Sir Tim Clark to open Virtual Arabian Travel Market 2021 today

Sir Tim Clark to open Virtual Arabian Travel Market 2021 today
Sir Tim Clark
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Updated 23 May 2021

Sir Tim Clark to open Virtual Arabian Travel Market 2021 today

Sir Tim Clark to open Virtual Arabian Travel Market 2021 today

The Middle East region’s largest travel and tourism showcase, Arabian Travel Market (ATM), continues this week from Monday to Wednesday, with the highly anticipated ATM Virtual event. During the three-day showcase, which begins on May 24, those unable to attend the in-person event this year have the opportunity to view sessions recorded from the in-person event, as well as participate in a range of webinars, live conference sessions, roundtables, speed networking events, destination briefings, as well as make new connections in one-to-one meetings.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director Middle East, ATM, said: “We are thrilled to be able to continue with ATM Virtual 2021 off the back of the hugely successful in-person event at the Dubai World Trade Centre last week. We must be able to reach a wider audience as possible as the travel and tourism sector unites to pave the way forward toward fast-paced recovery beyond COVID-19.”

Under the theme of “A new dawn for travel and tourism,” the virtual event begins with an exclusive airline industry leadership keynote interview with Emirates President Sir Tim Clark, with airline expert John Strickland from JLS Consulting. It will be followed by IATA’s director general Willie Walsh’s keynote interview, also with Strickland. It will explore the priority issues on Walsh’s agenda and seek his views on how IATA needs to drive engagement and consistency of approach to permit airlines to begin the process of recovery. 

One of the many highlights from the in-person event last week, the Saudi Arabia Tourism Summit returns virtually on Monday for an exclusive look at the future of the Kingdom’s hotel landscape. With the long-term tourism outlook more bullish than ever, hotel industry heavyweights including Accor’s CEO for Turkey, India, the Middle East and Africa, Mark Willis; Olivier Harnisch, head of hospitality, Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia; Hassan Ahdab, president of hotels operations for Dur Hospitality; and Christopher Lund, director, head of hotels, MENA region, Colliers International; will discuss the vast potential for new and innovative hospitality concepts that keep pace with this demand and fast-changing guest demographics, now and in the future.


Thailand showcases halal food offerings at LuLu festival

Thailand showcases halal food offerings at LuLu festival
Updated 20 May 2022

Thailand showcases halal food offerings at LuLu festival

Thailand showcases halal food offerings at LuLu festival

LuLu Hypermarkets across Saudi Arabia are hosting this week the “Thailand Halal Food Festival 2022,” featuring in-store promotions and online offers for more than 500 products from Thailand.

The event coincided with the visit of Don Pramudwinai, deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of Thailand, to the Kingdom from May 15-18.

The festival was inaugurated at LuLu’s outlet in Riyadh’s Atyaf Mall by the visiting minister, in the presence of Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Hypermarkets Saudi Arabia. In Jeddah, it was launched by Soradjak Puranasamriddhi, the consul general of Thailand, at the Amir Fawaz branch.

LuLu’s in-store promotion was co-organized by the Royal Thai Embassy and Team Thailand in Saudi Arabia. The event, which is running across all the hypermarket branches in Saudi Arabia from May 15-21, aims to introduce Thai products and cuisine to Saudi citizens and expatriates residing in the Kingdom.

Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, especially among those who appreciate historic architecture, pristine nature, and an abundance of flavorful food choices. As a beacon of cultural diversity, Thailand welcomes all nationalities, races, and religions from around the world. The country has a strong presence in the global halal supply chain as all Thai halal products consumed domestically and internationally are certified by the relevant national Islamic authorities.

Thailand leverages science, technology and innovation to ensure the quality and safety of its food products, reaffirming its capacity as the “Kitchen of the World” in the global food supply chain.

“Thailand is one of the food storehouses of the world and is known for its abundant agricultural produce,” said Mohammed. “Thai food is one of the trending and popular cuisines of the world and at LuLu, we work with suppliers to offer shoppers a wide variety of top-quality Thai goods. All this is being showcased at our Thai festival, which is part of a series of year-round national spotlights that add variety, dimension and excitement to the unique LuLu retail experience.”

Currently, Thailand practices the bio-circular-green economy model, which aims to utilize natural assets more efficiently with the least possible adverse impact on the environment. The key strategic areas are based on Thailand’s economic foundation and strengths namely, food and agriculture; medical and wellness; energy, material, and biochemicals; and tourism and creative economy.

Thailand plans to support innovative agricultural products and methods to enhance productivity and hopes to achieve comprehensive security in the key areas of food, health, energy, employment, and sustainable natural resources and environment. Important best practices and lessons learnt could also be exchanged with Saudi Arabia, as Thailand’s BCG model and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 are implemented respectively in the years ahead. 


