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Saudia begins its massive operation to fly Hajis home

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Saudia begins its massive operation to fly Hajis home

477Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has begun operating more than 1,600 Haj return flights to all destinations from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed International Airport in Madinah following the end of the annual pilgrimage.

“We will operate 1,531 international flights and 76 domestic flights to transport pilgrims to their destinations,” said Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, director-general of the national flag carrier, which plays a significant role in the country’s massive Haj operation.

He said Saudia extends integrated services to pilgrims in coordination with various government departments, including the General Authority of Civil Aviation, the Haj Ministry and the Passport Department.

“Saudia’s strategic plan to transport Haj pilgrims from 100 foreign and domestic destinations was a big success,” the director-general said, adding that the plan aims at transporting 818,000 pilgrims.

He said the newly purchased Boeing and Airbus aircraft, as well as 29 rented planes, enabled the airline to offer the best services to the guests of God. “We have achieved high rates for on-time performance in Haj flights and ensured 100 percent security for pilgrims,” he added.

Saudia transported baggage without delays. “We have deployed senior executives at major stations to supervise Haj flights and raised awareness about safety regulations to pilgrims. We have also set up a special operation room to monitor Haj flights.”

The appointment of employees who speak the same languages as pilgrims coming from Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Bangladesh was another measure that won the applause of customers.

“We sent Zamzam water bottles for Indonesian, Indian and Malaysian pilgrims to their countries in empty return flights during the first phase of the Haj operation.”

“We issue boarding passes for return flights in advance so that pilgrims need not visit our offices in Makkah and Madinah to make return bookings and are able to focus on worship and Haj rituals.”

The airline appointed cabin crew members who speak the language of pilgrims, supply meals to suit all tastes and screen Haj documentaries during flights.

“We provide city check-in services to Indonesian and Malaysian pilgrims at the Ain Al-Aziziya building in Jeddah and for Indian and Iranian pilgrims in Makkah,” Al-Jasser said.

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The average home in Dubai costs $1.4 million USD

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The average home in Dubai costs $1.4 million USD

55“Average asking prices in Dubai today stand at Dh5.1 million while those in the capital figure at Dh3.3 million. While Abu Dhabi’s property prices have increased over the course of this year, Dubai’s residential prices have risen more significantly, widening the gap in property values between the two emirates,” said Renan Bourdeau, Managing Director & Partner at propertyfinder.ae.

Dubai property prices have surged by up to 42 per cent in the past year with rentals up by as much as 23 per cent.

According to property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle, in the third quarter, villa prices in Dubai rose 14 per cent year on year, while apartment prices were up 15 per cent.

Asteco Dubai said in a report that although prices would increase further, it is unlikely that they will hit their 2008 peaks in the short to mid-term. The fundamentals that have been driving Dubai market upswing include political stability, trade links, a buoyant and diversified economy, regulatory infrastructure and an attractive tax environment according to Khaleej Times.

Dubai’s property market prices collapsed by over 50 per cent in 2009 after the global economic crisis. The IMF warned in July that overspending could leave Dubai vulnerable to another debt crisis if global market conditions deteriorated.

The latest observation by propertyfinder.ae, which was based on live market statistics from Market Price Live, the portal’s data centre, reflects the steadily increasing property prices in Dubai and the broad recovery that the emirate’s market continues to experience this year.

In contrast to 2008, Dubai’s price increases so far have been built on solid fundamentals such as trade and tourism, impacting emerging neighborhoods such as Business Bay, Jumeirah Village Circle, Jumeirah Park and Dubai Sports City in addition to prime communities such as Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai and Palm Jumeirah.

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Sheikh Saad Al Abdallah Terminal becomes home to Flydubai’s operations in Kuwait

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Sheikh Saad Al Abdallah Terminal becomes home to Flydubai’s operations in Kuwait

4190Flydubai celebrated moving its eight daily flight operations from the main terminal at Kuwait International Airport to the Sheikh Saad Al Abdallah General Aviation Terminal. The move to the terminal offers an enhanced customer experience for Flydubai passengers flying in and out of Kuwait.

