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Egypt grants tourists arriving on yachts a stay of 3 months

The Ministry of Interior has issued directives to grant foreign tourists arriving to Egypt on board foreign tourist yachts a tourist residence for three months instead of just one.

The government also indicated in its Tuesday statement that the Foreign Ministry ordered all Egyptian embassies and consulates abroad to implement the decision.

The Transport Ministry announced that Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly had previously issued directives during the cabinet meeting, to the relevant ministries to take the necessary measures to extend the validity period of the tourist visa for foreign tourists coming on yachts.

This decision was made to account for the difficulties tourists coming on yachts may face due to due to natural factors or emergency situations (bad weather conditions - malfunctions that prevent the yacht from leaving), and the inability to commit to leaving on yachts outside the country at the appropriate time to meet safe sailing requirements.

Recovering tourism

A tourism expert in the Red Sea Atef Othman confirmed the recovery of tourism in Marsa Alam hotels and resorts, coinciding with the high rates of inbound tourist flights from Europe.

According to Othman, the airport received 18 Italian flights, 19 German flights, 31 Czech flights, 18 Polish flights, five Dutch flights, three Belgian flights, four Swiss flights, two French flights, and one from each of Luxembourg, Austria, Hungary and Lithuania.

Hurghada International Airport, on October 14, recorded an increase in the number of flights, receiving 83 regular and chartered flights from various European airports carrying about 12,000 European tourists.

The German tourists coming to Hurghada in the Red Sea topped the list of European nationalities.


Foreigners can no longer pay for Egyptian property in local currency

Foreigners seeking to buy property in Egypt must now pay for it in foreign currency, as the country looks for ways to boost foreign investment.

At its weekly meeting on Wednesday, the country's Cabinet approved amendments to a 1996 property law that allowed foreigners to purchase homes and land in Egypt.

Despite previously being allowed to pay for real estate in the local currency, foreigners will now have to use foreign currency as Cairo intensifies efforts to drum up investment from overseas.

The amendments, which also stipulate that foreigners must deposit their payments through a fully state-owned bank, could drive up real estate prices in Egypt, Medhat Nafea, an economic analyst and deputy to Egypt's supply minister, told The National.

"There is a surplus of real estate in Egypt, so, assuming that there is demand from the foreign end, which the very act of amending the law suggests there is, then we can expect real estate prices to go up," he said.

"Additionally, the removal of the restrictions on the number of properties and their size will most likely result in more homes being owned by foreign nationals overall."

The vast majority of foreigners who will benefit from the changes to the law will most likely be GCC citizens, according to Mohamed Ragab, a financial and economic analyst.

"GCC companies are Egypt's biggest investors and many have set up companies here, so I expect them to constitute the biggest buyers of real estate after these amendments. I don't expect many citizens from Western countries will be as interested in purchasing property in Egypt," he said.

A continuing economic crisis - triggered by a sharp rise in global food and energy prices on the back of the Ukraine war - has depleted Egypt's foreign reserves and led to a shortage of dollars, leaving the country's import-heavy economy hamstrung.

With inflation at a six-year high and expected to continue rising, the government has come up with several measures in recent months to promote more foreign investment in its various sectors.

In May, the Supreme Council of Investment, a once-dormant government body formed in 2017 and reactivated earlier this year, announced that it had agreed on 22 decisions to promote private sector participation in the economy, without revealing details.

During the same month, the Cabinet also approved a number of economic and legislative amendments after complaints that there was too much red tape for non-Egyptian companies to set up shop.

The amendments are intended to speed up the formation of companies, acquisition of land and issuance of state permits to foreign investors and private sector companies.

Egypt last year announced a large-scale state asset sale meant to boost foreign investment.

The initial public offering programme, through which it has pledged to sell at least 32 of its companies to foreign investors, has not yet been completed.


The Drive Throw - a solution to Lebanon's rubbish crisis?

Beirut motorists pull up to a drive-through counter - not for fast food, but to exchange empty bottles and cardboard for cash, a novelty in a country long plagued by rubbish crises.

Festering landfills often overflow in crisis-hit Lebanon, waste is burnt illegally at informal dump sites and rubbish floats off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea.

State-run recycling has largely fallen by the wayside in a nation that has been grappling with a three-year-long economic collapse.

"The government used to be in charge of this sector and now it is bankrupt," said Pierre Baaklini, 32, founder of Lebanon Waste Management.

He started the first Drive Throw recycling station about a year ago, opening a second in February in Burj Hammoud, a Beirut suburb known for its proximity to a landfill.

With more than 80 per cent of Lebanon's population living in poverty, the poorest eke out a meagre living picking through dumpsters for anything they can sell for recycling or scrap.

Mr Baaklini said his customers are generally environmentally conscious and among the minority "with sufficient income".

A sign lists the prices - a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cardboard is worth 2,000 Lebanese pounds (around two cents), while aluminium cans are worth 50,000 pounds a kilogram.

Rony Nashef, 38, handed over bulging bags of plastic, in a country where many rely on bottled water for drinking.

