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Bloom Holding, New Era, New Giza partner to open international school in Egypt

Leading real estate development company Bloom Holding has announced the expansion of its education portfolio internationally by launching an international school in Egypt.

For this Bloom has signed a joint venture with New Era Education, an expert in the educational services and school management sector, and New Giza Real Estate Development, a leading integrated upscale development company.

Bloom Holding has a strong background in the education sector in the UAE through Bloom Education, one of the region's leading education providers with more than 10 years of experience operating internationally renowned schools and nurseries in the UAE and high-quality charter schools on behalf of the government.

Outstanding curriculum Bloom Education currently provides an outstanding American, English and International Baccalaureate curriculum to more than 16,000 students and will continue to expand its portfolio of schools and nurseries across the UAE and Mena region.

This partnership is expected to bring global educational experiences into the Egyptian market towards the academic year 2024 with more than EGP1.5 billion ($76.83 million) investments. It will also ensure that the new school's educational framework, structure and delivery are aligned with the highest international education standards while meeting national requirements and offering a wide selection of co-curricular activities and outstanding care.

CEO of Bloom Holding, Carlos Wakim said: "The launch of this international school in Egypt reflects our ambitious strategy for growth. We are committed to working with best-in-class partners to offer world-class educational services that support our vision to provide opportunity-rich environments that nurture pupils around the world so they can reach their highest potential.

Expanding portfolio "The decision to expand our educational portfolio to Egypt is underpinned by the outstanding academic success of the schools we operate in the UAE, and we look forward to continuing to build upon our successes so far and further strengthening our position as one of the region's leading education providers, through maintaining our commitment to excellence and supporting the development of future generations," he added.

Chairman and Founder of New Era Education, Tamer Tamam, PHD commented: "At New Era Education, we are excited to partner with Bloom Holding and bring global experience and highest education standards to Egypt, which will help us achieve our mission of changing the face of education and inspire the new generations to embrace latest educational trends and challenges. Together with Bloom and New Giza Development, we will make a huge difference in the education scene in Egypt."

Planned to open in August 2024, the 40,000 sq m state-of-the-art campus will cater to pupils from the age of three to 18 years old and will build on the exceptional teaching and leadership style of Bloom Education's schools in the UAE which are consistently rated "Outstanding" by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK).


New visa schemes to drive UAE short-term rental market

The uptick in demand for short-term vacation rentals in the UAE is seen to pick up speed this 2022 following the formal rollout of new visa policies implemented to spur further global tourist arrivals to the country.

Nasma Luxury Stays, a division of Al Tamimi Investments and a specialist in executive living and luxury vacation rentals, made the statement after the government's recent introduction of the virtual working visa. The new policy was issued on the heels of the official implementation of the new UAE visa tourist rules to become effective on October 3.

Dani Tabbara, COO of Al Tamimi Investments, said: "The pandemic has transformed the way people live and work, and the two visa policies are reflective of the UAE s flexibility, readiness and commitment to adapt to these changes. The move will meet the contemporary demands of today's world. The one-year and renewable virtual working visa will specifically draw in a new class of freelancers, digital nomads and travellers to the country whilst the multiple entry visa will benefit visitors who want to stay longer or more frequently in any parts of the Emirates. The two visa schemes are a boon for the industry."

"While the UAE market has long been prepared to cater to the requirements of the tourism sector, the influx of tourists to the UAE will positively impact the hospitality sector, particularly the short-term vacation rental segment. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are popular destinations amongst visitors who are seeking ultimate adventures, beautiful beaches, a unique cultural experience and diverse leisure activities whilst staying in luxe accommodations," Tabbara added.

Outlook on short-term vacation rental market remains upbeat with the rising popularity of remote working and staycations across the world. The Dubai market is particularly robust, buoyed by the growing tourist arrivals to the country.

The travel industry news site Skift reported that the emirate alone received more than 7.12 million international overnight visitors during the first six months of 2022, an exponential 183% year-on-year growth.

According to Nasma, the remaining half of the year and the upcoming years bode well for the industry, as more tourists are expected to take advantage of the UAE's visa policies to experience what the country has to offer them.

Nasma noted that the global trend has opened up promising prospects for luxury property and second-home owners to enjoy better returns on their property investments.

"The demand for short-term rentals provides them a new attractive income stream in which they can offer their second homes to those seeking to enjoy all the luxuries associated with a 5-star hotel within a comfortable, warm home environment. They can do so without losing access to their property during their holiday break or whenever they want to use it," Tabbara said.

