Saudi Jahez and AlHilal Club get GAC nod for online sportswear store

Saudi Jahez and AlHilal Club get GAC nod for online sportswear store
The partnership has formed under the name of BLU Store. (Supplied)
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Updated 28 August 2022

Saudi Jahez and AlHilal Club get GAC nod for online sportswear store

Saudi Jahez and AlHilal Club get GAC nod for online sportswear store

RIYADH: Jahez International Co. for Information Systems Technology and AlHilal Club Investment Co. have received the go-ahead from the General Authority for Competition to set up a limited liability company to provide online sportswear.

This deal marks the first time GAC has received a request for an economic concentration application for a sports club in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, GAC official spokesman Saad Al Masoud said in a statement.

The partnership has formed under the name of BLU Store, with a capital of SR500,000 ($133,133), with 51 percent held by Jahez and 49 percent held by AlHilal, Jahez said last week in a bourse filing.


TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector

TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector
Updated 17 sec ago

TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector

TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector

RIYADH: More than 6,000 Saudis are currently being trained up for technical roles in the Kingdom’s growing tourism industry, according to the government agency leading the charge.

Saudi Arabia's Technical and Vocational Training Corp. has announced it is currently training 6,189 people in preparation for jobs in the tourism and hotel industries.

The Kingdom’s tourism sector continues to grow, with the Kingdom expecting to attract 100 million annual visitors and creating one million jobs by 2030.

TVTC spokesperson Fahad Alotaibi said the entity focuses on designing and providing specialized training programs to train citizens to work in this sector and lead its facilities through diversified training programs in the tourism and hospitality fields.

TVTC's aims align with Saudi Vision 2030, under which efforts are exerted to cut the unemployment rate in the Kingdom from 11.6 percent to 7 percent by 2030.

In August this year, TVTC announced that it had received more than 230,000 trainees — new starters and returnees — in over 260 training facilities and partnership institutes distributed throughout the Kingdom.

To achieve its Vision 2030 goals, Saudi Arabia is not only encouraging the recruitment of nationals to private sector jobs, but is also encouraging adequate investment in their future to ensure their retention by employers as well as their contribution to a vibrant and diverse economy.

Saudization, officially known as the Saudi nationalization scheme, or Nitaqat, is considered a crucial step towards economic success.

Saudi Arabia launched the ‘Saudization’ labor market strategy to enhance the economic participation of its citizens, with the aim of reaching 60 percent by 2030.

Although the process of Saudization has been going on since 1985, major regulatory and economic reforms have accelerated in recent years under the Vision 2030 agenda, with the aim of increasing the participation of young Saudis in the economy, promoting non-oil sectors and improving the overall quality of life.

According to Saudi Arabia's Central Department of Statistics and Information, the unemployment rate in the Kingdom decreased to 5.80 percent in the second quarter of 2022 from 6 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

Vision 2030 promotes Saudi women as an important part of the Kingdom’s strength. It aims to develop their talents, invest their energies, and provide them with the right opportunities to build their futures, contributing to the development of society.

Saudi women now comprise 33.6 percent of the Saudi workforce as of March 2022, according to the General Authority for Statistics. That figure is up from 17.4 percent just five years ago.

The unemployment rate of women was the lowest in 20 years as of the first quarter of 2022, falling to 20.2 percent from 22.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2021.


WTTC to invest $10.5 billion in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector over next 5 years

WTTC to invest $10.5 billion in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector over next 5 years
Updated 1 min 38 sec ago

WTTC to invest $10.5 billion in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector over next 5 years

WTTC to invest $10.5 billion in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector over next 5 years

RIYADH: The World Travel and Tourism Council will invest $10.5 billion in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector, as the Kingdom steadily evolves as a global tourist destination in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030, according to Julia Simpson, president and CEO of WTTC. 

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the WTTC Global Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 28, Simpson noted that Saudi Arabia is showing incredible commitment to developing the tourism sector, and is planning to attract 100 million visitors globally by 2030. 

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmad Al-Khateeb said the sector is still recovering from the pandemic, but the number of international arrivals in the Kingdom has already climbed to 70 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels. 

“I am proud of the progress we made in building resilience in this sector. We believe in the power of partnership, and we want to bring the global community together. Saudi Arabia is the fastest growing destination in the world,” said Al-Khateeb. 

WTTC also announced that American actor, environmentalist and entrepreneur Edward Norton will be a keynote seeker at its global summit in Riyadh on Nov. 30.

Norton, who has been a long-time advocate for sustainable business practices, will speak about the vitality of maintaining healthy environmental operational standards in the tourism sector as he will be in a conversation with Saudi Tourism Authority CEO Fahd Hamidaddin during the event, according to a press release.

“It is clear that people who have such a global platform as Edward Norton help to transcend borders and reinforce the work that we do in promoting sustainable development strategies and we are delighted he is with us at the WTTC Summit in Riyadh,” said Hamidaddin.

This year’s WTTC Global Summit is being organized at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center under the theme “Travel for a Better Future.”

Some other prominent personalities who will speak at the summit include former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Jerry Inzerillo — Group CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai International Airports. 

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will also address delegates in person during the event. In October, Al-Khateeb said that Riyadh is set to become the capital of the global tourism industry, and the tourist destinations in the Kingdom are being built and will operate in a sustainable manner. 

“We have the vision, we put the plan, and we put all the resources, especially the financial resources to deliver the plan,” said Al-Khateeb.