Recycling "is definitely a much better solution to Lebanon's trash problem", he said.

Incompetence and corruption caused a spectacular waste crisis in Lebanon in 2015, when rivers of rubbish filled the streets and ran into the sea, leading to protests by thousands and harming the country's image.

No viable long-term solution has since been found, and the destruction of two sorting plants in a catastrophic August 2020 explosion at Beirut port worsened the problem.

Behind the scenes at the Drive Throw, recyclables are sorted carefully, while plastic is later shredded and cleaned.

The two facilities have taken in a total of 450 tonnes of recyclables, Mr Baaklini said, adding that the materials are sold to both local and international clients.

"What we are doing here is also about education" and awareness-raising, he said, as school students sometimes visit the facility to learn about recycling.

Environmental engineer Ziad Abichaker said recycling had always been neglected by authorities.

Only "about 10 per cent" of Lebanon's daily waste load of 5,000 tonnes is recycled, said Mr Abichaker, who heads Cedar Environmental, a group that specialises in "zero waste" technologies.

Authorities were studying a national waste management plan but there has been no progress due to institutional deadlock, he said.

A caretaker government with limited powers has been at the helm for more than a year.

Mr Abichaker said "90 per cent of the sorting plants built over the years" with money from international donations had stopped working, pointing to "faulty designs" and "corruption".

In Burj Hammoud, Renata Rahme, 47, said the first time she rolled up to the Drive Throw recycling station, she didn't know she was supposed to separate the materials.

"Now I'm trying to do more sorting," said Ms Rahme, a film producer who brought in a crate with lights and other small electrical appliances.

"The point is not the monetary return as much as participating in the initiative," she said. "We're trying to do something better for the community, for the country, for society."

People drive up to the station in their cars, register their details and place bags and boxes of loosely sorted recyclables on the counter. Workers accept everything from cardboard to plastic, glass, metal, e-waste, batteries and even used cooking oil.


Bahrain to host first-ever Saturday night F1 race to kick off 2024 season

Bahrain will flag off the 2024 Formula One season with the first-ever Saturday night race at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir, reported state news agency, BNA.

The Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix will take place from February 29 to March 2, followed by the second race of the season in Saudi Arabia the following week, on March 9.

"To have our 20th-anniversary race to start the 2024 season is a huge honour for us, and we plan to ensure this landmark event will offer a lifetime of memories for fans.

We offer our particular thanks to Formula 1 for again placing their trust in us to kick off the new season in style," Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, chief executive of Bahrain International Circuit, said.


Saudi Arabia's tourism vision

This collaboration between flynas and ACP has seen the carrier play a role in enhancing tourism numbers to the kingdom and also strengthening links between Central Asia and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi plans to attract 100 million annual tourists to the kingdom by 2030.

Currently, flynas operates a network that spans more than 70 domestic and international destinations, with a frequency of 1,500 weekly flights.

The carrier aims to expand its reach to serve a total of 165 domestic and international destinations.

Earlier this month, flynas welcomed two Airbus A320 neo aircraft into its fleet, representing the third batch of 19 new A320 neo aircraft set to be delivered in 2023. It has now received five A320 neo and two A330 aircraft this year alone, taking its fleet size up to 51 aircraft - a 96 per cent growth over the 26 aircraft it had in Q1 2021.

At this year's Paris Air Show, flynas confirmed a fresh order with Airbus for 30 new A320 neo aircraft in a deal valued at SAR14 billion at the current list price. That development takes the carrier's total order with Airbus up to 120 A320 neo aircraft.


Employers can pay work permit fee through mada card and credit card

The Qiwa platform, under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, has started providing a new service of facilitating payment of work permit fee through credit cards and mada debit cards.

The amount can be debited from the Qiwa digital wallet of the employers. Earlier, it was possible to make the payment of work permit fee only through the SADAD payment system. Some bank cards offer services to recover part of the amounts paid through it, or earn its owner free points.

Provision of the new service coincides with the updating in the beginning of the new fiscal year as the fiscal year of many establishments occurs at the beginning of the Hijri year. The Qiwa platform reported that it updated the data of work permit fee for the financial year in the current week, and that is in conjunction with the updates of the financial years of establishments in the electronic services portal of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD).

The platform started stopping some electronic services for establishments that are not complied with documenting 50 percent of the workers' contracts in the second phase, which ended in the second quarter of the current year 2023. The most important among these suspended services include instant visas, transfer of services, and requests to change profession. This comes after the decision of MHRSD to oblige establishments to document contracts of employees electronically through the platform, covering three phases.

By the end of the third quarter of the current year, establishments will be required to document the contracts of about 80 percent of their employees. There are a number of steps to follow for the documentation of contracts: These steps are as follows: Log in the account of the establishment; then choose the establishment; then electronic services; create a new contract; enter the verification code sent to the mobile; manage and document contracts; enter employee data, enter contract details, and upload the contract."

The ministry began transferring many services to the Qiwa platform, and the latest of which was the Ajeer program, which is specialized in organizing temporary work and facilitating access to the workforce.

