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Steigenberger ALDAU Resort is the ultimate Red Sea Experience That has it All

If you love the Red Sea, then you must have a soft spot for Hurghada. Other destinations in Egypt might have been rising to the top, but this beautiful city is making a strong comeback with Steigenberger ALDAU Resort.

The best-in-class complex is divided into 3 superior hotels that complement each other, specially designed to serve different audiences according to the diversity of preferences. Steigenberger ALDAU Beach Hotel, Steigenberger Aqua Magic, and Steigenberger Pure Lifestyle. Making these 3 grand resorts the definition of the ultimate Red Sea Experience!

The 5-star resort is set at a perfect location in Hurghada. Making it only 10 minutes away from the airport and 14 minutes from downtown. This magical city is also known for its warm weather, making it summer almost all year long.6

Starting with Steigenberger ALDAU Beach Hotel's over-the-top accommodation. This award-winning beach hotel guarantees a lavish stay in spacious rooms and suites with sea views and excellent services. As for dining, take a tour around the world's best cuisines right at your table with 6 different cuisines, and 3 bars. Moving on to a much laid back experience at Planet Spa where you can recharge your body from nature and book a massage after an intense workout at the fitness center. And don't worry about your little ones at the kids club with a range of exciting supervised activities.

The second hotel category is perfect for families. Steigenberger Aqua Magic is the place for your little ones. The hotel is equipped with 5 large swimming pools, water slides, and a lazy river. Not to forget, the children's Pirates Aqua Park. This means, you could enjoy a nice bathing session, while the kids have some water adventure of their own. The Aqua Magic also offers 24-hour dining services of local and Italian cuisines and also bars to indulge in when it's night time.

If you're a fancy bohemian looking to spend a soothing yet exhilarating vacation with no children, Steigenberger Pure Lifestyle is for you. The third and final category is where a modern styled all-suites and all-white extravaganza awaits you. A haven for adults only that is designed to give you privacy, peace, and serenity. Imagine yourself in the private pool of your penthouse suite with your loved one overlooking the Red Sea. All suites are spacious and pimped with Jacuzzis, swing chairs and terraces overlooking the beautiful Red Sea. You can find 7 restaurants with a variety of either Mediterranean or Asian cuisines, 10 bars, the Gourmet Market on the rooftop that serves best-in-class culinary options, the weekly foam-pool parties, and the beach parties all week long!

For the business people traveling for work, who said work can't be fun as well?
ALDAU International Conference Center is the place where business meets pleasure. A grand venue for business, culture, and entertainment. The biggest conference center in the Red Sea features a conference room, a grand ballroom, an arena and so much more. It's the perfect place for whether you're looking to do business meetings or host a dinner party.

Hurghada has one of the most beautiful marine lives in the world, and since diving is a fascinating experience, Ilios Dive Club, which is cross-accessible to all 3 properties, offers diving sessions for beginners and experts too. Along with many exciting water sports and activities like kitesurfing, kayaking, windsurfing, wakeboard, water skiing, and banana boat rides!

Steigenberger ALDAU Resort is the first in Egypt that offers free daytime sea-view golf rounds to the 3 hotels as part of our all-inclusive programs. To unwind your mind, a welcoming hideaway awaits you at the award-winning Planet Spa and Raa Spa at the Resort. Rejuvenate your senses and pamper yourself with everything that your body and soul need to relax.

ALDAU Art Promenade is the latest hottest, and trendiest touristic spot that stretches through the heart of Steigenberger ALDAU Resort with a large variety of amusements for visitors, guests, and locals. The boulevard is a unique open-air art gallery offering a wide corridor of boutique-style retail shops and services, restaurants and cafes, constant events and parties at The Arena and Elements Night Club. Also located at ALDAU Art Promenade is the superb Asian place, S-square that is divided into three authentic restaurants with live cooking shows that you don't want to miss, too!


Egypt to manufacture electric buses starting Nov.

CAIRO - 23 February 2020: Egypt will begin manufacturing electric buses by November with a potential production capacity of 500 buses every year, Minister of Military Production Mohamed Al-Assar announced on Sunday.

The ministry signed an agreement with Foton Motor Chinese company which designs and manufactures trucks and buses, to manufacture 2,000 buses over four years, which can be increased to 5,000 buses.

He noted that charging stations will be established in parallel with the manufacture of electric vehicles following partnering with specialized companies in this field, adding that electric tourist buses will have special specifications that differ from buses inside cities.

The ministry is mandated to coordinate with various state authorities to spread, encourage and settle the electric car industry in Egypt.

