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Majid Al Futtaim to expand in Egypt, Saudi in emerging markets push

CAIRO: Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim will invest 16 billion Egyptian pounds ($996.26 million) in Egypt over the next two to three years, its CEO said on Wednesday, 14 billion pounds of which will be for a single mall in Cairo.

Majid Al Futtaim also plans to expand in Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Uganda, chief executive Alain Bejjani told Reuters in an interview.

The company will spend 2 billion Saudi riyals ($533.6 million) building cinemas in Saudi Arabia as part of a five-year 16 billion riyal investment plan, he said.

Majid Al Futtaim, which has already built 100 cinema screens in Saudi Arabia, will bring the total to 600 screens at the end of the five-year plan, which began a year and a half ago. The conservative kingdom lifted a nearly 40-year ban on commercial cinemas in 2017 as part of broad social and economic reforms.

"We will open seven Carrefour locations in Uzbekistan in 2020 and on Dec. 16 we will open a Carrefour in Uganda," he said, adding they will also enter other markets. The Carrefour in Uganda will be the company's first investment there.

Majid Al Futtaim has invested around 28 billion Egyptian pounds in Egypt since the end of 2015, he said.


Thyssenkrupp delivers 57 escalators to Cairo metro

Germany-based Thyssenkrupp Elevator delivered state-of-the-art 57 escalators to four new metro stations in Cairo and will install 12 more.

Thyssenkrupp has provided the Egyptian capital's subway system with 69 escalators as well as servicing and maintaining 432 elevators and escalators.

In Haroun el Rashied Station, Alf Masken Station, and El Shams Club Station, thyssenkrupp Elevator has installed over 40 escalators. At Heliopolis Square Station, which is also new, thyssenkrupp has installed 17 escalators while at new El Nozha Station, a deal for a further 12 escalator units has just been closed.

"thyssenkrupp Elevator is really proud to be part of the Cairo metro's rapid development. Especially in a metropolis like this, an efficient transport system and increased access is crucial for countless people but also many businesses. With our mobility solutions, we deliver and secure reliability, comfort, and maximum efficiency for the people of Cairo," said Peter Walker, CEO of thyssenkrupp Elevator.

"The metro of Cairo was opened in 1987. In 2009/2010, about 805 million passengers used it. Until 2020 the number will raise to approximately 2.2 billion. To cope with the demand for seamless inner-city transport, Cairo metro continuously expands.

Elsewhere in the Middle East region, thyssenkrupp has recently supplied more than 1,200 elevators, escalators and moving walks to the upcoming metro stations in Riyadh and Doha and is also currently servicing almost 800 units for the Dubai metro. - TradeArabia News Service


Discovery network to produce videos to promote Grand Egyptian Museum

US TV network Discovery is set to produce three videos to promote Egypt's new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), which is set to open in 2020, the Egyptian tourism ministry said on Sunday.

The videos are planned to be broadcast in a number of countries to promote the long-awaited opening of the museum, a cornerstone of Egypt's efforts to develop its tourism industry.

As part of the ministry's deal with Discovery, which was announced in September, the videos will be broadcast on the network's Discovery Channel, TLC and the Travel Channel in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the United States, as well as on its social media platforms, the ministry said in a statement.

Discovery will also broadcast a series of episodes about the Red Sea resort town of Marsa Alam, the Siwa Oasis and the White Desert as part of Egypt's Branding by Destination programme. It will also show material on Egypt's 'People to People' campaign, which aims to highlight the diversity of the Egyptian people and culture.

The new Grand Egyptian Museum will be home to an exceptional collection of ancient Egyptian relics when it opens next year near the Pyramids of Giza, Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat said in an interview with Discovery network.

The full set of Egypt's boy-king Tutankhamun, which includes about 5,000 artefacts, will be on display in the museum for the first time since the discovery of his tomb in 1922.

Al-Mashat also explained that the newly-opened Sphinx International Airport - which is located near the Giza Pyramids and only 15 minutes away from the GEM - will help tourists visiting the capital easily access diverse destinations across the country.

The deal with Discovery is part of a series of agreements Egypt recently signed with leading media and travel companies including CNN, Expedia and China's Ctrip and Beautiful Destination to help boost its tourism sector, a key pillar of the economy and a major source of hard currency.


Egypt to launch Tiba-1 telecommunications satellite

Cairo, Nov. 22 (BNA): Egypt is set to launch its first-ever telecommunications satellite, TIBA- 1, on Friday, in what is considered as a as major milestone which will see internet and telecom services cover the entire country.

Designed to remain in service in orbit for more than 15 years, TIBA-1 will be Egypt's first push into satellite-based internet services.

Weighing approximately 5,600 kg, TIBA-1 will be launched from Kourou on an Ariane 5. It has an electric power capability of higher than 9 kW.

The communications spacecraft, which will be operational three months after launch, will enhance the country's land telecom and internet networks, giving millions of people in remote and rural areas internet beamed down from space, in addition to some North African countries and states bordering the Nile basin.


New car-sharing service to be launched in Bahrain

MANAMA: Bahrain is launching its first car-sharing service.

Yoyo Digital Drive is being launched by the Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry in co-operation with Zain Telecommunications Group and Ebrahim Khalil Kanoo Company.

Members of the club can reserve their vehicles using an app, picking it up and leaving it at select locations.

The vehicle's door can be locked or unlocked using a membership card or through the app.


Oman visitors told to apply in advance for visa

Visitors to Oman should purchase a visa in advance of travelling to the country, Omani police said.

From Friday, November 1 all nationalities travelling to the UAE's neighbour should secure an eVisa before setting off.

Applicants need to visit the online government portal to upload their passport copy, a second photo and pay five Omani Rials, about Dh50, for a 10 day unsponsored visitor visa.

Royal Oman Police said physical visas will be handed out as an "exception to the rule".

Applications can be made for an unsponsored or sponsored tourist visa, tourist visa for GCC residents or an express travel permit.

The process can take up to four days to complete, but is free for visitors arriving from Dubai and Qatar. Passports should be valid for at least six months before entering the country.

Depending on the nation of origin, visa fees can cost between $13 (Dh50) and $130 (Dh500).

If you are a GCC resident: you can travel using a GCC Resident Tourist Visa if you are the main traveller with an approved profession, or Visa Type 29B if you're the companion of the main traveller.

