India’s gold duty hike to benefit GCC markets

People from the subcontinent view gold as an ideal investment.
Updated 14 July 2019

India’s gold duty hike to benefit GCC markets

Buying gold from the GCC countries, Singapore and Malaysia will now be cheaper when compared to buying gold from India, according to Malabar Group Executive Director Abdul Salam KP. Here’s why:
•The additional import duty for gold announced in India’s Union Budget 2019 will hurt the domestic gold and jewelry market and promote illegal gold trade, which is detrimental to the economy.
•While the new duty structure affects the Indian jewelry industry negatively, jewelry business in the neighboring markets will benefit because of this duty hike.
•Even the most popular designs of India will be much cheaper in the UAE, other GCC states, Singapore and Malaysia.
•Earlier these markets depended on imports from India, whereas now most of these markets have developed their own manufacturing facilities. As such, jewelry manufacturing is a growing industry in these markets.
•With the revised duty structure, customers, especially from India, can benefit from a price difference of more than Rs.400 ($6) per gram on gold purchases from the GCC countries. This will definitely encourage bulk buyers, especially for wedding-related purchases, to visit Dubai or any of the other markets.

HIGHLIGHT

With the revised duty structure, customers, especially from India, can benefit from a price difference of more than Rs.400 ($6) per gram on gold purchases from the GCC countries.

•The current price difference is mostly on account of 12.5 percent custom duty, in addition to 3 to 4 percent of other taxes. Whereas in the GCC countries, gold bullion is zero-rated, and the GST charged in many countries is refunded to tourists, thus amounting to practically no duty or tax on the purchases made by them.
•The increase in import duty from 10 to 12.5 percent will also affect the import of jewelry from different parts of the world into India. This will affect availability of internationally designed and manufactured jewelry. Customers will therefore find a much larger array of designs and jewelry in the GCC, Singapore and Malaysia markets.
•People from the subcontinent view gold as an ideal investment. As it has a high market liquidity, it can be easily sold without having to alter the price. In addition, it is a movable asset whose value does not witness depreciation with uncertain economies.


Russia’s cultural capital beckons GCC travelers

Updated 17 October 2019

Russia’s cultural capital beckons GCC travelers

  • Citizens of Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia can now benefit from fast and convenient 
eVisa portal when arranging their next visit to the city of St. Petersburg.
Guarded by two marble lions at the entrance, the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg sits within the walls of a 19th-century royal palace in the beautifully preserved imperial city of St. Petersburg. Celebrated globally for its history and architecture, Russia’s cultural capital recently became an even more attractive destination for GCC travelers thanks to the introduction of a convenient new online eVisa process.
Launched at the beginning of October, the St. Petersburg eVisa portal enables citizens from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman to enjoy the benefits of fast and simple online visa applications. Travelers can simply fill in the online form, upload a photograph, and can complete the entire process in just a few clicks. Applications can be made within 20 days of traveling, and up to four days before arrival. The visa is valid for stays of up to eight days in St. Petersburg and the surrounding Leningrad Region.
Felix Murillo, general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg, said: “The introduction of the eVisa portal offers a new level of convenience for international travelers, making it easier than ever for GCC citizens to arrange a trip to our wonderful city. Our concierge team takes great pleasure in highlighting St. Petersburg’s historical and cultural visitor attractions, and will be happy to arrange anything our guests may require to turn every trip into an unforgettable experience. We look forward to welcoming visitors from the Middle East to our beautiful hotel to share cherished moments and create memories that will last a lifetime.”
The Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg is located in the upmarket Admiralteysky district and was originally constructed in the early 19th century for Prince Alexander Yakovlevich Lobanov-Rostovsky.
Since first opening its doors to guests in 2013, the property offers 183 rooms, including 26 sumptuously decorated suites.
Perhaps the most stunning of the hotel’s accommodations is the one-of-a-kind Lobanov Presidential Suite, where guests can gather by the living room fireplace for a night of intimate conversation, host an al fresco dinner party on the expansive private terrace with stunning views of the Admiralty building and the surrounding park, or retreat to the grand master bedroom for a quiet and cosy evening.
The hotel is inviting guests to embark on a range of culinary adventures across its three restaurants. Diners can experience pan-asian fusion flavors at Sintoho, authentic Italian dishes at Percorso and modern Russian cuisine at The Tea Lounge.
Catering to the needs of visitors from the Middle East, halal meat is available on request.