The program unified access to the platform with the data of the Qiwa platform itself. It is noteworthy that Qiwa platform provides the ministry services and solutions to enhance the electronic services provided to the local employment sector.


Riyadh inaugurates 20 new parks covering 181,000 sq m area

Saudi Arabia has announced the opening of 20 parks in Riyadh encompassing a combined area of 181,225 sq m, reported SPA.

These parks will boast 50,000 sq m of green spaces and will also be equipped with pedestrian paths spanning over 62,000 linear meters as well as parking spaces for 1,000 vehicles.

A grand opening ceremony was held under the patronage of Prince Mohammed bin Abdurrahman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor of Riyadh region at Riyadh in the presence of Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf, Mayor of Riyadh region.

The parks are spread across 18 residential districts covering the neighborhoods of King Faisal; Janadriyah; Dhahrat Laban; Al-Mansoura; Dirab; Al-Narjis; Ash Shuhada; Al-Yasmin; Al-Yarmouk; Al-Munsiyah; Al-Khaleej; Al Qadisiyah; Cordoba; Al-Rimal; Al-Rabie; Al-Mughrizat; Al Uraija Al Gharbiyah, and Al Aziziyah.

According to Saudi authorities, these parks comprise 56 recreational areas and 6 playgrounds as well as more than 750 decorative lamp posts.


Luxury Equinox Resort to come up in Amaala Marina Village

Red Sea Global (RSG), the developer behind the world's most ambitious regenerative tourism destinations, Amaala and The Red Sea, has announced a partnership with Equinox, a global leader in luxury lifestyle brands, to create Equinox Resort Amaala in one of the world's most well-preserved natural environments, Saudi Arabia's Red Sea.

Equinox Resort Amaala is the latest hotel brand to be announced for Red Sea Global's Amaala, an integrated wellness haven featuring some of the world's most renowned luxury brands. The hotel, with a focus on sports, fitness and lifestyle, will comprise of 128 keys, including two luxury penthouses as well as a suite of amenities such as several world-class culinary concepts, a magnesium salt rooftop pool, spa, Beach Club, and a signature Equinox Fitness Club.

"Amaala brings the best in health and wellness together in an area of extraordinary natural beauty to offer exceptional and transformative experiences for guests. Equinox's unique brand of luxury and fitness is a fantastic fit, allowing visitors to choose seeking self-improvement during their stay, getting back to nature on land or at sea, or simply enjoying quiet moments with loved ones in comfort and privacy," said John Pagano, Group CEO of Red Sea Global.

Equinox Resort Amaala is a key part of the Amaala Marina Village, designed by renowned architects, Foster + Partners, which will feature a collection of luxury hotels, villas and condominiums all set in a lively retail precinct with stunning marina views. The Village, part of the wider Triple Bay development, has been designed to adopt the best elements of local architecture featuring narrow winding streets perfect for exploration and discovery. The irregular street facades have been orientated to capture and channel breezes, offer shade and protection and filter light, delivering natural climate control to enhance the comfort of guests.

The very best in international retail and dining brands will be present in the Village, providing guests with a luxury experience set in the picturesque marina with views dominated by the spectacular Triple Bay Yacht Club, the singular form of the Rea Sea marine life institute and the stretching Red Sea coastline.

Equinox Resort Amaala, designed by Foster + Partners, has been curated to ensure complete connectivity to the surrounding area. The hotel's prime position provides direct access and views to both the Marina Village on one side, and the pristine Hijaz Cove on the other.

The hotel's Porte Cochere and its distinctive floating canopy provides a dramatic entrance for guests as they arrive by either boat or car. The hotel itself features four open courtyards, which take inspiration from traditional architecture styles. The shaded courtyards with the intelligent

Equinox Hotels CEO, Christopher Norton, said: "Amaala is a destination that perfectly aligns with our mission of redefining luxury hospitality. Our highly differentiated resort offering will provide guests an unparalleled experience that only a brand like Equinox can deliver. We're excited to partner with an amazing developer like Red Sea Global that has similar and strong values rooted in sustainability."

The Red Sea is situated along Saudi Arabia's west coast and is home to some of the most diverse and delicate natural environments.

Phase One of Amaala - focused on the Triple Bay masterplan - is well underway, with the first guests set to be welcomed in 2024. It will consist of eight resorts offering upwards of 1,200 hotel keys. Once complete, Amaala will be home to more than 3,900 hotel rooms across 29 hotels, and approximately

1,200 luxury residential villas, apartments, and estate homes, supporting high-end retail, fine dining, wellness and recreational facilities. - TradeArabia News Service


Dubai Ferry to resume services to Sharjah

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced it will resume the operation of its marine transportation line via Dubai Ferry between Dubai and Sharjah starting Friday, August 4.

The marine transport service will run eight trips a day from Monday-Thursday (weekdays), and six trips from Friday-Sunday (weekends).

This marine service, the first of its kind connecting Dubai with other emirates, shuttles between Al Ghubaiba Marine Station in Dubai and Aquarium Marine Station in Sharjah, in collaboration with the Roads and Transport Authority in Sharjah.