The 100% UAE-owned Nasma has been leading the way in offering luxe executive living and holiday homes in Dubai and most recently Abu Dhabi. It provides comprehensive end-to-end property management on behalf of the property owners whilst at the same time ensuring renters and guests will come across authentic experiences during the duration of their stay in the properties it manages.

Since its inception, Nasma's curated staycation and beachfront properties located in prime locations in the UAE have been witnessing high occupancy rates, especially from December to March.

The guests are attracted to the warm, comfortable place that the properties offer alongside their access to magnificent views and full amenities.

The company manages properties in premier areas such as Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Downtown Area, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), City Walk, Blue Waters, Dubai Creek Harbour and Dubai Hills, amongst others.


ICP launches third generation of UAE Passport, runs advanced visa system trial

The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) announced the launch of the third generation of the UAE Passport and trial run of the new advanced visa system, which will come into effect starting October 3.

The new services was developed in line with the highest security and technology standards to facilitate smooth procedures and accelerate the UAE's economic and sustainable development drive.

Investors, business owners, residents, visitors, talents and job seekers may avail the new advantages offered through the UAE's upgraded visa system, by visiting the ICP's website or using their smart application.

The ICP chairman, Ali Mohammed bin Hammad Al Shamsi, affirmed that "the launch of the new generation services is a huge step in our journey towards the future, as it enhances the UAE's tourism appeal, which will help revolutionise government services for generations to come."

Suhail Saeed Al Khaili, ICP director-general, added that the new updated visa system involves streamlined processes, controls and procedures, and new facilities to provide pioneering services, which align with the Principles of the 50, and meet the future needs of all categories of foreigners and residents.


Smart Salem centre to provide swift medical test for UAE residency visa

No more waiting in line for long hours to take a medical test for your UAE residency visa. Customers can now get their medical fitness results within 30 minutes at the newly opened Smart Salem centre.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE, inaugurated the new centre for medical fitness and residence visa processing at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The state-of-the-art facility reflects the emirate's commitment to provide exceptional, technology-driven services. It is the second facility of its kind to open in Dubai. The first one, located in City Walk, opened in 2020.

The centre is completely digital and paperless and has the capacity to cater to 800 customers per day. Spread across 12,000 square feet, the facility features the first automated blood collection system of its kind in the region.

It not only provides swift medical screening but also has seven private blood collection rooms, three X-ray rooms, an on-site laboratory, eight smart check-in kiosks, Emirates ID biometrics office and an Amer support office.

Smart Salem is also equipped with AI and smart automation and features a hygiene robot, a robot barista and transportation robots.

Awadh Seghayer Al Ketbi, director general of Dubai Health Authority said, "The launch of the new Smart Salem centre showcases Dubai's drive to implement the latest technologies across all sectors to enhance the customer experience, reduce waiting time and raise service efficiency. The facility in DIFC will provide customers with high-quality services in a comfortable and exclusive setting."

Emirates ID biometrics and other visa application support services will soon be available on-site at the new facility, providing customers with a fast, easy and comfortable residence visa processing experience.

Both Smart Salem centres in City Walk and DIFC are open six days a week from Sunday to Friday. Customers will be able to visit the location and receive their digital visa within just 60-90 minutes. The third Smart Salem centre is expected to open in TECOM by the end of this year.


Renewal of driving licences to begin at Dubai International Airport later this year

Vehicle driving licences will soon be renewed at Dubai International Airport.

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is planning to open a new service outlet enabling driving licence renewals at the Dubai International Airport - Terminal 1 (Departure Concourse) in the third quarter of this year. This will be done in partnership with the private sector and agents, Dubai Media Office reported.

"Eyesight testing is a key requirement of renewing the driving licence. The client is required to visit one of the approved optical centres in Dubai to undergo eyesight testing," said Ahmed Mahboub, executive director, drivers licensing, licensing agency at RTA. "Upon clearing the test, the driving licence will be issued or renewed through the available channels. The licence will be printed or delivered to the client, depending on the type of channel and the preference selected."

The service will initially be provided from 8am to 8pm, and will be extended round the clock from the start of next year.

"Through this initiative, RTA seeks to play a pioneering role in delivering government services that respond to the needs of clients," concluded Mahboub.


UAE: Foreigners allowed to get visas without sponsor

The Federal Authority for Identity, Nationality, Customs and Ports Security (ICA) has allowed foreigners abroad to apply for obtaining 5 types of entry visas to the country directly without a sponsor or mediator, through the authority's website or the UAEICP smart app.

ICA called on individuals abroad wishing to enter the UAE for the purpose of tourism, work or living to access the smart services provided through the website and to apply for a visa, directly without a sponsor or mediator.