El-Assar further noted that the ministry has already held seven meetings so far to set some strategic aspects and topics, which will be presented to the Prime Minister upon completion.

He further explained that the ministry is adopting the idea of manufacturing electric vehicles because of its advantages, including the low cost of maintenance.

Last Dec., Cairo launched on a test ride for the governorate's first electric public transport bus, during a ceremony at Abdeen Square in Downtown.

The electric vehicle dubbed City Bus is air-conditioned, and friendly to the elderly and wheelchair users. The vehicle contains six surveillance cameras, USB outlets, and a luggage rack.

The electric bus was announced to be able to run for 200 kilometers per 30-minute-long charge but a battery is added to prolong the duration. That type of bus saves around 70 percent of the value of diesel used in regular counterparts.


Egypt to issue intergovernmental green bonds

CAIRO - 22 February 2020: Egypt's Ministry of Finance started its procedures to issue intergovernmental green bonds, to be the first country in the Middle East and North Africa issues such "climate bonds."

Four international investment banks of Deutsche Bank, Citi bank, HSBC, Credit Agricole were selected to promote the issuance, while HSBC, Credit Agricole were chosen to act as structural advisors for the issuance process, said Finance Minister Mohamed Ma'it in a statement on Friday.

The green bonds aim to enhance the state's vision towards strengthening investments in climate and environmental projects, he added.

"The issuance of green intergovernmental bonds places Egypt on the map of sustainable financing," said Egyptian Vice Minister of Finance for Fiscal Policies and Institutional Reforms.

Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) Chairman Mohmed Omran stated in November 2019 that the authority seeks to issue green bonds during 2020, announcing the issuance of the first short-term securitization for the payment of Premium Card that the authority gets 1 of 1,000 of the public issuance and 0.5 of 1,000 of the private issuance, and these amounts are cut in half in such a step.


Mwasalat Misr announces launching X-Bus

CAIRO - 5 February 2020: Mwasalat Misr S.A.E, the sustainable urban transport leader and the owner of the brand of the first smart bus in Egypt, announced on Tuesday operating the electric bus, X-Bus, in Abdel Moneim Riad and New Cairo lines.

The launch of the new bus comes within the framework of an alliance led by the Arab Organization for Industrialization, in which several companies, including Mwasalat Misr and 12 other companies such as Easy Mobility for Public Transport Technologies and Software, Fawry for Electronic Payment Technology, Orange Telecom, The Egyptian Company for Tracking and Information Technology, and Viber Egypt.

The smart electric bus system comes in light of activating the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Arab Organization for Industrialization in May 2019 with Shanghai Wanxiang, one of the largest Chinese companies specialized in the manufacture of electric buses in cooperation with Mwasalat Misr and United Investment Company, local and regional representative of the Chinese company.

The memo aims to provide an integrated solution for the application of smart public transport systems in accordance with international standards for sustainable urban transport within cities.

The electric bus has 44 seats and the ticket price reaches LE 25. The company is seeking to activate new lines during the next few months.

The smart electric bus system is characterized by aims to preserve the environment as it is managed by electricity and does not pollute the environment.

It also provides comfortable seats, air conditioning, video displays and Wi-Fi and is equipped to receive people with special needs.

In line with the European specifications and standards, Mwasalat Misr will launch in 2022 its ambitious strategy to generalize the electric bus in its vehicle network especially that with the beginning of 2037 all factories around the world will stop producing diesel buses and all production will be directed towards electric buses.


No ban for entry of work-visit visa holders: Saudi

After Saudi Arabia implemented a temporary ban on foreign Haj pilgrims from entering the country in the aftermath of coronavirus outbreak, the Kingdom clarified that work visit visa holders will not be affected.

Although there have been no cases yet of the Covid-19 in Saudi Arabia, the government imposed travel ban after coronavirus outbreak. According to Saudi Gazette, travellers holding employment visa, work visit visa, business visit visa and family visit visa are exempted from travel restrictions imposed on Thursday.

Following the travel restrictions, all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals are required to use their passports to travel to and from Saudi Arabia, instead of using national ID. However, GCC nationals who traveled to or from Saudi Arabia using their national ID before the travel restrictions were imposed, will be allowed to return to their home country using national ID.

While the Directorate General of Passports (Jawazat) stated that multiple reentry visit visa holders can reenter the country provided they have not travelled to affected countries in the past two weeks.


TRSDC to develop largest Dark Sky Reserve in Saudi Arabia

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), the developer behind one of the world's most ambitious tourism initiatives, has awarded a contract to Cundall, an international multi-disciplinary consultancy providing engineering, design and sustainable solutions, to develop its mega luxury tourism project in Saudi Arabia into the largest certified Dark Sky Reserve in the world.