Dubai Ferry timings between Dubai and Sharjah

According to the RTA, the journey between Al Ghubaiba Station and the Sharjah Aquarium Station takes about 35 minutes.

On weekdays, there will be two morning trips from Sharjah at 7am and 8:30am along with one morning journey from Dubai at 7:45am. In the evening, there will be two journeys from Sharjah at 4:45pm and 6:15pm, and three journeys from Dubai at 4pm, 5:30pm and 7pm.

From Friday to Sunday, there will be six journeys, three journeys from each side starting from noon. Departure times from Sharjah will be at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm, whereas the journeys from Dubai will start at 3pm, 5pm and 8pm.

Ticket fares for a single journey are offered at Dhs15 for the Silver Class and Dhs25 for the Gold Class but will be free for People of Determination and children under five.

The fare can be paid at the Customers Services Desk at the station or commuters can use their nol card. Tickets can be bought online.

The introduction of the Dubai Ferry service is part of the efforts between Dubai and Sharjah to offer additional mobility choices to residents and ease traffic flow.


Dubai Police announces new AED100,000 fine under traffic law - all you need to know

The Dubai Police have launched an awareness campaign of Decree No. (30) of 2023 amending some articles of Decree No. (29) of 2015 concerning the impoundment of vehicles in the emirate of Dubai.

This announcement came during a press conference held at Dubai Police Headquarters, attended by Major General Abdullah Ali Al Ghaithi, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Operations Affairs at Dubai Police; Brigadier Juma bin Suwaidan, Acting Director of the General Department of Traffic; Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Saud Al Rumaithi, Director of Security Awareness in the General Department of Community Happiness, along with several officers and journalists.

Major General Al Ghaithi clarified that the campaign, which is launched per the directives of His Excellency Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, aims to raise legal awareness among all motorists about the new legal amendments, designed primarily to protect lives and property and ensure traffic safety in Dubai, thus aligning with the nation's strategic objective of reducing the traffic death rate per 100,000 population.

According to Major General Al Ghaithi, the legal amendments support the push towards preserving lives amidst statistics on road accidents, adding that the amendments target reckless drivers, and that the harsh fines it introduces are against "vehicle impound release", not for the value of the traffic violation that is applied under the federal traffic law.

Dubai Police recorded 164 fatalities from 2019-2022 due to over speeding, reckless driving, serious traffic violations, and jumping red lights.

The changes in the new decree-law include a stringent penalty for releasing impounded vehicles and an additional penalty for impounding vehicles for new violations committed by drivers who endanger their lives and the lives of others by participating in races, performing stunts, causing chaos, deliberately jumping red traffic lights, and driving with fake or no license plates.

Brigadier Juma bin Suwaidan explained that each case is presented to a specialised committee in the General Department of Traffic to determine whether the violation rises to the level of applying this fine or not.

Brigadier Juma bin Suwaidan explained the new amendments to the law concerning vehicle impoundment, which cover 13 types of violations, including seven new points added as part of the second article. Violations include:

. Jumping red lights.

. Driving with fake or obscured number plates.

. Deliberately colliding with police cars.

. Allowing individuals under 18 to drive vehicles.

. Gathering to watch or participate in illegal races.

The fine for releasing an impounded vehicle for these violations is 50,000 AED.

. Driving without license plates.

. Gathering to watch or participate in disorderly crowding around races or vehicle stunts on the road.

. Exceeding the permissible tinting limit for vehicle windows.

The fine for releasing an impounded vehicle for these violations is 10,000 AED.

Brigadier Bin Suwaidan stated that the remaining six grounds for impounding vehicles include "participating in road races without prior permission from the police", with a 100,000 AED fine. Additional violations include "riding recreational motorcycles on paved roads" and "recklessly driving in a way that endangers lives, property, and public safety in the Emirate". The fines for these two offences are set at 50,000 AED each.

He added that the fine for the violation of "making fundamental changes to the vehicle that result in an increase in the set speed or noise during operation or driving" and the offence of "escaping from the police" amount to 10,000 dirhams each. The final violation is "exceeding the financial fine imposed on the vehicle by 6000 dirhams"; the penalty for this offence involves paying the accumulated fine amount.

On the newly launched campaign, Lt. Col Dr Saud Al Rumaithi explained that the campaign will run over seven weeks. "It consists of two stages, the first being "The Awareness and Education Phase", while the second will measure the impact and results of this awareness on the motorists," he said.

Al Rumaithi further explained that the campaign will include raising awareness through various online and print media outlets, as well as through strategic partners of the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai (RTA), driving institutes, petrol station screens, the Dubai Police HQ screens, Al Ameen's billboards, emails, through the 'On-the-Go' initiative, residential area billboards, and 'Dubai Now' app.

The campaign will be implemented in cooperation with partners in Dubai Municipality, the Public Prosecution, the Supreme Legislation Committee, the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs, the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services, the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology, Emirates Auctions, Al Nabooda, BMW -Dubai, and the Insurance Authority in Dubai.

