Page 1

Issued by the General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs-Dubai

Work or shirk from home? 97% UAE travelers see technology as key to stress free travel


Issue 14

June 2015

'Technology drives our product and service offerings'

Shaikh Hamdan instructs GDRFA to speeden procedures for travellers

Smart choice for a smart living GDRFAD’s mobile application enables: Individuals:

• On arrival visa extension. • Dashboard with all entry permits and residency

applications that are in progress, active, expiring soon or have expired. • Generate barcode to enter smart gate at Dubai Airports. • New and renew sponsored residencies (citizens). • New and renew residency (wife & children). • Attaching required documents. New update: • New entry permit for assistant categories (citizens) • Family passport renewal bouquet (citizens). • Renew passport (citizens only). • MYID

Establishments: • • • •

Extending entry permits (tourist visas). Work entry permit renewal. Before arrival – entry permit cancellation. Printing of Ministry of Labor’s permits. New update: • Dashboard with all entry permits & residences overstays and the ones expiring within 30 days.

Other features:

• • • • • •

Payment gateway. Visa inquiry. News and activities. Amer Car services. User guide. Branches with location maps and contact details. • Multimedia section. • Contact Director General

Mobile application is available on all app stores. Search for: GDRFA Dubai or simply scan the QR code

• Toll free: 8005111

Welcome Message

‘Thank you Your Highness Sheikh Hamdan’ T he UAE today is looked up by nations

across the world for its achievements in almost every domain. We have achieved this status with the blessings of God and the continuous encouragement and initiatives of our visionary leader His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who has always motivated us to do our best and be Number 1. Guided by the visionary leadership, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, made a visit to Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport to check the workflow, services, the achievements and challenges being faced. The visit by His Highness has ignited in us a spirit to challenge and to give, and encouraged us to stay determined to create the best future. “I want you to work relentlessly on implementing the vision of our wise leadership, and to enter the future with new achievements that define the leadership that UAE enjoys in all domains”.

The visit has encouraged us to introduce best international practices in the area of access points and borders industry. The visit also drives us to attain the highest standards that match the ambitions of the UAE, which has achieved world-class competitiveness and leadership in various spheres in a short span of time, be it travel and tourism, or peace and security. We owe this to the directions of our leadership and its commitment to excel and reach top ranks in all domains. The directions of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan and the fact that he commended the performance and achievements of the GDRFA Dubai have been very well received by all GDRFA-D staff. They feel highly motivated to do their best and give more. Thank you Your Highness Sheikh Hamdan.

These were the words by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan to the officers and staff of the GDRFA Dubai when he concluded the visit. The words were few but carried a very strong message, which clearly tells us that we must always look forward to maintaining the prestige of the UAE and Dubai worldwide.

Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri Director General GDRFA-Dubai

|Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 1

GDRFA Message


in History


October 1971 Pursuant to an order promulgated by the then Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, two departments were established: Central Immigration Department and Ports and Borders Department


October 1972 The two departments were merged with the UAE’s Ministry of Interior and Federal Law No. 17 concerning the naturalization and passports was promulgated.


1973 Federal Law No. (6) concerning Immigration and Residency was promulgated as the first law regulating the entry and residency of expatriates in United Arab Emirates.


1977 The two departments were merged and the new Department shifted to a building in the ministries complex


1982 The Administration shifted to the present building during the tenure of Colonel Mohammad Al-Ghaith


2003 The building was completely refurbished during the tenure of Brigadier General Saeed Bin Belaila


1999 Naturalization and Residency Administration, Dubai, established a branch at Hatta Fort


1995 Jebel Ali Port branch was inaugurated

2 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

Our Vision: To have the UAE as one of the most secure and safest countries in the world.

Our Mission (MOI):

To work efficiently and effectively towards enhancing the quality of life in the UAE community by providing security, traffic, reform, residency services and ensuring safety of lives and properties.

Our Mission (GDRFA):

For the happiness of the people, we offer excellent and fast naturalization, residence and ports services.

Our Values:       

Justice Team-Work Excellence courtesy Integrity Loyalty Social responsibility

Strategic objectives:  Promote safety and security.  Promote public confidence in the effectiveness of services provided.  Optimal use of intelligence.  Ensure all administrative services are provided based on quality, efficiency and transparency standards.

