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UAE-based airline offers free stopover to passengers

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is offering free stopover to passengers flying through the UAE capital as part of its global promotion launch plan.

The carrier is offering two free nights of hotel accommodation in Abu Dhabi for all guests booking flights to and from all Etihad destinations via Abu Dhabi.

Guests can choose from a range of 15 hotels located across the city including the five-star Intercontinental Abu Dhabi and Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, as well as the Courtyard by Marriott WTC, Crowne Plaza and Radisson Blu.

The free Abu Dhabi stopover promotion is available for bookings online through etihad.com or via a travel agents from April 10 to June 15, 2019, for flights between April 21 and July 15, 2019.

Etihad guests booking online should select a multi-city flight and will be directed to the stopover booking page once the booking is confirmed. Guests then have the option to choose a hotel package with one of the many hotel partners operating this promotion.

The city appeals to solo travelers and couples in search of unique travel experiences as well as families looking to create extraordinary memories with children, making it the perfect destination for a holiday within a holiday.

Economy oF UAE
Stock Market (points)5058Apr/195076
GDP Annual Growth Rate (percent)1.7Dec/180.8
Unemployment Rate (percent)1.72Dec/171.64
Inflation Rate (percent)-2.5Feb/19-2.4
Interest Rate (percent)2.75Mar/192.75
Balance of Trade (AED Million)299400Dec/18246900
Current Account (AED Million)139000Dec/18971000
Current Account to GDP (percent)7.3Dec/173.8
Government Debt to GDP (percent)20.7Dec/1720.7
Government Budget (percent of GDP)-1.8Dec/18-2.6
Manufacturing PMI55.7Mar/1953.4
Consumer Confidence (Index Points)110Dec/18111
Sharjah a global center for research

Sharjah is fast solidifying its position as a global centre of excellence and hub for knowledge investment, experts at the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park) said during the Annual Investment Forum (AIM 2019).

As the new kind of investment destination in Sharjah, SRTI Park, an initiative of the American University of Sharjah Enterprises (AUSE), is committed towards positioning itself as a premier research and innovation hub in the UAE. Established in 2016 by royal decree of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the UAE, and Ruler of Sharjah, SRTI Park aims to develop and manage an innovation ecosystem within a free zone that promotes R&D and supports enterprise activities and the triple helix collaboration of industry, government, and academia.

“SRTI Park is working to build a scientific technological base to promote the development of water technologies, renewable energy, environmental and transport technology, IT and digitisation, production design and architecture. The park is the reflection of the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi to establish Sharjah as the capital of education, scientific research and innovation through an ambitious strategic plan of the American University of Sharjah,” said Hussain Al Mahmoudi, SRTI Park’s CEO.

“We are striving to attract different types of investments in modern industries which will contribute to the development of a number of vital topics such as transportation, agriculture, construction and other sectors, and a different innovative concept to embody the role of Sharjah as a global center for research and innovation investments.”

RAK launches grand rak project

Hotel operators attending the 15th annual Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) have been invited to take part in a competition to win a fully-funded beachfront project in Ras Al Khaimah

AHIC is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. The competition, which aims to create a new resort that is unique to Ras Al Khaimah and the Middle East, is the first of its kind in the region.

“We support projects and concepts that spark creativity and place Ras Al Khaimah at the forefront of the tourism sector. Sustained growth is already the hallmark of Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism industry and we seek to ensure this continues by utilizing our strategic tourism plan to reach well-defined targets,” said His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi.

Working in teams combining hotel designers and operators, entrants will have three months, up until July 2019, to prepare a preliminary concept vision supported by a high-level feasibility appraisal. Entries will be judged on commercial feasibility, innovation and sustainability. Three shortlisted operators will receive $25,000 each as a contribution towards their final submission, due in November 2019, when the winner will be announced at an exclusive event. The winning project will be allocated a coveted beachfront location.

The judging panel for The Grand RAK Project includes Abdullah Al Abdooli, managing director & CEO, Marjan; David Daniels, director of Architecture, SSH; Filippo Sona, managing director, Global Hospitality, Drees & Sommer; and Kevin Underwood, principal, HKS Hospitality Group.


China unveils country pavilion for expo 2020 Dubai

China has unveiled the design of its pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai, under the theme ‘Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind – Innovation and Opportunity’, with experts saying that the pavilion will be one of the largest at the event.

At 4,636sqm, the China Pavilion will symbolize hope and a bright future, and is designed to be a combination of Chinese and Western culture, with the Chinese culture as its core. It will vividly showcase China’s profound culture and long standing history by artistically integrating Chinese elements with modern technologies. The design was unveiled at a conference in the presence of Ambassador Ni Jian, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the UAE; Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, executive director, Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau; and Zhang Yi, deputy secretary general of the China Chamber of International Commerce.

