Saudi travelers boosting Dubai tourism

Updated 04 March 2014

Saudi travelers boosting Dubai tourism

Saudi tourists played a vital role in boosting the Dubai tourism sector last year. The Kingdom, which has consistently been Dubai’s primary source market, experienced a big boost with guest numbers up by 19.9 percent to 1.35 million. In 2012, Dubai received 1.13 million visitors from Saudi Arabia.
In total, Dubai’s hotels welcomed more than 11 million guests in 2013, an increase of just over one million on the 2012 numbers.
According to statistics released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Saudi Arabia (1,353,819), India (888,835), the UK (758,657), the United States (510,423), Russia (403,990), Kuwait (336,032), Germany (324,352), Oman (290,826), Iran (277,847) and China (275,675) made up the top 10 for the January-December 2013 period.
Australia (269,147), Pakistan (259,457), Egypt (207,327), France (186,438), Qatar (171,742), Philippines (135,638), Italy (132,992), Jordan (119,602), Lebanon (111,682) and the Netherlands (100,934) are the other toppers.
Guest numbers across all hotel establishments (hotels and hotel apartments) in 2013 reached 11,012,487, a 10.6 percent increase on the 9,957,161of 2012.
“The strong growth shown in hotel establishment guests in 2013 is a positive first step on our journey to 2020. Having announced the Tourism Vision for 2020 in May 2013, a 10.6 percent growth in hotel establishment guests demonstrates that we are on the track to double the 10 million tourists received in 2012 to 20 million per year by 2020 and is an affirmation of the destination’s ever increasing appeal,” says Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of DTCM.
The Australian market experienced the most growth, with numbers up by 39 percent from more than 193,000 in 2012 to more than 269,000 in 2013. China ranked 10th also continued to show a significant increase, with visitors up by 11 percent.
Revenues for hoteliers and hotel apartment operators saw significant growth with total revenues up by 16.1 percent reaching AED21.84 billion for 2013.
Total guest nights also recorded increases, up 11 percent to 41.57 million compared to 37.45 million in 2012.
Occupancy rates for hotels’ rooms and apartments increased from 78 percent to 80 percent, while the occupancy rate for hotel apartments was 82 percent, up 6.5 percent when compared to 2012.
The number of hotel rooms and apartments at the end of 2013 amounted to a total of 84,534 (611 establishments) compared to 80,414 (599 establishments) in 2012, representing an increase of over 5 percent.
In the current development pipeline for 2014-2016, there will be an additional 141 hotel establishments added to the market, including 99 hotels and 48 hotel apartments, bringing the total to 751 hotel establishments and just under 114,000 rooms.
“A 16.1 percent increase in revenues for our hoteliers is an indicator of the healthy state of the hospitality industry while an occupancy rate of 82 percent demonstrates to the hotel investment industry that Dubai is one of the world’s most attractive investment opportunities. In order to provide accommodation for our targeted visitor numbers for 2020, we estimate the need for a total of around 140,000 to 160,000 rooms and will work closely with the investment industry to make this happen,” Almarri added.


STC postpones its acquisition of Vodafone Egypt for second time

Updated 13 July 2020

STC postpones its acquisition of Vodafone Egypt for second time

  • Kingdom’s largest telecom company says it will need an additional two months to complete the deal

CAIRO: The Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the Kingdom’s largest telecom company, said that it will need an additional two months to complete a deal to purchase a 55 percent stake in Vodafone Egypt.

In January, STC was in agreement to buy the stake for $2.4 billion. In April, it extended the process for 90 days due to logistical challenges stemming from the spread of COVD-19. The company said in a statement that it would extend the period again to September for the same reason.

The Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, owns a majority stake in STC. The ownership of Vodafone Egypt is divided between 55 percent for Vodafone International, which is the target percentage of the Saudi purchase offer, 44.8 percent for Telecom Egypt, and the remaining 0.2 percent for small shareholders.

Telecom Egypt is awaiting the results of Vodafone’s evaluation of the final share price to announce its position on the deal. A Telecom Egypt official stated that the company is still awaiting STC’s position regarding the purchase of the share. If the deal is not completed, it may be presented with its rights to acquire Vodafone’s share, which would allow it to take over 99.8 percent of the company’s shares, leaving 0.2 percent for small investors.

Ashraf El-Wardany, an Egyptian communications expert, pointed out the importance of waiting until the procedures between STC and the Vodafone Group are complete. The results will determine the next steps by Telecom Egypt.

El-Wardany said that the Saudi operator must, after completing the relevant studies, submit a final binding offer at the share price and any conditions for purchase. If approved by Vodafone, it must submit the offer with the same conditions and price to Telecom Egypt, provided that the latter responds within a maximum period of 45 days to determine its position regarding the use of the right of pre-emption and the purchase, or lack thereof, of Vodafone’s share.

According to El-Wardany, there are other possible scenarios. Vodafone International may not be convinced of the offer or the conditions presented by the Saudi side and the sale may be withdrawn, or the Vodafone group may be ready to sell and has prepared another buyer for its stake in Egypt in the event of rejecting the Saudi offer. It may also it back away from the deal and continue to operate in Egypt for a few more years.

El-Wardany said that if Telecom Egypt decides not to use the right of pre-emption to acquire the remaining Vodafone shares for any reason, it will continue with its 44.8 percent stake.
It may also resort to selling all of its shares or part of it to the Saudi side or to any company that wants to acquire its stake.

“This raises the question of whether STC can acquire all of Vodafone’s shares,” El-Wardany said, adding that the coming months “will make the answer clear.”