Saudi Arabian AI giant Mozn forays into the UAE

DubaI: Saudi Arabia’s Mozn, a market leader in enterprise artificial-intelligence technologies, today announced a regional expansion that will take the company into the thriving AI, finance and fintech markets of the United Arab Emirates and the GCC.The announcement came at the Dubai Fintech Summit, held at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, where Mozn’s senior executives spoke on the need for AML/CFT (anti-money-laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism) and fraud-prevention technologies. Mozn’s expansion into the GCC market through its UAE office will see it provide innovative regulatory compliance and anti-fraud solutions powered by advanced AI. Aimed at financial institutions such as banks, digital banks, fintechs and other large financial organisations, these solutions make it easier to see the whole board and identify suspicious behaviour patterns in real time.“The UAE has been making significant strides in enhancing its AML compliance and combating financial fraud, and Mozn’s entry into the UAE market will help accelerate these efforts,” said Dr. Mohammed Alhussein, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Mozn. “We are excited to begin this next chapter in Mozn’s growth journey as we enter the broader GCC market through our UAE office. We look forward to collaborating with prominent financial institutions in these markets, re-enforcing their compliance stance and further improving the stability of these nation's financial sectors through our anti-fraud solutions. Mozn firmly believes that our collective efforts contribute to these government's economic diversification initiatives, and it will leave no stone unturned in doing so.”The Dubai FinTech Summit brings together enterprises, governments, thought leaders, and policy makers, to network and collaborate on the development of technology, regulations, and best practices with a view to accelerating financial innovation.Mozn’s FOCAL – the AI-powered risk and compliance platform - plays a significant role in the region’s fight against financial crime and is bolstering compliance across the sector. FOCAL AML screens and monitors customers and their transaction using advanced name-matching algorithms that are uniquely optimized for Arabic language and names and reconciles them against more than 1,300 automatically updated global and local sanctions and PEP lists to help satisfy AML and KYC/KYB requirementsFOCAL Anti-fraud, proactively identifies suspicious patterns and prevents criminals from successfully defrauding organisations and their clients by confirming the identity of payees automatically by checking data input against the destination account’s records.FOCAL combines a wealth of datapoints to score risk (for both fraud and money laundering) that automates a custom next action based on the highly configurable rules and the organization’s own risk appetite. Clients using FOCAL by Mozn are making better informed strategic decisions, getting compliant fast and staying that way as well as increasing team efficiency and reducing investigation time by up to 95%

The Beauty Secrets" continues to expand in the Middle East

Riyadh:  The Beauty Secrets, a Saudi-based company specializing in offering premium European beauty products, is pleased to announce its expansion in the Middle East with the opening of its first branch in Jordan. The expansion is a testament to the company's commitment to providing high-quality beauty products to its customers.The Beauty Secrets was founded in 2009 by a team of beauty experts who are passionate about providing the best possible products to the Saudi market. The company's success is due to its focus on quality, authenticity, and customer satisfaction. The company has made a name for itself by providing European beauty products to customers in Saudi Arabia with 170 different locations across the Kingdom, and its expansion to Jordan is a natural progression in its mission to bring high-quality beauty products to the Middle East.The opening of the company's first branch in Jordan is an important milestone for The Beauty Secrets. The new branch is located in Amman, one of the most vibrant cities in the region. The Beauty Secrets' customers in Jordan will now have access to a wide range of premium European beauty products, including skincare, haircare, makeup, and fragrances."We are excited to bring The Beauty Secrets to Jordan," said Mr. Amro Al-syaweh, Founder & CEO of "The Beauty Secrets". "We believe that our commitment to quality, authenticity, and customer satisfaction will resonate with customers in Jordan, just as it has with our customers in Saudi Arabia. We are confident that our premium European beauty products will be well received in Jordan, and we look forward to serving our new customers there."The Beauty Secrets' expansion in the Middle East is part of its long-term strategy to become a leading beauty company in the region. The company plans to open more branches in the coming months, including in other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.Also, The Beauty Secrets' expansion in the Middle East is a positive sign for the company and its customers. The company's dedication to quality and authenticity has made it a trusted name in the Saudi beauty industry, and its expansion will allow it to reach even more customers and provide them with the same exceptional products that have made it a popular choice.“The Beauty Secrets” is committed to providing its customers with the best possible products and services. The company's expansion in the Middle East is a reflection of this commitment, and it is poised to become a leading beauty company in the region.

StickyGinger expands offering and reveals new brand identity

Dubai: After over a decade in the region providing world-class PR services to iconic global brands, StickyGinger today announces it is broadening its offering to include social media, digital, and creative services. The creative & communications agency, now with four talented teams that work both independently, or together as a single, integrated force, marks the news of its growth with the launch of its new website - is also launching its in-house Creative Studio, housing creatives, art directors, animators, digital designers, videographers, content creators and copywriters. The Creative Studio will support the agency’s PR, Social Media and Digital departments as well as provide standalone creative services to local, regional and global brands.Lucy Freeman, Founding Partner of StickyGinger, said: “Our shift towards a more integrated approach comes in response to the demands and needs of our clients. More and more we are seeing brands require end-to-end communications solutions that help meet their communication as well as commercial objectives. Our new in-house studio, social and digital expertise, perfectly complements our PR mindset to deliver award-winning work for some of the biggest and most recognisable brands in the world.”The agency’s Creative Studio has already been instrumental in the launch of Levi’s latest out-of-home Ramadan campaign, “Good Today, Better Tomorrow.” delivering the concept, production, artwork and social media assets. The outdoor advertising campaign is live across the UAE and KSA and can also been seen in-store and via Levi’s regional social media channels.As part of the expansion of the agency, StickyGinger has revealed a bold new visual identity. Inspired by the idea that “Great Work Matters”, the agency’s new brand is intended to let its ideas do the talking.StickyGinger was founded in 2011 and has since grown to over 50 consultants across Dubai and Riyadh. It counts Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Bang & Olufsen, De’Longhi Group, Michelin Guide Dubai, Marriott and more within its current client portfolio.

Al-Futtaim Toyota named best sports brand at MENA Sports Industry Awards

Dubai: Al-Futtaim Toyota has been recognised for its outstanding achievements in the MENA region’s sports industry with the receipt of the Gold Award in the category of the Best Innovative Sports Brand of the Year award at the 10th annual Sports Industry Awards for 2023, a night that celebrated the best talent and efforts from across region in a glamorous gala ceremony at Atlantis, The Palm.Chosen by a resounding public vote, the award was presented in recognition of the successful staging of the Toyota Motorsport Academy, a ground-breaking grassroots initiative from Al-Futtaim Toyota. The Academy brought the UAE’s automotive and off-roading communities together in a first-of-its-kind driver development programme designed to enhance their sporting skills and talent, and give one participant the chance to become the 2023 Al-Futtaim Toyota Gazoo Racing Off-Road Ambassador for the UAE. All the heart-racing excitement and passion of the Toyota Motorsport Academy is now streaming on Shahid, as the region’s first homegrown motorsports reality TV series.Al-Futtaim Toyota was also nominated for two other awards on the night in the categories of Best Event and Best Sports Marketing Campaign.Established in the Middle East in 2012, the Sports Industry Awards series is the official celebration of the leaders, decision-makers, organisations, facilities, and campaigns that have contributed to the development of sport in the Middle East.Commenting on the occasion, Jacques Brent, Managing Director, Al-Futtaim Toyota & Lexus, said: “Al-Futtaim Toyota is deeply committed to supporting the sporting community and upholding the spirit of adventure, fair competition and the pursuit of excellence that are found in both amateur and professional sports events. We are therefore extremely proud to receive the award for Best Innovative Sports Brand, which recognises the incredible efforts the team at Al-Futtaim Toyota and their partners put into hosting this hugely successful first edition of the Toyota Motorsport Academy. We are thrilled at this overwhelming recognition, which is a culmination of Al-Futtaim Toyota’s decades-long commitment and support for the region’s sporting industry. Through our partnership with the Sports Industry Awards, as well as initiatives such as the Toyota Motorsport Academy, we can further develop this culture and our historic ties with the region’s sporting community, and engage and give back to them by recognising, and rewarding the highest achievers in sports in the MENA region.”Katib Belkhodja, Customer Centricity Director at Al-Futtaim Automotive, added, “Being named the Best Innovative Sports Brand in the region is a proud and humbling moment, and certainly a strong endorsement of our strategy from the region’s motorsport industry and community. While we sponsor major sporting events in the UAE (Dubai Baja and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge), we wanted to develop a programme where we put our customers and motorsport fans at the centre of all the action, by giving them a chance to compete and achieve their sporting dreams. This inspired the launch of the new Toyota Motorsport Academy, which added a new dimension to our customer engagement, both offline and online, and this is something that only the most popular automotive brand in the country could make happen – Al-Futtaim Toyota. From the beginning our mission has been to own the motorsports territory, and this has been clearly reaffirmed by the award.”Building on our 50-Year Motorsports HeritageGlobally, Toyota has an illustrious sporting history spanning five decades of successful participations in the World Rally Championship, Formula One, FIA Cross Country World Cup and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. From the championship-winning Toyota Yaris GR WRC to the Toyota Hilux that has enjoyed huge success in the Dakar Rally, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and the Dubai Baja, Toyota vehicles have championed the spirit of motorsport at the highest level, both on and off the road.Within the UAE, Al-Futtaim Toyota is committed to supporting the motorsports industry, with sponsorship of iconic home-grown sporting events including the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and the Dubai Baja.January 2023 witnessed another exciting chapter in the motorsports heritage of Toyota with the launch of the UAE’s first Toyota Motorsport Academy, offering the off-roading community a chance to hone their skills and become serious contenders within the arena. The programme initially received an incredible 1200 applications, shortlisted to the top 150 with participation from 13 different nationalities, with a strong showing from UAE nationals and women racers – a remarkable achievement for the first edition of the Academy.

Ripple expands in the Middle East

Dubai: On the back of strong growth in the Middle East, Ripple, the leader in enterprise blockchain and crypto solutions, is expanding its presence in Dubai by opening a new office location in the heart of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and bringing Swell Global 2023, the seventh edition of its annual customer conference, to Dubai on November 8-9.Ripple has long focused on serving customers around the world with over 90% of the company’s business outside the US. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is a key market for the company, with around 20% of all RippleNet customers, such as SABB, Qatar National Bank, Lulu Financial Holdings, Al-Ansari Exchange, and RAK Bank, based here. Over half of Ripple’s MENA payment volume consists of cross-border payments such as remittances from the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to India. In 2020, the company chose the DIFC as the location for its MENA headquarters due to Dubai’s innovation-forward regulations, expansive network and reputation as a leading global financial centre.“We chose Dubai as both a key office for Ripple, and to bring Swell Global to the city, in large part due to its forward-thinking regulatory environment. Regulators here have risen to the challenge of establishing a framework that allows the local crypto industry to thrive, create jobs and increase economic growth, while also ensuring participants act in a responsible manner, ” said Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO. “Dubai is playing an important part in shaping the world’s future economy. By demonstrating truly visionary leadership, the Emirate has positioned itself as an exciting fintech hub that is embracing crypto and blockchain technologies to bring innovation and foreign investment into the space.“

Abu Dhabi partners with Ranveer Singh as Destination Brand Ambassador

Abu Dhabi: Experience Abu Dhabi has today announced Indian superstar, and pop culture icon Ranveer Singh, as an official ambassador, inspiring visitors to discover the diverse range of experiences that can be enjoyed on a trip to Abu Dhabi. During the two-year partnership, Ranveer will share his holiday highlights, inviting Indian travelers to find their pace in Abu Dhabi and enjoy everything that the destination has to offer, from an action-packed calendar of events including IIFA, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi NBA Games, to the variety of adventures and cultural experiences that can inspire, excite and restore. Ranveer commences his exciting role by starring in Abu Dhabi’s new summer campaign film, ‘One Summer Isn’t Enough’. In the film, audiences will witness Ranveer explore some of Abu Dhabi’s hotspots, from soaking up the sun in the chilled pools of Saadiyat Beach Club to taking in the wonder at Louvre Abu Dhabi and racing around the famous Yas Marina Circuit, before enjoying retail therapy at one of the city’s incredible malls. A true showman, Ranveer could not leave Abu Dhabi without perfecting the iconic Al Ayyala dance – deeply rooted in UAE culture, it involves performers using thin bamboo canes to move to the steady beat of drums. Ranveer's infectious enthusiasm and passion for Abu Dhabi is sure to inspire every traveler to add Abu Dhabi to their summer bucket list. With so many things to do, summer is an ideal time to visit the UAE capital. Just like Ranveer, Indian travellers can be inspired by Abu Dhabi’s rich culture and heritage scene across23 locations, including Qasr Al Hosn and the presidential palace of Qasr Al Watan. Alternatively, those looking for adventure can reach new heights at one of Abu Dhabi’s many theme parks including Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, couples can escape to a private and secluded desert island retreat of Nurai Island, just 15 minutes away by boat, or enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime meal at one of Abu Dhabi’s recently awarded Michelin-starred and Michelin-recognised restaurants. An exciting calendar of events will make this an unforgettable summer, including the return of IIFA in May, unrivalled family fun at Paw Patrol Live, as well as an exhilarating concert by rock legends Gun n’ Roses. Ranveer Singh commented, “I am delighted to be the destination ambassador for Abu Dhabi This is the most fun I've had behind the camera! I've been visiting the emirate for years, and it feels like a second home to me. Now, I have the opportunity to share what makes it so special with the world. Every time I visit, there is something new to discover, and I always leave with countless memories and a strong desire to return. With so much to see and do, and just a short three-hour flight from Mumbai, Abu Dhabi is a must-visit holiday destination for everyone to experience." Her Excellency Nouf AlBoushelaibi, Executive Director, Strategic Marketing & Communication Sector, Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, commented: "We are excited to announce Superstar Ranveer Singh as our Abu Dhabi brand ambassador for the Indian market. With his energy and passion for travel, Ranveer embodies the spirit of Abu Dhabi - a destination that offers a diverse range of experiences for everyone to enjoy at their own pace. Through this partnership, we aim to share Ranveer's love for Abu Dhabi with India and the world, and showcase the destination's unique and captivating offerings, from its unrivalled family fun to its intangible heritage and culture, stunning nature and adventure, and everything in between. We look forward to an exciting two-year journey with Ranveer, as we continue to create unforgettable experiences for our visitors." As well as an action-packed calendar, visitors will be able to make the most of their summer holiday in Abu Dhabi with an exclusive, limited-time deal of ‘stay more, pay less’ for trips booked between four to seven nights. Valid from 1 May to 30 September, and available to book from 8 March, travellers can opt for a city getaway, select a gorgeous resort surrounded by turquoise waters, or book a family escape for the kids to enjoy at an amazing value.