Reflecting China’s endeavors in practicing the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative, the pavilion will mainly showcase the achievements made by China in science and information communication. It will also further advocate jointly practicing the Belt and Road Initiative and building a community with a shared future for mankind from four aspects of ‘exploration & discovery’, ‘communication and connection’, ‘innovation & cooperation’ and ‘opportunity and future’.

There will be three main unique features of the China Pavilion at Expo 2020. The first is innovation in the theme; the pavilion concentrates its focus on innovation to promote China’s development proposition and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The second is innovation in architecture design. During the design and construction of the China Pavilion, traditional Chinese elements, modern architecture concepts and techniques will be artistically combined to present China’s spirits. Lastly, there is innovation in exhibition; the pavilion will showcase the innovative scientific results made by the country in such fields as information, science and transportation through unique and hi-tech exhibition means.

Experts have said that the UAE is set to play a big role in China’s One Belt and One Road Project (OBOR), which is a $900 billion policy initiated by the Chinese government to build on ancient trade routes from China through central Asia by rail and to Africa and beyond by sea. The initiative covers 69 countries which make up 60 per cent of the world’s population and 40 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), according to a report released by Knight Frank.

Emirates completes installation of expo 2020 Dubai livery on 40 aircraft

Emirates has completed the installation of bespoke Expo 2020 Dubai liveries on 40 aircraft, with its final A380 aircraft emblazoned in the distinctive orange ‘opportunity’ decal rolling out of the Emirates Engineering hangar.

EXPO 2020 Dubai, will be held between 20 October 2020 and 10 April 2021.

The first decal was unveiled in 2017 on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft decorated in the blue ‘mobility’ decal. Since then, Emirates’ mini-fleet of Expo 2020 Dubai aircraft have collectively flown to 134 destinations across the airline’s global network, travelling 66 million kilometres on over 15,000 flights, amplifying the message of Expo across borders.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group, commented on completion of the unique Expo 2020 liveries: “As we begin to gear up for Expo 2020 Dubai, we are proactively tapping into the power of Emirates’ network to spread awareness and capture the world’s attention around the themes of this global event with our mobility, opportunity and sustainability liveries. Connectivity is the lynchpin that brings together new ideas, fosters global dialogue, and helps us navigate through change. Emirates will play a key role in opening up opportunities for visitors to experience this truly global event, as it offers non-stop flights to Dubai from many of the Expo participating countries, and 70 per cent of the 25 million people targeted to visit Expo 2020 are expected to utilise air transport.”

Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, said: “With less than a year and half left until Expo 2020 opens its doors and welcome millions of visitors from around the world, we are very proud that our premier partner, Emirates Airline, is carrying our message around world through its incredible destination network.”

MENA M&A deals surge to record value

Merger and acquisition targeting Middle East and North Africa in 2019 has already surpassed all annual totals following the $70.4 billion Saudi Aramco-Sabic megamerger, the second largest M&A deal globally so far this year, according to Mergermarket data.

“Even excluding the Saudi deal, M&A in the region would have reached its second highest quarterly value on record,” Mergermarket said.

High-profile deals involving Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) have been key to the increase, including the sale of Adnoc Oil Pipelines to KKR and BlackRock for $4 billion, marking the firm’s largest divestment on Mergermarket record. The region also saw the $4 billion deal between the UAE banks Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Union National Bank. The move marks the second domestic banking merger in a matter of months, following the tie-up between Saudi British Bank and Alawwal Bank in October for $4.7 billion.

In 2018, merger and acquisition deal value in Mena jumped 68.7 per cent to $26.76 billion, compared with $15.86 billion in 2017, driven by increased deal-making in the UAE, which more than doubled to $10.4 billion in 2018, as well as blockbuster deals in Saudi Arabia and North Africa. “With the region appearing to be sheltered away from macroeconomic issues elsewhere, foreign investment has seen a noticeable uptick, bucking the global trend. A total of 22 inbound deals worth $14 billion were registered in first quarter, following deals such as Uber’s acquisition of rival Careem Networks. Domestic consolidation was also on the rise with a 21 domestic deals- up from 14 in fourth quarter 2018. However, with increasing protectionist measures across much of the Western world outbound M&A figures for first quarter 2019 paint a slightly different picture. While the value and volume (16 deals, $2.6 billion) increased from the final quarter of 2018, the figures remain relatively low compared to recent years,” Mergermarket said.

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