DUBAI: The International Monetary Fund will grant Morocco a $1.3 billion loan, Morocco’s state media reported on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia holds Radisson’s best regional portfolio: top executive
ABU DHABI: Saudi Arabia has become an investment magnet with its travel and tourism sector growing at an exponential rate attracting key industry players from all around the world.
Due to the attractive investment environment in the Kingdom, Radisson Hotels is placing the best of its regional portfolio in the Kingdom, a top executive told Arab News during an interview on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi.
“Reflecting on our journey in Saudi Arabia, we began in 2010 with five properties nationwide. Now, we not only have 10 establishments in Riyadh but 45 throughout Saudi Arabia. This growth is a testament to our dedication and passion in the region,” said Elie Milky, Radisson Hotel’s vice president of development.
Radisson aims to operate 100 hotels in the Kingdom by 2030, which will account for over half of the company’s regional presence, he told Arab News.
“We now have the best of our regional portfolio in Saudi Arabia,” Milky said.
Milky highlighted the strategic importance of the newly opened Radisson Blu hotel in Riyadh, owned by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce.
The collaboration with the chamber made Radisson Blu’s launch pivotal. This property boasts over 200 rooms and is directly linked with the Riyadh International Conference and Exhibition Center, Milky noted.
“Today, we are set to announce the signing of more than 10 hotels across the Middle East. This encompasses the unveiling of over 1,000 rooms in the past year and plans to introduce 2,000 more in the coming 12 months, primarily in Saudi Arabia,” Milky revealed.
Highlighting Saudi Arabia’s potential, Milky credited the country’s robust governmental reforms and its stature as the region’s dominant economy for propelling the hospitality sector forward.
Aiming to fortify its presence, the company plans to enhance its workforce in the Kingdom, targeting 20,000 employees by 2030, a significant leap from the current 7,000.
On expanding to Saudi Arabia’s secondary cities, Milky emphasized the company’s goal to recruit local talent, capitalizing on the vast skill set these communities offer.
On the issue of sustainability, Milky remarked on the industry’s evolution, pointing out that while development costs remain high, operational costs will become more economical.
UAE economy set for 3% growth in 2023, driven by non-oil sectors: S&P
RIYADH: The UAE is expected to achieve 3 percent economic growth in 2023 driven primarily by the non-oil sector, as outlined in a report by Standard and Poor’s.
The analysis from the ratings agency forecasts a further expansion rate of 4 percent next year.
S&P is bullish regarding the prospects of the UAE’s tourism industry, attributing its growth to the successful hosting of major events and activities.
Trevor Cullinan, a sovereign ratings analyst at the agency, pointed to the impressive expansion of the UAE’s non-oil sector, citing significant strides in services and industrial domains, reported the Emirates News Agency, also known as WAM.
Identifying key sectors that are steering the UAE’s economic growth, Cullinan mentioned oil and gas, wholesale trade, and industry, as well as real estate, construction, and financial services.
He expects the non-oil sector to sustain its momentum, with factors like an influx of expatriates and tourists, positive sentiments among investors and consumers, and private sector development playing pivotal roles.
These projections align with the “We Are the UAE 2031” vision, a national strategy aimed at boosting trade and increasing the tourism sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product through collaborative efforts between government entities and the private sector, the WAM report stated.
Tatiana Liskova, a corporate ratings analyst at S&P, sees the UAE’s travel and hospitality industries as a key driver of economic growth, citing Dubai’s achievement in attracting 14.7 million international visitors in 2022, double that of the previous year.
She expects the sector’s growth to continue, bolstered by high-profile events like the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP28, a major step toward the UAE’s ambitious goal of welcoming 40 million visitors by 2030 and expanding its hotel room capacity to 250,000.
Liskova pointed out that both Abu Dhabi and Dubai will maintain their positions as leaders in attracting business and tourists to the country.
Meanwhile, other emirates such as Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah are making significant progress in diversifying their tourism offerings, enhancing their overall appeal.
Mohamed Damak, a financial institution ratings analyst and global head of Islamic Finance at S&P, predicts continued strength in the UAE’s banking sector.
Improved profitability, surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels, and benefiting from rising interest rates are on the horizon, with UAE banks also set to capitalize on technological advancements.
Abu Dhabi National Hotels CEO reveals expansion plans at Future Hospitality Summit
RIYADH: Abu Dhabi National Hotels is exploring expansion opportunities in North Africa and Europe, the company’s CEO revealed during the Future Hospitality Summit on Tuesday.