If you do not have a residency in GCC, visitors must apply for the Dubai and Oman Joint Visa through one of the Oman's embassy offices or tourist travel agency.

Once approved you can enter through the airport or Hatta border post, although the visa duration must be valid for at least 21 days pre-entry to Oman.

A step-by-step guide how to apply for an unsponsored tourist visa can be viewed online via a YouTube link on the Omani government portal.

Applications can be made at https://evisa.rop.gov.om/home


CinÚpolis Cinemas opens 14-screen megaplex in Muscat

CinÚpolis Cinemas, a global cinema exhibitor, has opened its first offering in Muscat, Oman, which includes four luxury screens, a Junior screen, 4D E-motion screen, Macro XE screen and seven premium format screens.

CinÚpolis Cinemas' newest theatre, the company's third location in the Sultanate, is on Avenues Mall on the third floor of Avenues Mall.

Ashish Shukla, CEO of CinÚpolis Gulf, said: "Cinepolis is bringing to Oman its globally recognised experiences. We know how much the community in Muscat loves movies, and we are relishing the opportunity to present a wonderful cinema experience that can be enjoyed by all."

"The launch of the first luxury offering for CinÚpolis Cinema in Oman is a milestone for the brand and we are honoured to bring our world-class offering to Muscat.

"Film fans in Muscat are invited to discover the very best cinema experience in our brand-new, state-of-the-art theatre that merges fantastic audio and visual technology with wonderful food, comfort and hospitality at a great affordable price point starting at 3OMR.

"We thank the Lulu group for giving us this wonderful opportunity and we look forward to expanding our partnership with them across the various geographies we work in together," he added.

The first ever luxury offering from CinÚpolis Cinemas in the Middle East will offer movie-goers access to four luxurious screens, which will include 180-degree leather reclining seats with personal amenities, Maitre d' call buttons and adjustable tables.

The luxury menu, which will be served to the seat via on-demand butler service, features a variety of delicious starters including prawns osmallieh, fish tacos, loaded tacos and loaded fries. Main dishes include CinÚpolis Cinemas' signature Wagyu burger, falafel wraps, sliders, pan-seared ribeye steak,

A lamb kebab platter is also available for those looking for sharing options, as well salads for those looking for a lighter dish. A selection of delectable Arabic-inspired desserts also featured on the menu, including milk cake and cardamom cheesecake. A selection of soft drinks and mocktails will also be on offer.

The Muscat theatre will also feature a Junior screen. CinÚpolis Cinemas' Junior screens have been a huge hit with parents and youngsters in the Middle East, and have been designed to allow families to enjoy their favourite movies in a welcoming and fun space that expertly caters to their needs. The Junior screen features a colourful jungle gym, complete with slide and ball pit, as well as fun bean-bag seating.

Another cinematic experience that catapults CinÚpolis Cinemas ahead of the competition is the state-of-the-art 4D E-motion experience. The immersive theatre format allows cinema lovers to "live" the movie thanks to motion seats and outstanding special effects such as wind, water, seat vibration, smell and air shots all perfectly synchronized with the action on the screen.

The cinema will also boast one Macro XE auditorium, completed with Dolby Atmos surround sound that creates a powerful audio experience thanks to the high-tech combination of the latest generation of audio speakers located throughout each of the venue's premium auditoriums. The Deluxe or Premium seat options all enjoy an uninterrupted view of the screen with rocking leather chairs available. The screen is triple the size of an ordinary cinema screen and makes you feel like you are part of the movie.

CinÚpolis Cinemas provides the ultimate movie-going experience for film lovers with a premium level of service, food, technology and the latest blockbusters from around the world.

Visitors to CinÚpolis Cinemas Muscat will be able to enjoy a premium range of delicious movie treats including buttered popcorn and nachos or opt for a hot drink expertly prepared by in-house baristas at the speciality coffee shop, 'Coffee Tree'. A full menu of gourmet snack items and concessions is also available to movie-goers, including paninis, flatbread pizza, crepes and speciality smoothies.

In the GCC, the international chain opened its first theatre in Bahrain in January 2019 and two in Oman, in May and September 2019. The global chain also announced six new locations in Saudi Arabia, which will open over the next 18 months. The cinema-giant aims to become a leading player in the movie theatres industry by bringing the best cinema-going experiences to the region. - TradeArabia News Service


Two Rosewood properties to open in Qatar's Lusail City

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts opens the next chapter of its Middle East expansion with its appointment to manage Rosewood Doha and Rosewood Residences Doha, opening in Lusail City in 2022.

Partnering with Arkaz Investment, this latest jewel in the collection's crown will bring Rosewood's signature contemporary ultra-luxury hospitality to Qatar.

The design concept of the Rosewood hotel and branded residences is based on underwater forms, specifically the local coral formations. The organic architectural design approach is aimed at respecting the site and its surrounding Arabian Gulf waters, while promoting a harmony between human habitation and the natural world. Housed in two striking towers, Rosewood Doha and Rosewood Residences Doha will consist of an ultra-luxury hotel with 185 exquisite guestrooms and sumptuous suites, 173 serviced apartments for longer-term stays and 300 residences available for purchase.

The complex architectural project is conceptualised by a team from Arab Engineering Bureau (AEB) headed by chief architect Ibrahim M. Jaidah.

A $45 billion project, Lusail City extends across an area of 38-sq-km, comprising four exclusive islands and 19 multi-purpose residential, mixed-use, entertainment and commercial districts. The city will be home to 450,000 residents and welcome over 80,000 visitors annually, which will draw a new influx of international investment, global travellers and highly skilled expatriates to the country.

"Rosewood Doha and Rosewood Residences Doha will create a new and differentiated benchmark for ultra-luxury hospitality in the region," said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer, Rosewood Hotel Group. "We are honored to be a part of Qatar's ambitious vision and will be thrilled to see it realized in the coming years. This project represents our third outpost for the Rosewood brand in the Middle East; building on our unwavering dedication to innovation and service excellence, it exemplifies our strategy of thoughtful growth in the region."

