Three more join impressive list of Red Sea resort operators

Special Three more join impressive list of Red Sea resort operators
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Updated 26 May 2022

Three more join impressive list of Red Sea resort operators

Three more join impressive list of Red Sea resort operators
  • Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Miraval and Rosewood sign deals with The Red Sea Development Company

RIYADH: Three new hotel management agreements were inked with international hotel brands to operate resorts in the first phase of development at the Red Sea destination, The Red Sea Development Co. confirmed on Tuesday.

The announcement was made at the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh.

These hotels include Ritz-Carlton Reserve and Miraval hotels — the first to operate in the Middle East — and Rosewood, a global luxury hospitality company.

“This announcement demonstrates industry confidence in The Red Sea Project, with a total of 12 hospitality brands now confirmed, and signifies a growing appetite from global leaders to participate in the expansion of the Saudi tourism market. With two brands now entering the region for the first time, I believe the future of tourism in the Kingdom is bright,” said John Pagano, CEO at TRSDC. 




Upon completion in 2030, the project will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. (Supplied)

Ritz-Carlton Reserve is situated at the destination’s idyllic Ummahat Islands, while Miraval and Rosewood are located on Shura Island, the main hub for the resort. The new collection of hospitality brands collectively features nearly 500 hotel keys of the total 3,000 planned for Phase 1.

“Together with our collection of globally recognized and respected partners, we are excited to play our part in opening up this unique and undiscovered part of the world, setting new benchmarks for sustainable development along the way,” Pagano said.

A top executive from Marriott International also shared his thoughts with Arab News about the new deal.

“Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will offer a highly personalized leisure experience that blends intuitive and heartfelt service with stunning natural beauty and indigenous design. The resort will be surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty and designed to blend seamlessly with the environment,” Jerome Briet, chief development officer, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International told Arab News. 

He added: “We will work closely together with The Red Sea team to promote the overall destination, as well as Nujuma, which will be a destination in itself. This is also where the strength of Marriott’s distribution system, our channels and partners will play a key role. When it opens, the resort will also have access to a network of over 160 million members as part of our loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, which Ritz-Carlton Reserve recently joined.”

For his part, Ludwig Bouldoukian, regional vice president, development, Middle East and Africa at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, talked about the promising future of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea.

“Miraval The Red Sea will join Grand Hyatt The Red Sea as the second Hyatt hotel slated to open within the first phase of the Red Sea Development Project. It is a great source of pride for Hyatt to play such a central role in this project and be able to collaborate with owners who share our values and ambitions. We look forward to introducing guests to experience a new standard of luxury and wellness, synonymous to the Miraval brand, where the focus is on mindfulness and creating balance. We have great confidence in the success of this property that will be a unique addition to The Red Sea Project,” Bouldoukian told Arab News. 

We will work closely together with The Red Sea team to promote the overall destination.

Jerome Briet, Marriott International

He added: “Saudi Arabia has become a thriving hub for global business, arts and culture, and pioneering hospitality experiences. This ever-evolving destination continues to represent an important growth market for Hyatt, reinforcing our continued commitment to intentional growth in places that matter most to guests, members, customers and owners.” He went on to say that as Hyatt continues to grow within the Kingdom, the company remains grounded in its purpose — to care for people so they can be their best.

“This promise is reflected in the elevated guest experience that will await guests to Miraval when the resort opens,” Bouldoukian said.

He stressed that with its untapped natural beauty, The Red Sea Project is the perfect location to bring the Miraval brand to the global stage. 

Saudi Arabia has become a thriving hub for global business, arts and culture, and pioneering hospitality experiences.

Ludwig Bouldoukian, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

“This is the brand’s first property outside of the US. Expected to boast the largest spa and wellness facilities within The Red Sea Project, the property will usher in a new era of wellness tourism to the Kingdom; a sector that has already demonstrated great potential within the Middle East and is set to grow exponentially in the coming years,” he explained. 

Bouldoukian added that Miraval The Red Sea will introduce the wellness brand’s signature mindfulness-based wellness practices to a new corner of the world, empowering guests with tools and inspiration to find balance and support their emotional and mental wellbeing.