This development strategy points to the company’s growth ambitions, giving access to new customer segments and markets, Khalid Anib indicated.
The executive also emphasized ADNH’s commitment to environmental responsibility, stating: “As owners, we are embracing sustainability and are ready to enhance our buildings to be more sustainable.”
The Future Hospitality Summit, a gathering of industry figureheads and key stakeholders, witnessed prominent business leaders sharing their insights on expansion and ambitions for growth within the market.
Adeeb Ahamed, the managing director of Lulu Financial Holdings & Twenty14 Holdings, addressed the hospitality industry’s pivotal role in job creation.
Ahamed stated: “One in 11 jobs are generated by the hospitality sector, making it a priority in every market.”
He stressed that despite technological advancements, the hospitality sector remains unique, with limited job displacement, as the human touch remains integral.
Ahamed also highlighted the growing appeal of the region as a tourist hot spot, drawing parallels with popular European destinations.
He noted: “The countries in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) are becoming very attractive in terms of tourism, and this is very good news for the entire economy. Like in Europe where people visit multiple countries in one holiday, the GCC is creating something of that sort and this is where we like to capitalize, we like to see how we can do it in Oman, in Saudi Arabia, in Qatar. And this would give more reasons to travel here.”
In response to the rapid growth of the hospitality sector in neighboring Saudi Arabia, Ahamed commented: “I think Saudi Arabia is not a competition. It’s a combined effort that’s going to bring more confidence to investors to invest in the region, so more awakening done by neighboring countries is definitely going to boost the ecosystem.”
Saudi Arabia’s transport plans play crucial role in global carbon emissions battle
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s sustainable transport plans are a vital part of the Kingdom’s drive to reduce global carbon emissions by 4 percent, said a government official on Tuesday.
Speaking at the Global Sustainable Transport Forum held in Beijing from Sept. 25-26, the Saudi Transport and Logistics Services Minister, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, stressed that sustainability is a fundamental element of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Al-Jasser underscored that the Kingdom’s strong commitment to sustainability has been smoothly incorporated into the transport and logistics sector through the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics.
The strategy includes reducing carbon emissions per person by 2 percent in a year, increasing sustainable mobility, electrifying transport and implementing them across the logistics value chain.
It also includes developing the necessary infrastructure to meet future demand, with the primary goal of minimizing traffic fatalities.
According to Al-Ekhbariya, the minister also pointed out that cooperation, innovation and the exchange of best practices create the foundation for achieving common goals.
He also revealed that there has been significant progress over the years, with the number of fatalities falling from 28 per 100,000 people in 2016 to 13.5 in 2020.
Through the implementation of a national safety program that emphasizes infrastructure development, road safety awareness and governance improvements, the goal is to lower the fatalities to less than five by 2030.
Al-Jasser also emphasized how the COVID-19 pandemic hugely affected the global logistics and transportation industry, causing supply chains to break down and some transport sectors to collapse.
This fact underlines how crucial it is to balance the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable development to create green transportation networks.
Furthermore, the minister said in August that Saudi Arabia’s master plan to develop logistics centers in the Kingdom will help improve transport services and contribute to infrastructure development.
He noted that the new master plan will also strengthen Saudi Arabia’s connection with global markets, as the Kingdom is strategically placed in the middle of three continents.
Saudi Arabia’s NSTL aims to position the Kingdom as one of the top 10 countries globally in the logistics performance index by the end of this decade, aligned with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.
Egypt awards oil and gas exploration blocks to Eni, BP, QatarEnergy, Zarubezhneft
CAIRO: Egypt awarded on Tuesday four blocks in an oil and gas exploration bid round for concessions in the Mediterranean and Nile Delta to Italy’s Eni, BP, QatarEnergy, and Russia's Zarubezhneft, the petroleum ministry said.
Eni would take two blocks by itself and a third in a coalition with BP and QatarEnergy, while Zarubezhneft was also awarded a block.
This comes after Egypt’s petroleum ministry launched an international bidding round on Monday for exploration in 23 open blocks, with the offer deadline set for Feb. 25, according to Reuters.
The round includes 10 areas in Egypt’s Western Desert, two in the Eastern Desert, seven in the Gulf of Suez and four in the Red Sea, the ministry said.
Egypt, the most populous Arab country, has sought to position itself as a regional energy hub.