"We are delighted to join hands with Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, renowned for its one-of-a-kind collection underpinned by its iconic A Sense of Place philosophy," said Aman G. Shahani, CEO, Arkaz Investments. "We are proud to showcase the rich culture of Qatar as well as our visionary and innovative ambition for the future through Rosewood's uniquely sophisticated lens and become the new lifestyle destination for Lusail City and Qatar."

The hotel will be one of the city's most dynamic culinary destinations with a collection of eight outlets, including a bistro, lobby lounge, coffee shop/deli, three specialty restaurants, cigar lounge and a lifestyle entertainment lounge. Featuring a 1,500-sq-m ballroom, the property will showcase multiple private event venues, anchored around sleek interiors and state-of-the-art technology, which will transform ordinary events into the extraordinary. The hotel will also introduce Sense, a Rosewood Spa, offering total discretion and relaxation, along with a fitness centre featuring state-of-the-art training equipment. Rosewood's signature Manor Club executive lounge concept will offer Club Room and Suite guests curated services with added convenience and privacy.

Rosewood Residences Doha will also introduce 300 for-sale residential apartments, catering to global citizens who crave a lifestyle of authenticity fused with modern luxury. The residences will be complete with bespoke amenities, facilities and services. - TradeArabia News Service


First solar charging station in Qatar for electric vehicles opens

Continuing its mission to reduce carbon emission and promote a culture of environment-friendly practices in the transportation sector, the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa), represented by the National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency (Tarsheed), yesterday launched the Tarsheed Photovoltaic Station for Energy Storage and Charging Electric Vehicles.

The station, which is the first of its kind in Qatar, will serve as a charging point for vehicles with electricity produced from solar energy via 216 photovoltaic panels that are divided into two areas with a total area of 270 square meters, equivalent to the row for 24 cars' spaces.

The total power produced from these panels is 72 KW peak.

The station contains a unit that has two connections of Combo and CHAdeMO types that are compatible with different types of vehicles.

The unit allows two cars to be charged at a time with a rapid charging level of 15 to 20 minutes. The maximum charging capacity is 100 KW.

The station also contains a power storage unit in a battery with a capacity of 170 KW/h. The charging cord of 100 KW is enough to charge three cars. The surplus energy will be exported to the grid after charging the battery.

Electricity will be provided from the grid via a key transformer, in case the power from the solar panels is not sufficient at the time of vehicle-charging.

Kahramaa chief Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari, Japan ambassador Kazuo Sunaga, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Marubeni Power Company Yoshiyaki Yokota and officials from Kahramaa and Marubeni attended the opening of the station yesterday.

The new initiative is aimed at reducing the harmful carbon emissions by encouraging the usage of solar energy as well as disseminating the use of electric cars in Qatar via providing a unique infrastructure for electric charging stations to achieve sustainability in line with Qatar National Vision 2030, highlighted Al Kuwari.

T"The initiative will help Qatar transform into a developed country that's able to achieve sustainable development by enhancing the diversified economy that depends on reducing the hydrocarbon; its investment is in the private sector which must be directed towards the smart knowledge and technology," he noted.


Dubai announces mega sales, holiday festivals for 2020

The latest edition of DSF, which will start on December 26, 2019 and will run until February 1, 2020, not only commemorates the launch of the global retail festival in 1996 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, but also celebrates the accomplishments of the city to date, signifying a time for reflection of the glorious past, as well as looking ahead to increase the momentum.

Dubai's annual calendar is packed with an array of activations, festivals and events throughout the year, and will reach a crescendo with the opening of the mega Expo 2020 in October.

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) said: "As 2020 shapes up to be a pivotal year, we are committed to fostering synergies and ensuring ongoing collaboration amongst all stakeholders and entities to consolidate and further strengthen Dubai's position as a global retail hub.

What to expect this DSF

The 25th edition of DSF will kick off with remarkable celebrations to commemorate the special edition, and will include a series of concerts by Emirati and international singers, cultural and family-oriented performances, stand-up comedy shows and street carnivals, as well as sales of up to 90 per cent across more than 3,500 retail outlets.

In addition to the daily chances to win life-changing prizes and spectacular firework shows, the entire city will come alive and be at its best to celebrate the momentous occasion.

The shopping festival will take place across 38 days and all retailers and malls will come together to offer great promotions and sales to provide residents and visitors a rewarding experience during the milestone edition.

The enormous success achieved by DSF year after year has encouraged retailers and partners to invest in building more malls and expanding existing ones, making it even more attractive for global brands to set up shop in the city.

Raffles and promotions

DSF is also instrumental in attracting international visitors who wish to make the most of the promotions and world-class events that are held in Dubai, and participate in the daily raffles offering incredible prizes.

Public, private sector partnership

DFRE also strives to ensure that Strategic Partners and retailers meet regularly to discuss important retail initiatives and leverage all efforts to achieve the goals of Dubai's Tourism Vision 2022-2025.

Retail calendar

DSF is the flagship event of DFRE's ever-evolving annual Retail Calendar, which features 18 festivals, events, season launches, holiday periods and sales throughout the year.

The programme offer retailers the opportunity to run customer-centric promotions and activations, which in turn drive footfall and increase sales. The Retail Calendar 2020 will reaffirm Dubai's continued international standing as a must-visit shopping destination, enabling continued growth of the retail sector which is expected to reach an estimated Dh160.7 billion by 2021.

Al Khaja said: "The Retail Calendar was developed with the support of 18 retail and mall partners to create attractive value propositions in Dubai that coincide with retail shopping periods locally and globally and further enhance shopping experiences."

The 2020 Retail Calendar will include the following festivals and events:

. Dubai Shopping Festival (December 26, 2019 - February 1, 2020): DSF is the world's biggest shopping festival and will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year with exceptional experiences across its three pillars of shopping, entertainment and winning.

. Russian Holidays (January 4-12, 2020): Leveraging the increasing traffic from a key feeder country, Dubai will celebrate the Russian Holidays with various events and promotions planned for residents and tourists alike.

. Chinese New Year (25 January - 1 February 2020): Capitalising on an important source market, this citywide celebration includes entertainment, events, fireworks, cultural activities and promotions across malls, strategically timed around the key holiday.

. DSF Final Weekend Sale (30 January - 1 February 2020): During the last three days of DSF, retailers will unveil bigger promotions and sales, giving last-minute shoppers an opportunity to pocket irresistible bargains.