With focus on wellness, Bentayga EBW arrives in KSA

With focus on wellness, Bentayga EBW arrives in KSA
Updated 18 May 2022

With focus on wellness, Bentayga EBW arrives in KSA

With focus on wellness, Bentayga EBW arrives in KSA

Bentley Saudi Arabia is bringing a new focus on wellness to its model range with the launch of the Bentayga Extended Wheelbase — a new grand touring SUV that builds on the strengths of the Bentayga to become a new luxury flagship, extending the latest product range to five models.

The Bentayga EWB is the result of a nine-figure investment by Bentley to create a new model that provides the best rear cabin experience since the British automaker’s legendary Mulsanne model, whilst retaining the Bentley hallmarks of effortless performance, exquisite handcraftsmanship, and endless personalization.

Orders will begin to be taken in June with the first deliveries arriving in February 2023, at Bentley Saudia Arabia’s showrooms in Riyadh, Alkhobar and Jeddah.

“The Bentayga EWB is our first car truly dedicated to the onboard wellness of its occupants. Every Bentley gets you to your destination feeling more relaxed than when you started your journey, and yet with the Extended Wheelbase we’ve been able to go even further thanks to the adoption of world-first wellness technology embedded within our unrivaled interior cabin design. In combination with the incredible skills of the craftspeople at our carbon-neutral factory in the UK, these advances make the Bentayga Extended Wheelbase the ultimate luxury SUV to drive or be driven in,” said Peter Smith, general manager, Bentley Saudi Arabia.

The success of the Bentayga defined and enabled the growth of the luxury SUV market since the first unveiling in 2015. Over the last seven years, the Bentayga has proved its credibility through genuine off-road capability, hybrid technology, record-breaking performance, and bespoke specifications. The Bentayga remains Bentley’s best-selling model and has become the benchmark against which other luxury SUVs are measured.

In 2021, Bentley achieved record sales of 14,659 cars, a 31 percent growth over the previous best from 2020 — and the Bentayga accounted for just over a third of this volume. Feedback from Bentley customers is that design, technology, and performance are the three most important factors on the decision to purchase, with the driving characteristics being the top priority among current owners. In a recent survey, owners also confirmed that 82 percent of them use their luxury SUVs daily, 74 percent in cities and urban environments.

The Bentayga EWB builds on the latest second-generation Bentayga, extending the wheelbase and rear cabin space by an extra 180 mm. With body-in-white changes to the underfloor, side panels, door and roof, Bentley’s design team have ensured the lines and proportions continue to exude style and presence. With a larger cabin space than any other luxury competitor, an emphasis on wellness, and the introduction of the world’s first auto climate and advanced postural adjustment rear seat, extraordinary journeys are guaranteed.

The new Bentayga has won critical acclaim for its dynamic abilities, with its performance on the road and its ride and handling universally praised.


Bupa Arabia named region’s most valuable insurance brand, again

Bupa Arabia named region’s most valuable insurance brand, again
Updated 18 May 2022

Bupa Arabia named region’s most valuable insurance brand, again

Bupa Arabia named region’s most valuable insurance brand, again

Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance has claimed the top spot as the Middle East’s most valuable insurance brand for the second year in a row, according to the latest report by Brand Finance — a leading brand valuation consultancy.

Bupa Arabia has also ranked 10th on the list of the strongest Saudi brands and 15th on the list of the most valuable Saudi brands. Moreover, Tal Nazer, CEO of Bupa Arabia, has been named among the top 20 CEOs in the Middle East.

The report estimated the annual growth in Bupa Arabia’s brand value this year by 8 percent, increasing its value to SR2.49 billion ($664 million).

Nazer said being among the most valuable brands in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East confirms the success of Bupa Arabia’s strategies and consolidates its leadership position in the field of insurance.

He said embracing digital transformation and making it the main focus of the business has facilitated and enhanced its customer service and has contributed to significantly boosting productivity.

Nazer referred to the digital services provided by the company through its mobile application, which offers a set of unprecedented and comprehensive services that transcend regular health care coverage. These services include home vaccination for children, telemedicine and others. Moreover, Bupa Arabia’s Rahatkom program makes the customers’ hospital experience easier and less stressful.

“Bupa Arabia provides outstanding healthcare services to millions of its customers, in line with the objectives of Vision 2030 to improve the quality and efficiency of health care services, as well as the strategic objectives of Bupa Arabia,” the CEO said.

Nazer also attributed the company’s advancing position in Brand Finance rankings to the commitment and efforts exerted by the “Bupa Arabia family,” which include more than 1,800 employees who work day and night across the Kingdom to provide services to customers.

