MIHAS: A key platform for halal businesses 

MIHAS: A key platform for halal businesses 
There was strong interest in the topics promoted under the knowledge hub component of MIHAS 2021, as over 1,000 viewers congregated virtually in these thought-provoking dialogues.
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Updated 30 November 2021

MIHAS: A key platform for halal businesses 

MIHAS: A key platform for halal businesses 

The 17th edition of the Malaysia International Halal Showcase 2021, is going virtual till Dec. 31, proving yet again that it remains a key platform for global halal players to converge and trade.

This is reflected in the sales recorded in the first four days of the event by 549 exhibitors participating in the event. The premier halal showcase received over 8,500 virtual visitors comprising local and international companies, generating total sales of RM985.3 million in the first four days.

MIHAS 2021 which is hosted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and organised by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation started on Sept. 9.

The products and sectors that were much in demand from the buyers clearly reflected the 12 sectors that MIHAS 2021 is promoting this year, namely halal food, education, pharmaceuticals, services and enablers, franchises, modest fashion, Islamic finance, halal cosmetics, media and recreation, Muslim-friendly tourism, e-commerce and food technology.

According to MATRADE’s Chief Executive Officer, Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz, Malaysian exhibitors too did very well during the first 4 days of the virtual showcase. “The creation of market opportunities for domestic halal players is part of MATRADE’s effort in supporting the nation’s economic recovery,” he said.

For the first four days of MIHAS 2021, sectors that recorded the highest total sales were Islamic financial services, beverages, pharmaceutical, toiletries and cosmetics, prepared food, and palm oil products. 

Abdul Aziz highlighted that the total sales generated by MIHAS 2021 thus far amounts to RM1.6 billion after incorporating sales from the ongoing virtual exhibition and the International Sourcing Program sales. The INSP, one of the flagship components of MIHAS, is a demand-driven B2B business-matching program for Malaysian exporters that was organised by MATRADE HQ and its 46 offices worldwide since April this year as a run-up to MIHAS 2021.

MIHAS has clearly made a strong comeback despite two years of absence and being presented for the first time through a virtual format. “Although, there were initial concerns if the industry will react positively to the virtual format, to our pleasant surprise, the response has been overwhelming. For example, apart from the sales that MIHAS 2021 has generated, it also secured 549 virtual booths compared to the target of 500 booths,” he said.

MIHAS 2021 also witnessed an increase in the number of participation from international companies, highlighting the trust among global business community towards the trade fair. Through the virtual platform, the exhibitors from 43 different countries, including first-time participants from Mexico, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, and Colombia were able to engage with buyers from various different countries throughout different time zones at all hours.

“MIHAS 2021 managed to attract global halal players to visit and transact on the platform as it was developed in a holistic manner incorporating various different components such as the 12 different industry zones and knowledge hub sharing sessions as well as the support from MATRADE’s 46 global offices. We are confident that the 18th edition of MIHAS event next year will be on a bigger scale with commitment for continued synergy between physical and virtual format to reach out more Halal industry players,” he said.

There was also strong interest in the topics promoted under the knowledge hub component of MIHAS 2021 as over 1,000 viewers from around the world congregated virtually in these thought-provoking dialogues.

Sessions that were promoted by the knowledge hub program included those covering Islamic financing, innovation and business sustainability, digital technologies and the role of women entrepreneurs and perspectives from the youth in the halal economy. Prominent speakers featured in the knowledge hub session included Dato' Abdul Latif Haji Abu Seman, Director General of Malaysia Productivity Corporation  and Datuk Dr. Mohd Daud Bakar, Founder and Executive Chairman of Amanie Group and Chairman of Shariah Advisory Council Bank Negara Malaysia.


