activities to ensure identifying information, like images and access events, is used only as intended. Review access rights regularly so privileges align with user requirements. Using an identity provider, like Microsoft Active Directory, can also help eliminate human error by automating the processes of adding/removing security user accounts, granting rights, or removing users who have left the organization.Anonymize data collection automatically. New technologies can automatically restrict and protect access to personal data. Consider deploying privacy masking like Genetec KiwiVision Privacy Protector that automatically anonymizes images of people, so you can continue to survey surveillance footage while respecting privacy. This technology also offers an additional layer of security that ensures only authorized users can “unlock” and view unmasked footage while maintaining an audit trail.Unify your security solutions. When video surveillance, access control, evidence management, and other sensors operate under one platform, it becomes much easier to access and manage all your data and create reports for a variety of systems and sensors from a single interface. A unified system simplifies the process of tracking system and device health and streamlines software and firmware updates which is key to mitigating the threat of data breaches.Work with certified partners. Make sure your system providers are properly certified (ISO 27001, 27017 standards, UL 2900-2-3 level 3 cybersecurity certification, and SOC2 compliance), and that they develop all their technology based on principles of privacy. A cyber resilient physical security system will contribute to keeping the data collected from IoT devices and sensors across the physical security network private.

KPMG Survey: Customer Experience as the number one brand differentiator

 KPMG Saudi Arabia, has published the results of its 2022 global annual Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) survey. This 13th global edition, and the second to run in Saudi Arabia, is based on inputs from 1,550 consumers in Saudi Arabia measured against inputs from 89,000 consumers across 25 countries worldwide.The Saudi version of the survey included 96 brands across nine different sectors and provided the respondents with the ability to evaluate those brands based on their personal customer experiences with them. The survey was based on the CEE methodology, developed by KPMG’s global CEE Centre of Excellence, and is made up of six pillars; Empathy, Personalization, Expectations, Resolution, Integrity and Time & Effort. Those pillars represent the core of this research as they make up the fundamental components of an ideal customer experience. In terms of overall CEE performance, the non-grocery retail sector emerged as a leader among other sectors in Saudi Arabia with a score of 8.08 in 2022 and beat its last year’s performance; Followed closely by the grocery retail sector with a score of 8.05. Such results indicate notable progress in those two sectors and point to the essential role they play in consumers’ lives. Moving down the chart, the financial services sector marked a noticeable decrease to a score of 7.94 compared to last year’s 8.07, indicating growing customer expectations that brands in the financial sector need to consider. Travel and hotels, restaurants and fast food, and entertainment and leisure followed with close scores of 7.92, 7.91 and 7.90, respectively.Finally, telecoms, utilities and logistics sectors trailed the ranking with scores of 7.82, 7.70 and 7.66, respectively. In the area of Net Promotor Score (NPS) index, non-grocery retail, grocery retail, and the financial services scored the highest among the other sectors. In contrast, logistics and entertainment & leisure obtained the lowest NPS scores. “As we know, these sectors have been highly commoditized over the last few years, and ‘opportunities to delight’ have become significantly rarer,” commented Adib Kilzie, Head of Customer Experience, Cloud and Enterprise Solutions at KPMG in Saudi Arabia.“Today’s customers are better informed, better connected and more demanding than ever before. In some cases, customer experience has overtaken price and product as the number one brand differentiator. Although many organizations are investing record amounts in customer-related initiatives, not all are seeing the desired ROI in the absence of a clear CX strategy.” Having the right customer insight through segmentation and persona development remains as a leading challenge among businesses; a challenge that is likely to hinder the business’ ability to personalize their services and orchestrate exceptional customer journeys.“Although most businesses appreciate that need and its impact on their market share and profitability, they continue to face challenges in data collection and customer insight. The market has witnessed a rise in the use of Voice of Customer (VoC) solutions, surveys and questionnaires; however, many businesses have not been able to leverage the needed real-time data collection and decision capabilities,” Kilzie noted.Companies are now acting purposefully, deciding what to take with them into the future and what to leave behind, he stated, adding that this points to a significant transition underpinned by new ways of working for most firms.“The hierarchical silos of an industrial past are giving way to an agile culture for a digital future,” Kilzie concluded.

First exclusive BOSCH Brand Store opens at Oman Avenues Mall

The first exclusive brand store dedicated to Bosch home appliances was inaugurated at Oman Avenues Mall in Muscat on Wednesday, 25th January 2023, showcasing an iconic German brand synonymous with quality, durability and inventive ingenuity.High-level representatives of OTE Group, exclusive distributors of Bosch in the Sultanate of Oman, as well as BSH Home Appliances Corporation, Europe’s No 1 home appliances manufacturer, were on hand to celebrate the grand opening of the BOSCH Brand Store.Present from OTE Group were Mr. Mohamed Saad Suhail Bahwan – Director and Mr. Sandeep Attri, Senior General Manager. In attendance from Bosch were Mr. Tomas Alonso - BSH Home Appliances FZE CEO, Ms. Irem Yazlar - Head of Brand Marketing, Ms. Sabrina Straube – Brand Marketing Manager, and Mr. Amit Behal – Regional Sales Manager.Strategically located on the first floor of Oman’s leading shopping and retail landmark in Bausher, the superbly designed store allows customers to explore the world of Bosch products and experience the brand’s innovations up close. On display is an impressive line-up of Bosch-branded products from built-in appliances, free-standing refrigerators, dishwashers, and washers/dryers, to an array of small appliances, such as coffee makers, food processors, juicers and much more.Unquestionably high quality, yet affordable, the Bosch range comes with the legacy of a 140-year-old brand that continues to win global acclaim for its application of engineering and innovation in the design of products of everyday use – appliances designed to help us save time and energy, and most importantly, simplify our lives. Equally, they are durable, easy to operate and represent excellent value for money.To celebrate the opening of the first flagship brand store, OTE Group has announced a 20 per cent discount on selected Bosch products on display – an offer that runs until 14th February 2023. Included in the offer are high-end appliances that promise to transform the kitchen or laundry room space in any home.“This exclusive BOSCH Brand Store is unique in that it aims to kindle in customers an enthusiasm for Bosch products, primarily for the unmatched quality that they represent. Customers can get hands-on with the products, get acquainted with their functionality and features, and hopefully make a closer connection with the Bosch brand. Our competent store staff are also on hand to address queries or assist in any way,” said Mr. Mohamed Saad Suhail Bahwan – Director, OTE Group.The name Bosch is known worldwide as a symbol of outstanding quality and reliability, backed by over 85 years of consumer manufacturing excellence. Bosch is Europe’s leading household appliances manufacturer. Its products are based exclusively on the real requirements of modern households. Thanks to trendsetting technology and surprisingly simple solutions, they effortlessly achieve perfect results and simplify everyday life. In addition, high quality, precisely finished materials and a timeless, internationally acclaimed design, ensure noticeable quality and sustainability. A recognized high service quality cements the trust of the user in the brand and underpins the Bosch guiding principle, “invented for life”.Established in 1991, OTE Group is one of Oman’s largest business houses representing renowned international brands distributed across the automotive, auto ancillary, electronics, home appliances, and leasing and finance segments of the consumer business.

