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.


Siemens CEO pushes plans to boost Iraqi power infrastructure

Updated 23 September 2018
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Siemens CEO pushes plans to boost Iraqi power infrastructure

FRANKFURT: Siemens said its boss Joe Kaeser met Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday to discuss a proposal by the German company to expand the Middle East nation’s power production.
The German engineering group said it was proposing a deal to add 11 gigawatt (GW) of capacity over four years, saying this would boost the country’s capacity by nearly 50 percent.
It did not give a value, but such a contract would be worth several billion euros based on previous comparable deals.
Iraq has a wide gap between electricity consumption and supply. Peak demand in the summer, when people turn on air conditioners due to high temperatures, is about 21 GW, far exceeding the 13 GW the grid is currently provides, experts say.
Kaeser said in a statement after meeting Prime Minister Al-Abadi that they had “discussed the comprehensive Siemens roadmap to build a better future for the Iraqi people.”
“In Egypt, we have done the same and successfully built up the power infrastructure in record time with the highest efficiency,” he said.
In 2015, Siemens signed an 8 billion euro ($9.4 billion) deal with Egypt to supply gas and wind power plants to add 16.4 gigawatts of capacity to the country’s power grid, marking the group’s single biggest order.
The proposal for Iraq, first pitched in February, would include cutting Iraq’s energy losses, introducing smart grids, expanding transmission grids, upgrading existing plants and adding new capacity.
The group would also help the government secure funding from international commercial banks and export credit agencies with German government support, creating thousands of jobs in Iraq.
Siemens would donate a $60 million grant for software for Iraqi universities, it said.