Top Greek musician Yanni returns to KSA for Tantora concert

Top Greek musician Yanni all set for a return performance at the Winter at Tantora festival on Friday. (AFP file photo)
Updated 08 February 2019

Top Greek musician Yanni returns to KSA for Tantora concert

  • The Winter at Tantora festival runs until February 23
  • The cultural festival is the first event of its kind to be held at the UNESCO World Heritage Site

JEDDAH: Greek musician Yanni is returning to Saudi Arabia for a concert at the Winter at Tantora festival, where he will perform to a sold-out crowd on Friday in the dramatic surroundings of Al-Ula.

He has a devoted following in the Kingdom, featuring in the country’s first-ever live gigs with shows in Riyadh and Jeddah in Dec. 2017.

The musician has been tweeting images from Al-Ula, which is 300 km north of Madinah city, including videos of the concert venue and his camp.

He tweeted fans on Sunday, telling them he would keep them updated about his trip and share details with them. 

He thanked Saudi fans for welcoming him back to their country and raved about the natural scenery.

“The desert, the stars, the landscape and the lit monuments is something amazing! It is the first time in my life that I have experienced this type of immense beauty!” he tweeted.

Winter at Tantora runs until Feb. 23.

It has so far included Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli and a virtual performance from the late Egyptian entertainer Umm Kulthum.

Iraqi musicians Ilham Al-Madfai and Kazem Al-Saher perform on Feb. 15. 

There are shows from Bahrain’s Rashed Al-Majid and Iraqi artist Majed Al-Mohandes on Feb. 23, when there will also be a ceremony to honor Kuwait’s Abdul Karim Abdul Qader.

The cultural festival is the first event of its kind to be held at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Top five trends shaping KSA retail industry

Saudis visit the International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center in the capital Riyadh on December 4, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 13 min 43 sec ago

Top five trends shaping KSA retail industry

  • Artificial intelligence can identify consumer preferences with great accuracy

RIYADH: The Kingdom has a vast, young, tech-savvy population that is shifting behavior in Saudi Arabia, according to Ahmed Reda, MENA consumer industry leader for Ernst and Young (EY).
EY worked with more than 200 business leaders, futurists and industry experts through its FutureConsumer.Now program (FCN) to map the buying habits of consumers. “We asked questions such as how will consumers shop, eat, stay healthy, live, use technology, play, work and move in the future?” Reda said.
Here are some of the key trends powering the shift in consumer behavior and the retail industry in the GCC’s largest consumer base.
Data analytics and AI transforming traditional retail models: The new breed of GCC consumer expects a highly personalized experience. This will be even more critical as brand loyalty declines among GCC consumers. As analytics tools become increasingly sophisticated, the value of personalized data will grow. Artificial intelligence can identify consumer preferences with great accuracy.
Brands need to implement omnichannel strategies: In markets such as Saudi Arabia, which has some of the most affluent consumers, omnichannel strategies (any time, any place) are vital for companies to craft a user experience that cuts across online shopping, social media, mobile apps and conventional stores.
Physical stores still have a place: Online shopping has reduced the need for people to visit shops. Physical stores will still be a powerful asset if they are used for more than shopping. Retailers have a portfolio of well-located spaces that can be repurposed.
Rise of e-commerce: Physical stores won’t disappear, but the high penetration of smartphones and digital services has transformed the behavior of GCC consumers.
Value-seeking behavior after VAT: In a market that has been tax-free, the introduction of VAT, even at a relatively low rate of 5 percent, has caused a shift in consumer behavior. The average Saudi consumer is more cost-conscious than ever. Companies that can tap into additional value through economies of scale, or provide greater convenience, will reap the rewards.