Saudi Arabia embraces fitness: GymNation sees record sign-ups

Saudi Arabia embraces fitness: GymNation sees record sign-ups
GymNation’s launch into Saudi Arabia aligns directly with the ambitions of Vision 2030 and building a strong and happy society as the foundation for economic prosperity.
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Updated 16 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia embraces fitness: GymNation sees record sign-ups

Saudi Arabia embraces fitness: GymNation sees record sign-ups

GymNation, a homegrown GCC fitness brand, has announced record-breaking demand from Saudi residents, ahead of the official opening of its first six gym locations in the Kingdom in August.

More than 120,000 people initially registered their interest in the four Jeddah and two Alkhobar locations, with the first phase of 12,000 memberships selling out in under 72 hours, breaking all previous pre-opening sales records for a gym brand in the Middle East.

Already the UAE’s largest gym brand, GymNation’s launch into Saudi Arabia aligns directly with the ambitions of Vision 2030 and building a strong, happy, and fulfilling society as the foundation for economic prosperity. With physical, psychological, and social well-being at the heart, Vision 2030 aims to promote a society where everyone enjoys a high quality of life, a healthy lifestyle and an attractive living environment.

Loren Holland, founder and CEO, GymNation, said: “The unprecedented number of memberships we have sold in just three days shows the huge demand and interest from citizens and residents in improving their physical and mental health across the Kingdom. At GymNation, we want to provide a far better gym experience at a much more affordable price point than is currently available from the existing operators. We are an inclusive brand that provides a welcoming environment for everyone regardless of ability, shape or size.”

“Our pipeline of new locations across Saudi Arabia is incredibly strong and with the support of our investment partners Tricap Investments and Ruya Partners, we are looking forward to an exciting period of growth and having a similar positive and disruptive impact on the Saudi Arabia fitness scene by breaking down affordability and accessibility barriers, like we did in the UAE.”

The Saudi Sports for All Federation recently launched its 2024 summer campaign, “Move Your World,” to help people engage in physical activities. GymNation’s launch supports the federation’s aims to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity and help people overcome barriers to healthy living habits.

As the region’s “movement partner,” GymNation will play a leading role in improving the health and well-being for everyone in Saudi Arabia, by making going to the gym less intimidating, more affordable, more accessible and fun for everyone.


Emirates brings signature lounge experience to Jeddah

Emirates brings signature lounge experience to Jeddah
Updated 13 July 2024
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Emirates brings signature lounge experience to Jeddah

Emirates brings signature lounge experience to Jeddah

Emirates has officially opened the doors to its first ever lounge in the region at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. The airline’s newest dedicated lounge will accommodate customers flying on its triple daily A380 services.

The 900-square-meter lounge, worth 20 million dirhams ($5.4 million), located in the airport’s new Terminal 1 will cater to the airline’s first and business class passengers, as well as Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold members, with the capacity to accommodate more than 190 guests at any one time, in a variety of seating options.

The investment reflects the airline’s commitment to progressively growing its presence in the Kingdom, supporting aviation goals of Saudi Vision 2030, and its ongoing dedication to ensuring a thoughtful and welcoming Emirates experience on the ground for customers flying from one of Emirates’ most important markets globally. This year, Emirates is also celebrating a milestone in its operations to Saudi Arabia, marking 35 years of service to Jeddah.

The official opening of the lounge was attended by Nasser Huwaiden Al-Ketbi, consul general of the UAE in Jeddah; Raed bin Ibrahim Al-Mudaiheem, chairman of the board of directors of Jeddah Airports Company; Mohammed Mattar, divisional senior vice president — airport services at Emirates; Mazen Johar, CEO of JEDCO; Sami Aqil Abdulla, senior vice president — airport services for outstations and business support; Jabr Al-Azeeby, vice president — commercial operations for Emirates in Saudi Arabia; and Amer Al-Arai, airport services manager for Emirates at King Abdulaziz International Airport. 

Mattar said: “Jeddah was our first gateway into the Kingdom 35 years ago, so it’s fitting that the King Abdulaziz International Airport, a world-class facility, is the first airport in the region outside of Dubai to feature an Emirates dedicated lounge. The lounge, comfortably situated at the center of Terminal 1, is beautifully designed to deliver an industry-leading experience and Emirates’ signature hospitality for our customers from the moment they step inside. We thank the airport authorities for their support in helping us open our doors to officially welcome customers and provide them with a memorable travel experience on the ground.”

Meanwhile, Johar said: “The launch of Emirates lounge at King Abdulaziz International Airport reflects the 35-year-long strategic relationship of providing multiple travel options to passengers through the airline’s three daily flights. The lounge is a significant addition to the airport’s services and supports the comprehensive development efforts at the airport, aimed at providing an enjoyable and seamless travel experience for passengers from all over the world.”

