VFS Global: A supporter of Vision 2030’s Saudization and tourism goals

VFS Global: A supporter of Vision  2030’s Saudization and tourism goals
Zubin Karkaria, founder and CEO, VFS Global Group.
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Updated 01 December 2022

VFS Global: A supporter of Vision 2030’s Saudization and tourism goals

VFS Global: A supporter of Vision  2030’s Saudization and tourism goals

In line with the goals of Vision 2030, VFS Global, the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions, aims to achieve 100 percent Saudization in its customer-facing roles by December this year, with 65 percent of its workforce in the Kingdom currently being Saudi nationals. Moreover, the company is working closely with the Saudi Tourism Authority to boost visitor numbers to the Kingdom, aiming to achieve yet another of Vision 2030’s goal of raising the contribution of the tourism sector to the domestic product to more than 10 percent. 

“As an organization, we strongly support Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030. Each of the three fundamental pillars of Vision 2030 — building an ambitious nation, thriving economy and vibrant society, is aligned to our growth philosophy,” said Zubin Karkaria, founder and chief executive officer, VFS Global Group. 

Highlighting the company’s efforts of supporting Vision 2030, he said: “Sixty-five percent of VFS Global’s workforce in Saudi Arabia are nationals, and 40 percent of our operations staff in Saudi Arabia are women. In our customer-facing roles, we have set a target of 100 percent Saudization by December 2022. In addition, we have launched a Global Talent Pool to provide Saudi nationals with international exposure by providing deputations and training in our centers across our global network in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Americas. Over the next 12-18 months, we will train and coach about 100 Saudi nationals through classroom and on-ground training. 

“Moreover, we have been working in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia to provide visa outsourcing services in 30 countries since 2013, as well as visa processing on behalf of 32 client governments in 13 cities across Saudi Arabia. We also work closely with the Saudi Tourism Authority in their initiatives.”

VFS Global has been providing visa and consular services in Saudi Arabia since 2005. The company offers visa and passport services on behalf of 32 governments through a network of 95 visa application centers in the Kingdom. The company also offers visa services on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 30 countries through a network of 58 centers. 

Globally, VFS Global is the trusted partner of 66 client governments, with more than 3,300 application centers in 140+ countries. 

Commenting on VFS Global’s operations in the Kingdom, Karkaria said: “VFS Global started its services in the Saudi market in 2005, and since then it has enjoyed a strong partnership with the government of Saudi Arabia, working closely with the authorities to ensure compliance with all the local laws and guidelines, and supporting the nation’s growth agenda. VFS Global was among the first group of companies to establish regional headquarters in Riyadh, and the success of our business here further highlights the importance and advantage of the Kingdom.”

Operated by a staff of up to 800 employees, VFS Global operates centers in 13 cities, namely, Riyadh, Jeddah, Alkhobar, Abha, Hail, Jubail, Makkah, Jazan, Al-Qassim, Al-Kharj, Tabuk, Madinah, Najran and Al-Jouf. 

In a bid to provide service with ease to applicants across the Kingdom, it has also tied up with Chambers of Commerce in Riyadh, Makkah, Jazan, Al-Jouf, Najran, Al-Qassem, Madinah and Al-Kharj, to provide their members, employees, and residents end-to-end visa and passport services at the chambers’ premises. 

Similarly, bringing passport and consular services closer to home for Filipino, Sri Lankan and Indian citizens in the Kingdom, VFS Global operates passport renewal services in three major cities — Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar — and Passport On Wheels services in locations where there is no permanent passport center. 


LuLu Group celebrates Indo-Saudi ties with festival

The festival was inaugurated at the LuLu Hypermarket Murabba branch by chief guest Dr. Suhel Ajaz Khan,Indian Ambassador to KSA
The festival was inaugurated at the LuLu Hypermarket Murabba branch by chief guest Dr. Suhel Ajaz Khan,Indian Ambassador to KSA
Updated 25 January 2023

LuLu Group celebrates Indo-Saudi ties with festival

The festival was inaugurated at the LuLu Hypermarket Murabba branch by chief guest Dr. Suhel Ajaz Khan,Indian Ambassador to KSA
  • 12,700 Indian products and more — from popular FMCG products, Lulu Pvt label’s products, Indian fruits and vegetables to household goods and garments. — are on offer for shoppers this Indian Republic Day.

LuLu Group is celebrating all things India this week as it launched “India Utsav,” a celebration of Indian commercial ties with the Kingdom and festival of India’s popular cuisine, to coincide with the 74th Republic Day of India, which falls on Jan. 26.

The festival was inaugurated at the LuLu Hypermarket Murabba branch, Riyadh Avenue Mall by chief guest Dr. Suhel Ajaz Khan, Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The ambassador was welcomed by Shehim Mohammed, director — LuLu Saudi Hypermarkets, and senior officials of LuLu.

More than 12,700 Indian items are gracing the aisles of LuLu across Saudi Arabia — from popular FMCG products, Lulu Pvt label’s products, Indian fruits and vegetables to household goods and garments. Moreover, LuLu is putting a spotlight on a huge range of hot foods freshly prepared in store for the entire promotion, from biryanis to curries, popular street foods, traditional sweets and many more delicacies.
Indian Ambassador Khan praised the role of Lulu Group and its retail operations in promoting Indian essence worldwide. “The LuLu Group’s promotion of Indo-Saudi commerce and cultural links has brought pride and honor to India as well as to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and underscores the warm and friendly ties between both countries,” he said. “In Saudi Arabia, the group has initiated several far-sighted expansion projects and created employment opportunities for Indian and Saudi nationals. All this positions it to play a leading role in the Kingdom’s bright future,” he added.

LuLu, which has a strong Indian network of food processing and logistics centers for exporting bulk products to the Middle Eastern countries, has flown in many exclusive Indian products for this shopping festival, which showcases a wide range of food products, agri-produce range with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meat and seafood. To complete the Indian culture experience, trendy high-street fashion as well as a curated collection of designer wear for festivals and weddings have been made available.

Speaking at the inauguration, Mohammed said: “The LuLu Group International is at the forefront of India-GCC trade and in 2022, we exported nearly $185 million worth of Indian products to the GCC. In 2022, LuLu Saudi alone imported nearly $58 million worth of Indian products. With our network of food sourcing and logistics centers across India, food processing units and LuLu’s own-label food products as well as a cohort of skilled fashion buyers who help our garments and clothing department to stay ahead of the trend, we are well-prepared to treat our shoppers with truly festive ‘Utsav’ shopping.”

India Utsav will run until Jan. 30 and features a promotion on India’s best regional cuisines and super deals on all Indian products and fashion wear across LuLu Hypermarkets in the Kingdom and online on its shopping website and mobile app. 
 


Arabian Automobiles transforms customer experience

Arabian Automobiles transforms customer experience
Updated 24 January 2023

Arabian Automobiles transforms customer experience

Arabian Automobiles transforms customer experience

Arabian Automobiles, the flagship company of the AW Rostamani Group and the exclusive dealer for Nissan in Dubai, Sharjah and the northern emirates, is using cutting-edge digital technologies to improve services, increase levels of customer interaction, and alter the customer journey for car owners.

To ensure exceptional customer service and happiness, Arabian Automobiles employed digital best practices to measure customer satisfaction across a variety of touchpoints. The company issued a survey that addressed the overall purchase or service journeys, the handover experience, the quality and efficiency of the service, and the transparency of information. 

Arabian Automobiles continuously innovates based on customer feedback. One such innovation is [email protected], which lets customers shop, configure and compare their desired Nissan model against the full lineup and find out more about available offers, prices, financing, leasing and warranty options. It also grants them more flexibility in selecting the right maintenance service packages that best suit their needs.

Nissan Service, which was introduced earlier this year and adds an innovative integrated after-sales customer experience across online and offline channels, is intended to enhance the customer journey. With convenient digitized options for customers, such as online booking, express service, and pickup/drop-off services to speed up the process, Nissan Service covers various touchpoints during the customer journey, including transparent pricing models and the use of genuine Nissan parts.

Arabian Automobiles is currently the holder of Nissan Motor Company’s “Global Nissan After-sales Award” and is the only Nissan distributor to have won the award for a total of 21 times with 10 consecutive wins between 2007 and 2016.


UAE students to take center stage at Arab Health 2023

UAE students to take center stage at Arab Health 2023
Updated 24 January 2023

UAE students to take center stage at Arab Health 2023

UAE students to take center stage at Arab Health 2023

Students from the UAE will take center stage at Arab Health, a leading healthcare exhibition in the Middle East, which takes place from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2 at Dubai World Trade Centre, with the launch of the inaugural Future Doctor Program.

As part of the new initiative, students from the region have developed research addressing key topics within the UAE healthcare industry, including radiology, surgery, emergency medicine, pain management, sustainability and innovation in healthcare, among others.

The top 15 research papers will be showcased in poster format at the show, where students will have the opportunity to discuss their findings and engage in scientific discussion with experts speaking at the Arab Health Congress. 

The research covers a broad spectrum of healthcare factors, including the growing prominence of telehealth, where healthcare is carried out virtually through information and telecommunication technology. According to research carried out by students from the American University in Dubai, there is a growing acceptance of this mode of healthcare, and it is becoming a fundamental feature of health plans in the UAE. According to data, 54 percent of expats are likely to use it, which is 14 percent higher than the global average. 

Research conducted by students from the College of Medicine-University of Sharjah has revealed a lack of knowledge and understanding among adults in the UAE surrounding kidney stones and their causes. The study revealed that Gulf countries showed an increased incidence of kidney stones due to socioeconomic, environmental and nutritional factors, underscoring the importance of measuring levels of awareness, prevention, early detection and management. 

Meanwhile, students from the Gulf Medical University Ajman have compiled research to assess the predictors of the understanding of complementary and alternative medicine among adults in Ajman. The research revealed that age, gender, nationality, and marital and employment status were significant sociodemographic variables in determining complementary and alternative medicine literacy. 

Elsewhere, RAK Medical and Health Sciences University students addressed growing concerns around vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency and the skeletal and extra skeletal effects on the human body. 

Other research investigated radiographers’ perceptions and attitudes toward AI implementation in radiology. 

Cynthia Makarutse, conference director for Informa Markets, said: “We want to establish Arab Health as the place to launch careers for the UAE’s next generation of medical professionals. The Future Doctors Program recognizes and encourages young talent to showcase their latest research and inspires them to pursue their specialized education.”

“This fits well with Arab Health’s mission to support industry transformation and sustainability objectives.”

A total of nine continuing medical education conferences will take place at Arab Health 2023, welcoming an anticipated 3,200 delegates and more than 300 international speakers.

In addition, the exhibition will feature over 3,000 exhibitor companies from 70 countries and include nine product sectors, showcasing the latest technology and innovations in disposables, orthopedics, healthcare and general services, imaging, medical devices, IT, wellness and prevention, and infrastructure and assets.


5th MENALAC Awards to gather leisure & entertainment industry pioneers

5th MENALAC Awards to gather leisure & entertainment industry pioneers
Updated 24 January 2023

5th MENALAC Awards to gather leisure & entertainment industry pioneers

5th MENALAC Awards to gather leisure & entertainment industry pioneers

Against the backdrop of robust growth outlook for the regional leisure and entertainment industry, the MENALAC Awards ceremony is set to return for its fifth edition on March 15, at the Address Skyview Hotel, Downtown Dubai. Like every year, the awards ceremony will bring together leaders and innovators from the regional leisure and entertainment industry. 

As the governing body for the MENA leisure, entertainment and amusement industry, the MENALAC Awards have come to be recognized as a platform built to celebrate excellence in the industry. The awards ceremony sets new benchmarks for the industry by shining the spotlight on achievements of participants whilst also challenging them to constantly strive for excellence by implementing best practices, innovating offerings and delighting visitors. 

Ghassan Assi, chairperson of the MENALAC Awards Committee and chief operating officer of Trampo Extreme, said: “The growth of the leisure and entertainment industry in the MENA region is remarkable. From the world’s tallest to the fastest, snow park in the middle of desert to building world-class entertainment in futuristic cities, the MENA region has it all. Importantly, the industry has stayed resilient through the last couple of difficult years and is now on a clear growth path with regional leisure spending to touch the $609 million mark this year. And the MENALAC Awards program aims at recognizing excellence in this exceptionally dynamic, creative, and competitive industry.”

From people, processes, and products to design and tech transformation as well as safety and sustainability, in 2023 the MENALAC Awards will recognize excellence across 29 categories including: Best Theme Park, Best Waterpark, Best Family Entertainment Center, Most Unique Visitor Attraction, Best Edutainment/ Playscape, Best Cinema Experience, and others.

Cameron Mitchell, founder, Consult Middle East, said: “The Middle East has set international standards in out of home entertainment and experiences for decades. Wild Wadi, Ski Dubai, The Dubai Fountain and Sega Republic are but a few of the countless examples that helped establish the region as a global entertainment hotspot. More recently, the Museum of the Future, Ferrari World, Takenda and Brass Monkey have proudly innovated and evolved the entertainment experience regionally. Given the entertainment revolution that is exploding across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and regionally, the Middle East looks assured to set the same world-class standard for decades to come. And the MENALAC Awards play a pivotal role in recognizing industry successes and celebrates industry leaders who have reached new heights, either in calibre of experience, innovation, CSR or health and safety.” 


Latest Chinese products and services on display at Chinese Industrial Products Exhibition in UAE

Latest Chinese products and services on display at Chinese Industrial Products Exhibition in UAE
Updated 24 January 2023

Latest Chinese products and services on display at Chinese Industrial Products Exhibition in UAE

Latest Chinese products and services on display at Chinese Industrial Products Exhibition in UAE

Following the successful operation of the first manufacturer in China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone, the Chinese Industrial Products Exhibition will be held in Abu Dhabi from March 7-9. The event will be organized by the Chinese Jiangsu Overseas Cooperation and Investment Company, which undertakes the process of investing, developing and operating the Demonstration Zone in the Khalifa Economic Zone, in cooperation with Motion International Exhibitions and Events.

The exhibition provides an opportunity for Emirati nationals, businessmen, and others from the UAE and Arab region to get to know the major Chinese companies that offer the latest and best industrial products. The exhibition will also be an opportunity to conclude agreements with Chinese companies directly, which is the best guarantee of quality, prices and costs.

Zou Yonggang, CEO of JOCIC, highlighted the importance of the exhibition in building economic and business partnerships, and enhancing the role of the UAE as a distribution center and a main starting point for Chinese products going to other countries of the region. “The event provides major support to our investors, promoting trade growth, and promoting foreign direct investment in the region during the post-pandemic era, with China opening its doors to the whole world and the rapid economic recovery of the Middle East,” he said.

“The exhibition provides a great opportunity for suppliers to meet potential companies face-to-face for the first time in the past three years and discover the latest products and trends from Chinese suppliers,” Yonggang added.

The exhibition covers wide sectors of industries and products of interest to industrialists, traders and businessmen. These include a variety of highly efficient Chinese services and products, such as building and architecture services, minerals and advanced manufacturing, petroleum equipment and technical services, electric vehicles and heavy machinery, in addition to products of the renewable energy sector, environmental technology and 3D printing.