Middle East Business Review – 8 February

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A survey conducted by the UAE branch of Great Place to Work Institute has named FedEx Express as the best company to work for in the UAE. Microsoft Gulf won the second position on the top 10 chart while Marriott Hotel came third. Pepsi Cola’s Middle East, Asia and Africa operations bagged the fourth position, and along with General Electric, stood as the best company for Emiratis to work in. The ratings are based on assessment of a company’s level of credibility, respect, merit, egalitarianism and employer-employee relationship.

Abu Dhabi-based YahLive has launched the Middle East’s first 3D channel, named High TV 3D, this week that will feature 24/7 news, entertainment and lifestyle content. The revolution in TV entertainment technology combined with the amazing price drops, has driven consumers to acquire 3D smart TVs at a phenomenal rate. [The new channel represents] not only the highest level of HD programming, but also the only 3D channel in the Middle East, Mohamed Youssif, CEO of YahLive, said.

Meanwhile, Sky News Arabia announced it will be launching its Arabic language transmission from Abu Dhabi in the next few months. “The move to the new site is a significant milestone in the Sky News Arabia launch plan. We are already carrying out technical rehearsals and will start with full studio rehearsals later this month. Our investment in this high-tech studio complex affirms our commitment to provide fast, fresh live, evolving news across our multiple platforms – television, tablet, mobile and online,” Nart Bouran, head of Sky News Arabia, said in a statement. The Arabic language news channel is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Media Investment Company (ADMIC) and British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB).

On the other hand, Al Jazeera network’s new director, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, has been declared as the most influential Qatari executive by a ranking published by Arabian Business magazine. The list titled “Arabian Business Qatar Power List 2012” named Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Bakr as the second most influential Qatari business leader while Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Gas chairman, stood at the third position. For the past six months we have been studying closely who the real people of influence are in Qatar not only in the business world, but in arts, culture, science and even sports. This is the first ever, and the most comprehensive guide to power and influence in Qatar, Edward Attwood, Arabian Business Editor, said.

According to a forecast issued by Business Monitor International (BMI), the number of foreign tourists visiting the UAE is expected to reach around 9 million this year. The report predicted that overseas arrivals in the UAE during 2012 will register a healthy increase of 9% while noting that 8.2 million tourists arrived in the UAE last year. “With unrest particularly in Egypt and North Africa last year, the UAE experienced an influx of tourism, boosting its status as a regional safe haven. With Emirates and Etihad opening-up at least ten more destinations between them this year, not including low cost options FlyDubai, and Air Arabia, future tourism growth is assured,” Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, said in his assessment.

Meanwhile, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai announced it is set to open the 355-metre tall hotel along Sheikh Zayed Road in the fourth quarter of this year. The 1,608-room complex will become the world’s tallest all-hotel tower replacing the 72-storey Rose Reyhaan Rotana hotel and is located a few blocks away from Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest tower. “The potential to cater for the growing needs of the global business community is huge and we believe the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is uniquely placed in that regard,” Rupprecht Queitsch, general manager JW Marriott Dubai, said in an interview.

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa has announced it will serve alcohol when it opens its resort in July this year despite a ban imposed by Qatari authorities on serving alcohol on the Pearl Island, a destination near Doha that is popular with rich Qataris and expats. Nikki is known for their white parties and there will be a white party most certainly I would expect [well-known guests to attend]. The celebrity element is a very big part of who they are and it is perfect for us on the Pearl with our fashion brands, Darrell Sheaffer, general manager of hotels and resorts at HDC, the hospitality arm of Pearl-Qatar developer United Development Company (UDC), said in a statement issued to media.

Head of Libya’s ruling council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, announced Libya will suffer from a record deficit of $10 billion this year despite posting a $46 billion surplus in the previous budget. The beleaguered Chairman of the National Transitional Council added that Libya has received a fraction of its $100 billion in assets frozen worldwide, especially in the West. “Oil revenues have brought in only $4 billion in the past five months, while government employee wages and the energy bill will cost the government $22 billion and $14 billion, respectively. Therefore, the government estimates that its budget deficit will be around $10 billion in 2012,” he said in a news conference.

(By Moign Khawaja – Editor: Arabian Gazette)

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