Arab Advisors Group unveils report on MENA's 5G status

Amman: In preparation for the launch of its 5G summit in June 2023, Arab Advisors Group released a new comprehensive analytical telecommunication report. The report focuses on countries across MENA with and without launched 5G services. Arab Advisors Group shed the light on 5G network expansions and coverages, as well as disclosed 5G-related indicators. As for countries without 5G launches, the report further examined the role of governmental bodies in facilitating successful 5G launches in the Middle East and North Africa, and 5G trials among telcos in preparation towards their launches.Under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, Arab Advisors Group, a leading provider of research and analysis in the telecom and media industries, is proud to announce its upcoming 5G Summit ( in Amman, Jordan, in June 6, 2023 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.5G technology promises to bring a massive enhancement for businesses and people, with a significant paradigm shift in communications and technology. However, the 5G promise is yet to be delivered. In its 17th summit this year, Arab Advisors Group will bring together thought leaders, stakeholders, C-Level executives, and directors from across the MENA region to share their expertise and thoughts about the true promises and the challenges of a viable 5G launch.Governmental bodies play vital roles in facilitating and catalyzing successful 5G launches - setting clear 5G roadmaps and strategies, and publicly disclosing adequate and timely indicators to name a few. Roadmaps and strategies present governments’ expectations for digitized and well-developed ICT sectors, and highlight telecom operators’ part in supporting their governments’ visions. The advancement of any ecosystem is also strongly tied to publicly disclosed key performance indicators (“KPIs”). Sources of similar indicators vary across the telecom industry; nevertheless, the most credible and expected source of indicators is governmental bodies.Governmental bodies are not the sole contributors towards successful 5G launches. Telecom operators play imperative part in pushing towards 5G launches through network upgrades, expansions, and 5G trials. In alignment with its summit launch, Arab Advisors Group released a new analytical report which tackles prerequisite measures by telecom operators and regulators to ensure successful 5G network launches across the MENA region. Arab Advisors Group further discusses 5G network coverages for MENA-based telecom operators, highlighting a wide range of achievements in the GCC. Lastly, we present 5G-related KPIs released by telecom regulators and operators in the Gulf.As part of its continuous reliable primary research-based analysis, Arab Advisors Group released this report which answers the following questions:How are MENA governmental bodies catalyzing smooth and successful 5G launches?Do MENA’s telecom markets have adequate and timely disclosed 5G-related indicators?What preparation measures are telecom operators in the Arab World taking towards their 5G launches?How intense are 5G trials in Arab countries without commercial 5G services?How did the GCC’s 5G markets differ during a span of 4 years in terms of coverages and expansions?“According to our findings, about 30% of the telecom operators in Arab countries without commercial 5G services announced 5G trials. The intensity of these trials is considered low, with Tunisia being the only country with sufficient 5G trial announcements between June 2019 and February 2023.” Ms. Hiba Rabadi, Arab Advisors Group’s Deputy General Manager noted. “The lack of announcements may not indicate a lack of trials but rather a lack of public disclosure. Overall, the modest number of trials and their low intensity suggest that more work is needed for operators to select suitable solutions and understand network behavior in real-life situations.” Added Rabadi.“One noticeable advancement in the GCC’s 5G networks is the transition towards standalone 5G (“5G SA”). A few telecom operators across Kuwait, KSA, and the UAE announced transitioning from non-standalone 5G networks to 5G SA ones, while others announced testing their 5G SA networks.” noted Rabadi.Arab Advisors Group will be releasing a new report series with a focus on each GCC country. The series will overview 5G services on an operator level, frequency bands utilized, and collaborations with telecom vendors to launch 5G. Additionally, Arab Advisors Group will examine 5G monetization by telecom operators, alongside disclosed benefits of 5G. Lastly, the series will shed the light on governmental support in each country towards successful launches.Arab Advisors Group published four individual reports pertaining to each region (The GCC and Yemen, The Maghreb, The Levant, and Egypt and Sudan) with separate data sheets detailing all OTT offerings per region.Please contact Arab Advisors Group for more details or to get a copy of the reports’ Table of Contents.The reports were released to Arab Advisors Group’s subscribers and can be purchased for a fee of US$ 7,000.

Prism Digital launches Euromercato's bespoke e-commerce site

Dubai – Euromercato, a leading food store supplying authentic Italian Food and brands, has hired Prism Digital, a Dubai-based full-service digital marketing company to design a bespoke mobile-first e-commerce website to drive its foray into direct-to-consumer e-commerce business.Prism has built a new custom-made e-commerce website on Shopify platform, with more than 1000+ gourmet products provided by Euromercato. Each section within the e-commerce website design has been customized to create location-centric shipping and delivery across the seven emirates. The multi-device responsive website also has cross-browser compatibility, combined with effective SEO practices to help increase the brand’s online presence by reaching out to a broader audience to accelerate sales.Speaking about the partnership with Prism, Mr. Al Sehhi, Managing Director of Euromercato, commented, “We have partnered with Prism to redesign our entire online presence from our website to social media and SEO. Since they have taken over our digital marketing, our brand visibility and sales have increased and our visual identity online has vastly improved. They manage all our digital marketing and we are very happy with their services. We look forward to working with them over the next couple of years to strengthen our presence online and drive more value to our customers and partners.” Speaking on the website launch, Mr. Lovetto Nazareth, Managing Director, Prism Digital, commented, “Euromercato is looking to capitalize on its quality and reputation in the B2B segment and quickly become a major B2C and even a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand. In this regard, the brand wanted to undergo a detailed strategic and systematic makeover in its website design and functionalities. We understood the requirement of the client backed by our expansive experience in the e-commerce website development space and tailor-made the Euromercato website with a streamlined user journey and “one click sale” methodology.”The Euromercato website is very fast on every device and loads in under 0.28 seconds. The smart technology on the website has integrated lead generation functionalities by capturing, tracking, and contacting leads to ensure that the visitors on the website are converted. Furthermore, it also provides powerful tools to the admin giving them a detailed view of the e-store performance, track sales, traffic sources, and customer behaviour. Its high-end security features, a vast range of third-party integrations, insightful analytics, and user-friendly interface make it one of the most comprehensive websites within the food space category.

How women-led tech startups drive innovations

Dubai: The tech industry has traditionally been male-dominated, but women entrepreneurs are making significant strides and changing the game with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. Women-led tech startups are driving change and creating a more diverse and inclusive industry.A Citigroup report published in 2022 revealed that increasing female representation in the tech industry could add $2 trillion to global GDP. This highlights the importance of creating more opportunities and providing support for women to pursue careers in this field. It is evident that there is a need for increased initiatives aimed at encouraging and empowering women to take on roles in tech.Women entrepreneurs bring unique strengths to the tech industry, including empathy, collaboration, and creativity. They are breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations of women in tech.However, data from the PitchBook Platform reveals that in 2022, companies founded exclusively by women received only 2.1% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups in the US, emphasizing the persistent gender disparity that exists in the venture capital industry. This highlights the need for greater investment in female-led startups.Realiste, an AI-powered proptech company based in Dubai, is proud to have a significant number of women in leadership roles, including Anastasia Denisova, the CEO of Realiste in the MENA region. Under Anastasia's leadership, the company has integrated with 27 real estate developers, attracted more than 50,000 users, and achieved impressive growth. This demonstrates the valuable perspective and expertise that women bring to leadership roles in the tech industry.A report by the Dubai Future Foundation shows that women now make up 45% of the UAE's startup workforce, a significant increase from previous years, indicating a growing trend towards greater gender diversity in the startup industry in the MENA region."Women entrepreneurs bring a unique perspective to leadership in tech that can lead to better innovation and problem-solving," said Anastasia Denisova, CEO of Realiste MENA. "At Realiste, we are committed to promoting inclusivity in all aspects of our operations, and we are proud to see the trend of women's rising role in tech entrepreneurship in MENA."It is clear that there is a need for greater support for women entrepreneurs in the tech industry, such as extending support services, promoting training opportunities that foster growth and development, facilitating access to capital for women business owners, and promoting a female entrepreneurial culture. By providing these resources and opportunities, we can help create a more inclusive and equitable industry that benefits not only women entrepreneurs but also the tech industry and the economy as a whole. It is time to take action and work towards creating a brighter and more diverse future for women in tech entrepreneurship.

Green Corp takes a stake in Badia Farms to expand sustainable food production

Manama, Bahrain: Bahrain-based agribusiness platform Green Corp has acquired a stake in Badia Farms, the GCC’s first vertical farming company supplying gourmet produce to hotels and discerning consumers, to grow its sustainable food production projects across the GCC.The boost from Green Corp and its ultimate owner, leading Shari’ah-compliant global alternative investment company Gulf Islamic Investments (GII), will enable Badia Farms to expand its advanced production models and pesticide-free farms into Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, enhancing regional food production opportunities significantly.Green Corp takes a stake in Badia Farms to expand sustainable food production across the GCC. Image courtesy: Gulf Islamic Investments LLCEstablished in 2016, Badia Farms’ sustainable farming techniques produce nutritious fruits and vegetables without sunlight or soil. Its energy-efficient methods use up to 90% less water than traditionally-grown crops, with significantly higher yields.Omar Al Jundi, Badia Farms’ CEO, commented, “Green Corp’s partnership with Badia Farms demonstrates the strength of local backing for home-grown companies to resolve regional and global challenges. This funding provides Badia Farms with powerful means to enhance healthy domestic food production in the GCC. We look forward to providing premium, locally-produced fruits and vegetables using our high-tech farms across Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.Saleh AlBelushi, CEO of Green Corp, added, “Badia Farms fits perfectly into Green Corp’s regional development plan for food production and processing. Its fine products will be a success in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, as they have been in the UAE. Badia Farms also shares our strong focus on sustainability, as we look for opportunities to develop sustainable agricultural, aquaculture, food processing and production projects across the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). Green Corp would welcome additional partners to develop these regional food sustainability plans together”.

APCO Worldwide acquires Dubai-based NGC International Advisory

APCO Worldwide has acquired NGC International Advisory—multinational agency based in Dubai, specialising in public policy, government affairs and regulatory affairs in the MENA region—and Strategic Advice—Italy-based public affairs firm—APCO CEO Brad Staples announced today.“I sincerely welcome our NGC and Strategic Advice colleagues to APCO and look forward to learning from their regional and global expertise and insight, on which many clients across industries, sectors and regions have relied,” Staples said.NGC is powered by a team of experts with collective experience of nearly a century, serving clients across the region with operations in the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan. NGC Managing Partner Mohamed Bahaa will serve as NGC International Advisory’s CEO and APCO’s managing director of public affairs in the MENA region.“APCO and NGC share deeply rooted values—prioritizing dedication, expertise, passion, equality and diversity—and this common bond makes us stronger collectively,” Bahaa said. “The practice of public affairs is a fairly nascent one in the dynamic MENA region, but one that is critically important to multinational companies and other clients looking to align their objectives with key government priorities, secure their permission to operate and achieve their goals.”Mamoon Sbeih, president of APCO’s MENA region, said, “this acquisition further reinforces APCO’s public affairs offering in the MENA region—providing clients with enhanced public policy advisory and support, government relations and communications management, regulatory affairs support and management, policy and regulation monitoring, industry groups and associations management and executive training programs.”Strategic Advice is an established partner for companies seeking to understand and manage political scenarios and advance their objectives through multistakeholder campaigns. As an independent, non-partisan consultancy, it provides impartial analysis to inform clients and help them reach key decision-makers—at national and local levels—through customized offers tailored to their needs.“I am delighted to return to APCO, where I started my career more than 20 years ago,” Strategic Advice’s founder Gabriele Cirieco said. “Now, more than ever, in a quickly changing world, APCO’s presence in Brussels and in other international hubs is key for Italian companies. Joining forces with APCO allows us to provide clients with presence and support where critical decisions are now made.”Paolo Compostella, president of APCO’s Europe region, said, “I am delighted to welcome Gabriele and all other Strategic Advice colleagues to APCO. It is a welcome return and an injection of additional insights and expertise to a team that has been experiencing extraordinary growth for over a decade. Thanks to our new colleagues we are further deepening APCO’s roots in the Italian ecosystem and strengthening our networks in key businesses, industries and across national and regional institutions. The acquisition was a strategic investment in our core service of planning and executing multistakeholder campaigns that are truly integrated at European and global levels.”For nearly 40 years, APCO has served as a trusted advisor and partner for organizations from around the world seeking to understand, anticipate and respond to the most complex policy issues. APCO’s deep and long-standing relationships with decision-makers and advocacy groups across regions help deliver policy results and drive impact. APCO provides clients with:Insight: policy and political intelligence, legislative and regulatory tracking, stakeholder mapping, landscape analysis and issues monitoring;Strategic Counsel: advocacy and lobbying strategy, relationship building and management, message creation and thought leadership development; andEngagement/Strategic Positioning: grassroots and grasstops advocacy and top-tier media relationships.The addition of NGC and Strategic Advice continues the recent expansion of APCO’s advisory capabilities. In March, APCO made a strategic push into financial communications with the acquisition of Camarco—a London-based financial communications firm, elevating APCO’s C-suite advisory capabilities and spearheading an ambitious move to extend its counsel to stakeholders in the capital markets arena—and added deep change, transformation and employee engagement expertise with the acquisition of Gagen MacDonald—a Chicago-based human-focused transformation and consulting firm, joining two independent and pioneering woman-owned companies together to bring deeper stakeholder insights and expertise to help organizations achieve their vision for positive change and transformation.

Over 60% of tech professionals believe in sustainability as crucial business

Dubai: As organizations worldwide focus on operationalizing their ESG plans, Cisco and IDC launched a new study, titled "The Role of Technology in Enabling Sustainability: A Global Survey of IT Professionals". The survey, which sought to better understand the technology trends and best practices that impact sustainability success, surveyed 1,244 IT professionals in 12 countries, while conducting in-depth interviews with IT pros in a variety of industries.Well-established sustainability policies and mandates, heavy investments in renewable energy, and geopolitical factors have made sustainability a top-of-mind business issue for organizations with 63% of technology professionals worldwide believing that sustainability is a very or extremely important business priority.Commenting on the results of the study, Reem Asaad, Vice President, Cisco Middle East and Africa, said: “In today’s world, sustainability has become a critical business imperative. Key stakeholders demand it, from customers and investors to employees and regulators.”She added: “We believe that businesses can play a crucial role in supporting the region’s sustainability goals by accelerating commitment, execution capability, and resource availability. One of Cisco’s key priorities in the region is to support our customers in leveraging the power of technology in driving business impact and sustainability outcomes.”Five actionable insights from the study that can positively impact any organization include:Making IT a critical playerSustainability should be a team effort, with shared contributions across the organization. Given its expertise in digitization and innovation, IT can play a unique role in driving investments and implementations of critical technologies, while ensuring that sustainability is integrated into all business operations. More organizations are grasping this and empowering IT in new ways.According to the report, IT took a lead role in formulating strategy and ensuring progress toward sustainability goals in 22 percent of organizations during 2022 — compared with 13 percent in 2021. This signals an upward trend but leaves considerable room for improvement.Shifting from compliance to business outcomesThe IDC InfoBrief reveals a change in priorities from simply following the rules to employing sustainability as a strategic advantage.In 2021, top sustainability drivers included mandates from executive management (40 percent), regulatory requirements (37 percent), and reputational risk (28 percent). In 2022, however, priorities shifted toward business outcomes, with improving operational efficiency (43 percent) as the top driver, followed by competitive differentiation (40 percent), innovation (39 percent), and revenue growth (37 percent).Developing a data strategyAggregating the data needed to effectively manage and track sustainability performance proved to be the biggest operational challenge for 54 percent of companies surveyed. But it was nevertheless a key attribute for sustainability success.43 percent of companies deemed “sustainability pioneers” in the study — that is, rated most mature in sustainability — had developed and operationalized a comprehensive data management strategy. Only 30 percent of “sustainability starters” had done so.Establishing clear KPIsSustainability pioneers also stood out in their ability to quantify performance and progress toward their sustainability goals. These organizations implement dashboards that measure and track key performance indicators for sustainability, creating a precise picture of what’s working and what needs to improve. These could relate to goals around energy management, decarbonization, or business impacts related to sustainability, among many other metrics. And in fast-evolving, highly regulated environments, many are measuring their own metrics against industry benchmarks.Selecting Trusted AdvisorsInvestments in sustainable IT infrastructure can drive key business outcomes such as energy savings, operational efficiency, and reduced waste. And as we have seen, IT leaders should take a lead role in selecting, purchasing, and, of course, implementing and managing these technologies. But IT can’t do it alone. As many IT leaders have learned, a trusted technology vendor that aligns closely with their sustainability goals is a must.

Atmosphere Core appoints Brazen MENA to handle the communications for it's brand

Dubai: Atmosphere Core, the leading hospitality travel operator which is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year, has appointed Brazen MENA to handle the communications across its portfolio of world-class resorts in the Maldives.The award-winning agency will be looking after the PR for Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts and Colours of OBLU, who between them have six different resorts, each designed to anticipate everything a guest could dream of.Following a four-way competitive pitch, Brazen MENA has been appointed to not only elevate awareness and understanding for each of the brands’ resorts across the GCC, but also firmly establish them as must-visit destinations in the stunning, Indian Ocean archipelago.A dynamic and fast-growing hospitality company, Atmosphere Core prides itself on its ability to suit the modern travellers’ needs, be they families, couples or solo travellers and offers premium all-inclusive, personalised plans designed to restore the body and inspire the mind.Brazen MENA will manage all the media and influencer communications for the following resorts: VARU by Atmosphere, Atmosphere Kanifushi, OBLU Experience Ailafushi, OBLU Nature Helengeli, OBLU Nature Sangeli and OBLU Select Lobigili.As part of this, the agency will highlight the overarching Atmopshere Core brand narrative of the ‘Joy of Giving’.Sarah Walker-Kerr, Vice President of Communications for Atmosphere Core comments:“Ensuring we have the right agency partner is of paramount importance to us as we look to expand our offering to the GCC audience. The communications agency market is incredibly saturated, from large, global organisations, to the smaller boutique offerings – and even those with more specialized services.“At every stage of the pitch process, Brazen MENA, truly shone out from the competition – their passion and dedication is second to none and I’m very confident in their ability to amplify our brand, Atmosphere Core, to the next level as we move into our second decade and chapter of history and expansion.”Louise Jacobson, Owner and Managing Partner of Brazen MENA added: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been appointed by Atmosphere Core to look after the communications for Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts and Colours of OBLU in the GCC. As one of the most dynamic and fastest growing travel operators in the Maldives, we cannot wait to truly show how Atmosphere Core’s ‘Joy of Giving’ narrative comes to life in one of the world’s most desired destinations. “Over the last eight years, Brazen MENA has cemented itself as one of the GCC’s leading hospitality and travel PR agencies – and we are confident our combined 200+ years of expertise has what it takes to ultimately elevate the brand and its resorts at this very exciting time for the business.”

Commando group emmerge as winners in the finals of Abu Dhabi grand slam

Commando Group emerged victorious on the final day of the final leg of the highly anticipated Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Jiu-Jitsu World Tour 2022-2023 (ADGS - Abu Dhabi) at Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City. The competitions for the professional division saw fierce fights from top-notch athletes from around the world, making for an exciting spectacle. In a spectacular display of skill, Commando Group showcased their prowess on the mats, clinching first place in the professional category and cementing their position as one of the top jiu-jitsu clubs in the world. A.F.N.T. put up a strong fight and secured second place, while Baniyas took third place. The closing day marked the end of the ADGS 2022-2023 season, and the top players in the black belt division, who performed admirably throughout the season and earned the highest rankings were honored in a grand ceremony. The list of women winners includes Brazilians Diana Teixeira (49 kg), Ana Rodriguez (55 kg), Julia Alves (62 kg), Izadora Silva (70 kg), and Gabrieli Pessanha (95 kg).

Ooredoo – Axon partnership: Telco customers to benefit from upgraded internet

Doha: Leading international communications company Ooredoo announced a strategic agreement with Axon, a global leader in connected public safety technologies.With this partnership, Ooredoo, leading provider of Internet of Things (IoT) managed connectivity and solutions to customers across its global footprint, will be Axon’s preferred connectivity provider in Middle East and North Africa, covering Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Iraq and Bahrain.Axon, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, leverages a suite of connected devices and software solutions for public safety. Axon’s network includes TASER energy devices, body-worn cameras, in-car cameras, cloud-hosted digital evidence management solutions, productivity software and real-time operations capabilities.Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Thani, Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer at Ooredoo Group, said: "We are proud to associate with Axon, as a world leader in its sector, and first of what we hope will be many partnerships to help us achieve the strategic goal of growing in international IoT managed connectivity market. In partnering with Axon to provide state-of-the-art IoT managed connectivity to leading international players, we clearly demonstrate our commitment to digital transformation, to investment in innovation, and to offering our customers the best products, services and technologies – enabling them to upgrade their worlds.”Ooredoo stands to consolidate and build on its profile as leading IoT managed connectivity provider reinforced across the region.The Group’s customers – including some of the world’s largest manufacturers of connected products - will benefit from the best IoT managed connectivity in the region, with full local support and single points of contact. End-to-end customers will also experience enhanced services.Ooredoo Group operating companies in Qatar, Kuwait, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq and Oman will feature in the partnership, which will take shape via a phased roll-out.

KPMG Report: Bold people strategies are crucial in achieving edge at HR

Riyadh: Optimizing people management has been a common pursuit for organizations worldwide, often achieved by leveraging best practices and drawing insight from others in the field. In its latest publication, The future of HR: Lessons from pathfinders, KPMG explores how HR professionals around the world are dealing with disruption and their organizations.The report explores six key themes: delivering strategic flow; being digital in thought; word and deed; advancing analytics from insight to action – safely; shopping for talent — building talent marketplaces; holding to the heading — how to make purpose real and prioritizing wellbeing.“Our interactions with global experts suggest that companies are now prioritizing bold people strategies as a crucial element in achieving a competitive edge, especially during the current period of the Great Reconsideration,” said Niam Sinno, Head of People and Change Advisory at KPMG Professional Services.Saudi Arabia has been introducing initiatives to build the capabilities needed for its marketplace, and one of the latest initiatives is the HR Transformation Initiative by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD).The initiative aims to update all HR departments in ministries into a new management style by qualifying their employees with professional certificates in the field of human resources and supporting the departments in terms of developing processes and structuring to ensure raising the level of growth. It strives to better enable HR functions to contribute to achieving the objectives of government entities.Additionally, the ministry has issued a standardized organization of the working environment to keep pace with the latest developments in the labor market. The decision intends to create an attractive and safe work environment, provide decent and sustainable job opportunities for the citizens, enhance the attractiveness of the work environment and address the challenges that workers and employers face.One of the many HR trends is the shift towards artificial intelligence (AI) and HR cloud. Various manual and inefficient HR processes are already being automated to ease administrative loads. A wide range of aspects has benefited from AI technology, from report generation to decision-making processes. In the years to come, companies expect these HR trends in Saudi Arabia to grow and have a greater impact on HR industries. Another HR trend in the country is the focus on data-driven decisions. As the role of HR professionals is changing, they are increasingly required to think strategically. Data such as compensation raises must be analyzed to ensure the business’s return on investment (ROI) isn’t affected.“Saudi Arabia’s economic landscape increasingly involves HR professionals in strategic and financial discussions. With market insights, data, metrics, and benchmarks, HR teams are challenged to assist in workforce skills development,” commented Sinno.Insight from KPMG experts on the metaverse suggests that people could spend more time in the metaverse than in real life by 2030. This propels HR to revisit service delivery in extended reality, creating a total experience for all stakeholders.“As our community continues to be impacted by global economic uncertainty, HR must stand tall and support its employees. It is time organ izations introspect and plan for the future, embracing the support of scientifically driven approaches while upholding their company values,” Sinno concluded.é-nast-announces-new-leadership-team-for-the-middle-east

Condé Nast announces new leadership team for the Middle East

Dubai: Condé Nast has announced a new leadership team for the Middle East.Thomas Khoury joined the company as Managing Director of the Middle East region. Previously he has worked with Bloomberg, WPP Group, Sky News Arabia, Omnicom Media Group.Selina Denman and Talib Choudhry joined the team as Heads of Editorial Content for Condé Nast Traveller and Architectural Digest (AD), respectively.Condé Nast’s Middle East operations for Architectural Digest and Condé Nast Traveller are based in Dubai.

Marketing Society UAE celebrates the best in marketing

Dubai: The Marketing Society UAE just threw their annual bash to celebrate the best marketing campaigns, strategies, and leadership in the region. The event brought together 70 top-notch marketers at Peaches and Cream on the Palm Jumeirah.The award ceremony was held on Thursday, May 4, at the Peaches and Cream Beach Club, The Palm, Dubai. The awards were hosted for the first time in the UAE after being recognised as the leading marketing awards in the UK since they were first launched in 1985.The Awards celebrated and championed marketing leadership, highlighting not just creativity and effectiveness but also the people, the leaders, and the visionaries who are spearheading the way forward and inspiring others. The event aimed to showcase the impact marketing has on business success and growth and make the industry proud.Several categories were featured in the 2023 Shortlist, including Brand Communication, Brand Evolution, Customer Engagement & Experience, and Marketing for Positive Change. The ceremony also announced the winner of the Most Inspirational Leader award.The winners of the 2023 Marketing Awards are:Brand CommunicationLiwa Content Driven, Emirates NBD | A Financial Institution's Video Marketing Journey in Brand LoveBrand EvolutionSutra Marketing, Mashreq | Rise Every DayCustomer Engagement & Experience  BBD Perfect Storm, Majid Al Futtaim | Making every customer fall in love with SHAREMarketing for Positive Change  The judges decided not to award a winner for the inaugural year due to a limited number of entries.The winners of the Marketing Awards demonstrated the power of marketing excellence in driving demonstrable growth and ROI and the impact marketers can have on society as a whole by addressing issues that need to effect change.The ceremony saw attendees toasting to a brilliant year of marketing excellence, united and inspired by the event's stories. The Marketing Awards showcased the vital role that marketing leaders play in revitalizing and igniting organizations.

Zayed Al Khathiri sets for a gold in Abu Dhabi grand slam final

Dubai: : History-maker Zayed Al Kathiri will take to the mat at the Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi this weekend hoping to secure another black belt gold medal to accompany the one he claimed in the UAE capital last November.The 23-year-old is one of the UAE’s most promising jiu-jitsu stars and will be a hot favourite going into the final leg of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour from Friday to Sunday. At the World ProAbu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship held in the emirate last year, Kathiri defeated Brazilian Nathannael Fernandes in an intense final to become the first Emirati black belt to win gold on such a stage.With his explosive fighting style combining powerful takedowns, lightning-fast submissions, and aggressive technique, Al Kathiri has quickly made a name for himself in the jiu-jitsu world. Winning numerous titles at both national and international level, including multiple golds across multiple belt categories at the Abu Dhabi World Pro and various AJP Tour events.As the final Abu Dhabi Grand Slam weekend draws near, Al Kathiri – ranked No.1 among black belt professionals competing in the 56kg category – is looking forward to showcasing his skills once more – and fully expects to add another prestigious title to his already impressive haul. “I have trained extensively for this final round and am confident I will win. I’ve already achieved gold medals for all belt colours and am prepared for any challenge that comes my way. Winning gold with my black belt will be amazing.“I believe I’m capable of performing well in all the different positions and chapters of jiu-jitsu, including stand-up fighting, passing, and playing guard. This flexibility allows me to adapt to different strategies and tactics in a fight.”Competing under the UAE flag, Al Kathiri’s win at last year’s Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship World Pro is serving as inspiration as he prepares for his latest challenge. “Fighting while representing the values of the UAE is a source of great motivation for me,” he said. “I feel incredibly happy and proud to be the first Emirati black belt to win a medal at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu ChampionshipWorld Pro.”As a full-time jiu-jitsu athlete, Al Kathiri serves as a role model for young Emiratis and is devoted to promoting the UAE’s national’s sport, inspiring others to pursue it. “In order to succeed in this sport, it takes hard work, dedication, resilience, and sacrifice. There are no shortcuts,” he said. “You also need support, so I would like to thank my coaches, teammates, and fans who have helped me along the way. Without them, I would not be here.”Those fans can eagerly anticipate Al Kathiri’s performance this weekend. With his impressive record, talent and newfound experience, he will be sure to try to put on a spectacular show, cementing his status as one of the sport’s top practitioners.

Augustus Misr appoints Shady Mazhar as its new MD

Dubai: Augustus Misr, an award-winning Middle Eastern digital media company, has announced the appointment of Shady Mazhar as its new managing director. Mazhar's role will entail overseeing and managing assets for Lovin Cairo and Smashi TV, as well as being responsible for the company's overall strategy and growth.With over 15 years of experience in Egypt's media industry, Mazhar brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his new position. He began his career as a studio and broadcasting engineer at Nile Radio Production in 2006, and later managed several FM radio stations, including MegaFM, RadioMasr, NaghamFM, Hits, and El-Radio9090. In 2014, he founded 'The Music Tent', a music venue in New Cairo that hosted top artists like Sharmoofers, Ghalia Ben-Ali, Mashrou Leila, Omar Khairat, Cairokee, etc. Mazhar has also worked with VOD platform WATCH iT! and with Tazkarti.Richard Fitzgerald, the CEO and Founder of Augustus Media, expressed confidence in Mazhar's ability to lead the company towards a bright and prosperous future. He highlighted Mazhar's track record of developing and implementing effective strategies that drive growth, and his excitement to see what Mazhar will bring to the table. With Mazhar's appointment, Augustus Misr is well-positioned to continue its success in the global advertising market.

HAYVN strengthens its APAC presence with ex Citi and HSBC senior hire

Dubai: HAYVN, the Abu Dhabi based digital asset focused financial institution, today announced the strengthening of its APAC coverage team. The company will leverage its expertise in the digital asset market to offer a range of services to clients in the APAC market, which is known for its accelerating adoption of digital assets.Heading up the Asia initiative is Ovidiu Olea, HAYVN’s new Director of Client Coverage, APAC. Ovidiu brings a wealth of foreign exchange, payments and digital asset experience from a career spanning stints in London, Frankfurt, and Hong Kong.Christopher Flinos, HAYVN CEO, stated, “The Asia Pacific region is central to our plans to deliver cryptocurrency payment solutions to businesses globally. A strong Asia Pac franchise is critical considering the scale and penetration of digital assets throughout the region. With the addition of Ovidiu, we will leverage his global and regional experience and expertise to help clients navigate the digital asset landscape.”Ovidiu Olea added, “By joining one of world's leading digital asset institutions, I am looking forward to further strengthening HAYVN’s growing market share in the APAC region. HAYVN’s move to reinforce its APAC presence is a clear signal of its focus in the Asian region, and my goal is to further cement that within this region”.Regulated in Abu Dhabi, Australia, The Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands HAYVN is the trusted partner of governments, corporates, and family offices as well as individuals globally.

