Ford embraces FII to boost smart mobility in Mideast

Ford embraces FII to boost smart mobility in Mideast
Raj Rao, CEO of Ford Smart Mobility LLC
Updated 02 November 2017

Ford embraces FII to boost smart mobility in Mideast

Ford embraces FII to boost smart mobility in Mideast

The Future Investment Initiative (FII) summit last week in Riyadh gathered together the world’s most powerful investors, business leaders, thought leaders and public officials to discuss innovations that are defining the future.
Raj Rao, CEO of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, joined a panel discussion on Building the Future — a forum that discussed ways in which global authorities can prepare for the next wave of global commerce with large scale infrastructure projects.
“I am delighted to be part of the Future of Investment Initiative conference and I am looking forward to participating in the discussion and exploring how mobility services could play a role in Saudi Arabia,” Rao said prior to the event.
“Saudi Arabia is our largest market in the GCC and the Middle East overall, and our commitment to this key market is absolute. With Saudi Vision 2030, we see a bright future for the Kingdom and we trust that the diversification of its economy will reap positive outcomes for all industries,” he added.
By 2030, the projected population of Saudi Arabia is expected to reach close to 40 million; the UAE could reach 12 million, and each of the remaining GCC countries are also expected to experience significant boosts to their populations.
According to the global consulting firm KPMG, 80 percent of auto executives expect the connectivity trend will be disruptive and 83 percent anticipate major disruptions to their business models within the next five years.
At the same time, cities are faced with the challenge of transporting people and goods more efficiently and affordably with a minimal carbon footprint. “This has created opportunities for companies like Ford to explore new ideas in smart mobility while expanding their business models to embrace these disruptive technologies,” Ford said in a statement.
“Things are developing so quickly in the Middle East. A dimension that is unique here is the rate of change to the infrastructure and all of these economies wanting to be at the forefront of technologies. They are doing a lot to make their cities intelligent. There are many smart city initiatives and a lot of infrastructure that has already been built to make cities operate more efficiently,” said Rao.


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

St. Regis Cairo: A new beacon of luxury on the Nile
Updated 27 min 44 sec ago

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 29 min 18 sec ago

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.”


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.


Amazon Payment Services partners with Zurich

Amazon Payment Services partners with Zurich
Updated 09 May 2021

Amazon Payment Services partners with Zurich

Amazon Payment Services partners with Zurich

Amazon Payment Services (APS), a payment processing services provider in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with a mission to empower businesses with simple, affordable, and trusted online payment experiences, has partnered with Zurich International Life Limited to offer digital payments for its customers in the Middle East on Zurich’s digital customer onboarding platform ZurichPro.

Zurich International Life Limited (a part of Zurich Insurance Group) is a multiline insurer providing a wide range of life, savings and investment solutions for multinational corporations, mid-sized and large companies, small businesses, and individuals in the Middle East.

Omar Soudodi, managing director of APS, said: “It is a privilege to be part of the digital transformation journey of Zurich International Life Limited, enabling them to become one of the first life insurance companies in the Middle East to launch an end-to-end digital payment and customer onboarding experience.”

Through the services provided by APS, Zurich’s customers can now digitally pay insurance premiums across all products in local currencies without incurring conversion fees with the highest levels of customer data security. 

Walter Jopp, CEO of Zurich in the Middle East, added: “Partnering with Amazon Payment Services has enabled us to provide a seamless digital payment experience for our customers that offers more payment flexibility while optimizing operating costs, ultimately benefiting the end customer. Zurich’s instant life and critical illness insurance solutions, YourLife and YourCare, can now be purchased online in a matter of minutes with absolute peace of mind.”

The digital payment integration delivers a safe and secure environment for receiving and processing customer data. APS acts as the single point of contact for managing Zurich’s digital payment needs, providing end-to-end support by interacting with various parties in a card payment ecosystem.

The new service has been available to customers in the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain since January this year.


AEC CEO extends Eid greetings to Saudi leadership

AEC CEO extends Eid greetings to Saudi leadership
Updated 09 May 2021

AEC CEO extends Eid greetings to Saudi leadership

AEC CEO extends Eid greetings to Saudi leadership

Ziad Al-Musallam, CEO of Advanced Electronics Company (AEC), a Saudi Arabian Military Industries company, extended sincere wishes in his name and on behalf of the company’s employees, to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the people of Saudi Arabia, on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr.

He prayed for the preservation of peace in all Arab and Islamic nations and for the Kingdom’s security, stability and prosperity.

Al-Musallam expressed appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s wise leadership and their extraordinary care in preserving public health and combating the novel coronavirus. He also thanked the leadership for promoting social cohesion within Saudi society, which he said is the true purpose of Eid.

Al-Musallam said that AEC strives to achieve the goals of the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030, promoting economic diversification and the non-oil economy as one of the vision’s main enablers. The company aims to provide digital solutions, intelligent platforms and technical support to upgrade the industrial sector and create new job opportunities.

The company’s leading position in electronics, technology, and industries, especially in the four primary sectors of defense and aerospace, information and communications technology, energy, and security, makes it a key player in achieving the vision’s objectives.