Take on the winter season with Germany’s enticing activities

Take on the winter season with Germany’s enticing activities
Updated 14 sec ago

Take on the winter season with Germany’s enticing activities

Take on the winter season with Germany’s enticing activities
  • South German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are popular for its snow-capped mountaintops and alpine ski trails

GCC travelers looking to gain authentic winter experiences should look no further than Germany’s expansive seasonal activations and incredible roster of family-friendly offerings. The abundant wonderland of mountains and castles has created an infamous status for the country during the winter season, reminiscent of a charming icy fairytale. Visitors to Germany can sight-see, ski, hike, snowboard or go sledding at one of the many outdoor parks and recreation areas around.

The south German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are popular for its snow-capped mountaintops and alpine ski trails, and while the temperatures often average 0°C, the exciting sporting activities available will warm skiers up in no time.

Ski lovers can enjoy an array of Bavarian Alpine resorts with options for beginners, families, and sporting pros. The town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, only an hour outside Munich, features an array of outdoor activities perfect for winter strolls amid mountainous views, crystal clear lakes, and fresh pine forests.

For those looking for a more calming scene, cable car trips in Baden-Württemberg offer incredible views of the magnificent Black Forest dotting the mountain range.

“Germany’s luscious winter landscapes are the perfect backdrop for long walks, bike rides, and exciting sports such as skiing and snowboarding. We welcome GCC travelers to wrap up warm and explore the bountiful countryside vistas afforded by the cooler temperatures,” said Yamina Sofo, director of sales and marketing of the German National Tourist Office.

For an authentic German experience and the chance to grab some local souvenirs or shop for loved ones, seasonal shops are perfect for presents for the whole family, showcasing the region’s customary traditions and urbanized artisan trinkets.

Located in the south-west of Germany in the town of Rust, Europa Park is one of the most popular amusement parks in Europe. The attraction has won the global title of Best Amusement Park in the World for four consecutive years. Along with the thrilling rides and joyful show programs, the inviting scent of cosy hot chocolate and warm treats will leave any visitor in awe and eager to book their next visit before leaving.

The breathtaking beauty of the Black Forest is accentuated as snow piles into the pathways of the Lichtentaler Allee Park. A variety of charming cafes is also available for visitors to enjoy a cup of coffee while taking in the view, or those taking a break from the ski slopes and toboggan runs. For travelers wanting to warm up away from the cold climate, the State Art Gallery Baden-Baden and the Museum Frieder Burda are connected by a glass bridge and open yearly for tourists to explore.


Winners of 2022 Zayed Sustainability Prize honored

Winners of 2022 Zayed Sustainability Prize honored
Updated 19 January 2022

Winners of 2022 Zayed Sustainability Prize honored

Winners of 2022 Zayed Sustainability Prize honored

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, presented awards to the 10 winners of the 2022 Zayed Sustainability Prize on Jan. 17.

The awards ceremony coincided with the start of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. The ceremony was also attended by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai, deputy prime minister and minister of finance.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum congratulated winners across the five categories reaffirming the prize’s key role in realizing the aspirations of participants to achieve sustainable development within their communities.

This year, the Zayed Sustainability Prize, along with ADSW, joined forces with Expo 2020 Dubai for hosting the ADSW Opening Ceremony and the 13th edition of the prize’s awards ceremony, both of  which took place at the Dubai Exhibition Centre. The event brought thousands of attendees and more than 600 VIPs from around the world together, including heads of state, government ministers, industry leaders and country ambassadors, among others.

In his remarks at the awards ceremony, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said: “The UAE continues to make important strides and contributions to advancing the global sustainability agenda to stimulate economic and human sustainable development, under the leadership of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. The Zayed Sustainability Prize remains at the forefront of these efforts as it continues to set the course for alleviating hardships and improving lives by rewarding impact and innovation through a platform that can reach a much larger number of beneficiaries.”

The $3 million prize is the UAE’s pioneering sustainability award that recognizes small to medium-sized enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and global high schools for their innovative, impactful, and inspirational sustainability and humanitarian solutions. Through its 86 former winners, the prize has transformed the lives of more than 370 million people, across 150 countries, since 2008. In the Health, Food, Energy, and Water categories, each winner receives $600,000, while the Global High Schools category has six winners, representing six world regions, with each winner receiving up to $100,000.