“The Life in Balance Spa, which is expected to be the largest within the Red Sea destination, will be the heart of the property encompassing nearly 40,000 square feet (3,700 square meters) and 39 treatment rooms,” he informed.

The posh hotel companies join a line-up of globally renowned brands that have already confirmed they will operate at the Red Sea, including: EDITION Hotels and St Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International; Fairmont Hotel & Resorts; Raffles Hotels & Resorts and SLS Hotels & Residences, part of global hospitality group Accor; Grand Hyatt, part of Hyatt Hotels Corporation; InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and Six Senses, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts; and Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts.

The statement explained that The Red Sea has already passed significant milestones and work is on track to welcome the first guests in early 2023 when the first hotels will open. Phase one, which includes 16 hotels in total, will complete by the end of 2023.

Upon completion in 2030, the project will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. The destination will also include an international airport, luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, and leisure facilities.


TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap
Updated 01 July 2022

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

RIYADH: The Saudi main index, TASI, sank to its second-largest monthly decline in 2022 in the final session of June, led by fears of interest rate hikes hitting investors’ optimism.

TASI ended June losing 11 percent, to reach 11,523 at the closing bell of Thursday’s session.  

During June, the Tadawul All Share Index suffered its worst decline in six months to reach 11,299.

This was led by a 5.43 percent fall in oil giant Saudi Aramco, and 15.47 percent decrease in the Kingdom’s largest valued bank, Al Rajhi.

Saudi Industrial Export Co. topped the fallers list despite being the top gainer last month, down 63.87 percent.

Also adding to this was a weak performance from all listed sectors as they ended June in the red.

Another factor contributing to the performance was the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, which sent oil prices on a rollercoaster, creating instability and shaking the market.

It would be pertinent to mention that despite global economic shocks, TASI managed to cross 13,000 points for the first time since 2006 in March, and maintained the level during April as it closed at 13,733.


Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May
Updated 01 July 2022

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

TOKYO: Japan’s imports of Saudi crude oil in May amounted to 27.10 million barrels, or 33.5 percent of the total in that month, according to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In April, Japan’s imports of Saudi crude oil were 38.49 million barrels — 43.9 percent of the total.

During May, Japan imported 80.81 million barrels, which was a record high of 94.5 percent, some 76.38 million barrels, provided by five Arab countries: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, according to the data.

Russia remained on the list of Japan’s suppliers of crude oil, with the Japanese government exempting the energy sector from sanctions, but Japanese company imports decreased to 651,848 barrels — 0.8 percent — of the total.

Japan imported 36.21 million barrels from the UAE – 44.8 percent of the total imported in May. Qatar provided 5.559 million barrels (6.9 percent), Kuwait 5.556 million barrels (6.9 percent) and Oman supplied about 1.5 million barrels (1.9 percent).

The remaining imports came from Central and South America (3.8 percent), Southeast Asia (0.3 percent), and Oceania (0.6 percent).

The figures cited represent the quantities of oil that arrived at refineries, tanks and warehouses in ports in Japan during May 2022. Japan uses oil to generate about a third of its energy needs. 

 


Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 
Updated 01 July 2022

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

RIYADH: Alamar Foods has set the top range of its initial public offering prices at SR115 ($30.64) per share, with a 47.5 percent oversubscription, after completing its pricing and book building process for institutional investors.

The final offer price gives the fast food chain franchiser an implied market capitalization at listing of SR2.933 billion.

Alamar Foods is developer and operator of two global household brands: Domino’s, which operates across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan region, and Dunkin’, which operates in Egypt and Morocco.

“This IPO stands as a testament to the milestones achieved towards becoming a leading QSR player across the MENAP region,” Filippo Sgattoni, CEO at Alamar Foods, said.

The individual investor subscription period is scheduled to start on July 20 and to close on July 21. 

The Capital Market Authority approved on June 7 Alamar’s application to offer 10.63 million shares, or 41.7 percent of the company’s capital, to the public.