ICA added that the electronically available visas which a foreigner abroad can apply for are: a 6-month visa with several entries to complete the golden visa procedures, a 5-year long-term tourist visa for all nationalities with several entries, a visa for holders of special visas from nationals of the Republic of India residing in America, Britain, EU countries, a visa for the visa-exempt countries nationals (entry permit) and the virtual work residence visa.

ICA clarified the conditions and requirements for each visa, in addition to required documents and provided an introductory guide to all the steps of application and the prescribed fees.

It indicated that the applicant for a 6-month visa with several entries to complete the golden visa procedures, can obtain an entry permit for a period of 6 months, which can be extended for a similar period.

The authority added that the applicant for a 5-year long-term tourist visa for all nationalities (several entries) can apply for it without a sponsor, and it allows him to stay in the country for a continuous period not exceeding 90 days, with the possibility of extending it for another period, provided that the total stay period does not exceed 180 days per year.

The authority also pointed out that holders of special visas (nationals of the Republic of India residing in America, Britain, and European Union countries) can obtain a visa such as the USA visa and the residence visa in the European Union countries.


UAE: 4 multiple-entry visas that expats can apply for

The UAE currently offers a variety of multiple-entry visas that allow foreigners to enjoy the quality of life that this country offers - be it for work, a holiday or retirement.

These visas allow expatriates to enter the country multiple times either individually or along with their families and support staff.

Below is the list of multiple-entry visas that people can apply for, and the requirements that come with each one.

- Golden Visa: This multiple-entry visa is issued for 10 years to property investors, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, entrepreneurs, exceptionally talented people and professionals. Those who have this visa will be able to sponsor their families regardless of their age, as well as support staff. There is also no restriction on the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE.

- Green Visa: This new five-year multiple-entry residency is offered to skilled expats, allowing them to stay in the country without a sponsor or employer. The applicants should have a valid employment contract and should be classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The minimum educational level must be a bachelor's degree or equivalent, and their salary should not be less than Dh15,000.

- Retirement visa: This multiple-entry five-year visa is provided to people aged 55 and above. The visa can be renewed upon fulfilling one of the following criteria: investment of at least Dh2 million in property; financial savings of no less than Dh1 million; or an active income of no less than Dh20,000 per month.

- Multiple-entry tourist visa: In addition to the regular tourist visa that is sponsored by tourism establishments in the UAE, a five-year multi-entry tourist visa has been introduced. This visa does not require a sponsor and it allows the person to stay in the country for up to 90 continuous days, and it may be extended for a similar period, provided that the entire period of stay does not exceed 180 days in one year. This visa requires proof of having a bank balance of $4,000 (Dh14,700) or its equivalent in foreign currencies during the last six months prior to applying.


UAE launches long term visas from next month

Muscat: UAE has announced multiple long-term visas for expats starting from October 3.

New visa schemes include: five-year green visa, which distinguishes between work permits and residencies, enables highly skilled individuals, investors, entrepreneurs and top students and graduates to sponsor themselves.

The green visa also involves: - sponsorship of young people until the age of 25 instead of 18 and extending the grace period for leaving the country upon job loss or retirement to 90-180 days instead of 30.

Visa reforms include a significantly expanded Golden Visa scheme, a five-year green residency and new entry permits, including one for job seekers. The new system also offers additional benefits to sponsor family members.

The new system is on trial now, and will be implemented from October 3.


These nationalities don't require visa to enter UAE

The UAE digital government published a list of nationalities that do not need a visa or entry permit to enter the UAE, nationalities that can obtain an entry visa upon their arrival, and nationalities that need a prior entry permit before coming to the UAE.

The government indicated that the lists of countries whose citizens are eligible to obtain a visa on arrival may change from time to time.

"Citizens of the GCC countries do not need an entry visa or sponsor to visit the UAE, as they can enter the country by presenting a passport issued by one of the GCC countries, or an identity card, upon arrival at one of the entry points." The government pointed out.

The government urged individuals abroad to check their visa status: https://www.visitdubai.com/ar/plan-your-trip/visa-information to see the list of nationalities that do not require prior arrangements for obtaining a visa to enter the UAE, where they can obtain a 30-day visa at their arrival with a 10-day extension grace period.

The link also explain the list of countries whose citizens do not have to make prior arrangements to obtain a UAE visa, and who can obtain a 90-day visa upon arrival at the country.

The government added that citizens of the Republic of India holding an ordinary passport valid for at least 6 months and have a visit visa or permanent resident card issued by the USA or a residence visa in the United Kingdom and European Union countries valid for a period of not less than six months, can obtain entry visa upon arrival for stay in the country for a period of not more than 14 days.

