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

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

DIFC announces ‘DIFC Metaverse Platform’

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

Sharjah Shopping Promotions concludes with soaring sales, grand prizes

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

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

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

Eric Masalawala appointed Operations Manager at Premier Inn Dragon Mart

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

Genetec recognizes Data Privacy Day by sharing physical security best practices

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

KPMG Survey: Customer Experience as the number one brand differentiator

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

First exclusive BOSCH Brand Store opens at Oman Avenues Mall

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

Demet Ikiler joins Publicis Groupe as COO EMEA

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

Wall Street Group signs a memorandum of understanding with AlHaddab Holding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DIFC unveils its destination offerings in 2023

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

Apparel Group announces joint venture with Steve Madden

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

Breakbulk Middle East 2023 builds the next generation of industry leaders

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

UAE Pro League board reviews preparations for UAE Super Cup

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

‘Sharjah Tourism’ launches a competition

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

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi celebrates six-fold growth of passengers

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

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

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

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

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

Rixos Bab Al Bahr announces appointment of new GM

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

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

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

Bentley Motors appoints Tobias Sühlmann as new Director of design

Bentley Motors announced the appointment of Tobias Sühlmann as the new Director of Design, commencing 1 February 2023. He succeeds Andreas Mindt who moves to the Head of Design role at Volkswagen Passenger Cars.Sühlmann has been promoted from his position as Head of Exterior Design at Bentley, having joined the luxury marque in October 2021. With a 20-year career in automotive design, Sühlmann has held senior design positions at McLaren, Aston Martin, Bugatti and Volkswagen’s Potsdam Design Centre which he joined in 2005 before moving to Volkswagen Design in Wolfsburg in 2007. Here he worked on the Passat, Arteon and Touareg as well as different Showcars.He was instrumental in the design of the Bentley Batur, working under the direction of Andreas Mindt. Batur embodies the start of a design revolution at Bentley, showcasing a new design DNA that will ultimately guide the design of Bentley’s future range of battery electric vehicles.Sühlmann will report directly to Dr. Matthias Rabe, Bentley’s Board Member for Research and Development. Rabe comments: “Tobias has made a very significant, positive impression since joining us in 2021 in what was, and still is, a critical, yet exciting time for the business as we accelerate our journey to full electrification by 2030. His previous experiences from luxury automotive, combined with a strong understanding of the Bentley brand and the Volkswagen Group means he is perfectly positioned to enable us to achieve our future ambitions as the leader in sustainable luxury mobility.“We would like you to join us thanking Andreas for his significant impact on the future product design during his time at Bentley, and in wishing both him and Tobias every success in their new roles.”     Working at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe, UK, Sühlmann will lead a team of approximately 50 design experts with responsibility for the exterior, interior and colour and trim design for the full current and future Bentley product portfolio, concept and showcars. Commenting on his new role, Sühlmann said:    “We are currently reimagining our design language at Bentley and so having the responsibility to lead this, working closely with all my colleagues, is a privilege. Together, we look forward to taking Bentley to a new direction and making sure modern-day Bentley’s are potent, inspirational and harmonious.”

Gartner predicts 10% of large enterprises will have a zero-trust program by 2026

Zero trust is top of mind for most organizations as a critical strategy to reduce risk, but few organizations have actually completed zero-trust implementations. Gartner, Inc. predicts that by 2026, 10% of large enterprises will have a mature and measurable zero-trust program in place, up from less than 1% today.Gartner defines zero trust as a security paradigm that explicitly identifies users and devices and grants them just the right amount of access so the business can operate with minimal friction while risks are reduced.“Many organizations established their infrastructure with implicit rather than explicit trust models to ease access and operations for workers and workloads. Attackers abuse this implicit trust in infrastructure to establish malware and then move laterally to achieve their objectives,” said John Watts, VP Analyst at Gartner. “Zero trust is a shift in thinking to address these threats by requiring continuously assessed, explicitly calculated and adaptive trust between users, devices, and resources.”To help organizations complete the scope of their zero-trust implementations, it is critical that chief information security officers (CISOs) and risk management leaders start by developing an effective zero-trust strategy which balances the need for security with the need to run the business.“It means starting with an organization’s strategy and defining a scope for zero-trust programs,” said Watts. “Once the strategy is defined, CISOs and risk management leaders must start with identity - it is foundational to zero trust. They also need to improve not only technology, but the people and processes to build and manage those identities.“However, CISOs and risk management leaders should not assume that zero trust will eliminate cyberthreats. Rather, zero trust reduces risk and limits impacts of an attack.”Gartner analysts predict that through 2026, more than half of cyberattacks will be aimed at areas that zero- trust controls don’t cover and cannot mitigate.“The enterprise attack surface is expanding faster and attackers will quickly consider pivoting and targeting assets and vulnerabilities outside of the scope of zero-trust architectures (ZTAs),” said Jeremy D’Hoinne, VP Analyst at Gartner.” This can take the form of scanning and exploiting of public-facing APIs or targeting employees through social engineering, bullying or exploiting flaws due to employees creating their own “bypass” to avoid stringent zero-trust policies.”Gartner recommends that organizations implement zero trust to improve risk mitigation for the most critical assets first, as this is where the greatest return on risk mitigation will occur. However, zero trust does not solve all security needs. CISOs and risk management leaders must also run a continuous threat exposure management (CTEM) program to better inventory and optimize their exposure to threats beyond the scope of ZTA.Gartner clients can learn more in “Predicts 2023: Zero Trust Moves Past Marketing Hype Into Reality.”Learn how to prepare for any cybersecurity attack in the complimentary Gartner ebook 3 Must-Haves in Your Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan.

Netflix unveils the trailer of ‘The Exchange’

Inspired by true events, The Exchange follows the story of Farida and Munira, two women who set out to pioneer the cutthroat stock market of 1980s Kuwait - and disrupt its corrupt boys’ club along the way. Starring Rawan Mahdi, Mona Hussain and Hussain Al Mahdi, The Exchange takes the audience on a journey of the challenges of navigating a male dominated industry during a time when the stock market in Kuwait was booming.Farida is a recent divorcee who is on a mission to prove she can provide for her daughter. Having been a devoted housewife and out of work for the last 13 years, Farida makes the decision to become self-sufficient and joins her cousin, Munira, to be the first women at the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange.  Munira is a Clerk for the Bank of Tomorrow’s Trading Division, at the Kuwait Stock Exchange. An independent, smart and sassy woman, she is passionate about her career and strengthening her independence in her new job. Together, Farida and Munira face challenges as they shatter the glass ceiling of the male-oriented financial market, embarking on a journey of sisterhood, perseverance, ambition and strength.  The Exchange, created and written by Nadia Ahmad, Anne Sobel and Adam Sobel, is produced by Abdullah Boushahri and stars a cast of Kuwaiti talents including: Mohammed Al Mansour, Faisal Alamiri and others. Abdullah Boushahri said, “Having grown up in Kuwait and being surrounded by independent women my whole life, this production is one that is close to my heart. Rawan and Mona perfectly depict the struggles women experienced back in the 80’s and I can’t wait for the world to see their characters' story unfold on the big screen. Besides the plot, I am excited for the audience to see how we brought this era to life, that brings together local and international expertise in a high production masterpiece, shot and produced entirely in Kuwait.”The six episode series, directed by Jasem AlMuhanna and Karim El Shenawy, will be available on Netflix in 190 countries on 8th February 2023.

Zulekha Healthcare Group partners with Dubai Sports Council

Zulekha Healthcare Group announced their collaboration with the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), reaffirming the need for individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay fit with different sports in line with the objective of Government of UAE in harnessing a healthy lifestyle for residents. The Group has also launched its Health and Wellbeing Initiative for the Year – ‘Take Care’ on this occasion. The collaboration will see the healthcare group and DSC together hosting sports events for the UAE residents including running, cycling, football, volleyball, cricket, netball and more through the year.The collaboration was formally announced by Managing Director of Zulekha Healthcare Group Taher Shams and Ahmad Ibrahim Busherin, Head of Community Events Section Sports Events Department at DSC.The Dubai Sports Council team conveys they strive to support the national objective of achieving a healthy lifestyle for all and this they do through various initiatives at our sports clubs, courts, and the Dubai Sports World, along with organisations that are equally enthusiastic about promoting fitness and sports as an interest. They are happy to collaborate with Zulekha Healthcare Group in 2023 and take this partnership forward beyond just the sport and encourage public to realise their fitness needs.Taher Shams adds, “We are excited to partner with DSC, the sports authority in Dubai leading the city to be a healthier and happier place to be in. We are fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. With the recently concluded Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC), many UAE residents have taken lifestyle changes seriously and are physically more active. Daily exercises also boost mental wellness. Our employees too participated in the challenge and have continued their fitness regime that started as a part of DFC. There are greater opportunities to engage and involve our communities and we are happy to join hands today in this endeavour”.Zulekha healthcare Group has been at the forefront driving wellbeing with awareness initiatives on prevention and early detection of diseases including mental wellbeing over several years since inception in 1964. The Zulekha team touches hundreds of lives in UAE each month by way of complimentary awareness sessions and health checks across corporates, clubs, government organisations, educational institutions and many other community groups.

ILT20 backed by FairPlay News, makes its debut in the UAE

The DP World International League T20 was inaugurated at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday 13 January (2023) in the presence of a large, enthusiastic crowd cheering on their respective teams. The opening match was played between Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, co-owned by Shah Rukh Khan and Dubai Capitals, GMR group, with Dubai Capitals taking the first win. Sponsored by DP World, the DP World ILT20 league comprises six teams playing a total of 34 matches across the UAE – Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. The league is also associated with renowned media partners, broadcasting and reporting real time updates from the matches, including ZEE as Global Broadcast Partner, Khaleej Times, Media Partner and FairPlay News.FairPlay News is one of the biggest and leading sports news networks on the internet. Offering real time match updates, scoreboards, general info and exclusive player bytes, FairPlay News caters to all that a sports enthusiast seeks. It has backed numerous promising teams and leagues including the Sri Lanka Women’s team and the men’s team when they won the Asia Cup in 2022. The FairPlay Group since its establishment has steadily risen in popularity and become a household name in the sports fraternity.“We are strong believers in the spirit of sports and aim to push boundaries and unite the sports fraternity. We’re elated to be a part of the DP World ILT20 and would like to thank the league for bringing us onboard the next big thing in the cricket world.” A FairPlay News representative said. FairPlay News awards one player every match the title of the ‘Biggest Hit Of The Match’ along with a cash prize.The DP World ILT20 is currently being played across the United Arab Emirates until the final on Sunday 12 February, 2023. The teams playing for the title are: Abu Dhabi Knight Riders (Knight Riders Group), Desert Vipers (Lancer Capital), Dubai Capitals (GMR group), Gulf Giants (Adani Sportsline), MI Emirates (Reliance Industries) and the Sharjah Warriors (Capri Global). Find the latest DP World ILT20 news, updates and interactive chats on the FairPlay News network via @fairplay_news on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.--

Abu Dhabi to host Fortune Global Forum 2023, held in MENA region for first time

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has announced that Abu Dhabi will host the Fortune Global Forum 2023 from 27-29 November, held for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.Forging ahead with efforts to bolster the emirate’s status as a leading business, economic, and cultural hub, Abu Dhabi is attracting world-class economic events and conferences, including the 13th edition of the World Trade Organization’s Ministerial Conference, UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum, the Annual Investment Meeting, and the World Islamic Economic Forum in 2023 and 2024.The Fortune Global Forum Abu Dhabi 2023 will serve as a valuable opportunity for CEOs of the world’s biggest multinational companies, decision makers, and economists from around the globe to engage with their peers in the UAE and wider region.As geopolitical, economic, scientific, and technological developments rapidly reshape the global economy, the Fortune Global Forum, under the theme A New Era for Business, will address global agendas currently including market and trade dynamics, geopolitical tides, emerging technologies, talent in addition to workplace shifts, climate risk, and consumer trends.To keep pace with new trends on a global level and deepen economic diversification, Abu Dhabi is focusing on knowledge-based, innovation-driven economic sectors by investing in clusters with high-growth potential including AgriTech, FinTech, Healthcare and Biopharma, Energy, Tourism, and ICT.The emirate offers a vibrant, globally competitive, and entrepreneurial ecosystem to generate opportunities for all, enabling businesses and individuals to reach their full potential.Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi, Undersecretary of ADDED, said: “Bringing the Fortune Global Forum to Abu Dhabi forms a critical part of our strategic economic progression roadmap, especially as we roll out our contribution to the international business development and ESG agendas alongside other global cities and enterprises, building synergies and improving life for all stakeholders. November’s discussions and analyses by the C-suites, economists, reporters and think tanks in Abu Dhabi will serve to identify mutually beneficial economic opportunities, with sustainability and the notion of stakeholder capitalism at its core.“In an era characterised by multiple forces influencing all aspects of life, it is imperative that we keep mobilising towards a viable economic and social goal, raising ambitions, and increasing the pace of implementation. Our mandate and objectives when representing Abu Dhabi and the UAE on the global centerstage, are to collaborate closely with everyone, complementing one another and improving coherence, thus creating greater and more impactful and self-sustaining economic models.”As part of preparations and agenda development leading up to Fortune Global Forum in Abu Dhabi 2023, Fortune will organise two events in key financial centres during the year.Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Undersecretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “Abu Dhabi’s progressive track record in hosting global business events of this calibre is testament to our proven capability, best-in-class infrastructure and year-round attractiveness of our destination. In these rapidly changing times for global business, we look forward to welcoming visionaries from government, the private sector and the media to take business dialogue to the next level while experiencing authentic Emirati hospitality in Abu Dhabi.”Alan Murray, Fortune CEO, said “Abu Dhabi’s growing role as a business, economic and cultural hub make it an ideal location for the 2023 Fortune Global Forum. The world is on the cusp of a new era of globalisation, requiring Fortune 500 companies to rethink their global footprints.“Abu Dhabi’s location, climate, culture, infrastructure and other assets make it a top contender for business operations, and I’m confident the leaders of the world’s greatest companies will welcome the opportunity to assemble here in November.”Launched in 1995, the Fortune Global Forum has established itself as a prime global platform for leaders, chairpersons, presidents, and CEOs of the world’s largest companies, including the Fortune Global 500, to discuss trends and factors shaping the global economy and explore cooperation and mutual investments.Participants in previous Fortune Global Forums have included heads of state including former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; and company chairmen and CEOs Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase, Ginni Rometty of IBM, Robert Iger of The Walt Disney Company, Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson, Ajay Banga of Mastercard Inc., Ma Yun of Alibaba, Frederick W. Smith of FedEx, Kai-Fu Lee of Sinovation Ventures, and Carlos Brito of Anheuser-Busch InBev.