PRCA MENA regional award winners announced

Dubai: The PRCA MENA (The Public Relations and Communications Association) Awards celebrated its seventh edition by recognizing outstanding PR campaigns, individuals, and teams across the region. The event, held at Trader Vic’s in Hilton Palm Jumeirah on May 4, was sponsored by 3Gem.This year's awards saw more than 250 entries, representing the industry's best campaigns and top talents from across the Middle East and North Africa region. The esteemed jury panel of 41 industry leaders from around the world and members of the PRCA, the world's largest professional PR body, judged the entries.The winners were selected based on their innovative and quality work in different categories, setting the industry benchmark for PR influence. The ceremony saw a total of 38 awards presented, and 37 highly commended entries were recognized for their excellence.The PRCA MENA Regional Awards is an annual event that recognizes the achievements of the public relations and communications industry across the Middle East and North Africa region. The awards provide a platform to showcase innovative and effective PR campaigns, celebrate excellence, and inspire future campaigns.CAMPAIGN AWARDSBest Integrated Campaign Large CompaniesWinner – APCO Worldwide? – MOC KSA EXPO 2020Highly Commended – Weber Shandwick MENAT and Master – Out Of This World Football GameBest Integrated Campaign Small/Medium CompaniesWinner – Matrix PR – Acronis – Triple Valuation with Triple StrategyHighly Commended – Maven Global Access, Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), Weber Shandwick and TBWA\RAAD – Access Abu DhabiBest PR Campaign: B2B Large CompaniesWinner – Weber Shandwick MENAT and Ericsson – The Power of Limitless ConnectivityHighly Commended – APCO Worldwide – UAE Ministry of Economy NextGen FDIBest PR Campaign: B2B Small/Medium CompaniesWinner – Gambit Communications and Swissquote – The Trust Equation 2.0Highly Commended – Brazen MENA – CARMABest PR Campaign: B2C Large CompaniesWinner – Four Communications MENA with NBA Europe & Middle East – NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 – MAKING HISTORYHighly Commended – Weber Shandwick MENAT, Warner Bros and World, Etihad Airways – Taken by Surprise!Best PR Campaign: B2C Small/Medium CompaniesWinner – Performance Communications ?and Bentley Motors – Extraordinary WomenHighly Commended – Gambit Communications ?and Porsche – Icons of PorscheBest PR Campaign: Media Relations Large CompaniesWinner – Edelman? and Hub71 – Growing Abu Dhabi’s Global Tech Ecosystem With Impact?Highly Commended – Weber Shandwick MENAT ?- Warner Bros. World, & Etihad Airways – Taken By Surprise!?Best PR Campaign: Media Relations Small/Medium CompaniesWinner – Performance Communications? and MG Motor – The London Lap?Highly Commended – AstraZeneca ?- Collaboration for a healthier world: leveraging EXPO 2020Best PR Campaign: Influencer RelationsWinner – Gambit Communications? – BBC Studios – The Green Planet?Highly Commended – ATTELINE? – Liwa Trading Enterprises – Changing the Narrative Around Lingerie?Highly Commended: Four Communications MENA? with Johnson’s Baby – Naturally Backed by Science?Best PR Campaign: Crisis CommunicationsWinner – Weber Shandwick MENAT? – Netflix – Amplifying Arab Women’s Voices in Storytelling?Highly Commended – Gambit Communications? – TikTok – Changing the Conversation Around SafetyHighly Commended – Houbara Communications? – Volkswagen Takes on The Grey Market?International Campaign AwardWinner – Weber Shandwick MENAT – Mastercard – Empowering Every BusinessHighly Commended – ASDA’A BCW – Arab Youth SurveyBest Health and Wellbeing CampaignWinner – APCO Worldwide – G42 HealthcareHighly Commended – FleishmanHillard – Pfizer AfME Take ActionHighly Commended – Atteline – Dr. Saliha Advocating for Change in Mental HealthBest PR Campaign: Game Changer Large CompaniesWinner – Weber Shandwick MENAT? – Warner Bros. World, & Etihad Airways – Taken By Surprise!?Highly Commended – ASDA’A BCW? – Anghami – A regional unicorn on its way to the world?Best PR Campaign: Game Changer Small/Medium CompaniesWinner – Gambit Communications ?- BBC Studios – The Green PlanetHighly Commended – Performance Communications? – Bentley Motors – Extraordinary Women?Best PR Campaign: DigitalWinner – APCO WORLDWIDE? – Umniah’s Sustainability Campaign?Winner – Matrix Public Relations? – Zurich – Have you done your homework??Highly Commended – W7Worldwide – Building Cultural Bridges?Results on a BudgetWinner – ASDA’A BCW? – Salama – #SALAMAKindBeingsofDubai?Winner – Matrix Public Relations – Celebrity Football Cup 2022 with AG EventsHighly Commended – Weber Shandwick MENAT? – Mcdonald’s UAE – Buy a Book, Be Part of her Story?Regional PR Campaign of the YearWinner – Weber Shandwick MENAT? and Mastercard – Empowering Her BusinessHighly Commended – ASDA’A BCW – 14th annual Arab Youth Survey – Charting a new courseStrategic Communications Campaign Large CompaniesWinner – Weber Shandwick MENAT? – IBM – Talent is EverywhereHighly Commended – ASDA’A BCW – 14th annual Arab Youth Survey – Charting a new courseStrategic Communications Campaign Small/Medium CompaniesWinner – AstraZeneca? – Collaboration for a healthier world: leveraging EXPO 2020?Highly Commended – Matrix Public Relations? – Acronis – Triple Valuation with Triple Strategy?Event Launch of the Year Large CompaniesWinner – Edelman Saudi Arabia? – Red Sea International Film FestivalHighly Commended – Weber Shandwick MENAT?? – Mashreq – Rise Everyday??Event Launch of the Year Small/Medium CompaniesWinner – Atteline? – Careem Pay LaunchHighly Commended – Soul Communications? – Deliveroo Emirati Women’s Day?Best Travel & Lifestyle Large CompaniesWinner – Weber Shandwick MENAT? – Warner Bros. World, Etihad Airways – Taken by Surprise!?Highly Commended – Four Communications MENA ?- Yas Island – Chief Island Officer?Best Travel & Lifestyle Small/Medium CompaniesWinner – Gambit Communications? – Ritz Carlton – Formula 1 Frenzy!Highly Commended – Action UAE ?- Launch of Joe & The Juice?Best Digital & New Media CampaignWinner – Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy – INFINITI QX55 LaunchHighly Commended – ASDA’A BCW ?- Salama – #SALAMAKindBeingsofDubaiBest Health and Wellbeing CampaignWinner – AstraZeneca? – Collaboration for a healthier world – leveraging EXPO 2020?Highly Commended– Current Global ?- PepsiCo Middle East – Driving Social Impact Through Sport?Highly Commended – ?Four Communications MENA ?- NBA Europe & Middle East – NBA YOUTH: MAKING IT RAINEmployee Engagement AwardWinner – Weber Shandwick MENAT? – IBM – Talent is EverywhereHighly Commended – APCO Worldwide? – Edge Hub – Together as OneBest Corporate Social Responsibility CampaignWinner – Red Sea Global – Engaging Saudi youthHighly Commended – Weber Shandwick MENAT? – Mastercard – Empowering Her BusinessInternational Campaign AwardWinner – APCO Worldwide? – MOC KSA EXPO 2020?Highly Commended – ASDA’A BCW? – Anghami – Regional Unicorn on its Way to the World?

Petal Ads demonstrates its diverse targeting capabilities at the Arabian Travel

Dubai: Petal Ads, a leading advertising platform by Huawei, is participating in the 30th edition of Arabian Travel Market.The leading global event for the inbound and outbound travel industry in the Middle East will take place in Dubai on 1 to 4 May. Huawei's team of experts will demonstrate the unparalleled capabilities of Petal Ads, particularly in effectively targeting the rapidly growing outbound travel markets of China and Russia. As China has reopened its borders after three years, Chinese travelers are returning to their favorite destinations. This year, Chinese outbound travel is predicted to recover approximately two-thirds of 2019 levels, with around 110 million border crossings. In 2024, 170 to 180 million border crossings from mainland China are anticipated, surpassing the 2019 benchmark.China's smartphone usage is also on the rise. In 2022, the number of users surpassed one billion, and smartphones have become a vital component for communication, entertainment, commerce, and travel. People use their smartphones to discover travel destinations, book accommodation and transportation, and plan activities prior to departure, as well as for navigation, language translation, and obtaining information about local attractions while traveling.Additionally, Connected TV has become a rising trend in China, with an All-Scenario Ad Display on HUAWEI Vision offering an Innovative 3D, Stunning Visual Impact and an Omni-Channel covering. China plans to leverage Connected TV Advertising and Over-the-Top inventory to generate significant impressions in local markets and boost audience awareness. Marketers can benefit from tremendous traffic through both CTV and OTT channels, each of which has unique advantages.While mobile apps bring far-reaching brand-awareness effects due to mandatory ad views, CTV consumption is far more message-oriented. Also, with targeting and privacy, Marketers can feel sure that their ad spendings on targeting will deliver excellent dividends to them.Furthermore, according to the Association of Tour Operators in Russia, the country's outgoing tourism increased by 10% in 2022, with at least 23,5 million Russians traveling abroad. The UAE was one of the most popular destinations, with about 1 million visitors and a 60% rise year-over-year, while Qatar welcomed 55% more Russian travelers in 2022 than in 2021.Solutions that can precisely target smartphone users are key for the travel industry. However, programmatic advertising in countries like China and Russia can be challenging due to cultural differences that can significantly impact its effectiveness. Therefore, a deep understanding of local culture in order to deliver relevant advertising messages to users is a must. Huawei's Petal Ads can overcome cultural barriers and establish meaningful connections with Chinese and Russian users thanks to the company's strong presence in both countries and unrivaled knowledge of the Chinese market.Visitors of the Arabian Travel Market, businesses and executives in the travel industry, as well as marketers, will have the unique opportunity to experience Petal Ads' sophisticated targeting capabilities firsthand, designed to unlock business potential. Petal Ads provides access to a data management platform (DMP) that allows marketers to gain insights on specific audiences based on various indicators, including travel intent indicators such as the following:Basic tags: the first type is demographic attributes, which include gender, age, location, and visitor status. This information can be helpful in determining who the target audience is and how they interact with the product or service being offered. The second type of tags are advanced attributes, such as academic degree, occupation, and income. This information can provide a deeper understanding of the audience's background and financial situation, which can inform marketing and advertising strategies.Behavioral tags are another important type of data, including frequently used apps such as tourism, hotel, and other travel-related apps, as well as searches for hotel-, business trip-, and travel-related words. This information can reveal the interests and behaviors of the target audience, as well as provide insights into what types of content they are searching for.Scenario-based tags can be used to gain insights into user behavior in specific situations. In this case, the scenarios being tracked are home, work, business trip, and travel. Additionally, tags can be created to track specific operations on phones, such as unlocking the device, opening apps, and powering on and off. Finally, dynamic location can be tracked, including movement trajectory and geographical location. By tracking these scenario-based tags, it is possible to gain insights into how users behave in different contexts, which can inform product design and development, as well as marketing and advertising strategies. For example, by understanding how users behave during business trips, it may be possible to develop new products or services that cater specifically to the needs of this audience.Custom tags can be created to track specific groups or behaviors, such as industry-specific custom audiences, high-spending users, users who have traveled abroad in the past year, recent tourists, travel photography fans, and travel bloggers. These tags can be particularly helpful in tailoring marketing and advertising strategies to specific groups, as well as gaining insights into niche interests and behaviors.By analyzing these indicators, as well as numerous additional data points, Petal Ads' DMP can assist advertisers in effectively targeting audiences who are likely to be interested in travel-related products and services, and to use this information to inform marketing and advertising strategies.Targeting niche audiences is one of the platform's biggest strengths. Since the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has placed an emphasis on medical tourism via the prestigious Dubai Health Experience (DXH) brand, the medical tourism audience is an excellent example. In this context, Petal Ads' DMP can use a variety of data sources and targeting criteria, including:Demographic data: Petal Ads can collect and analyze data regarding the age, gender, income, and level of education of individuals who have expressed an interest in medical tourism.Behavioral data: Petal Ads can track the online behavior of people who have searched for medical tourism-related keywords, visited medical tourism websites, or engaged with a medical tourism content app.?Contextual data: Petal Ads can target people who are browsing websites or consuming content related to health and wellness, travel, or luxury lifestyle.Based on these data points, Petal Ads' DMP can create audience segments that are most likely to be interested in medical tourism, and then target them with relevant ads on different platforms, such as Huawei-owned and operated media, apps, search engines, or display networks. Targeting medical tourism audiences requires careful consideration of regulatory compliance and ethical concerns, as well as an understanding of the unique needs and preferences of the target audience. Petal Ads combines personalization and privacy, ensuring that users' personal information is always protected and processed in an appropriate manner.William Hu, Managing Director of Huawei Consumer Business Group, Middle East and Africa Eco Development and Operation, said: "Petal Ads is constantly updating its features to meet the requirements of various markets, enabling businesses to connect with customers across the globe in a more efficient manner through the use of advanced targeting. Our ads reach users at any time and anywhere, creating a smarter and more engaging era for mobile advertising. We will continue to utilize the latest advancements in AI, machine learning, and big data to expand our platform."In addition to the unique advantages for the travel sector, Huawei will showcase the most recent developments of its pioneering, results-driven programmatic advertising platform, which revolutionizes the way campaigns are planned. Petal Ads expands beyond Huawei devices to include personalized ads not only just on smartphones, but also on the connected devices which include tablets, Smart TVs and other IOT products (TBD), to Cover Users' Life All Day to Facilitate Huawei Brand Penetration into the advertiser's Journey.

Wiz Air Abu Dhabi lunches recruitment drive to grow award-winning team

Dubai:  Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the ultra-low-fare national airline of the UAE, is launching an ambitious recruitment drive with a Go Pink campaign, in response to the continuous regional growth of the airline. Pilots and cabin crew from Go First who wish to continue their dream jobs in the WIZZ team are encouraged to apply. The national airline, the second largest carrier in Abu Dhabi by seat capacity, currently has 400 highly-engaged aviation professionals employed locally with financial stability opening many exciting opportunities for recruitment and career growth within the organisation. The Go Pink campaign will start on 09 May with a virtual open day for pilots and interested candidates can apply through the following link Pilots open day link. Please note, registration will close one day before, on 08 May at 12:00 Abu Dhabi time and once the registration is done a link will be sent to join the event. Our cabin crew recruitment is ongoing and interested candidates can apply through the following link Cabin Crew open day link and they will be invited to the next open day. Successful candidates will be part of a new family of more than 8,000 aviation enthusiasts and act in accordance with Wizz Air values: dedication, inclusivity, positivity and integrity. Wizz Air is expanding in the UAE to encourage people from the Asia and MENA region to apply and provide employment opportunities in aviation for residents, a key sector for the region, with positive contributions to the recovery of the tourism sector. Johan Eidhagen, Officer and Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, said: “Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is committed to carrying the flag of ultra-low-cost travel in the region and our ambitious recruitment drive will enable more travellers to explore must-see culturally rich destinations including vibrant cities and natural paradises. We are proud of our phenomenal recent growth throughout Europe, Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East and expanding our team of highly committed aviation professionals will allow us to continue developing our extensive route network. We encourage our aviation colleagues from Go First who want to continue their careers in a financially stable, ever-growing airline to apply. We look forward to sharing our love of travel and seeing you on board our aircraft soon.” Travel lovers dreaming of a unique place of work with a just environment while being on the go and meeting new people are encouraged to apply. With a comprehensive, industry-leading package of attractive perks and benefits, successful candidates will access career development opportunities and a flexible roster to enable a work-life balance.

Augustus Media launches new podcast Unspoken with Sabine Sassine, Fouad Haidar

Dubai: Augustus Media, the media company known for Lovin Dubai and the business-savvy Smashi TV streaming service, has launched a brand-new podcast called “Unspoken,” in collaboration with renowned hosts Sabine Sassine and Fouad Haidar. In doing so, Augustus Media, an award-winning Middle Eastern digital media company based in Dubai and Riyadh, is producing exciting podcasts across their multiple brands, and continuing to lead the way in providing modern, engaging content to its audience. “Unspoken” is a bi-weekly podcast that explores the unspoken truths and secrets that exist in our everyday lives, geared towards millennials and Gen-Zers. Each episode features candid conversations with hosts and a guest who has a unique perspective on the subject matter, together they delve into the topics that often go unspoken in our society.Sabine and Fouad are boldly tackling topics that are often considered awkward, uncomfortable, or taboo, such as mental health, emotional well-being, and sex education. Their new podcast breaks down barriers with its limitless approach, refusing to adhere to boundaries, borders, or gender stereotypes. With a focus on personal experiences and opinions, listeners are sure to feel heard on this show. As Sabine and Fouad often say, “different people, different opinions,” making their podcast a space for diverse perspectives and open discussion.The podcast is distributed across all Smashi TV platforms and falls under the Smashi Entertainment vertical. Smashi is a live streaming service from the heart of the Arab world, covering the best events, people and products changing our lives. New episodes of the podcast are released every Friday and are available wherever one gets their daily podcasts.Guests of the podcast have included names such as Fozaza, Mohanad Al Hamdi, Dr.Costi and Sandra Sahi, who have explored topics ranging from fertility, Arab media censorship, social media expectations and bullying. “It’s been a fantastic journey getting to create Unspoken with Sabine and Fouad, with a lot of heart and energy going into its inception. Unspoken is not just another podcast, it’s a platform where barriers are broken, and the unspoken is given a voice. It’s never more been so important to create content that matters and is relevant in today’s society, so having a team that’s leading the conversation has been fantastic. Unspoken was a necessary creation that both Sabine and I felt the need to unleash after being in the business for quite a few years," said Amy Jones, Senior Content Director, Augustus Media. "We wanted to bring our skills, our long array of guests, and our energy into a platform that breaks all the taboos in the Arab world, and give a voice for the unheard and the underrated. To us, Unspoken is raw, light, yet extremely moving,’’ said Fouad Haidar, Unspoken show host. In line with Augustus Media’s focus on in house production, they have also produced a 10-week, 10-episode series ‘MS Talks 2.0’ in collaboration with Novartis. The series brings together experts and members of the community to bring awareness and provide clarity on Multiple Sclerosis. The show goes live in both video and podcast formats across Lovin Dubai platforms, including The Lovin Dubai Show.All Augustus Media podcasts are accessible on Anghami, Spotify, Apple and Google podcasts.

