Weekly News Update during February 22 to February 28, 2019

UAE should set up investment funds to help expats manage retirement, says official

The UAE needs to set up investment funds to manage retirement and end-of-service benefits for employees in the UAE, according to the director-general of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources. Inaugurating the first Workers Incentives and End of Service Benefits Conference in Dubai on Tuesday, Dr Abdul Rahman Abdul Manan Al Awar said authorities are conducting studies to improve the end-of-service benefits system, particularly as the age of retirement has increased. The new system will possibly include an enhanced gratuity system and private sector savings scheme which will help retain talent in the UAE.


Almost 16m overnight visitors in Dubai in 2018

Dubai edged towards its target of becoming the most visited city in the world with 15.92 million international overnight visitors in 2018. The record number of visitors followed a series of customised global outreach programmes carried out by Dubai Tourism, according to Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism. Dubai's hotel sector saw an 8% growth in supply, with the total number of hotel and hotel apartments keys reaching 115,967 across 716 establishments


UAE petrol prices set to rise in March

Petrol prices in the UAE are set to increase in March, according to an announcement by the UAE Fuel Price Committee. Super 98 will now cost AED2.04 per litre from AED1.95 in February while Special 95 will rise from AED1.84 to AED1.92 per litre while diesel is up to AED2.41 from AED2.28. The price includes VAT. Fuel prices in the UAE were liberalised in August 2015, so they now move with the market.


Over 47,000 residences in Dubai slated for handover in 2019

More than 47,000 residential units are likely to be handed over in 2019, according to new statistics from UAE-based real estate portal Property Finder. According to the statistics, 21,014 residential units – including apartments, villas and townhouses were handed over in the third quarter of 2018. In October 2018, there were an additional 14,707 residential units with completion statuses of between 95 and 99 percent.


Abu Dhabi partners with Silicon Valley accelerator to boost travel start-ups

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Etihad Airways and the Department of Culture and Tourism has teamed up with Silicon Valley accelerator Plug and Play to boost start-ups in the UAE’s travel and hospitality sector, the parties said during a press conference in the capital. The accelerator programme, which will launch in the third quarter of 2019, will see the first batch of selected start-ups begin their work from ADGM’s office in Al Maryah Island. Plug and Play’s role will include attracting start-ups from across the GCC and other parts of the world


Abu Dhabi hotel revenues rise to $490m in Q4

Hotel revenues across Abu Dhabi increased by about 73 percent to AED1.8 billion ($490 million) in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the previous quarter, according to the Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD). SCAD attributed the growth to the robust tourist infrastructure boasted by Abu Dhabi in terms of attractive recreational facilities and rates. According to the statistics, hotel rooms in the UAE capital increased to 32,971 during Q4, a growth of 4.6 percent from 31,506 during Q3.


Adnoc inks deal for world's largest underground oil storage project

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) announced on Wednesday that it is building the world’s largest single underground project ever awarded for oil storage, with a capacity of 42 million barrels of crude oil, in Fujairah. An engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract has been awarded to South Korea’s SK Engineering and Construction Co Ltd (Skec) to construct the three underground storage caverns, each with a capacity of 14 million barrels, deep below ground level. The EPC contract is the largest for a single project award for underground crude oil storage in the world and is valued at AED4.4 billion ($1.21 billion) with approximately 50 percent of the contract spend feeding back into the UAE economy through Adnoc’s In-Country Value program.


Dubai retail giant set to open first Abu Dhabi mall

Majid Al Futtaim is set to open its first shopping mall in Abu Dhabi, My City Centre Masdar, in the second quarter of 2019. The retail giant said work is progressing on schedule at its AED300 million community mall at Masdar City. It said My City Centre Masdar’s construction has created 1,500 new employment opportunities in its build-out phase and over 2,000 new jobs after opening.


India OYO Hotels & Homes sees growth quadruple in 2018

India-based global hospitality major OYO Hotels & Homes said it has added more rooms than the top three hotel chains in the world in 2018, reaching a total room portfolio of 458,000 worldwide. OYO is also poised to become the world’s largest hotel chain soon, with its realised value run-rate reaching $1.8 billion, the company said in a statement. OYO is backed by leading investors such as the SoftBank Group, Sequoia India, Lightspeed India, Hero Enterprise and China Lodging Group. OYO currently manages 12,500 rooms across Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The company has welcomed over 120,000 guests from 80 countries across 14 properties and 20 homes in UAE, since its launch in April 2018.