Flydubai’s inaugural flight, FZ057, touched down at the terminal at 1330hrs local time and was welcomed with a water cannon salute.

Mr Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Farah, President of Kuwait Civil Aviation and a delegation of Kuwaiti officials received the aircraft on the tarmac.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Flydubai, led the delegation that included H.E. Jamal Al Hai, ESVP for International Relations and Communications at Dubai Airports; H.E. Tariq Al Hamed, Kuwaiti Consul General to Dubai; Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, Director General of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority together with Flydubai’s Chief Executive Officer, Ghaith Al Ghaith; Hamad Obaidalla, Chief Commercial Officer and Kenneth Gile, Chief Operating Officer.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed, said, “We are grateful to the Kuwaiti authorities for their support of the move to Sheikh Saad Al Abdallah General Aviation Terminal. The aviation links between Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have played a significant role in boosting the already strong relationship between our two nations. Flydubai will continue to play an important role in creating free flows of trade and tourism.”

Mr Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Farah, said, “We welcome Flydubai and are pleased to open the doors of Sheikh Saad Al Abdallah General Aviation Terminal to passengers who will benefit from all the convenient facilities this terminal has to offer.”

Flydubai’s newly introduced Business Class premium offering will be available on selected flights on the Kuwait route starting in October. Together with the move to the dedicated terminal, this will provide a greater choice for passengers, who will have access to faster check-in services, shortened queuing time at the immigration desks and a more personalized flying experience.

Flydubai launched its operations to Kuwait in March 2010 with a double daily service. Three years later, the carrier transported more than one million passengers between Dubai and Kuwait and increased its frequency to eight flights a day. The total number of flights to Kuwait increased by 62% after one year of operations, illustrating the strong demand for travel between Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Some of the figures highlighting the remarkable growth of the Kuwait-Dubai route include:

•The overall market size has increased by 35% between 2009 and 2012, indicating Flydubai’s role in stimulating demand by encouraging travel.

•Flydubai’s passenger numbers for Kuwait grew by 31% in 2012. 84% of Flydubai passengers travelling from Kuwait end their journey in Dubai while the remainder connects onwards to a number of destinations on Flydubai’s network, including Sri Lanka, the Maldives, India and Georgia.

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Home of Rolls-Royce collection debuts in Abu Dhabi

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Home of Rolls-Royce collection debuts in Abu Dhabi

4126The Home of Rolls-Royce Collection, a unique set of Ghost and Phantom family models celebrating 10 years of production at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England debuted in the UAE’s Capital at Abu Dhabi Motors, the sole dealer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

Conceived and designed by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke team, the Home of Rolls-Royce Collection celebrates the meticulous design, engineering and craftsmanship employed in the production of every car that leaves Goodwood.

Only a very limited production run of these exclusive vehicles will be built to meet the demands of a very discerning clientele, of which Abu Dhabi Motors will get the lion’s share due to the demand for such vehicles in Abu Dhabi.

“The Home of Rolls-Royce Collection showcases what makes Goodwood a unique centre of manufacturing excellence,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

“A perfect blend of traditional crafts, cutting-edge technology and world-class Bespoke design has driven our success over our first 10 years. In this time, Rolls-Royce has taken its place as creator of the world’s pinnacle super-luxury goods, an achievement built on the passion and commitment of every craftsperson employed at Goodwood. This beautiful collection is a fitting way to celebrate an extraordinary decade.”

Arno Husselmann, General Manager of Abu Dhabi Motors said that: “Abu Dhabi continues to be a global leader in Bespoke Rolls-Royce sales, both in terms of volume and the richness of Bespoke specifications per car. Our customers appreciate the design and production intricacies that make each Bespoke Rolls-Royce a unique work of art, and this is reflected in the unrivalled demand for Bespoke products here in Abu Dhabi year after year. We requested the biggest allocation worldwide of Home of Rolls-Royce Collection vehicles because we are confident that demand will not only meet the supply coming in, but will outstrip it by far.”