IKEA Saudi Arabia & Bahrain partners with WebEngage

Riyadh:  WebEngage, the leading full-stack Retention Operating System, today announced that it has partnered with the world’s leading Swedish home-furnishings retailer IKEA Saudi Arabia & Bahrain, a subsidiary of Alsulaiman Group, to enhance its customer engagement. With the aim of providing a sustainable, affordable, unique, and customized furnishing experience to its consumers, IKEA Saudi Arabia & Bahrain will deploy WebEngage’s retention stack and streamline its data-driven customer engagement strategy.IKEA, known for its well-designed and functional products, has established a community of loyal customers by keeping their experiences at the heart of its offerings. Aligned with their vision, WebEngage will collaborate with IKEA Saudi Arabia & Bahrain, organizing their data to deliver exceptional customer experience and personalized engagement across multiple channels.Commenting on the partnership, Ahmad Al-Fagih, Digital Commerce Manager, IKEA Saudi Arabia & Bahrain, said, “At IKEA Saudi Arabia & Bahrain, we are committed to enhancing customer experience and creating a better everyday life for our shoppers. Our partnership with WebEngage will enable us to harness the power of hyper-personalization and omnichannel engagement to deliver a delightful experience and strengthen our relationship with our customers.”Hetarth Patel, VP - MEA and Managing Director - UAE, WebEngage, said, “IKEA's distinctive approach to consumers is a result of the company's core values, and we are truly excited to shoulder it with them. Through its intelligent, data-driven, and completely automated retention technology, WebEngage will enable IKEA to create unique consumer experiences across all touchpoints. We are thrilled to be partners with a pioneer in its segment and believe this association will enable IKEA to streamline its customer experience strategy effectively.”Since its entry into MENA, WebEngage has added over 60 new clients each quarter, in what can be deemed nothing short of a “retention revolution”. Partnerships with dominant brands such as Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, Titan, eXtra Stores (United Electronics), Al Musbah Group, Vezeeta, Wego, TravelWings, B. TECH and Ajmal Perfumes have further reinforced WebEngage’s growing leadership in the MarTech domain. The meteoric growth phase recently culminated in the $20-million Series B funding round led by Singularity Growth Opportunities Fund and SWC Global, with participation from existing investors India Quotient, Blume Ventures, and IAN Fund, among other VCs.With this partnership, WebEngage has cemented its commitment to the enterprise ecosystem, a segment earlier dominated by players entailing excessive costs and prolonged implementation times. WebEngage’s full-stack Retention Operating System is used and recommended by 800+ marketers across the globe.

Serviceplan Middle East wins creative account for Experience Abu Dhabi

Dubai: Serviceplan Middle East has been awarded the global creative account for Experience Abu Dhabi by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), beating out several other contenders in a competitive pitch. Over the next three years, the agency will lead DCT's worldwide creative marketing initiatives.Akhilesh Bagri, Managing Partner at Serviceplan Middle East, divulged that the agency is already working on a new campaign for DCT Abu Dhabi that is set to launch this summer. "The past few months have been exhilarating for all of us at the agency," Bagri said, sharing his excitement at winning the DCT account. He said that the brand is among the most important in the region and the journey so far has been a lot of fun. "We still have a lot more to accomplish, and that's a plug for our exciting new summer campaign," he added.Natalie Shardan, Managing Partner at Serviceplan Middle East, remarked that the team has ambitious goals for promoting Abu Dhabi as a prominent cultural and touristic destination both regionally and globally. By utilizing its "Übercreativity" philosophy, which merges diverse disciplines, cultures, talents, technologies, and media, the agency hopes to create a superior brand and aid DCT Abu Dhabi in achieving its objectives.As a globally recognized independent agency group with extensive expertise in tourism, Serviceplan has in the past launched several award-winning campaigns for destinations like Berlin, Vienna, Valencia, etc.

myco & Xapads Celebrate Double Gold Victory at Digixx 2023 Awards

Dubai: In a remarkable display of collaborative success, myco (previously known as MContent), the innovative web3 video streaming platform, and Xapads, the leading advertising technology company won big at Digixx 2023 Awards. Their joint campaign won gold awards in both the Insight & Research and Mobile & Apps Marketing categories, showcasing the exceptional creativity, innovation, and impact that resulted from their partnership.myco and Xapads embarked on a mission to position myco as a cutting-edge app for web3 video streaming and to give content creators the power to earn from their creations. By leveraging strategic in-app placements through Xapads, the campaign soared, achieving heightened brand awareness, expanded reach, improved user retention rates, and higher quality user acquisitions for myco.  Tariq Jaser, Head of Marketing at myco, commented on the victory, saying, "We are incredibly proud of our collaboration with Xapads and the success we've achieved together at the Digixx 2023 Awards. This recognition reflects our commitment to innovation, creativity, and the potential of web3 technology to transform the video streaming landscape”.With this seamless collaboration and effective planning and execution, the campaign successfully reached over 2.8 million users and boosted the signup rate by an impressive 33%.Expressing his excitement, Gagan Uppal, Country Head-MENA, said “Our excitement is boundless upon receiving these awards, and we extend our gratitude to the Digixx 2023 Awards for acknowledging our dedication and efforts. Our collaboration with MyCo has played a crucial role in this success, and we recognize their invaluable contribution”.

India Today Group channels now available in UAE

Dubai:  India Today Group, India’s most prestigious news network will now be available for viewers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) region. Exclusive feeds of India Today and Aaj Tak channels are now available on the Etisalat (#AAJ TAK – 560, #India Today - 554) and DU platforms (#AAJ TAK – 84, #India Today - 76). NKN Media FZC has been appointed as the exclusive sales partner to market the two flagship news channels of the India Today Group that continue to dominate the country's television market for nearly three decades. NKN Media FZC, UAE’s top Sales and marketing brand will whet the appetite of advertisers and brands seeking opportunity to target the Indian Diaspora across the UAE. Speaking about the Partnership, Dinesh Bhatia, Group CEO, India Today Group said “The UAE region has a large diaspora of viewers with high interest in Indian news content. This offers a huge opportunity for India's prestigious news network to bring timely and accurate news directly to these viewers. Besides, NKN will further bring us closer to advertisers and trade partners wanting to leverage the presence and following of India's leading news brand." Abdul Majid Khan, CEO & Managing Director, NKN Media says: “I am delighted to join hands with India Today Group which is most prestigious and one of the largest media group of India, to lead their brand presence in the UAE. I believe this will add immense value to our portfolio of channels and propositions for the region. The addition is evident to our strategic vision and objective of leading by enhancing our services to the growing market needs and demands and directing communications towards the specific Indian diaspora”.

Dune teaser: Part-2 showcases stunning Liwa desert landscapes

Dubai: Film fans got their first look at the highly-anticipated Dune: Part Two today with the release of a teaser trailer that includes breath-taking scenes shot among the sweeping dunes of the Liwa desert in Abu Dhabi.Legendary Pictures, the producers of six-time Academy AwardÒ winner Dune, reunited with filmmaker Denis Villeneuve to shoot Dune: Part Two in Abu Dhabi across 27 days in November and December last year, with the emirate once again showcasing its landscapes as the iconic desert planet Arrakis in Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s best-selling novel.The epic action-adventure movie, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, filmed at just under 30 locations across the Liwa desert with a team of 300 local and 250 international crew, as well as 500 extras.Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC) and Epic films facilitated the production through a range of logistical support. This includes constructing tents and camps for costume rooms and providing vehicles, sets, canteens, and production equipment storage. Dune: Part Two also benefited from ADFC’s generous rebate, while production services were provided by Epic Films, along with support from a number of UAE production partners.Hans Fraikin, Abu Dhabi Film Commissioner, said: “The stunning Liwa Desert played a vital role in bringing Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune to life, so it was fantastic to have the combined international and local crew team work their magic in Abu Dhabi once again for Dune: Part Two. With a staggering range of diverse locations, highly experienced local talent, world-class facilities, and a competitive rebate, Abu Dhabi offers everything that international productions need to bring their vision to global audiences.”Dune: Part Two follows the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he must prevent a terrible future only he can foresee. The cast of Dune: Part Two includes Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walken, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Léa Seydoux, Stellan Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem.Dune and Dune: Part Two are among more than 140 major productions that have used Abu Dhabi as a location in recent years, benefiting from the diversity of its locations, pool of talented professionals, award-winning facilities and generous 30% cashback rebate. These include Hollywood hits such as the Mission: Impossible, Star Wars and Fast and Furious franchises, as well as Sonic the Hedgehog, and Netflix’s 6 Underground and War Machine.

e& selects Oracle Cloud to shape the UAE’s digital future

Dubai:  Oracle has announced that e&, one of the world’s leading technology and investment groups is scaling its cloud footprint to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Dedicated Region to support its business expansion and modernize the business applications. Under an agreement signed at the Oracle CloudWorld Tour in Abu Dhabi, the technology group will also explore migrating its global HR functions to Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM). With a 47 year legacy e& is a multinational technology and investment group serving 163 million customers in 16 countries across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. OCI Dedicated Region brings the opportunity to use OCI’s public cloud benefits, services, and applications in e&’s data center that manages its core IT and network systems. This provides e& with a dedicated cloud platform to modernize, manage and automate critical OSS and BSS applications as part of a multi-year cloud transformation program. In addition, Oracle Cloud HCM will help e& to simplify HR processes, improve the employee experience, and deliver enhanced workforce insights.“e& is transforming its business to support our customers in a new world defined by digitalization and hyper-connectivity. As we we continue to grow, we need to consolidate and simplify our technology infrastructure to make us more agile and adaptable, and this is where our collaboration with Oracle comes in,” said Khalid Murshed,Chief Technology & Information Officer, etisalat by e&. “OCI Dedicated Region enables us to bring Oracle’s entire portfolio of public cloud services into our own data centers while keeping full control of our data governance, giving us the operational agility and scalability we require to support the rapid growth and diversification of our business.”With OCI Dedicated Region, e& will have access to Oracle’s 100 plus cloud services on-premise to accelerate innovation across ArtificaI Intelligence (AI) and to support and scale its existing services. In addition, e& will be able to retain full control of its data and applications to help it address the UAE’s security, regulatory and data residency requirements while reducing operational costs. The collaboration is part of a long-term initiative by e& to consolidate the technology infrastructure that underpins its business and operational systems into a shared, open-standard platform designed to support its growing digital services portfolio, including new services around Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G.“OCI Dedicated Region provides OCI services in a self-contained, independent cloud region in a physical location of the customer's choosing. e& can scale applications and services quickly while retaining control of their data to help meet data residency requirements,” said Nick Redshaw, senior vice president, Technology, Middle East and Africa, Oracle. “Oracle installs, operates and supports OCI Dedicated Regions in the same way we support OCI public cloud regions worldwide. This unique capability enables e& to lift and shift legacy workloads to the cloud at their own pace, increase the pace of innovation and lower costs.“With Oracle Cloud HCM, e& will be able to connect human resource processes —and people —across the organisation and create a truly connected community where people feel valued and heard”, said Leopoldo Boado Lama, senior vice president – Business Applications , ECEMEA, Oracle. “The implementation will also help e& align business strategy with the human resource function, reduce compliance risk, and deploy the workforce with greater control through a fully integrated solution that links time, labor, and leave management with payroll, financial, and personnel data.”Oracle Cloud HCM will provide e& with an HCM system that connects processes across the employee lifecycle, including recruiting, workforce management, and payroll services, helping to improve decision-making and reduce operational costs. With infused AI, digital assistants, and hundreds of new capabilities added each quarter, Oracle Cloud HCM will also help e& to keep up with the latest technology advancements and HR best practices.Oracle Advanced Customer Services (ACS) will manage the Oracle OCI Dedicated Region implementation.

Union Coop launches discount campaign for May

Dubai: Dubai-based popular consumer cooperative, ‘Union Coop’ announced the launch of its much-awaited discount campaign for the month of ‘May’ covering selected food and non-food products, all of whose prices have been reduced and fixed to counter inflation.  The promotion includes discounts of up to 60%, as part of its regular promotion calendar directed towards delighting consumers, meeting their expectations by providing high-quality products at competitive prices and reducing their burden.Union Coop indicated that it launches promotional campaigns at regular intervals (Weekly & Monthly) to delight consumers, noting that the cooperative allocated multiple diverse campaigns in May, with varying discounts on basic consumer products and commodities, available in all cooperative branches spread across Dubai.The retailer added that these campaigns were launched since the beginning of this month, including the ‘Fixed Price’ campaign to stop inflation, wherein the consumers can benefit by either visiting any branch physically or through the smart app depending on their preferred mode of shopping.Among the products included in the offers are vegetables, fruits, juices, water, dairy, meat, sweets, spices, rice, oil, etc., as part of a carefully crafted promotion plan in the interest of the consumer, and within the cooperative’s proactive initiatives in providing various options to consumers for an exceptional shopping experience.

Generative AI and sustainability are driving investment in the tourism tech

Dubai: Generative artificial intelligence (AI) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities are attracting the highest levels of investment in travel technology at present, according to innovation specialist, Plug and Play. Experts from the Silicon Valley-headquartered firm shared a range of insights into the latest investment trends on the Travel Tech Stage at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023, which will conclude today at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).Speaking on the third day of the show, innovation specialists explored how travel startups are being affected by macroeconomic headwinds and fears of a global recession as part of the ‘Investment Trends Leading Travel Tech’ session.Kristie Choi, Early Stage Tech Investor at Plug and Play, noted that venture capital (VC) investment witnessed a “dramatic pullback” in the second half of 2022, a trend that continued into Q1 2023. “While this looks pretty scary, there are still billions of dollars of dry powder out there to be gained,” she told attendees. “Travel tech round dynamics tend to follow similar patterns as the wider tech market, and we are seeing an increased focus on profitability and cash efficiency in this segment.”Choi said that the travel sector was leading the curve in terms of generative AI investment and adoption. This technology is being leveraged to enhance the customer experience by facilitating trip planning, automating refunds and back-office processes, and supporting content creation. ESG is also a major focus for the travel technology sector, she explained, with sustained investments in transparent data reporting and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) serving to bolster the growth of responsible tourism. The influencer economy, meanwhile, is “driving business away” from online travel agencies (OTAs), according to Choi, as companies look to attract the Gen Z market by integrating direct booking into the channels of content creators.Following Choi’s presentation, Mike Sung, Director, Partner Success – Travel & Hospitality at Plug and Play, joined Natalie Seatter, Chief Product Officer at OAG on the ATM Travel Tech Stage for a conversation about travel technology investment trends.Speaking on the growing importance of artificial intelligence to the tourism industry, Sung noted: “It’s going to be very interesting to see how generative AI is leveraged, especially among travel suppliers in the metaverse. There’s a lot of experimentation happening in the metaverse, and for generative AI, it’s not just about text. It’s also about audio, video and graphics. I think this technology is going to ramp up the velocity of [Web3] solutions, especially for travel and hospitality.”Commenting on the need for investment in data transparency, Seatter said: “The big elephant in the room is the large cloud-based data warehouses [the industry] is using to power platforms. It’s either really hard to understand the carbon-emission cost of these platforms or no one wants to tell you how big it is – or maybe it’s a bit of both. I think that’s certainly one of our challenges.”The day-three session followed the ‘Plug and Play: Sustainable Tech – Startups Pitch Battle’ on day two of ATM 2023, which saw six new ventures compete for a range of industry support and data. Sustainable commercial food waste solutions company, Winnow, beat off stiff competition from CarbonClick, Eilago, Hotelverse, OACIS Middle East Limited LLC and Thrust Carbon to be crowned this year’s winner.The 30th edition of ATM is taking place as part of Arabian Travel Week (1-10 May 2023), a festival of events dedicated to enabling industry professionals from all over the world to collaborate and capitalise on market opportunities through exhibitions, conferences, breakfast briefings, awards, product launches and networking events.Those attending ATM 2023 in person can get involved in the conversation online by using the hashtag #ATMDubai when posting on social media channels.ATM 2023 is being held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre, and its strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) as the Destination Partner, Emirates as the Official Airline Partner, IHG Hotels & Resorts as the Official Hotel Partner, and Al Rais Travel as the Official DMC Partner.