As per the deal, Cundall will work on a strategy that would provide enough lighting for safe movement around the project site, whilst meeting the stringent International Dark Sky criteria, said a statement from TRSDC.

The Saudi group will also seek an accreditation that recognizes areas with an exceptional quality of starry nights and a commitment to protecting the nocturnal environment, it stated.

On the deal, CEO John Pagano said: "We are proud to announce our intention to become the first full-scale destination in the Middle East to pursue this unique accreditation, intended to safeguard the natural environment and allow guests to marvel at the beauty of the night sky."

"Over the centuries, explorers, trade caravans and pilgrims have used the night sky to navigate across our region. Dark Sky accreditation will allow our visitors to enjoy the same stunning night-time panoramas that guided and inspired those historical travelers. We are proud to become part of a worldwide movement dedicated to restoring mankind's intimate relationship with the stars," he stated.

According to a study for Science Advances, it is estimated that the Milky Way is no longer fully visible to one-third of humanity - including 60 per cent of Europeans and 80 per cent of Americans. Artificial light from cities has created a permanent "skyglow" at night, obscuring our view of the stars.

The internationally recognized Dark Sky accreditation aligns with TRSDC's commitment to deliver an exclusive experience of unparalleled diversity while enhancing the destination's extraordinary natural wonders, stated Pagano.

"The company recognizes the threat of light pollution and the impact it has on the environment and resident species like the critically endangered hawksbill turtle," he added.

Under the pact, Cundall will be working with the engineering and development teams at TRSDC over a six-month period to review the existing project design and advise on possible measures to reduce light pollution.

This includes outreach to local communities advising residents on suitable measures they can undertake to support the initiative and encourage more energy-efficient, lower-cost use of external lights, it stated.

In March, the team will record the baseline condition, surveying the existing lighting equipment and installation details on all existing assets including building-mounted general lighting besides feature, landscape and street lighting.

In addition to recording the lighting condition, sky quality measurements will be made across the destination. The combination of the survey information and measurements will provide a baseline condition of the quality of the existing dark skies that people experience and how existing lighting contributes to sky glow.

A Lighting Management Plan (LMP) will also be designed that will describe improvement works throughout the existing lighting at the destination and inform the lighting design for each of the new assets, including hotels, the airport and residential properties, said the specialist consultancy.

An application will then be made to achieve dark sky reserve status for the entire destination, it added.

Cundall's Director of Light4 Andrew Bissell said: "The night sky at the site is already at a very high level of quality and beautiful to experience, full of interesting textures and powerful contrasts. Away from city lights, the splash of the Milky Way is spellbinding, stretching from one horizon to the other."

"I believe this project will demonstrate that through ambition, careful coordinated design and a passion for the environment, new developments of an unprecedented scale can be built which protect the quality of the night sky," remarked Bissell.

"Achieving this will be the evidence that is needed to show that no building in any location whether that be rural, or a capital city need have an impact on the night sky," he added.- TradeArabia News Service


Saudi German Hospitals opens new hospital in Dammam

Saudi German Hospitals (SGH) Group has officially announced the opening of its newest hospital in Dammam, in the presence of HRH Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Governor of the Eastern Province.

The new facility is SGH Group's first hospital in the Eastern Province and its 11th hospital in the region. This is in line with the group's strategic expansion plans which aim to extend the group's presence in the Kingdom and the region--providing world-class medical care, an SGH statement said.

Makarem Sobhi Batterjee, president, Saudi German Hospitals Group, said: "We are proud to announce the opening of our first hospital in the Eastern Province, which affirms our commitment to reach to every patient in Saudi Arabia. We aim to provide patients with easy access to premium international healthcare close to home, so that they do not need to travel abroad for medical care."

"This newly-opened Saudi German Hospital in Dammam is part of a much bigger project, the Batterjee Medical City. It will include a medical college, housing and specialty hospitals where the highest medical services will be provided. This is of course in line with the developments of the health care sector as part of the Saudi Vision 2030," he added.

The newly opened hospital is a state-of-the-art facility offering comfortable spaces for patients and visitors, equipped with the latest medical equipment and technology. The hospital has a capacity of 300 beds and is staffed by highly trained medical professionals of all kinds of specialties and sub-specialties. - TradeArabia News Service


Seven to build 20 leisure complexes in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Entertainment Ventures Company (Seven), established by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and mandated to invest, develop and operate entertainment destinations in Saudi Arabia, has announced the expansion of new entertainment complexes to prime locations across the kingdom.

