Top 10 findings of 8th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2016

Top 10 findings of 8th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2016
Updated 12 April 2016

Top 10 findings of 8th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2016

Top 10 findings of 8th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2016
Top 10 findings of the 8th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2016:
 
1. An overwhelming majority of young Arabs reject Daesh (ISIS) and believe the group will fail to establish an Islamic state
While three in four Arab youth are concerned about the rise of Daesh, just one in six believes the terrorist group will ultimately succeed. Though concern is rising — with 50 percent of youth citing it as the biggest obstacle in the region, up from 37 percent last year — tacit support for the group is declining with just 13 percent agreeing they could see themselves supporting Daesh even if it did not use so much violence, compared with 19 percent in 2015.
 
2. Lack of jobs and opportunities is seen as the number one recruitment driver for Daesh 
A quarter (24 percent) of Arab youth believe that lack of jobs and opportunities for young people is one of the primary reasons why some are attracted to Daesh while one in four (25 percent) do not understand why anyone would want to join the militant group. Other reasons as to why some young people are attracted to Daesh include religious differences (18 percent), religious tensions between Sunnis and Shias (17 percent) and the rise of secular Western values in the region (15 percent). 
 
3. Young Arabs believe Sunni-Shia relations are deteriorating and that religion plays too big of a role in the Middle East
Nearly half (47 percent) of young Arabs believe that relations between the two sects have worsened in the last five years. Over half of young Arabs (52 percent) agree that religion plays too big of a role in the Middle East — a notion that extends across the Arab world, with 61 percent of youth in the GCC, 44 percent in the Levant & Yemen and 47 percent in North Africa agreeing. 
 
4. Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the US are seen as top allies in the region

When asked to think about their country’s biggest ally, Arab youth cite Saudi Arabia (31 percent) for the fifth year running, followed by the UAE (28 percent), and the United States (25 percent). One of the biggest developments in regional relations since 2015 has been the rise of Iran, which has risen to the top 10 allies for the first time in the Arab Youth Survey, with 13 percent naming the country an ally. 
 
5. Young Arabs are divided on the Iranian nuclear deal and the Syrian conflict
While 45 percent of young Arabs support the Iranian nuclear deal, 39 percent oppose it. There are also sharp differences as to whether the Syrian conflict is a proxy war, a revolution or a civil war. Overall, a plurality (39 percent) of Arab youth view the conflict in Syria as a proxy war fought by regional and global powers, while 29 percent view it a revolution against the Bashar Assad regime and 22 percent believe it is a civil war among Syrians. 
 
6. Five years after fighting for political freedom during the Arab Spring, today most young Arabs prioritize stability over democracy 
Optimism that the region would be better off in the wake of the Arab Spring has been steadily declining over the last five years. In 2016, just 36 percent of young Arabs feel that the Arab world is better off following the uprisings, down from 72 percent in 2012, at the height of unrest. The majority of young Arabs (53 percent) agree that promoting stability in the region is more important than promoting democracy (28 percent). 
 
7. Arab Youth want their leaders to do more to improve the personal freedom and human rights of citizens, particularly women

Two-third of young Arabs (67 percent) want their leaders to do more to improve their personal freedoms and human rights. That belief extends across the region — 74 percent agree in the GCC countries, 57 percent in the Levant & Yemen, and 68 percent in North Africa. The number is the same (67 percent) when looking specifically at female freedom and rights. 
 
8. The UAE is viewed as a model country that is economically secure, and is the most favored nation to live in and set up a business. 

Nearly one in four young Arabs (22 percent) cite the UAE as the country they would most like to live in and just as many say it is the nation they would most like their country to emulate (23 percent). The UAE also ranked as the most preferred country for potential entrepreneurs to set up a business in, with one in four (24 percent) citing it as the top business destination in the Arab world, followed by Saudi Arabia (18 percent) and Qatar (13 percent). 
 
