Makkah hotels on track to recover in 2022

Makkah hotels on track to recover in 2022
Kifah bin Hussein, general manager of Jabal Omar Hyatt Regency Makkah.
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Updated 12 March 2022

Makkah hotels on track to recover in 2022

Makkah hotels on track to recover in 2022

Saudi Arabia has been in a better position compared to other countries in terms of controlling the COVID-19 crisis, because of which the hospitality sector in Makkah will see a recovery in the second half of 2022. This is according to Kifah bin Hussein, general manager of Jabal Omar Hyatt Regency Makkah.

“Without a doubt, this crisis has a global impact, and what is happening in Makkah is not much different from what is happening in other countries of the world. The hotel and hospitality sector in Makkah was subjected to extensive damage in the year 2020, due to reduced occupancy rates and profits due to the pandemic. The suspension of international travel impacted the hotel, but as soon as the restrictions imposed on international travel are relaxed and the volume of demand for performing religious rituals increases, we expect a kind of recovery in the second half of 2022, because the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in a better position compared to others in terms of controlling the crisis. Further, the speed at which the Kingdom is providing vaccines and healthcare services in general, and the quality of our digital infrastructure will help to attract guests,” bin Hussein said.

Ever since the start of the pandemic, the hotel has been adhering to all precautionary measures and health protocols to ensure the safety of everyone, in line with the directives of the ministries of health and tourism.

“We are proud that Jabal Omar Hyatt Regency Makkah has a great role and a clear imprint in serving the pilgrims. Despite all the challenges and changes that the hospitality sector has witnessed, we are determined to stay at the top through innovative and carefully prepared strategies and plans aimed at providing all the needs and requirements necessary to achieve the highest safety standards with comfort, sophistication and distinction,” bin Hussein said.

The hotel spans over 19 floors, featuring 656 rooms and 25 luxurious suites in addition to 18 villas and two  penthouses. All rooms offer rich textures, designer decor, and fine contemporary furnishings as well as the latest services and facilities. Bin Hussein said each guestroom has been thoughtfully designed for the fulfillment of religious duties. The general manager said that Jabal Omar Hyatt Regency Makkah Hotel stands out from all other hotels because of “its excellent location within the Jabal Omar project, where it is just steps away from Al-Masjid Al-Haram with easy access to King Fahad Gate.”

The hotel has a chapel for men and another for women with views of the courtyards of the Grand Mosque, with direct audio transmission of all the prayers. Guests can also enjoy the shopping center, which consists of a number of retail stores and restaurants. The hotel also has a business center with the latest facilities in addition to a fitness center with separate sections for men and women.

“One of the most important features of the hotel is the professional staff — their commitment and flexibility to give the highest level of service. Despite wearing masks and not being able to show a smile, they are able to spread positivity by providing all kinds of support and assistance to the hotel’s guests and visitors,” Bin Hussein added.

Commenting on his management style, bin Hussein said that he believes in developing and nurturing talent. “I try to encourage my team members to excel in everything they do because nurturing ourselves and the people around us is the driving force of everything we believe in and do,” he said.

Saudi Arabia embraces multicloud to transform healthcare sector

Saudi Arabia embraces multicloud to transform healthcare sector
Updated 29 June 2022

Saudi Arabia embraces multicloud to transform healthcare sector

Saudi Arabia embraces multicloud to transform healthcare sector

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health has deployed multicloud solutions from VMware to digitally transform the country’s public healthcare sector. The ministry can now offer secure, cloud-based services to public healthcare providers including hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, significantly boosting their efficiency and enabling them to grow and innovate.

The Health Ministry is responsible for the country’s public healthcare service, which caters for a growing population of more than 35 million people. The ministry accelerated the transformation of its IT systems with the onset of COVID-19, which had put added strain on healthcare systems and increased the need for robust applications, such as booking platforms for vaccinations and remote access to patient records.

The MoH simplified its IT infrastructure by deploying VMware Cloud Foundation as the unifying platform for its cloud environment, spreading workloads across the clouds of service providers, including stc and Mobily.

“The Ministry of Health seeks to achieve the highest levels of excellence in healthcare in line with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030. This means having the best multicloud foundation to optimize operations, raise efficiency and drive innovation across the country’s healthcare providers,” said Khalid Almedbel, CIO, Ministry of Health. “Thanks to our digital transformation with VMware, all public healthcare providers will have access to best-in-class cloud services that will improve operations and boost healthcare provision for citizens and residents.”

With VMware Cloud Foundation, the ministry benefits from a complete set of highly secure software-defined services for compute, storage, network, security, Kubernetes and cloud management. When the solution is fully deployed, Saudi Arabia’s public healthcare system will benefit from the resiliency, agility and efficiency afforded by the shared cloud platform. Each healthcare facility will have access to virtual infrastructure and “as-a-service” applications, and will also be able to design and deploy applications from the cloud, giving them the freedom to innovate and provide world-class services to patients.

