Cairo Festival Centre is one of the new retail developments in the pipeline.
Major retail complexes in countries including the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Lebanon are among new shopping malls set to open in the Middle East over the next three years.
From the new Fujairah City Centre mall in the UAE to Muscat’s Grand Mall in Oman, each promises to offer the region’s consumers a vast array of shopping, restaurant and entertainment amenities.
Among the major new developments are Al Futtaim Group’s US$1.65bn Doha Festival City, slated for completion in 2014, which will feature well-known retail names including Toys R Us and Marks & Spencer. The complex will cover 433,847sqm and includes parking for 8,500 vehicles.
Despite missing its initial delivery date of 2011, the 235,000 sqm Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi has signed up a number of heavyweight retail partners, including the Landmark Group, Dubai Holding Group and Liwa Trading.
While the economic situation may be faltering, consumers’ retail appetites are not, it would seem
Alexander Clavel, managing director and founder of the Federal Restaurant Corporation which runs Mirabel cafe in Abu Dhabi has undertaken the task of creating healthy lunch options for kids.
It is a subject that’s close to Clavel’s heart, so when he was approached by Aldar Academies Al Muna school to create convenient, nutritious meals in a box, he jumped at the chance.
“I think children in the UAE are generally unhealthy, and as an expectant father, I’m very much worried about this,” he said. “Obesity among children across the UAE is on the rise – as it is in the USA and Europe – due to changing dietary habits and limited physical activity. All this can be changed, much of it reversed, with good, healthy eating.
“This, combined with limited physical activity leads to a whole host of problems including diabetes, allergy development, erratic energy levels and mood swings.
“In the UAE you can literally find anything to eat and anything to do so there are no excuses for being lazy! Yet many pay more at the pump for Premium petrol for their cars but less for the quality of their food for their children. That logic can only change with education.”
Posting directly from Abu Dhabi, where I have been invited by our worldwide ambassador, the Green Sheikh, and our supporter Goumbook, in the person of Mrs. Tatiana Antonelli Abella, to attend to the World Green Tourism event, supporting them during the opening day which took place last Monday, Dec. 5th.
The morning conference was opened by the introduction of HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) who actively supports responsibility and sustainability actions in Abu Dhabi and UAE respectful of the local environment and wildlife.
Immediately after our worldwide Ambassador HH Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi, aka the Green Sheikh, captured the audience with an engaging presentation, merging his life philosophy and his belief together with his support for the environment and with his many travel experiences and encounters with people of all races, cultures and social classes. From Antarctica to Brazil, Iceland and Australia via amusing anecdotes, the Green Sheikh skillfully showed the audience that we are all equal, no matter if men or women, adults or children, Christians or Muslims or Jews or following other religions, rich or poor.
The presentation was accompanied by amazing images and he used the cardinal points as a guide for his presentation -N, E, S and W- each one having its own enhanced meaning: N as Nature, S as Social, E as Empowerment, and W as World. Because travellers too can make a better world, through a more aware, green and responsible tourism
To my great surprise – and I want to publicly thank the Green Sheikh for this- the Green Sheikh introduced the ECOFFEE platform to the audience, presenting it as a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs.
ECOFFEE as a “Sustainable entrepreneurship platform” was in fact coined together with the Green Sheikh during our first meeting some of months ago, while talking about ECOFFEE’ services and projects, like the Franchising coffee shop, especially designed for those entrepreneurs who want to run a profitable, responsible and ethical business.
What I am witnessing here at the WGT event is the growing importance of the environment, sustainability and responsibility issues which are now actually transferred into daily business practices even in the Tourism industry – I am glad and proud to be among those who are actively supporting it each and every day with DESITA and ECOFFEE’s business practices.
Presented by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi (Dec. 5-7) is a global event to provide the much needed platform dedicated to sustainable tourism.
Held over three days, the event is the largest ever gathering of government officials, regional and international tourism authorities, environmental agencies, industry leaders, urban city planners, architects, developers, institutional investors and financiers, airlines and tour operators, green product suppliers, universities and academics to examine this issue.
The event aims to support and further enhance sustainable tourism globally and in the region by creating opportunities where industry leaders can meet and discuss immediate challenges and effectively formulate solutions to pressing environmental issues.
The WGT is a three-day conference with heavyweight keynote speeches and interactive panel debates, workshops and an exhibition that will showcase sustainable products, services and technologies relating to the travel and tourism industry. With visitors including hotel GMs, responsible travel agents and environmental consultants the exhibition is the ideal place to showcase your solutions. In addition the exhibition will feature existing and planned developments, hotels and projects that are taking a sustainable approach.