9. Arab Youth are increasingly concerned about falling oil prices, but most still believe they are entitled to subsidised energy
Two in three young Arabs (66 percent) say they are concerned about falling energy prices, up from 52 percent in 2015. Nearly four in five Arab youth (78 percent) still believe they are entitled to subsidised energy costs, and, if their government were to stop subsidising energy, nearly half (49 percent) believe the subsidies should be stopped only for expats 
 
10. More young Arabs get their daily news online than from TV or print media
While 32 percent say they get their daily news online, 29 percent say they watch TV news and just 7 percent read newspapers daily (down from 13 percent in 2015. The growing role of social media as a news platform is also apparent, with 52 percent saying they use Facebook to share interesting news articles they read, up from 41 percent last year. 

St. Regis Cairo: A new beacon of luxury on the Nile

St. Regis Cairo: A new beacon of luxury on the Nile
Updated 12 May 2021

St. Regis Cairo: A new beacon of luxury on the Nile

St. Regis Cairo: A new beacon of luxury on the Nile

St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, part of Marriott International, has announced the highly-anticipated opening of The St. Regis Cairo. Rising tall on the banks of the River Nile, The St. Regis Cairo is an icon weaving a powerful story of luxury in the region. Located at the north end of the corniche, in the heart of Egypt’s bustling metropolis, the 39-storey hotel offers easy access to the magnificent monuments of a city steeped in history.

To celebrate the opening, The St. Regis Cairo hosted a special ceremony, which was attended by Ali Shareef Al-Emadi, minister of finance for Qatar; Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Thani, chairman of Qatari Diar; Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, CEO of Qatari Diar; Steven Mnuchin, former US secretary of the treasury; Dr. Mohamed Maait, minister of finance for Egypt; Satya Anand, president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, and other VIP guests.

“Egypt has historically been one of our key markets and strategically significant to our growth in the region,” said Anand. “Cairo is a storied destination that has long mesmerized the global traveler with its incredible energy offering a vibrant mix of history, culture, tradition and glamor. The St. Regis Cairo is an exciting addition to our fast-growing brand portfolio and is set to elevate Cairo’s luxury hospitality landscape with its remarkable design, uncompromising service and exceptional culinary venues.”

Al-Attiyah said: “We are delighted to strengthen our global portfolio of hospitality developments with the opening of The St. Regis Cairo. This luxury landmark will introduce higher standards of hospitality to this beautiful destination with its unparalleled levels of luxury and exceptional service — both of which the iconic St. Regis brand is renowned for.”

With its striking architecture, created by renowned architect Michael Graves, The St. Regis Cairo firmly establishes itself as a pivotal landmark in the city and beyond.

Graceful geometric lines flow throughout the interiors, creating a repeated structural motif that quietly references the heritage of the region. Dark wood and rich textures combine with intricate embroidery, bejeweled paneling, bronze and wood carvings embellished with flashes of shimmering gold, mother of pearl inlays and imposing crystal chandeliers creating a dramatic Egyptian aesthetic with modern execution. A mural entitled “The Pink Sun” graces The St. Regis Bar. Staunchly modern in its execution, the mural references ancient Egypt and the birth of a modern civilization. 

The St. Regis Cairo boasts of 286 lavishly appointed rooms and suites and 80 luxurious apartments. Three expansive royal suites define opulence, with plush interiors featuring a private fitness room, sauna and floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic Nile views. 

The hotel offers a diverse selection of restaurants and lounges. La Zisa is a modern and relaxed dining space that offers authentic southern Italian cuisine where guests can enjoy their dining experience overlooking views of the Nile. Tianma takes guests on a journey to Singapore and is a melting pot of flavors from China, India and Southeast Asia. 

The J and G Steakhouse offers a sophisticated collection of steakhouse favorites, premium meat cuts and fish sourced from around the world. The poolside restaurant, Sirocco, is the ideal place to enjoy a cocktail with a selection of Mediterranean and Egyptian dishes. For urban and chic lounge lovers, Envy is an enchanting and glamorous venue with bejeweled décor for a special night out.


Travel tech giants to stage comeback at ATM in Dubai

Travel tech giants to stage comeback at ATM in Dubai
Updated 12 May 2021

Travel tech giants to stage comeback at ATM in Dubai

Travel tech giants to stage comeback at ATM in Dubai

Travel Forward, a global event for travel technology, has revealed an impressive lineup of big name brands to present live on stage as a part of sister event Arabian Travel Market (ATM).