In the Health category, Argentina’s Mamotest was awarded the prize for its efforts to increase access to diagnoses and lifesaving services in tele-radiology and remote analysis.

S4S Technologies from India was the Food category winner for its work in food preservation and dehydration systems. They currently directly impact 35,820 people and the SME plans to scale this to 10 million individuals over the course of five years.

In the Energy category, the Bangladesh-based SOLshare created an interconnected microgrid for peer-to-peer energy exchange networks to enable more efficient distribution of electricity across rural communities in the country.

Wateroam, an SME from Singapore, secured the Water category win for its commitment to tackling the global challenge of contaminated water through portable water filters to serve disaster-hit and rural communities.

The six winners of the Global High Schools category are: Instituto Iberia (Dominican Republic), representing The Americas; Liceo Europeo (Spain), representing Europe and Central Asia; Eastern Mediterranean School (Israel), representing the Middle East and North Africa region; Sayidina Abubakar Secondary School (Uganda), representing Sub-Saharan Africa; Hira School (Maldives), representing South Asia, and UWC ISAK (Japan) from the East Asia and Pacific region.


Honeywell to highlight sustainability milestones in KSA

Honeywell to highlight sustainability milestones in KSA
Updated 19 January 2022

Honeywell to highlight sustainability milestones in KSA

Honeywell to highlight sustainability milestones in KSA

Honeywell will be participating in this year’s In-Kingdom Total Value Add Forum and Exhibition, showcasing its advanced technologies that support Saudi Arabia’s long-term strategic objectives related to localization and sustainability. During the event — to be held at the Dhahran Expo from Jan. 24 to 26 — Honeywell will highlight its history of industrial leadership in Saudi Arabia, announce several milestone localization developments and showcase its role in developing a thriving knowledge-based economy in the country.

Honeywell is a global technology company, with a portfolio of software-led solutions that help companies make sense of their operational data. The company’s presence in Saudi Arabia includes an office in Riyadh and a further six facilities in the country, including research and development and engineering centers that develop highly advanced technologies for the Kingdom and the wider Middle East region. Approximately half of Honeywell’s local workforce are Saudi nationals.

Mohammed Mohaisen, president and CEO, Honeywell Middle East and North Africa, said: “We commend the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and of Aramco on the continued success of the IKTVA initiative and are proud to be attending this year’s forum as gold sponsors. Saudi Arabia is a highly significant part of our global operation and a key hub for our advanced research and development programs — the outcomes of which advance critical economic sectors across the Middle East.”

“Our technologies, including those developed and manufactured here in the Kingdom, are solving the region’s most pressing objectives, from driving forward the energy transition to economic diversification across urbanization, tourism, transportation, logistics and healthcare. IKTVA is the ideal platform to demonstrate the impact of our initiatives, projects and facilities in bringing important economic benefits to the Kingdom, as well as supporting the development of the next generation of local engineers and technology experts,” added Mohaisen.

During this year’s forum, Honeywell will promote several important technologies from its portfolio that can help the Kingdom achieve its target of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2060.

These include carbon capture solutions that pave the way for transition to blue hydrogen, and the company’s single-stage Ecofining process to produce Green Jet Fuel, capable of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 65-85 percent compared with petroleum-based fuel, and Honeywell Green Diesel, which is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel and can be used as a drop-in replacement in vehicles with no modifications.


Oman Air Holidays, CONNECT ink deal for 2022 MICE calendar

Oman Air Holidays, CONNECT ink deal for 2022 MICE calendar
Updated 18 January 2022

Oman Air Holidays, CONNECT ink deal for 2022 MICE calendar

Oman Air Holidays, CONNECT ink deal for 2022 MICE calendar

Oman Air Holidays has signed a partnership agreement with CONNECT, a subsidiary of Oman’s SABCO Group, becoming the exclusive travel partner for all CONNECT events on the 2022 calendar. As one of Oman’s leading providers of inbound and outbound flight and holiday packages, Oman Air Holidays will offer event delegates, exhibitors and visitors a variety of exclusive accommodation and tour packages, comprising flight tickets, transfers, excursions and bespoke itineraries and add-ons.