. Dubai Food Festival (20 February - 7 March 2020): The Dubai Food Festival offers a unique recipe of events and activities across the city, focusing on gastronomic and culinary experiences ranging from fine dining to the 'hidden gems' of small and popular restaurants to the participation of a wide range of international restaurants.

. Spring/Summer Collections (5-21 March 2020) and Fall/Winter Collections (2-15 October 2020): These events are aimed at establishing Dubai as the fashion capital of the region, increasing sales, supporting retailers, and showcasing the latest fashion lines from local and global brands with special offers.

. Dubai Home Festival (9-23 April 2020): The Dubai Home Festival aims to support the homeware sector with special promotions in addition to giving young designers a platform to showcase their products and innovations.

. Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr in Dubai (24 April - 27 May 2020): The "Ramadan in Dubai" campaign is a social, cultural, and spiritual initiative that celebrates the values of the Holy month while Eid Al Fitr in Dubai will feature events and promotions to celebrate the special occasion.

. 3 Day Super Sale in May and October 2020: Retail outlets representing major local and international brands take part in this three-day event across the city, offering significant reductions of up to 90 per cent.

. Sales period (4-24 June 2020): Retail outlets offer up to 75 per cent off on a wide range of products by the most famous international brands.

. Dubai Summer Surprises (25 June - 8 August 2020): Dubai Summer Surprises features exciting events, family activities, exclusive shopping offers and fun raffles that give shoppers the chance to win valuable prizes.

. Eid Al Adha in Dubai (1-3 August 2020): Eid Al Adha in Dubai highlights authentic Emirati traditions and customs, with several special events and promotions held to mark the happy occasion.

. Dubai Summer Surprises Final Weekend Sale (6-8 August 2020): Retail outlets offer further offers during the last 3 days of the annual summer shopping bonanza, Dubai Summer Surprises.

. Back to School (9 August - 5 September): As students get ready to return to school, the Back to School promotional campaign is organised to encourage parents to buy school supplies from shopping malls and retailers that are participating in the campaign, giving them the chance to win valuable prizes.

. Dubai Fitness Challenge (6-21 November 2020): The Dubai Fitness Challenge will return for a fourth year with exciting activities that are aimed at enhancing Dubai's standing as the most active city in the world.

. Diwali in Dubai (2-6 November 2020): Diwali celebrations are an opportunity to celebrate with the Indian community and visitors through an array of activities and offers provided by retail outlets.

. Sales period (5-25 December 2020): Retail outlets in the city will offer promotions of up to 75 per cent.

. Gifting Weekend (10-12 December 2020): A key weekend that attracts shoppers to buy gifts from a wide collection of branded products in time for the holiday season.


New Dubai law bars developers from collecting service fees

Dubai developers are no longer allowed to collect service charges from property owners as a new law comes into effect removing developers from setting charges or collecting funds. Developers have only a month left to start invoicing all service charges on ready properties through the Dubai Land Department's Mollak system, which was launched by the Dubai Land Department.

Mollak, an electronic platform for tenants and home owners to pay service fees, is on track to record Dh4 billion towards service fees. The platform has so far registered 231,277 real estate units, 1,240 properties, and 89 real estate companies. "At present, the total amount of service fees audited in the system exceed Dh1.3 billion," according to DLD.

The introduction of Mollak ensures that henceforth developers have to invoice service charges on properties only through the new electronics payment platform. The initiative is in line with the Common Properties Law, No. 6 of 2019, which comes into effect on Tuesday.

Mollak, which has been designed to be more fair and transparent, comprises an online automation process that requires the developer and the joint ownership property management, through its manager, to provide accurate information regarding the services provided in joint ownership properties so that Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) can approve the service fees.

The system also assists joint ownership property owners and ascertains smooth and easy operations with property managers as well as provides a new and integrated structure to monitor accounts related to service charges in these projects by relying on the financial accounts that operate as per to the mechanism of the escrow account, DLD said.

Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of DLD, addressing a press conference held to highlight the 'Joint Real Estate Ownership Law in Dubai,' said the new law would contribute to enhancing transparency and consolidating global leadership of Dubai's real estate sector. "We are pleased to announce the Mollak system, which will make common service charges smooth and easy to pay."

Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of Rera, highlighting the updates, development, transparency, and confidence that this law will bring to the Dubai real estate market, said the law would ensure better services to gain investor confidence in the Dubai real estate market. "The law covers all common grounds, property management companies, and developers. On-ground implementation has already begun, and the team is fully prepared to implement and act accordingly," Ghalita said.

Judge Abdulqader Mousa, Chairman of the Rental Disputes Center, said the centre added a new mandate, namely disputes relating to common real estate issues, in cooperation with Rera and Emirates Real Estate Solutions.

Majid Al Marri, CEO of the Registration and Real Estate Services sector at DLD, said that the Real Estate Registration and Services Sector would focus its attention on the real estate register of common property, including all land owned by developers of joint properties, such as parking spaces and open spaces, pointing out that the law will resolve any disputes concerning these types of properties, for easy segregation and determination of responsibilities and duties. Khalifa Al Suwaidi, CEO of Emirates Real Estate Solutions, said they are working closely with DLD and had developed several applications to enhance technology in the real estate sector. - issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


Food delivery firm Talabat adds groceries, pharmacy to Dubai services

Talabat, the largest food delivery service in the Middle East, is expanding its services by adding groceries and pharmacies as new categories on its platform.

Talabat customers will now be able to order groceries and pharmacy products through the app and select their delivery area across Dubai.

A wide range of products and groceries includes Carrefour, 800 Pharmacy and 7/11, it said in a statement.

Muhammaed Yildirim, managing director of Talabat, said: "Talabat has shaped and revolutionised the regional food delivery service since its inception in 2004.

"With the addition of these new categories, we will be working closely with some of the biggest groceries and pharmacies across the country in service of our customers by having products delivered to them as conveniently as their food is, right to their door. This aligns with our aim of creating exceptional value for our customers as we innovate to simplify the overall delivery experience."

He added: "We are eager to work with more and more partners to bring our customers all their daily needs. In the coming months, we will be adding even more options for customers to choose from, and we will be working on making these categories available in more areas around the country."