To communicate with GDRFA: Location: Aljaffilya - Bur Dubai PO Box : UAE – Dubai 4333 Email: amer@dnrd.ae Toll Free Number: 04 3139999 - 8005111 Working Hours: 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM GDRFA-Dubai http:// www.dnrd.ae Dubai Airport Freezone http://www.dafz.ae Dubai Public Prosecution http://www.dxbpp.gov.ae Dubai Municipality https://www.dm.gov.ae

Department of Economic Development http://www.dubaided.gov.ae Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing http://www.dubaitourism.ae Land and Property Department http://www.dubailand.gov.ae


GDRFA News GDRFA Photographes by: Abdulrahman Abdullah Sanjeev Kochan

Public advised to use legal means to obtain visas for relatives friends

Monthly newsletter issued by GDRFA-Dubai

P 10

UAE News Sharjah to attract 10 million tourists by 2021

Dubai’s first solar power zero-waste hotel in 2017

P 26

P 24

Middle East News Online visa application

Jordan eases visa fee

P 32

Honorary President Major General Mohammed Ahmed Almarri Director General

General Supervision Major General Obaid Muhair Bin Suroor Deputy Director General

General Coordinator Captain Khalid Al Rahma Editorial Consultant Ghassan Suleiman Creative Manager Mohammed Al Jarouf Executive Editor Shveta Pathak

P 30

83% UAE residents make online purchases

Strategic Technology Partner of GDRFA-Dubai Advertise with us Content, Production, Marketing & Advertising Nadd Al Shiba PR and Event Management Phone: + 9714 2566707 Fax: + 9714 2566704 Website




P 50 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 3

Cover Story

Crown Prince inspects services offered by GDRFA-D

Shaikh Hamdan instructs GDRFA to speeden procedures for travellers S haikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum,

Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, recently visited the Dubai International Airport and inspected the progress of work at the Airport.

4 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

Cover Story

During his visit, he inspected the progress and impact of various services and encouraged the staff to offer their best so as to ensure high level of comfort, satisfaction and happiness of passengers in line with the vision of Dubai’s leadership. Crown Prince of Dubai kicked off his visit from GDRFA’s Customer Service Centre in Concourse 3, a one-window service centre for all services related to visa, residency and e-gates He acquainted himself with the overall services provided by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-D) in Dubai and got updates on the measures being followed to finish travel procedures of airport users, especially the arrival and departure procedures.

Emphasises on providing best services to ensure comfort and happiness of passengers

Shaikh Hamdan was accompanied by Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of the Dubai Police and General Security, and Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Marri, Director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai.

Expo 2020

Shaikh Hamdan issued instructions to ease travel procedures for visitors to Dubai Expo 2020. He empahsised on the need to accelerate all procedures whether they related to entry of pas-

sengers or exit on a par with the highest international standards and ensure high passenger satisfaction and comfort of travellers in line with the UAE’s strategy to be the best in aviation and tourism sectors not only at a regional, but also at an international level. Sheikh Hamdan stressed on enhancing government services and ensuring happiness of people, which is the heart of Dubai Plan 2021. The Dubai Strategic Plan (DSP) 2021 aims to reinforce Dubai’s positioning as a global centre and destination across a number of fields. Milestones such as the hosting of the World Expo 2020 and other initiatives such as Dubai the Capital of Islamic Economy, |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 5

Cover Story

My Community — which aims to transform Dubai into a city that is friendly to people with disabilities, Dubai Smart City, and Dubai Government towards 2021, in addition to many others,

will contribute to making Dubai a role model for the world.Sheikh Hamdan said Dubai should be fully prepared to handle rise in passenger volumes during the Expo 2020.

2628 online entry permits issued last month to GCC expat residents

Dubai Expo 2020 is expected to attract 25 million visitors, 70 per cent of whom would originate from outside the country. Sheikh Hamdan asserted on the importance of preparedness for the event, which will be the most international event in the history of Expo and provide best services to the visitors, particularly since the Expo is being held for the first time in the region. He further emphasised on the importance of readiness in wake of the expected rise in the number of pas6 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

Cover Story

sengers over the next few months as the holiday season starts.

At the terminal, he also spoke to staff at the check-in counters.

the best standards in the world’s major airports.

New services

He instructed them to speed up check-in procedures in line with

He lauded the advanced design of the e-gates and its effect on

Shaikh Hamdan listened to a detailed presentation about work measures and rules applied at the airport as he started his tour, visiting the Customer Service Centre in Terminal 3, where he was briefed on its 24-hour services as well as on the latest services introduced to facilitate travel procedures. He was briefed on the work of the Electronic Gate and the registration services for the GCC residents. Shaikh Hamdan was also briefed about the procedures for passengers using the entry and exit gates at Terminal 3.

|Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 7

Cover Story

With new online visa system resident expat GCC passengers can get barcode mobile phone visa in less than two minutes

speeding up and smoothing passenger traffic. Sheikh Hamdan indicated that developing and facilitating government services is key objective in Dubai Strategy 2021.