This year’s ATM is a hybrid event. Travel Forward is part of the in-person event taking place at Dubai World Trade Center from May 16-19, co-located with ATM Dubai. 

ATM Virtual will take place from May 24-26 and all sessions from the in-person event will be available to view during the virtual event.

In collaboration with the travel tech powerhouse Amadeus, Travel Forward Theatre will welcome Amadeus’s senior vice president of retail for Middle East and Africa, Jamel Chandoul, who will discuss how collaboration can help to rebuild the travel industry using technology to offer travelers a smoother and safer travel experience. The session looks at travelers’ top concerns including health apps. It takes place on May 17.

The four-day event kicks-off on May 16 with a two-part session featuring Gavin Harris from travel marketplace Skyscanner and Kathryn Wallington from next-generation global distribution platform Travelport. 

Later that day, David Debeule, director of Expedia Group’s accommodation team in the Middle East and Africa, will talk not only about the insights that can be gleaned from listening to the global travel ecosystem but also how these insights can be converted into real-world action plans.

Elsewhere, an hour-long expert panel will outline “The Path Forward for Destination Marketing Organizations.” It will be led by Hans Clement from the Dubai office of Boston Consulting Group and Iva Kutle Skrlec, a destination marketing expert from Google. They will share the findings from an extensive collaborative research project, giving attendees practical advice and takeaways on how to position their destination for the return of travelers. 

Hotels are also represented across the three-day event. Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, president for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey operations of Hilton, is part of a hospitality panel talking about how data and technology can support personalized trips and memorable experiences. 

Simon Press, exhibition director at Travel Forward, said: “The lineup we’ve assembled for Travel Forward at ATM Dubai proves that senior execs from across the travel tech ecosystem are willing to travel and share their insights and expertise on how best to approach the first wave of post-pandemic travelers.”

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Travel technology is integral to our hybrid format this year. With expert insight, it will be fascinating to find out just what the ‘new normal’ will look like, the role technology will play and how industry players and consumers will adapt.”


AUS launches ‘iLead’ career preparation program

AUS launches ‘iLead’ career preparation program
Updated 12 May 2021

AUS launches ‘iLead’ career preparation program

AUS launches ‘iLead’ career preparation program

Students in the School of Business Administration (SBA) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) can now further explore their career options and connect their academic studies with their professional goals and personal growth through the newly established iLead program, which launched this semester. 

A comprehensive development and career preparation program, iLead is a pioneer program in the region benchmarked against leading US universities. It will guide students to make the most of their years at SBA and prepare them for joining the workforce. 

“iLead gives our students an early start and a broader understanding of personal growth, career exploration, and the tools to perform job searches, as well as an updated view of the workplace skills required. We use internationally recognized tools that are well-known to recruiters. Participants will also be given the choice to take personal strengths and career path finder assessments, such as the Gallup Strengths Finder for Students. They will go through a three-stage program beginning with the Early Start phase that targets first- and second-year students, the Career Launch phase targeting second- and third-year students, and the Young Leader phase targeting fourth-year students,” said Eleni Papailia, senior manager of internships and placement at SBA. 

The free, no-credit and voluntary course is delivered through a combination of self-paced learning as well as group activities, and has students take personal strengths assessments, work on case studies and presentations, and attend workshops. iLead participants will be given a LinkedIn endorsement and a certificate upon the completion of the program. 

“Throughout the program, students will become familiar with competencies that will help them meet their early career goals. In essence, iLead contributes to our students’ readiness for professional life, personal leadership and good citizenship,” said Dr. Saad Mohsen, professor in finance and associate dean for undergraduate programs at SBA. 

SBA students welcomed the news about the iLead program. Varun Nagaraj, a second-year accounting student, said: “Having a structured career path and a preparation program is vital to secure our dream jobs. This program is key in giving students all the tools and knowledge they require to join the workforce and perform efficiently.”