Brigadier Bin Suwaidan revealed that the number of vehicles impounded by the Dubai Police for speeding during the four years from 2019 to 2022 reached 34 cars due to reckless driving endangering lives, it reached 1929, and the number of vehicles impounded for running a red light was 558 cars throughout these four years.


Nakheel launches Rixos Hotel & Residences on Dubai Islands

Real estate master developer Nakheel, in partnership with Excelsior Real Estate, has launched Rixos Dubai Islands, Hotel & Residences.

It is the first luxury hotel and residential offering on Dubai Islands.

Dubai Islands comprises five islands with a total area of 17 square kilometres and 20 kilometres of beaches and offers beachfront living within 20 minutes of downtown Dubai, as well as key locations including the airport and marine ports. As well as Rixos Dubai Islands, Hotel & Residences, they will be home to over 80 resorts and hotels, including luxury and wellness resorts, boutique, family and eco-conscious hotels.

Residents will have access to amenities that focus on sports, leisure and wellness, such as communal residential lounges, popular cafes and restaurants, various entertainment options, hotel-style lobbies for each building with drop-off facilities, infinity pools, a spa and a fitness centre.

The property is located in a secluded cove on Dubai Islands, with a 700-metre beach that all residents have direct access to.

Rixos Dubai Islands, Hotel & Residences' highlights

It features mid-rise contemporary architecture with a resort look and feel. All residences are designed for maximum privacy and offer the best views and natural light through full-height windows. The residences will comprise one, two and three-bedroom apartments with spacious overhanging terraces creating shade, four-bedroom duplexes with private pools, beach houses including their gardens and terraces and ten luxury villas.

The three-bedroom apartments will offer up to approximately 4,880 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space while the villas are 6,350 square feet and include private pools. All residences boast marine views, including sunset views over the sea.

The development also features family-friendly facilities that Rixos are known for, such as a kid's club making the development perfect for families. As well as all the amenities, residents can also choose from an al a carte menu of services, ensuring every need is catered for. Owners are also provided preferential access to Accor Diamond status.

Rasha Hasan, chief commercial officer at Nakheel, said: "The stunning waterfront location on Dubai Islands will make Rixos Dubai Islands, Hotel and Residences a new place to enjoy Dubai's beautiful coastline. By bringing the world-renowned Rixos brand to Dubai Islands, we are creating an exclusive family-friendly living environment that offers waterfront luxury living with a metropolitan feel."

Francois Baudin, chief business officer, Ennismore Immersive Resorts & All Inclusive Collection, said: "We are excited to be partnering with Nakheel to develop our new hospitality and residential project on the prime location of Dubai Islands. This new venture marks our commitment to Dubai as a global hub for tourism as well as for an ever-increasing population that wants to call Dubai home."


DEWA urges customers to check water connections regularly

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has called on its customers to regularly check for potential leaks in internal water connections, as part of its 'Make Smart Summer Choices Your Habit' campaign.

The utility major said leaks can cause significant wastage and damage to properties. To preserve resources, DEWA urged its customers to use its smart initiatives and services to increase water consumption efficiency and limit waste.

The Dubai-listed company said water tanks, bathrooms, kitchens, and swimming pools are the most likely areas where leakages can occur. Leakages from water tanks are due to deterioration of the tank body, connections, or improper positioning.

Similarly, taps, pipes, toilet tanks and water heaters can also leak due to ageing and lack of maintenance.

DEWA's smart app provides a list of technical service providers in the event of internal faults in the building. Customers can also benefit from the exclusive discounts on DEWA Store.

Meanwhile, customers can use the dashboard on the company's smart app and website to monitor and manage their electricity and water consumption. DEWA provides the High-Water Usage Alert service to help customers detect any leakage in water connections after the meter.

The company highlighted the efficiency of its systems in detecting any flaws in the external connections after the meter and noted that its responsibility is limited to connections and maintenance until the meter only, while the internal connections after the meters are the customer/owner's responsibility.

DEWA promotes smart water use

Meanwhile, DEWA said it succeeded in reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 218,373 tonnes through its 'high-water usage alert' service since its launch three years ago until December 31, 2022.

Through the service, it detected 1,327,583 leakages in water connections after the meter, 26,657 defects and 13,172 cases of increased load.

The service sends instant notifications to customers if the smart meter system detects any unusual increase in consumption so that they can quickly repair the internal connections, or any leaks in the water connections with the help of a specialised technician and perform the necessary maintenance work to reduce waste.

DEWA launched its 'Make Smart Summer Choices Your Habit' campaign in June to raise awareness among residential customers to effectively manage their electricity and water consumption through its smart app.

The campaign encourages customers to benefit from the company's smart services and programmes to understand their consumption patterns.

The smart platform also includes customised tips for customers to configure their proactive plan to limit waste, enabling customers to adopt daily, simple, smart and more sustainable practices.


RTA completes Dubai-Al Ain Road improvement project, four bridges built

Dubai's RTA has completed the second and final phase of the Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Corridor Improvement Project, which spans 8 kilometres along Ras Al Khor Road from Dubai-Al Ain Road to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road.