Demet Ikiler joins Publicis Groupe as COO EMEA

Publicis Groupe, today announces the appointment of Demet Ikiler as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Publicis Groupe EMEA, bringing a new dynamic of leadership to the region.Demet joins after over two decades at WPP where she was a member of GroupM’s global leadership team as CEO of GroupM EMEA and WPP Country chair, responsible for scaling and delivering more innovative cross-culture solutions for clients. Well known for her unique, inclusive and powerful leadership, Demet has been recognised by Fortune and The Economist as one of the ten most powerful female CEOs and as an Empower 100 Executives Role Model (2022).Demet is also a board member at the United Nation Global Compact, leading its diversity and inclusion chapter. Prior to WPP, Demet worked at Zenith and Saatchi & Saatchi. She will join Publicis Groupe, reporting to Loris Nold and taking a position on the Management Committee.Working closely with Nold, Ikiler will focus on creating a joined-up EMEA region, that drives collaboration cross-markets, strengthening connectivity and scaling expertise and capabilities for clients and opportunities for talent."It gives me great pleasure to welcome such an outstanding leader and inspiring person as Demet to the Publicis family. I have been hoping to partner with her for years and cannot envisage a better way to take on our greater ambition for the EMEA region. She brings the unique combination of a proven track record in leading clients and operations at scale, as one of the most progressive leaders of the industry, with a thorough understanding of the EMEA ecosystem as well as a passion for equality, diversity and inclusion. I know she will be a change agent at Publicis Groupe. Demet and I will work very closely across client solutions, accelerating on capabilities and partnering with our country leaders as we drive even more collaboration and innovation within the EMEA region." – Loris Nold, CEO of Publicis Groupe EMEA.Demet Ikiler, COO of Publicis Groupe EMEA, added: “It’s a huge pleasure, an honour and a great responsibility to join Publicis Groupe and such a strong team of progressive leaders. I really look forward to the opportunity to make an impact and accelerate across a region I know very well when it comes to markets, capabilities and talents. As we partner increasingly closer with our clients to drive business impact, the ability to operate across and leverage a wide variety of assets and skills, at scale, has been a compelling proposition for me. I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has been a part of my life and this journey. I am certainly looking forward to delivering more and better, and I am excited about the new chapter ahead of me.”

Wall Street Group signs a memorandum of understanding with AlHaddab Holding

Wall Street Group, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi AlHaddab Holding Company, to open its first abroad branch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with sales targets of one billion Saudi riyals during the first year.The agreement was signed by Ihab Saeed, Wall Street Group Chairman, and Sultan Al Othaimeen, AlHaddab Holding Chairman, in the presence of the representatives of both companies.For his part, Ihab Saeed, Wall Street Group Chairman, said that choosing Saudi Arabia to open the company's branch in it came according to studying the Saudi market as one of the promising markets that support the company's expansion plan, and it is a huge market which is witnessing a strong construction boom, as well, besides it is characterized by having a strong purchasing power. He added that cooperation with AlHaddab Holding Company comes as a result of being one of the leading companies in real estate investment and development field, as it has strong experience and wide relationships that enables it to facilitate all procedures inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which achieves integration between the advantages of Wall Street Group and AlHaddab Holding.He noted that Wall Street Group aims to achieve contractual sales worth one billion Saudi riyals during the first year of the opening of the branch, based on the size of the huge projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as the cumulative experience owned by Wall Street Company as one of the major leading companies in the field of real estate marketing in the Egyptian market.He pointed that his company will transfer its expertise in marketing real estate and introducing innovative ideas that have proven success in the Egyptian market over many decades, with the addition of new unconventional ideas to work in the Saudi market and achieve the company's sales target, as the company is marketing Egyptian projects in Saudi Arabia, besides marketing Saudi projects to Saudi clients, assuring that there are standards upon which projects will be selected to be marketed in Saudi Arabia.He referred that these standards include the developer's precedent work and experiences in the market, project specifications and quality that are taken into account in implementation and finishing, in addition to the strong financial solvency of the developer, and the existence of investing future for the project through which a high return is guaranteed for the client investing in the unit.Moussa Youssef, Wall Street Group CEO, said that the company will market nearly 100 diverse projects in Egypt and Saudi Arabia with various activities (residential-commercial-administrative-medical-hotel-tourism), and the company plans to increase the projects portfolio it markets, as it plans to increase this number of projects, especially in the presence of the increasing investment opportunities available to developers.He pointed that Saudi projects may be marketed in the Egyptian market for clients have the desire to own real estate in them, in coordination with the Saudi partner, and the company also plans to open other branches outside Egypt after its branch in Saudi Arabia, among its ambitious expansion plan to open more than one branch outside Egypt, noting that the company's branch in Saudi Arabia is the first step towards other branches in different countries.He revealed the company's plan to hold a number of real estate exhibitions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries, in order to reach a larger number of clients and expand in offering projects with innovative marketing mechanisms that enable the client to know the details of the project that will invest or live in.He assured that the Egyptian real estate market is a promising market and is characterized by the presence of real and strong demand, besides witnessing a diverse construction boom that provides strong and multiple investment opportunities for all local and foreign developers, as real estate remains a safe haven for investment, regardless of the volume of competition with other saving vessels, as the return on investment in the real estate reaches to 100%.Sultan AlOthaimeen, AlHaddab Holding Chairman, confirmed that cooperation with Wall Street Group comes due to the strong experience that the company enjoys, and its precedent work in achieving strong sales to its clients from real estate companies, in addition to providing various services to clients and providing marketing and real estate consulting services that enables them to take the right purchasing decision for them.He explained that the Saudi market is witnessing a strong and diversified project volume that requires dealing with it professionally and delivering the appropriate product to the appropriate client which is the role that Wall Street Group will offer, as there are multiple forms of cooperation between both parties that will appear during the joint work period.