These will delight residents and tourists alike and contribute to positioning Saudi Arabia as a hub for entertainment and leisure, said a statement from Seven.

The entertainment complexes will meet the fast-growing tourism sector and contribute to realising the goals outlined in Saudi Vision 2030, it stated.

These projects are being developed in key strategic geographic locations, providing large resident populations with innovative leisure choices that will appeal to all the family. Each complex will feature several entertainment and leisure choices including cinemas, play areas, rides, food and beverage (F&B) outlets, attractions and more, it added.

Chairman Abdullah Al Dawood said Seven is building the entertainment ecosystem of the kingdom, having already opened the first cinema in Saudi Arabia in 35 years.

"We have a clearly structured development plan to build 20 entertainment destinations, 50 cinemas and two large theme parks in prime locations across the kingdom," stated Al Dawood.

In Jeddah, Seven will develop several entertainment complexes adding to the leisure choices for over four million residents and visitors.

With entertainment complexes coming up by the azure waters of the Red Sea as well as in areas that are popular among residents, the leisure ecosystem of Jeddah will witness a dramatic transformation.

In line with the vision of the leadership to offer more attractions that add to the quality of life of residents and visitors to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, Seven will open new entertainment complexes.

Another addition is in Taif, the fifth biggest city in Saudi Arabia and the unofficial 'summer capital', where the cool climes draw people to its location on the slopes of the Sarawat Mountains.

Known as the spring by the sea for its popularity among tourists as a scuba-diving destination with white sandy shores, Yanbu is another strategic location. With easy connectivity from Riyadh and Dammam, Al-Kharj will also feature a Seven entertainment complex.

Another area which will feature a project by Seven will be Buraydah, located in the centre of Saudi Arabia, said the statement from Seven.

Abha and Khamis, set in the Asir Mountains and known for equitable all-year weather, will also have new entertainment complexes by Seven, adding to their touristic value.

The port city of Jazan by the Red Sea, serving as a large agricultural heartland of the kingdom, features several ambitious infrastructure projects and is another natural choice for Seven - along with Tabuk, one of the historic sites, rich in rock art, archeological sites, castles and mosques.

Adding to the entertainment ecosystem of the capital city of Riyadh, is the development of the entertainment complex at Al Hamra that will serve the densely populated neighbourhoods in the north-east of Riyadh.

At the intersection of King Abdullah Road and East Ring Road, the project will serve over 2.5 million people within a radius of a 30-minute drive. Another exciting upcoming addition to Riyadh is the entertainment complex at Al Nahda, with the Nahda Park Metro Station just a few metres away. Announced last year, work on these projects is progressing as per schedule.

Further adding to the communities of Dammam and Al Khobar, which serve as vital hubs for several key industries and global businesses, Seven is bringing waterfront attractions that will create unforgettable moments of joyful entertainment for everyone. Announced last year, these projects will also offer a range of entertainment choices for residents and visitors.

"We are committed to realising the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to accelerate the creation of world-class entertainment assets in the Kingdom that support economic diversification, create new jobs, and contribute to socio-economic progress. Our complexes will position the kingdom as an entertainment, culture and tourism hub of the region," he stated.

"At Seven, we believe in promoting and creating opportunities for the private sector to thrive in the fast-evolving entertainment landscape of the kingdom," noted Al Dawood.

"We are inviting the most ambitious and creative business partners and vendors to join us in our remarkable step forward to shape the entertainment landscape of the Kingdom," he added.- TradeArabia News Service


Morocco to Build New Higher Education Facilities Near Rabat

Rabat - The Council of the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region has approved two projects for the construction of a new university campus in Khemisset, around 90 kilometers east of Rabat, and a multidisciplinary faculty in Sidi Kacem, about 120 kilometers northeast of the capital.

The council approved the projects on Monday, March 2.

The projects have a total budget of MAD 180 million (nearly ?17 million). The regional council will contribute to the projects with MAD 70 million (around ?6.6 million), while the Ministry of Education will cover the rest of the budget.

The new institutions are part of Morocco's vision to overhaul the higher education system and reduce territorial disparities. Students of the region usually travel to Kenitra, Meknes, or Rabat to pursue higher education. The new projects would facilitate access to education in the region and alleviate the pressure on other universities.

During the meeting, the council approved other projects totaling MAD 340 million (around ?32 million) in investments. The regional council will contribute to the projects with MAD 229 million (about ?21.5 million), while the government will cover the remaining costs.