The dense conference program will start on Dec. 5th. Introduced by a speech by ECOFFEE’s Worlwide Ambassador, H.H Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi (the Green Sheikh), the conference will follow dealing with Industry related themes: How can large scale tourism ever be made sustainable? ,“Empowering consumers to make a responsible choice: What steps should the travel industry take?” , “Whose responsibility is it to green the tourism industry?” ending with “Green branding and marketing: Making sure your values are consistent with your message” panel.
In the next two days, the conference will deal with other important topics, such as Water conservation and energy use and regenerating and developing destinations
using sustainable principles. It will be also possible to book site visits that will take place to sustainable tourism projects in and around the city of Abu Dhabi. Delegates will be accompanied by representatives of the ADTA and EAD as well as the consultants who work with them.
We will attend the event to support the Green Sheikh and to bring back news and ECOFFEE’s new interesting prospects and projects. Please do not hesitate to contact norman|at|ecoffee|dot|it to plan a meeting at the upcoming WGT.
Masdar is a familiar word to all of us who are concerned about the future of our dear planet Earth. But for the few of you who have never heard of it, please allow us the pleasure to introduce you this incredible project.
Masdar is first of all a company, notably a Mubadala – Abu Dhabi government owned company, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. As stated in the company’s website ” Masdar is a commercially driven enterprise that operates to reach the broad boundaries of the renewable energy and sustainable technologies industry – there by giving it the necessary scope to meet these challenges. Masdar operates through five integrated units, including an independent, research-driven graduate university (Masdar Institute, other units are Masdar Capital, Masdar Power, Masdar Carbon, Masdar City cfr.) and seeks to become a leader in making renewable energy a real, viable business and Abu Dhabi a global centre of excellence in the renewable energy and clean technology category. The result is an organisation greater than the sum of its parts and one where the synergies of shared knowledge and technological advancement provide this commercial and results-driven company with a competitive advantage that includes an ability to move with agility and intelligence within an industry that is evolving at great speed. This holistic approach keeps Masdar at the forefront of this important global industry, while ensuring it remains grounded in the pursuit of pioneering technologies and systems that also are feasible. As a result, it delivers innovation to the market while deriving profits for its shareholders.”
This huge project deals with all the aspects of sustainability: research, energy, finance, architecture, urbanism. Last but not least, retail. Because of its importance in the life of all the people who will live in Masdar City and for “its contribution to the city’s appeal as a renewable energy and clean-technology hub“, retail in Masdar “will provide valuable lessons regarding commercial activities (…) increasing our understanding of how retail activities can be conducted in a sustainable manner”. The list of the companies who have already been involved in the Masdar City retail project includes Caribou Coffee, health insurance provider Daman, telecom provider Etisalat, Sumo Sushi, express delivery company Aramex, Omeir Travel, Organic Foods & Cafe and National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The first commercial building, the Courtyard Building, has been planned to be finished by 2012, therefore there is enough time for this list to become a very long one.
In the meanwhile, many are the people who are praizing the incredible urban project designed by Foster and Partners, but to be fair, there are also critics like New York Times journalist Nicolai Ouroussof who wrote that “…its design also reflects the gated-community mentality that has been spreading like a cancer around the globe for decades. Its utopian purity, and its isolation from the life of the real city next door, are grounded in the belief — accepted by most people today, it seems — that the only way to create a truly harmonious community, green or otherwise, is to cut it off from the world at large“.
Our point of view and what we are always stressing in our ECOFFEE projects, is that sustainability is too important for our future and each and every project that has a little bit of sustainability in it is important to raise people awareness. To be too critical towards sustainability-related projects, requiring their perfection – which at this stage is quite hard to achieve – postpones any action and creates confusion among people, these two being the worst enemies of sustainability. (Picture credits: Masdar.ae)
Retail sales in the MENA region jumped 13.2 percent last year, making it the only region in the world to post double digit growth, accountancy firm Deloitte has said.
In its latest retail report, Deloitte said emerging markets were the most promising for consumer sales and marked the Middle East as a stand-out region.
“While global economic growth is on the mend, most of it is taking place in emerging markets, many of which are experiencing rapidly increasing consumer spending,” said Nasser Sagga, audit partner at Deloitte and Touche.
“Within the Middle East there is a number of emerging economies that meet the criteria of strong growth prospects and good demographics – Egypt and Turkey being two such examples.”
The report identified the 250 largest retailers around the world in 2010, more than 11 percent of which were based in the MENA region.
Despite seeing a significant drop in trade and tourism during the financial crisis, the Gulf remains a key a market for retailers.
A report last year by real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis found Dubai ranked second only to London in terms of the number of global brands with a presence in the city.
In a ranking of 294 of the world’s top retailers, more than half had a presence in Dubai. “Despite continued uncertainty for some retailers across the world, luxury brand retailers have remained active and were responsible for the most new store openings,” said Peter Gold, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa cross-border retail at CBRE. (Source: ArabianBusiness.com, Photo: hadiyahrewardnetwork.com)