Saif Mashat, Saudi Arabia country director, VMware, said: “The Ministry of Health’s transformation with VMware shows the power of multicloud to reinvent healthcare with highly efficient use of resources, and unleash new levels of agility and innovation. We look forward to working in partnership with the ministry as it continues to move workloads to the new environment and offer more cloud-enabled services to healthcare providers across the country.”

In the coming months, the Health Ministry is planning to deploy more VMware solutions including VMware Carbon Black for additional cybersecurity, VMware Workspace One for secure distributed working, and Tanzu to enable Kubernetes in vSphere, which will bring additional application development capabilities to the Kingdom’s public healthcare providers.

Hyundai County continues on the road to success

Hyundai County continues on the road to success
Updated 29 June 2022

Hyundai County continues on the road to success

Hyundai County continues on the road to success

The Hyundai County, a trusted bus across the Middle East and Africa, has been reimagined from the ground up.

Now known as “County New Breeze,” the Hyundai bus has been designed to be more comfortable and versatile thanks to the expanded choice of options, including the “Extra Long” model, which gives customers more seats and an impressive performance.

Following the success of the County, Hyoung Jung Im, head of Hyundai Motor Company Middle East and Africa, said: “For many years, County has been trusted by many customers in our region. County is the bus of choice for schools and educational institutions, businesses, and the public sector, delivering functionality, durability, efficiency, safety and comfort to passengers. Furthermore, the new County New Breeze continues the success story and offers well-designed features that ensure excellent all-around performance.”

Driving the County on a daily basis is Mohammad Khan, who works at Cosma Construction Co., transporting his fellow employees back and forth from work.

Describing his experience with the County, Khan said the vehicle offers “strong performance, very good durability, good total cost of ownership, comfort and safety.”

Salman Khan, who works at Eradat Transportation Co. as a company bus driver, said: “Compared with the other competitors, the County enjoys good space between the seats, has a comfortable driver’s seat and offers great performance.”

The County New Breeze, which was launched in 2020, comes with a choice of three wheelbase variants: Standard, Long, and Extra Long. There’s a selection of eight power plant options ranging from 100 PS to 170 PS. For improved safety, the vehicle has disc-type front brakes and dual airbags. Drivers enjoy the new crash pad and instrument panel that offer improved ergonomics and function.

Inside, improved driver ergonomics include a smaller diameter steering wheel, which gives drivers more space. At the center of the cluster is a 3.5-in TFT LCD that displays a wide range of information delivered with digital precision and speed.

Passengers also appreciate the County New Breeze due to the improved comfort made possible by the increased seating capacity. There are more seating configurations to choose from ranging from 14+1 (Standard) to a maximum of 33+1 (Extra Long). The Extra Long body range is also offered in 32+1, 29+1, 28+1, and 25+1 editions.

The County New Breeze comes with more choices and more power; engines and transmissions are tailored to operate reliably in extreme climatic conditions such as the blistering summer heat common in the region. Turbocharged, inter-cooled, and fed by the common rail diesel fuel injection system, the County New Breeze engines are available in 3.9 L (and 3.6 L) displacements.

PepsiCo partners with Saudi Irrigation Organization to enhance water sustainability

PepsiCo partners with Saudi Irrigation Organization to enhance water sustainability
Updated 42 min 11 sec ago

PepsiCo partners with Saudi Irrigation Organization to enhance water sustainability

PepsiCo partners with Saudi Irrigation Organization to enhance water sustainability

Leading food and beverage company PepsiCo has signed an MoU with the Saudi Irrigation Organization to enhance scientific cooperation efforts related to water conservation strategies.

This step will introduce best practices in the field of irrigation to resolve water sustainability challenges in the Kingdom. It will align the two organizations’ strategies and raise their contributions to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 for the sustainable use of water in agriculture.

The MoU has been signed in the presence of SIO President Dr. Fuad bin Ahmed Al-Sheikh Mubarak and PepsiCo’s Vice President for Corporate Affairs in MENA and Pakistan Wael Muhammad Ismail.

Based on the MoU, PepsiCo will participate in sponsored initiatives and projects that support water usage programs with modern water-saving agricultural technologies. The MoU will also develop the expertise and skills of Saudis by transferring knowledge and building capacity through practice. This will also significantly aid ongoing development in irrigation technology.

The agreement places a focus on conducting studies and research to gain new, important insights and empower Saudi farmers with an understanding of best practices. This collaboration will help pioneer innovative products, services, and approaches, highlighting how modern technologies can be applied across the country to positively impact Saudi communities through sustainable practices.

Ismail welcomed this step, saying it will positively contribute to enhancing water sustainability in the Kingdom.

“Through our cooperation with SIO, we will be able to positively contribute to sustainable agriculture and consider water usage responsibly, spreading regenerative agriculture practices and improving the livelihoods of people in the agricultural supply chain in the Kingdom. Bolstering underserved populations is essential to making the entire food system stronger and we look forward to showcasing the impact of this strategic partnership with SIO,” he added.