Al-Futtaim Group partners with SAP to enable complete digital transformation

Al-Futtaim Group, a leading family-owned business operating across the regional automotive, financial services, real estate, retail and health markets, has committed to a full digital transformation, powered by its long-term partner SAP, and supported by Microsoft Azure as intelligent cloud platform, to maintain its competitive edge and realise multiple benefits for its customers, partners and employees.At a signing ceremony this month attended by the Vice Chairman and CEO of Al-Futtaim Group, Omar Al Futtaim, and SAP global CEO Christian Klein, Al-Futtaim Group officially adopted RISE with SAP, a customised solution to ensure a quick and seamless transition of mission-critical systems to the cloud. Once implemented, all of Al-Futtaim Group’s business systems will be fully integrated in the cloud, with upgrades enabling the company to leverage the benefits of new technologies and the efficiencies arising from automated and streamlined business processes.Himanshu Shrivastava, Chief Technology Officer at Al-Futtaim Group, said at the signing ceremony, “This partnership is a testament to Al-Futtaim Group’s commitment to driving innovation and staying at the forefront of our industry. In line with our continued pursuit of excellence, the comprehensive SAP solution we are implementing incorporates sustainability metrics, industry best practices, extensibility, analytics and business process intelligence. We will have full visibility over all areas of operations, supported by data-driven insights and the flexibility necessary to respond with agility to changes in customer needs and market fluctuations. Importantly, the solution will also enable enhanced customer, partner and employee experiences, with greater engagement and consistency across touch points.”Among the new SAP cloud solutions Al-Futtaim Group will implement is SAP S/4HANA, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that enables automation of business processes, reduces total cost of ownership, provides 360-degree visibility over all operations, and is adaptable for multiple industry needs to ensure accurate reporting and compliance. Benefits include end-to-end, integrated finance capabilities, as well as enhanced procurement, supply chain and inventory management; seamless and personalised customer journeys; and self-service capabilities.Other existing SAP solutions, such as SAP SuccessFactors for human resource management, are being upgraded in the cloud to be used across all areas of Al-Futtaim Group’s business. In the case of SuccessFactors, this approach enables 360-degree views of Al-Futtaim Group’s extensive regional workforce, a more efficient compensation model, and the activation of gamification and well-being features to enhance employee engagement. The SAP and Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure will also enable non-SAP solutions to be integrated within the SAP framework.Zakaria Haltout, Managing Director for SAP UAE, commented, “With this partnership, Al-Futtaim Group is positioning itself as a transformational leader in adopting new technologies to deliver better value to its customers, employees and partners. Leveraging SAP’s expertise in regional automotive, financial services, real estate, retail and health markets, and with Microsoft Azure’s comprehensive cloud infrastructure, we are confident this partnership will enable Al-Futtaim Group to achieve operational excellence and drive continued success for the company.“Also commenting on the collaboration, Yvonne Chebib, Global Partner Solutions lead, Microsoft UAE said, “We are delighted to be working closely with Al-Futtaim Group and SAP to enable the success of this venture. By leveraging the expertise and cutting-edge technology offered by SAP and the trusted cloud infrastructure of Microsoft Azure, Al-Futtaim Group is ensuring it has the clear execution roadmap for the next level of business transformation and further driving value through the interoperability benefits”