The projects include the construction of 21 roads over more than 145 kilometers. The roads, located in the provinces of Kenitra, Khemisset, Sidi Slimane, Sidi Kacem, Sale, Skhirat, and Temara will cost MAD 154.5 million (around ?14.5 million).

The council also allocated MAD 6 million (?564,652) to support local cooperatives through access to electronic commerce.

The elected officials approved the amendment of several partnership agreements previously signed by the council.

The agreements cover urban development projects and highway expansion in Skhirat and Temara, near Rabat, for a total cost of MAD 1.91 billion (nearly ?180 million).

They also concern the construction of 13 community schools for MAD 50 million (?4.7 million), the construction of an irrigation network for green spaces in Rabat for MAD 210 million (around ?19.8 million), and the development of the industrial zone in Sidi Kacem for MAD 14.8 million (nearly ?1.4 million).


Huawei Chooses Morocco to Present New Low-Cost High-Performance Phone

Rabat - Chinese telecommunication giant, Huawei, has chosen Morocco to launch its new Huawei Y7p smartphone.

At a media seminar in Casablanca on Monday in Casablanca, Yassine El Khabbaz, in charge of Huawei's media relations in Morocco, said the new Y7p boasts a special application platform unique to Huawei. The retail price for the new model is MAD 1949.

"The new Huawei Y7p has a powerful 48-megapixel camera, plus an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with Kirin 710F processor and EMUI 9.1 operating system," said El Khebbaz.

The Y7p has a capacity of 4000 mAh of battery life, in addition to random access memory (RAM) of 4 GB and an internal storage capacity of 64 GB with an expansion of up to 512 GB, thanks to the memory card slot.

Supplied with GPU Turbo 3.0 for improved gaming graphics, the Y7p is a perfect low-cost phone with high performance, according to Huawei.

The new phone comes without access to Google Mobile Services (GMS) due to the inclusion of Huawei on the US government's entities list. The US banned the supply of US-made equipment to Huawei, claiming that it used international networks for espionage purposes, a claim that Huawei denies.

The phone will not have applications that are part of the GMS, including YouTube, Chrome, or the Google Play Store.

Huawei, however, has developed its own platform, Huawei Mobiles Services (HMS), in which similar applications are presented either as pre-installed applications, or downloaded from the Huawei App Gallery, similar to Google Play Store.

Since Huawei uses an open-source Android, GMS' applications can be side-loaded to Huawei phones by downloading Android apps as an APK format from websites and then installing them on the phone.

Google uses the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) allowing phone makers to modify the software however they like before presenting it onto the market before issuing their own updates.

Huawei users in China are already banned from using Google's various services.


Swedish Furniture Retailer IKEA to Open 2nd Store in North Morocco

Rabat - Swedish furniture giant IKEA will open a new outlet in Tetouan, Northern Morocco.

Construction on the site has already begun and the outlet is expected to open its doors in 2021.

The store, extending over four hectares, is a Tanger Med group initiative, local media reported.

Morocco World News contacted IKEA for confirmation.

An employee promised to forward the request for information to the concerned parties, suggesting the rumors of the new store may be true.

MWN also contacted Tanger Med for information, but our phone calls and emails went unanswered.

If opened, the store will open a number of job opportunities in the region. It will also help the firm to expand in the country.

IKEA has only one store in Morocco in Ain Harrouda, Casablanca. The outlet opened its doors in March 2016. IKEA has more than 400 stores worldwide.


Oman expected to implement VAT in 2021: Minister

Oman will impose five per cent value-added tax (VAT) from early next year, said an Omani minister on Tuesday.

"VAT is something people don't like it but this is something we have been lobbying for. It will come into effect sometime in the beginning of the next year," said Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry in Oman.

Currently, three GCC countries, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, have levied VAT as agreed by the six member countries. Oman will most likely be the next GCC country to join the league.

A study by EY had predicted that the adoption of VAT by GCC countries would generate additional annual revenues of $25 billion.

The minister said Muscat is targeting 2.5 per cent to three per cent economic growth this year, unless some geopolitical tension emerges in the neighbourhood.

"We also look at diversifying the economy. reforms are inevitable because when oil prices crashed, our GDP crashed tremendously from 30 billion Omani riyals to 26 billion riyals, but now it is back to 30 billion riyals; we have to get back to reforms and enable the young and private sector to carry the future," said while speaking to Bloomberg TV.

The minister hopes that the oil price will cross $70 a barrel which will be helpful for regional economies.