Dr. Narjess Boubakri, dean of SBA, spoke about the advantages the program presents: “I am so glad to introduce the iLead program to our students. Through iLead, we aim to promote better well-being, greater engagement and academic achievement for all our students at SBA. Our ultimate purpose is to help our students thrive during their years at SBA and to adequately prepare them for their transition to the ever-changing world of work.”


Digital gifting platform Resal buys loyalty startup

Digital gifting platform Resal buys loyalty startup
Updated 12 May 2021

Digital gifting platform Resal buys loyalty startup

Digital gifting platform Resal buys loyalty startup

Saudi digital gifting company Resal announced that it has acquired Boonus, a local fintech startup specialized in providing digital loyalty and rewards solutions and programs. The move is part of Resal’s plans to expand its services and provide the best solutions and programs for companies and individuals.

Hatem Kameli, co-founder and CEO of Resal, said: “The acquisition of Boonus is a strategic step within the plans to enhance our business in the region and develop the technical infrastructure for the digital gifts and rewards sector, as modern loyalty programs are one of the main pillars in this sector. As we are working to complete the end-to-end digital gift cards and rewards solution, I believe Boonus’ acquisition will help us to reach our goals.”

Abdul Rahman Jami, co-founder and CEO of Boonus, welcomed the acquisition, saying: “The deal opens wide horizons for Boonus to expand its business in the region based on the expertise of Resal and its customer base that has witnessed record growth numbers in a short period and is spread across more than one country in the region.”

Resal was founded as a gifting e-commerce platform by Kameli and Fouad Alfarhan in 2016. The founders raised two rounds of funding in the past and are now working with more than 400 retailers including Jarir, Amazon, Noon, and the Landmark Group in four markets (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait).

Resal, in addition to selling to individuals, also offers gifting solutions for corporate clients, such as Glee — a corporate rewards SaaS solution, as well as APIs for retailers, marketplaces and loyalty companies. The web and mobile-based e-commerce platform also sells digital gift cards for different digital and telecom brands including Careem, Amazon, Noon, Spotify, iTunes, STC, Mobily, Zain and others.

Boonus was founded in July 2020 by entrepreneurs Jami and Yahya Batash. It is a Saudi digital company specialized in providing solutions and programs for loyalty and digital rewards in an innovative way that facilitates retailers, restaurants, cafes, entertainment outlets and gift centers to have their own loyalty solutions. Boonus provides its services to more than 40 companies and has over 8,000 customers in the Kingdom.


LuLu offers great discounts & much more for Eid

LuLu offers great discounts & much more for Eid
Updated 09 May 2021

LuLu offers great discounts & much more for Eid

LuLu offers great discounts & much more for Eid

In anticipation of the Eid shopping rush among citizens and residents, regional retailer LuLu has launched a number of exclusive offers in its stores and on e-commerce platforms, including both its website and mobile app. Shoppers can benefit from great discounts, including more than 50 percent off, on a wide variety of products, from grocery to fresh food, mobile phones, fashion essentials, toys and much more. 

Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Hypermarkets Saudi Arabia, said: “This is our biggest promotion yet this year. It’s such a timely campaign coinciding with Eid, as we have seen a rising demand in shopping for grocery essentials and gadget upgrades, especially during this festive season. Shoppers can look forward to massive discounts on the majority of our product categories. Apart from extending delivery hours, we also increased our fleets to widen our reach across the Kingdom, even in the outskirt areas.” 

As the holy month is nearing its end, LuLu is all geared up with well-stocked stores and value promotions on cooking essentials that are commonly consumed during the much-awaited long weekend of feasting, as well as gifting supplies. Eid offers along with big promotions on groceries, garments and mobile phones are now available in stores.

With 209 stores operating worldwide, LuLu has always been committed to offering the highest quality products from around the world, along with a dynamic shopping experience through monthly festivals and special events.

Serving more than 1,600,000 shopping patrons every day, it is the fastest growing retail chain across 10 countries that include the GCC, India, Egypt, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Founded in the early 90s, it has successfully expanded to different parts of the world and currently operates with a staff of more than 57,000.