Works completed includes the construction of four bridges, stretching 2 kilometres in total.

The project was carried out in two phases. The first phase involved widening Ras Al Khor Road from three to four lanes in each direction and constructing a two-lane service road on both sides, thus increasing traffic safety and flow while eliminating the existing overlapping traffic spots and boosting the road's capacity and cutting the travel time.

The first phases also included the construction of two main bridges. The first is a 740-metre three-lane bridge that serves the traffic incoming from Dubai-Al Ain Road and Al Khail Road heading eastward to Dubai Creek Harbour.

The second phase is a two-lane bridge with slopes reaching 990 meters to serve the traffic coming from Dubai Creek Harbour heading to Ras Al Khor - Hatta Road.

The second and final phase included the construction of a two-lane bridge stretching 988 metres with a free left turn for traffic incoming from Nadd Al Hamar Road in the direction of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road, and another 115 metre long two-lane bridge to serve the traffic incoming from Nadd Al Hamar Road to Ras Al Khor Road in the direction of Dubai-Al Ain Road along with a 368-metre two- lane underpass providing a right-turn for traffic inbound from Ras Al Khor Road heading to Nadd Al Hamar.

Recent RTA news

In other news, RTA carried out improvements and solutions on Al Seba Street in the direction of Sheikh Zayed Road - Garn Al Sabkha Street intersection.

These developments are in line with RTA's efforts to enhance the infrastructure and the traffic flow, as well as increasing the safety level for road users in Dubai.

Traffic improvements on Al Seba Street included the construction of an extra exit on Al Seba Street in the direction of Garn Al Sabkha Street intersection at Dubai Marina, offering a capacity of 1,500 vehicles per hour.

RTA also announced expected delays on Khalid Bin Al Waleed Road at Al Ghubaiba and Al Mina Street's intersection, starting July 9, from midnight onwards.

Motorists have been asked to follow directional signs and use alternative routes to aid smooth traffic flow. These include Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Kuwait or Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Streets.

The delay can be expected until 5am on July 23


Uber Green fares reduced in Dubai

Uber has dropped the fares of its eco-friendly product, Uber Green, to match its cheapest ride option, UberX.

This move aims to cut emissions and encourage more riders to opt for sustainable options in the lead-up to COP28.

This price decrease supports the company's commitment to have one in four trips requested through the Uber app in the UAE be emission-free by 2030, corresponding with the country's own net zero strategy sustainability goals.

Why you should choose an Uber Green ride

Each Uber Green trip emits at least 25 per cent less carbon emissions than the average ride, and over 9 per cent of trips hailed in UAE from January to March were emission-free.

With Uber Green currently available for journeys starting in Dubai, the feature operates in the same way as a regular UberX trip.

By choosing Uber Green, riders will be riding in a 100 per cent electric vehicle with zero exhaust emissions - no hybrids, diesel, or petrol vehicles, helping to reduce air pollution and minimise carbon footprint.

Pia El Hachem, GM, Uber - UAE and Levant, said: "Sustainability is one of our key priorities and we are committed to making environment-friendly options more accessible for a wider community of people.

"We know sustainability is a team sport, and we can't get there alone. In our efforts to encourage a greener city, we hope that the decrease in fares encourages riders to make the cleaner choice and advances COP28's goals to accelerate emissions reductions and foster inclusive climate progress."

The company has globally committed to becoming a zero emissions platform by 2040 and invested $800m in resources to drivers in the next five years to achieve these goals, and ultimately transition to clean energy in partnership with drivers, industry innovators and governments.


First Holiday Inn Open Lobby concept launched in the UAE

IHG Hotels & Resorts, one of the world's leading hotel companies with more than 6,000 hotels, will launch by Q4 2023 a new stylish dual-branded property in Dubai's Business Bay sporting the Open Lobby Concept.

Located a short distance from key tourist and business spots, this cluster of hotels will offer modern and comfortable accommodations for travellers enjoying a short or longer stay in Dubai.

Holiday Inn Dubai Business Bay

Holiday Inn Dubai Business Bay will be the first in the UAE to bring to life the brand defining Open Lobby concept, which transforms the traditional hotel lobby into a flexible space, where the guests can connect, relax, socialise or work their way.

The hotel will feature 275 rooms, modern meeting and recreational facilities including a fitness centre and an outdoor pool. The naturally lit meeting and event spaces will offer state of the art technology with a capacity for up to 100 guests.

The new Holiday Inn hotel will bring to Business Bay two new dining venues, a Mexican eatery, La Plancha - Terraza Mexicana, and a chic modern European restaurant and bar, Brasserie on One. It will embody all of its hallmarks, which our guests know and love us for including the brand's signature "Kids Stay and Eat Free" programme.

The thoughtfully designed guest rooms will offer best in class features including a 55-Inch smart TV, contemporary furnishings, and high-quality bedding.