"The economy is being revived at 465 but $70 would be more comfortable for most of us in the region, not just Oman. However, at $65 and even $60 to $65 barrel, we will look more seriously at tourism, manufacturing, fisheries and logistics sectors," he added.

"$26-27 a barrel was not helpful at all and now $65 is very much helpful. We were hoping oil will cross $70, but now we're becoming accustomed to below $60 and we will be running our budget like that," he said during the interview.


Oman announces further expat visa ban

Expats in Oman who are employed as sales representatives (sales promoter) or purchasing representatives will not have their working visas renewed, under fresh guidelines issues by the country's Ministry of Manpower.

Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Bakri, Minister of Manpower, issued the decree, which added: "Licenses for recruitment of a non-Omani workforce, and work-permit licenses issued for professions specified in Article 1 of this decision shall apply until the date of their expiry."

Once the visa expires, expats will be required to leave the country.

According to National Centre of Statistics and Information, there are 1.7 million foreign workers in the Sultanate

In November last year, Oman ruled out issuing visas to expat construction workers and cleaners for six months.

While Oman's Ministry of Manpower extended a temporary visa ban on hiring expats for six months, beginning on August 5, to include four more professions.

It applies to jobs in the sectors of IT, accounting and finance, sales and marketing, management and human resources, insurance, media, medical, airports and engineering.


Emirati low-cost airline 'Wizz Air Abu Dhabi' to launch operations in Fall 2020

Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company, ADDH, announced today that it concluded the definitive agreement with its partner Wizz Air Holdings, Europe's fastest growing and greenest airline, to jointly establish Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. The low-cost airline is set to launch its operations at Abu Dhabi International Airport in Fall 2020.

The agreement is a major milestone in the launch of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, a new Emirati low-cost airline based in the UAE's capital. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi plans to start operations in the second half of the year, bringing low fares paired with a high-quality on-board experience to a range of destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

With Wizz Air Abu Dhabi's recruitment activities set to commence in the coming months, the agreement will create new job opportunities, boost the economy and attract more visitors to Abu Dhabi. The announcement is also in line with Abu Dhabi's AED50 billion accelerator programme Ghadan 21, which is driving the emirate's development through investing in business, innovation and people.

Following the agreement, the airline development team has already initiated the process with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority to obtain the carrier's Air Operator Certificate and Operating License.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohamed Hassan Al Suwaidi, CEO of ADDH, said, "Tourism is a high priority in Abu Dhabi's growth strategy. Significant investment is going not only into our airports but also the tourist infrastructure, including hotels, resorts and cultural attractions. Last year the emirate achieved a record high of 11.35 million visitors and a key driver for this is the connectivity that enables people to visit Abu Dhabi easily and affordably. Our partnerships with Wizz Air and others will help elevate the UAE's capital as a highly competitive regional and international destination for leisure and business travellers alike."

Jozsef Varadi, CEO of Wizz Air Holdings, said, "Today marks an important milestone on the way to establishing our new airline in Abu Dhabi. The joint venture agreement with Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company to form Wizz Air Abu Dhabi underpins our long-term dedication to bringing an economically and operationally highly efficient as well as environmentally most sustainable airline business model to boost Abu Dhabi's aviation development."

"Wizz Air's mission," Varadi explained, "feeds into Abu Dhabi's diversified economic strategy as we aim to stimulate traffic by creating demand to the benefit of growing Abu Dhabi's touristic and economic diversity. We look forward to welcoming passengers on board our young, green and ultra-efficient fleet."

The airline will focus on establishing routes to markets in which Wizz Air has existing, high growth operations, namely Central and Eastern and Western Europe.


UAE Cabinet launches 'Mystery Shopper' app to rate government services

An online application that allows Emiratis and residents to rate a government service was launched by the UAE Cabinet on Monday.

The app, named UAE Mystery Shopper, is available in eight languages and asks users to input information on their experiences with a service at a government office.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, announced the app on Twitter, saying the feedback would help improve government services overall.

"Every individual in our community in the UAE is a partner in improving government services, and every customer is a mystery shopper who will be the judge and the measure for the performance of any government entity and the efficiency of services it provides," he said.

"The doors of our government are open to people. The voice of the customer is always heard and his feedback is the essence of our attention and follow-up. The duty of the official in any government entity is the interaction and direct communication with people, listening openly to them in the field and improving services as per their expectations."

The app, developed by the UAE government, can be downloaded from the Google Play or App Store. Alternatively, users can scan a QR code on the website.

It is the latest in a string of measures put in place by the UAE Cabinet to improve government services.

Last year, Sheikh Mohammed announced an annual review of service centres would be conducted and that he would name the best and worst centres.