SIO President Mubarak also stressed the importance of this MoU, which he said seeks to ensure the sustainability of water resources, food security and expand agricultural areas in the Kingdom.

UK university opens up International Pathways Program scholarship for international students

UK university opens up International Pathways Program scholarship for international students
Updated 29 June 2022

UK university opens up International Pathways Program scholarship for international students

UK university opens up International Pathways Program scholarship for international students

The International Pathways Program (IPP), recently launched by Coventry University in the UK, supports students who want to obtain a UK degree but might not have either the education level to match the degree requirements or do not have the English language level required for UK higher education study.

With the addition of a £3,000 ($3,600) scholarship contribution to study at Coventry University under the IPP, it’s never been easier for students to be on track to achieving their career aspirations.

Fund your studies

An IPP student scholarship worth £3000 can help reduce the cost of tuition and help fund students’ studies, while living abroad.

Plus, being able to access either one of the two different campus locations (Coventry and London) allows students to take control of how and where they want to be educated.

The Coventry site gives them access to all the facilities and amenities they would expect from the main Coventry University campus. Voted the UK City of Culture 2021, students don’t want to miss out on the exciting city-center life that Coventry has to offer!

The London campus is an iconic tourist attraction, being England’s capital city. It leads in world entertainment and is the heart of the UK’s trading and finance and service industries. Students can explore the city whilst receiving a quality education in English and subject-specific modules.

Diverse studies for diverse programs

Having three different study routes within the IPP caters for students’ own unique background. There is a flexibility of choice for students to tailor to their own circumstances through a combination of multiple academic intakes a year, and an English access level to suit their needs.

The study routes include:

• International Foundation Year (those just starting their higher education journey)

• International Year One (those with stronger academic and English ability to accelerate their studies for bachelor’s year two direct study)

International Pre-Master’s (those needing support in academia and English before settling into a master’s program)

Students can enter Coventry University with peace of mind, knowing the IPP offers progression to over 140 degrees.

Maximizing your success, one self-contained module at a time

Academic delivery is taught in modular blocks where students can expect to learn one module at a time without having to worry about end-of-year exams. This allows them to focus all of their efforts on achieving the best results possible for each area.

English language is taught first

English modules are at the heart of every IPP, with all study routes being front-loaded with English modules. This ensures students are in the best position to improve their language skills, to better grasp key learning concepts when the subject-specific modules begin. It also encourages a solid understanding to set them up for academic success.

For more information, interested students can check their eligibility and learn how they can apply by visiting the university website (

AccuMed KSA supports evolution of Kingdom’s healthcare system

AccuMed KSA supports evolution of Kingdom’s healthcare system
Updated 28 June 2022

AccuMed KSA supports evolution of Kingdom’s healthcare system

AccuMed KSA supports evolution of Kingdom’s healthcare system

AccuMed KSA, the Kingdom’s largest comprehensive end-to-end revenue cycle management solutions provider, is building on its brand expertise, local presence, and intel to execute a fundamental role in the Kingdom’s healthcare industry progression. Along with partnering with the Ministry of Health, AccuMed KSA worked with the Council of Health Insurance to develop a standardized code set and billing system for private practitioners in line with globally recognized coding systems — a game-changer for the sector. This allows for efficient insurance claims processing and approval on the Saudi Billing System, leading to stellar patient care.

Like other global medical systems, the Kingdom experienced first-hand operational and revenue effects from COVID-19. With Saudi Vision 2030 in mind, the nation’s Ministry of Health saw an opportunity to improve upon its current system from lessons learned during this challenging time.

With the firm’s vast decade-plus expertise in the UAE and wider region, connections to key global organizations have supported this role. These include relationships with American Health Information Management Association for private practitioners’ medical coding and documentation guidelines, Health Information Management Association of Australia, and Australian Classification of Health Interventions for mirrored support in the public space.

The firm is led by Dr. Mohammed Aldar, an industry veteran with a pedigree background in medicine and healthcare business operations for both government and multinational corporations. Dr. Aldar, a Saudi national who has an in-depth knowledge base of the country’s medical practitioners and approach, understood the need for a local, national team to support providers’ specific requirements.

“With approximately 400,000 claims sampled and coded to national standards during the CHI Billing System Project, AccuMed KSA paved the way for the nation’s coding and billing cycle to function on a unified and seamless system. An accomplishment that stands to our management team’s expertise but also a milestone for our operations in the Kingdom,” said Dr. Aldar, who is managing director of AccuMed KSA.

Since opening a local head office in Riyadh, AccuMed KSA has been well-received among the nation’s healthcare providers both in the public and private realms looking for an efficient RCM system to align with the country’s new billing system.

Introductions to improve billing processes through AccuMed’s software and skills training programs customized for local and provider-specific needs, allow for a streamlined approach to optimize billing functionality. This results in provider revenue stream enhancement.

AccuMed KSA’s key clients and partners include the Ministry of Health’s Eastern Health Cluster hospital network, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, and Saudi German Hospitals Group, among others.