A ‘celebration’ motif, presented in hand-crafted marquetry on the front-fascia marks this landmark year in Rolls-Royce history. Using methods akin to the artistry of fine furniture makers, the effect is achieved through a process that marries cutting-edge technology with traditional craftsmanship.

Individual pieces of wood veneer are laser-cut to ensure precision. A craftsperson then painstakingly assembles the 170 sections made up from 11 varieties of woods, ensuring they perfectly express the vision of the marque’s Bespoke design team. A fastidious process of quality control follows, utilising the world’s most accurate measuring tool - the human eye.

In 2012 - a second successive record year for the marque - over 3,500 hand-built Rolls-Royce cars, exclusively created at Goodwood, were exported to all five continents. This is celebrated throughout the collection with a compass motif that expresses the Home of Rolls-Royce’s position as a global centre of manufacturing excellence.

The pattern is also intricately embroidered into the armrests and console lid. 112,533 stitches are applied by precision embroidery machines that make 1,000 individual stitches per minute - however, such is the complexity of the pattern it takes over an hour to finish each individual piece. In total, 672 metres of thread is used with 450 pieces of individual leather to create the cosseting interior of the Home of Rolls-Royce Collection Phantom.

Co-ordinates engraved into tread plates, the bezel of the Spirit of Ecstasy and umbrella handles further express Goodwood’s place as the only manufacturing centre for the world’s pinnacle super-luxury marque.

A hand-painted coachline, culminating in a half-compass motif completes the exterior. Forming the final stage of a week-long, 22-stage painting process, coachlines are hand-applied by one highly-skilled craftsman using squirrel hair brushes. Normally this takes three hours - however the intricacy of this very special Bespoke design means the time taken to complete the process doubles.

The beauty and craftsmanship of every Home of Rolls-Royce Collection car runs much deeper than the hand polished painted surface of one of the 44,000 available exterior paint colors.

The lightweight aluminium space frame that is at the core of every Phantom features 120 metres of precision hand welding and insures that the Home of Rolls-Royce Collection Phantom provides a refined driving experience.

The 453bhp 6.75L V12 heart not only provides effortless acceleration but does so with the refinement of being able of supporting a British one pound coin stood on its edge on top of the running engine, as was originally specified by the Rolls-Royce engineers.

Abu Dhabi Motors recently made history when it edged out the Rolls-Royce dealerships in Beijing, London and New York for the title of “Global Dealer of the Year” for 2012 at the annual Rolls-Royce World Dealer Conference held in London.

The dealer further demonstrated Abu Dhabi’s dominance in the market for Ultra-Luxury vehicles when it was announced as the biggest market in the world for Rolls-Royce vehicle sales during the first half of 2013, edging out markets such as Beijing, New York, London and Moscow.

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Toshiba unveils its brand new home entertainment hub, the PX30t

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Toshiba unveils its brand new home entertainment hub, the PX30t

421Toshiba Gulf FZE today launches its new All-in-One PC with a touchscreen display that provides a one-stop solution for the whole family.

The Toshiba PX30t combines PC, TV and gaming in one stylish home entertainment hub, catering to everyone’s multimedia needs. It is now available in the market.

Running on the latest Windows 8 platform, the Toshiba PX30t is powered by the 4th Generation Intel Core i7 processor with Quad Core CPU support, guaranteeing speed and performance. For the GPU, users can choose between Intel HD 4000 graphics for power efficiency and high performance graphics and NVIDIA GeForce with NVIDIA Optimus technology, which guarantees to produce the sharpest images and the highest video quality.

“Having the convenience of a computer with thin FHD screen, all-round multimedia functions and a central data storage network, the Toshiba PX30t is the ultimate computing and entertainment device for everyone in the family,” shares Santosh Varghese, General Manager, Digital Products and Services, Toshiba Gulf FZE. “Its design and functionality is a testament to Toshiba’s commitment to quality and versatility.”

