Taif in driving seat to promote Saudi tourism: Development fund executive

Special Taif in driving seat to promote Saudi tourism: Development fund executive
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The Taif Chamber of Commerce booth at Discover Beyond Taif.
Special Taif in driving seat to promote Saudi tourism: Development fund executive
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Over 200 businessmen attended Discover Beyond Taif.
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Updated 27 September 2022

Taif in driving seat to promote Saudi tourism: Development fund executive

Taif in driving seat to promote Saudi tourism: Development fund executive
  • Taif is a popular summer destination for local and regional tourists drawn by its pleasant weather, hiking trails, picnic spots, and rich history
  • The city is also known for agri-tourism, and its rose production has earned it the title City of Roses

JEDDAH: More than 200 business leaders on Monday attended a Saudi Tourism Development Fund event aimed at promoting investment opportunities.

The fund’s first roadshow, Discover Beyond Taif, was held at the city’s Iridium Hotel.

Located 1,879 meters above sea level in the Makkah region, Taif is a popular summer destination for local and regional tourists drawn by its pleasant weather, hiking trails, picnic spots, and rich history. The city is also known for agri-tourism, and its rose production has earned it the title City of Roses.

Khalid Al-Sharif, the fund’s associate director of coverage of large institutions, said: “The Tourism Development Fund was established in 2020, and since then the Kingdom has gone through a huge transformation in the tourism industry.”

He noted that Taif had been selected to stage the fund’s first roadshow because of its strategic location.

“It has been one of the hotspots of tourism in the Kingdom for a long time. We believe our presence here is very important to introduce our services and ourselves to the people in Taif, and the people interested in investing in Taif,” he added.

The fund provides guidance and financial support to those interested in investing in the city.

“We believe that both options are very important for investors so we can support them from the beginning. If you have just a small idea, we will help you develop this idea to see it into reality,” Al-Sharif said.

Financial backing can be provided through direct funding, guarantees, or direct equity.

The TDF works with partners including the Arab National Bank, and Riyad Bank, in addition to government bodies such as Kafalah and Monsha’at.

“We all have the one same objective that is to promote tourism in Saudi Arabia and invest in tourism in Saudi Arabia. And since we are in Taif, we need to invest in Taif and take advantage of the amazing weather, geography, great people, and the close distance to Makkah.

“Taif is one of the main destinations that will drive the tourism industry in the Kingdom. Mountain resorts can also be leveraged on due to the weather. We are also looking to have a wellness resort in the near future as well.

“The fund’s strategy is aligned with the Kingdom’s strategy, with Vision 2030. It is in alignment with the national tourism strategy, to increase the number of visitors up to 100 million by 2030, in addition to increasing the GDP (gross domestic product) contribution and the job creations that are derived from the tourism industry,” Al-Sharif added.


Saudi Jewelry Show sparkles with $53m gem suite, more than 100 global luxury brands

Saudi Jewelry Show sparkles with $53m gem suite, more than 100 global luxury brands
Updated 15 sec ago

Saudi Jewelry Show sparkles with $53m gem suite, more than 100 global luxury brands

Saudi Jewelry Show sparkles with $53m gem suite, more than 100 global luxury brands

RIYADH: The Saudi Jewelry Show opened its doors on Tuesday in Riyadh featuring more than 100 luxury brands from around the world.

Under the title “Be’Jeweled,” the event, that runs until Dec. 10, has attracted collectors, designers, enthusiasts, and industry professionals, and includes workshops, panel discussions, a gem laboratory, and experiential events.

The exhibition was opened by Fahd Al-Rasheed, the chief executive officer of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City and chairman of the show’s organizing body the Saudi Conventions and Exhibitions General Authority.

Luxury brands from countries including the UAE, Bahrain, India, Switzerland, France, Turkey, Italy, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, and the US, are exhibiting at the show alongside unique collections from Switzerland’s Jahan Jewellery, and the UK’s Yoko London.

(Photo by Saleh Al-Ghannam)

North-Carolina-based BFT Gems was displaying its dazzling $53 million Paraiba Tourmaline suite created by the company’s owner Peter Delisi in partnership with the designer from Port Royal Jewelry Inc. based in Naples, Florida.

Delisi told Arab News: “The stones are basically invaluable. There are seven match pairs on the necklace made of paraiba tourmaline from Mozambique, Africa; they were only found in two places in the world.

“The set was built in platinum with 5,000 melee, or really small, diamonds at a total carat weight of around 100 carats, all set in platinum.

“It has three different looks. It has a drop pendant with a chain as a ring. And the earrings are convertible. So, you can wear the tops and the studs or just the pendants. So, you have three pendants, two earrings, a choker collar, and the ring,” he said.

He noted that what made a paraiba tourmaline gemstone different was the presence of copper and manganese, which gave it a glowing look. “It will sparkle without any natural light. And it’s a naturally occurring phenomenon,” Delisi added.

 (Photo by Saleh Al-Ghannam)

SCEGA’s acting CEO, Amjad Shacker, said the show was an important platform that brought together luxury jewelry companies, traders, and brands under one roof to share knowledge and expertise.