Alamar’s capital stands at SR255 million.


Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss

Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss
Updated 01 July 2022

Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss

Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss
  • OPEC+ sticks to oil output policy, avoids debate on September
  • Traders prepare for long Fourth of July holiday weekend
  • Some Norway oil workers to strike from July 5

TOKYO: Oil prices eased on Friday as lingering fears of a recession demand weighed on sentiment, putting the benchmarks on track for their third straight weekly losses, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures were down 20 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $108.83 a barrel by 0428 GMT, giving up earlier gains of over $1.

WTI crude futures for August delivery slid 37 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $105.39 a barrel, also surrendering an early gain of nearly $1.

Both contracts fell around 3 percent on Thursday.

“Earlier in the session, the market took a breather from Thursday’s sell-off as the OPEC+ gave no surprise, saying it would stick to its planned oil output hikes in August,” said Tsuyoshi Ueno, senior economist at NLI Research Institute.

“But uncertainty over OPEC+ policy in and after September and fears that the aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve would lead to a US recession and hamper fuel demand dampened sentiment,” he said.

On Thursday, the OPEC+ group of producers, including Russia, agreed to stick to its output strategy after two days of meetings. However, the producer club avoided discussing policy from September onwards.

Previously, OPEC+ decided to increase output each month by 648,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July and August, up from a previous plan to add 432,000 bpd per month.

US President Joe Biden will make a three-stop trip to the Middle East in mid-July that includes a visit to Saudi Arabia, pushing energy policy into the spotlight as the United States and other countries face soaring fuel prices that are driving up inflation.

Biden said on Thursday he would not directly press Saudi Arabia to increase oil output to curb soaring prices when he sees the Saudi king and crown prince during a visit this month.

“All eyes are on whether or not Saudi Arabia or any other Middle Eastern oil producers would bolster output to respond the US request,” NLI’s Ueno said.

Elsewhere, 74 Norwegian offshore oil workers at Equinor’s Gudrun, Oseberg South and Oseberg East platforms will go on strike from July 5, the Lederne trade union said on Thursday, likely shutting about 4 percent of Norway’s oil production.

Oil prices are expected to stay above $100 a barrel this year as Europe and other regions struggle to wean themselves off Russian supply, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday, though economic risks could slow the climb. (Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Yuka Obayashi; editing by Richard Pullin and Kim Coghill)


Google to pay $90 million to settle legal fight with app developers

Google to pay $90 million to settle legal fight with app developers
Updated 01 July 2022

Google to pay $90 million to settle legal fight with app developers

Google to pay $90 million to settle legal fight with app developers
  • Some 48,000 app developers are eligible to apply for the $90 million fund, if the court approves the proposed settlement

WASHINGTON: Alphabet Inc’s Google has agreed to pay $90 million to settle a legal fight with app developers over the money they earned creating apps for Android smartphones and for enticing users to make in-app purchases, according to a court filing.
The app developers, in a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco, had accused Google of using agreements with smartphone makers, technical barriers and revenue sharing agreements to effectively close the app ecosystem and shunt most payments through its Google Play billing system with a default service fee of 30 percent.
As part of the proposed settlement, Google said in a blog post it would put $90 million in a fund to support app developers who made $2 million or less in annual revenue from 2016-2021.
“A vast majority of US developers who earned revenue through Google Play will be eligible to receive money from this fund, if they choose,” Google said in the blog post.
Google said it would also continue to charge a 15 percent commission to developers who make $1 million or less annually from the Google Play Store. It started doing this in 2021.
The court must approve the proposed settlement.
There were likely 48,000 app developers eligible to apply for the $90 million fund, and the minimum payout is $250, according to Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, who represented the plaintiffs.
Apple Inc. agreed last year to loosen App Store restrictions on small developers, striking a deal in a class action. It also agreed to pay $100 million.
In Washington, Congress is considering legislation that would require Google and Apple to allow sideloading, or the practice of downloading apps without using an app store. It would also bar them from requiring that app providers use Google and Apple’s payment systems.