Brand Finance’s annual report for 2022 released in March, listing the most valuable and strongest brands in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. Every year, the London-headquartered Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes nearly 100 reports that rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Founded in 1996 and with offices in more than 20 countries, the consultancy is known for its highly professional approach to marketing accountability and brand evaluation.


stc becomes first telecom company to join Digital Cooperation Organization

stc becomes first telecom company to join Digital Cooperation Organization
Updated 18 May 2022

stc becomes first telecom company to join Digital Cooperation Organization

stc becomes first telecom company to join Digital Cooperation Organization

The Digital Cooperation Organization has announced stc as an official DCO observer, making the Saudi telecom giant the first telecommunications company to join the DCO. The announcement headlined the inaugural Mobile 360 Riyadh event, which also featured a groundbreaking MoU between global telecommunications body, the GSM Association, and the DCO.

The stc observer status and the GSMA MoU was announced on World Telecommunications Day, marked globally on May 17.

The partnerships will focus on expanding access to telecommunications technologies and upskilling youth and entrepreneurs so that they can prosper in the digital economy.

The DCO is a global multilateral organization established to enable digital prosperity for all, with a focus on digital economy initiatives supporting youth, entrepreneurs and women. The DCO has rapidly expanded to now represent more than 600 million people across nine member state countries.

stc, a leading digital champion across the region and key enabler of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, will support entrepreneurs, young people and women to connect the internet and digital economy through the partnership, including by providing insights across DCO member states.

DCO Secretary-General Deemah Al-Yahya said: “Our telecommunications industry is a driving force of the global digital economy, providing the means for people to connect, learn and thrive online. The DCO is leading the way in connecting telecommunications organizations and leaders to forge the solutions of tomorrow for our youth, women, and entrepreneurs. On World Telecommunications Day, it is fitting that we join forces with stc, a world-leading telecommunications organization, and with the global telecommunications association GSMA. We look forward to working with both organizations to create digital prosperity for all.”

stc Group CEO Olayan Mohammed Alwetaid said: “At stc, we are always seeking to establish new ways to bridge the digital divide for all our users, and we are proud to be an official observer of the Digital Cooperation Organization. The DCO and its member states have made significant strides in raising awareness for the inclusive growth of the digital economy, and will provide a global platform for stc to further connect hearts and minds to the digital economy.”

Commenting on the MoU, GSMA Director General Mats Granryd said: “The GSMA is a global organization unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. Our partnership with the DCO reflects the power of both organizations to enable and empower people through digital and telecommunications technologies. We look forward to creating a significant impact with the DCO and further supporting DCO member states.”


Saudi Arabian Airlines & American Express extend partnership

Saudi Arabian Airlines & American Express extend partnership
Updated 17 May 2022

Saudi Arabian Airlines & American Express extend partnership

Saudi Arabian Airlines & American Express extend partnership

Saudi Arabian Airlines, the Kingdom’s national flag carrier, and American Express Saudi Arabia, have further strengthened their partnership by introducing the possibility for all American Express Saudi Arabia Cardmembers to transfer two Membership Rewards points for one Al- Fursan mile.

The announcement comes as an extension of the ongoing successful partnership between the two parties through the existing Al-Fursan American Express co-branded credit card that allows American Express Saudi Arabia Cardmembers to earn miles directly using the card.

Present to mark the occasion during a signing ceremony at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, were Saudia’s Vice President of Marketing and Product Management Essam Akhonbay and American Express Saudi Arabia Chief Marketing Officer Khalid Mohammad Kayal.

Commenting on the expanded partnership, Akhonbay said: “Saudia is proud to be building on the successful, long-standing partnership with American Express Saudi Arabia. Jointly, we are committed to providing members with additional convenience to maximize earned benefits and build travel journeys with flexibility in mind.”

Kayal added: “Consolidating our strategic partnership with Saudia for the benefit of our cardmembers is an important priority. The relationship with Saudia started with the successful Al-Fursan American Express co-brand credit card, and through signing our new agreement, all American Express Saudi Arabia Cardmembers will be able to access the benefit of our strategic partnership and redeem their Memberships Rewards points toward Al-Fursan miles.”

Saudia’s vast network of flights connects to more than 95 destinations across four continents. The airline recently announced the addition of 10 new international routes: Bangkok, Thailand; Barcelona and Malaga, Spain; Marrakech, Morocco; Mykonos, Greece; Moscow, Russia; Beijing, China; Seoul, South Korea; Entebbe, Uganda; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Chicago and Illinois, the US. The airline provides a full suite of online services through www.saudia.com and its mobile app, enabling guests to book and manage their flights conveniently and easily.