During that time, they can apply to extend their stay for an additional 14 days.

"UAE law prohibits visitors and tourists from working on a visitor or tourist visa, whether for wages or without, as in this case they are subject to be fined and deported.

Companies that employ visitors who have a tourist or visitor visa are also subject to accountability and a fine, the Government added.

According to the UAE Labour Law, and the residency laws in the country, a person can only work there after obtaining a work permit or visa from the concerned authority.


What you need to know about Saudi Arabia's new visa rules

Saudi Arabia has updated its entry rules to make the country more accessible to visitors.

A new decree signed by the country's Minister of Tourism allows GCC residents to apply for e-visas through the dedicated online portal, www.visitsaudi.com/visa, and makes it easier for travellers from the UK, the US and the EU to enter the kingdom.

"Tourism bridges cultures and connects communities, it provides opportunities and uplifts neighbourhoods, and I am proud to lead the ministry as we build this future together," said Ahmed Al Khateeb, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Tourism.

New entry rules for GCC travellers In order to be eligible for an e-visa, visitors must have a residence visa issued by a GCC country with validity of at least three months, and a passport that is valid for more than six months. Applicants must also be employed in specific occupations, which are listed on the portal.

Single-entry visas are valid for three months and multiple-entry visas last for one year. The single-entry option allows travellers to stay in Saudi Arabia for a maximum of one month, while there is a 90-day length of stay for multiple-entry visas. Applicants cannot specify which option they want - this will be decided on a case by case basis by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This e-visa allows holders to perform Umrah outside of Hajj season, as declared by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. Pilgrims hoping to perform Hajj will still need to apply for special visas through their nearest Saudi embassy or consulate.

For children under the age of 18, parents are required to apply for their e-visa first and then reapply for minors. The cost per application is 300 Saudi riyals ($80), plus the cost of valid health insurance.

Other countries eligible for eVisas

New Zealand
South Korea

Rules for US, UK and EU travellers As part of Saudi Arabia's new entry rules, residents of the US, the UK and the EU can apply for a visa on arrival. Applicants must hold a permanent residence permit from the US, the UK or an EU country, and a passport that is valid for more than six months. Visas will be granted on arrival at all of Saudi Arabia's air, sea and land ports.

The cost per application is 300 Saudi riyals, plus the cost of valid health insurance. Again, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will decide on a case by case basis whether to grant single or multiple-entry visas. Validity and duration of stay is the same as for GCC visitors.

Holders of US, UK or Schengen visas, whether for business or tourist purposes, can also enter Saudi Arabia without needing to apply in advance, as long as the visa has already been used at least once and has an entry stamp from the issuing country.

As with GCC visitors, this visa allows holders to perform Umrah outside of Hajj season.

Visas issued by embassies All other nationalities must acquire their visa through their nearest Saudi embassy. In order to apply, potential visitors must supply proof of accommodation, a return ticket, proof of employment, a flight itinerary, complete personal information, including a home address and a bank statement as proof of financial solvency.


Saudi Arabia introduces new educational visas

JEDDAH - The Council of Ministers announced the creation of long-term and short-term educational visas.

This decision was taken by the weekly session of the Council of Ministers, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, on Tuesday.

The new long-term visa will be granted to students, researchers, and experts, for the purposes of academic study, and research visit.

While the short-term visa will be granted to students, researchers, and visiting trainees, for the purposes of language study, training, participation in short programs and student exchange programs.

The council's decision said that the educational visa holder is excluded from the requirement related to providing a sponsor.

At the outset of the session, the Cabinet was briefed on the contents of the recent talks and consultations covering the current developments at the international arena that took place between Saudi Arabia and a number of fraternal and friendly countries' leaders and their representatives.

In this context, the Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom's support for the good offices aimed at finding a political solution that would lead to an end to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, and to continue contributing at the humanitarian level to alleviating its impacts.

The Cabinet expressed thanks to the governments of Russia and Ukraine for their cooperation and response to the mediation of Crown Prince in releasing prisoners of different nationalities, as part of his efforts to adopt humanitarian initiatives.

The Cabinet also addressed the results of the Kingdom's participation in the 77th session of the UN General Assembly and the bilateral and multilateral meetings held on the sidelines of its activities.

The Kingdom highlighted its emphasis on continuing to support joint action and strengthening international cooperation to meet the challenges the world faces, and initiating everything that contributes to achieving a more peaceful and just world, and a promising future for the peoples and next generations.