The Prime Minister frequently sends "mystery shoppers" to government offices to test services. Last year, he criticised poor standards at an Emirates Post office after a someone sent him a photo of long queues.

"I have received a photo from a secret shopper showing the level of services in Emirates Post," he wrote on Twitter at the time.

"This is not our level. These are not our services. And whoever continues to provide such level of services will not be among my team."

He is also known for dropping in on government offices unannounced.

In 2016, Sheikh Mohammed visited the Land Department and Department of Economic Development for a spot check at the start of the working day - to find that no one had turned up for work.

But the practice began long before this decade.

On Monday, Sheikh Mohammed shared a video of himself at a conference 30 years ago saying "You can be certain that I have anonymous reviewers in every government office."

He would send a small group of aides into government offices to pose as customers and return with feedback. The video said this technique resulted in an overhaul and vast improvement of government services.

"We changed our practical operations.

"[And] we replaced managers with more competent ones," the video said.

"Today, we multiply our efforts to multiply the results," it said, referring to the new app. The video called on all UAE residents and Emiratis to take part and become a mystery shopper.

The app is available in Arabic, English, Urdu, Hindi, Spanish, Chinese, French and Russian. It asks users to assess their overall experience and rate the various aspects of their experience including the location, ease of reaching it, reception, waiting time, simple processes, employee behavior, completion time, and service channels.


Rent-a-bike service gives residents more options to move around Dubai

Cycling to work is not a new concept to Dubai. A lot of residents - both living near and far from their offices have been whizzing through the side streets and alleyways around Dubai and raising awareness on safety while on the saddle.

Giving a boost to the green habit, Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launched its bike rental service, the first of its kind in the region. The service follows along the footsteps of cities such as Taipei and Amsterdam, offering mobility to both residents and tourists alike.

Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the board of executive directors of the RTA, and Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder and CEO of Careem, inaugurated the service at the Jumeirah Lakes Towers' rental station on February 22.

The service is simple to use - one just needs to book the bike via Careem's app and scan a QR code to gain access to it. The bikes can be availed at stations around Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah Lake Towers, The Greens, Barsha Heights, Dubai Water Canal, Dubai Media City, Downtown Dubai and Al Qudra. Phase 1 of the service has 780 bicycles and 78 stations. By completion, the project will have 3,500 bicycles in 350 stations.

One of the groups that promotes camaraderie and safety while on the road is Foldubs. The group takes its name from the folding bikes that all members of the group use.

One of the pioneers of cycling to work in Dubai, John Flores, said that cycling offers flexibility and convenience in the sense that cyclists can opt to run for groceries on the way home or stop by restaurants and cafs. Parking woes are not included. He also points out that cycling gives back to the environment by reducing your carbon footprint when compared to driving a car. Apart from that, Flores also said that cycling is a great alternative to taking public transport.

"I have a more comfortable commute because I don't need to squeeze myself inside a crowded Metro cabin or don't have to wait at the bus stop because sometimes it comes late. I can reach home at my convenience," Flores said.

Mark De Guzman, a bike mechanic for Pedal Cycling and Coffee, said cycling around town has also saved him a lot of dirhams in public transport. "Apart from being practical way to go around town, I also get to take in the amazing views of the city. It's a good stress reliever from an otherwise tiring day at work."

When asked how Careem and RTA's new service will result in more individuals riding a bicycle in Dubai, De Guzman said: "It's a good project. More people should cycle anyway, because it will lead to the development of larger bike lanes that can connect the city and make it safer for us to ride around town."

Meanwhile, safety is a concern for Voltaire Jamison - a member of UAE Mountain Biking Jumeirah group. "There's no denying that it's a big help in promoting the use of bicycles but I'm concerned if they also provide essential safety gear with the rental such as a helmet. Authorities penalise riders without helmets so I'm concerned about the safety of individuals who avail this service."

Additionally, Jamison said that the service is great for tourists who wish to see more of the city: "It's more geared towards tourists because the bikes are readily available near the Metro stations and they can use it to stop and go at different places to snap photos."

Another member of the club, Frankie Boton, said that additional payment options should be made available: "The service is new so I hope they add more flexible payment options in the future." Boton also opined that depending on an individual's location, owning a bike may be an even better proposition. "If the bike rental area is near your workplace, then it makes sense. Otherwise, you're better off investing in a bicycle."

Like De Guzman, Boton hopes that the service will lead to the development of cycling facilities around the emirate. "The service could be UAE's way to promote itself as the cycling capital of the region. I hope that in the future, an increasing number of cyclists will be given a longer and more diverse network of lanes to go around the city."