Four Seasons marks the start of 2023 with new leadership, brand extensions

 Leading luxury hospitality company Four Seasons continues to expand its development pipeline, elevating its experiential offerings and accelerating bold new ventures that capitalize on the company’s strong business foundation and singular focus on the luxury segment. Through the lens of unmatched guest-centricity and personalization, Four Seasons is investing in a robust commercial strategy, enhancing its ability to meet the growing demand for travel and luxury experiences.In October, the company appointed Alejandro Reynal as President and CEO, marking a new chapter that builds on Four Seasons renowned legacy and leadership position within the luxury hospitality industry.“Since joining Four Seasons, I have seen firsthand the company’s clear competitive advantage: unparalleled service excellence, a renowned brand and a corporate culture powered by the genuine heart of its people,” says Reynal. “Four Seasons business is stronger than ever. Our experienced leadership team is well positioned to take advantage of the myriad opportunities ahead, focusing on an evolved growth strategy that continues to generate value for our hotel owners, employees, guests and residents.”Reynal continues: “True luxury should always represent the authentic expression of personalization. At Four Seasons, this has always been our brand promise, and it inspires our people in every interaction. We continue to invest in our capabilities, empowering our teams with the tools they need to enhance the guest experience and elevate the genuine service that has always been our hallmark.”A Growing Portfolio of Award-Winning Luxury PropertiesFor more than 60 years, Four Seasons has been defining the art of luxury hospitality, with an enviable global portfolio of 126 luxury hotels and resorts and 53 branded residences. In 2022, Four Seasons opened seven exceptional new properties, including new hotels and residences in Fort Lauderdale, Minneapolis and Nashville, as well as two new resort experiences in Mexico, in Tamarindo, and with the opening of its first tented-resort in North America at Naviva, Punta Mita, A Four Seasons Resort. The company also expanded its growing collection of standalone Private Residences with new offerings in Marrakech and Dubai, providing discerning homeowners the opportunity to live with Four Seasons outside of a hotel or resort.Four Seasons has more than 50 new projects under planning or development, including in Italy, Spain, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Belize and many more, expanding and strengthening relationships with new and existing owner partners with each new property it opens. In the year ahead, the company will expand its offerings with two new planned hotel openings in China in Suzhou and Dalian; and projects in the Middle East including new residences in Bahrain Bay, a second hotel in Doha, and a new hotel in Rabat, Morocco.Four Seasons recently announced upcoming projects that will further distinguish its global portfolio, from a historic legend in Venice to soaring new towers in Melbourne and Xi’an. In addition, the Middle East continues to be a market of key growth, with upcoming projects in Jeddah at the Corniche, Diriyah, New Cairo Capital at Madinaty, Luxor and Muscat.Four Seasons Residential Business Drives Strategic GrowthFour Seasons Private Residences have been a natural extension of the brand since 1985, when the company’s first residential project opened in Boston. Almost 40 years later, Four Seasons achieved a milestone moment with the opening of the 50th Four Seasons Private Residences in Fort Lauderdale, with further additions welcomed to the portfolio by the end of 2022.Residential continues to be a significant driver for Four Seasons strategic growth, with a robust five-year pipeline comprising more than 30 projects worldwide. Central to Four Seasons residential growth strategy is the expansion of its standalone offerings. Since the first standalone opening in London in 2018, the offering has expanded to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Marrakech, and Dubai, the latter selling out prior to going to public sales. Upcoming openings are slated in Lake Austin and beyond.Taking to the Skies, Seas and Roads with Four SeasonsIn addition to new hotel and residential openings, Four Seasons has expanded its experiential offerings to provide guests new and distinctive ways to engage with the brand, including the Four Seasons Private Jet Experience, At Home Collection, and the recently announced Four Seasons Yachts. A collection of nearly 600 restaurants and bars worldwide and 126 spas also extends the Four Seasons experience, welcoming a growing segment of repeat local guests. Four Seasons restaurants and bars are built upon best-in-class, innovative concepts that are brought to life by craftspeople who share a passion for incredible service and exceptional culinary offerings.In the skies, guests can experience the brand’s legendary service aboard the Four Seasons Private Jet Experience. Late last year, an all-new jet – designed with input from past guests – took flight, taking guests on bespoke journeys around the globe. With 2023 itineraries nearly sold out and a full calendar of 2024 journeys just announced, the program continues to grow.In September 2022, Four Seasons announced the introduction of Four Seasons Yachts. With the first vessel anticipated to embark in 2025, the 679-foot (207 metre) yacht will offer an unprecedented level of personalized service, with a 1:1 guest to staff ratio, and expansive, residential-style suite accommodations among many other on-board amenities.Following the success of the inaugural Beyond by Four Seasons driving journey in Tuscany in 2022, new and exciting itineraries will be unveiled later this year giving travellers the opportunity to explore exceptional destinations behind the wheel of a classic or modern luxury sportscar.Across every touchpoint, on the ground, in the sky and soon on the seas, guests will enjoy the genuine, personalized service and care delivered by Four Seasons more than 60,000 employees worldwide, and for which the brand has been renowned for more than 60 years.

Golf Saudi set to accelerate national mandate following appointment of Noah Alir

Golf in Saudi Arabia is set to embark upon the next phase of its growth among golfing nations around the world, following the appointment of Noah Alireza as new CEO of Golf Saudi. He succeeds Majed AlSorour in the role.Alireza is a former member of the Saudi Arabian national team who has represented his country at the Asian Games. He brings a wealth of experience in strategic advisory serving some of Saudi Arabia’s most influential entities within the public and private sectors, is a lifelong student of the game of golf and a graduate of Brown University.Alireza’s remit will be to activate and accelerate Golf Saudi’s mandate in creating and serving new demand for golf in Saudi Arabia, through mass participation programmes and increasing access to the sport in the country.AlSorour, whose four years at the helm saw unprecedented progress in Saudi Arabia’s golfing landscape, will remain as Board Member of Golf Saudi, Board Member and Deputy Chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation and Secretary of the Arab Golf Federation.Since its formation in 2018, Golf Saudi has created opportunities for more people to experience the benefits of golf. In the last year alone, over 50,000 individuals have been introduced to golf through a wide variety of activities.The organisation has placed equal emphasis on the development of a sustainable ecosystem for the sport, creating the world’s first National Sustainability Strategy for golf, centred upon environmental, social and economic impacts. This has included alignment with the United Nations’ Sport for Climate Action Framework and the creation of higher education programmes in collaboration with the Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE) and the National Training Center for Facilities and Hospitality Management (FHM Academy).“I’m honoured to start this role and be part of the future of the Golf ecosystem in Saudi,” said Alireza. “Golf Saudi is set to deliver significant initiatives and programmes aligned with the objectives of Vision 2030 to improve quality of life and sports mass participation; my goal is to ensure that the acceleration and activation of these creates a highly significant impact on the nation.“The task at hand is to further enhance the country’s masterplan for golf and, in hand with private and public sector bodies, create an unparalleled ecosystem which derives incredible value for the people of Saudi Arabia and visitors from around the world.“I appreciate the trust of Golf Saudi’s Board for giving me this opportunity, and I would like to thank my predecessor, Mr. Majed AlSorour, for his role during the foundational phase of the organization.”Today’s announcement comes on the cusp of an historic event season, with no fewer than four international events upon the men’s and women’s global schedules set to take place in Saudi Arabia in 2023, starting next week at the PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers. These occasions serve as a crucial point of inspiration for future generations of golfers, and are fundamental to the national golf development strategy.

