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Egypt to start operating Talgo train on Cairo-Alexandria line Saturday

The Transport Ministry announced on Thursday 22/12/2022 the start of the operation of Spanish air-conditioned trains with passengers as of Saturday from Ramsis station in Cairo to Sidi Gaber and Misr railway stations in Alexandria.

The experimental operation of the train without passengers ended on Thursday, a statement of the Transport Ministry said.

The train will set off daily from Misr station in Alexandria at 5:55 am and from Sidi Gaber station 6:05 am en route to Cairo, the statement said.

The operation of new trains move comes as part of the political leadership's directives to upgrade railway mechanism, including carriages and human cadres, to ensure better services to citizens.

The new train consists of five air-conditioned first-class railcars, eight air-conditioned second-class railcars, caboose, engine, and power car.

It is the first to be received by Egypt as part of a contract with the Spanish Talgo company to supply Egypt with seven trains.

The new trains - part of a ?125.6 million deal, will be made of aluminum, which reduces their weight and helps to save the train's consumption of fuel in the journey.

It is also resistant to rust and therefore does not corrode from the water used in the cleanliness and maintenance of trains, which extends the life span of such trains.

For people with special needs, each seat of the first air-conditioned carriages is equipped with a display screen to display film materials, in addition to the presence of central screens in the second-class air-conditioned carriages, and there will be surveillance cameras in those trains to secure the passengers.

https://www.egyptindependent.com/egypt-to-start-operating-talgo-train-on-cairo-alexandria-line-saturday/

Largest water park in Middle East inaugurated in Red Sea

The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa, Governor of the Red Sea Omar Hanafy and President of the Tourism Investment Association Kamel Abu Ali, inaugurated, Friday, "Never Land City", the largest recreational water park in Egypt and the Middle East.

The city includes, for the first time in Egypt, the King Cobra game, which won the Best Water Games Award in Europe for the past nine years in a row, and a number of water towers for children.

The tourist city includes hotel suites and a large theater, to create a magical touristic experience for resort residents and all visitors to Hurghada and the Red Sea.

There are also a variety shops and a variety of restaurants and cafes that address all international tastes.

https://www.egyptindependent.com/largest-water-park-in-middle-east-inaugurated-in-red-sea/


Marriott Hotels unveils first resort in Dubai

Hospitality brand Marriott Hotels has opened its first resort in the UAE.

Located along Palm West Beach, Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah is spread across 7,000 square metres, and features 10 dining concepts, more than 600 guest rooms, a 75-metre pool with four jacuzzis, a kids club, spa, fitness centre, as well as water sports and marine activities.

Dining

The resort boasts a smorgasbord of culinary options, featuring global brands, homegrown concepts and signature offerings, with flavours representing Japan, Peru, Italy, Korea and the Levant.

All-day dining venue Levantera, offering Mediterranean cuisines, is an ideal destination for families with a designated kids buffet.

Beach restaurant Seor Pico serves American-Mexican food and drinks, while beachside spot Bal Harbour Beach will be opening next year.

M Club - a brand signature at Marriott Hotels properties globally - is an exclusive space to retreat, recharge, and refocus, every day at any time and will be available to those staying in suites and M Club rooms. The lounge serves complimentary refreshments, breakfast, light bites, a grab and go menu, and hors d'oeuvres.

Recreation

For health conscious guests, the fitness centre, open 24-hours a day, offers group classes, personal training options and an age-appropriate fitness programme designed specifically for younger guests.

Set to open in early 2023, Saray Spa will feature private treatment rooms, a couples room with a waterbed and jacuzzi. Additionally, it will have an extensive range of treatments including the Saray Hammam.

The Kids Club, meanwhile, features a playground, dedicated pool and a programme of activities including yoga, crafts and karaoke.

The resort is poised to be the backdrop for events. From celebrations to business meetings, Marriott Resort Palm Jumeriah, Dubai offers a 2,200 square metres of event space, 11 venues including a Majlis and 1,000 square metres of sea view outdoor terrace space.

"From our industry-leading business and leisure facilities, incredible dining options, wide-ranging recreational activities, well-equipped rooms, and heartfelt service, we provide enriching guest experiences that will exceed expectations at all times and on all levels," said Gerrit Schmitt, general manager, Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.

"As one of the world's most vibrant holiday destinations and a hub for business travellers Dubai is an ideal location for a flagship Marriott Hotels property," said Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, vice president - Premium and Select Brands, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International.

