“World’s largest book sale” comes to Middle East at giant hangar in Dubai

A visitor reads a book at the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, which calls itself the world's biggest, hosted for the first time by Dubai, UAE October 17, 2018. Picture taken October 17, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 18 October 2018
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“World’s largest book sale” comes to Middle East at giant hangar in Dubai

  • The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, launched in Kuala Lumpur in 2009, has since regularly toured Asian cities
  • Organizers hope to attract as many as 300,000 visitors during 11 days in Dubai
DUBAI: A gargantuan touring book sale that touts itself as the world’s largest is making its first stop in the Middle East, filling a huge hangar in Dubai with stacks of 3 million discounted books, open around the clock.
The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, launched in Kuala Lumpur in 2009, has since regularly toured Asian cities including Jakarta, Manila, Cebu, Colombo, Bangkok and Taipei. Organizers hope to attract as many as 300,000 visitors during 11 days in Dubai.
Founder Andrew Yap said he expects the sheer number of books will lure in punters.
“In a mature market like Dubai, this will give variety to readers,” he told Reuters.
Roudha Al Marri, an Emirati co-author of a guide to life in the UAE whose own book was on sale at the fair, said a city such as Dubai needed such an event to help spur reading among a “tablet generation” preoccupied with screens.
“To hold a book, smell it, to return us to more beautiful days, to throw us into mazes of stories. Every generation needs this,” she said.


Tourism gateway: Israel to open new international airport near Red Sea

Updated 19 min 45 sec ago
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Tourism gateway: Israel to open new international airport near Red Sea

  • Initially Ramon Airport will handle only domestic flights, operated by Israeli carriers Arkia and Israir
  • A date has not yet been given for the start of international flights

JERUSALEM: Israel was to inaugurate a new international airport Monday in its desert south meant to boost tourism to the nearby Red Sea and serve as an emergency alternative to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport.
The official ceremony was scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in attendance.
Initially Ramon Airport will handle only domestic flights, operated by Israeli carriers Arkia and Israir.
A date has not yet been given for the start of international flights.
The new airport, named after Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut who died in the crash of the space shuttle Columbia, will in future host jumbo jets from around the globe.
Its website says that it will be able to initially handle up to two million passengers annually, but will be able to expand to a capacity of 4.2 million by 2030.
It says that it has a 3,600-meter-long runway and apron parking space for nine “large and wide-body aircraft.”
It also has freight-handling facilities.
Ramon is about 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat and the adjacent Jordanian port of Aqaba.
Low-cost and charter airlines currently flying to Ovda airport, about 60 kilometers from Eilat, will move to Ramon, its website says.
They include Ryanair, Wizz Air, easyJet, SAS, Finnair and Ural Airlines.
It will also replace Eilat’s small municipal airfield, where for decades arriving aircraft have swooped past hotel towers.
Construction costs for the new airport have been put at 1.7 billion shekels ($455 million).
Work began in 2013 but original specifications for the project were revised to allow for upgrades.
The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) has said that the plans for the Ramon project were revised in light of lessons learned during the 2014 Gaza war.
“In an emergency, not only will Israel’s entire passenger air fleet be able to land and park there, but also additional aircraft,” the IAA says.
After a rocket fired by Hamas militants in Gaza hit near the perimeter of Ben Gurion airport in 2014, international carriers suspended flights.
Israeli media have said that a 26-meter high, 4.5-kilometer long “smart” anti-missile fence has been installed to help protect Ramon, which is adjacent to the border with Jordan.
The IAA refused to comment on those reports.
Tourism brings in significant revenue for Israel, accounting for $5.8 billion in 2017, the last full year for which figures are available.
Arrivals to the country of more than eight million citizens hit a record 3.6 million last year, the Israeli tourism ministry said.
The United States, Russia, France, Germany and Britain accounted for most of the visitors.