IAB MENA announces changes in board leadership

The Interactive Advertising Bureau MENA (IAB MENA) – The trade association exclusively dedicated to the development and promotion of the digital marketing and advertising sector in the region - recently announced a succession in its board leadership.Rayan Karaky, the current IAB MENA Chair and Google’s representative on the board has resigned his chairmanship due to a new corporate engagement that sees him leave his role at Google. The board appointed Michel Malkoun representing Choueiri Group as the new Chair of Board and elected Mohamad Itani representing Amazon Ads as the new Vice-Chair until the end of the current board term in the first quarter of 2024.Speaking on his new appointment Michel Malkoun stated that “After building a fantastic base for a truly collective and positive environment for our industry’s advancement, I am delighted to state that we have so much planned for the year ahead and plans that we hope to set into motion. Our transitional focus from the GCC to the wide MENA region not only implies a larger territorial coverage, but also takes into account the IAB MENA’s ongoing efforts to incorporate a growing spectrum of new digital channels, including digital OOH and CTV, amongst others. The MENA tag in our name represents our fullest attention on the wider region, greater audiences and more countries that will benefit from the IAB MENA’s commitment to greater inclusivity, and greater engagement across platforms. This is our vision going forward, and the remit which I have been entrusted to lead.”Outgoing Chair Rayan Karaky shared: “Firstly, I want to thank the board members for the trust they gave me for the past three years to Chair the IAB MENA; Perhaps one of our biggest achievements is establishing a board that is unified around a clear mission & vision, that is unanimously working for the good of the industry. We’ve also grown our membership base to more than 50 member companies, we came together to finally establish a market sizing practice, structure committees and task forces focused on the industry’s key challenges and hot topics and to our latest news of moving the IAB GCC to cover all of MENA; I believe we have laid a strong foundation and I am really excited about the journey ahead for the IAB MENA under the leadership of Michel, Mohamad & the IAB MENA team.”On his appointment as Vice Chair, Mohamad Itani expressed: “As our region and industry continue to witness change and opportunity growth, this year the IAB MENA will deepen its focus to nurture the digital economy in MENA with digital advertising thought leadership content and activity. I look forward to working with the leadership team and our board to raise the bar and ensure our members and industry professionals continue to benefit from our presence and growth in the region.”

Hilton announces second property in Marsa Alam

Hilton today announced the signing of its second property in the city of Marsa Alam, Hilton Marsa Wazar Red Sea Resort & Spa. In partnership with Boulevard for Tourism Development, the property will be operated under the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand.Located along the beautiful shores of the Red Sea, Hilton Marsa Wazar Red Sea Resort & Spa will offer access to a number of the world’s best diving, snorkelling and kitesurfing spots that this area is known for. The resort will also provide a variety of accommodation options across 282 units - from standard guest rooms and beach-front suites to stand-alone villas with private pools.“Egypt is one of Hilton’s key markets across the region where we’re keen to expand our presence and provide new and exciting hospitality offerings to both domestic and international guests. Across Egypt, we currently have 14 properties in operation, with another 11 in the pipeline,” said Carlos Khneisser, vice president, Development, Middle East & Africa, Hilton. “The Red Sea shoreline enjoys great potential when it comes to resort and diving tourism, with untapped areas that are considered hidden gems. Entering Marsa Wazar is a great opportunity for us to offer our world-class services to avid travellers looking for a secluded, beach-side escape or to explore the wonders of the underwater world.”Hilton Marsa Wazar Red Sea Resort & Spa will feature a variety of facilities and amenities designed to complement the immersive Red Sea experience, including its crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, mesmerizing lagoons and the surrounding landscapes. The resort will offer two main outdoor pools and an indoor spa pool, a spa spanning over 1,000 square-metres, and a gym. Guests will be able to enjoy a variety of exceptional food and beverage options, including refreshing drinks at any of the four bars located at the lobby or by the poolside as well as delicious cuisine at the resort’s speciality restaurant or its all-day dining venue.“We are proud to be partnering with Hilton in developing this new property, which will enhance the hospitality offering in the city of Marsa Alam. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is a renowned brand which is a great fit for the area and we look forward to welcoming our first guests,” said Maged Shafik, Founder & Managing Director, Boulevard for Tourism Development.Hilton Marsa Wazar Red Sea Resort & Spa will be a 20-minute drive to Marsa Alam International Airport, with direct links to key European cities including Milan, Berlin, Budapest, Brussels, Amsterdam and Bratislava. Upon opening, the resort will be part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest loyalty program for Hilton's 19 distinct hotel brands, where members can book directly to have access to instant benefits.Hilton Marsa Wazar Red Sea Resort & Spa joins 14 Hilton properties currently operating in Egypt under the Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts brands, as well as 11 properties in the pipeline.