"Set along an idyllic stretch of white sand beach with turquoise waters and stunning views, Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah is a place for leisure seekers to make memories, discover new cuisines and unwind."

https://gulfbusiness.com/marriott-hotels-unveils-first-resort-in-dubai/

UAE announces new law for non-Muslims expatriates

The federal decree-law on personal status will come into effect from February 1, 2023

The UAE announced a new law for non-Muslim foreigners residing in the country, covering essential family matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody.

The federal decree-law on personal status will come into effect from February 1, 2023. The provisions of the law regulate the marriage conditions and the procedures of contracting and documenting the marriage before the competent courts.

The legislation also specifies the procedures of divorce that can be initiated jointly or unilaterally. Additionally, it organises the procedures for settling the financial claims after divorce, and the arrangement of joint custody for the children. It also organises the procedures for inheritance and testaments (wills) and proofs of paternity.

"The provisions of the decree-law apply to non-Muslim foreigners residing in the country unless someone adheres to the application of his country's law," a statement by state-run agency WAM read.

"Moreover, non-Muslim foreigners may agree to implement other legislation on family or personal status in force in the UAE instead of the provisions of this decree-law," it added.

The law is in line with the UAE's efforts to develop its legislative ecosystem and supports its ambitions for the next fifty years. This will be achieved by strengthening the country's position as a destination for tolerance, family stability and demographic diversity.

https://gulfbusiness.com/uae-announces-new-law-for-non-muslims-expatriates/

UAE updates personal photo criteria for issuing, renewing passports, Emirates IDs

An updated list of regulations to be followed in the UAE when taking photos for identification purposes has been released.

The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) has published a list of specifications the photo must meet in order to be accepted by smart readers, in line with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Image: The image itself must be a high quality one. It must be coloured and cannot be older than six months.

The dimensions of the photo must be 35mm X 40mm.

Background: The background of the image must be white

Features: Neutral, natural expressions must be maintained; they must not be exaggerated

Head position: The head must be straight, not tilted, and must be parallel to the photographic lens

Eyes: Open towards the camera and without coloured lenses

Glasses: Acceptable as long as the do not obscure the eyes and do not reflect light

Dress code: The official dress of the UAE (for citizens)

Head covering: Allowed according to national dress or religious belief

Resolution (pixels): At least 600 dpi without ink traces or shrinkage

The authority added that images that are edited using digital software will not be accepted.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/life-and-living/visa-and-immigration-in-uae/uae-updates-personal-photo-criteria-for-issuing-renewing-passports-emirates-ids

UAE visit visa extension from Dh599: 3 package options for tourists as new rules take effect

As some UAE visitors make alternative arrangements to exit the country before the end of their visit visa duration, travel agencies have started introducing special visa change packages.

The move comes after revised rules - which reportedly came into effect earlier this week - discontinued the option that allowed UAE visit visa holders to extend their stay from within the country, according to travel agencies.

Here are some of the packages that are now on offer:

Exit by bus: From Dh599 to Dh850

Online travel agency Musafir.com is offering a visa change package by bus for Dh799.

Ajwah Tours is offering visitors the option to change visa status by bus. The company is offering a 30-day visa starting at Dh599 and a 60-day visa for Dh799. However, GM Malik Bedekar said buses are running at full capacity.

"There is immense demand for buses. Right now, all my bookings are full till the end of this month. Also, this option is only available for those holding passports of India, Philippines, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Those of Pakistani nationality and hailing from the African continent are not permitted to exit by bus," Bedekar said.

At another agency, Anisha Tours and Travels, visa renewal by exiting the country via bus to Oman will cost Dh850. "However, we are giving this option only to those who need to exit urgently as buses are running almost completely full till the end of this month," said Anish Mukil, who works at the agency.

Airport-to-airport: From Dh999 to Dh1,999

Musafir.com offers an airport-to-airport visa change service for Dh1,100.

Whereas, Ajwah Tours is offering a 30-day visa that allows visitors to exit and re-enter the country, by air, starting from Dh999, and a 60-day visa starting from Dh1,999.

Visitors wish to travel to Oman by air can also choose a package offered by Anisha tours, which begins at Dh1,250.

Dubai-based Smart Travels is also offering similar packages to Oman on Flydubai flights for Dh1,050 for a 30-day visa, and Dh1,300 for 60-day visa.

Within the country: From Dh1,800 to Dh2,200

A spokesperson from Musafir.com says the agency is also offering a visit visa change from inside Dubai for a price of Dh1,800.

Anisha Tours and Travels is also giving visitors an option to renew their visas from within Dubai for Dh2,200.

Visitors must exit the country once their visa validity is over. According to industry experts, the rule on renewals was out in place to crack down on those who have been staying in the country indefinitely on visit visas.

The regulation to exit the country to change visit visa status has always been in place. It was during the Covid-19 pandemic that the UAE amended rules to allow for a visa status change from within the country due to humanitarian concerns.

Several other travel agencies in the country said they are expecting to release similar packages during the coming days.

Oman travel demand

Raheesh Babu, chief operating officer of online travel agency Musafir.com, noted that Oman has always been a popular winter destination to travel and the new visa change requirement has added to the demand.

"Oman has always been a popular destination to travel to during the winter with plenty of activities to explore, relax, and enjoy the weather. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, for UAE visa extension exiting the country via bus and travelling to Oman was a common practice. However, due to the pandemic, this was discontinued, but it has resumed this week. Hence, there is much demand for travel to Oman for visa extension."

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/life-and-living/visa-and-immigration-in-uae/uae-visit-visa-extension-from-dh599-3-package-options-for-tourists-as-new-rules-take-effect

Marriott opens its first resort in Dubai on Palm Island

Marriott Hotels, the signature flag of Marriott Bonvoy's extraordinary portfolio of 30 hotel brands, has announced the debut of its first resort in the UAE: Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.

The resort also marks the 50th property to join Marriott Bonvoy's portfolio in Dubai. Situated along the island's golden Palm West Beach, spread across 7,000 sq m of white sand seafront, the beachside haven is a sophisticated destination for travellers seeking exclusive escapism, featuring 10 dining concepts, a shimmering 75-metre pool with four Jacuzzis, a kids club, spa, fitness centre, water sports, and marine activities.

"As one of the world's most vibrant holiday destinations and a hub for business travellers Dubai is an ideal location for a flagship Marriott Hotels property," said Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, Vice President - Premium and Select Brands, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. "Set along an idyllic stretch of white sand beach with turquoise waters and stunning views, Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah is a place for leisure seekers to make memories, discover new cuisines and unwind."

Reflecting Marriott Hotels' continued evolution, guests are welcomed into sophisticated, comfortable spaces beginning with the Greatroom lobby - a stylish hub where guests can connect and relax. Featuring ocean and sand hues transitioning seamlessly from the outside inwards, the resort's 608 contemporary guestrooms and suites feature floor-to-ceiling ocean views, private balconies, and thoughtful in-room comforts including a pillow menu, mood lighting, a top-of-the-range entertainment system, and large bathtubs. Interconnecting rooms reflect the resort's flexibility and focus on family stays, and the spacious two-bedroom suites offer separate living, sleeping, and dining spaces.

A vibrant dining destination

With an eclectic mix of new-to-the-region global brands, born-in-the-UAE concepts, and signature Marriott Hotel offerings, the resort's 10 dining venues bring flavours, influences, and ideas from Japan, Peru, Italy, Korea, the Levant and more.

Additionally, available to those staying suites and M Club rooms, M Club - a brand signature at Marriott Hotels properties globally - is an exclusive space to retreat, recharge, and refocus, every day at any time. Located at the pinnacle of the resort with panoramic views, the lounge serves complimentary refreshments, breakfast, light bites, a grab'n'go menu, and hors d'oeuvres in the evening which can be enjoyed alongside the signature Cocktail Hour.

An enriching recreational retreat

For active guests, the fitness centre, open 24-hours a day, is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and offers an extensive schedule of group classes, personal training options, and an age-appropriate fitness programme designed specifically for younger guests.

Set to open in early 2023 the resort's opulent Middle Eastern-inspired Saray Spa will be a must-visit for self-care, rejuvenation, and relaxation. The tranquil space will feature private treatment rooms, a couples room with a waterbed and jacuzzi, and relaxation areas. The spa will have an extensive range of treatments including the Saray Hammam, an elevated experience of the traditional cleansing ritual.

The next generation of hotel guests receive a memorable experience courtesy of the resort's signature Kids Programme. Young guests are welcomed at a dedicated check-in area and receive gifts throughout their stay. In-room amenities include board games, children's robes, slippers, and bedding.

