Oman seeks Saudi maritime link

Oman seeks Saudi maritime link
Sultanate of Oman, Muscat, the corniche of Muttrah, the old town of Muscat, waterfront building (Getty)
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Updated 02 November 2021

Oman seeks Saudi maritime link

Oman seeks Saudi maritime link

Oman’s Minister of Economy, Saeed bin Muhammad Al-Saqri, has called for speeding up the activation of the maritime link between Saudi Arabia and Oman.

This would involve transferring the region’s oil and gas exports to the Arabian Sea through the Sultanate of Oman, without passing through the Strait of Hormuz, he said in an interview with AlSharq Al-Awsat. 

He added that both countries are seeking to increase the volume of trade and investment exchange through joint strategic projects, as well as increasing investment opportunities and offering more joint projects and mutual investments in various sectors.

Al-Saqri confirmed that economic cooperation between both countries has increased.

The establishment of the Saudi-Omani Coordination Council last July, stems from the common denominators between Oman Vision 2040 and Saudi’s Vision 2030. 


Qatar Airways and British Airways form joint business to add 42 new countries 

Qatar Airways and British Airways form joint business to add 42 new countries 
Updated 16 sec ago

Qatar Airways and British Airways form joint business to add 42 new countries 

Qatar Airways and British Airways form joint business to add 42 new countries 

RIYADH: In the largest joint partnership of its kind, Gulf carrier Qatar Airways and European airline British Airways have joined hands to offer an expansive network of international flights to their customers.   

The partnership will see both the airlines adding 42 new countries to their shared network, which includes Italy, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, and the Maldives, spreading across Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and the Middle East.

“This is a huge milestone in our long-standing relationship with Qatar Airways, an airline that shares our passion for customer service, choice and flexibility,” said Sean Doyle, chairman and CEO of British Airways.

With the joint business coming into effect, the airlines will now offer customers a network spanning over 185 destinations across more than 60 countries.

The customers of Qatar Airways and British Airways will also have a wider range of prices, schedules, and loyalty programs, as well as more options of direct and connecting flights through London and Doha, according to a press release.

The other benefits include having the freedom to engage with both airlines’ loyalty programs, and earning and spending Avios, their common currency. They will also be able to transfer and combine balances and claim premiums from both the Qatar Airways Privilege Club and the British Airways Executive Club, the release added. 

The airlines said this is all part of their plan to “move further together” by enhancing the joint network and providing passengers with the best of both airlines.

“The growing collaboration between Qatar Airways and British Airways shows our customers our common goal to offer an unparalleled network with unique benefits. Travelers can now experience the best in quality and service as they travel across our joint network,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker.


NEOM’s tech unit rebrands amid plans to emerge as cognitive multinational conglomerate

NEOM’s tech unit rebrands amid plans to emerge as cognitive multinational conglomerate
Updated 8 min 5 sec ago

NEOM’s tech unit rebrands amid plans to emerge as cognitive multinational conglomerate

NEOM’s tech unit rebrands amid plans to emerge as cognitive multinational conglomerate

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s NEOM Tech & Digital Co. has rebranded as Tonomus, signaling the next stage in its growth plans.

The rebranding focuses on Tonomus’s role as a cognitive multinational company in a bid to enable NEOM to fuel Saudi Arabia’s economic growth and diversification, according to a statement. 

Tonomous, headquartered at NEOM, is building the cognitive foundation and adopting hyper-disruptive solutions integral to the development of NEOM and its flagship initiatives, the statement added.

As it invested $1 billion in 2022 in artificial intelligence-driven products and hyperconnected, predictive and proactive solutions, Tonomous emerged as a global player in the smart-to-cognitive transition. 

“Tonomus will support our ambitions by contributing to the future of the tech and digital industry, stimulating innovation, and driving the development of the world’s first cognitive community,” CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said. 

“This will be realized by involving the most talented and brightest minds to develop the integrated system that will be utilized across all of NEOM’s businesses, sectors and projects,” he added. 

In this context, NEOM is cooperating with Low Earth Orbit satellite operator OneWe to establish a $200 million joint venture, aimed at providing rapid and reliable connectivity.


Netflix sets up studio in Finland to develop video games

Netflix sets up studio in Finland to develop video games
Updated 42 min 24 sec ago

Netflix sets up studio in Finland to develop video games

Netflix sets up studio in Finland to develop video games

RIYADH: Online streaming giant Netflix has announced that it will be opening an internal video game studio in Helsinki, Finland, as it aims to reduce its reliance on third-party developers and expand its gaming offerings.

According to a statement released by Netflix, the new game studio will be headed by Marko Lastikka, who has worked at Zynga Inc. for five years, where he worked on FarmVille 3.

Before joining Zynga, Lastikka was the co-founder and executive producer at Electronic Arts Inc.’s Tracktwenty studio in Helsinki, according to his LinkedIn page.