The new lounge features a refreshed and sophisticated design, anchored in contemporary elements with regional design influences. The welcoming space offers a variety of seating configurations, including dining, lounging, and quiet spaces for relaxation. Inside the lounge, customers can look forward to a wide range of dining options, luxurious shower facilities, a prayer room, and other amenities.

The buffet offers a wide variety of Middle Eastern, local, and international delicacies to choose from, including lamb kabsa, spinach and ricotta tortellini, Moroccan lemon chicken, prawn machbous, Saint Sebastian cheesecake, and Tiramisu cake, among many others.

The lounge is located on the third floor of King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Terminal 1 Departure area and is just a 10-minute walk from the terminal’s entrance and a 3 to 5-minute walk to the boarding gates, A28B and A38B, where Emirates’ three daily flights are situated during the day.

In addition to the new lounge, the airline currently operates seven lounges across the three concourses at DXB and 32 others around the Emirates network.

Emirates has been facilitating tourism and trade in the Kingdom since 1989 and currently serves four gateways — Riyadh, Jeddah, Madinah, and Dammam — with more than 70 weekly flights, including triple daily flights to Jeddah with its flagship Airbus A380s. Since it began operations, Emirates has transported close to 30.7 million passengers to and from the Kingdom on more than 112,000 flights, connecting travelers to destinations across the airline’s extensive global network, including popular cities and regions like Dubai, London, Istanbul, Paris, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, the US, and Indian Ocean islands like the Maldives, Mauritius, and Seychelles.


New Balance expands in KSA with new Jeddah store

New Balance expands in KSA with new Jeddah store
Updated 13 July 2024
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New Balance expands in KSA with new Jeddah store

New Balance expands in KSA with new Jeddah store

New Balance has announced the opening of its fifth store in the Kingdom and its second store in the vibrant city of Jeddah. Strategically located within the popular U Walk Jeddah, the new store offers a memorable shopping experience for residents and visitors alike.

As New Balance continues its expansion within the MENA region, its glocalization strategy has brought the brand closer to the communities within several countries. As a key market within the region, Saudi Arabia presents significant opportunities for New Balance to deepen its connection and strengthen its presence in the country.

Jeddah, a dynamic city with a growing passion for sports and fitness, is an ideal location for New Balance’s fifth store in the Kingdom. With U Walk Jeddah being a popular destination for retail, the addition of the New Balance store will enhance the shopping experience, providing consumers access to high-quality footwear, apparel and accessories.

The store features New Balance’s innovative Metro Flex concept, allowing consumers to shop the full brand collection in an immersive environment.

Customers can discover a comprehensive selection of performance running shoes, walking shoes, training footwear, and stylish lifestyle sneakers, alongside a curated collection of performance and athleisure apparel.

Stuart Henwood, regional general manager of New Balance in the Middle East, Africa and India, said: “We are thrilled to expand our presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the opening of our store in U Walk Jeddah. “

The latest store opening in the city marks yet another significant milestone that solidifies our aspiration for New Balance’s retail expansion. New Balance remains dedicated to driving innovation in performance technology, delivering premium comfort to athletes worldwide. The brand looks to continue its growth whilst bringing together communities and fans alike through a shared passion for running, comfort, and fashion.”

The brand launched four new stores this year alone and has more planned in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco by the end of 2024.


Ericsson-KAUST partnership to propel 5G and 6G in KSA

Ericsson-KAUST partnership to propel 5G and 6G in KSA
Updated 10 July 2024
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Ericsson-KAUST partnership to propel 5G and 6G in KSA

Ericsson-KAUST partnership to propel 5G and 6G in KSA

Ericsson has announced the extension of its successful research and development partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology for an additional two years, following the impactful outcomes achieved in their initial three-year collaboration. This extension emphasizes the commitment of both institutions to continue advancing cutting-edge technologies in telecommunications, including 5G and 6G with specific emphasis on on-chip reflective intelligent surfaces, and free-space optical communications, within the framework of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Since its inception, the partnership has fostered numerous valuable scientific publications and findings. The collaborative research focused on machine learning for frequency-selective wireless channels, Terahertz and free-space optical communications, and transparent and flexible intelligent surfaces. Building on these successes, the extended phase will delve deeper into the next generation of telecommunication technologies, with a particular focus on on-chip reflective intelligent surfaces and free-space optical communications.

The partnership has also facilitated the exchange of knowledge and collaboration among students and researchers of KAUST and Ericsson Research in Sweden, enriching the educational and professional experiences of the participants and building a robust pipeline of talent that supports the Kingdom’s technological aspirations.

Pierre Magistretti, vice president of research, KAUST, said: “The extension of our partnership with Ericsson reflects our shared vision for pioneering the telecommunications landscape of tomorrow. Through this collaboration, we have been able to combine KAUST’s research capabilities with Ericsson’s industry expertise to produce groundbreaking scientific research. Our efforts have not only enhanced our research capabilities but have also contributed significantly to the development of a skilled talent pool in alignment with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. The next phase of our partnership promises even greater innovations, as we continue to explore the untapped potential of advanced telecommunication technologies.”