UAE cybersecurity pros don’t think security gets deserving attention

New research from Trellix, the cybersecurity company delivering the future of extended detection and response (XDR), reveals a disconnect between cybersecurity professionals and senior management. Despite widespread board-level ownership of cyber risk, almost half (42%) of UAE cybersecurity professionals say the board doesn’t pay sufficient attention to digital security. This points to a concerning trend that cyber security is being treated as a tick-box exercise.In the UAE, a huge majority (89%) of cybersecurity professionals agree that there is a well-defined ownership of cyber risk at the board and management level, whether that sits with one individual (38%) or a committee/taskforce (51%). Yet, about a quarter (26%) of respondents highlighted that cybersecurity is not being considered a priority by C-suite/board level which has become a significant challenge for the business. With ownership not equating to prioritisation in the cyber space, it’s no surprise that 44% of UAE cyber professionals call out feeling undervalued by their business and 36% call out feeling undervalued by their boss as two of their biggest frustrations.“Ownership is not enough if it doesn’t translate into action. Creating a culture of cybersecurity across the organisation needs to be a priority on the board’s agenda today,” says Adam Philpott, Chief Revenue Officer, at Trellix. “The tone from the top must be conducive to robust cybersecurity management and so the board and cybersecurity experts need to find a common data-language to understand and discuss cyber risks, how to manage them and the board’s role in prioritising a strong security posture across the business.”Fortunately, cybersecurity conversations are taking place in an organisation, with little over two-thirds (67%) confirm that regular discussions on cybersecurity and compliance are held with management and the senior leadership team. Cyber resilience comes from collaboration and communication, yet these vary from business to business when a significant cybersecurity incident or cyber-attack occurs.For example, while a third (34%) of UAE cybersecurity professionals confirm that it is typically reported to the board within one hour, 19% admit it takes at least a couple of days or longer to report it to senior management. This delay can mean the difference between successfully mitigating an attack and being faced with difficult consequences.“As a CISO, CIO or CTO, this means clearly setting out what the top cyber security risks for the organisation are and the business impact if the organisation’s cybersecurity architecture is not fit-for-purpose to defend against today’s sophisticated and evolving attacks,” continued Philpott.“Clear communication is vital to creating a resilient organisation with adaptive security through an interconnected XDR architecture which is able to give the board – and wider business – confidence.”

Yahoo most impersonated brand in Q4 2022 phishing attacks

 Check Point Research (CPR), the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd, a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions globally, has published its Brand Phishing Report for Q4 2022. The report highlights the brands that were most frequently imitated by cybercriminals in their attempts to steal individuals’ personal information or payment credentials during October, November and December of last year.Yahoo was the most impersonated brand for phishing attacks during Q4 2022, climbing 23 places and accounting for 20% of all attempts. Check Point Research found cybercriminals distributing emails with subject lines that suggested a recipient had won awards or prize money from senders such as ‘Awards Promotion’ or ‘Award Center’. The content of the email informed the target that they had won prize money organized by Yahoo, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. It asked the recipient to send their personal information and bank details, claiming to transfer the winning prize money to the account. The email also contained a warning that the target must not tell people about winning the prize because of legal issues.In general, the technology sector was the industry most likely to be imitated by brand phishing in the last quarter of 2022, followed by shipping and social networks. DHL came in second place with 16% of all brand phishing attempts, ahead of Microsoft in the third spot with 11%. LinkedIn also returned to the list this quarter, reaching fifth place with 5.7%. DHL’s popularity could be due to the busy online shopping season surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with hackers using the brand to generate ‘fake’ deliveries notifications.Omer Dembinsky, Data Group Manager at Check Point Software said: “We are seeing hackers trying to bait their targets by offering awards and significant amounts of money. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it almost always is. You can protect yourself from a brand phishing attack by not clicking on suspicious links or attachments and by always checking the URL of the page you are directed to. Look for misspellings and do not volunteer unnecessary information.”Top 10 Most Imitated BrandsBelow are the top brands ranked by their overall appearance in brand phishing attempts:Yahoo (20%)DHL (16%)Microsoft (11%)Google (5.8%)LinkedIn (5.7%)WeTransfer (5.3%)Netflix (4.4%)FedEx (2.5%)HSBC (2.3%)WhatsApp (2.2%)Instagram Phishing Email – Account Theft ExampleCPR observed a malicious phishing email campaign that was sent from “badge@mail-ig[.]com”. The email was sent with the subject “blue badge form”, and the content tried to persuade the victim to click on a malicious link claiming that the victim’s Instagram account had been reviewed by the Facebook team (the owner of the Instagram brand) and deemed eligible for the Blue Badge.

Seed Group teams up with Ryberg from the Netherlands

 Seed Group, a company of the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, has entered into a strategic partnership with a Netherlands-based company, Ryberg, which offers AI-assisted and self-driving technology-powered disinfection services for businesses and hospitals across the world.Ryberg combines the latest in computer vision, robotics, and infection prevention-technologies to deliver intelligence and efficiency in disinfection. Ryberg has developed Disinfection Robots, which are self-driving disinfection machines that operate at the highest efficiency. Their patented Disinfection Engine makes intelligent disinfection decisions, allowing the robots to disinfect spaces for up to 6 hours—designed to bring a strong layer of defense in the age of deadly viruses without the use of chemicals.As part of the joint venture agreement, Seed Group will help Ryberg offer its services to businesses and hospitals in the Emirates and the wider Middle East by helping it reach the right audience, access top decision-makers in the government as well as the private sectors, and contribute to strengthening the latest technological innovation landscape in Dubai.Hisham Al Gurg, CEO of Seed Group and the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, said, "We are happy to announce our association with Ryberg. The use of robots for disinfection is a relatively risk-free and thus dependable concept. The technology behind this concept is innovative and effective at the same time. It is organizations like Ryberg that are exploring and implementing the power of artificial intelligence and self-driving technology to create products and services that we can utilize to lead a healthy and resilient life. We look forward to a fruitful association with Ryberg."Man Yong Toh, CEO of Ryberg, said, "The more connected a society becomes, the more vulnerable it is to infectious diseases. The impact can be devastating, especially in cities. Ryberg's philosophy is that prevention is better than cure. That is why Ryberg is dedicated to delivering game-changing AI, robotics, and sensor technologies and solutions to prevent diseases at scale. We're looking forward to working with the highly regarded Seed Group and the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum to create impact in the region and safeguard people from diseases across the Middle East."Seed Group is a notable force in the technology, healthcare, hospitality, and telecommunications landscapes in the Middle East. Over the past 20 years, it has formed successful strategic alliances with leading global companies representing diverse regions to accelerate sustainable market entry and presence within the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Knight Frank and Berkadia form international alliance

