Travel bookings in Saudi Arabia exceed pre-pandemic levels by 28% in June

According to the report, domestic tourism rose by 7 percent as locals continued to explore the Kingdom’s attractions. Abha, the capital of Asir region, witnessed a rise of 125 percent in bookings compared to summer 2019, it added. 
According to the report, domestic tourism rose by 7 percent as locals continued to explore the Kingdom’s attractions. Abha, the capital of Asir region, witnessed a rise of 125 percent in bookings compared to summer 2019, it added. 
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Updated 28 June 2022

Travel bookings in Saudi Arabia exceed pre-pandemic levels by 28% in June

Travel bookings in Saudi Arabia exceed pre-pandemic levels by 28% in June

RIYADH: Travel bookings in Saudi Arabia exceeded pre-pandemic levels by 28 percent in June as compared to the same month in 2019, according to Almosafer.

The Kingdom’s omni-channel travel brand said the growth in booking shows a strong appetite for consumer travel as demand increased with the ease of pandemic restrictions across the world. 

Almosafer’s Saudi Summer Travel Trends showed that travelers from the Kingdom opt to book stays at luxury accommodation with five-star hotels accounting for almost 50 percent of hotel bookings this summer.

Average order values for bookings increased by 66 percent for hotels and 19 percent for flights, compared to the summer travel season in 2019. 

According to the report, domestic tourism rose by 7 percent as locals continued to explore the Kingdom’s attractions. Abha, the capital of Asir region, witnessed a rise of 125 percent in bookings compared to summer 2019, it added. 

Dubai, London, Cairo, Paris and Sharm El Sheikh remained the most popular international destinations for Saudi travelers. 

The report said bookings for London increased by 133 percent compared to summer 2019, driven by the introduction of the electronic visa waiver for Saudi nationals on June 1, 2022. 

In terms of top-trending destinations, with the announcement of the exemption of Saudi nationals from entry visas to visit Thailand on June 7, the country is now one of the most sought after destinations for international travel.

“Confidence in travel has been fully restored as we experience unprecedented demand for consumer travel,”  Muzzammil Ahussain, executive vice president of Almosafer, said. 


Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures leads French AI firm Alteia’s funding round

Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures leads French AI firm Alteia’s funding round
Updated 13 sec ago

Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures leads French AI firm Alteia’s funding round

Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures leads French AI firm Alteia’s funding round

RIYADH: Alteia, a European artificial intelligence and industrial software company, announced that it closed its latest funding round led by Wa’ed Ventures, Saudi Aramco’s venture capital arm.

Alteia will utilize its funding to increase its presence in the Kingdom by opening an office in Dhahran to support companies in the region as well as invest in research and development.

“To have the world’s leading energy company invest in Alteia through its investment arm is a strong show of faith in our trajectory, and weighs in the value of contextualized, actionable visual data as the foundation to shape a more efficient, more sustainable industrial future,” Benjamin Benharrosh, co-founder of Alteia, said in a statement.


Egypt B2B marketplace Mazaya raises $5m in pre-seed round

Egypt B2B marketplace Mazaya raises $5m in pre-seed round
Updated 28 September 2022

Egypt B2B marketplace Mazaya raises $5m in pre-seed round

Egypt B2B marketplace Mazaya raises $5m in pre-seed round

RIYADH: Mazaya, an Egypt-based B2B e-commerce marketplace, raised $5 million in a pre-seed round, said a statement issued on Tuesday.

The funding round was led by financial investment firm Raya Trade and Distribution, it added.

The company will use the funds to boost its operation in Egypt as well as expand into new markets and other verticals.

“The funds raised will allow us to quickly scale our operations and expand to other markets beyond Egypt, we have plans to launch our services in Nigeria before this year-end,” Amir Aboul Fotouh, Mazaya co-founder, said.

The Mazaya App provides retailers and merchants of electronic goods and home appliances the ability to procure inventory for their stores from all major brands.

“The platform conveniently supports merchants, particularly small merchants who do not receive adequate services, with the ability to scale their business through a superior level of service and a wide range of electronic devices from all international and local brands at the click of a button,” Bassem Megahed, CEO of Raya Trade and Distribution, said in a statement.

The company also plans to offer financial services and support to their retailers by offering credit facilities and flexible payment options.


Russia to spend $55bn from rainy-day fund to cover 2022 budget gap

Russia to spend $55bn from rainy-day fund to cover 2022 budget gap
Updated 28 September 2022

Russia to spend $55bn from rainy-day fund to cover 2022 budget gap

Russia to spend $55bn from rainy-day fund to cover 2022 budget gap

MOSCOW: Russia plans to spend 3.19 trillion roubles ($54.62 billion) from its National Wealth Fund this year to cover its budget deficit, a draft budget published on the finance ministry’s website showed on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

In 2023, Russia intends to spend 1.95 trillion roubles on budget deficit financing from the NWF, a rainy-day fund made up of oil and gas revenues, and another 643.7 billion roubles in 2024.

The ministry intends to issue 2.5 trillion roubles worth of OFZ treasury bonds as it seeks to ramp up domestic borrowing in 2023, the document showed.

In 2024, the ministry plans to borrow 3.4 trillion roubles and another 3.4 trillion roubles in 2025.


MENA Project Tracker — Petrofac contract extended; ASHGHAL requests pre-qualification document 

MENA Project Tracker — Petrofac contract extended; ASHGHAL requests pre-qualification document 
Updated 28 September 2022

MENA Project Tracker — Petrofac contract extended; ASHGHAL requests pre-qualification document 

MENA Project Tracker — Petrofac contract extended; ASHGHAL requests pre-qualification document 

RIYADH: Iraq has approved a project to build a $50 million industrial city in tandem with its post-war reconstruction initiative, reported Zawya.  

Located in the center of the Najaf Governorate, the new city will stretch over 9.5 sq. km, and encompass many different industries such as petrochemicals, lubricants, glass and detergents.

“This project will provide 5,000 jobs to Iraqis and its cost could exceed $50 million…we have received cabinet approval and have already selected a contractor,” said Dirgham Kiko, chairman of the Najaf Investment Commission.

It is expected to be completed within two years.

Petrofac’s contract extended in the Haliba oil field

UK-based Petrofac will continue supporting operations at the Haliba oil field in Abu Dhabi for the next two years, according to an agreement with Al-Dhafra Petroleum — a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. Group.

Al-Dhafra Petroleum originally selected Petrofac for this contract in September 2019, reported MEED.  

ASHGHAL requests pre-qualification documents

Qatar’s Public Works Authority has requested prequalification documents for four construction contracts that make up the South of Wakrah and New District of Doha pumping station and outfall scheme, reported MEED.

The contract has been tendered since mid-August, and bids will be closed by Oct. 23.


Egypt property-tech startup Partment raises $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round

Egypt property-tech startup Partment raises $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round
Updated 28 September 2022

Egypt property-tech startup Partment raises $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round

Egypt property-tech startup Partment raises $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round

RIYADH: Egypt-based property technology startup Partment raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round led by venture capital firm Nclude.

The company will use its acquired funding to deploy its platform by offering a solution for home co-ownership in Egypt.

Founded in 2022, the platform allows users to explore different listings of homes and co-own properties with 40+ nights per year to use the property.

“Partment is a new concept in Egypt, and we believe it will change how people buy and use real estate in the local and international market,” Nadim Nagui, CEO at Partment, said in a statement.