Singapore, Dubai and Macau to oust ­London as third most ­popular city ­destination

Duty free shops are seen at Changi airport in Singapore, in this October 20, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 07 November 2017
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Singapore, Dubai and Macau to oust ­London as third most ­popular city ­destination

LONDON: Singapore, Dubai and Macau will push London from third to sixth place in the world’s 100 most popular city destinations for global and regional airlines by 2025, Euromonitor said on Tuesday.
Singapore will replace London with 30 million trips in eight years' time, said the report. Hong Kong will remain in front with Bangkok second, Macau fourth and Dubai moving up from sixth to fifth with 26.7 million trips, ahead of London with an anticipated 25.8 million trips. Hong Kong currently boasts 25.6 million trips but by 2025 will increase that number to more than 44 million trips.
The report said that in 2017 Dubai is still by far the largest destination in the MEA region, but Saudi Arabia has three cities in the top ranking.
The Hajj is a major draw for arrivals to the country, but the Kingdom is looking to expand its appeal.
The Post-Umrah Programme, noted the report, is an initiative that allows pilgrims to convert their Umrah visas into tourist visas, allowing them to extend their stays. “Better dispersion should also come with the first high-speed train between Makkah and Medina, set to launch in 2018,” it said.


South Korea imports no Iran oil in November despite sanctions waiver

Updated 16 December 2018
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South Korea imports no Iran oil in November despite sanctions waiver

SEOUL: South Korea did not import any Iranian oil for the third straight month in November, customs data showed on Saturday, even though it has a waiver from sanctions targeting crude supplies from the Middle Eastern country.
South Korea and seven other countries were in early November granted temporary waivers from US sanctions that kicked in that month over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.
But it kept imports at zero as buyers have been in talks with Iran over new contracts, with industry sources previously saying they expected arrivals to resume in late January or February.
With no Iranian cargoes arriving for three months, South Korea’s imports of oil from the nation were down 57.9 percent at 7.15 million tons in January-November, or 157,009 barrels per day (bpd), the customs data showed. That compares to nearly 17 million tons in the same period in 2017.
South Korea is usually one of Iran’s major Asian customers. Although the exact volumes it has been allowed to import under the waiver have not been disclosed, sources with knowledge of the matter say it can buy up to 200,000 bpd, mostly condensate.
Condensate is an ultra light oil used to make fuels such as naphtha and gasoline.
But as Iranian condensate supply has been limited due to the sanctions and rising domestic demand in Iran, South Korean buyers have been looking for alternatives from places such as Qatar.
In total, South Korea imported 12.71 million tons of crude oil in November, up 1.2 percent from 12.59 million tons a year earlier, according to the data.
South Korea’s crude oil imports from January to November inched up 0.6 percent from the year before to 131.23 million tons.
Final data on November crude oil imports is due later this month from state-run Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC).