World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 
Touted to be one of the biggest tourism events of the year, the global summit is being organized at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center under the theme “Travel for a Better Future." (Shutterstock)
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Updated 28 November 2022

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 

RIYADH: Global leaders in the tourism sector will gather in Riyadh for the World Travel and Tourism Global Summit from Nov. 28-Dec. 1 as the Kingdom steadily pursues its journey to evolve as a global tourist destination, in alignment with its Vision 2030 goals. 

Touted to be one of the biggest tourism events of the year, the global summit is being organized at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center under the theme “Travel for a Better Future."

During the event, industry leaders will share their thoughts about the future of the sector and the challenges that should be addressed to ensure a safer, more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable travel and tourism industry. 

According to a press release issued by WTTC, former British Prime Minister Theresa May will be one of the key speakers at the event, along with other prominent personalities in the sector including Jerry Inzerillo, group CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai International Airports. 

South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-Moon, who served as the eighth secretary-general of the UN between 2007 and 2016, will also address delegates during the event. 

“We are delighted to have such influential speakers already confirmed for our global summit in Riyadh. Our event will bring together many of the world’s most powerful leaders in our sector to discuss and secure its long-term future, which is critical to economies and jobs around the world,” said WTTC's president and CEO Julia Simpson. 

Simpson also lauded Saudi Arabia’s tourism efforts and said that the Kingdom’s tourism sector will be the fastest growing one in the region by the end of this decade.

She added: “The government of Saudi Arabia has been instrumental in the recovery of the global travel and tourism sector following two years of crisis. Set to become a major tourist destination, our latest research shows that Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector will surpass pre-pandemic levels next year and will see the fastest growth across the Middle East over the next decade.”

This year’s WTTC Global Summit is also supported by a metaverse experience created for potential investors to explore investment opportunities and take part in sessions virtually, according to a press release.

“WTTC will arrive in Riyadh as tourism enters a new era of recovery and we welcome the world to join them virtually in our metaverse,” said Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmad Al-Khateeb.

He added: “Bringing together global leaders from both the public and private sector, the summit will be fundamental in building the better, brighter future the sector deserves and technology and innovation will be key to our collective future success.”

For the first time in history, this year’s WTTC Global Summit will be live streamed to the general public. 

The event in Saudi Arabia is timely with a new global consumer survey carried out by YouGov revealing that the appetite for international travel is now at its highest point since the start of the pandemic. 

According to the survey report, 63 percent of the respondents are planning a leisure trip in the next 12 months, a strong indication of the sector’s bounce back after the economic headwind triggered by the pandemic.

The report also noted that 27 percent of the participants are planning three or more trips in the next 12 months. Earlier in October, while speaking at the Future Investment Initiative, 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. 


Closing bell: TASI falls 0.2% to close at 10,793 

Closing bell: TASI falls 0.2% to close at 10,793 
Updated 10 sec ago

Closing bell: TASI falls 0.2% to close at 10,793 

Closing bell: TASI falls 0.2% to close at 10,793 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index on Tuesday fell 17.83 points — or 0.16 percent — to close at 10,792.85. 

MSCI Tadawul 30 Index and the parallel market Nomu fell flat to close at 1,488.36 and 19,140.41, respectively. 

TASI’s total trading turnover of the benchmark index on Tuesday was SR4.59 billion ($1.22 billion), with 97 stocks of the listed 224 advancing and 114 retreating. 

Allied Cooperative Insurance Group was the topmost gainer of the day, rising 8.77 percent to SR12.40. 

The other top gainers were Gulf General Cooperative Insurance Co., Wataniya Insurance Co., Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co.and Arabia Insurance Cooperative Co. 

The worst performer on Tuesday was Middle East Paper Co., which fell 4.73 percent to SR30.20. 

Other stocks that performed poorly included Abdulmohsen Alhokair Group for Tourism and Development, Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co., National Industrialization Co., and Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. 

Among sectoral indices, 12 of the 21 listed on the stock exchange declined, while one stayed flat and the rest advanced. 

On the announcements front, Jarir Marketing Co., also known as Jarir Bookstores, reported that its net profits, after zakat and tax, declined 2.23 percent to SR969.80 million in 2022 compared to SR991.90 million a year ago. 

The firm witnessed an annual rise of 3.34 percent in revenue to SR9.39 billion in 2022 from SR 9.08 billion in the earlier year, according to the statement to Tadawul. 

Earnings per share retreated to SR8.08 during the January-December 2022 period from SR8.27 in 2021. Its share price on Tuesday increased 0.27 percent to SR150.40 

Nomu-listed Edarat Communications and Information Technology Co. also reported a net profit of SR12.6 million in 2022, up 95 percent compared to SR6.5 million in the previous year, driven by a 58 percent year-on-year increase in revenue. Gross profit also jumped 83 percent during the period under review. 

On Tuesday, National Agricultural Development Co. also informed the stock exchange that it sealed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Investment Recycling Co. to recycle biowaste to contribute to environmental protection. 

In a statement to Tadawul, both parties intend to recycle approximately 400,000 tons of biological waste per annum and process them into high-efficient, organic fertilizers. 

The company also announced its 2023-2027 strategy to strengthen its leadership locally and regionally through expanding the current business operations, developing new markets, expanding its product range, and entering into new ventures. 

NADEC aims to become a vertically integrated food business, targeting SR6 billion in revenue by 2027. Its share price gained 1.04 percent to SR23.24. 

Meanwhile, the Saudi Investment Bank, on Jan. 31, began offering the second tranche of its Saudi riyal-denominated tier 1 sukuk with a minimum subscription value of SR1 million. The offer ends on Feb. 5, 2023. SIB’s share price added 1.35 percent to SR17.98. 

Alqemam for Computer System Co. debuted on Nomu-Parallel Market on Jan. 31 as its first direct listing with the symbol 9558 at SR80 per share. Unfortunately, its share price crashed 9.37 percent on its opening day to end at SR72.50. 

On the dividends front, Alkhabeer Capital announced paying a dole out of 1.05 percent, or SR0.105 per unit, to Alkhabeer REIT Fund unitholders for the period from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022, totaling SR14.81 million. 


Arab Petroleum provided 93.2% of Japan’s imports in December

Arab Petroleum provided 93.2% of Japan’s imports in December
Updated 54 min 26 sec ago

Arab Petroleum provided 93.2% of Japan’s imports in December

Arab Petroleum provided 93.2% of Japan’s imports in December

TOKYO: Japan remained heavily dependent on Arab crude oil to generate about 30 percent of its energy needs for its economy in December 2022, data showed.

In numbers, Arab Petroleum provided 93.2% of the 91.87 million barrels of oil imported by Japan in that month, with 93.2% of that amount, or 85.62 million barrels, coming from the six Arab countries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, according to data from the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Saudi Arabia alone provided the biggest share of the imports, 37.64 million barrels or 41% of the total. The United Arab Emirates supplied 36.4% or 33.47 million barrels. Kuwait provided 8.8% or 7.27 million barrels, and Qatar supplied 5% or 3.89 million barrels. Japan also imported 2.1%, about two million barrels, from Bahrain and another 0.5% or, 479 thousand barrels, from Oman.

Notably, imports of crude oil from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates amounted to 77.4% of the country’s total oil imports in December 2022 making both countries crucial for Japan to maintain its energy security.

The data showed a notable increase from the United States of America at 4%. Central and South America provided 1.4%, Southeast Asia 1.2%, Brunei 0.3%, and Oceania 0.1%.

Sanctions against Russian and Iranian oil have continued as Japanese companies followed the policy of the USA.

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

This story was originally published on Arab News Japan


More than 100 of Aramco’s international suppliers on course to establish regional hubs in Saudi Arabia: Top official

More than 100 of Aramco’s international suppliers on course to establish regional hubs in Saudi Arabia: Top official
Updated 31 January 2023

More than 100 of Aramco’s international suppliers on course to establish regional hubs in Saudi Arabia: Top official

More than 100 of Aramco’s international suppliers on course to establish regional hubs in Saudi Arabia: Top official

RIYADH: Some 40 international materials suppliers for Saudi Aramco have already obtained certificates from the Kingdom’s Ministry of Investment to establish headquarters in Saudi Arabia, as localization efforts steadily continue, according to a top official.

Speaking at the seventh edition of the In-Kingdom Total Value Add Forum in Dhahran, Salem Al-Huraish, vice president of procurement at Saudi Aramco, said more than 60 other firms have put in the paperwork to begin the process of setting-up regional headquarters in the Kingdom.

“We are working hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Investment. And now, we are giving incentives for the companies when they move their regional headquarters to the Kingdom,” said Al-Huraish.

He added: “I am glad to highlight that 40 of our top suppliers, those are international suppliers, already obtained certificates from MISA which is the first step for their localization or migration of their regional headquarters in the Kingdom. Another more than 60 suppliers have already filed the request to get the license.”

According to Al-Huraish, these localization efforts and the migration of regional headquarters will definitely contribute to the economy of Saudi Arabia.

During the panel discussion, Al-Huraish noted Saudi Aramco is always focussing to ensure a sustainable supply chain within the Kingdom, and made it clear that this is in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

“ESG (environmental, social, and governance) was in the DNA of the company since its inception. We always realize the importance of ESG in our ecosystem, strategy, and all our business ethics. We are trying to establish a local platform here in the Kingdom to measure how much each company are contributing to ESG. Now, our suppliers are being rewarded for their ESG contribution locally,” Al-Huraish added.

Al-Huraish further pointed out that Saudi Aramco is very much focused on cybersecurity, and added that it is giving incentives to all the companies that meet these requirements as a part of the iktva program.

“All in all, we are on a continuous journey for improvement by keeping an eye on the market. Whenever we see an area of improvement, we will just capture it and have it part of our program,” said Al-Huraish.

Al-Huraish further pointed out that the iktva program achieved 63 percent local content in 2022, up from 35 percent in 2015 when it was initially launched.

On the first day of the iktva forum on Monday, Saudi Aramco signed over 100 agreements valued at $7.2 billion, primarily aimed at collective localization in key focus areas including digital space, sustainability, industrial, and manufacturing sectors.

Ayman Al Fallaj, CEO of Thiqah (Screenshot)

For his part, Ayman Al Fallaj, CEO of Thiqah, said that digitalization is needed to ensure a sustainable supply chain and localization.

“Without digitalization, we face tons of challenges, as we do not know where to start. We believe digitalization has played a crucial role in the smooth transition and transformation after the pandemic and in bringing more local content to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Al Fallaj.

During the panel discussion, ACWA Power CEO Paddy Padmanathan said that the company has been very transparent in its investment plan which will in turn help to ensure a resilient and sustainable local supply chain.

“We are very transparent in our investment plans, and we show the path on where ACWA Power is going to invest, and what ACWA Power is going to invest in. And therefore, what are the areas in which they (companies) can reliably look at investing in the Kingdom in order to supply into the project that we procure,” said Padmanathan.

Padmanathan added that ACWA Power is investing around $13 billion every year in new capacities; roughly half of it is in the Kingdom and another half in other markets the company serves.

Paul Stanley, CEO of Achilles, said during the discussion that maintaining economic competitiveness is one of the main challenges faced as companies try to ensure sustainability.

“As you look at your supply chain, remember you are running a business, and it has to be sustainable economically as well. An ethically sustainable chain should be also commercially competitive, and that is where the real challenge is,” said Stanley.


Siemens Energy aims to support Saudi Arabia achieve its 2060 net-zero goals: CEO 

Siemens Energy aims to support Saudi Arabia achieve its 2060 net-zero goals: CEO 
Updated 31 January 2023

Siemens Energy aims to support Saudi Arabia achieve its 2060 net-zero goals: CEO 

Siemens Energy aims to support Saudi Arabia achieve its 2060 net-zero goals: CEO 

RIYADH: As the world is pushed to up the ante in energy transition, the Middle East region has a significant role to play in achieving this goal. Given the region’s dominant position in the energy sector, Siemens Energy recently launched an innovation hub in the UAE that will help the company drive the transition. 

The company’s CEO and President Christian Bruch, who attended Saudi Aramco’s ‘In-Kingdom Total Value Add’ forum, told Arab News he is excited about the opportunity to work with stakeholders in Saudi Arabia. 

As the Kingdom has some of the best universities as well as the world’s biggest oil and gas industries, Bruch said: “We are currently in various discussions with them and with the government agencies to identify opportunities for innovation.”  

“We have a state-of-the-art manufacturing hub in Dammam, the largest facility of its kind in the region, where we plan to co-develop the technologies of the future.”   

Bruch believes that innovations are more crucial than ever, as 45 percent of all emissions savings in 2050 will come from technologies that are not yet on the market today. 

Renewable energy 

The CEO of one of the world's leading energy technology companies pointed out that the Gulf region in particular is impacted by climate change “because it’s warming twice as fast as the rest of the world and extreme heat and water shortages have been a reality here for decades.”  

However, he said, the good news is that the region has immense potential for generating renewable energy due to its geographic location. 

“We intend to harness this potential through renewable power generation and converting that to green hydrogen,” Brunch informed. 

He went on to cite the example of the UAE, where Siemens Energy is working on a hydrogen project with Masdar, TotalEnergies, Etihad Airways and Lufthansa.   

“In the first phase, we will focus on the production of green hydrogen for passenger cars and buses in the Masdar City area,” he said, adding that at the same time, a kerosene synthesis plant will convert the majority of the green hydrogen into sustainable aviation fuel. 

In the second phase, he revealed the company will produce decarbonized fuels for the maritime sector. 

Accelerating localization  

Bruch explained that Siemens Energy aims to support Saudi Arabia in its journey to reach its 2060 goal of net-zero emissions through its bridging solutions.  

“As part of its journey, the country wants to shift toward cleaner gas-burning instead of oil for its energy production. And we are supporting the country with our highly efficient gas turbine technologies that could later be used for hydrogen,” he said.  

Responding to a question on what needs to be done to accelerate the pace of localization and manufacturing to enable the Kingdom to become a manufacturing hub, Bruch said: “Localizing value chains for the manufacturing processes plays an integral part in Saudi Arabia’s vision to become a manufacturing hub.” 

In order to accelerate the pace to become a manufacturing hub, he feels Saudi Arabia should focus more on increasing knowledge transfer in the manufacturing process; strengthening the infrastructure for industries; improving access to funding; and encouraging innovation and development. 

Bruch went on to say that the Kingdom will also need to address gaps in the supply chain in order to minimize imports of components and rely on homegrown supply chains. 

The CEO revealed that Siemens Energy started its localization journey in Saudi Arabia in 2016 when it produced the first made-in-Saudi Arabia gas turbine from its factory in Dammam. “Since then, we have focused on training young Saudis and transferred knowledge and technology to create the largest facility of its kind in the region.” 

He stressed that they are continuing to expand this facility and increase their localization level in the country. “Because that’s what matters in the end, even if it sounds like a platitude: we only have one planet and we all have to work together to prevent climate catastrophe,” Bruch concluded. 


Saudi Arabia remains largest projects market in GCC in 2022, says report

Saudi Arabia remains largest projects market in GCC in 2022, says report
Updated 31 January 2023

Saudi Arabia remains largest projects market in GCC in 2022, says report

Saudi Arabia remains largest projects market in GCC in 2022, says report

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia remained the largest projects market in the GCC during 2022 recording a total of $54.2 billion worth of contracts awarded as compared to $53.9 billion in 2021, according to Kamco Invest.

Other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council, however, witnessed a drop in project awards during 2022 due to mounting global economic challenges. The total value of contracts handed out dropped 18.7 percent to $93.6 billion from $115.2 billion the previous year, said the report.

This was the lowest project awards amount since 2005, barring the pandemic-induced decline in 2020, the regional non-banking financial powerhouse based in Kuwait stated. 

The decline of GCC contract awards was affected by high inflation and continuing supply chain problems, mainly due to China’s intermittent COVID-19 restrictions which are now lifted, it added. 

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar accounted for a combined 93.6 percent of the total value of contracts awarded in the GCC during the year. 

According to the report, total projects awarded in Kuwait during 2022 reached $2.8 billion against $5.2 billion in 2021.

Similarly, Oman witnessed new project awards drop by 27.1 percent year-on-year to hit $2.2 billion, while the aggregate value of contracts awarded in Bahrain reached $96 million in 2022 as compared to $2.7 billion during 2021. 

In terms of sector, the major share of new contract awards went to the construction industry with the value registering a $3.2 billion year-on-year increase to reach a total of $34.3 billion during 2022. 

The growth in the GCC construction sector was mainly driven by the jump in total value of contract awards in Saudi Arabia’s construction sector. 

Of the total value of projects awarded in the GCC, nearly 59.2 percent was awarded by the Kingdom, stated the report. 

The outlook for 2023 remains bright for the GCC projects market with more than $110 billion worth of projects already in the tender stage, according to MEED Projects, that would mostly translate into awards.