King Salman International Airport masterplan announced by Crown Prince

King Salman International Airport masterplan announced by Crown Prince
Updated 6 min 11 sec ago

King Salman International Airport masterplan announced by Crown Prince

King Salman International Airport masterplan announced by Crown Prince

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to build one of the world’s largest airports in what will be a huge boost in the Kingdom’s ambition to become a global hub for trade and tourism, according to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The King Salman International Airport, located in Riyadh, will have six parallel runways, and is expected to contribute SR27 billion ($7.18 billion) annually to Saudi Arabia’s non-oil gross domestic product.

The airport will help drive annual passenger traffic in Saudi Arabia from the current 29 million to 120 million travelers by 2030 and 185 million by 2050, with aircraft traffic in the Kingdom increasing from 211,000 to more than 1 million flights per year.

With sustainability at its core, the new airport will achieve LEED Platinum certification by incorporating cutting edge green initiatives into its design and will be powered by renewable energy, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The development will include the existing terminals named after King Khalid, with the capacity to process 3.5 million tons of cargo by 2050.

The SPA report added it will become an aerotropolis centered around a seamless customer journey, world-class efficient operations, and innovation. Riyadh’s identity and the Saudi culture will be taken into consideration in the airport’s design to ensure a unique travel experience for visitors and transit travelers.


Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan review bilateral trade cooperation in high level meeting 

Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan review bilateral trade cooperation in high level meeting 
Updated 10 min 21 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan review bilateral trade cooperation in high level meeting 

Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan review bilateral trade cooperation in high level meeting 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan reiterated their commitment to strengthening bilateral relations in a meeting between Ismatilla Ergashev, the special envoy of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and Saudi Fund for Development CEO Sultan Abdulrahman Al-Marshad in Riyadh. 

The visit focused on reviewing the development projects and programs funded by SFD in the central Asian country.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the two sides reviewed development topics of common interest and discussed possible opportunities for development projects in Uzbekistan. 

The SFD has supported the government of Uzbekistan with several development loans. It has contributed to financing the implementation of 11 projects across several sectors, including health, education, roads, irrigation, drinking water and housing, with a total amount of $276 million.  

Five projects have been completed, and six are underway. In 2011, Uzbekistan and the SDF inked a deal to finance the work on the reconstruction of the Guzar-Chim-Kukdala highway. The fund allocated $30 million for this project.  

Bilateral relations between the two nations received a considerable boost when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Jeddah in August. 

During the meeting, the two nations inked several deals worth over SR45 billion ($12 billion), including a wind project in Uzbekistan by ACWA Power.  

The agreements also covered a range of investment sectors, including air transport services, livestock, agriculture, sports, education, science, media, energy and technology. 

“There has also been a significant emphasis on economic ties between the two countries. An excellent example of this affiliation is between the Saudi company ACWA Power and the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan, which envisaged designing, financing, building, and operating a thermal power plant for 25 years,” Komil Rashidov, a professor of international law at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy said in an article written for Arab News to mark the meeting.

As part of the project, ACWA Power will attract $1.2 billion in direct investment and create more than 1,000 jobs during the construction and operation phases. Additionally, the power plant will produce 12 billion kilowatt-hours of additional electricity annually. This facility will be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2023. 


Rising Riyadh home prices push deals value up 6% but volume falls

Rising Riyadh home prices push deals value up 6% but volume falls
Updated 23 min 19 sec ago

Rising Riyadh home prices push deals value up 6% but volume falls

Rising Riyadh home prices push deals value up 6% but volume falls

RIYADH: As residential prices continue to rise in Saudi Arabia’s cities, the total transaction value of houses in the Kingdom has increased by 6 percent compared to this time last year, the latest report from global property consultancy firm Knight Frank showed.   

The average apartment value has spiked as high as 30 percent in Riyadh over the last 12 months, with some of the well-located suburbs in northern parts of the city seeing rises over 40 percent, as the shortage in housing supply continues to play havoc on prices. 

This resulted in the number of housing deals slipping, with the volume of home sales this year falling by 24 percent, according to Knight Frank.

“The affordability gulf between buyer expectations and the significant house price increases registered in cities across the Kingdom is underpinning the slowing in the number of home sales,” said Faisal Durrani, partner – head of Middle East Research at Knight Frank. 

Despite a strong pipeline of around 200,000 new homes for the capital by 2030, he said price growth remains on a sharp upward trajectory. 

As a result, the total volume of homes sold in the capital dipped by 30 percent in the year to the third quarter of 2022 attaining 7, 7750 transactions in comparison to the last year’s transactions of 11,074. 

According to Knight Frank’s estimates, Riyadh is expected to face a housing supply deficit when factoring in the expected spike in population to 17 million by 2030, from 7.5 million today. 

“To exacerbate matters, anecdotal evidence suggests some sellers are opting to lease their inventory to take advantage of the influx of domestic and international migrants being drawn to the city for work, which is further eroding the sales supply,” explained Durrani.

As business activity is rising in Riyadh, more people flock to the city for employment, driving demand for office spaces and houses while supply still catches up.

The employment level in Riyadh is projected to increase by around 5 percent by the end of 2022, with a further rise of 3 percent in 2023, according to Oxford Economics.

The residential sector in the other major city Jeddah witnessed similar trends as average apartment and villa prices grew at 6 percent and 3 percent respectively during the third quarter of 2022, according to Knight Frank.

The number of home sales too in Jeddah saw a decline of 19 percent, falling to 3,711 deals, in the year to the third quarter. 

Despite this, Knight Frank noted that the value of transactions increased by 30 percent during the same period.