The Toshiba PX30t has up to 3TB of hard disk space, allowing it to stock an extensive library of movies, photos, music and games. It also has up to 16GB of RAM, ensuring efficient multitasking, and a 23-inch (58.4 cm) Full HD screen with LED backlighting and touch functionality. Its Blu-ray™ Disc with BDXL Drive allows users to conveniently watch HD movies not stored in the computer’s hard drive.

The viewing experience is further enhanced in the Toshiba PX30t by four impressive Harman Kardon® stereo speakers with a unique (5W+5W) x 2 = 20W output tuned with DTS Studio Sound, allowing it to deliver immersive surround sound, remarkable bass, intelligent volume levelling and dialog enhancement all at the same time. A multimedia centrepiece, the Toshiba PX30t lets users experience TV shows, movies and concerts the way they are meant to be enjoyed.

The Toshiba PX30t is especially created to be the showpiece in any room. It sports the new and sleek product design that is clearly recognisable from distinctive elements such as smooth, rounded edges, a bold illuminated power button, and a logo positioned to the left of the display. It comes in Luxe White Pearl and has silver accents that emphasise its slimness. Its sophisticated aluminium silver stand enhances its style and functionality. The slim screen and the thin edge give it the look of a state-of-the-art LED TV. It ships with a premium wireless keyboard and mouse with the Windows 8 logo button function on the wheel.

Ease of use is a main priority in the designing of the Toshiba PX30t, making it the ideal desktop replacement. A space-saving device, the PX30t requires lesser space with an array of built-in functionality: wireless keyboard and mouse, requires only one power cable, HDMI which is useful especially for connecting a gaming console or set-top box. By simply touching the display; through the Toshiba Gesture Controller that responds to simple and natural hand gestures without having to touch the screen; or through a mix of all of the above, makes the navigation easy and simple.

The Toshiba PX30t is designed to fulfill all the common daily computing needs as well as advanced entertainment and multimedia functions. It can be used simply as a central screen when the device is switched off via its HDMI-in port. This allows for casual PC gaming and for high quality music streaming with superb sound reproduction through Toshiba’s Sleep-and-Music feature. With its built-in Wireless LAN, Intel WiDi and Miracast ready technology, the Toshiba PX30t is packed with the most up-to-date connectivity features that allow users instant access to web content and guaranteed compatibility with a wide range of devices.

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Lufthansa finds new home in Doha

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Lufthansa finds new home in Doha

4288Leaving its old home at Al Rayyan Street, Lufthansa officially opens doors to its new premises on the 15th floor of Al Mana Tower attached to the Boulevard Mall. The new Lufthansa town office provides customers with a more comfortable and convenient venue to conduct official business.

Lufthansa’s new office is situated in the high street amidst well-known commercial establishments.

Al Mana Tower is the perfect location for the German airline’s bureau in Doha.

With its easily accessible location, the new Lufthansa office provides optimum convenience for customers arriving by car or taxi. The office is open from 08.30 am to 5.30 pm, from Saturday to Thursday.

“With the rapid development of Doha’s infrastructure new commercial buildings are being put on the market. We are very pleased with our new location here in the Al Mana Tower, as we can now serve both our customers and travel partners in a modern facility,” said Mrs. Randa ElMassry, the local Lufthansa manager for passenger sales.

“Our business in Doha develops favorably and this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our general service agent, Darwish Travel Bureau, to whom we also express our gratitude for being instrumental in helping us realize our move in Doha,” she added.

The new office bears a classic, fluid design giving a welcome feel to anyone who visits the Lufthansa bureau.

“We created a space that would be comfortable and pleasing to the eyes of our visitors. There is a more relaxed atmosphere which is what our valued customers feel when onboard a Lufthansa flight. Just as we take care of our customers onboard, providing a superior product and service, we also make it a point to start their Lufthansa experience already on the ground,” said Mrs. ElMassry.

“We congratulate the Lufthansa German Airlines team in Doha on the opening of its new office. With its prestigious location, more of our customers and travel partners will be delighted to conduct their travel needs with ease,” said Peter Pollak, Lufthansa’s General Manager UAE and Director Gulf, Afghanistan & Iraq.