The show aims to support Saudi designers, entrepreneurs, and startup brands, with 15 local jewelers featured, including Rutile Jewellery, Joory Diamonds, Al-Nukhba, and Renad Al-Amoudi’s one-piece-made watch inspired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Jewels of Arabia booth houses a collection crafted by nine local designers and is a collaboration between Nuun Jewels, founded by Princess Nourah Al-Faisal, and Yasmeen Marzouq Jewelry.

Each designer has presented a piece of jewelry representing the reviving of the archeological treasures of the Arabian Peninsula and inspired by the Dadan civilization.


Why China is a natural partner for Saudi Arabia in its quest to become a tech innovation leader

Why China is a natural partner for Saudi Arabia in its quest to become a tech innovation leader
Updated 34 min 47 sec ago

Why China is a natural partner for Saudi Arabia in its quest to become a tech innovation leader

Why China is a natural partner for Saudi Arabia in its quest to become a tech innovation leader
  • Xi Jinping’s Saudi visit is expected to result in new strategic partnerships worth $29 billion
  • Plans are underway to harmonize Saudi Vision 2030 with China’s Belt and Road Initiative

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and China have both embraced technological innovation and digital transformation as a means of broadening their economies, creating new ways of doing business, and competing globally in what has been termed the fourth industrial revolution.

As an emerging tech giant, China has made immense strides in robotics, artificial intelligence, and space science, as well as internet and 5G connectivity, construction and engineering, and green renewable technologies, particularly solar.

Although several developed and emerging economies have made similar bounds in science, engineering, computing, and technology, few have matched the pace and the extent of change seen in China over the past decade alone.

China today has the world’s largest internet infrastructure, with the number of users increasing from 564 million to 1.032 billion over the past decade, and a robust digital economy, which has increased in value from 11 trillion yuan ($1.6 trillion) to 45.5 trillion yuan.

China today has the world’s largest internet infrastructure, with the number of users increasing from 564 million to 1.032 billion over the past decade. (AFP)

China’s success is a reflection of its clearly set societal goals, which include attaining and sustaining economic growth, implementing a mass campaign of domestic poverty alleviation, and promoting technological innovation.

Utilizing technology and embracing digital transformation are widely viewed as effective means with which to accelerate economic and social development in an inclusive, dynamic, and cybersecure fashion.

Saudi Arabia has adopted this model, shifting several government and private-sector functions online with a view to providing seamless service delivery, improve end-user experiences, and to foster innovation.

Similarly, after four decades of technological and digital advancement, Chinese consumers have become a hyper-adaptive and hyper-adoptive community, making China one of the world’s most competitive markets on the digital frontier.

In Saudi Arabia, the government has developed a series of five-year plans to replace traditional processes with secure, efficient, and accountable digital platforms to provide high-quality public services, from licensing and permits to welfare and charitable donations.

Saudi Arabia’s projected spending on technology is valued at around $24.7 billion by 2025, the highest in the world, accounting for 21.7 percent of national spending, according to the Digital Government Authority.

This year, China spent 2.44 percent of its gross domestic product, approximately $441 billion, on research and development, and is aiming for 10 percent of its GDP to come from the digital economy by 2025 — up from 7.8 percent in 2020.

Saudi Arabia’s projected spending on technology is valued at around $24.7 billion by 2025. (AFP)

In its own race to become a regional tech hub and global leader in innovation, Saudi Arabia was also set to add nearly $16 billion to its GDP by 2040 through its research and development program.

In September, speaking at the G20 Digital Economy Ministers’ Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, Abdullah Al-Swaha, the Saudi minister of communications and information technology, said investment in these areas was crucial to sustainable economic development.

One of the Kingdom’s goals, outlined in its social reform and economic diversification agenda, Vision 2030, was to become one of the world’s top 10 countries in the Global Competitive Index by the end of the decade, rising from its current position of 24th.

Although China was already Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner, this week’s visit by President Xi Jinping was expected to see a flurry of new deals and strategic partnerships worth $29 billion and a plan to harmonize Vision 2030 with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The Digital Silk Road is the technological arm of the Belt and Road Initiative, which has been forecast to add $255 billion to regional GDP and create 600,000 technology-related jobs across the Gulf Cooperation Council area.

Earlier this year, China issued its 14th five-year plan for the development of the digital economy, setting out proposals to actively engage with the EU, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, African countries, and Belt and Road countries on digital economy policy.

Analysts consider the Middle East and North Africa region a critical commercial link to European and African markets, making Saudi Arabia and its GCC neighbors vital strategic partners for China’s digital expansion.
 