Sheikh Hamdan praised the professionalism and dedication of GDRFA’s young national cadres and requested them to provide their best efforts to develop and modernise services. He also affirmed that training and qualifying national cadres and developing infrastructures is our gateway to the future and a cornerstone for UAE’s excellence. The Crown Prince also saw the latest services including the online registration for the residents of GCC. The online visa application facility will benefit thousands of passengers coming from the GCC to Dubai. Not only will they be spared of long queues to pay fee or submit visa

8 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

Cover Story

application forms; but they will also the processing much faster now. Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-D), said the expatriates residing in any of the GCC countries soon will be able to use smart phones apps on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry and others to obtain a visa to enter the UAE.

reduced the time taken in obtaining the visa for the passengers and it also saved them from getting into queues.He said that obtaining a visa at the airport

counter earlier took about 40 minutes, but now when the process is done online, a person can get the barcode mobile phone visa in less than two minutes. ď‚…

The number of online entry permits issued last month to expat residents in the GCC was 2628. Al Marri pointed out that the new service has significantally |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 9


Team work helping entry and permits section employees to attain GDRFA’s strategic goals H is Excellency Major General Moham-

mad Ahmad Al Marri, Director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFAD) recently conducted an inspection of the Entry Permits and Residency section at the GDRFA. He reviewed the results and performance indicators as well as future plans, which aim to enhance the performance and further smoothen the work flow.

Al-Marri said that the GDRFA-Dubai is adopting the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who has provided all the support to the GDRFA-D and also of His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. He met with the staff and encouraged them ensure smooth work stream and

speeden up the issuing of transactions. Al Marri emphasized on creativity and urged the employees to come up with innovative ideas that help in improving. He also attended a presentation on the strategic plans of the sector and developments and future plans. Appreciating the cooperation and team work among the employees of the Entry and Permits section, Al Marri said this team work has helped them achieve the strategic objectives of the GDRFA-D. Al Marri was accompanied during the tour by senior officials from GDRFA. He inspected residency visa section, visit visa counters and checked the procedures used to complete transactions, and then listened to a briefing from officials regarding the 2014 statistics related to issuing visas and other transactions. Major General Al Marri said that the team spirit at GDRFA-D reflects positively on the quality of services provided to the public and it also reflects the civilized image of the UAE. ď‚…

10 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |


Online visa for GCC expats arriving in Dubai

Al Marri:

GDRFA-Dubai keen to offer best services to the public E xpat residents of the Gulf Coopera-

tion Council (GCC), who plan to visit Dubai, can now apply for entry permit online to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-D) before arriving in the emirate. The GDRFA-D has launched the service with a view to facilitate procedures and faster completion of transactions. His Excellency Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of GDRFA Dubai, said the Directorate is working to facilitate the procedures for all visitors and residents to the country and also to make their visit to Dubai as beautiful and enjoyable experience. The GDRFA-Dubai has introduced the visa on-line service for expatriates residing in GC coun-

Starting October this year the service will be only online and there will be no visa application at the airport upon arrival for this category

ports Affairs at the GDRFA-Dubai, said the service is also available online and at the airport upon arrival. However, starting October this year it will be only online and there will be no visa application at the airport upon arrival for this category.

tries and also for those accompanying GCC citizens including categories such as domestic helpers and others, doing away with the need for them to stop at the airport for visa application and fee payment.

Al Shanqeeti said the GDRFA-Dubai will distribute brochures in Arabic and English to all visitors to Dubai from any of the GCC countries in order to raise their awareness on how to use the new service, as well as the employees of the passports control counters at the airport will conduct a questionnaire on the new service to find out if people are aware of this services and how to use it.

“We encourage everyone coming from GCC countries to apply for the entry permits through the online service,” said Major General Al Marri. t. Colonel Talal Al Shanqeeti, Assistant of the Director General for Air-

He urged people to apply for the visa online via the website of the GDRFADubai. 

|Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 11


Public advised to use legal means to obtain visas for relatives, friends H is Excellency Major General Mo-

hammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-D) said that anyone who wishes to invite their relatives or friends to visit the UAE should use legitimate means, proper and legal channels to obtain a visa in order to avoid any kind of fraud. Major General Al Marri said there are many accredited tourist companies in the country dealing with the Residency Departments in the UAE.

12 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

He made these remarks during an inspection tour of external offices including the Free zone at Dubai International Airport, Al Tawar Centre in Deira and Al Manara Centre in Bur Dubai. The GDRFA-D is continually working toward improving its services and to raise customer satisfaction as well as make the work as smooth and easy as ‘Application for tourist, visit or any other visas should be done through official channels. The legitimate cost of a visa, as specified by the Ministry of Interi-

or, is a minor fee and people do not need to pay hefty sums of money. If they are paying huge amount of money, at times even more than AED 10,000, it means it is a forgery,” he said, while adding people should check the validity of their visa before traveling by calling the ‘Amer’ service toll-free number: 8005111 or visit the GDRFADubai website to communicate with Amer service in this regard. Al Marri added that all airlines that come through Dubai International Airport do not print any airline