In his statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the meeting, Acting Minister of Media Dr. Majid Bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi said that the Cabinet reviewed the overall situations and its courses in the region, stressing the contents of the statement issued by the International Quartet on Yemen.

It also highlighted the Quartet's condemnation of the military reinforcements of Houthi militia and its attacks inside Yemen, which threatened to disrupt the truce, and the affirmation of full support for the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy to extend and expand the truce.

The Cabinet pointed out to the Kingdom's confirmation - during the general debate of the 51st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva - on the importance of promoting a culture of dialogue, cooperation, tolerance and respect for noble values and other cultures, considering their diversity as a key to achieving prosperity and sustainable development for all peoples of the world.

On domestic affairs, the Cabinet commended the attention paid by the State to the programs and strategies based on the Kingdom's Vision, especially with regard to the housing needs of citizens and the quality of services being provided to them including continuing to work on facilitating and increasing home ownership rates to reach the target of (70% by 2030).

The Cabinet praised the need to improve the quality of municipal services, enhance the urban landscape and develop infrastructure, in addition to optimizing and sustainable use of natural and water resources.

The Cabinet hailed the Kingdom's topping the G20 countries in the rate of international tourist arrivals during the first seven months of 2022, with an increase of 121% compared to the same period in 2019, according to the latest reports issued by the World Tourism Organization.

The Cabinet considers this as a continuation of the qualitative leaps in the tourism sector, which provides job opportunities for the Kingdom's citizens, and represents a cultural bridge to communicate with the world.

The Cabinet was briefed on the topics on its agenda, as well as on the conclusions reached by the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, the Council for Political and Security Affairs, the Cabinet's General Committee and the Cabinet's Bureau of Experts in this regard.

The Cabinet authorized the minister of culture, who is also chairman of the National Committee for Education, Culture and Science, to discuss and co-sign with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) a draft memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the cultural field between the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia and ALECSO.

The Cabinet authorized the minister of investment to discuss and co-sign with the Chinese side a draft memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Commerce of China on cooperation in the field of direct investment promotion.

The Cabinet authorized the minister of investment to discuss and co-sign with Hong Kong's side a draft memorandum of understanding between the government of Saudi Arabia and the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China on cooperation in the field of direct investment promotion.

The Cabinet authorized the minister of finance to discuss and co-sign with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) a draft memorandum of understanding between the Saudi government and IMF regarding the establishment of a regional office for IMF in the Kingdom, as well as supporting it in the field of capacity development.

The Cabinet authorized the minister of health to discuss and co-sign with the Moroccan side a draft memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Health of Morocco on cooperation in health fields.


Saudi: SEHA platform to accept sick leave of employees from outside Kingdom

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) has approved the Ministry of Health's SEHA platform to accept sick leave of employees from outside Saudi Arabia.

The ministry said that the platform has been developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Health to deal with sick leave reports issued from abroad.

The ministry also explained the procedures for the submission of sick leave by employees from outside the Kingdom. Accordingly, the employee must obtain the sick leave report issued by an accredited health authority from outside the Kingdom.

He then must attest it from the Saudi diplomatic mission in the respective country and then send it to his workplace in paper or electronic format. Subsequently, the employee's firm shall upload the sick leave report on the SEHA platform, and that is in accordance with the procedures and regulations contained in the regulatory framework for taking sick leave.

The firm shall complete the automated procedures by referring the leave to the General Medical Authority for its approval as well as to take the necessary follow up work before informing the employee about it.


Saudi approves duty free markets in airports and ports

Saudi Arabia's cabinet approved expanding duty-free zones at air, sea and land ports, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.

"The cabinet approved establishing duty-free shops, as needed, at air, sea and land ports. Travelers to and from Saudi Arabia will have access to these duty-free shops," SPA reported.

he decision came after the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA) proposed last year amending the rules which govern duty-free areas.

In its proposal at the time, ZATCA said that the duty-free areas were limited to departure halls at international airports in the Kingdom which in return "restricted the expansion and development of duty-free areas in the Kingdom.


302-key luxury Grand Hyatt opens in Kuwait

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the opening of its first Grand Hyatt hotel in Kuwait. A 302-room luxury property, Grand Hyatt Kuwait, is situated at 360 Mall - one of the nation's most immersive luxury, leisure and lifestyle complexes.

It is the sixth property under the Grand Hyatt brand in the Middle East and the 29th Hyatt branded hotel in the region.

Infusing regionally inspired art with modern interior design, Grand Hyatt Kuwait is the ideal destination for guests to discover the country's cultural, entertainment, and artistic offerings.