The Kids Club features a playground, dedicated pool, and a programme of activities including yoga, crafts, and karaoke. The resort opens with a bespoke Kids Go All Inclusive Package allowing children to select from specially created menus and enjoy unlimited soft beverages, delicious snacks and grab 'n' go healthy treats from select venues throughout the day.

In 2023, locals can join Mbrace Club, an all-inclusive recreational membership with exclusive access to Saray Spa, the Kids Club, fitness centre, pool, and beach.

A place for occasions

The resort is poised to be the backdrop for unequalled events all made possible by a dedicated in-house events team. From intimate gatherings to lavish celebrations and business meetings, Marriott Resort Palm Jumeriah, Dubai offers choice and flexibility with 2,200 square metres of event space, 11 venues including a Majlis, and 1,000 square metres of sea view outdoor terrace space. A generously equipped business centre ensures guests have access to everything they need, whenever they need it.

https://www.tradearabia.com/news/TTN_404468.html


Bahrain slashes visa fees in bid to attract more foreign visitors

RIYADH - The third phase of the electronic Saudi e-passport was completed, as the General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) made it available for citizens aged 21 and older to renew their passports using the Ministry of Interior's platform (Absher).

According to Jawazat, a citizen can update his electronic passport through his account on the platform (Absher) and visit the local passport office without an appointment to have the old passport examined.

The Passports Directorate urged citizens to take advantage of the electronic services offered by the (Absher) platform, emphasizing that the service of receiving the passport through the available shipping means (postal carrier) will be for the address registered on the platform.

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/628203/SAUDI-ARABIA/Saudi-e-passport-renewal-over-Absher-platform-permitted

Re-entry visa and residency renewal fees doubled for expats outside Saudi Arabia

A new amendment approved by the Saudi Cabinet doubled the fees for renewing exit and re-entry visas in cases where the residents are outside the Kingdom.

The new amendment stipulates that the exit and return visa fee is SR200 for a single trip for a maximum duration of two months, and SR100 for each additional month if the resident is inside the Kingdom, and if the resident is outside the Kingdom, the fee for the additional month will be doubled.

The fee for multi-entry trips is SR500 for 3 months, and SR200 for each additional month if the resident is inside the Kingdom, and in the event of the applicant being outside the Kingdom, the fee for the additional month will be doubled.

The Cabinet also approved an amendment to the residency law covering the renewal of residency permits for companions of foreign workers and domestic workers. As per the amendment, the fee for residency renewal when outside the Kingdom will be two times what is collected within the Kingdom through the electronic portal of the Ministry of Interior.

The Cabinet approved amendments to the residency and travel documents systems that allow citizens to issue a passport within 24 hours.

https://www.gulf-insider.com/re-entry-visa-and-residency-renewal-fees-doubled-for-expats-outside-saudi-arabia/


MoI finalizing visit visa rules

KUWAIT: The interior ministry has placed a copy of its plan to deal with procedures regarding granting visit visas on the Cabinet's agenda. Although the final decision is within its authority, it aims to inform the government of its executive plans - assigned to all government agencies - as part of directions to deal with demographics.

"The mechanisms for dealing with granting visit visas indicates the decision will be issued by the interior ministry soon and will be implemented at the beginning of the new year," sources told Kuwait Times. "The draft decision includes a set of strict conditions for granting visit visas, including preventing the ability to transfer a visit visa to a work permit, as well as blocking all procedures facilitating this at the Public Authority of Manpower and the department of residency affairs at the interior ministry," they said.

"A ministerial panel supported the interior ministry to double the fees for visit visas, and that dependents only include the wife and children. Parents will be considered dependents only for those who draw high salaries. A technical team is currently working on applying final touches to issue a decision on the conditions for granting visit and family reunion visas and present it to Interior Minister Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled Al-Sabah to take a final decision," sources added.

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/moi-finalizing-visit-visa-rules/

Kuwait to levy new health fees on expats

Kuwait has decided to impose new fees for health services on expatriates, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported on Sunday.

The fees have been decided by the Health Ministry on expatriates benefitting from services offered by medical centres, emergency hospitals and outpatient clinics, added Al Rai, citing health sources.

"As part of reform steps being implemented, the ministry intends to impose special fees on dispensing medicines to expatriate patients, in addition to the regular fees," the sources added without giving specific figures.

https://www.gulf-insider.com/kuwait-to-levy-new-health-fees-on-expats/
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