Global property consultancy Knight Frank, and Berkadia, a leader in commercial real estate and joint venture of Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group, have today announced their new alliance to develop and provide capital markets services to multi-market clients globally.This strategic alliance will establish a premier global capital markets platform, providing clients with access to the most active cross-border investors, international institutions, banks and sovereign wealth funds. The platform spans all major capital hubs and sources of capital, including the US, Asia Pacific, Europe, the UK and Middle East.Knight Frank is the world's largest privately-owned capital markets platform and offers unparalleled access to capital globally, including institutional, sovereign and private wealth, connecting with over 5,400 ultra-high-net-worth individuals through its Private Office network. Berkadia is a U.S.-based capital markets advisory firm with a proven track record, having successfully originated over $75 billion in commercial loans and advised on $48 billion in asset sales over the last two years. Collectively, both firms offer a global network comprising over 22,750 people across 558 offices in 57 territories. Together they will be one of the world’s leading multifamily brokers.The Knight Frank Berkadia alliance is founded on compatible cultures and leadership alongside complementary areas of expertise and a shared vision for growth. The depth and breadth of this network will allow clients to navigate the global capital market more effectively and have access to the widest range of opportunities and resources to maximise their property values.Both firms see a client need for a truly global capital markets service offering and are committed to coming together for the long term. The alliance will be guided by an Alliance Management Board, which will meet quarterly and include senior executives from both organisations, including Neil Brookes, Knight Frank’s Global Head of Capital Markets, and Keith Misner, Berkadia’s Co-Head of Investment Sales. The alliance will also establish an on-the-ground Knight Frank presence in the United States via a secondment, as well as a Berkadia presence in Knight Frank’s London headquarters.William Beardmore-Gray, Senior Partner & Group Chair at Knight Frank, said: “I am excited to announce Knight Frank’s alliance with Berkadia – a relationship built on our mutual values and an ultimate ambition to become the world’s best, most trusted capital markets platform. Together, we have created an alliance focused on our clients’ needs, providing strategic advice and delivering a range of best-in-class capital markets solutions.“But more than that, we have a shared view of the world, that independent long-term relationships offer a superior experience to all of our clients. This is the beginning of a lasting alliance, one which will cultivate both our firms’ collective expertise and suite of services we offer our global client base and will provide the perfect complement to our established relationships with our existing partners Cresa and Douglas Elliman.”Justin Wheeler, CEO of Berkadia, said: “This newly formed alignment between our two firms will have innumerable benefits for clients on both sides. Berkadia’s depth of industry knowledge and experience will flow seamlessly with Knight Frank’s vast global network and valuation expertise to shift our transaction life cycle into high gear.”Knight Frank now has three U.S.-based partners – Berkadia, Cresa, and Douglas Elliman. Each partner has been specifically sought out for being experts in their chosen fields whilst sharing Knight Frank’s vision for being the very best at what they do; all in service to provide clients with tailored solutions to achieve best possible outcomes.Cresa is the world’s leading occupier-only commercial real estate adviser headquartered in Chicago, Douglas Elliman is one of the US’ largest independent residential real estate brokerages and Berkadia is a commercial real estate industry leader providing a range of services to multifamily and commercial property clients.

MENA to add 2 million pay TV subs

The number of pay TV subscribers in 20 MENA countries will increase from 17.32 million in 2022 to 19.20 million in 2028. Legitimate pay TV penetration will remain at only 19%. IPTV subscribers overtook pay satellite TV in 2022.About 62% of the region’s TV households will receive free-to-air satellite TV signals by 2028. FTA satellite penetration is highest in the Arabic-speaking countries. Another fifth of the region’s TV households will take FTA DTT.Pay TV revenues will fall by 36% between peak year 2016 ($3.84 billion) and 2028 ($2.47 billion). This comes despite the number of pay TV subscribers growing – which means that ARPUs are falling. Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Legitimate pay TV penetration will remain low in the MENA region. First was the battle against widespread piracy. Traditional pay TV subscribers are now converting to SVOD platforms.”

Sharjah Shopping Promotions continues activities emirate-wide

The Sharjah Shopping Promotions (SSP), organised by Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), announced its continuation of its activities and special offers in all cities and areas of the emirate of Sharjah to provide residents and visitors with a range of entertainment and promotional offers and major discounts on various commodities during the winter season.The participating shopping centres provide many special offers that take shoppers on a journey to a world of abundant rewards, in addition to valuable prizes and shopping vouchers.This year's surprises are propelled by a high momentum of discounts that run until 29th January and reach up to 75 percent on the most renowned international brands and products, not to mention the exceptional discounts that give shoppers the chance to benefit from mega offers and promotions in malls and shops across Sharjah.Hana Al Suwaidi, Head of the SCCI's Festivals & Exhibitions Department, said that the Chamber continues its cooperation with partners emirate-wide, including shopping centres and major shops, to organise one of SSP's best editions that show its role in cementing Sharjah’s position as one of the most popular shopping destinations.

Oliver Wyman appoints global head of cyber risk

 Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm and a business of Marsh McLennan, has appointed Souheil Moukaddem as the new head of its Cyber Risk platform.In the global role, seasoned strategy leader Souheil will head the development of solutions in the field of Cyber Risk – utilizing the breadth and depth of expertise and capability across Oliver Wyman, which employs 6,000 professionals in 30 countries around the world, to deliver breakthrough client impact.The strengthening of Oliver Wyman’s Cyber Risk Platform directly responds to fast-evolving client needs, and includes collaboration between Oliver Wyman and the full suite of capabilities across the Marsh McLennan ecosystem, which incorporates insurance and risk management consultancy Marsh, economic consultancy NERA, and human capital expertise from Mercer, among other specialist businesses.“Cyber Risk is a dynamic and fast-moving domain, which in turn requires smart, responsive action – Oliver Wyman and the wider Marsh McLennan group has the breadth and depth of expertise to deliver the right solutions for our clients across both the private and public sector. We are delighted that Souheil will add his 30+ years of experience to helping corral the best of our firm’s capabilities to meet our clients’ most important challenges and opportunities,” says Michael Zeltkevic, the Global Head of Capabilities at Oliver Wyman.Souheil, who has decades of experience in supporting private and public sector clients in both the U.S. and the Middle East, has overseen the design, build, and implementation of large cybersecurity programs.Cyber Risk as a platform encompasses capabilities and issues such as cyber security, cyber analytics, cyber threats, cybercrime, cyber espionage, and cyber recovery.Souheil says, of the growing cyber threat: “The question is no longer whether entities and individuals will get hacked, it is a matter of when they will get hacked, and how they will respond. These are all reasons why we are strengthening our cyber capabilities at Oliver Wyman, in support of our clients. Our rigorous approach looks at the Cyber Risk challenge holistically, covering technology, insurance, resilience, business processes, analytics, human capital, and human behavior.”   “From individual and institutional ransomware attacks to the shut down or manipulation of operations and/or physical systems, cyber attacks can have devastating consequences on an entity’s brand and its ability to sustain its operations, or worse, they can result in direct physical harm to humans.”In addition to his global role, Souheil is a partner in Communications, Media and Technology across Oliver Wyman’s India, Middle East & Africa (IMEA) region and a member of the business’s IMEA Executive Management Committee. Coming from an engineering background, he has experience in developing and managing strategy, organization, and human capital projects, as well as implementing large transformation programs for government and commercial clients in the United States and the Middle East.Prior to joining Oliver Wyman, he was Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Booz Allen Hamilton’s Middle East and North Africa business, which was acquired by Oliver Wyman in 2022. Before that, he established another global strategy consulting firm in the region. He also held the role of Chief Strategy Officer at a private equity firm, with projects ranging from the Middle East to Malaysia. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University. He is fluent in English, Arabic, and French.