Grand Hyatt Kuwait represents a new era of progression and innovation in luxury tied to the government's Vision 2035, which aims to boost tourism through innovative and sustained investment in hospitality infrastructure, said the statement from Hyatt Hotels.

Offering business travelers, leisure guests and locals a superlative selection of world-class culinary and leisure experiences the hotel features four unique restaurants, a fitness center, a premium spa and a variety of elegant event spaces, it stated.

Speaking at the launch, Federico Mantoani, general manager at Grand Hyatt Kuwait, said: "We are thrilled to open the first Grand Hyatt hotel in Kuwait, and we look forward to welcoming guests seeking a memorable experience from this magnificent destination."

"We offer global travellers superior hospitality services against a backdrop of majestic architectural design coupled with world-class culinary, leisure and entertainment experiences under one roof; a truly distinctive proposition," he stated.

In addition to being centrally situated in the heart of the 360 Mall extension, the hotel also conveniently connects to one of the country's premier event venues, The Arena Kuwait, which features 38,750 sq ft of indoor multifunctional spaces.

Situated adjacent to the Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait, owned by the Sheikh Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah International Tennis Complex, the hotel welcomes guests to a world of entertainment in a one-of-a-kind setting, noted Mantoani.

According to him, the luxury property features 302 contemporary guestrooms and suites, including 192 Grand Rooms, 47 Grand Club Rooms, 34 Grand Club Suites with breathtaking views, 23 guestrooms and suites uniquely designed with private landscaped garden terraces, and eight Junior Suites.

"Grand Hyatt Kuwait's elegantly designed rooms feature signature wooden parquet flooring, large-scale contemporary artwork, marble in the restrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows, and thoughtfully planned dressing spaces," he explained.

A major highlight is the luxurious and expansive 2,798-sq-ft Presidential Suite, with private elevator access, that provides guests with an exclusive arrival experience. Located on the highest floor, the lavish suite offers extraordinary views of the Kuwait skyline with two bedrooms and three ultra-spacious living areas, said Mantoani.

Inspired by the country's legacy of sailing, dhow building and pearl diving, Grand Hyatt Kuwait pays homage to the country's iconic location and traditions, while presenting contemporary aesthetics to create a captivating setting for guests, he added.

Grand Hyatt Kuwait is well positioned as a culinary destination in itself, housing an eclectic array of gastronomic concepts and featuring a selection of contemporary Arabian, European and Asian-infused cuisines.

Libert, a modern brasserie rooted in classicism, but reimagined through innovation; where the food is ingeniously brought to life through culinary creativity and conveyed with a sense of fresh and spirited feminine energy.

'Stambul, a Turkish lifestyle-dining venue celebrating the famed influences of Ottoman cuisine, where classic dishes are reinterpreted and delivered spontaneously and theatrically.

"Mei Li, a fine dining Pan-Asian restaurant where the food provides the narrative for an explorative journey through the Imperial Palaces of old Beijing, serving Far Eastern recipes inspired by the most popular dishes served over centuries.

Saheel Lounge, a distinctive lobby lounge ideal for socializing in a casual yet refined setting. A tone-setting experience enriched with breathtaking works of art," explained Mantoani.

According to him, Grand Hyatt Kuwait boasts 30,000 sq ft of meeting space across eight venues, including a grand ballroom designed for weddings, conferences, grand galas and cocktail receptions, with a hosting capacity of up to 1,560 guests. A team of talented event planners and banqueting services are available to assist with every bespoke occasion, he added.

Also the new property caters to the 'wellbeing' of its customers, stated the top official.


Year-on-year increase in Kuwait rental market

In accordance with the latest issue of the Public Authority of Civil Information's Guide for Buildings and Units, total number of buildings in Kuwait at the end of June 2022 reached 213,000 buildings versus 209,700 buildings at the end of June 2021, achieving a growth rate of 1.6 percent during 12 months, which is higher than the growth rate of 1.2 percent at the end of June 2021 versus June 2020.

Buildings are divided into different units, reaching 764,100 units by the end of June 2022 compared to 752,400 units at the end of June 2021, reflecting a 1.6 percent rise. The compound growth rate for total units during the period from the end of 2011 to June 2022 scored 2.2 percent, while the compound growth rate in the number of buildings for the same period came lower at 1.4 percent. This confirms a continued trend in reducing units' areas within each building, indicating that the change in the demand pattern continued in the same manner.