BuzzAR and Cypher Capital announce new AI-Web3 metaverse project, ‘Space’

Dubai:  Singapore and Saudi Arabia-based AI avatar company BuzzAR has announced its partnership with Cypher Capital, a leading venture capital firm in the Middle East, to create disruptive AI+LBS Web3 location-based game projects. The partnership will allow the companies to leverage proprietary generative AI technologies on its Metaport, a portal that turns human faces to avatars in real-time, to create a decentralized social graph. With leading retail holdings, hospitality partners, and tourism government collaborations in Singapore and Saudi Arabia, BuzzAR is poised to reshape the gaming landscape.On the announcement, Founder of BuzzAR, Bell Beh, commented: "We are delighted to be partnering with Cypher Capital to propel BuzzAR’s LBS Metaverse project, Project ‘DSpace’. Our goal is to provide an integrated Metaverse solution tailored to the unique needs and aspirations of these countries, and we believe that our collaboration with Cypher Capital is the perfect opportunity to do so."She added, “In support of Saudi Arabia's national tourism strategy and other regional strategic plans, Project DSpace will provide an immersive and culturally diverse Metaverse solution that is expected to bring merchants and users together in a revolutionary new way.”Bill Qian, Chairman of Cypher Capital Group: the lead investor on ‘DSpace’ said: “We are thrilled to support this ground-breaking joint initiative by BuzzAR and some of our gaming portfolios. As the lead investor in this project, we believe that 'DSpace' has the potential to revolutionize the gaming industry and pave the way for new opportunities in the AI+LBS Web3 Metaverse. I am more confident than ever before that our commitment to creating an immersive and culturally diverse Metaverse will not only bolster tourism and economic growth in the Middle East but also foster global connectivity and collaboration. We stand at the forefront of this exciting new era, and I eagerly anticipate the transformative impact Dspace will have on our world."

E& enterprise to acquire a majority stake in Beehive

Dubai: e& enterprise, part of e&, announced the signing of a binding agreement to acquire a majority stake in Beehive, MENA’s leading peer-to-peer digital platform to tap into opportunities in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) lending market.Beehive, founded in 2014, leads the crowdfunding platform space in the UAE, with operations in KSA and Oman. It connects creditworthy SMEs seeking finance with investors, both private and institutional, offering conventional as well as Sharia compliant loans. The company recently reached the milestone of facilitating over AED 1.5 billion worth of loans.With this acquisition, e& enterprise will be able to provide an innovative lending solution to address the $250 billion SME credit gap1 across the GCC region combining its strong brand positioning with a Fintech platform. This also marks the next step in e& enterprise’s expansion as the move demonstrates its commitment of opening new avenues of growth across the UAE and in the region, while enabling Beehive to scale its business and expand its offerings.The acquisition is in-line with UAE’s National Agenda for Entrepreneurship which aims to establish the country to become an entrepreneurial nation by 2031.Salvador Anglada, CEO, e& enterprise commented: “The acquisition of Beehive’s digital lending platform marks the second step in e& enterprise’s journey in the Fintech space, after the launch of UAE Trade Connect in 2021. SMEs are important drivers of the economy and there is a need more than ever to support their unique financing needs. With Beehive, we have the right technological innovation to accelerate on our agenda in the UAE and beyond.”Craig Moore, Beehive’s Founder & CEO added “This strategic alignment presents a huge opportunity to increase and accelerate financing to SMEs across the region. The market leading brand, reach and vision of e& and e& enterprise allows Beehive to drive more innovation and collaboration into the market. As one of the very first regional Fintech’s, this is a validation of the Beehive team’s incredible effort over the last 9 years and reflects the vibrancy and success of the UAE’s start up ecosystem.”Traditional lending to SME’s is paper-intensive and relies on collateral and guarantees. Fintechs and alternative lenders have recently stepped into this space introducing advancements such as one-time KYC, fast onboarding, and use of data-driven credit scoring. The regulatory structure is also evolving rapidly in the region, fostering a conducive environment for both liquidity providers and borrowers.

MBC Media Solutions, Saudi Tourism Authority sign partnership

Riyadh: MBC Media Solutions (MMS), the commercial arm of MBC Group, has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.The agreement aims to develop and produce high quality Saudi tourism content and promote it in the Gulf and the Arab world by broadcasting it across MBC Group’s ecosystem & beyond, including TV, radio, digital, social media, Shahid VoD platform, Al Arabiya News Network and the Saudi Sports Company’s digital & linear channels.The MoU was signed by Ahmed Al Sahhaf, CEO of MMS, and Raad AlKhanbashi, VP of Marketing and Communications, MEA Markets, STA. The signing ceremony took place at the Saudi Pavilion at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.Through this partnership, STA seeks to promote tourism destinations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and attract visitors and tourists regionally and globally by producing innovative, high-quality content to connect with MBC audiences with the help of MMS's expertise in content creation and advertising.Commenting on the partnership, Ahmed Al Sahhaf, CEO of MMS, said: "We are proud to be partnering with STA to promote tourism in the Kingdom. With this collaboration, we renew our commitment to employing our industry expertise and innovative solutions to showcase Saudi Arabia’s diverse tourist destinations.”While Abdulkarim Aldarwish, STA's President of Middle East & Africa Markets added: “This agreement confirms our belief in the role of high-quality content in introducing and promoting tourism in the Kingdom, and reflects our keenness in STA to partner with leading media organizations such as MBC Group & MMS to produce high-quality promotional and informational content and enhance its reach to the Arab audience.”

HBKU’s CSE holds panel discussion on chatbots’ ethical implications

Doha: Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) College of Science and Engineering (CSE) hosted a special panel discussion inviting locally based experts to outline chatbots’ impact on society and debate the ethical implications of their usage.Titled “Life in the Post-Chatbot World: From ELIZA to ChatGPT” and moderated by Dr. Aiman Erbad, Associate Professor, CSE, the panel featured HBKU faculty including Dr. David Yang, Assistant Professor, CSE, and Dr. Jens Schneider, Assistant Professor, CSE, and Dr. Wajdi Zaghouani, Assistant Professor, HBKU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Dr. Ghanem Al-Sulaiti, Scientist, HBKU’s Qatar Computing and Research Institute, and Dr. Mahjoob Zweiri, Professor and Director of Gulf Studies Center, Qatar University also joined in the discussion.The panel detailed the history of chatbots from the development of Eliza, the world's first chatbot, in the 1960s to the recent release of ChatGPT by OpenAI, and how they have grown to become a ubiquitous part of modern life used for everything from knowledge retrieval to entertainment. The participants then exchanged perspectives on the ethical implications of chatbots, focusing on contemporary issues including intellectual property and creativity.“Chatbots are extremely powerful tools that can generate well-researched essays on any conceivable topic at lightning speed, but this is only made possible by training these AI-powered platforms on huge archives of original work produced by human researchers. We must take care to safeguard their intellectual property and also consider how we can utilize these chatbots ethically in academic or even creative settings,” said Dr. Mounir Hamdi, Founding Dean, CSE.HBKU’s CSE engages and leads in research disciplines of national and global importance. Its diverse faculty work collectively, pursuing high-impact research in areas exceedingly critical for national and global progression.

RAK Digital Assets Oasis appoints James Bernard as Chief Commercial Officer

Dubai: RAK Digital Assets Oasis (RAK DAO), the world's first free zone solely dedicated to digital assets, emerging technologies, and web3, has announced the appointment of James Bernard as Chief Commercial Officer.James is responsible for all commercial activities, the implementation of business strategies and the development of partnerships, supporting entrepreneurs, innovators, and businesses across new and emerging tech sectors, digital assets, and web3, metaverse, AI, NFT, DApp, AI, blockchain, tokenization as well as many others. He will be heavily involved in the development of RAK Digital Assets Oasis as a transformative free zone of the future, working closely with multiple partners and stakeholders to maximise opportunities for innovation and to support the rapid expansion of Ras Al Khaimah as both a regional and global digital asset hub.James brings with him two decades of successfully developing free zone ecosystems, as well as pivotal tech-centric knowledge and experience. Making his mark on the blockchain landscape in 2015 as a founding member of the Global Blockchain Council in Dubai, and leading DMCC’s Crypto strategy, developing early proof of concepts for various Web 3.0-powered ventures including Diamond Track and Trace, and property leasing applications, while also launching crypto asset licenses and making significant contributions to regional regulatory environment.Commenting on James’ appointment, Dr. Sameer Al Ansari, CEO of RAK Digital Assets Oasis, said: “James brings with him a wealth of experience across the web3, digital assets and future tech landscape, enabling us to develop truly ground-breaking, strategically positioned models to support these sectors and tap into the growing global tech-enabled markets. We aim to open our doors to the companies of the future in the second quarter of 2023 and at such a crucial point in our emergence as innovation-enablers, we have no doubt that James’ formidable knowledge and experience will help us reach our ambitious targets.”James Bernard, CCO of RAK Digital Assets Oasis, said: “I am thrilled to be part of RAK Digital Assets Oasis. With our forward-leaning approach to maximising opportunities in disruptive technologies, the freezone is committed to supporting, empowering, and partnering with global leaders, entrepreneurial talent and innovators, building transformative solutions and creating impact.”RAK Digital Assets Oasis is a purpose-built, true innovation-enabling free zone for innovators and businesses across the digital assets and web3 sectors.RAK Digital Assets Oasis will open for applications in the second quarter of 2023.

INDEX Conferences to probe technology’s impact on design & retail leadership

Dubai: The impact of technology on the transformation of the architecture, design and retail sectors will be explored in two mainline conferences taking place at INDEX 2023, in Dubai next month – the ultimate meeting place for the interior design and fit-out industries.The show’s Design Talks and Retail Leadership Forum will gather experts who are driving the future of the sectors where AI, the Metaverse, data analytics and e-commerce are transforming every facet of the industries, including talent nurturing and recruitment, logistics, design processes, customer engagement, and inventory management.“Our conferences are essential to all working in industries which face operational and supply changes which could ultimately lead to business success or failure,” commented Elaine O’Connell, Vice President Design & Leisure of dmg events, the organisers of INDEX which will run at the Dubai World Trade Centre from May 23-25. “INDEX will host a series of open and lively discussions where delegates can absorb inspiring insights from the industries’ most prominent movers and shakers, including renowned regional architects, creative thinkers, and leading retail operators.”The INDEX Design Talks, sponsored by Geberit, Cosentino, Presto, and Kohler, will touch on the transformative impact of technology as sector trendsetter Firas Alsahin, Co-Founder and Design Director at 4space, will address essential issues including ‘The Revolution Impact of AI on the Architecture and Interior Design Process."Artificial intelligence is transforming the way we approach design, from enhancing our creativity to revolutionizing the way we construct and inhabit our physical and digital spaces. As we explore the potential of AI and the metaverse, we have the opportunity to create a new era of design that is both more efficient and more visionary" said Alsahin.Also on the agenda will be scrutiny of the design industry’s role in assisting the attainment of sustainability goals. It’s an issue that, Esra Lemmens, Founder of The Esra Lemmens Agency and Chairperson of Design Talks, says is vital to the industry’s own survival and reputation.“Design for Environment—it’s exactly as it sounds. Architects and designers are designing new products with greater responsibility keeping the environment in mind. The process starts with simply asking questions, lots of questions. What renewable materials could designers use in this project? How can they avoid creating a lot of waste? How can we reduce the carbon footprint, how can we do better and make sure our planet sustains for the generations to come?“Throughout the Middle East, nations have been laying out their net zero and sustainability goals, and it is up to all in the design sector to respond responsibly. Designers have to pose important questions, including how they can ensure their products perform well without exhausting resources and that those products can stand the test of time in terms of both functionality and aesthetics,” commented, Esra Lemmens.The Talks will also feature dedicated sessions investigating ways of inspiring young Emirati talent in the design sector and present the work of the Top 10 projects of the INDEX student competition, which saw young talent win internships with the region’s leading design houses.New to INDEX this year, is the Stones and Surfaces Summit. Sponsored by Asian Paints Berger and tailor made to discover the vital role of stones, surfaces and paints in contemporary design and architecture. The Summit will focus on key topics including - Pros and Cons of Laminate Flooring vs Luxury Vinyl Tiles, Stone and Surface Applications in Interior Design, Trends in Surface Design and more.Meanwhile, the Retail Leadership Forum will bring into focus current consumer trends, logistics strategies, and procurement techniques to help industry go-getters improve their business tactics and boost profitability. The Forum will see the biggest industry names join in discussions around furniture trends and retail design for furniture stores, the role of digital marketing and e-commerce in enhancing sales and the customer experience, as well as long-term customer loyalty.“The retail industry is at a crossroads when it is facing key challenges of staff recruitment and retention, shifting consumer behaviour, rising data security threats, and the blurring of lines between physical and digital online shopping,” explained keynote speaker Dr. Ali Hammoud, CEO, Midas Furniture “The Retail leadership Forum will give delegates the opportunity to gain insights which will enable them to better navigate these issues to ensure the sector is capable of transforming challenges into opportunities.”

Maddict appoints Steven Sidawi as COO

Dubai: Maddict, the cutting-edge mobile marketing platform and location data technology, has recently appointed Steven Sidawi as their new Chief Operating Officer in Dubai. With a diverse background of over 15 years of experience in various areas such as media partners, data and analytics, digital technologies and customer experience, across agencies such as Publicis, UM and Choueiri Group, Sidawi brings a wealth of expertise to the role.Steven is an experienced Digital, CRM, Technology & CX Lead with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing, advertising, and technology industries. With a strong technical knowledge, Steven is able to drive innovation and tech-related projects. His skills in marketing management, digital transformation, sales, start-ups, and leadership make him a valuable asset to any team.Maddict's CEO, Maud Moawad, said that Steven Sidawi will work in tandem with the company's teams to come up with and implement the strategies that back its updated mission and commitment towards the Personal data protection laws (PDPL), which came into effect in KSA and the UAE.The UAE federal decree law regarding the protection of personal data was issued in 2021 and will be enforced in 2022. The laws are considered crucial for better alignment with international data privacy laws such as GDPR and CCPA, among others. Maddict will be staying ahead of the curve in terms of data protection laws and leveraging the latest technology to deliver outstanding results for their partners.