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s exhibition, Bollywood superstars

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Louvre Abu Dhabi, inaugurated the museum’s first exhibition of the year, Bollywood Superstars: A Short Story of Indian Cinema, opening from 24 January and running until 4 June 2023. Organised in partnership with Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac and France Muséums, the exhibition showcases the depth and richness of the Indian sub-continent’s art and civilisation through its long tradition of image making, and the diversity of the Indian filmmaking industry.Bollywood Superstars is co-curated by Julien Rousseau, Curator and Head of the Asian Collections at Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, and Hélène Kessous, PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, with the support of Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Director of Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management at Louvre Abu Dhabi.Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, commented: “Bollywood Superstars demonstrates our enduring commitment to showcase the wealth of cultures that define so much of life in the United Arab Emirates. Our staff and partners have worked tirelessly to present together the most ambitious collection of artworks with movie projection which are at the heart of Indian society and popular culture. We hope that, by offering a glimpse into the subcontinent’s rich and diverse filmmaking history, visitors can better understand the myriad of our shared roots, common values and cultural connections.”The exhibition’s curators, Julien Rousseau and Hélène Kessous, said: “This exhibition is a tribute to Bollywood and can be enjoyed by both Indian cinema fans and the wider public. We hope that it portrays the full richness of Asian traditions and tells the stories that led to the birth of this cinema. The exhibition celebrates Bollywood superstars who are adored by their fans in India in a way that is rarely seen elsewhere in the world.”As the world’s leading film producer, India currently produces more than 1,500 films a year in about 20 languages, which are then exported throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Indian pioneers utilised nascent image technologies such as lithograph and photography, kickstarting the journey from the birth of the first films to grand musical features. Visitors will gain a deeper understanding of the international success of Bollywood and an appreciation of the diversity of Indian cinematography. The comprehensive displays span the history of Indian cinema from storytelling, dance, and pre-cinema to the influence of religion and mythology and the rise of Bollywood superstars.Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Director of Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management at Louvre Abu Dhabi said: "Bollywood is more than just a film industry; it's a cultural phenomenon that has captivated audiences around the world. This exhibition offers a unique glimpse into the long and wondrous history and development of Bollywood and the Indian cinema, and underlines the continued presence of the great mythological and literary narratives in Indian culture. Bollywood Superstars is a special exhibition that complements our collections and aligns with our curatorial approach and we hope that it provides our visitors with a better understanding of our shared roots, common values and cultural connections.”Emmanuel Kasarhérou, President of the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, said: “Indian cinema can be approached from countless perspectives. “Bollywood Superstars” reveals a variety of narrative and stylistic repertoires that mirror the diversity of the country’s histories, local identities, and languages. The exhibition stands out for the quality and originality of its content. Dedicated to promoting the richness of the arts and cultures of all continents, the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is honoured to be associated with Louvre Abu Dhabi, an inspiring and influential institution that shares values of beauty, opening and understanding.”Through more than 80 artworks including photographs, textiles, graphic arts, costumes and over 30 film extracts, the exhibition explores the rich history of the Indian cinema from its beginnings in the late 19th century up to the present. The artworks come from the collections of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Musée de l’Armée, Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet, al-Sabah Collection, Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation and Priya Paul Collection.Inspired by Bollywood Superstars exhibition, a rich cultural programme will be available to the public including an in-depth talk led by the exhibition’s curators on 24 January 2023, along with the screening of six iconic Bollywood films throughout March. The famous Secret Soirée event will return with a new larger scale edition, Secret Soirée: Mumbai Nights 2, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the world of Bollywood.A range of educational activities will be available for visitors of all ages. These include an Express Tour of the exhibition; Make and Play activities where families can explore different kinds of storytelling techniques inspired by Bollywood film posters; and a Young Visitor’s Guide, offering young ones the opportunity to learn about Indian cinema.Bollywood Superstars is supported by PureHealth, as Louvre Abu Dhabi’s exhibition season partner. Following its display at Louvre Abu Dhabi, the exhibition will be reinterpreted by Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris, offering new audiences the opportunity to explore this immersive experience. More than 150 objects and over 40 film extracts will be on view at Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac from 26 September 2023 to 7 January 2024.A recorded podcast by the curators of the Bollywood Superstars exhibition will be available for the public on Louvre Abu Dhabi’s website and mobile application. The exhibition catalogue is available in Arabic, English and French at Louvre Abu Dhabi’s boutique.For more information about the exhibition and to book tickets, please visit

Dubai Chamber of Commerce bolsters member support

Dubai Chamber of Commerce one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, today announced new sector-specific business groups for four economic sectors: Agribusiness, Furniture and Home Furnishing, Flower Traders, and Tyre Traders.The Chamber plans to increase the number of sector-specific business support groups to 100 by March 2023.Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President & CEO of Dubai Chambers, said, “This latest raft of business groups is designed to encourage greater cooperation, mutual knowledge sharing and greater understanding of the synergies that exist between competitors in each sector, in terms of domestic, regional and international trading opportunities.”Lootah noted that the four sectors are all key in the overall economic growth of Dubai’s economy, but equally, will all benefit from the wide range of support services offered by the Chamber. It is vital that we ensure every sector of Dubai’s growing economy receives the support they need to thrive."President & CEO of Dubai Chambers said that the aim is to promote the development of UAE-based companies and raise the profile of business group members in the international business community.The groups will deliver a suitable forum to facilitate mutual dialogue between government entities and relevant group stakeholders and update group members on relevant policy matters related to industry, domestic and international trade and investment.“Business Group members will also have a platform to exchange information and experiences and to communicate and interact with public and private entities on policy matters related to the group’s respective sectors, by means of meetings, gatherings, seminars, conferences, receptions, and other fora of exchange,” he explained.Each business group will also enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the development of knowledge, skills and best approaches in industrial, trade and investment policy, and promote exchanges on those policy matters with similar groups internationally.“The creation of sector-specific business groups is in line with our ongoing mission to continuously improve the business environment in Dubai and support member companies with their global expansion plans,” added Lootah.AgribusinessAs Dubai strives to increase food security and reduce reliance on imports, the agribusiness sector is a vital element in the economic mix. Dubai’s rich investment ecosystem has already seen development of the world’s largest vertical farm and is set to become the world's biggest 'agritourism' destination by 2030, with the opening of this ambitious farming and tourism zone.The UAE imports around 85% of the food it consumes. As a snapshot of total volume growth in different food categories, Euromonitor reports that between 2017 and 2022, sales of fresh vegetables grew by 17%, pulses by 21.4%, meat by 21.4% and other fresh food by 16.1%.Furniture and Home Furnishing A release of pent-up demand for home furnishing was seen in 2021, with sales exceeding the pre-pandemic level. Growth was also marked in new e-commerce channels in the home furnishing sector, with growth seen in bedding, home office furniture and gaming furniture – driven by enforced time at home and the global shift to working from home.According to Euromonitor International data, major sales growth categories between 2016 and 2021 include mattresses (with a 31.3% growth in sales volume) sofa beds (27.2% growth), curtains (28.1%) and light sources (35.9%), again reflecting the societal shift towards spending more time at home induced by the pandemic.To continue this upward growth trend, the business group will explore ways to maintain a positive upward sales volume growth.Flower TradersAccording to Dubai Customs, Dubai’s flower total trade value was AED1.5 billion in the period between 2011 and 2021.Dubai Flower Centre, a dedicated free zone within Dubai International Airport for the import and export of flowers, brings enormous cost benefits to international shippers, connecting more than 15 producing countries with Asian, African and Middle Eastern markets.Tyre TradersAccording to Dubai Customs, Dubai’s tyre total trade value was AED65.2 billion in the period between 2011 and 2021. This reflects the sector is in a growth phase, especially given that Dubai has one of the highest vehicle densities in the world.