Lufthansa in Qatar has been connecting customers from Doha to its hub in Frankfurt, Germany since January 2006. Flying daily with a modern Airbus A330 aircraft, Lufthansa flights are operated with a three class cabin configuration, featuring Lufthansa’s acclaimed First, Business and Economy class.

Lufthansa’s long-haul fleet is currently being refitted with an all new First Class product as well as with ‘FlyNet’, the most advanced onboard broadband internet hotspot worldwide. Furthermore, a new, fully-flat Business Class product has been introduced on board early this year.

From Frankfurt, travelers find lean onward connections to over 280 destinations in 102 countries via Lufthansa Group’s network.

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Elekta re-launches full range of home appliances and consumer electronics in Saudi market

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Elekta re-launches full range of home appliances and consumer electronics in Saudi market

416Elekta Gulf, The world leader in innovative home appliances, introduces a modern range of household products in the Saudi market, which includes split and window air conditioners, TV’s, front and top loading Washing machines, refrigerators, microwaves and electric ovens, 3D LCD’s, LED’s under the slogan of ‘Making you feel at home’.

Mr. Rajan Mathrani, Managing Director of Elekta Gulf, said, “Elekta has a wide range of advanced electronic products beyond the 700 products which offers integrated solutions for the modern home devices such as television, tablets, audio and video, home appliances, air conditioners, and “Elekta” continues to add new products to its line up in order to keep up with market demands and tastes of different consumers.”

“Elekta products are designed and developed in the main company’s research centre in Osaka, Japan in accordance with the highest international standards, and are manufactured in the company’s factories in China, Thailand, India and Malaysia with sales in more than 30 countries around the world. Despite having intense competition in the market we are successful in delivering quality products with a longer warranty period and we are having 7 service centres in the Kingdom with trained professionals for the maintenance of our products,” he added.

Mr. Rajan Mathrani also said, “Elekta was established in Japan in 1988 and is going strong since then in providing high quality electronic products at an affordable price for all income groups.”

Mr. Brian McCarthy Chief Operating Officer Elekta Group, said, “When purchasing home appliances, Saudi consumers highly desire energy efficient, convenient products with innovative designs,”

“We know these are high priorities because we are always listening to our customers and are carefully monitoring industry trends in order to better meet the needs of today’s consumers,” he added.

He also added, “Elekta’s vision is to establish itself as a leading player in the global market in terms of our product quality and innovations with value for money.”

Mr. Nishad K.A, General Manager Business Development Saudi Arabia, said, “Elekta is simultaneously strengthening and maintaining its brand image while reinforcing its mid-range home appliances for the Saudi market. We see Saudi customers as being very conscious of leading an environmentally responsible lifestyle, and Elekta is well placed to meet these demands.”

“Elekta develops the products that are capable of meeting the real-world needs of today’s busy, environmentally conscious consumers and is keen to provide the wide range of household and electronic products in the Kingdom, we are confident that Elekta products has gained the confidence of the Saudi people and in the future we will fulfil their expectations even better,” Mr. Nishad added.

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LG introduces a whole new home entertainment experience

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LG introduces a whole new home entertainment experience

347LG Electronics (LG) has introduced a whole new home entertainment experience, with a screen size that promises compelling viewing with four times the resolution of existing HD TV panels, the LG World’s-First 84-inch Ultra HD TV in the UAE market

LG continues to be at the forefront of industry innovation and advancements as the Ultra HD TV boasts astonishing picture quality with 8 million pixels per frame, four times the resolution (3840×2160) of existing Full HD TV panels due to LG’s advanced Triple XD Engine.

The additional Resolution Upscaler Plus allows images from external sources such as hard drives and user-generated content websites to be rendered in higher detail.

“We are the first and only company to bring the Cinema Experience straight into your home by combining the 3D Smart and unprecedented size to create such an innovative and breathtaking product,” said Mr. D.Y.Kim, President of LG Electronics GULF FZE.