Mashhour Al-Sudairy, head of local content at Ericsson, Saudi Arabia, said: “Our ongoing partnership with KAUST is a testament to Ericsson’s commitment to fostering innovation through collaborative research. The initial phase of our partnership yielded significant advancements in telecommunication technologies, which have been crucial in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the 5G and emerging 6G space. As we move into the next phase of our partnership, our focus will remain on harnessing the full potential of next-generation technologies to further revolutionize connectivity and telecommunication technologies.”

As Ericsson and KAUST embark on this extended journey, both parties have reaffirmed their commitment to driving innovation and further enhancing the development of local content and the growth of the Kingdom’s ICT sector.


LG rolls out latest wireless OLED TV

LG rolls out latest wireless OLED TV
Updated 10 July 2024
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LG rolls out latest wireless OLED TV

LG rolls out latest wireless OLED TV

LG Electronics has begun the global rollout of its new OLED evo M4 series TV with the accompanying Zero Connect Box that provides wireless connectivity between the TV and the receiver. The company is presenting the new model in 65 inches, in addition to the 77, 83, and 97 inches, the M series offers to accommodate the personal preferences and living spaces of as many customers as possible. Powered by the cutting-edge LG Alpha 11 AI Processor, the OLED M4 delivers superior home entertainment experiences while its proprietary wireless-transmission technology unlocks new possibilities in living-space curation.

LG’s OLED evo M4 is the first-ever TV with the ability to display wirelessly transmitted video and audio at 4K 144 Hz. The Zero Connect Box sends signals to the TV’s self-lit OLED screen without any direct wire connections, as there are no cables between the two devices to disconnect and reconnect.

Thanks to its wireless transfer capability, the Zero Connect Box can be placed almost anywhere in the room, letting users enjoy the flexibility to arrange their living space however they want to. Bringing numerous new possibilities to the art of “interior curation,” the Zero Connect Box also enables users to effortlessly move the screen, or the Zero Connect Box itself, whenever necessary.

An additional benefit with the Zero Connect Box is that it becomes a simple solution to achieving a clean, clutter-free living space. Users no longer have to think up creative ways to hide or tolerate the usual tangle of cables around the TV.

Meanwhile, in addition to wireless connectivity, the LG OLED M4 boasts spectacular picture quality with its stunning self-lit screen and the new Alpha 11 AI Processor. Designed exclusively for use in LG’s award-winning OLED TVs, this processor leverages three decades of AI innovations, providing personalized experiences tailored to user preferences and habits.

The M4’s faster AI processing speeds, along with its neural processing unit, elevate it to the status of the ultimate gaming TV. Supporting 4K content at a blazing 144 Hz, it delivers fluid gameplay and lifelike visuals. 

LG’s powerful processor, combined with the state-of-the-art OLED display, takes gaming enjoyment to the next level.


Thakher CEO lauds Makkah’s hospitality sector

Thakher CEO lauds Makkah’s hospitality sector
Updated 09 July 2024
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Thakher CEO lauds Makkah’s hospitality sector

Thakher CEO lauds Makkah’s hospitality sector

Thakher Development Company’s CEO Abdulaziz bin Saleh Al-Aboudi said that Makkah’s hospitality sector sustained its strong performance during this year’s Hajj season, with occupancy rates in the hotels of the Thakher Makkah project reaching 100 percent for the second consecutive year.

The CEO attributed this strong performance to several factors, including the provision of exceptional service to pilgrims and early preparations to ensure the utmost comfort and satisfaction for them.

“We at Thakher Development Company are continuing to work on our project in line with this strong performance to meet the aspirations of investors and visitors. So far, we have developed and constructed eight 4-star hotels and hotel apartments operated by international operators, with the most recent being the delivery of units in the Novotel Residences Makkah project to buyers,” Al-Aboudi said.

“Upon completion of the Thakher Makkah project, it will offer more than 39,000 rooms and 3,000 hotel apartments, with a total capacity of 144,000 beds. The project will also provide up to 36,000 permanent and seasonal job opportunities, thereby supporting and strengthening the local economy,” he added.

The project, spanning over an area of 320,000 square meters, will include 100 land plots for hospitality, residential and commercial uses. Residential and hotel apartment units will be available in various categories, and the units will also be available for ownership.

Thaker Makkah will be home to some of the biggest names in global hospitality including The Radisson Hotel, Park Inn by Radisson, and Novotel, which will be the largest in the world in terms of the number of rooms.

The company is also involved in developing the old neighborhoods of Makkah in coordination with the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites, in order to provide distinguished services to pilgrims.