Talga hosts event to raise awareness on SDG 3.4

The event was hosted outdoors where workshops were conducted in tents and children enjoyed an authentic scouting ambience
Updated 12 November 2018

Talga hosts event to raise awareness on SDG 3.4

The Association for Sustainable Development (Talga) in partnership with the Saudi Scouts Association represented by the Messengers of Peace Commission, hosted an initiative called “I Want to Say Something,” which aimed at promoting effective practices that treat and prevent mental health problems among children.

Studies show that being a member of the scouts or guides during childhood is linked to a lower risk of mental illness.

The initiative seeks to encourage children to develop values embraced by scouts such as community involvement, teamwork, bio-empathy, love for learning and emotional intelligence. 

The event was hosted outdoors where workshops were conducted in tents and children enjoyed an authentic scouting ambience. 

The workshops focused on raising awareness on mental health and teaching positive skills that are essential for children through arts and a creative approach. Other activities included basic scouting skills like knot tying, celestial navigation as well as outdoor yoga and meditation. 

In addition, the initiative aimed to contribute to sustainable development goal (SDG) target 3.4, which focuses on raising awareness on mental health and reducing its risks by 2030, which is essential to raising generations that are positively engaged in their communities and societies.

Central Park Towers, DIFC, takes office spaces to next level

Updated 16 April 2024

Central Park Towers, DIFC, takes office spaces to next level

Central Park Towers, the office and event destination in Dubai International Financial Centre, has announced the launch of Fitted Offices — Level 2, a significant addition to its portfolio of premium office spaces. Scheduled for unveiling this month, this new offering continues Central Park Towers’ commitment to delivering unrivaled quality and convenience to businesses in the heart of DIFC.

Building on the success of Fitted Offices — Level 1, Fitted Offices — Level 2 comprises 15 meticulously designed units, ranging from 1,000 to 2,755 square feet, catering to a diverse range of business requirements. At the core of this new offering is a spacious tenant lounge, covering 1,863 square feet, mirroring the modern design and collaborative features of the Level 2 tenant lounge.

Nemo Stojanovic, director of leasing and marketing at Central Park Towers, DIFC, said: “Central Park Towers, DIFC continues to be the preferred destination for businesses due to our unwavering commitment to excellence in office spaces. Fitted Offices — Level 2 represents the next step in our journey, providing tenants with a superior workspace designed to meet their evolving needs.”

Fitted Offices — Level 2 offers a host of features and amenities that enhance the tenant’s experience. The thoughtfully designed floor-to-ceiling windows provide ample natural light, while direct elevator access to the offices ensures convenience for tenants. Access to the tenant lounge creates a collaborative environment, and the offices offer breathtaking views, providing an inspiring backdrop for success.

Similar to the Level 1 option, Fitted Offices — Level 2 eliminates the need for extensive construction or interior fit-outs. The spaces come complete with suspended ceilings, ambient lighting, air conditioning, premium flooring, and MEP installation. This turnkey solution empowers tenants to focus on their business priorities without the hassles of managing construction processes.

Tenants at Central Park Towers, DIFC, will also have access to the common lounge area, fostering networking and collaboration opportunities. Additionally, the convenience of free visitor parking for up to two hours enhances the accessibility and desirability of the location.

Central Park Towers, DIFC, is home to more than 190 companies, including the Ministry of Economy, Federal Tax Authority, Al-Tamimi and Co., Bank of Singapore, and Tabby. The building offers a vibrant lifestyle destination, with a wide array of dining options, lifestyle amenities, and cafes. Central Park Towers, DIFC, is more than just a residential and commercial office building. It also has plenty of event spaces that cater to numerous high-end ceremonies such as the Gov Games, Spartan Race, Gulf Business Awards, Kenzo, Pepsi, Chivas, Cavalli, Loewe, PlayStation, Sephora, and Audemars Piguet to name a few. The movie, Star Trek Beyond was also filmed there in 2015. It has been intentionally designed as a hub where smart office layouts, preferred residential apartments, and stylish leisure, dining, and retail ecosystems blend seamlessly to provide a highly desirable live-work environment. It has three floors of retail outlets with more than 30 brands in over 100,000 square feet of space. 

It is home to restaurants offering diverse world cuisines, a range of fitness centers, convenience stores, a nursery, and many more facilities all within the development.

e& life joins Dubai Fintech Summit as sponsor

Updated 16 April 2024

e& life joins Dubai Fintech Summit as sponsor

e& life, the business pillar of e& that brings the next-generation digital world to the consumer’s fingertips, has joined the Dubai Fintech Summit, organized by Dubai International Financial Centre, the leading global financial center in the MEASA region.

The summit, scheduled for May 6-7, at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, will see an unprecedented gathering of more than 8,000 decision-makers, over 300 thought leaders and 200 exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge technologies.