DIFC unveils its destination offerings in 2023

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), one of Dubai's most sought-after lifestyle destinations, has a number of offers and experiences for visitors during the last few days of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF). From outdoor fitness classes, IV drips and tea rituals, right through to a foodie pop-up straight from the US, DIFC has you covered for everything you could need this season.Find your zen at DIFCFind your calm amid a busy life with Inspire Yoga’s new rooftop yoga sessions at Gate Avenue. Going beyond a typical class experience, visitors can enjoy the cool weather and opt for a sunrise yoga experience from 7am to 10.30am or a sunset one from 4pm to 10pm, every Sunday until 29 January.In a bustling city like Dubai, tea rituals can be a source of calm and a great reminder to slow down. The healthy ‘tea experience’ at Spaces Eatery, Gate District, Building 2, helps enhance the beneficial experience by providing a nurturing haven for your mind and body. Spaces has shortlisted nineteen invigorating, specially crafted tea offerings that combine functionality with flavours and aesthetics for customers to try.Skin111 at Gate Village 5 is offering free consultations and up to 40 per cent off on their IV therapy sessions. As a leading provider of IV therapy in Dubai, Skin111 has pioneered several potent formulations that support the body, prevent chronic diseases and alleviate symptoms. Their tailored approach to IV treatment with the use of special medical tools help understand the importance of micronutrients and their impact on our body.Back to business with DIFC’s new business lunchesExperience a hassle-free business lunch in the tranquil ambience of Spaces Eatery, which is the perfect setting to relax or host an important meeting. The three-course menu is priced at AED110 with a choice of drink from their refreshing lemonade and iced tea menu. The two-course set menu is priced at AED90.Whether you want to escape from a hectic work schedule and enjoy a quiet lunch, impress a client or simply catch up with friends, the quaint and charming setting of BB Social Dining in Gate Village, Building 8, is a must try. The delicious menu favourites include the Chicken Bang Bang Bao Bun and Tuna Crispy Rice, available as part of their three course business lunch menu for AED110.New dining concepts to tempt your tastebudsPEPPERS, the popular Nashville hot chicken joint from the US now has a pop-up at Zone C podium level in Gate Avenue. Crafted by the founder’s own secret blend of spices developed in an NYC lab, culinary thrill seekers can enjoy an explosion of heat and flavour with exciting new menu items, including loaded fries with pepper sauce and cheddar cheese, as well as Sandos piled up with tender chicken, slaw, hot pepper sauce and homemade pickles in a soft brioche bun.Salmontini’s all new bistro concept is a combination of delicious food and comfort, making it one of DIFC’s best all-day dining experiences. Mouth-watering classics, such as eggs benedict, protein rich smoked salmon, homemade lobster rolls, fresh salads and delish desserts give Salmontini its stellar reputation. Visitors can make the most of the cool weather and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner al-fresco by the Balcony at Gate District.Make the most of the last few days of DSFUntil 29 January, retailers at DIFC are offering up to 50 per cent off on their current season stock. Retailers, including Mia Makeup, Ramsey, Bella Maison, Penti and Brazilian retailer, Colcci are offering huge discounts.DIFC is also offering unmissable discounts and a chance to win vouchers and participate in raffles and competitions during the last few days of DSF, running until 29 January. Visitors can spend AED100 and enter the ‘Spend and Win’ competition by scanning a barcode at all DIFC retailers’ payment points, enabling them to enter a digital raffle draw by scanning their receipt. One lucky winner, chosen at random daily, will win AED1,000 worth of vouchers from the DIFC retailers.Visitors can also enjoy immersive, giant versions of their favourite board games; and if they win, they stand a chance to double their winnings with the ‘Spend and Win’ campaign. The games are located in Zone D of Gate Avenue and in the Gate District opposite Royal China.Participation in DIFC Surprise Stakes, Snakes and Ladders and Spend and Win is open to everyone who has spent AED100 or more, including purchases at food and beverage outlets, in DIFC.Leave all your travel arrangements to’s DIFC branch is offering exclusive discounts across holiday tour packages, local tours, flights to more than 3,000 destinations and hotel stays in over one million properties globally.The exclusive offers at DIFC include:50 per cent off on global visa assistance chargesAED500 off on your next holiday booking (with a minimum of twin booking)7 per cent discount on hotel bookings10 per cent off on the UAE tourist visa

Apparel Group announces joint venture with Steve Madden

Apparel Group, a leading global fashion conglomerate is proud to announce a joint venture with America’s No.1 Contemporary Fashion footwear brand, Steve Madden. As a result of the joint venture agreement, Apparel Group aims to significantly expand Steve Madden’s footprint in the GCC, Africa, Egypt, Türkiye and CIS countries. Known for leading fashion brands throughout the GCC and globally, Apparel Group is the partner of choice for some of the world's most desirable fashion brands and currently boasts more than 2010 stores throughout 14 countries, with over 78 brands.Apparel Group and Steve Madden are committed to fostering a strong cultural identity for the joint venture, building on Apparel Group’s long-standing history of brands and its innovative quantitative approaches that have been core to their success. This new joint venture aims to expand these strengths and bring in new and unique perspectives, expertise, and insights to better serve its customers.Currently, Steve Madden has 11 stores in the UAE and 21 stores throughout the GCC region. To reinforce its commitment, Apparel Group plans to open 13 new Steve Madden stores in 2023. Over the next five years, Apparel Group aims to open 50 Steve Madden stores and launch an online platform ( in the GCC to provide customers with an omnichannel experience.Neeraj Teckchandani, CEO of Apparel Group said, “Apparel Group’s philosophy has always been to be associated with the leading international brands with the vision to ensure, increase, and solidify their commercial status on a global scale. Continuing Apparel Group’s commitment to providing an elevated shopping experience to our loyal customers, we are proud to be partnering up with Steve Madden and further expanding our strong retail footprint in the GCC region.”Ian Funk, President of International, Steven Madden, Ltd. commented, “Since entering the GCC market over ten years ago, we have experienced significant growth to our business. Given the importance of this critical market for our consumer and brand, we are pleased to be entering into a joint venture agreement with best-in-class partners, Apparel Group, and look forward to continued growth in the region as we capitalize on our strong momentum.”Steve Madden GCC store locationsUAE: Dubai Marina Mall / Mall of Emirates / The Dubai Mall / City Centre Deira / City Centre Mirdif / City Centre Al Zahia / Sahara Center / Mariyah Central / Dalma Mall / Al Wahda Mall / Bawadi MallQATAR: Mall of Qatar / Doha Festival City / Villagio MallKSA, Riyadh: Nakheel Mall, Panorama Mall, Hayat MallDammam: Nakheel Mall, Mall of DhahranJeddah: Mall of ArabiaKUWAIT: Al Kout Mall