With a network of over 13,000 restaurants and stores and 24,000 branches, Talabat houses the Middle East's largest selection of eateries online.


Free tap water in Dubai restaurants from 2020

Restaurants in Dubai will be advised to offer customers the choice of free tap water starting from next year 2020, according to new regulations by the Dubai Municipality Food Code.

While it is not a rule yet, it will hold landlords responsible for the quality of their water tanks, and is aimed at reducing single-use plastics, it was announced at the Dubai International Food Safety Conference at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday.

"Whenever you go to restaurants or hotels, you will now be seeing drinking water regulations. If you want to have a cup of water, you will see you can get it from the tap or from the bottle and you just have to select which one," Amal Al Bedwawi, head of the Drinking Water Control Unit at Dubai Municipality, told local media.

"We are treating it as a new trend to protect the environment and reduce the use of single use plastics," she added.

Clean tanks

Al Bedwawi said tap water is safe to drink as it is already filtered for consumption, however she said restaurants must ensure their water tanks are clean in order for the water to remain drinkable.

"Water that comes from the tap is filtered anyway, tap water comes as drinking water. But when it's stored in tanks the risk is increasing, so we need to ensure restaurants are washing tanks used for tap water and this is the problem we are trying to control," she said.

Al Bedwawi said residential and commercial properties should also ensure water quality, and that the Dubai Municipality is currently working on systems that ensure water quality.

"Along with that all villa owners, say you rent, the owner should be testing the water as part of the contract. At the moment this is not in your [tenancy] contract, but in the future, by law, it has to be there," she said.

Official statements from the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) have previously stated that it is "the responsibility of the customer or owner and the maintenance companies to carry out regular maintenance of the internal networks and water tanks after the metre and to ensure that health and safety standards are met."


How booking a taxi in Dubai will change on December 7

Dubai's Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has announced that its taxi booking and dispatch services will be moved to Hala, the joint venture between RTA and Careem, as of December 7.

The move heralds a shift from the interactive voice response system of taxi booking in Dubai to Hala e-hailing system on the Careem app to improve quality and positive uptake since the launch of Hala in September, the RTA said in a statement.

"This step marks a paradigm shift of Dubai Taxi booking process from the call centre to Hala. It is part of RTA's strategic drive to support Dubai Government's Smart City initiative," said Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of RTA's Public Transport Agency.

"Several actions have been put into effect in order to guarantee a smooth transition for customers who are used to calling 04-2080808 to order a Dubai Taxi," he added.

Safety and lost and found issues will remain to be handled by RTA's Call Centre (8009090).

Clemence Dutertre, CEO of Hala, said: "Our mission is to offer the best experience to customers when booking a ride in Dubai. The migration of the Dubai Taxi booking process to Hala will continue to ensure the most efficient experience for customers, connecting users to the closest Dubai Taxi at the touch of a button.

"Hala customers will get a booking confirmation in less than 10 seconds, get a taxi in an average of 3.5 minutes, and benefit from an enhanced experience with an average quality rating of 4.8/5 stars."


W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island now open

W Hotels Worldwide's highly respected W brand has marked its grand debut in the UAE capital city with the opening of W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island.

The property stands in the centre of Abu Dhabi's bustling entertainment island and is the only hotel in the world located atop a Grand Prix racetrack. Visitors can expect innovative design and pulsating energy - something that the W brand is renowned for.

In the perfect location for all types of travellers, W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island is nestled among iconic landmarks and is a 15-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport. The property is also at the doorstep of the famed Yas Marina Circuit and Yas Marina, and is within arm's reach of Ferrari World, Warner Brothers Studios and the Yas Mall.

Global brand leader, W Hotels Worldwide, Anthony Ingham enthused on the launch: "W Hotels seeks dynamic destinations that are multi-dimensional and ever-evolving, and Abu Dhabi, with its cultural DNA that honours a millennium of tradition while boldly embracing what's new and next, is an ideal fit for the brand. The arrival of W in Abu Dhabi marks a new chapter for both the brand and the capital. While paying tribute to the essence and spirit of the city, the hotel creates a modern, energetic and stylish escape unlike anything else."

W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island is home to 499 guest rooms and suites, all of which comprise plush amenities and floor-to-ceiling windows offering breath-taking vistas of the Grand Prix racetrack or the Yas Marina. The EWOW Suite (the brand's take on the traditional Presidential Suite) spans 409m2 across two floors and houses a private lap pool and sauna.

As for facilities, hotel guests can enjoy a unique poolside experience at WET, which promises stunning scenery of the Yas Marina Circuit, signature beverages and live DJ performances. Guests can also make the most of FUEL-focused activities (fitness and wellness programming), including weekly workouts, healthy cuisine and amazing adventures.

For guests wishing to tantalise their taste-buds, the new hotel is home to Garage, a one-of-a-kind a la carte food hub with a buzzing, botanical design driven by five unique mini concepts: Steam Table serving up noodles and dumplings; Nikkei House offering Peruvian/ Japanese cuisine; Mezza Bar focusing on Lebanese mezze; Meat Vault offering grilled cuts; and Tart Van, which serves delicious tarts.

Other outlets include Amici, which serves authentic Italian cuisine; Angar, serving delectable Indian food; and W Lounge with a variety of drink stations that each focus on a signature beverage alongside a curated menu.

In light of its grand opening, W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island is promoting a special opening offer which is made available from November 2019 until February 2020. The offer includes a Wonderful room for two nights or more, a buffet breakfast for two plus generous B&F credit to experience Garage.


DEWA extends free electric vehicle charging till end of 2021 for non-commercial users

As the current free charging incentive for electric vehicles will expire by the end of this year, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has announced an extension until the 31st of December 2021. However, this extension only applies to non-commercial users, who register for the EV Green Charger Initiative.

The extension allows non-commercial users registered in the EV Green Charger Initiative to charge their vehicles for free at DEWA public charging stations until the 31st of December 2021. This incentive is exclusive to DEWA public charging stations and does not include home charging stations. Commercial registered users such as government, semi-government, and private organisations will be charged the tariff of 29 fils per kilowatt hour, effective from the 1st of January 2020.

