Month: July 2011

Financially Lucrative Jeddah Summer Festival

Saudi tourism officials are certainly pleased so far with the Jeddah Summer Festival. They have generated SR6bn in revenue and have had 4.5 million visitors, and it is only about half over. The 70 day festival will include, in total, more than 100 amusement, art, sports and cultural events.

Festival Fun

The festival falls under the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), Jeddah Municipality and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. As the festival began at the end of June, Prince Abdullah bin Saud, chairman of the Organizing Committee for Festival Events, read out the speech of Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed.

In the speech he said that,

“We see today the shining image of the Kingdom’s tourism industry and feel proud of its countless achievements in addition to the flow of investments to the industry because of the firm conviction in the immense tourist potential in our country.”

The 2011 festival is the longest since it was first put together 12 years ago.

Financial Projection

The projection is that the festival will achieve a 150% increase in revenue compared to what it generated last year. This figure is according to Mazen Muhammad Baterji, deputy chairman for the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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Rewilding Put Down After Fall

The horseracing world has been struck by a tragedy, as one of the most successful horses in the Dubai Godolphin Racing circuit died this week in England. The horse, Rewilding, ridden by Frankie Dettori, suffered the fatal injury while running in the Group One King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Riding to Victory

Just last month, Rewilding has a famous victory at the exact same racetrack. Now, this loss is a huge blow for the Dubai-based racing operation. First, in March, Rewilding had an amazing runaway victory in the $5m Group One Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan.

Then, the horse won the Prince of Wale’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, doing so by beating the favored So You Think. After that race, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that he was “very satisfied” with the horse’s results.

Terrible Ending

During the race, Dettori was thrown from the horse and he is still in the hospital as a precaution.

As Godolphin said in a statement on its website, “Rewilding, Godolphin’s top older horse this year, was humanely put down after breaking his near fore leg.”

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Best Italian Restaurant in Dubai

If you’re looking for great Italian cooking in Dubai – you certainly won’t want to pass up the Ronda Locatelli restaurant. This locale has just been named the most authentic Italian restaurant in the Middle East and Africa.

Great Restaurant

An Italian restaurant set within an opulent resort on a man-made island has been named the most authentic Italian restaurant in the Middle East and Africa. Rated by the World’s 50 Best, the restaurant was taped as being the best place to find Italian fare in this area of the world.

Location…Food…and More

Ronda Locatelli was opened by the Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli and is modeled after the London restaurant of his called Locanda Locatelli. Located in Dubai’s Palm Atlantis resort on Palm Jumeirah, the menu includes family-style pizzas, fresh breads, al forno and oven baked dishes. The head chef, Alessandro Bottazzi said that,

“…[P]izza and pasta dishes are traditional but delivered with panache and flavor; the filet of poached beef in salsa verde and rosemary-infused roasted potatoes elevated to mouth-watering heights; classic Italian desserts executed to sweet perfection.”

Criteria for Judgment

The restaurant opened in 2008 and will certain gain some extra buzz from this recent review. The restaurants in the running for this coveted award are evaluated based on their use of authentic, Italian ingredients and based on their nod towards tradition. The judges also look for a chef who is accessible and available to help guests and they look for a restaurant ambiance that is informal and lively.

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Getting Socially Connected in The Gulf

The Middle East business world is joining the rest of the world in its use of social networks, blogs and more. According to a new survey from Regus, 50% of firms in the Gulf were able to win new customers recently due to their use of social networks, blogs and microblogs.

Gulf Businesses Tweeting

The study found that 62% of businesses in the Gulf use websites like Twitter and WEibo to connect with existing customers and that 59% of firms encourage their own employees to join social networks like Linkedin, Xing and Video. This is in comparison to 53% globally. Almost a third of the Gulf companies devote up to 20% of their marketing budget to business social networking activities.

Finding a Balance

The global Regus survey looked at 17,000 managers and businesses in over 80 countries. It also found that, while companies in the Gulf appreciate the importance of these social networking tools, 82% of them also understand that there needs to be a balance between marketing media and traditional tools and techniques.

As Mark Dixon, the CEO of Regus said, “As businesses emerge from the downturn they are increasingly reconsidering pre-recession working practices and opting for more flexible, competitive strategies. From supply chain management, to leaner working practices, to cloud computing, to increased use of video communications and mobile working no area of business is being overlooked. The rapid development of social media as a core business tool is clearly part of this transformation as more and more companies are leveraging this channel to increase the loyalty of existing customers, and as a successful acquisition tool.”

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Turkey Economic Situation Looking Up

Good news for Turkey this quarter. Their economy grew by 11% just in the first quarter of this year, moving past China’s numbers for the same quarter.
As the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in reaction to the figures that came out on Thursday, “In growth, we passed China and Argentina, we became No. 1 in the world.”

Turkey Looking Good in Comparison

Turkey’s growth obviously stands in sharp contrast to many of its neighbors, as Greece is looking for an economic bailout and other Middle Eastern countries are struggling each quarter. The rapid growth in Turkey’s economy was certainly part of what secured Mr. Erdogan’s re-election June 12.

However, some are still skeptical and many are waiting to see what actions the new government makes about the current-account deficit. AS Emre Alkin, an Istanbul-based economist explained, “Turkey’s economic future is bright…but it needs a new growth model, not tomorrow, not today, but yesterday.”

But Investors Still Nervous

One of the main things making investors nervous is the Istanbul Stock Exchange. It has been one of the worst performers in the emerging markets this year and is down by 9.75% since early May.

Many people are unconcerned about potential economic troubles and unaware of risks to the growth that could occur from the 42% growth in low-interest consumer credit last year.

Skepticism

As Emrullah Turanli, the chairman of Tasyapi which is one of Turkey’s largest construction companies, said,

“Everything looks good. I don’t agree that Turkey consumes too much—look at the use of electricity in Turkey and in developed countries. How many kilowatts does Turkey consume and how many kilowatts do developed countries consume?”

Economists and bankers are nervously awaiting the future in Turkey. They produce minimal quantities of oil and gas and face high costs relative to their competitors so they often import semi-finished goods rather than making their own. In response to this situation, Acting Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Caglayan recently pushed the government to target getting to $500 billion in exports by 2023, which is more than triple today’s levels.

Time will tell if Turkey will hit the market, or fail trying.

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