Mawhiba’s 2nd global talent conference kicks off in Jeddah on Saturday

Mawhiba’s 2nd global talent conference kicks off in Jeddah on Saturday
Updated 07 December 2022

Mawhiba’s 2nd global talent conference kicks off in Jeddah on Saturday

Mawhiba’s 2nd global talent conference kicks off in Jeddah on Saturday
  • The conference aims to inspire and empower talented youth from around the world to shape the future
  • Young creatives from all over the world are expected to participate in the conference alongside their Saudi peers

JEDDAH: On behalf of King Salman, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, governor of Makkah, will inaugurate on Saturday the second edition of the Global Conference for Giftedness and Creativity, which Jeddah will be hosting from Dec. 10 to 14.
The conference, organized by the King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, known as Mawhiba, will be held under the theme “Journey Toward the New Future.”
The conference aims to inspire and empower talented youth from around the world to shape the future and to engage them in building a platform to address global challenges.
Young creatives from all over the world are expected to participate in the conference alongside their Saudi peers, where they will work in teams to come up with solutions to the world’s sustainable development challenges.
Mawhiba Secretary-General Amal Al-Hazzaa said that the conference seeks to develop the Kingdom’s global leadership in supporting and nurturing talented youth.
Many world experts are participating, along with representatives from leading companies and universities, including the Saudi Basic Industries Corp., Aramco, NEOM, the King Abdullah University and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.
A selection of keynote speakers will deliver lectures, including Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Benyan, Saudi minister of education; Dr. Robert Lee Satcher Jr. an American physician, chemical engineer and former NASA astronaut; and Sir Geoff Mulgan, professor of collective intelligence, public policy and social innovation at University College London.
Among the panelists are Prof. Tony Chan, president of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology; Dr. Lianne Hoogeveen, president of the European Council for High Ability; Dr. Andreas Cangellaris, president of NEOM University; and Dr. Arif Ansari, a transformational leader and foresight business analytics expert.
In a short video posted on Twitter by Mawhiba, Mulgan, who also was CEO of the UK’s innovation foundation Nesta from 2011 to 2019, said that he will be speaking about how collective intelligence can support gifted people to realize their ideas and contribute to solving the world’s biggest challenges.
The conference will feature an “idea-thon” aimed at developing an idea-generating platform that will contribute qualitative solutions to the different problems facing societies in the future.
The first edition of the conference was held in the Saudi capital under the theme “Imagine the Future 2020” and was inaugurated by Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz.
The 2020 conference tackled virtual reality and its impact on human development. It also focused on expanding international cooperation with the aim of developing human capital to confront global challenges.
 


Red Bull Mobile hosts global bike shows in Alkhobar, Riyadh and Jeddah

Red Bull Mobile hosts global bike shows in Alkhobar, Riyadh and Jeddah
Updated 07 December 2022

Red Bull Mobile hosts global bike shows in Alkhobar, Riyadh and Jeddah

Red Bull Mobile hosts global bike shows in Alkhobar, Riyadh and Jeddah
  • Athletes Viki Gomez, Kenny Belaey and Senad Grosic put on exceptional performances
  • BMX stars expressed their admiration for ‘magnificence of Saudi cities’

JEDDAH: Residents of Alkhobar, Riyadh and Jeddah enjoyed an unforgettable three-day event thanks to Red Bull athletes Viki Gomez, Kenny Belaey and Senad Grosic, who participated in an international BMX biking show hosted by Saudi Arabia from Nov. 17-19.
Rally champion and media personality Sultan Hamdi hosted the event, while international DJ Mosaken performed a high-energy set.
On the first day, the shows were held in front of the Red Bull Mobile store in Al-Gosaibi Village in Alkhobar, while on the following day, they moved to the U Walk in Riyadh. The closing ceremony took place in Jeddah, in front of the Red Bull Mobile store at Le Prestige Mall.
During the second leg of the event, held in the capital, the three athletes expressed their delight at coming to the Kingdom and interacting with the crowds.
Gomez spoke of the “magnificence of the Saudi cities” that he visited.
“I’m in awe of this place. The audience was amazing,” he said, adding that the enthusiasm of the public raised the “caliber of the performances.”
He said: “It’s sad the event has come to an end and time has gone by so quickly, and I will miss Saudi Arabia very much.”
Meanwhile, Belaey expressed his admiration for the commercial center in Riyadh, which he visited several times, pointing to the great growth the Kingdom has witnessed.
He said: “Traveling around Saudi Arabia is a wonderful thing, and especially putting on shows in front of diverse people and cultures, and getting immersed in the vibe of different, interesting cities and sites.”


Saudi hospital named one of the world’s best mega projects

Saudi hospital named one of the world’s best mega projects
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi hospital named one of the world’s best mega projects

Saudi hospital named one of the world’s best mega projects
  • King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center in Madinah boasts range of services with focus on oncology, ophthalmology, obstetrics

RIYADH: King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center’s Al-Madinah Mega Project has been named by the Project Management Institute as one of the world’s best three schemes in the Large and Mega category.

The award recognizes projects with a budget of more than $50 million that seek to encourage superior management practices and organizational results while also having a positive impact on society.

The PMI chapter in Saudi Arabia named it as its Social Project of the Year.

The hospital and research center utilizes cutting-edge medical technology and offers a full range of services with a focus on oncology, ophthalmology, and obstetrics.

The complex spans some 331,000 sq. meters, and has a 300-bed capacity.