Dammam, Jeddah, Alkhobar and Riyadh becoming ‘more affordable’ cities

Four Saudi Arabian cities improved their rankings in Numbeo’s mid-year assessment of Cost of Living Index. (Reuters)
Updated 04 July 2017
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Dammam, Jeddah, Alkhobar and Riyadh becoming ‘more affordable’ cities

JEDDAH: Four cities in Saudi Arabia – Dammam, Jeddah, Alkhobar and Riyadh – have become ‘more affordable’ this year, according to online database site Numbeo.
In its mid-year cost of living of assessment of 511 cities, the website ranked Dammam 344th in the list; Jeddah at 347th; Alkhobar at 353rd and Riyadh at 361st, respectively. Earlier this year, Dammam was ranked at 211th; Jeddah at 330rd; Alkhobar at 345th and Riyadh at 347th.
The higher a city’s ranking in the website’s Cost of Living Index – which excludes rent – indicates more affordability in terms of consumer good prices, including groceries, restaurants, transportation and utilities.
The index uses New York City as a bellwether for the rankings, which means if a city has a Cost of Living Index of 120, it is estimated to be 20 percent more expensive than New York, excluding the rent.
On the other hand, a city with a Cost of Living Index of 70 means it is 30 per cent cheaper to live in New York, discounting rentals.
Eight Indian cities were among the cheapest places to live, with Thiruvananthapuram taking the 511th spot; Mangalore at 510th; Coimbatore at 508th; Bhubaneswar at 507th; Kochi at 506th; Visakhapatnam at 505th; Mysore at 503rd and Hyderabad at 502nd.
Two Egyptian cities Alexandria (at 509th) and Cairo (at 504th) were also in the top ten affordable cities to live.
On the other side of the spectrum, Zurich in Switzerland was ranked as the world’s most expensive city, followed by Hamilton in Bermuda, and Zug in Switzerland.
The Alpine country’s reputation as a hotspot only for the world’s richest was cemented with six other Swiss cities closely lumped as least affordable addresses to live in: Geneva at 4th; Basel at 5th; Bern at 6th; Lausanne at 7th and Lugano at 9th. Two other European cities rounded the list with Reykjavik in Iceland claiming the eighth spot and Stavanger in Norway closing the top ten list.


Food trucks serve in holy places for first time

Updated 18 min 13 sec ago
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Food trucks serve in holy places for first time

  • About 45 food trucks were given permit to roam the holy places to offer food, drinks and desserts to pilgrims
  • Only Saudi citizens are allowed to work in these food trucks

 

MINA: Food trucks run by Saudi men and women have begun for the first time to serve food and drinks in the holy places.

This was after Deputy Makkah Gov. Prince Abdullah bin Bandar directed the Secretariat of the Holy Capital to allow local entrepreneurs to provide their services inside the holy places during the current Hajj season.

Unlike the old fixed food stalls, about 45 food trucks have begun roaming the holy places to offer food, drinks and desserts to pilgrims. They also serve ice cream to help people cope with the heat, as well as different kinds of sandwiches.

The Secretariat of the Holy Capital confirmed that all food trucks in Arafat comply with health requirements, with every food truck manager carrying health certificates that allow them to carry out their activities.

The Secretariat highlighted that only Saudi citizens are allowed to work in these food trucks.

Afaf Abdul Aziz, one of the women serving hot drinks, said that she was pleased that the governor of Makkah had allowed women to work in the holy places.

She added: “The job is hard but truly fun. I wanted to prove that Saudi women can work in all occupations and contribute to serving pilgrims.”

She said that most of her customers were Saudis or from Arabian Gulf countries, most of whom worked in providing Hajj services.

“I have seen many Saudi women working in hospitals, health care centers, and Tawafa establishments, which makes me content,” she said.

Arif Obaid said that he worked in a food truck and served hot drinks, especially coffee, highlighting that many security men visited his truck for all kinds of coffee, especially Arabic coffee, which is in high demand. “Most of our goods go to charity work targeting pilgrims,” he said.

The Secretariat of the Holy Capital has announced accepting applications from Saudi men and women who wish to practice this activity in the holy places during the current Hajj season according to a set of standards and controls. 

The most important of these is ensuring the safety of nourishments served to pilgrims and that the applicant has a health certificate proving that she/he is free of contagious or infectious diseases.