Most buildings in Kuwait are used for residence and form about 68.4 percent of the total number of buildings, followed by units assigned for both housing and work, and finally those which are assigned for work only. Vacant buildings dropped during the same period as per PACI figures and reached 9.4 percent, approximately 20,000 buildings out of a total of 213,000 buildings versus 21,400 vacant buildings out of a total of 209,700 buildings at the end of June 2021 - 10.2 percent out of total building.

Meanwhile, according to a KPMG report, in order to make the property market more commercially viable, Kuwait needs to work on making its existent rental units saleable and have a proper feasibility study in place where units are prioritized for sale based on market needs and within the country's legislative framework. However, the report adds that, the actual situation of the property market in the country might indicate, that market changes may not always go in tandem with the dynamics of the regulatory system in place.

It is also a point to be noted that often a city's infrastructure planning may be a complex network of residential and commercial units, often planned in the form of mega units with heavy investments. Even then, market fluctuations and other external factors may play the final role in making a unit's sale successful in the market.

Meanwhile, according to PACI data, apartments form the majority of units and represent 46.1 percent of the total number of available units, followed by houses by 21.7 percent and shops by 19.7 percent.

Apartments and houses sector maintained its regular increase in its share between the end of 2011 until June 2022, contrary to the percentage of house-extensions which dropped. Compound annual growth rate (2011- June 2022) for shops, apartments and houses reached 3.1 percent, 2.4 percent and 1.4 percent respectively; it however decreased for house-extensions by -3.2percent. The percentage of vacant units in June 2022, according to PACI estimates, decreased to 23.9 percent compared to 25.6 percent at the end of June 2021.


New announcements for schools and nurseries

KUWAIT: The MoE has announced the opening of new schools in different areas across Kuwait. Jassem Al-Saffar, Maintenance Supervisor at the Engineering Affairs department in Farwaniya, has announced the opening of twenty schools across all levels in West Abdullah Mubarak, Farwaniya, all equipped with the latest technology in the field.

"Seven schools have been planned - one high school for boys, two nurseries, two middle school and two elementary schools, designed with advanced technological facilities including solar panels which saves 60-80 percent of electrical power consumption," he added.

"Every school has its theater, a management department and gymnasiums, along with thirty classes for elementary schools, twenty-four for middle schools and thirty for high schools including other rooms such as laboratories" he said. Meanwhile, Fahad Al-Shuraian, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Minister of Social Affairs, has made announcements about a number of regulations related to nurseries including the issuance of licenses, role of nurseries and the activities that they are allowed to do.

The executive list includes stipulations that the licensee has to follow including the cancelation or renewal of the nursery as well as the facilities that the kindergarten must have, such as building type or area it is located in. Moreover, the list also specifies rules to be followed in accepting children in the kindergarten and the formation of a supervisory role for the school and the system of supervision and inspections in the role of private kindergartens.

The regulations for nurseries include - maximum fee of KD 1,800 per child a year, maximum KD 200 monthly payment per child, license applicants must be Kuwaiti with a degree (graduate or diploma), the prohibition of male workers in managerial and supervisory positions and a minimum of Bachelor's degree for the manager of the nursery or a five-year experience in the field with an educational diploma.


Kuwait to raise fees for expat services

The Kuwaiti government has recently started revising fees on state services for Kuwaitis and expatriates in the country in a step to increase them for the foreigners, a Kuwaiti newspaper has said, citing government sources.

"There is an inclination to differentiate in charges on government services provided for citizens and expatriates depending on the type of the service," added the sources.

Kuwaiti government ministries and institutions are working on detailed lists of services and related fees as part of the revision.


Kuwait: Family/Dependent visa salary cap to be raised to KD 800

The Ministry of Interior will be issuing a decision to raise the salary ceiling for a family/dependent visa (Article 22) to KD 800. Currently, the salary ceiling is KD 500. This decision will apply to all expats who hold Visa Articles 17 and 18 (Private and Government).

To obtain a dependent/family visa expats who receive a salary of KD 800 will have to submit an original work permit or any proof. Additional income earned documents or proof will not be entertained.

The new rule of MOI is to control demographic structure in Kuwait which will only allow those family members who have high income and provide their family with a satisfactory standard of living, where their wives will not depend on to search for jobs in the market as the local market is overcrowded. This decision will cover all those who have entered Kuwait recently on Article 22 for wives and children under 16 yrs of age.


Kuwait to test expats for skills and knowledge before issuing visa

Expatriates coming to Kuwait should be 'tested' as part of plans to reform the demographic imbalance, the Director- General of the Public Authority for Manpower, Dr. Mubarak Al-Azmi, said the same will be done in cooperation with the Kuwait Society of Engineers (KSE) for related professions to ensure the applicant has good skills and knowledge about the job he is hired for before a visa is issued.

