Hospitality sector is booming with over SR 800 bn investment

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Updated 27 February 2013
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Hospitality sector is booming with over SR 800 bn investment

The hospitality sector in the Kingdom is booming with investments surpassing SR 800 billion. The implementation of an expansion strategy and the upgrade of the sector’s projects helped achieve this. Another factor is a strong competition powered by an increased demand for high-quality services. The boom in the sector helped create many jobs for young Saudis.
The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Hospitality Committee recently approved the launch of the Kingdom’s first “Best Restaurant and Coffee Shop Award” competition 2012 as part of the chamber’s role in developing and encouraging all activities of the sector of business.
Khaled bin Fahad Al-Harthi, chairman of the Hospitality Committee, said the industry is one of the most important in the world. It saw a massive growth as a result of increased international trade activities. This and the growth of the tourism industry and the improvement of hospitality services made the committee launch the contest to create more competition among restaurants and coffee shops and as an incentive for them to provide high-quality services.
“The Saudi tourism market is in need of 974,000 jobs in various fields. The JCCI’s hospitality committee has a big role to play in that regard. It recommended the establishment of a specialist institute in coordination with the Ministry of Labor and in cooperation with an international specialist institute. It also recommended filing a request with Minister of Labor Adel Fakeih regarding the current requirements of the sector and the issuance of restaurant guide. The committee plans to issue a guide in due course. Initially, we will print 100,000 copies containing the names and addresses of all restaurants in Jeddah. The committee plans to visit Jeddah’s Technical College to discuss a way of cooperation whereby graduates benefit the sector.”
The vision of the JCCI’s Hospitality Committee is to have a hospitality sector that introduces a distinguished service reflecting on tourism and influencing the national economy positively. This would be carried out through serving the sector in a way that meets the interests of restaurants and coffee shop investors and improves the industry in general at the same time.
Al-Harthi said the committee is determined to overcome any obstruction to the sector and constantly be in touch with restaurants and coffee shops to closely recognize their problems and discuss solutions, incentives and ways to improve the level of their productivity and services.
Adnan bin Hussien Mandura, secretary-general of the JCCI, said the award would not include sums of money but a shield and a certificate. He said that 300 establishments would enter the competition’s five categories: Luxurious, convenient, popular, and fast food restaurants and coffee shops. First, second and third place winners of each category would be honored on May 27 at the Sheikh Ismael Abu Dawood Hall at the JCCI.


World Cup football fakes keep Dubai’s ‘Dolce & Karama’ traders busy

Updated 22 June 2018
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World Cup football fakes keep Dubai’s ‘Dolce & Karama’ traders busy

  • Dubai's “Dolce and Karama” is the emirate's copycat capital
  • Neymar Jr shirts are proving especially popular with local shoppers

DUBAI: Tucked away in an old residential district and far from Dubai’s glitzy air-conditioned malls, the Karama area of the city is doing a roaring trade in selling World Cup football shirts.

But if you’re looking for the genuine article, you may have come to the wrong place.

Karama is Dubai's copycat capital where the knockoff imitations of the world's most famous fashion brands are sold for a fraction of the genuine price.

Known to some locals jokingly by the epithet “Dolce and Karama,” a play on the Dolce & Gabbana Italian fashion house, this is a place where if you have to ask the price, you probably can afford it.

With three weeks to go until football’s new world champions are crowned, the world’s biggest sporting tournament is keeping the tills chiming on the street that has become notorious for selling everything from fake Luis Vuitton bags to knockoff Ray-Ban sunglasses.

However since the tournament kicked off just over a week ago, it’s been football not fashion, that has put a smile on the face of traders.

Retailing for a fraction of their high-street cost, the copycat shirts — especially those bearing the name of Brazilian superstar Neymar — are flying off the stalls less than week into the tournament, as UAE-based fans who want to don the colors of their favorite team or player, look for bargains.

Mohammad Ashraf has been trading in Dubai’s Karama Shopping Complex for 15 years.

At his store, Mina Fashion, Ashraf said the World Cup has brought a booming trade.

When asked how many shirts he would sell prior to the Fifa World Cup, he shrugged.

“Maybe one, two — maximum five a day,” he said.

But the Indian trader has quadrupled his business since last week’s kick-off.

“Now, we have been very busy,” he said. “We sell at least 20 pieces a day — maybe more,” he said.

His football shirts are a fraction of the cost of the genuine article on sale in Dubai malls where retailers are feeling the pressure from the growth of online rivals, the introduction of VAT and the strong dollar to which the UAE dirham is pegged — that is hitting tourist spending hard.

Karama football shirts sell for about 65 dirhams ($18) in adult size and 55 dirhams for children. But the real deal costs three or four times as much a few miles down the road in the Dubai Mall, the city’s biggest tourist draw.

In Karama, the football shirts of the Brazil, Argentina and Germany teams have been among the biggest sellers.

And the most popular player?

Ashraf said shirts bearing the name of Brazilian footballer Neymar da Sila Santos Junior have been flying off the shelves.

Abdulla Javid, runs Nujoom Al Maleb in the Karama shopping district — a shop selling a variety of knock-off sportswear — including World Cup shirts for men, youths and children.

“They are not real, not branded — branded ones are very expensive,” he said.

“We have shirts for Germany, for Argentina, for Portugal, for Sweden, for Brazil and for Belgium,” he said, pointing to racks of multi-colored football shirts.

Mens shirts retail for about 45 dirhams for adult sizes in his shop and 40 dirhams for youths. For young children, he sells shirts and shorts for a combined price of 30 dirhams.

The World Cup has also been a welcome boom for business.

“Before we sell maybe between five to 10 (shirts) a day,” he said. “Now, at least 20 to 30 pieces a day. It has been very busy. This time is a good time for us.”

Also at Karama Shopping Complex is Zico Sports.

Ahmed Jaber, a 53-year-old trader, said there are good deals to be found in at the shop he has worked in since the 1980s.

He sells football shirts that are both “branded” and “non-branded” — in other words the genuine article and cheaper knock-offs.

He said customers have been happy to shell out for the genuine football shirts for the adult sizes — which he sells for 379 dirhams, but for children, shoppers prefer to buy the fake football shirts, which he sells for about 30 dirhams.

The most popular shirts since the start of World Cup have been for Brazil, Argentina and France, he said, but his shops have an abundance of kit for all competing countries.

When he asked how the 2018 World Cup had been for business, he laughed.

“Not bad at all!,” he said.