In March, Netflix announced that it was buying Finland-based mobile game developer Next Games in a deal that amounted to $72 million.

The new studio in Finland will be Netflix’s fourth games studio. Earlier this year, Netflix had bought Boss Fight Entertainment, having purchased Night School Studio in September 2021.

“Why Helsinki? It is home to some of the best game talents in the world. This will be a games studio that we build from scratch, and our second games studio in Helsinki alongside Next Games, which became part of Netflix earlier this year,” said Amir Rahimi, vice-president of Netflix Game Studios, in a statement.

He added: “This is another step in our vision to build a world-class games studio that will bring a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games — with no ads and no in-app purchases — to our hundreds of millions of members around the world.”

Netflix currently has 31 video games on its platform exclusively offered to its customers. The online streaming giant is planning to have 50 games available by the end of the year, according to a Bloomberg report.

One of the most-anticipated games from Netflix that will be released soon is Stranger Things: Puzzle Games, based on the platform’s hit series.

 


TRSDC reveals plans for state-of-the-art Marine Life Institute

TRSDC reveals plans for state-of-the-art Marine Life Institute
Updated 27 September 2022

TRSDC reveals plans for state-of-the-art Marine Life Institute

TRSDC reveals plans for state-of-the-art Marine Life Institute

The Red Sea Development Co has disclosed its design plans for the state-of-the-art Marine Life Institute.

The 10,340 square meter institute is set to boost conservation-driven research, in addition to attracting tourists and marine-lovers from all over the world.

Located in the Triple Bay Marina at AMAALA, the three-story structure will be designed to imitate coral formations and reef patterns, integrating nature within its architecture.

Moreover, the one-of-its-kind project will enhance sustainable and innovative methods to reduce water wastage, pollution, and prevent erosion.

The Red Sea Marine life institute will hold a capacity of 650 guests at once, starting their magical journey with a "Grand Reveal" of the world’s largest man-made reefs.

Moving on, the guests will be taken on a plethora of activities—walking through underwater paths, snorkeling with rare species,exploring research labs,  and diving the depth of the Red Sea in a submarine.

“The Red Sea Marine Life Institute will take guests on a vibrant, educational, and awe-inspiring journey that unveils the natural wonders of the Red Sea and blurs the boundaries between the institute and the ocean,” stated Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners, the architectural design firm working on the project.

 “With 10 zones that provide everything from augmented reality experiences to night diving, and spaces for the scientific community to effectively progress their environmental projects, the Red Sea Marine Life Institute is undeniably unique,” said John Pagano, Group CEO of TRSDC.


Saudi Arabia leading G20 nations in tourist inflow numbers for 2022: WTO report

Saudi Arabia leading G20 nations in tourist inflow numbers for 2022: WTO report
Updated 27 September 2022

Saudi Arabia leading G20 nations in tourist inflow numbers for 2022: WTO report

Saudi Arabia leading G20 nations in tourist inflow numbers for 2022: WTO report

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has topped the G20 countries for the flow rating of international tourists in the first seven months of 2022, according to a report released by the World Tourism Organization.

The report, released during the G20 tourism ministers’ meeting held in Bali, Indonesia, did not detail the exact number of travelers who visited the Kingdom, but claimed the sector saw a growth rate of 121 percent in the first half of 2022.

During the event Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said the surge in tourist inflow aligns with the Kingdom’s economic diversification policies and aims to increase tourism’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product, as outlined in Vision 2030, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Calling Saudi Arabia one of the fastest growing markets for tourism, Al-Khateeb said the Kingdom’s tourism sector is accelerating at a rate of 14 percent compared to the pre-coronavirus pandemic period. 

The tourism minister stressed that G20 countries need to collaboratively work together to build a more resilient and sustainable future for the sector.

According to Al-Khateeb, collective action is necessary to revive the tourism sector which has been negatively impacted due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

He also stressed the necessity of partnerships between the public and private sectors and multilateral cooperation in order to shape an efficient tourism sector for the future.

“Collaboration is key as we strive to secure a more resilient and sustainable future,” Al-Khateeb said.

He added: “Let us continue working together across sectors to drive our continued growth. Let us continue to support one another to take collective action to shape a more resilient sector and let us build sustainability into the core of every decision we make.”

Earlier in June, Al-Khateeb said that Saudi Arabia has allocated $100 million to provide training for 100,000 people to work in the tourism and sustainability sector.

He added that 90 hotels were launched in the Kingdom as a part of its tourism strategy, and more hotels will be opened soon, with 70 percent being funded by the private sector.

Al-Khateeb, in June, told AFP that the Kingdom is hoping to attract 12 million foreign visitors in 2022, up from the 4 million tourists who visited Saudi Arabia in 2021.

“Saudi Arabia will change the tourism landscape globally. The destinations that Saudi will offer by 2030, it’s something completely different,” he said.