As a “Powered By” sponsor, e& life is dedicated to supporting innovative and future-thinking businesses on a global scale.

e& life leverages cutting-edge technologies to offer fintech, entertainment, retail, and mobility services through its smart platforms and apps. Their fintech arm, e& money, has become a regional powerhouse, known for its user-friendly mobile financial services and its position as the UAE’s fastest-growing issuer of Mastercard debit cards.

Mohammad Alblooshi, chief executive at DIFC Innovation Hub, said: “The path to true innovation lies in collaboration and the Dubai Fintech Summit strives to bring together global leaders, innovators and disruptive startups to shape the future of finance. The alliance between the summit and e& life demonstrates our mutual commitment to fostering a dynamic fintech ecosystem to strengthen Dubai’s existing reputation as a leading business destination. Transforming challenges into opportunities, our goal is to create the most advanced, inclusive and technologically empowered financial community.”

Khalifa Al-Shamsi, chief executive at e& life, said: “The Middle East is at the forefront of a major transformation in financial services delivery, driven by technology shifting from traditional to innovative solutions. As a pioneer in the region’s flourishing fintech sector, e& is driven by a bold vision to lead this change.

“Through strategic partnerships, we aim to fast-track progress and take the region’s fintech potential to new heights. This partnership represents a valuable opportunity for both e& and its fintech portfolio under the business pillar e& life to collectively imagine new possibilities, inspire breakthrough ideas, and catalyze impactful innovations. By bringing together the talent and resources within our ecosystems, we can accelerate the journey toward a future where financial services truly empower people across societies. We look forward to contributing our expertise to shaping discussions that will steer the direction of the industry and play a role in realizing the UAE’s aspiration to become a global hub for financial innovation.”

In line with the Dubai Economic Agenda to position Dubai as the top four global financial hub by 2033, the second edition of the Dubai Fintech Summit is designed to encourage cross-border collaboration and innovation, pivotal to transforming the global fintech sector. It presents a unique opportunity to explore emerging fintech trends and their potential to drive financial progress in the MEASA region.

UAE’s Global Hotel Alliance marks 20 years with stellar Q1 results

Updated 15 April 2024

UAE’s Global Hotel Alliance marks 20 years with stellar Q1 results

Global Hotel Alliance, the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, has started its 20th anniversary year on a high note, reporting robust Q1 results across all key performance indicators.

Exceeding expectations, total hotel revenues for Q1 2024 jumped to $649 million, up 17 percent compared to Q1 2023, while total room nights picked up 20 percent and the average daily rate across its portfolio of 800 hotels nudged up 2 percent.

The GHA DISCOVERY loyalty program continued to grow in popularity, with new enrollments increasing 28 percent in the first three months of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. At the same time, redemptions of the program’s rewards currency, DISCOVERY Dollars, rocketed 109 percent year-on-year, led by members based in Spain, Singapore and China respectively.

Further underlining the success, the total cross-brand revenue, driven by members staying in a different brand to where they enrolled, increased 32 percent to $86.2 million in Q1, with hotel brands such as Anantara, Kempinski, Pan Pacific and PARKROYAL benefiting the most.

Since launching just over two years ago, D$206 million have been issued to GHA DISCOVERY members, with D$1 equal to $1. This has created a stimulus for travel within the alliance, and has helped drive more direct bookings for hotels, which are up 40 percent on GHA channels in 2023. Nearly two thirds of those direct bookings are now made on the GHA DISCOVERY app.

Key market and member trends in Q1 2024

• International stays made by the 26 million GHA DISCOVERY loyalty program members dominate: 68 percent of hotel room revenues were generated by international stays, led by properties in the Maldives (99 percent of revenue from international stays), Thailand (94 percent) and Hong Kong (86 percent).

• US and UK members were highly influential: 72 percent of the room revenue from US GHA DISCOVERY members and 89 percent of the room revenue from UK members came from their international stays. The US is the most important feeder market for GHA hotel brands, generating $52 million in international room revenue in Q1 2024, followed by the UK with $37 million. This collective $89 million represents 26 percent of total international stays room revenue. 

• 2024 destination hotspots revealed: The most preferred international destinations for each major feeder market were — Saint Lucia for US members; the UAE for members in the UK and Germany; Thailand for members in Russia; Hong Kong for members in mainland China; and Singapore for members based in Australia.

“As we enter our 20th anniversary year, GHA is not only delivering impressive numbers, but tangible business growth to our hotel brands. Our Q1 results also underscore our commitment to providing our GHA DISCOVERY members with unparalleled choice and flexibility; the surge in new enrollments and record-breaking redemptions of D$ reflect their level of engagement with the program,” said GHA CEO Chris Hartley.

Since GHA was launched in 2004, the alliance has grown exponentially to represent a collection of 40 brands with more than 800 hotels, resorts and palaces in 100 countries, and the 26 million members of its GHA DISCOVERY loyalty program, first launched in 2010, now drive $2.3 billion in revenue and 10 million room nights (as of 2023).