Customer experience platform TOTAL CX launched in Bahrain

Dubai: Manama, Bahrain: TOTAL CX, a new player in the local customer service sector, was launched today at an event held exclusively for Bahrain’s media representatives.TOTAL CX caters to businesses of all sizes including the private and public sector, such as government entities, financial sector, telecoms, logistical carriers, restaurant, and delivery services, among many others that require customer contact services. The complex basket of products and services includes multilingual support around the clock, such as call centre, Chat Bot, WhatsApp, complaint handling and more.Built on a strong platform, TOTAL CX has evolved from the oldest established customer call centre in Bahrain, Batelco Contact Centre, which dates back to the early 1970’s. Over the past 50 years, the centre has transformed into one of the most recognised in the Kingdom of Bahrain, responding to an average of 1200 enquiries daily.TOTAL CX Chairman Faisal Al Jalahma speaking during the launch event said, “We are delighted to introduce TOTAL CX with a vision to be the partner of choice for best-in-class customer services for businesses in the region and beyond. We have been providing unmatched support to customers in Bahrain for decades, and we look forward to sharing our years of experience with other companies.”“With a strong platform of human resources, and over 97% Bahrainisation in place, the establishment of TOTAL CX will also support the Kingdom’s job creation drive as a continuous flow of new hires will join the team to support the growing requirements of the centre.”“SME’s and large enterprises can depend on us to deliver a delightful experience to their customers with passion and professionalism,” Mr. Al Jalahma added.Maitham Abdulla, CEO of TOTAL CX and COO of Batelco said, “Supported by knowledge, know-how and the latest digital systems, TOTAL CX has all the credentials needed to attend to the customer service requirements of all industries. Our growing team of multi-skilled and multilingual agents are fully trained and ready to respond through a number of channels including phone, chat bot, social media and emails.”“In a very competitive marketplace for all industries, having superior customer services in place is crucial and can give a company the edge over its competitors.”“Located in a 2000 square metre premises, with over 200 staff currently, TOTAL CX is ready to support all industries and we are already in discussions with several companies, with plans to onboard a number of them soon,” Mr. Abdulla added.

Dubai to host the inaugural edition of Global Chess League

Dubai: Global Chess League (GCL), a joint venture between FIDE and Tech Mahindra, announced Dubai as the venue for the inaugural edition today at a press conference in the presence of key dignitaries such as Dr. Aman Puri, Consul General of India, Dubai, Viswanathan Anand, five-time world chess champion, and Deputy President, FIDE, CP Gurnani, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra, Parag Shah, EVP & Head, Mahindra Accelo and Member, Global Chess League Board, and Jagdish Mitra, Chairperson, Global Chess League Board, in the Gulf city.The world's largest and first franchise-based chess league will be held in Dubai in association with Dubai Sports Council, the league's Host Partner.Talking about hosting the inaugural edition of Global Chess League, His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General, Dubai Sports Council, said, "Hosting the Global Chess League is a momentous occasion for us. FIDE and Tech Mahindra's vision for the league will truly bring the sport of chess to a new audience and help existing fans relate to the sport more than ever before. Global Chess League is a first-of-its-kind tournament with a team vs team format that will bring together the best chess players from across the world, representing major countries and providing a unique experience to chess fans globally. We look forward to welcoming champions from across the world to Dubai, the growing sports capital.” The Global Chess League will draw the world's attention to a new chess format and create an ecosystem for the sport, providing a platform for champions worldwide to showcase the potential of chess. Viswanathan Anand, five-time world chess champion, and Deputy President, FIDE, said, “Dubai has been attracting various sporting events. The World Chess Championship in Dubai in 2021 during the Dubai Expo was a big success. Similarly, I believe the Global Chess League will mark a new beginning in fan experience. Its unique team format will contribute to the growth and development of chess. The league aims to revolutionize the game by having established and emerging talent play together on the same team. All players, including men, women, and juniors, would contribute equally to their team's success. I look forward to a fantastic inaugural season.”The first edition of the Global Chess League, set to take place from June 21 to July 2, 2023, will feature six teams with six players each, including a minimum of two female players and one icon player per team. The six teams will compete in a round-robin format where each team will play 10 matches. The FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich, said, "We are excited to announce our partnership with Dubai Sports Council to host the inaugural edition of Global Chess League in Dubai. This city has established itself as a world-class events destination, and among many other major sporting events, it has hosted the FIDE World Championship Match 2021, which was a great success. Thanks to this experience, we couldn’t think of a better partner to deliver a memorable first edition of the Global Chess League.”Each match will feature six boards that will be played simultaneously. The top two teams will qualify for the final on July 2, 2023, and be crowned the World Champion Franchise Team.Jagdish Mitra, Chairperson, Global Chess League Board, said, “Dubai has emerged as a major global sports and business destination in the last decade. Its significant role in bolstering the UAE's digital economy and strengthening its position as a global knowledge hub is noteworthy. This makes Dubai an ideal location for hosting the inaugural edition of a tournament like the Global Chess League. We believe that our partnership with Dubai Sports Council, the official sports governing body of the Government of Dubai, is a major step forward in further strengthening our ties with the country. We look forward to hosting a successful league in Dubai and ushering in a new era for the sport.”The league will also set the standards for technological innovations in the sport of chess as FIDE and Tech Mahindra are exploring innovative ways to promote the game through interactive technology-enabled platforms by leveraging next-generation technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, among others.

Astra Tech partners with Etihad Airways to launch flight bookings on Botim

Dubai: Astra Tech (Astra), a leading consumer technology holding group based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a partnership with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, that will enable customers to book flights through BOTIM, the MENA region’s leading VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solution, which was recently relaunched as an Ultra app. The partnership was signed today at the Arabian Travel Market, between Etihad CEO Antonoaldo Neves and Astra Tech’s Founder, Abdallah Abu Sheikh.With this partnership, Astra Tech and Etihad are providing customers with a fresh and hassle-free approach to booking flights. Through the BOTIM GPT module developed by Astra Tech, flights and other travel-related services are integrated into the Botim app, offering a convenient and innovative way for customers to book Etihad flights.The partnership aims to enhance the travel experience for customers by focusing on promotions and financing solutions, underscoring the companies' steadfast commitment to delivering innovative and customer-focused solutions that meet the evolving needs of today's travelers. Working together, Etihad and Astra Tech will provide customers with a comprehensive and integrated travel experience that simplifies the process of booking flights and accessing other travel-related services. The integration of flights into the Botim app enables customers to enjoy a more convenient and all-inclusive travel experience, making it easier than ever before to plan their travels.Antonoaldo Neves, CEO of Etihad Airways, said: “Etihad is excited about this new partnership with Astra Tech, as it provides a unique opportunity to launch flight bookings on Botim, a communications platform that families and friends use to stay connected. By integrating flight bookings into the application, Etihad becomes a part of the conversation, making it convenient for guests to book flights without leaving the platform. Additionally, the integration of new payment options, including installment plans, simplifies the booking process for customers. Etihad is committed to staying at the forefront of the constantly evolving digital landscape by exploring and adopting innovative solutions, such as GPT-enabled flight bookings, to deliver the best possible experiences to its guests.”Abdallah Abu Sheikh, Astra Tech’s Founder and Botim’s CEO, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Etihad Airways to bring this innovative solution to our customers. This partnership will allow us to offer a never-seen-before feature to BOTIM users. We are revolutionizing the way people will book flights by making it as easy as asking a question. This represents our ability to connect people, not only virtually but physically, all around the world using the latest technology in artificial intelligence.”Earlier in the week, Astra Tech (Astra), announced the launch of Botim 3.0, The platform is now an all-inclusive digital platform for its users by combining fintech, e-commerce, GPT, and communications into a single user experience. Botim is a powerful digital tool meant to ease every user's life through access to services such as Botim Money for peer-to-peer transactions and international transfers, Botim Stores with access to 100,000+ stores including, and advanced video services such as tutoring and telemedicine later this year. Botim 3.0 is available to users around the world, providing the world’s only seamless and open access to communicate and transact to and from the MENA region.

AEG partners with Microsoft and Crayon to revolutionize SWIFT infrastructure

Dubai: Allied Engineering Group (AEG), the largest SWIFT service bureau globally, has announced its collaboration with Microsoft and Crayon to bring tailored and compliant solutions to financial service institutions (FSIs) that are migrating their SWIFT infrastructure to the cloud. Through this partnership, AEG will publish its 10 SWIFT-related proprietary solutions on the Azure Marketplace, extending them as a managed service to FSIs across the Middle East and Africa (MEA)."We believe that this partnership represents the best strategic move for banks, as it addresses the current needs of the banking sector," said Dr. Mohamed Sadek, Group CEO of AEG. "Our tailored solutions on Azure will provide financial service institutions with the flexibility, scalability, and security they need to migrate their SWIFT infrastructure to the cloud while ensuring compliance with SWIFT CSCF regulations and guidelines. By leveraging Azure's advanced capabilities, we are enabling banks to focus on their core objectives and access limitless possibilities for the future."Through this partnership, and leveraging Azure's advanced capabilities, AEG is providing its customers with the freedom to offer their services as a flexible managed service. This, in turn, empowers FSI to expand their reach and optimize their operations, while simultaneously helping AEG expand its presence in the UAE."We are excited to collaborate with Allied Engineering Group and Crayon to provide tailored and compliant solutions for financial service institutions migrating SWIFT infrastructure to the cloud.”, said Naim Yazbeck, General Manager, Microsoft UAE. “By leveraging Azure's secure and scalable platform, we are enabling AEG to offer its customers greater flexibility and cost savings, while maintaining compliance with SWIFT CSCF regulations and guidelines. This relationship is a testament to Microsoft's commitment to supporting the digital transformation of the financial service industry in the UAE and Middle East and Africa at large.""We are proud of our partnership with Microsoft and AEG, which exemplifies the transformative power of combining world-class technology, industry expertise, and strategic vision," said Ziad Rizk, CEO of Crayon Middle East & Africa. "By leveraging our deep Microsoft Cloud knowledge, our robust partner ecosystem, and our extensive market reach, we are committed to supporting AEG's ground-breaking efforts in revolutionizing the SWIFT infrastructure for financial service institutions across the Middle East and Africa. Together, we are pioneering the future of digital finance and cultivating exceptional experiences for organizations and customers alike."The initiative is part of AEG's commitment to providing its customers with compliant, tailored solutions that meet their specific needs. It also marks a significant step towards transforming payments across MEA using Azure solutions.

Glitz and glamour galore at EMIGALA fashion awards 2023

Dubai: Commissioned to recognize and honor Arab and international talent in fashion, designers, artists, influencers, magazines as well as celebrities; the third edition of the EMIGALA Festival was recently concluded amidst much fanfare at the Dubai Festival City. The glamorous evening saw Arab and international celebrities walk the red carpet in stylish ensembles as well as sweep awards for their contribution to the fashion industry.The Festival Bay at the Dubai Festival City Mall came alive with a scintillating awards ceremony that was inaugurated by Dr. Michel Daher (President and Founder of the BIAF, DIAFA, and EMIGALA Festivals). Year after year, the highly-anticipated awards ceremony has made waves for its inimitable style of audience engagement and this year a beautiful tribute to the late international artist Dalida made it even more special. Dalida remains a fashion icon and an inspiration for international fashion houses even today. In the inaugural speech, Dr. Daher expressed the need to encourage the content creation industry to allow knowledge sharing and also praised the initiatives undertaken by Thinksmart Hub, the region’s only creative zone for content creators. A worthy mention of the content creation industry at an international red-carpet event has sparked hope and encouragement for influencers across industries to take up content creation as mainstream.The evening was entertainment in action with an array of live performances and was hosted by actor and TV presenter, Enjy Kiwan. The ‘Star of the Night’ awards were conferred on the famous music artist, Mahmoud Al Turky, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Mayssa Karaa, Classical Crossover singer-songwriter, Ana Magiar, renowned fashion designer, Tamam Humariff, social media influencer and reality TV star, Farhana Bodi, social media influencer, reality TV star and businesswoman, Safa Siddiqui along with Ahmed Al Sayed.Marie Claire Arabia was honoured as the Fashion Magazine of the Year while Harper’s Bazaar Arabia took home the Fashion Initiative of the Year award for their event hosted every autumn. The elite Legacy Award was decorated on Maison Valentino while Ralph Lauren was honoured as the Luxury Brand of the Year. Giant retailer and distributor of luxury goods, Chalhoub Group was conferred with the Entrepreneurship Legacy Award. Winners like Nawal Zoghby as Fashion Icon of the Year, Sheikha Maitha as Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year, Deema Asadi as Fashion Influencer of the Year, and Noor Stars as Beauty Influencer of the Year received accolades for their creative engagement with their social media audiences.The evening saw stars take center stage as Karen Wazen clinched the Fashion Brand Ambassador of the Year, Tony Ward for Global Haute Couture Designer of the Year, and Abla Fahita was named the Fashion Phenomenon of the Year. Additionally, Dima Ayad was named RTW Designer of the Year, Prada Paradoxe, the Fragrance of the Year, Andrea Brocca as the Emerging Designer of the Year, and Ali Karoui, the Fashion Innovator of the Year. Known to recognize Arab talent globally, the EMIGALA 2023 also honoured Dilan Tatlises as Turkish Artist in fashion, RedOne as Moroccan Artist in Fashion, and Passant Shawky as Egyptian Artist in Fashion.The extravagant event was an evening to remember with brilliant achievers meeting and greeting alongside likeminded creators.

TECOM Group ’s q1 2023 net profit grows 34% to AED 255 million

 Dubai: TECOM Group PJSC (DFM: TECOM), (the “Company” or the “Group”), the creator of specialised business districts and vibrant communities, today announced its financial results for its fiscal 2023 first quarter ended 31 March 2023. The Group delivered a strong financial and operational performance, reporting a 6% year-on-year (YoY) increase in revenues to AED 514 million and a 34% YoY increase in net income to AED 255 million.Financial HighlightsAED ‘000sFirst QuarterYoY%(Unless otherwise stated)20232022Revenue513,784485,1116%EBITDA398,805349,43514%EBITDA Margin78%72%6%Net Profit255,133190,26234% Operational HighlightsCommercial and Industrial – As of31 March 202331 March 2022YoY%Occupancy Level87.1%80.6%6.5%Retention Rate95.4%94.6%0.8% Abdulla Belhoul, Chief Executive Officer, TECOM Group, said: “TECOM Group’s solid first quarter results, are not just a testament to the success of our long-term growth strategy, but also a reflection of the underlying business confidence in Dubai and the thriving business ecosystem in the emirate.The sustained growth in our occupancy demonstrates the continued demand for our specialised assets and reaffirms Dubai’s position as a global hub for investment, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We believe we are well positioned to continue to capitalise on the booming real estate market in Dubai.Looking ahead, our outlook for the rest of the year is positive, particularly with the prospect of higher rental rates, continued growth in occupancy and the immense potential that the city offers to businesses of all sizes and from all sectors. We will maintain our focus on maximising value to our shareholders and all our stakeholders.” Q1 2023:- Revenue for the first quarter of 2023 came in at AED 514 million, an increase of 6% YoY that is driven by a significant increase in our commercial and industrial occupancy rates compared to the same period last year.- EBITDA increased 14% to AED 399 million, primarily driven by top line growth and lower operational expenses.- Net profit grew 34% YoY to AED 255 million, underpinned by strong growth in revenues, enhanced operational efficiencies and sustained growth across all business segments.- Funds from operations (FFO) reached AED 359 million, a 44% increase on Q1 2022, due to strong collections and continued high levels of customer retention. Key Operational ActivitiesThrough its provision of business districts, TECOM Group continues to support many industries that drive Dubai’s diversification agenda and economic growth. In Q1 2023, TECOM Group witnessed:- The announcement by AstraZeneca on its intention to move to Dubai Science Park with new sustainable offices ahead of COP28.- The successful launch and first edition of Dubai Fashion Week (DFW), which recorded a 55% increase in RSVP’s compared to the 21st edition of Arab Fashion Week in March 2022. M Normandie French Business School inauguration of its first regional campus at Dubai Knowledge Park- The opening of THRYVE™ factory, the first 100% plant-based meat factory in the Middle East, in Dubai Industrial City.- Silver Line Gate Group (one of the Middle East’s leading suppliers of milk powder) announcement to build an AED 200 million manufacturing facility at Dubai Industrial City in line with Dubai Economic Agenda D33, the UAE food security agenda and Make it in the Emirates.- Al Khayyat Investments breaking ground on its largest fulfilment centre to date in Dubai Industrial City.DividendTECOM Group shareholders approved a dividend payment of AED 200 million, that was paid in April 2023. This follows a AED 200 million pay-out which was distributed in November 2022, taking the total dividend payment for the second half of 2022 (H2) to AED 400 million. As per the dividend policy set out in the IPO prospectus, TECOM Group is committed to paying a total dividend amount of AED 800 million per annum over the first three years of being a listed company. The next dividend payment will be distributed in September 2023, subject to shareholder approval, and will cover the first half of 2023.