Doha Festival City announces new brand slogan ‘It’s my place, my choice’

Doha Festival City, Qatar's one and only choice for shopping, dining, and entertainment, unveiled its new brand positioning “It’s my place, my choice” tailored for 2023.The new strategy and positioning aim to bolster the mall’s position as the ultimate destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment, while also emphasising that it will move toward enhancing this position and diversifying its offering, activations, and events to truly provide a bespoke experience to each of its visitors.Commenting on the announcement Robert Hall, Festival City General Manager, said: “We enjoyed a speeding start for the year with our partnerships with Qatar Charity and Hamad Medical Corporation and our platinum sponsorship of the Qatar Balloon Festival, and we are not slowing down. We have a powerful lineup of events and activations prepared for this year to truly deliver amazing experiences to our visitors and enhance their journey with us with more unique offerings”.From his part, Jihad Zarkout, Bawabat al-Shamal Real Estate Company’s General Manager, said: “We are starting this year with a new approach and positioning to reinforce the mall’s position as a destination of choice for all our visitors of all ages in Qatar. This entails offering them a wider, more diverse range of unique experiences, leaving them with fond memories and enticing them to visit us again. As a major Qatari company, we also aim to strengthen the role we play in supporting national awareness and development campaigns and initiatives under our #FestivalCares CSR programme in cooperation with our partners in Qatar and abroad to enhance our contribution toward Qatar’s development and the realisation of Qatar National Vision 2023 and beyond.”The new brand positioning comes amid a running start of the year for Doha Festival City, with the launch of its platinum partnership of the Qatar Balloon Festival, a wondrous 10-day event featuring 50 hot air balloons from around the world. The event will allow more than 1000 people to experience the pleasure of flying in one of these creations and help promote Qatar as a welcoming destination.The mall also enjoyed a powerful launch of its #FestivalCares CSR initiatives for the year with its partnership with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) for the flu vaccination campaign which will last from 13 to 26 January. The campaign features a booth located on the first floor between Debenhams and Marks and Spencer open daily from 1PM to 9PM in which health professionals from HMC are present to raise awareness regarding the importance of protecting oneself against the disease and to administer the vaccine to the mall’s visitors and customers.The mall is also hosting a charity exhibition in cooperation with Qatar Charity’s (QC) Colors and Sounds project. The exhibition, which is being held from 23 to 31 January under the umbrella of #FestivalCares, features the works of artists who donated their paintings to QC under the project to support the organisation’s winter charity campaign.Doha Festival City has lined up in its packed calendar for this year a series of events and initiatives that will provide world-class entertainment and raise awareness about societal issues.In line with the preventative measures set out by the State of Qatar to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and to ensure a safe shopping environment for all, Doha Festival City commits itself to continuous necessary health and safety measures throughout the mall. This includes a thorough mall disinfection treatment on a weekly basis, robust cleaning, and sanitization operations during mall trading hours, 127 hand sanitizing stations installed in the areas that have commonly touched surfaces.For more information on the mall’s operating hours please call on 4035 4444 or checké-eln-opens-its-first-branch-in-jeddah

London’s most Instagrammable café, EL&N opens its first branch in Jeddah

UK based café and restaurant sensation EL&N London, the world’s most Instagrammable café opened their first flagship in Jeddah, at Atelier La Vie with a stylish destination that blends creative spirit with the glitz and glamour of the French Rivera, labelling the new destination café as “The Riviera paradise in Jeddah”."EL&N London” is expanding their presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, after opening six locations in Riyadh and more locations in Jeddah opening later this year.EL&N, which stands for "Eat, Live & Nourish” has become famous for its iconic interiors, painting cities across the globe pink, with neon signs nestled in flower walls and unique photo backdrops where guests can get the perfect picture opportunity while benefiting from an interactive all-day dining menu.As well as featuring a patisserie display with freshly baked goods, EL&N also offers a variety of artisan coffee and speciality drinks and dishes on their menus including hot chocolates, colourful alternative lattes and cakes, as well as offering brunch options, main courses, and afternoon tea. The opening ceremony of EL&N in Jeddah was attended by VIPs, media and top of the notch social figures of Jeddah.Commenting on the latest launch, Alexandra Miller, Founder of EL&N London said: “Following our success in Riyadh, we are delighted to announce our new and first branch café in the Bride of the Red Sea, Jeddah,”She continued “Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest growing F&B markets in the Middle East, it’s an exhilarating time to be part of this booming era in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, we’re proud of our presence in Saudi Arabia and are energized by the opportunity to bring many more beautiful, unique cafés opening across the kingdom.”Find EL&N London at Atelier La Vie, King Abdulaziz Road via Atelier #1 from Saturday-Wednesday, 9am-12am and Thursday-Friday from 9am-1am.

YOTEL announces first hotel in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be in Oxagon

YOTEL – a global hospitality brand known for challenging the status quo – announces its first hotel signing in Saudi Arabia. Scheduled to open in 2025, the YOTEL property will also be the first hotel to open in Oxagon, which will be the home of advanced and clean industries in NEOM.“Oxagon’s ambition to house hospitality assets where innovative design, sustainability and technologies converge, echoes our core values at YOTEL,” said Hubert Viriot, CEO of YOTEL. “We understand that the Non-Stop traveller craves destinations that won’t slow them down, and Oxagon promises to be a unique destination where new tech-enabled hospitality experiences can be live-tested. It is an honour to be one of the first hotels to open within a city redefining industries through sustainable innovation.”The hotel’s location is at the heart of the integrated live-work-play Research and Innovation (R&I) district of Oxagon with a dedicated R&I campus. Strategically located on NEOM’s Red Sea coast, Oxagon is reimagining the traditional industrial city by developing multiple thriving residential and business communities. Additional to the R&I district, the city will be home to a next generation port with a fully automated and integrated supply chain and logistics network."Oxagon’s hotel strategy is built around several pillars including technology, which is key for integration within a wider smart-city infrastructure,” said Vishal Wanchoo, CEO of Oxagon. “After a competitive selection process, YOTEL was the clear hotel brand of choice for the district, given our shared ambitions to focus on people-centric design, circularity and digital advancements.”Upon check-in, guests will be immersed within the bustling energy of the innovation eco-system within the district. Featuring 300 rooms, the hotel will showcase YOTEL’s latest features including the brand’s signature robotic concierge, motorized SmartBeds™, and fully integrated technologies which YOTEL is known for. Guests will have access to Komyuniti – the brand’s signature multi-functional dining and co-working space, a 24-hour fitness centre, a Grab-and-Go Café, and meeting spaces used to network and relax. The surrounding areas will be walkable and connected to nearby communities through advanced, active, micro and autonomous mobility solutions.The partnership marks the latest hotel agreement with NEOM’s Hotel Development, the division responsible for building a future-centric hospitality ecosystem in the Northwest corner of Saudi Arabia.“YOTEL’s decision to open their property in NEOM’s Oxagon is a powerful endorsement of our ambition to redefine how people travel, stay and live. When complete, it will serve as the ideal home for modern travellers in search of thoughtfully curated and designed spaces, and we look forward to welcoming them,” added Chris Newman, Executive Director, Hotel Development at NEOM.Through groundbreaking urban developments, world class sport, hospitality, affiliate recreation and retail concepts, and next-generation mobility solutions, Oxagon is creating a new model for modern urbanism. Oxagon will be one of several cities and destinations within the NEOM development, all set to be powered by renewable energy sources, amplifying Saudi Arabia’s plan to sustainably diversify its economy, as part of its Vision 2030 strategy.The new announcement signifies YOTEL’s ambition to grow both management and franchised projects in the Middle East region, as part of its larger strategy to reach 50 hotels by 2025.

BFL Group predicts steady growth in Qatar’s retail market for Q1 of 2023

BFL Group, one of the leading off-value retailers in the UAE, predicts strong growth in Qatar’s retail market for Q1 of 2023. The country's retail market has benefited greatly from steady population growth, a high concentration of expatriates and high-net-worth individuals (HNWI), and mega events like the recently concluded FIFA World Cup 2022.BFL Group had opened two new stores in Qatar in 2022, amid developments and major events. The business has since advanced significantly due to the rise in footfall in outlets, which has positively impacted the sales. As outdoor activities have completely returned to normal in 2022, retail sales are on an upward trajectory, along with higher consumer spending. The government's assistance in easing travel restrictions, bolstering the investment landscape, and streamlining retail infrastructure also contributed to the industry's revival and boosted recovery by promoting tourism.Toufic Kredieh, CEO and Co-Founder of BFL Group, said: “As part of our expansion plans for 2022, we have successfully opened a number of stores across the GCC, in countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar. Due to the growing retail market and the magnified economy brought on by the mega events that were taking place in the country, Qatar stood out as an ideal location for business growth. Given Qatar's exceptional performance in retail sales, which reached USD 18.5 billion in 2022, we are confident that Q1 of 2023 will remain strong and attract more customers. It is also anticipated that more retail businesses will emerge in the 2023, owing to the recent exposure the country has received. With our innovative concepts, client-centered services, and products from various brands, we are well-positioned to ensure success in the country.”BFL Group is renowned for its distinctive business model, innovative retail concepts, and exclusive pricing on apparel from a range of. premium brands. The group's business performance will be further strengthened by its rapid growth in Qatar, paving the way for more strategic expansions in the future.

du, etisalat by e& sign corporation agreement with Aldar Properties

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), and Etisalat UAE, branded as etisalat e&, today announced the signing of a Master Developer Agreement (MDA) with UAE-based Aldar Properties.Through the new partnership, both service providers will deliver essential telecommunications infrastructure for the developer’s major projects in line with the Taawun infrastructure deployment initiative.Taawun, a joint initiative to support the long-term vision of the government in developing smart infrastructure, gives customers an opportunity to select their operator of choice for telecom services. It is key to establishing a robust telecom infrastructure for property developers by deploying advanced fibre-optic and passive telecom solutions that are best-in-class and future-proof.Under the agreement, du and Etisalat will install, maintain, and oversee state-of-the-art fixed telecom services and solutions across Aldar Properties’ projects in Abu Dhabi’s most desirable destinations, including Yas Island, Saadiyat Island, Al Raha and Reem Island, as well as government housing and infrastructure projects.Through the development of advanced telecom infrastructure, Aldar residents will be able to choose their own service provider and have access to the latest fibre-optics and advanced 5G communication solutions. This will help transform these communities into smart, sustainable, and high-quality-of-life areas for their residents with modern ways of living.Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO of du, said, “We are excited to partner with Aldar Properties to provide the community members with state-of-the-art telecommunications services and other technologies sought after by tenants. du’s networks offer high-speed connections to empower residents and add value to communities as well as contributing to the UAE’s economic, social, and digital transformation.”Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, CEO of etisalat by e&, stated, “The newly developed telecom infrastructure of the UAE is key to reinforcing the role that the UAE’s telecom industry plays in this ‘connectivity renaissance’ era. In line with our commitment to maintaining our cutting-edge telecom infrastructure offerings and staying aligned with the UAE government’s vision for accelerating digitalisation and innovation, we are delighted to collaborate on this ground-breaking initiative. Through the Taawun initiative and partnering with Aldar Properties, we commit to doing our very best to provide state-of-the-art services and world-class connectivity solutions to the residents of these new property development projects.”Adel Abdulla Albreiki, CEO of Aldar Projects, commented, "At Aldar, we are committed to building integrated and thriving communities that enrich people’s lives and contribute to Abu Dhabi’s growing attractiveness as one of the world’s most liveable cities. Through this partnership with du and e&, not only will we further advance the telecom infrastructure across our developments, we will also reinforce our continuous efforts to remain at the forefront of digital transformation, sustainable development, and operational excellence. We look forward to seeing the impact that these advanced, state-of-the-art connectivity solutions will have on our communities.”Residents in integrated communities developed by Aldar Properties will now have the option to choose a retail telecom operator of their choice and the arrangement will further support the UAE government’s long-term vision to develop smart infrastructure and establishing a robust telecom sector for master developers and ensure a high quality of life for all.