Google Maps to show live updates of Dubai bus timings

Such updates will enable commuters to better plan their journeys and minimise potential complaints from changes in timetables.

You will now get real-time updates about Dubai's public bus movement on Google Maps, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced. Previously, the maps would display just fixed bus timetables. With the instant updates, passengers would be able to track delays or early arrival of buses due to emergency factors.

The move makes Dubai the first city in the Middle East to use open data in public transport at par with 100 smart cities across the globe.

"Linking and providing instant updates of bus schedules on Google Maps will help public transport riders and keep them informed of bus timetables. Such updates will enable them to better plan their journeys and minimise potential complaints from changes in timetables for unavoidable reasons," said Khaled Al Awadi, director of transportation systems at the Public Transport Agency.


Four Seasons Doha reopens after expansive revamp

Four Seasons Hotel Doha has officially reopened and is welcoming its first guests following extensive renovations and a complete redesign by Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR).

The world-renowned interior designer has reshaped the property into an unmatched luxury destination at the centre of Qatar's capital city, with residential warmth and comfort that is further enhanced by the friendly and intuitive service that is reflective of Four Seasons hospitality.

The entrance has been enhanced with a grandiose door, reminiscent of grande dame entrances, and the lobby has been redesigned as an open-plan space, allowing light to flood through the foyer as well as boasting views of the Arabian Gulf. The lobby boasts an array of handmade and bespoke Italian furnishings, including a hand-blown glass chandelier that takes centre stage and adorns the lobby's ceiling.

Set along the picturesque beachfront of the Arabian Gulf, and in close proximity to the cultural landmarks of Doha, the vast renovations span an entire redesign of the hotel's bedrooms, suites, guest floors, lobby and dining outlets. The public areas have adopted a range of greens to evoke the feeling of a garden and new life.

In addition to offering Herms amenities in all suites, and state-of-the-art technology, the hotel will continue to pay homage to Qatari heritage with features such as mother of pearl inlay, while complementing a contemporary rejuvenation. The redesigned rooms follow a soothing spectrum of blues and beiges reflecting the colours of Doha, where the sky, sea, sand and earth come together and impart a more residential feeling. The rooms are equipped with energy-efficient technologies, featuring automated curtains and lighting systems as well as temperature management preservation technology within the newly installed windows.

"PYR has transformed this glorious seafront property into a refreshed and vibrant hotspot, while keeping true to its Qatari roots," said Jeff Rednour, general manager. "Four Seasons Hotel Doha has been at the forefront of Qatari hospitality since its inception, and the complete regeneration of this beloved property highlights the history and heritage behind it, while adapting to today's guest expectations."

As well as a complete redesign of the interiors, the hotel introduces the expansion, as well as the redevelopment, of its diverse dining and lounge concepts. Arabica, located on the ground floor of the hotel, returns with a contemporary new look and coffee and dessert bar. Bold and neutral in its colour scheme, the space houses marble furniture that echoes the octagonal shape of the conservatory. This will be the destination of bespoke coffee, specialising in single origin beans and a selection of reimagined takes on childhood favourites, including an ever-changing variety of doughnuts and cupcakes.

Also refurbished is the Seasons Tea Lounge, which is luxuriously comfortable and exudes Parisian chic by blending classical and modern forms. Featuring a French Winter Garden that opens up into a terrace, Seasons Tea Lounge brings the outdoors inside with strong shades of green that are highlighted by a commanding hand-blown glass chandelier. Seasons Tea Lounge serves a carefully-crafted menu of French delicacies with tableside service that evokes the grandeur of a Parisian caf.

The re-opening of the hotel also welcomes The Study, an outdoor bar and lounge concept, on a terrace adjoining the Library and Cigar Lounge - a city favourite that maintains its beloved classic features while also serving a selection of cocktails, each with their own story to tell. The Study is inspired by that of Ernest Hemingway as a place of thought and reflection, and reflects the palm trees and the sea outdoors. This outdoor space is yet another addition to the hotel's unique variety of dining outlets.

The completion of further enhancements will be announced later in 2020, and will include the refurbishment of a space previously held by Il Teatro, which will relaunch with a brand new concept by a celebrated Michelin star chef.

Special Savings

Guests can enjoy 25 per cent off the hotel's room rate when booking stays at least 21 days in advance.

Room rates at Four Seasons Hotel Doha start from QAR1,200 ($326.4) per night in a Deluxe Room for two people, not including breakfast. - TradeArabia News Service

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