The tests by the KSE will be for new arrivals as a first stage and then will include those who want to renew their work permits inside the country.

The sources confirmed that the tests will be a condition for the renewal and issuance/renewal of work permits, and in the event of failure, the person will be given a grace period to leave the country.


Qatar scraps travel red list, mask mandate in latest Covid-19 update

Here's all you need to know about the Gulf nation's latest Covid-19 travel updates.

Following weeks of a steady decrease in Covid-19 cases, Qatar's health authorities have released a new list of updates to ease pandemic restrictions, effective Thursday.

With these modifications, the Ministry of Public Health aims to make it easier for travellers to leave and enter the country while adhering to all measures designed to stop Covid-19 from spreading among the community.

The changes come less than three months from kick-off for the much-awaited World Cup, which is expected to bring over a million visitors to Qatar for the first ever Middle East edition of the FIFA tournament.

Travel updates

Per the new decision, the red list of countries subject to quarantine for all international travellers has been removed.

This means that international travellers will not be required to quarantine upon arrival, no matter their country of departure. However, only those who test positive must quarantine for a minimum of 10 days, according to the country's protocols.

As for testing, all citizens and residents are required to take a rapid antigen test (RAT) at a medical facility that has been approved by the Ministry of Public Health within 24 hours of their arrival in Qatar.

Visitors, on the other hand, are required to present a negative PCR test obtained within 48 hours prior to arrival or a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) certificate 24 hours prior to arrival.

Authorities also said GCC nationals and residents are not required to fill out the pre-entry online registration form, but must download the Ehteraz mobile app and activate it on their phones using a local or foreign SIM card.

The rest of travellers are required to register in the pre-entry online registration system and download Ehteraz, with a few exception from some European countries.

No more masks indoors

Citizens, residents, and visitors to Qatar are no longer obliged to wear face masks in closed public spaces, with the exception of health facilities and public transportation, the country's cabinet announced on Wednesday.

However, all employees in establishments whose line of work necessitates working in confined spaces and interacting with clients are required to wear masks while on the job.


Bahrain: New multiple-entry e-visa announced with 6 month validity

A new multiple entry e-visa is introduced in Bahrain, the Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs (NPRA) of the country announced this week.

The visa will be given for training purposes, and is valid for six months, according to Bahrain News Agency (BNA). It allows its holder to stay in the Kingdom for the same period.

The visa is part of the 24 initiatives to enhance the NPRA service, led by the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. It is also in line with the directives of Interior Minister General Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, to provide high-quality services.

The NPRA said that the visa could be extended for six months. Those interested can apply through www.evisa.gov.bh for a fee of BD60.

The visa can be issued for a trainer or trainee in the government and private sectors.

Applicants must attach a letter from the concerned organisation with details about the training and a copy of a passport with a validity of more than six months, in addition to other information to be filled out in forms on the website.


Bahrainis abroad can now renew their passports within 10 days

The Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs (NPRA) announced the launch of a service of renewing the passports of citizens living abroad. The service also includes delivering the passports to them.

The service would be processed within ten working days, while it used to take more than two months.


Visa stamp on expatriate passports not mandatory in case of renewal: ROP

Muscat - Expatriates getting their visa renewed do not need to get their passports stamped with the visa, the Royal Oman Police(ROP) has said.

According to the amendment to the residence visa rule, only resident card (ID card) is enough for all visa purposes.

An ROP official told Muscat Daily, "Stamping of visa on expatriates' passport is not mandatory in the case of renewal. The traditional system of physically stamping visa on passports has been suspended. The residence card is sufficient for visa purposes.'


Morocco Extends State of Emergency Until October 31

Rabat - Morocco's government decided on Thursday to extend the country's COVID-19 state of emergency until October 31.

The state of emergency renewal came during the cabinet's weekly council, adopting a draft decree that extends the measure throughout the country.

The decision reflects the government's prevailing belief that COVID-19 is far from over despite the significant decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases.

The North African country recorded 15 COVID-19 cases today and zero deaths. Fifteen recoveries were reported today.

The country is currently home to only 114 active cases, one of the lowest numbers compared to data recorded during previous COVID waves.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020 in Morocco, the country has recorded 1,2,64,935 infections, including 16,278 deaths and 1,248,543 recoveries.

Citizens and residents who received the first two COVID vaccine doses reached 23,402,162. Morocco is now administering the third and fourth booster doses.

People who received the third booster dose reached 6,817,637 people, while people who received their fourth booster shot reached 49,526.

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