Staybridge Suites

Staybridge Suites is IHG's upscale extended stay hotel brand that offers an elevated, residential-style hotel. The new hotel, Staybridge Suites Dubai Business Bay will offer 120 suites with options of studio, one, and two-bedroom suites to cater to varying guest needs. The all-suite hotel is perfectly designed to meet the needs of extended-stay travellers who seek a sense of community and home like warmth when traveling for days, weeks, or months at a time.

All suites will provide spacious room, balcony, premium bedding, a fully equipped kitchenette, refrigerator, cooking hob, laundry machine with dryer. The guests will experience a range of unique brand hallmarks such as complimentary hot breakfast, the signature 'Social' hour with complimentary bites & drinks, with thoughtful shared common areas and recreational facilities for them to socialse and relax at the day-end.

Beyond serving as a convenient haven for our guests the hotels are located a mere 15-minute ride to Dubai International Airport, and close to Dubai Mall, Dubai Opera, Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, and the Dubai Canal within easy access to the city's central business district and global landmarks Burj Khalifa.

Meaningful connections

As one of the most recognised and trusted travel brands in the world, Holiday Inn drives meaningful connections through a warm, welcome and consistent experience. The Business Bay property joins the global portfolio that includes nearly 1,500 open or in pipeline Holiday Inn hotels.

Staybridge Suites offers studio and one- and two-bedroom suites equipped with full kitchens and dedicated living and sleeping zones that enable multi-night travelers to seamlessly transition between productivity and relaxation. Staybridge Suites Business Bay adds to a growing global reach of more than 470 hotels open or in pipeline.-- TradeArabia News Service


OYO to add 2,000 apartments for expat housing in Abu Dhabi

Global hospitality technology company OYO has announced that it plans to add 2,000 apartments in Abu Dhabi to meet the growing demand of expat accommodation in Abu Dhabi.

These are ready-to-move-in accommodations by OYO Life which provides fully furnished, fully managed long-term housing rental spaces for professionals, said a statement from the group.

OYO has already added 750 apartments across key destinations such as Khalifa, Al Zeina and Al Raha. This strategic move aligns with OYO's commitment to providing comfortable accommodation in premium properties for guests around the globe, it stated.

Expats living in these units will have access to a wide range of services such as laundry, food, cleaning, transportation, groceries, discounted furnishings and white home appliances.

The surge in Abu Dhabi's startup ecosystem, coupled with enticing incentives like Golden Visa programme, has attracted over 25 prominent companies, including PolicyBazaar, DealShare, Momos, Raena, Hippo Video, Ultrahuman, India Gold, ClassPlus, Mensa, and Expand My Business.

These enterprises have already opted for OYO's premium apartments as their go-to choice for accommodating their employees in the vibrant city.

The addition of 2000 apartments will significantly enhance OYO's existing presence in Abu Dhabi and enable the company to offer a broader range of options to expats seeking long-term stays.

These apartments will be strategically located across key areas, including business districts such as Khalifa City, Al Zeina, Al Raha, Al Reem Island, Al Reef and Al Mushrif and popular tourist destinations that include Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Emirates Palace, Etihad Towers, Louvre, Ferrari World, Warner Bros World, Yas Waterworld and Sea World.

OYO's commitment to quality remains at the forefront of this expansion. Each apartment will be meticulously designed, furnished, and equipped with modern amenities to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free experience for guests.

By providing a diverse range of accommodation choices, OYO aims to meet the varying needs and preferences of expatriates working primarily in the startup sector in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking on the development, Ankit Tandon, Global CBO and CEO Southeast Asia & Middle East, said: "We are excited about the opportunity to contribute to Abu Dhabi's thriving startup ecosystem and expat community and foster a sense of belonging for expatriates living here. OYO recognises the unique requirements of expats."

"We are committed to creating a hassle-free living experience where expats can focus on their professional and personal endeavors while enjoying the comfort and convenience of their accommodation," he added.

OYO currently offers 40+ integrated products and solutions to patrons who operate 1.7 lakh hotels, homes and listings in more than 35 countries including India, Europe and Southeast Asia.-TradeArabia News Service


Careem app can buy cinema tickets across Dubai

Careem, the region's leading multi-service app, has introduced a convenient way for cinema lovers in Dubai to browse for and purchase movie tickets, directly through the Careem app.

By selecting the 'Tickets and Passes' icon on Careem, customers can search for, select, and purchase tickets for movies at all Dubai Reel Cinemas venues, including The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, and The Springs Souk, with plans to extend the feature to other cinema providers across the UAE.

Customers can also view trailers and 'Rotten Tomatoes' ratings for movies, including the latest blockbusters Oppenheimer, Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One, and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, within a few taps. Customers that book two movies through the app in July can enter a raffle for a chance to win prizes, including an iPhone 14 and complimentary Starzplay subscriptions.


Ali Sinai, Senior Director of Partnerships at Careem, commented: "Booking cinema tickets through Careem saves the hassle of navigating multiple websites or apps before deciding on a movie to watch. Our platform offers trailers, reviews, and locations and timings for different venues all in one place, making the whole movie ticket-purchasing process super seamless from start to finish. We're excited to simplify life for our customers in yet another way."