Breakbulk Middle East 2023 builds the next generation of industry leaders

Held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Breakbulk Middle East, the leading breakbulk and project cargo event in the region, aims to promote the growth of the industry by educating young aspiring professionals about the sector. Scheduled to take place on the 14th of February 2023, at the Dubai World Trade Centre, BBME’s Education Day will bring together students from key universities and academies in the region to gain a real-world understanding of what a career in this industry has to offer from prominent industry leaders.The first half of the day will feature a series of informative sessions, including “The World of Breakbulk – Case Study”, where industry professionals will share insights on recent breakbulk projects; “Career Opportunities”, during which, prospects lying in the sector will be discussed; and “Student Success Stories”, where fresh graduates working in the industry will provide details on their work-related experiences.New this year are career roundtables where students will join representatives from different sectors to learn more about careers in a small group. Finally, students will be taken on a guided tour of the exhibition floor where they will network with selected exhibitors.Capt. Rami Al Breiki, Chairman, YoungShip UAE said: “As a body focused on supporting the progress of young professionals in the shipping industry, we are always keen on backing initiatives such as the “Education Day”. The fact that the initiative not only attracts the attention of the youth towards this vital sector, but also connects them with some of the leading organisations in the industry, helps it stand out as one of the most successful steps in securing valuable work opportunities for our next generation of industry leaders. The sector we operate in carries over 90 per cent of global trade, making it the most crucial industry in facilitating the flow of goods from one place to another. This makes having the right kind of knowledge about the sector’s operations necessary. Learning directly from industry professionals about the sector’s operations during the “Education Day” will help greatly in this purpose.”Empowering aspiring industry professionalsThe 2023 edition of Breakbulk Middle East received the support of several leading education institutes from across the region. These include, Abu Dhabi Maritime Academy, Aries International Maritime Research Institute, Birla Institute of Technology, Higher Colleges of Technology, Jordan Maritime Academy, Lloyd's Maritime Academy, London American City College, Middlesex University Dubai, and Murdoch University.Farhan Saeed, Assistant Professor - Engineering Technology & Science, Faculty of Engineering, HCT said: “We at HCT believe that it is very important to focus on education across all industries in the UAE. The essence of successful economic growth stems from a strong education and knowledge base. Which is why, we offer full support to initiatives such as the “Education Day”. Such initiatives encourage the professional development of aspiring industry workers by enhancing their skills and knowledge, in addition to enabling a better understanding of the sector’s operations via direct interaction with industry leaders. We genuinely believe that Breakbulk Middle East is taking a bold step towards emphasising the importance of education by partnering with top institutes and academies in the region, thus ensuring that the industry will be in good hands in the future.”Securing the future of the sectorSpeaking on the need to enhance the capabilities of aspiring industry professionals in order to secure the future of the sector, Dr. Sreejith Balasubramanian, Head, Centre for Supply Chain Excellence, and Chair of the Research Committee at Middlesex University Dubai said: “The UAE has great prominence as a global breakbulk and project cargo hub. It is essential for the country to execute consistent and long-term actions on all fronts of the industry to maintain this status, and this undeniably includes education. The next generation of our workforce will surely be a key factor in the industry’s success, and properly informing the youth and presenting them with opportunities to grasp will serve as the right step towards positively shaping the sector. We are really looking forward to partnering with an internationally renowned conference such as Breakbulk Middle East to inform and encourage our students to consider breakbulk as a career option. Through our collaboration with the event, we look forward to reinforcing the country’s vision to stay on the lead, not only in the breakbulk sector, but across all other industries as well.”Ben Blamire, Event Director, Breakbulk Middle East said: “The participation of so many educational institutions and maritime academies demonstrates how important Breakbulk Middle East Education Day is for the future growth of the industry. Our approach is practical and effective, connecting students with industry leaders who represent real career opportunities.”

UAE Pro League board reviews preparations for UAE Super Cup

The UAE Pro League's board of directors held a meeting to review preparations for the 15th edition of the UAE Super Cup, which is set to take place on February 25th at Al Maktoum Stadium.The meeting was chaired by the UAE Pro League Chairman Abdulla Naser Al Jneibi and attended by Vice President Jamal Hamed Al Marri and board members Mohammed Obaid Al Yamahi, Hassan Taleb Al Marri, Tariq Ali Al Shabibi, Saeed Obaid Al Kaabi, and Jawaher Abdulaziz Al Suwaidi, as well as the UAE Pro League's Chief Executive Officer Waleed Ibrahim Al Hosani, Business Development Consultant Dr. Khalid Mohammed Abdullah, and directors of the UAE Pro League's various departments.The match will feature ADNOC Pro League's titleholders Al Ain and the champions of the UAE President's Cup, Sharjah.The board directed the organising team to enhance marketing and promotional efforts for the event and also discussed initiatives to increase fan attendance during the current sports season.They also reviewed progress reports, executive management reports, and updates on projects and initiatives being undertaken by the UAE Pro League to upgrade the professional football system in all aspects, including technical and administrative.

