UAE has attracted 50,000 Israeli tourists since Abraham Accord

Israel and the UAE signed an agreement to open diplomatic, trade and economic relations between the two countries. (Supplied)
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Israel and the UAE signed an agreement to open diplomatic, trade and economic relations between the two countries. (Supplied)
While citizens and residents from the UAE can not visit Israel at the moment, due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions, which require foreigners to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, the minster said she is aiming to attract 100,000 tourists a year from the UAE once restrictions are relaxed. (Supplied)
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While citizens and residents from the UAE can not visit Israel at the moment, due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions, which require foreigners to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, the minster said she is aiming to attract 100,000 tourists a year from the UAE once restrictions are relaxed. (Supplied)
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Updated 17 December 2020

UAE has attracted 50,000 Israeli tourists since Abraham Accord

Israel and the UAE signed an agreement to open diplomatic, trade and economic relations between the two countries. (Supplied)
  • Israelis will soon be able to travel to the UAE visa-free and this is likely to start from January next year

DUBAI: About 50,000 Israeli tourists have visited the UAE since the two countries signed the Abraham Accords normalization agreement on Sept. 15, the Israeli tourism minister said on Wednesday.

“We’re talking at the moment about roughly 50,000 Israelis all over the Emirates,” Israel’s Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said during a virtual press conference. “I would say that a lot of Israelis, they just went there . . . Israelis are very adventurous by nature,” she said.

Israel and the UAE signed an agreement to open diplomatic, trade and economic relations between the two countries. As part of the agreement the tourism minister said that Israelis would soon be able to travel to the UAE visa-free and this was likely to start from January next year.

While there are restrictions on foreign tourists entering Israel at the moment, due to coronavirus travel restrictions, the minster has ambitious UAE targets for the future.




Israel is aiming to attract 100,000 tourists a year from the UAE, Israel’s Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said. (Jonathan Haurstock)

“Our aim, with regards to tourists entering Israel, our hope is to get 100,000 a year from the Emirates when we will start operating,” she said.

The minister was talking during the first-ever UAE-Israel tourism forum hosted by officials from Israel’s Ministry of Tourism. The forum included more than 300 trade partners from the UAE and 100 partners from Israel.

“Tourism is key to building a lasting peace between countries, and Israel looks forward to welcoming travelers from the UAE. I am certain visitors from the Emirates and other countries will enjoy the unique blend of this new, and near, destination. Israel is where thousands of years of history meet modern-day life. It is the home of Tel Aviv and the StartUp Nation and of ancient Caesarea and the magnificent Dead Sea,” Farkash-Hacohen said in a press statement.

Many UAE airlines have already started flights to Israel. Flydubai currently operates 14 flights a week between Dubai and Tel Aviv, and Emirates and Etihad Airways are due to start direct flights in 2021. Israel’s Israir and El Al Airline currently operate flights to the UAE, and Arkia Airline will begin operations in January.


Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO
Updated 14 sec ago

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Investors in the digital health industry will see a return of up to 35 percent every year for the next decade, according to the head of a global technology firm.

Peter Ohnemus, president and CEO of Zurich-based dacadoo, talked up the rise of the sector during a discussion on investing in medical innovations at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyad.

He said that the global value of the digitial health industry for 2021 has been estimated at $26billion, but it is forecast to grow to $238.9 billion industry within seven years.

He said: “From an investment perspective going forward over the next ten years will provide a very high return. 

“The integrated digital health sector will create a 30-35 percent return every year over the next decade.”

Ohnemus said that healthcare providers needed to make it simpler for people to understand what they needed to do to stave off chronic illnesses, and the cost implications of developing such conditions. 

Another CEO, Ali Parsa from London-based Babylon Health, also flagged up the costs involved in what he dubbed the “sick caring industry”, saying: “70 percent of all expenditure goes to predictable preventable diseases.”


SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021

 SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021
Updated 1 min 13 sec ago

SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021

 SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021
  • The chairman reiterated the bank’s efforts to support Saudi’s Vision 2030 plan

The Saudi British Bank (SABB) recorded a seismic leap of 157 percent in net profit after Zakat and income tax of SR2.8 billion ($750m) for the first 9 months of 2021, compared to the loss of SR4.8 billion in the same period last year. 

“It is worth reiterating that we are in the investment phase of our newly announced five-year strategic plan, where we will be taking the necessary steps to develop the Bank into an institution fit to meet the future needs of our customers,” chairman of SABB, Lubna Olayan, said.

“We are investing considerably across the business front-to-back, to ensure that we remain relevant and can create a sustainable banking organization,” she added.  

The chairman reiterated the bank’s efforts to support Saudi’s Vision 2030 plan and unlock the opportunities brought by the economic transformation plans. 


Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction
Getty Images
Updated 17 min ago

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

RIYADH: Qatar Energy is looking to raise between $5 to $10 billion from issuing green bonds, banking sources told CNBC Arabia.

Qatar Energy is developing an environmental framework in collaboration with global investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, to move into the green bond market in conjunction with the global trend towards reducing carbon emissions, sources said.

The offering is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2022 or by the end of June 2022, sources added.

Separately, Reuters reported that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in Qatar launched a national climate change action plan aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030.

The plan also envisioned reducing "carbon intensity" of its liquefied natural gas facilities by 25 percent by the same year.

Qatar's move follows other Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia which announced its net-zero emission target by 2060 ahead of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow next week.


Qatar is the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas and aims to expand LNG production to 127 million tonnes annually by 2027. It says its gas production helps combat climate change globally because it can help the world shift from high-polluting fuels like oil and coal to renewable energies.


Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims

Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims
Updated 28 October 2021

Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims

Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims

A million cruise ship passengers will visit Saudi Arabia by 2028 according to ambitious plans set out by the managing director of the country’s Cruise Saudi company.

Fawaz Farooqui set out the goal during a session at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyad, as he also claimed 50,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created by the industry by 2035.

He also pledged that five cruise ports will operate in Saudi Arabia by 2025.

Farooqui added that plans for Cruise Saudi had been hampered by the pandemic, and said: “Our plan was to bring the first cruise passenger in 2023, but the pandemic hit and many unfortunate incidents happened to the industry.”

Farooqui’s comments came just days after Cruise Saudi became a member of the World Travel & Tourism Council as the Kingdom continues its drive to diversify its economy away from oil as per the Vision 2030 agenda.


‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice

‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice
Updated 28 October 2021

‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice

‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice

Humanity needs rules for dealing with artificial intelligence (AI) in the same way it learned to manage fire and nuclear technology, one of the sector’s up and coming voices has claimed.

Bruno Maisonnier, founder and CEO of AI firm AnotherBrain, admitted there was a danger with the new technology, but that is no different from every major discovery since the dawn of man.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyad, Maisonnier said: “There’s risk with AI as well as there are risk with every new technology, that’s part of human history 

“We brought fire and people died from fire, we brought nuclear and people died from that . 

“Each time we have the same reaction: First we fear and then we start to put the feedback and learn and put rules to get the positive out of this technology

“The same goes with AI. The question is when do we have to set these rules?

“Rules must be put but first we must allow the evolution to happen.”

Also speaking at the forum, Pascal Weinberger, CEO and co-founder of tech firm Bardeen AI, insisted that machines will never be able to fully replace humans in many environments.

“There are a lot of things that machines are better at than humans, and vice versa — especially at common sense,” he said.