“LG is always ahead in bringing our consumers compelling and world-class entertainment. It represents every advanced technology that we are proud to offer .As a TV manufacturer, we are confident that it will capture the imagination of the UAE public as they get to see it up close for the first time.”

Bringing this exciting new experience to the 3D entertainment arena this DSF , LG are pleased to reward their exclusive customers AED 10,000 dnata travel vouchers with purchase of the World’s First 84-inch Ultra HD TV. Consumers will be able to redeem the voucher against any travel requirements at dnata outlets in Dubai, terms and conditions apply.

LG has also equipped its Ultra HD TV with CINEMA 3D technology to ensure the impressively large display provides the most immersive and comfortable viewing experience possible. 3D Depth Control allows viewers to fine-tune the “distance” between near and far objects on the screen for a custom 3D experience. The 3D Sound Zooming feature then analyses the on-screen objects to generate sound according to their location and movement.

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QFIB expands interests in Turkey with acquisition of 40% stake in home textile-retailer ‘English Home’

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QFIB expands interests in Turkey with acquisition of 40% stake in home textile-retailer ‘English Home’

236Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB), Qatar’s first independent Shari’ah compliant bank authorized by the QFC regulatory authority, announced the acquisition of a 40% stake in English Home, the leading retailer of home textile products in Turkey.

The acquisition marks QFIB’s first venture into the retail sector and the second in the Turkish market, which further demonstrates QFIB’s commitment to portfolio and geographical diversification.

Abdulla Bin Fahad Al Marri, QFIB Chairman commented, “This acquisition is our second in Turkey which has recently received an ‘investment grade’ by Fitch due to its high-performing economy. Our venture into the retail sector comes at an opportune time, as consumer spending in Turkey is expected to increase along with an increase in foreign direct investment.”

English Home, established in 2008, is a leading home textile retailer with a strong presence in the Turkish market. Since its establishment, it has witnessed significant growth backed by a strong demand.

The number of its stores increased from 3 in 2008 to over 115 in 2012 across Turkey and the Ukraine in addition to franchises in Cyprus, Albania, Azerbaijan and Iraq. The success of English Home lies in their management’s strong expertise in the textile and retail industry which was a key factor in driving the growth of the company.

Emad Mansour, CEO of QFIB commented, “We are very excited to venture into the retail sector, specifically in Turkey which has a vibrant retail market driven by a population with an increasing purchasing power. English Home owned by the Aydin Family, who are also our partners in Memorial Health Group, is a model success story as it has witnessed exponential growth in a short period of time. We are looking forward to working with the Aydin Family to further cement the position of English Home in the Turkish market and accelerate its growth.”

QFIB’s acquisition of English Home further demonstrates the Bank’s strategy of investing in high growth companies that are leaders in their respective fields. Post-acquisition, QFIB’s role will be to assist the Firm in achieving its ambitious growth targets through institutionalization of business operations and setting in place best-in-practice corporate governance standards.

Yaşar Aydın, Chairman of Turgut Aydın Holding Company commented, “We are very pleased to welcome QFIB as a shareholder in English Home. Turkey is one of the leading textile producers and exporters in the world. In recent years the home textile sector has witnessed considerable growth both domestically and internationally. Given Turkey’s favorable market dynamics, we are confident that with QFIB’s support we will be able to capitalize on the growing demand for home textiles and to further build upon English Home’s recent success.”

According to a study undertaken by a reputable market consultant, the home textile retail market is expected to witness significant growth on the back of a favorable macroeconomic environment, sizable and young demographics and a dynamic shift in consumer preferences from independent stores towards organized retail chains.

Erdem Gündüz, CEO of ‘English Home’, said, “English Home has demonstrated a strong performance, and managed to become the leading brand of Turkish home textile market in a short period of time. Considering the high growth potential of the domestic market, we are confident that we will capture an even larger market share. Welcoming QFIB as a shareholder is an important milestone for our company. With QFIB’s expertise and our international exposure, we are aiming to become a leading brand not only in Turkey, but also in the neighboring region.”