"We support the Smart Dubai initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the happiest and smartest city in the world; the UAE Vision 2021 which aims to achieve a sustainable environment in terms of air quality, conservation of water resources, increased reliance on clean energy, and green development. DEWA also supports the Dubai Plan 2021, to make Dubai a smart, sustainable and innovative city in managing its resources, improving its quality of life, and consolidating its position as a global model for a green economy. DEWA seeks to increase the number of hybrid and electric vehicles in Dubai, which supports the Dubai Green Mobility Strategy 2030 and the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021 to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector," said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.

Al Tayer pointed out that under the umbrella of the Supreme Council, DEWA is working on implementing the Dubai Green Mobility Initiative to promote the use of electric and hybrid vehicles. The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy launched this initiative as per a directive in 2016 to motivate organisations, under its umbrella, to increase the number of hybrid and electric vehicles, and to contribute to the sustainable development of the Emirate by reducing carbon emissions in ground transport, which is the second-largest greenhouse gas emitter in Dubai. Therefore, at least 10% of all newly-purchased cars will be electric or hybrid from 2016 to 2020. This supports the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy to cut carbon emissions by 16% by 2021.

"DEWA encourages individuals and the community to use sustainable transportation. Since DEWA launched the EV Green Charger Initiative in 2015 and its associated free charging incentive, there has been a significant increase in the number of electric and hybrid vehicles in Dubai. Due to the positive response, we decided to extend the free charging incentive for the owners of non-commercial electric vehicles until the 31st of December 2021. The huge turnout from the community encourages us to launch further initiatives to secure a more sustainable future for generations to come," Al Tayer said.


New UAE traffic rule, fine to come into effect today

The right lane on King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Street in Abu Dhabi will be blocked for motorists starting December 1.

The lane will be exclusively designated for emergency vehicles, public transport buses and taxis, the Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrols Directorate announced on its twitter handle.

The rule applies to vehicles plying on both directions on the street.

Motorists who drive on the lane will be fined Dh400, said the police.

UAE authorities had on earlier occasions launched awareness drives to ensure emergency vehicles are given way. In October this year, Dubai police launched a campaign titled 'Give way, Give hope', with an aim to educate motorists about the importance of not blocking emergency vehicles.

The video released as part of the campaign gave detailed instructions on how to give way to emergency vehicles. For instance, motorists should not pass a red light even while letting an emergency vehicle pass. And cars passing the green signals are expected to stop for the emergency vehicles.


UAE's expanded 'sin tax' comes in with sugary drinks, vapes and regular cigarettes rising in price

Residents and visitors to the UAE will pay more for sugary drinks, vaping devices and cigarettes from Sunday.

The 50 per cent tax on non-fizzy drinks 100 per cent levy on e-cigarettes and vaping liquid is aimed at improving the nation's health.

The country has also introduced minimum pricing for regular cigarettes.

A cigarette cannot be sold for less than 40 fils, meaning a pack of 20 must cost at least Dh8. Previously, smokers could buy a pack for as little as Dh3 in some stores.

First announced by the UAE Cabinet in August, shops across the country began to apply the new pricing strategy on Sunday.

Water pipe tobacco for shisha will now carry a minimum 10 fils excise charge on every gram, with a starting retail price of at least Dh100 per kilo.

The price tag of non-fizzy soft drinks with added sugar or sweeteners has also increased. For instance, AriZona Iced Tea, which contains about 16 teaspoons of sugar per 680ml can, costs about Dh9 on average, depending on the retailer.

Under the new guidelines, the list of taxable sweetened drinks includes those that are "ready-to-consume or that come in the form of concentrates, powders or gels", according to the FTA.

The products have been added to a list of items that were subject to the original 'sin tax', which first came into effect in October 2017 and included tobacco and tobacco products, energy drinks, and carbonated beverages.

In a move to "build a healthy community by curbing the consumption of harmful products", Khalid Al Bustani, director general of the FTA, said the new pricing rules could help put an end to low quality tobacco products being sold in the country.

"Implementing the new decision [will help to] mitigate damages and costs incurred while fighting diseases that result from consuming these products."

In a series of tweets in August, the UAE Government Communication Office announced that it was expanding the list of excise taxable products just months after the UAE legalised the sale of e-cigarettes in mid-April.

Last week, a YouGov poll showed that people over 25 were more supportive of the UAE's expanded tax on sugar.

Of the 1,006 participants surveyed, 56 per cent of people over 25 backed the decision to hit non-fizzy sugary drinks with a 50 per cent levy, compared with 47 per cent of people aged 18 to 24.

The pollster also found stronger support from wealthier residents.


World's largest skydiving flight chamber opens in Abu Dhabi

Leading UAE developer Miral has announced the opening of the world's largest indoor skydiving flight chamber and tallest indoor climbing wall at Yas Island - two record-breaking experiences for sports and leisure enthusiasts.

CLYMB Abu Dhabi, the new sports and leisure attraction on Yas Island, was inaugurated by Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office.

The launch was marked by a thrilling entertainment showcase with record-breaking skydiver, daredevil, and Base jumper, Felix Baumgartner taking a flight in the chamber - as well an exhilarating performance by Redbull indoor skydiving athletes and gold medallists, Kyra Poh from Singapore and Maja Kuczynska from Poland, said a statement from Miral.

Red Bull climbing athlete and professional rock-climbing champion Sasha DiGiulian from the US laid the first climbing chalk marks as she scaled the world's tallest indoor climbing wall, it stated.

Suitable for guests of all ages and skill levels, and with expert instructors supervising at all times, CLYMB's skydiving flight chamber is 10 m wide and 32 m high.

Its indoor climbing wall is 43-m tall and features five walls of various degrees of height and difficulty. The attraction is conveniently accessible through Yas Mall and is adjacent to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, it added.

Miral chairman Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak said: "This is yet another milestone for us as we continue to elevate Yas Island's position as a leading global destination for entertainment, leisure and business."

"We are honoured to have Sheikh Khalid inaugurate this one-of-a-kind sports attraction, which is designed to become the ultimate hub for adventure, offering something completely unique, challenging and unforgettable for active lifestyle enthusiasts from around the world," remarked Al Mubarak.

CLYMB Abu Dhabi's striking architecture has been inspired by the UAE's rugged, mountainous landscape.