DIFC to host the inaugural Dubai FinTech Summit

Dubai: Dubai is set to host the first-ever Dubai FinTech Summit on May 8 and 9 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE. The Summit will be organised by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. The event will take place at Madinat Jumeirah and will bring together over 5,000 global FinTech C-suite executives and technology experts to discuss the latest innovations and challenges in the sector. The global FinTech sector is rapidly growing and is predicted to be valued at $305 billion globally by 2025, according to Research and Markets, an intelligence and market analysis firm. In the MEASA region, the industry is expected to double in value from $135.9 billion in 2021 to $266.9 billion in 2027, according to the 2022 report by DIFC FinTech Hive. The Dubai FinTech Summit will offer a unique platform for startups, investors, and industry leaders to connect and capitalise on the growing FinTech market in the region and beyond. The MENA region’s FinTech startup and venture capital landscape is booming, with over 800 FinTech startups worth $15.5 billion, according to data by Dubai alone is home to over 20% of the world’s FinTech businesses, according to the UAE Fintech Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecasts (2023 - 2028) Report by Mordor Intelligence. The FinTech Summit will feature a series of panel discussions, fireside chats, and over 100 FinTech exhibitors. Mastercard’s 2022 Digital Payments Index report reveals that digital payments are gaining traction in the MENA region. More than 85% of respondents reported using at least one emerging payment method in the past 12 months, indicating a shift away from cash-based transactions. Among MENA countries, the UAE stands out as being ready to embrace a cashless society. According to the event’s co-host sponsor Visa, 52% of UAE consumers are already cashless or plan to be by 2024. The Summit will feature a lineup of distinguished speakers from both local and international arenas. Notable speakers include HE Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy; Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered; Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple; Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Bank Singapore; Jenny Johnson, President and CEO of Franklin Templeton; and Brian Armstrong, CEO and Co-Founder of Coinbase, among others. Mohammad Alblooshi, Head of DIFC Innovation Hub and FinTech Hive, underscored the importance of the Dubai FinTech Summit. “Nearly 60% of all FinTech companies in the GCC are currently based in the city. With the industry growing at an unprecedented rate, it is crucial for stakeholders to gather and discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The Dubai FinTech Summit promises to bring together the most prominent figures in the industry, with an agenda that will captivate and inspire audiences worldwide.” The Summit will offer attendees a platform to participate in discussions and exchange ideas on emerging trends, regulatory frameworks, and future possibilities. The event will feature discussions on a range of topics, including ‘Building the Economies of the Future’, ‘Crypto and the Evolving Regulatory Framework’, ‘The World of Finance: Where are the Women?’, and ‘Building a Resilient and Sustainable Financial Sector in the Age of Disruption’. Participants will have the opportunity to gain valuable insights on these critical issues from industry leaders and experts. The panel discussions will offer a platform for experts to share their insights on current and future issues in the FinTech industry and explore how they can shape the future of the financial sector. The agenda promises to be informative and insightful, providing valuable opportunities for networking and collaboration among participants.

Saudi Arabia leads real-time payments revolution in the Middle East

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) continues to lead the real-time payments revolution in the Middle East as the region’s largest real-time payments market. 352 million real-time payment transactions were recorded in 2022, forecasted to climb to 1.2 billion in 2027, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.1%, according to the 2023 Prime Time for Real-Time report, published by ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW), a global leader in mission-critical, real-time payments software, in partnership with GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.In light of the government’s support to advance the real-time payments modernization of the national payments infrastructure, Saudi Arabia has seen an accelerated shift towards non-cash payments in recent years. In 2027, the majority of payments in the Kingdom are expected to be electronic, with 7.4% being real-time payments and 48.6% other forms of electronic payments.The report also reveals that Saudi Arabia has broken into the global Top 10 for mobile wallet adoption - taking spot number 9 - with 80% of consumers in Saudi Arabia stating they are avid mobile wallet users. This can be partly attributed to the Kingdom’s response to COVID-19, as the government urged consumers to adopt new forms of cashless payments.Much of Saudi Arabia’s real-time payments success can be credited to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan, which promotes the modernization of the country’s payments infrastructure and the adoption of digital payments to foster economic growth and financial inclusion.“With two-thirds of the population under the age of 25, real-time payments are going to continue to flourish and pave the way for more economic growth and financial prosperity across Saudi Arabia,” said Santhosh Rao, Senior Vice President, MEASA, ACI Worldwide. “As an early adopter of real-time payments infrastructure, the market has seen outstanding growth over the last few years, and this is only set to continue as the country focuses on its Vision 2030 agenda. ACI has worked across the world to support governments and banks as they roll out real-time payments, and we are delighted to be a leading provider in the Middle East to help countries in the region reap the benefits of real-time payments.” The report finds that the Middle East is the fastest-growing real-time payments market globally, with transactions expected to grow from $675 million in 2022 to $2.6 billion by 2027, a CAGR of 30.6%. Saudi Arabia is currently the biggest market in the region, closely followed by Bahrain. As governments and regulators in the Middle East are setting new mandates for adoption, countries including UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman are expected to launch domestic real-time schemes soon, with innovative features and new services for consumers and businesses high on the agenda.The ACI Worldwide report confirms Saudi Arabia's position as an emerging fintech hub and highlights its commitment to promoting financial inclusion, supporting innovation and driving economic growth in the region. ACI Worldwide powers 25 domestic and pan-regional real-time payment schemes across six continents — including nine central infrastructures — providing solutions to central banks, participant banks, fintechs and other payment service providers. The Middle East is among the company’s leading regional markets — ACI is currently supporting three countries in the region to build domestic real-time payment infrastructures. This adds to ACI’s long history of success in Asia, where ACI powers the central infrastructures for Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand and supports many real-time payment schemes across the APAC region, including Singapore, Philippines and Australia.

future of entertainment sector on the cards at SLS Summit

Riyadh: From tackling the environmental impact of shows, to spotlighting women in the events industry, Saudi Light and Sound (SLS) Expo will look at how the kingdom’s entertainment industry can stay ahead of the curve, all while mapping the industry’s future and highlighting the biggest trends and challenges.Taking place from the 28th – 30th May at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre, SLS Expo will feature exhibitors from the pro-lighting and audio, live events, digital signage, AI, laser technology, and stage technology sector. While the two-day SLS Summit will include over 15 interactive debates, fireside chats, presentations, case studies and panel discussions from industry visionaries and experts on how to advance the events and entertainment market.“With the kingdom hosting over 120 million people at events in the last four years, the country is looking to fast track plans in its events and entertainment industry, and this year’s second edition of the SLS Expo and Summit will look to showcase these advancements,” said Mohammed Faisal, Event Manager, DMG events.The kingdom continues to create the fundamentals for a vibrant entertainment sector with 11,136 licenses issued for entertainment and supporting events since 2019, according to the General Entertainment Authority. Ernst & Young recently revealed that MENA governments like Saudi Arabia have demonstrated strong support for entertainment as part of their goal to invest in their non-oil economy and predicted that by 2030, the entertainment industry will create over 100,000 jobs with a 3% impact on the kingdom’s GDP.“KSA is rapidly becoming the most important entertainment market in the EMEA,” said Koert Vermeulen, Principal Designer & Owner, ACTLD and one of the speakers at this year’s SLS Expo Summit. “I have been working in the kingdom over the last 10-years and I’ve witnessed and experienced the growth, and the transition and openness towards a rich culture and entertainment.”The summit will also take a closer look at women in the events industry. Women’s underrepresentation in the workforce is a focus of Vision 2030, with the country already putting several initiatives in place to empower and encourage women to join the public and private sector.“I’m thrilled to be taking part in the executive session: women in the events industry – creating experiential events and I hope that the session will help shine a spotlight on the wonderful opportunities available for women and encourage them to focus on starting a career in this rewarding MICE and tourism industry,” said Dr. Debbie Kristiansen, General Manager, Exhibition World Bahrain and one of the speakers at this year’s summit.Other topics on the agenda this year include; Current trending and future tools for interactive installations and audience engagement, design principles and techniques for creating visually stunning shows, a sound-storm case study; and sound engineering and design for immersive experiences.Other speakers at this year’s event are Mark Reeves, Head of Entertainment & Events, 6 Flags Qiddiya, and Michael (Curly) Jobson, Executive Director, MDL Beast.Co-located with the Saudi Entertainment & Amusement (SEA) Expo, SLS Expo will include a 300-plus exhibitor directory including: aDawliah Electronics, Castle of Dreams, Crystal, Delta Waves, ER Productions, Kvant Show Production, Mediapro International and many more.

Abu Dhabi partners with Ranveer Singh as destination brand ambasador

Superstar Ranveer Singh will first appear in the ‘One Summer Isn't Enough’ campaign, as part of his two-year partnership aimed at inspiring visitors to discover the wide array of summer experiences available in the emirate.Abu Dhabi, May 2nd 2023: Experience Abu Dhabi has today announced Indian superstar, and pop culture icon Ranveer Singh, as an official ambassador, inspiring visitors to discover the diverse range of experiences that can be enjoyed on a trip to Abu Dhabi.During the two-year partnership, Ranveer will share his holiday highlights, inviting Indian travelers to find their pace in Abu Dhabi and enjoy everything that the destination has to offer, from an action-packed calendar of events including IIFA, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi NBA Games, to the variety of adventures and cultural experiences that can inspire, excite and restore.Ranveer commences his exciting role by starring in Abu Dhabi’s new summer campaign film, ‘One Summer Isn’t Enough’. In the film, audiences will witness Ranveer explore some of Abu Dhabi’s hotspots, from soaking up the sun in the chilled pools of Saadiyat Beach Club to taking in the wonder at Louvre Abu Dhabi and racing around the famous Yas Marina Circuit, before enjoying retail therapy at one of the city’s incredible malls.A true showman, Ranveer could not leave Abu Dhabi without perfecting the iconic Al Ayyala dance – deeply rooted in UAE culture, it involves performers using thin bamboo canes to move to the steady beat of drums.Ranveer's infectious enthusiasm and passion for Abu Dhabi is sure to inspire every traveler to add Abu Dhabi to their summer bucket list.With so many things to do, summer is an ideal time to visit the UAE capital. Just like Ranveer, Indian travellers can be inspired by Abu Dhabi’s rich culture and heritage scene across23 locations, including Qasr Al Hosn and the presidential palace of Qasr Al Watan. Alternatively, those looking for adventure can reach new heights at one of Abu Dhabi’s many theme parks including Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.Meanwhile, couples can escape to a private and secluded desert island retreat of Nurai Island, just 15 minutes away by boat, or enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime meal at one of Abu Dhabi’s recently awarded Michelin-starred and Michelin-recognised restaurants.An exciting calendar of events will make this an unforgettable summer, including the return of IIFA in May, unrivalled family fun at Paw Patrol Live, as well as an exhilarating concert by rock legends Gun n’ Roses.Ranveer Singh commented, “I am delighted to be the destination ambassador for Abu Dhabi. This is the most fun I've had behind the camera! I've been visiting the emirate for years, and it feels like a second home to me. Now, I have the opportunity to share what makes it so special with the world. Every time I visit, there is something new to discover, and I always leave with countless memories and a strong desire to return. With so much to see and do, and just a short three-hour flight from Mumbai, Abu Dhabi is a must-visit holiday destination for everyone to experience."Her Excellency Nouf AlBoushelaibi, Executive Director, Strategic Marketing & Communication Sector, Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, commented: "We are excited to announce Superstar Ranveer Singh as our Abu Dhabi brand ambassador for the Indian market. With his energy and passion for travel, Ranveer embodies the spirit of Abu Dhabi - a destination that offers a diverse range of experiences for everyone to enjoy at their own pace. Through this partnership, we aim to share Ranveer's love for Abu Dhabi with India and the world, and showcase the destination's unique and captivating offerings, from its unrivalled family fun to its intangible heritage and culture, stunning nature and adventure, and everything in between. We look forward to an exciting two-year journey with Ranveer, as we continue to create unforgettable experiences for our visitors."As well as an action-packed calendar, visitors will be able to make the most of their summer holiday in Abu Dhabi with an exclusive, limited-time deal of ‘stay more, pay less’ for trips booked between four to seven nights. Valid from 1 May to 30 September, and available to book from 8 March, travellers can opt for a city getaway, select a gorgeous resort surrounded by turquoise waters, or book a family escape for the kids to enjoy at an amazing value.

Hertz UAE takes the lead on electric vehicle, digital transition

Dubai: Part of the Al-Futtaim Automotive Group, Hertz UAE is the official franchise of Hertz - one of the world’s largest car rental brands. The well-established national franchise now aims to be at the forefront of the green mobility transition, having already become the first car rental brand in the country to introduce fully electric vehicles in its portfolio.Today the car rental giant has over 11,000 vehicles in operation in the UAE, 15% of which are either fully electric or hybrid vehicles. Volvo and Polestar feature within Hertz’s green mobility portfolio, with plans to soon include the BYD range. BYD is the world’s leading new energy vehicle (NEV) manufacturer having sold nearly 3 million NEVs till date; the brand was recently introduced into the UAE with Al-Futtaim Automotive as their regional distributors.Hertz UAE has plans to further electrify the range, which makes a definitive statement, as they have the most diverse car rental offering in the market - ranging from small sedans to luxurious full-size SUVs, from commercial pick-up trucks to large passenger buses. Conducting nearly 20,000 transactions a month from its widespread network of 13 branches across the country, Hertz UAE has the capability to drive EV adoption at scale. The company believes the UAE is the perfect platform to steer this transition, as the country is strongly committed to making headway towards the UAE Net-Zero 2050 Strategic Initiative and shape a modern, digital economy with sustainability at its core.Taking a cue from the future mobility aspirations of the country, Hertz UAE also launched its digital platform early in 2021 and introduced new products like Drive Green part of the Flexible Monthly Packages to meet the rising demand for innovative mobility solutions from customers. Today, 70% of new business opportunities come from the digital channels while online booking has nearly doubled since the platform’s launch.Hertz is participating at the Arabian Travel Market 2023, the region’s leading travel and tourism event that is putting a spotlight on Net Zero Travel this year as its main theme.Hertz UAE is also present at the event to showcase the new fully-electric Polestar 2 for its fleet partners and share how they are localizing Hertz’s global sustainable mobility strategies. Managing Director of Al-Futtaim Finance and Hertz UAE, Alexander Maas shared, “Electrification, technology, and innovation are the inevitable future of the mobility sector. We are proud to have partners like Hertz who believe in setting bold strategies to continue leading the way forward. Our focus remains on fulfilling our electric vision by ensuring we deliver a whole support system, a fully functioning ecosystem, to all our electric and hybrid vehicle customers – be they corporate or individual renters. At Al-Futtaim Automotive, we have also introduced our own brand of charging technology and unique new packages like Drive Green, which allows customers to rent electric or hybrid vehicles from one month to several months on their own terms, completely hassle-free. This will help make the switch to green mobility, more convenient and seamless.”Starting from 1st May, for two weeks, Hertz UAE will feature its Drive Green service with a cutting-edge display of electric and hybrid vehicles including the Polestar 2 and the Volvo XC40 at The Zone by Al-Futtaim – the new automotive experiential hub located at City Walk Boulevard, Building 10.