“The 2022 MICE season in Oman is shaping up to be a busy one, and we’re delighted to partner with CONNECT to facilitate and enhance the offering of exclusive hotel and tour packages available to everyone attending exhibitions this year,” said Mundher Al-Shaikhani, senior manager at Oman Air Holidays. “With five large-scale exhibitions already confirmed on CONNECT’s 2022 calendar, Oman Air Holidays has assembled customizable packages offering bespoke add-ons and itineraries for those wanting to explore Muscat and other regions in the sultanate during their stay.”

Sayyid Khalid Al-Busaidi, chairman of CONNECT and SABCO Group, said: “CONNECT is proud to be partnering with Oman’s national carrier and tour operator, Oman Air Holidays. This partnership is borne through the shared ambition to position the sultanate as a world-class hub for the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition industry, an industry that has a fundamental role to play in stimulating in-country trade and investment, and in achieving Oman Vision 2040. Additionally, international exhibitors, delegates and visitors who attend CONNECT’s market-leading events will now have the opportunity to experience Oman Air’s multiple award-winning services, and through Oman Air Holidays’ extensive network of hotels, transportation services and excursions, to truly be able to discover the rich history, beauty and hospitality of Oman.”

Covering a wide cross-section of industry, this year’s CONNECT-organized events include Oman Design and Build Week (March 14-16), Oman Sustainability Week 2022 (March 14-16), Oman Petroleum and Energy Show (March 21-23), Oman Health Exhibition and Conference (Sept. 26-28), and Food and Hospitality Oman Exhibition and Conference (Sept. 26-28).


World’s first OTA platform Zamzam.com aims to transform religious tourism industry

World’s first OTA platform Zamzam.com aims to transform religious tourism industry
Updated 18 January 2022

World’s first OTA platform Zamzam.com aims to transform religious tourism industry

World’s first OTA platform Zamzam.com aims to transform religious tourism industry

Travel agents and pilgrims worldwide are now able to plan and organize religious travels with Zamzam.com, an advanced B2B/B2C booking search engine for end-to-end Umrah travel services, including visas, flights, hotels, transfer, ground service and religious sightseeing packages. It is headquartered in Saudi Arabia and certified by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

A joint venture with TBO.com, the world’s leading travel distribution technology platform, Zamzam.com is the first online travel agency platform for religious travels.

The travel platform was developed in response to the growing need for modern and seamless religious experiences. Guests of the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah are now able to complete their spiritual journey with confidence and ease of mind thanks to curated travel itineraries suited to their requirements.

Highlighting the role of an OTA platform in transforming the religious tourism industry, Omar Akbar, CEO of Zamzam.com, said: “Inspired by purpose and our core values of integrity, reliability, and transparency, we have created Zamzam.com to simplify the process of Umrah booking for everyone. Our vision behind the OTA platform is to assist travelers to search, plan, and book every service they need via a single platform.”

“More travelers than ever are looking for unique experiences and religious travelers are no different. To provide a peaceful spiritual experience, we collaborated with many partners, agencies and suppliers around the world to strengthen our position in the hope of introducing more personalized services and B2C packages in the future,” he added.

The booking search engine leverages technology with a user-friendly interface allowing users to book their Umrah trips with MAQAM — the ministry’s global distribution system. Hotel accommodations, transportation, transfers, online visas, meet and greet services and sightseeing tours can all be tailored to the users’ preferences.

“With the aim to revolutionize the travel experience for religious travelers coming to Saudi Arabia from more than 110 countries across the globe, Zamzam.com is committed to creating meaningful pilgrimage experiences for individuals, partner agents, industry professionals, and destination managers alike,” a press release said. “With affordable rates and a straightforward registration and booking process, Zamzam.com will work in true partnership with all of its providers to pioneer curated packages, competitive pricing and loyalty benefits, supported by a 24/7 multi-lingual world-class support center to offer an exclusive Umrah travel experience.”