‘Sharjah Tourism’ launches a competition

To highlight amazing culinary experiences and to bolster the quality of hospitality services in the emirate, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has enabled the emirate’s hotels and resorts to compete and harness the expertise of their respective chefs in nurturing the overall experience of all visitors and residents, while providing a variety of Arab and international cuisine options.In this regard, the SCTDA organised the ‘Etbakh’ competition on ?Wednesday, January 25th, at the Flag Island, bringing together chefs from Sharjah’s hotels and resorts to showcase international dishes with an Emirati twist.Throughout the competition, participating chefs showcased their spciality dishes, expertly blending various cultures and infusing the unique elements of international cuisine with the rich and aromatic flavours of their Emirati counterpart ingredients, creating savoury dishes that represent Sharjah’s cultural diversity.The participating chefs were from four and five-star hotels in the emirate, including The Chedi Al Bait, Coral Beach Resort Sharjah, Al Majaz Première Deluxe Hotel Apartments, Al Hamra Hotel, Sharjah Palace Hotel, Holiday International, DoubleTree by Hilton, Golden Tulip, and Sharjah Corniche.The dishes were evaluated by a jury comprising Emirati chefs Talal Kokash, Senior Executive, Sharjah Hospitality Group, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, and Saud Al Matrooshi, Executive Chef at Emirates Flight Catering, Emirates Airlines. They were joined by Amani Al Hammadi, Senior Executive, Tourism Standards Department, SCTDA.Through the competition, SCTDA aims to reinforce hospitality services and instil a culture of innovation and creativity, as well as inspire creative talented chefs from all nationalities and cultures.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi celebrates six-fold growth of passengers

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the ultra-low-fare national airline of the UAE, today announced its outstanding operational results for 2022. The joint venture established between ADQ and Wizz Air Holdings PLC enjoyed a record-breaking 2022, operating more than 6,000 flights and transporting more than 1.2 million adventurous travellers. The national airline carried over 600,000 point-to-point passengers to the UAE in 2022, supporting the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors and unlocking an eclectic mix of travel opportunities for travellers from all classes.  The airline supports the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism vision to welcome the world to Abu Dhabi, connecting cultures and inspiring generations to embark on journeys of creativity and discovery. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is looking forward to future growth, in line with the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031, and further strengthen the position of the UAE as one of the best destinations in the world for tourism. Wizz Air currently flies to a total of 36 destinations to 25 different countries from Abu Dhabi and is ready to accelerate and expand operations further in 2023, providing cost-effective, unique experiences for travel lovers looking to explore. The airline is now the second largest carrier in Abu Dhabi by seat capacity and continues to deliver on its promise of making travel possible for everyone and contributing to the continued development of the tourism sector in the UAE.  Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has doubled the size of its fleet and organisation with a 100 percent growth from 4 to 8 state-of-the-art brand-new A321-neo aircraft. The average fleet age is 1 year, ensuring the airline meets its commitment to sustainability with the lowest environmental footprint in the region. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has proudly introduced a new segment of travel in the UAE in line with the country’s socio-economic vision with recent exciting expansions into Central Asia, The Maldives and across the Gulf Region allowing for convenient, self-connecting travel across the wider Wizz Air network via the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is constantly developing the UAE network to share the love of travel with tourists and residents benefitting from hassle-free, point-to-point travel to culturally rich destinations including vibrant cities and natural paradises. Michael Berlouis, Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi said: “We are proud of all our achievements during this record-breaking year and are delighted to carry over one million passengers. We connect people to create great memories and we would like to thank all our customers that has given us the chance to welcome them on our aircraft. Our incredible growth during 2022 reflects our commitment to making affordable travel possible for everyone and continuing the growth of the burgeoning tourism sector in the UAE. Our expanding fleet of state-of-the-art Airbus A321neo aircraft, serve an ever-growing number of must-see travel destinations and we are ambitious in continuing to deliver travel options that are more convenient and affordable for everyone. We are excited for 2023 and we look forward to seeing you on board our young and sustainable aircraft soon.” Strategically located in the UAE, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi provides ultra-low fare, hassle-free and efficient travel options to Alexandria (Egypt), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Amman (Jordan), Ankara (Turkey), Aqaba (Jordan), Athens (Greece), Baku (Azerbaijan), Belgrade (Serbia), Dammam (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait City (Kuwait), Kutaisi (Georgia), Manama (Bahrain), Male (Maldives), Medina (Saudi Arabia), Muscat (Oman), Nur Sultan (Kazakhstan), Salalah (Oman), Santorini (Greece), Samarkand (Uzbekistan), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Tel-Aviv (Israel), Tirana (Albania) and Yerevan (Armenia) among others. Passengers can book tickets with confidence, thanks to WIZZ Flex. With WIZZ Flex, passengers can cancel their flight up to three hours before departure without any fee and receive 100% of the fare immediately reimbursed in airline credit.

Jacques Brent takes over the reins of Al-Futtaim Toyota & Lexus UAE

 Al-Futtaim Automotive has announced a new Managing Director for Toyota & Lexus UAE, Jacques Brent. He takes the helm of two of the UAE’s most popular and best-selling automotive brands, with a mission to propel the business forward across diverse verticals and achieve planned improvements in customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention across sales and after-sales, advance green mobility objectives, and develop future-proof solutions to create a seamless omnichannel experience that embodies Al-Futtaim Automotive’s customer-centric service offering.Over a nearly 30-year stellar automotive career, Jacques has amassed diverse expertise, including senior level positions in marketing, finance, sales and business management in Ford, while also steering the pre-owned sector advancement of South Africa’s largest independent dealer group, Halfway; a stint which added to his diverse spectrum of experiences.Prior to his move to South Africa, Jacques enjoyed a highly successful 24-year career with Ford, starting at Ford’s South Africa operation in 1995, and culminating in a role as Global Director, Product Marketing at Ford’s HQ in Dearborn, Michigan. In this role, he was responsible for alignment between Ford’s Marketing and Product Development activities, including improving the product planning process, representing the voice of the customer for all Ford and Lincoln products globally, and leading pricing strategy.Brent’s first experience in Asia Pacific came with a move to Ford’s Shanghai office to take on the role of Executive Marking Director for the Asia Pacific and Africa region, following a successful term as Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Service for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. Jacques then served as the President of Ford Middle East & Africa, where he led the company’s operations across 70 markets at the newly-launched business unit headquartered in Dubai.During the latter part of his career, Jacques was deeply involved in Ford’s transition to electric vehicles, experience which will prove pivotal in supporting Al-Futtaim Automotive’s sustainable mobility strategy.Commenting on the appointment, Jacques shared, “I am extremely excited to join Al-Futtaim Automotive, the UAE’s automotive market leader, in a time of global challenges and huge opportunity. As the industry moves into an era of unprecedented disruption, being able to work with Al-Futtaim Automotive to develop the highly regarded Toyota and Lexus brands, which are household names in the UAE, through this transition will be a highly rewarding experience. I look forward to meeting these challenges with the exceptional level of service excellence that customers have come to expect from Al-Futtaim.”Also speaking on the future of mobility and aligning the business with the wider vision of the UAE on sustainability, Jacques said, “The speed at which the UAE’s National Smart Mobility and electrification objectives are progressing is truly impressive. This, together with vehicle connectivity, will be the largest disruption to the automotive industry in this decade. In the UAE, the government has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and I look forward to guiding Toyota and Lexus in supporting the UAE leadership’s efforts towards green mobility and electrification for the years to come.”