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Dubai receives inaugural call of its fourth home porting cruise line

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Dubai receives inaugural call of its fourth home porting cruise line

252The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Cruise Tourism department announced that they are all set to cater to their fourth home porting cruise line, TUI Cruises. The Germany based company made their debut in the region with the maiden call of their cruise ship Mein Schiff 2, which translates as ‘My Ship’, to Dubai on the 3rd November, 2012.

Dubai will be the home port of the ship this 2012/13 season.

In this season, the TUI Cruises’s luxury cruise ship will set sail from Dubai up to 17th March, 2013 on a total of twenty cruises throughout the Arabian Gulf.

DTCM in collaboration with TUI Cruises has arranged for a grand welcome ceremony to commemorate the inaugural call of the ship at the Dubai Cruise Terminals in Mina Rashid.

A huge heritage village has been set up featuring various activities to portray Arabian culture and tradition to the passengers and crew of the ship.

A press conference was organized on board as a part of this event with Mr Hamad M Bin Mejren, Executive Director of Business Tourism of the DTCM, Mr Mohammed Muallem, Senior VP and Managing Director of DP World, Mr Richard Vogel, CEO of TUI Cruises, and the Ship’s Captain, Kjell Holm, delivering key note addresses and answering questions from the media.

Thereafter, a traditional plaque exchange ceremony was held, where DTCM and the invited dignitaries and senior officials from various Government Departments such as GDRFA, Dubai Customs, Dubai Police, DMCA, Dubai Airports and DP World exchanged plaques with the captain of the ship. A tour of the ship followed by lunch was arranged for all attendees.

Mr Bin Mejren, commented, “The continual investment of the Government of Dubai in its infrastructure, confidence of the cruise lines in this destination in combination with the support and cooperation of all involved government departments, ship agents, DMC’s and all other stake holders has resulted in Dubai emerging as a destination of choice for cruise tourism in the Middle East.”

“Dubai is an ‘experienced’ cruise ship metropolis. Its modern terminals and the strategically favourable location in the Arabian Gulf make it an ideal base port for us to discover this region, which is quite new for us. In particular we certainly appreciate the excellent cooperation with the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM),” said Richard J. Vogel, Chief Executive of TUI Cruises.

The 264 meter long century-class cruise ship with the capacity to carry 1,900 passengers and about 800 crew was built in 1997 and was recently renovated with an investment of Eur50m adding more space and many modern amenities on board. The passenger throughput of the cruise liner’s calls to Dubai is expected to exceed 70,000 passengers for this season.

Dubai Cruise Terminals received over 390,000 passengers from 102 ship calls last season and the current season will bring 115 cruise ship calls and over a 410,000 passengers.

The initiatives and continual efforts of DTCM has reaffirmed Dubai’s position as the cruise hub of the region the Department have remarked that there are a combination of highly favourable factors that are driving Dubai’s cruise tourism business towards robust growth. Besides the obvious attractions that Dubai has to offer for tourists from around the world in the form of excellent air connectivity, good infrastructure, a multimodal transport system, world-class hotels & restaurants, vast stretches of sandy beaches, sprawling shopping malls and an array of outdoor activities, Dubai offers simple immigration formalities, customized operation procedures in a safe environment.

Dubai has been constantly enhancing its facilities and services in line with its business growth and accordingly the Dubai Cruise Terminals will have three dedicated facilities to cater to cruise lines and visitors this season. Spanning over 20,000 square meters and a pier length of 1900 meters which can conveniently accommodate up to 6 ocean going ships simultaneously, Dubai will have the largest facility in the Middle East dedicated to cruise tourism.

The continual efforts of DTCM and the Government of Dubai with the support extended by numerous government departments such as Immigration, Customs, Police, DP World, combined with the high levels of cooperation from the various cruise lines, ship agencies, DMC’s and other stakeholders, the cruise tourism sector in Dubai is set to scale to even greater heights in the years to come.

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