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.


China flags up UAE as Silk Road mega-hub with $300m port deal

Updated 10 December 2018
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China flags up UAE as Silk Road mega-hub with $300m port deal

  • Cosco has invested an initial $300 million in CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal
  • The expansion plan foresees a capacity of 9.1 million TEU by 2023

ABU DHABI: China, the world largest trading nation, has thrown its weight behind Abu Dhabi as the Middle East hub for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in an alliance with the UAE capital’s Khalifa Port.

Cosco, the Shanghai-based, state-owned group that ranks among the biggest shipping companies in the world, has invested an initial $300 million in the CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal, the first step in an investment program that could help make it one of the biggest ports in the Arabian Gulf over the next five years. Additional investment is pledged.

The expansion plan foresees a capacity of 9.1 million TEU (20-foot equivalent units, the standard measurement in the global container industry) by 2023. Jebel Ali, just 50 km away in Dubai, is currently by far the biggest port in the region with capacity of 22.1 million TEU.

China’s BRI is a state-sponsored strategy to enhance land and sea trading infrastructure in Asia, the Middle East and Africa via multibillion-dollar investments in trading hubs across the eastern hemisphere.

The Cosco-Abu Dhabi deal was unveiled at a ceremony at the port attended by prominent UAE and Chinese leaders.

Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, said: “China and the UAE share a strong and long-standing bond across a variety of ties, including economic, cultural, and trade and investment, and a common vision of a stable and prosperous future for our peoples and the world.”

He Jianzhong, China’s deputy minister of transport, said: “(The) terminal is the latest major achievement from China and the UAE’s joint efforts to implement ‘the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road’ in the ports and shipping industry.”

The deepwater, semi-automated container terminal includes the largest container freight station in the Middle East, covering 275,000 square meters.

“The state-of-the-art facility offers facilities for full and partial bonded container shipments, the full range of container packing services, short-term warehousing for deconsolidated cargo, as well as easy connectivity with container terminals in Khalifa Port,” a joint statement said.

The terminal has a design capacity of 2.5 million TEU and will begin with a handling capacity of 1.5 million TEU, with 1,200 meters of quayside. The water depth of the terminal is 16.5 meters, allowing it to accommodate mega-vessels typically carrying in excess of 20,000 TEU.

Ning Jizhe, deputy director of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, a state planning organization, said: “This inauguration ceremony is not only a milestone in the cooperation of China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative,’ but also a good start for China and the UAE’s pragmatic cooperation in other key areas.”

Trade ties have been growing between China and the UAE since a visit by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to Beijing three years ago. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the UAE last summer.

The deal with Cosco is aimed at attracting foreign investment into the UAE via the Khalifa Industrial Zone of Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), the huge logistics and manufacturing zone that borders the port.

China’s BRI is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in history, but has been criticized by some observers for leaving the partners of Chinese companies in debt.