With its geometric exterior resembling a crystal-like structure, the venue has already become a Yas Island landmark, adding to the integrated leisure, lifestyle and entertainment experiences available to visitors, said the top official.

CLYMB Abu Dhabi will be open from 12pm to 9pm (Sunday to Thursday) and from 12pm to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

"The opening of CLYMB Abu Dhabi is yet another step forward to deliver on our commitment to drive increased visitors to Yas Island, enhance its appeal, and offer a diverse range of attractions and experiences within one destination," he added.- TradeArabia News Service


$320m Nakheel Mall opens on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah

Nakheel Mall, a Dh1.2 billion ($320 million) shopping, dining and entertainment destination at the heart of Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, was opened today (November 28), providing on-the-doorstep convenience for the island's 78,000 residents.

Opened by Nakheel chairman Ali Rashid Lootah, the new centrepiece of The Palm is easily accessible by road, rail or on foot.Tthe mall has its own Palm Monorail station, with free monorail trips to the mall until the end of February 2020. There is also direct road access to a three-level multi-story car park, and pedestrian access from Al Ittihad Park and nearby residences.

Ali Rashid Lootah said: "We are proud to add Nakheel Mall to our diverse portfolio of retail, leisure and hospitality projects. This stunning new destination combines first class retail facilities with unique attractions at our flagship master development, Palm Jumeirah, which continues to be one of the world's most sought-after places to live and visit.

"Nakheel Mall has been part of The Palm's master plan since day one. Today's mall opening is another key milestone which brings us ever closer to realising the vision for this world-famous island."

With a focus on entertainment and leisure, the mall has five levels of shops, restaurants and attractions, including a 15-screen Vox Cinemas complex, Trampo Extreme, Fabyland, Waitrose supermarket, Depachika Food Hall, H&M, Fitness First and many more.

Nakheel Mall is also the access point for The View at The Palm, a public observatory perched on the top of the neighbouring Palm Tower, 230 metres above the island. The View will open in 2020.

A host of National Day weekend live entertainment, promotions and activities gets under way at Nakheel Mall today, with Dh1 million worth of prizes - including a brand new Maserati- up for grabs for every Dh250 spent between now and 7 December. My Little Pony and Baby Shark are live on stage, with live bands, roaming entertainment and children's workshops, too.

Nakheel Mall operational hours are 10 am to 10 pm on week days, and 10 am to 12 midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. - TradeArabia News Service


Tamdeen, Nadal to open tennis academy in Kuwait

Tamdeen Group, a leading mixed-use property developer that is reshaping the urban and social landscape of Kuwait through innovative development projects, has joined forces with Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar, one of the world's leading tennis centres, to open a world-class tennis academy in the country.

Bearing the name of the legendary tennis icon, who will end the 2019 ATP season as the world's top ranked player, the Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait will serve as the training and developmental hub of the all-new Shaikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah International Tennis Complex.

One of the country's pioneering public-private partnership projects, the world-class complex is the biggest sports initiative in value and size under the Kuwait Public Authority for Sport.

The academy is set to formally open its doors when Rafael Nadal will personally fly in to Kuwait for the inauguration in February.

The launch of Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait was announced at a press conference held at Tamdeen Group's headquarters in 360 Mall in the presence of Mohammed Jassim Khalid Al Marzouq - Chairman of Tamdeen Group; Toni Nadal - Tennis Director, Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar (Mallorca), and uncle and former coach of legendary tennis star, Rafa Nadal; Nuno Marques - Head of Tennis, Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait and a former ATP player and Portugal Davis Cup Captain; and Maribel Nadal, sister and 20-year confident of Rafa Nadal.

Unveiling details of the visionary sports infrastructure project, Al Marzouq said its ultimate goal was to empower regional grassroots tennis and create future champions in Kuwait.

"In the race for excellence, there is no finish line. Our vision is clear and Tamdeen is delivering on its promise to reshape the state's urban and social landscapes," stated the top official.

"Our commitment to this project is four-fold: aid national development schemes outlined by our wise leadership; leverage progressive public-private partnerships to facilitate world-class infrastructure projects; construct facilities which establish Kuwait and its championships on the international sporting map; and foster a fertile environment for Kuwaiti athletes to excel in international sports," said Al Marzouq.

Lauding Toni, Rafa and the entire academy team for their commitment to Tamdeen and Kuwait, the Group Chairman said: "With our shared vision and values, and the collaboration of the Kuwait Tennis Federation and Kuwait's General Authority for Sports, the Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait at the Shaikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah Tennis Complex will drive awareness of tennis and healthy living among Kuwaiti youth and attract a new generation of fans to the sport and general fitness."

In his video message, Nadal expressed his pleasure at the new venture.

"I'm personally very happy to open the Academy in Kuwait. We're working hard to create the right programmes for the kids and our members, making for strong development of tennis all over the region. See you very soon," said Nadal in his short speech.

Explaining the decision to partner Tamdeen on the ambitious venture, Toni cited collective synergies and the stakeholders' shared goals for excellence.

"We have been working so that players from all over the world train in tennis and life skills in Mallorca, where we try to instill in them the importance of hard work, sacrifice and humility so that they perform as well as possible and give their all. Here in Kuwait, we seek to do the same with young children and adults who come to these magnificent facilities," observed Toni.

"Nuno and the whole team of coaches will guarantee that the quality of our training is on par with the best in the world. With the aid of our great partner Tamdeen, we will help grow the sport in Kuwait," he added.

Part of a new 263,000 sq m development alongside Tamdeen's award-winning flagship 360 Mall, Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait, which unlike its parent site in Spain will be non-boarding, will be the biggest international tennis academy in the Middle East, and an integral part of the first multi-facility and services complex for tennis in Kuwait.

To compliment the tennis coaching and facilities, the Academy also featues a state-of-the-art fitness centres for men and women, and a players' lounge with a focus on healthy F&B options.

The Shaikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah Tennis Complex features 18 courts, including a multi-purpose covered arena with more than 5,000 seats, a secondary open court with 1,500 seats, eight covered courts and eight open courts.

Every court features the latest world-class technology; Masters 500 Cushion acrylic international standard surfaces, advanced soundproofing methods, and folding and fixed seats designed by world-renowned architect and designer Sir Norman Foster and manufactured by Fugueras, said the statement from Tamdeen Group.