Careem launched its 'Tickets and Passes' service in September 2022 by partnering with online events marketplace, Tikety, to provide customers with easy access to UAE events. Since then, customers have used Careem to search for, purchase, and manage tickets and bookings for different activities across the UAE, including Museum of the Future, Louvre Abu Dhabi, yacht rentals, and live concerts.

Tikety is the latest partner to be added to Careem, the everything app, which offers a platform for digital businesses to scale their services and expand their reach by tapping into Careem's tech, infrastructure, and network. Careem already boasted partnerships with Swapp to offer customers access to car rental services, JustLife for home cleaning, and Washmen for laundry services.-- TradeArabia News Service


Qatar stands apart from MENA countries with steady food inflation: World Bank

The report states that Qatar's food inflation has been at a comparatively low figure of -0.01% as the MENA region struggles with high food prices.

The World Bank, IMF and Trading Economics have published their annual food price inflation tracker for multiple countries from February-May 2023.

Data collected from Qatar Statistics Authority informed the findings and decisions of the report.

Late last year, Qatar recorded a price spike partly due to global food shortages caused by the Ukraine war and partly in the lead-up to the world cup. Yet, yearly food inflation has stabilised and recovered since then.

Month-to-month food inflation numbers stood at 4.8% in July last year, 6.4% (August 2022), 4.6% (September 2022), 1.3% (October 2022), 0.3% (November 2022), 1.5% (December 2022), -0.6% (January this year), -1.9% (February), 0.7% (March), 1.4% (April) and -1.5% (May).

The World Bank calculated this "real food inflation" data by finding the difference between food and overall inflation.

In the meantime, according to IMF, Qatar's general inflation of consumer goods this year is expected to be 3% compared to the Middle East's 12.6%. Unlike most countries in the GCC, inflation isn't dictated much by food inflation.


Oman announces changes to labour law: Highlights

The government of Oman announced significant changes to its labour regulations. Changes have been made to the working conditions in the country, including provisions related to leave allowances, payment structures, and contracted working hours, as per Oman News Agency.

The labour law decree 53/2023, issued by Oman's Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik, has been brought about to achieve the objectives set out in the country's Vision 2040 national agenda.

The legislation, divided into ten sections, covers employment regulations, contracts and obligations between employers and workers. It sets guidelines for working hours, leave allowance, remuneration, employment of Omanis, occupational health and safety, and labour unions. It also delves into the settlement of labour disputes and related punitive measures.

The new decree will override Royal Decree No. 35/2003 which has regulated the country's labour market. The decree will be published in the Official Gazette and enforced from the day following its date of publication, reported Oman News Agency.


. Employment is an intrinsic right for Omanis

. Each establishment will be obliged to disclose an annual plan for localisation of the workforce. This will have to be published at the workplace and on its official website, which also should have detailed reports on the number of Omani workers, their salaries, their gender, and any information about job vacancies, if available.

. Devise a plan incorporating the appointment and training of Omanis for leadership roles and ensure its effective implementation

. The law also allows for the termination of non-Omani employees, facilitating the process of 'Omanisation' if an Omani worker is employed to replace them in the same position.

Women in the workforce

. Working women's privileges include an allocated hour each day for child care and a 98-day maternity leave provision. Women will be allowed to avail themselves of an unpaid leave period lasting up to a year for child care.

. The law also obliges employers to provide a dedicated rest place in establishments where there are more than 25 women in the workplace


. A seven-day paternity leave and a 15-day caregiver leave for accompanying a patient additionally, the number of sick leave days has been increased

. It is permissible to grant the worker, at his request, a special leave without pay


. The law empowers the employer to terminate the contract if a worker fails to achieve the stipulated level of productivity. This is permitted after notifying the worker about the areas of inefficiency and providing them with an adequate period of no less than six months to rectify it. The clause would boost productivity within the establishment and promote competition among workers.

. Law permits the employer to allow a worker to work temporarily for another employer to ease business operations and mitigate the cost of recruiting foreign labour

. Oblige the business owner to establish a performance appraisal system in his establishment

Worker rights

. Transferring the worker from working during the night hours to the daytime hours in case it is proven that he is unable to work during them.

. Eight working hours interspersed, not including the rest hour

. A requirement not to prejudice the rights of the worker in the event that he is assigned a work not agreed upon.

. Organising work in specific sectors according to the working conditions in each sector creates stability in the work in the establishments

Nabhan Ahmed Al Batashi, chairman of the General Federation of Oman Workers, said, "The issuance of the labour law comes at an important stage during Oman's renewed renaissance led by Sultan Haitham bin Tarik. The law gives special importance to the social and economic aspects to keep pace with aspirations of Oman Vision 2040. The law aims at creating an attractive and interactive labour market that keeps pace with demographic, economic, and cognitive changes."

He added, "The labour law addresses gaps and differences in practices and procedures related to the application of the previous Labor Law. The law gives a broader contribution to organizing some sectors according to the requirements of each stage."

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