Dubai Festival City Mall concludes Dubai Shopping Festival with ‘DSF final sale’

As Dubai Shopping Festival comes to an end, Dubai Festival City Mall, operated by Al-Futtaim Malls, has announced a Final Sale for shoppers to take advantage of further discounts, this weekend only.Taking place from 27th – 29th January, customers can avail 10% cashback on the Festival Mall Gift Card with a minimum spend of AED 1,000 at the mall inclusive of retail and F&B outlets. Discover a variety of popular outlets from beauty, fashion, electronics, to home and interiors, as well as a variety of restaurants, cafés and speciality F&B locations.In addition, Fazaa and Esaad card holders will be able to claim 15% cashback when spending AED 1000 or more.Terms and conditions apply including original receipts are to be presented as copies of receipts, credit card, photographed or SMS receipts will not be accepted at the Customer Service Desk and multiple receipts are accepted, but must be dated the same day as redemption. Each shopper can obtain one Festival Mall Gift Card each day throughout the DSF Final Sale, so get ready to shop and dine the weekend away at Dubai Festival City Mall!Residents and visitors alike can look forward to retail therapy from international and homegrown brands, as well as live entertainment and more for shoppers, foodies, and families this DSF at Dubai Festival City Mall. Shoppers should also make a stop at Vibes by the Bay, running daily until May 2023 across the iconic Festival Bay. The market provides food options, locally made buys, live entertainment, and activities—in addition to the ever popular IMAGINE show.

Rixos Bab Al Bahr announces appointment of new GM

Rixos Bab Al Bahr, Ras Al Khaimah has announced the appointment of Ahmed Elnawawy as General Manager, making the award-winning, family-friendly, luxury hotel the newest venture in his 22-year-long career with top hospitality brand names.In this role he will bring his unique expertise, strategic market insight, and strong leadership skills to Rixos Bab Al Bahr and shall report directly to Cenk Unverdi, Regional Managing Director at Rixos Hotels Gulf. Elnawawy will be responsible for leading, shaping, and executing the hotel’s overall strategy and business operations.A seasoned luxury hospitality professional with a strong background in operations, guest satisfaction, and revenue generation. Elnawawy is passionate about delivering creative strategies to drive high levels of operational performance.Commenting on Elnawawy’s appointment, Cenk Unverdi said: “Rixos Bab Al Bahr is a unique property that is well positioned to capitalise on Ras Al Khaimah's growing appeal as the fastest growing holiday destination, and it'll need visionary leadership to ensure it remains competitive. I'm confident that Elnawawy has the necessary experience to successfully meet this challenge”    Ahmed Elnawawy added: “I am excited to join an already well-established, luxury resort. I intend to create an atmosphere where team members feel empowered and can add value to the Rixos brand that stands out as a top family, resort destination around the world. I would like to thank the team for a warm welcome and I can’t wait to get started.”Elnawawy joins Rixos Bab Al Bahr from Emaar group where his most recent role was Head of Emaar Customer Excellence. Elnawawy also held several leadership roles within the Emaar Group between 2016 and 2022. He joined them in the role of Director of Rooms at the Address Dubai Mall, followed by General Manager at Manzil Downtown, General Manager at the Address Fountain Views, and General Manager at the Palace Downtown. In addition, Elnawawy is no stranger to Rixos. Between 2013 and 2015, he held the role of Rooms Division Manager at Rixos The Palm Dubai.

ASDA’A BCW appoints industry expert Rami Halawani as Executive VP

 ASDA’A BCW, the region’s leading communications consultancy, has appointed Rami Halawani, a strategic communications and marketing professional with over two decades of experience, as its Executive Vice President – Client Services.He will focus on strengthening key client relationships, delivering counsel to elevate campaigns, provide reputation and crisis management counsel, and build new business partnerships. Rami was an integral part of the Agency’s regional growth from 2002 to 2009 as Regional Director – Levant and North Africa, managing wholly-owned and affiliate offices in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, in addition to leading the Consumer Marketing and Healthcare practices.He joins the Agency from Dubai Chambers, where he was Director – Marketing & Corporate Communication for over 12 years, responsible for implementing the Chambers’ global communications strategy and engaging internal and external stakeholders. Welcoming Rami, Sunil John, President – MENA of BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW, said: “It is such a delight to welcome back Rami, who has played a key role in building our regional network. Rami will provide in-depth counsel to our clients with his demonstrated skills in integrated and digital-first communications as we chart a new growth strategy in 2023 focused on delivering exceptional client service."Rami said: “This is a true home-coming for me. With the communications industry evolving at a tremendous pace, it is important that Agencies focus on real value addition through service diversification and innovation – and ASDA’A BCW has been at the forefront especially with the region’s most quoted thought leadership initiative – the annual Arab Youth Survey and the recent launch of the innovative ESG advisory OnePoint5”.Rami started his career with Weber Shandwick PR in Dubai as Account Manager and Arabic Media Relations Manager. A graduate in Literature with Post Graduation in Translation and Interpretation and is fluent in English, Arabic, French and Italian.Having won ‘Best Agency – UAE’ – a historic recognition for a PR firm - at the Campaign Agency of the Year Middle East awards and the 2022 Best PR/Communications Agency, ASDA’A BCW is enhancing its value offerings for clients through innovative approaches to Public Relations.