“Looking ahead, building on two decades of success, we remain dedicated to delivering exceptional value and experiences, ensuring that GHA continues to be the preferred choice for independent hotel brands and their customers,” added Hartley.

Hong Kong university delegation visits UAE for collaborations

Updated 15 April 2024

Hong Kong university delegation visits UAE for collaborations

A high-level delegation from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology — a world-class research-intensive university that focuses on science, engineering, business, as well as humanities and social science, is visiting the UAE from April 15-18.

Led by the university president, the delegation aims to establish relationships with the UAE’s higher education and innovation sectors to explore opportunities for research and technology transfer collaboration in robotics, artificial intelligence and clean energy. Additionally, the delegation seeks to identify potential synergies between HKUST’s expertise in engineering and technology and the UAE’s investment in these essential areas for the future.

Over the past decade, Hong Kong and the UAE have formed strong economic partnerships, with the UAE emerging as one of Hong Kong’s main trading partners and the largest in the Middle East. Demonstrating the commitment to strengthening connections, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee embarked on his first overseas visit to the nation last year. Earlier in March, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Professor Sun Dong, visited the UAE to foster collaborations, particularly in the fields of technological innovation. Consequently, building upon these efforts, HKUST’s President Professor Nancy Ip is leading a delegation to the UAE, marking a significant milestone as the first leader among Hong Kong’s universities to reinforce the city’s commitment to advancing research and innovation with the UAE.

The HKUST delegation will establish new connections with key partners and stakeholders in the UAE’s higher education and innovation systems through various meetings and discussions with government representatives, various companies and other partners dealing with innovation, research, technology, and technology transfer in the fields of robotics, AI, clean energy, and startup incubation. These key institutions include the Dubai Future Foundation, University of Sharjah, Khalifa University and Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence.

Given HKUST’s plans to establish Hong Kong’s third medical school, the delegation will also visit the state-of-the-art medical-related research facilities of these key UAE institutions to gain insights and explore potential collaboration opportunities.

“HKUST is a distinguished global research institution with leadership in the field of AI. There is tremendous potential for collaborative ventures that span education, research, and knowledge transfer with the UAE, which has made substantial investment in the field. Together, we can make meaningful contributions to the advancement and betterment of humankind,” said Ip.

Maersk innovates system to deliver freshwater from vessels to ports

Updated 14 April 2024

Maersk innovates system to deliver freshwater from vessels to ports

Freshwater scarcity is an increasing problem faced by regions all over the world. Four billion people — almost two thirds of the world’s population — experience severe water scarcity for at least one month each year, and half of the world’s population could be living in areas facing water scarcity by as early as 2025. With this background, a team of three employees of A.P. Moller — Maersk, who are former seafarers, decided to undertake an innovative project that could store and deliver freshwater from vessels to ports.

Cargo ships undertaking global trade are equipped with freshwater generator systems that produce clean drinking water by distilling sea water using heat energy harnessed from their engines. Traditionally, this system has been used to generate water for consumption only onboard the vessels. However, the excess water produced has been overlooked. Through this innovative project, this untapped resource has been capitalized on by optimizing the process and storing the excess water in tank containers before delivering it to ports.

Each vessel can fill two tank containers on an average sea voyage between two ports. With the process optimized and tank containers stored at the right location onboard, two tank containers with a combined capacity of 50,000 liters can be filled with freshwater. Amongst the first pilot runs were the deliveries at the Port of Colombo and Port of Salalah of two tank containers, each filled with 25,000 liters of freshwater.

Keld M. Christensen, chief executive, Port of Salalah, said: “At Port of Salalah, sustainability is one of our top priorities and we are committed to decarbonizing our operations by 2040. We also recognize that sustainability is not only about decarbonizing supply chains but also protecting our environment and its finite resources. The first tank container of freshwater delivered by Maersk from its vessel is an important milestone that has the potential to pave the path for a larger scheme of things.”

He added: “This project opens doors for many more ships moving around the world, which can replicate this system and create an incredibly large supply of freshwater that can be delivered all around the world to address the ever-increasing challenge of water scarcity.”

A pivotal aspect of the project’s success is its rigorous adherence to quality and environmental standards. The water quality, tested by the Ceylon Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, an official Sri Lankan government laboratory, met all WHO standards, underscoring the project’s commitment to safety and sustainability. Furthermore, a Life Cycle Assessment study conducted by the Danish Technical University has provided valuable insights into the project’s environmental impact, comparing it favorably against traditional tanker truck water delivery methods.

The fresh water generated and delivered through this innovative project can be used in various ways:

• Consumption at port facilities for basic sanitation, cleaning, and maintenance of offices, warehouses, and restrooms.

• Ship repair at yards for tasks like cleaning vessels, tools, and work areas.

• Container washing before storage or reusing.

• Firefighting at port facilities for emergencies.

• Power generation at power plants located in ports for cooling systems or other processes.