Additionally, the new multi-purpose development includes a five-star hotel, as well as an exclusive and diverse selection of retail outlets, cafes and restaurants.

Collectively, the project forms a key component in 360 Mall's continued evolution as Kuwait's preferred entertainment and lifestyle destination, it stated.

With the launch also serving as the opening for membership applications, the Academy will provide Kuwaitis and regional tennis and fitness enthusiasts with access to truly world-class facilities and professionally certified coaches who embody the all-action work ethic of the planet's best tennis player.

While stressing his ultimate aim of producing a future Kuwaiti tennis champion, Marques, the vastly experienced Rafael Nadal Academy by Movistar coach who will assume the role of Head of Tennis at Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait, revealed his collaboration with the Kuwait Tennis Federation to grow the sport domestically and provide a platform for people to pursue healthy lifestyles begins immediately.- TradeArabia News Service


New tourist visas to deliver long-term boost to Saudi real estate, says JLL

The recent launch of international tourist e-visas in Saudi Arabia is set to have a positive long term impact on the kingdom's real estate market, according to JLL's latest market reports.

In efforts to diversify the economy away from oil the government launched tourism giga-projects across the Kingdom and most recently new e-visas for 49 countries to boost international visitor arrivals.

JLL said these initiatives and ongoing reforms are set to shape a more diverse hospitality landscape, stimulating real estate development and new investor opportunities.

"With the kingdom opening up to more international tourism there is a positive long-term outlook for the hotel sector in particular, with the pipeline expected to grow in the next 12 months on the back of continued investments in infrastructure and the entertainment and tourism developments," said Dana Salbak, research director, JLL MENA.

Salbak added that evolving tourism demographics are set to have a positive long term impact on the hotel sector. Traditionally driven by religious and domestic travel the hospitality landscape is evolving to attract a wider tourist base with a future pipeline consisting of more luxury hotels and resorts.

Increased demand for a more diverse hotel pipeline is expected to drive future investments and trigger large-scale real estate development by the public and private sectors. The anticipated influx of international tourists also has the potential to boost spend in the retail and entertainment sectors and stimulate job creation," she said.

During Q3, Riyadh saw occupancy rates improve to 54 percent for the year to August versus 52 percent a year earlier while average daily room rates (ADR) dropped 9 percent.

In Jeddah, hotel occupancy rates declined marginally to register 60 percent while ADR and revenue per available room continued to soften.

"We are witnessing an exciting and major turning point for the kingdom's tourism industry, with new economic reforms opening the doors to leisure and business travelers across the globe. The evolving landscape is stimulating a wave of future investment and development opportunities, driving momentum in the hospitality and wider real estate sector," said Thierry Delvaux, CEO, JLL, MEA.

JLL's report said in Q3, sale prices and rental rates in the residential sector continued to witness a slowdown, albeit marginally, indicating further signs of the market reaching the bottom of its cycle.

However, it added that there is a positive long-term outlook as current dynamics are expected to pick up on the back of housing initiatives tackling the shortage of affordability.

JLL also said that as the kingdom continues to push ahead with giga-projects and encourage private sector participation in the economy, the office market is expected to regain some momentum, particularly high quality Grade A office space with better connectivity and amenities.


Saudi Arabia set to begin issuing instant work visas

Saudi Arabia is to launch an instant work-visa service from next month, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The service will be available through the country's Qiwa platform, which is designed specifically to help small businesses.

Ahmed Al-Rajhi made the announcement during a meeting with entrepreneurs from Hail Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where he reiterated the commitment of the government to provide help to small businesses in the kingdom, along with a framework to assist with the push for Saudisation.

He said: "It will enable young Saudis to launch start-up projects, open small businesses, boost economic growth and accelerate business expansion plans, which will have a positive impact on national development."

Al-Rajhi revealed that extensive research had been carried out to establish the requirements of small businesses for migrant workers, so that the new visa service meets their needs.

He added: "This will help to maintain the stability and continuity of the business during its early days."

The Ministry of Labour and Social Development has also launched a visa service for established businesses which are in the process of expanding.


Carshare operator Ekar drives expansion into Saudi Arabia

Ekar, the Middle East's first and largest carshare operator, is to expand into Saudi Arabia after the company's successful Series B totaling $17.5 million in June this year.

Dubai-based venture capital firm Polymath Ventures led the round which includes Al Yemni Group and Audacia Capital.

Vilhelm Hedberg, CEO Ekar Middle East, said: "Today, Ekar UAE services 50,000 bookings per month, a number which we expect to quadruple over the next twelve months as we launch services across cities in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. We have 1,000 Ekars in our fleet and over 75,000 members and envision surpassing 10,000 ekars and over a million members by 2021."

Ekar is launching in Riyadh with 600 cars and will launch in other cities throughout Saudi including Dammam, Jeddah, Makkah, Medina, and King Abdullah Economic City.

"We believe smart systems and shared transport platforms like ekar are the future for sustainable mobility especially in cities with densely populated environments such as Riyadh," said Ali Hashemi, managing director of Polymath Ventures.


Aramex launches last mile delivery solution in Saudi Arabia and UAE

Aramex Spot, the courier firm's last mile delivery solution, has been launched across Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The logistics giant said its latest last mile delivery solution will allow people to pick up shipments from a nearby supermarket, pharmacy or other commercial outlet.

Dubai-based Aramex has partnered with commercial locations and expects to grow to 150 'Spot' locations across Saudi Arabia and the UAE by the end of 2020.

Commenting on the launch, Iyad Kamal, chief operating officer of Aramex, said: "We believe this is incredibly important and is in line with our strategy to increase operational efficiency while enhancing customer experience through innovative solutions.

"As for the Spot locations, they will benefit from the compensation they will receive per shipment and the increased footfall our customers will drive to their locations."

The debut of Aramex Spot follows Aramex's successful launch of Aramex Fleet in December 2018 and WhatsApp for Business in October 2018.

Mohammed Sleeq, chief digital officer of Aramex, added: "This brings us closer to our customers whilst creating a marketplace for the commercial community in our core markets."

In October, Aramex announced a small increase in third quarter net profit to AED113.8 million ($31m) due to tighter yields and pricing pressure from the cross-border e-commerce business.

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