ticket before checking the validity of the visa. According to standard procedure, airlines must first confirm the validity of the visa via a link of the GDRFA-Dubai. He ssaid that the GDRFA-Dubai coordinates with all airlines using Dubai airport to ensure that no traveller is allowed to board without a valid visa to the country. Al Marri said that the GDRFADubai advises people to check the the credibility of the tourist company and the validity of the visas they offer.During the inspection tour, Major General Al Marri was

accompanied by Brigadier Salah Saif bin Salloum, Assistant of the Director-General for Entry Permits and Residence, as well as delegate of officers and head of sections from other department. These visits are part of the annual inspection Entry Permits and Residence Sector at the GDRFA. Al Marri said the staff of the GDRF-A continues to provide the best services and they put all efforts to facilitate transactions and services provided to customers and that goes hand in hand with the vision of the country’s leaders. 

Al Marri:

GDRFA-D is committed to delivering the best services for its customers in line with the UAE's vision of ensuring customer comfort and happiness.

|Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 13


Free dental screening and treatment for workers T he

Permanent Committee for Labour’s Affairs in Dubai (PCLA) has urged all companies based in Dubai to coordinate with its office to get dental screening and treatment for their workers done as part of the Hamdan Bin Mohammad College of Dental Medicine on Oral Hygiene initiative. Major General Obaid Muhair Bin Surour, Deputy Director of the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-D) and head of the PCLA, said the committee is keen to follow up on workers’ health and wellbeing as they are one of the main assets of the country. “We want the workers to be happy and healthy and for that reason we will follow up on them and we will do our best to make their life easy and comfortable,” he said.

He said that more than 2,000 workers are expected to undergo screening and treatment before the end of this year. Abdul Monem Al Medawi, coordinator of Labour Committee in Dubai,

said companies can contact the PCLA on 04/7075005 or on email dlc@dnrd. ae in order to schedule dental screening and treatment for their workers. “We are taking workers for their dental treatment every Sunday and Wednesday,” he said. He said that the committee already sent 150 workers for dental screening and treatment. The initiative was organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammad College of Dental Medicine, under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, in tandem with the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs. It aims at improving the oral hygiene of workers. Free screenings and subsequent treatments will be offered by the dental staff of the Hamdan Bin Mohammad College. 

14 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |



Committed to excellence T o ensure world-class excellence and a high

degree of customer satisfaction, the UAE has set high standards of achievement for its government bodies. Government departments continuously strive to achieving these standards. Especially now, that our government has further increased the level of challenge and effort to ensure happiness and high satisfaction level of our customers. The visit of Sheikh Hamdan to the Dubai International Airport was inspired by the greater vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to continuously work toward success and be No. 1. Sheikh Hamdan checked how the GDRFA in Dubai is performing as the Dubai International Airport deals with more than 200,000 passengers a day, estimated to further rise 300,000 by 2020. Sheikh Hamdan’s message during the visit was very clear to us to “do our best and continue improving our services”. Motivated by his message, we have immediately started to study different scenarios and opportunities to enhance our services as well as create new smart ones. We are proud of our achievements so far including the introduction of the latest smart technologies like Smart Gates, APIS and Biometrics, AMR car and others- at the Dubai International Airport. However, these achievements do not make us complacent and we continue making even stronger efforts to reach our target, which is to have maximum number of UAE visitors using the Dubai International Airport, pass directly

through red or green channels, without having to queue up, while at the same time not compromising on the security aspect. We are always keen to know about and implement the best practices in the border industry. The Future of Borders conference which we organized earlier this year, was a part of these efforts and it attracted decision makers and leaders from around the world, who shared their knowledge and insights. The knowledge gained from the conference will help us further to handle more than 120 million passengers passing through Dubai Airports by 2020. The GDRFA in Dubai, with the support of the Ministry of Interior, and guided by the vision of our leaders, is strongly capable in terms of knowledge and resources to implement what our leaders wants us to achieve, which is to reach number 1 and give the best to UAE’s visitors. We are committed to enriching the experience of our visitors so they can cherish the memory of this experience for a long time to come.

Major General Obaid Moheir bin Suroor Deputy Director General GDRFA-Dubai

|Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 15

emaratech, a strategic partner of the GDRFA-Dubai actively participated in several exhibitions and conferences Thani Alzaffin, Director General and Board Member, emaratech speaking about security and passenger facilitation at the 2nd session of the Gulf Airport Leaders Forum in Dubai with Major Gen. Pilot Ahmad Bin Thani, Assistant Commander for Seaports and Airports Affairs - Dubai Police, Charles E. Stallworth II, Assistant Commissioner of International Affairs for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Waqar Mohamed, Regional Aviation Manager, G4S.

noqodi payment gateway and financial services and Shari, the eCommerce solution showcased at the cards & payment 2015 at the Dubai World Trade Center.

1616|Manafez |Manafez Dubai Dubai |June |June 2015 2015 ||

emaratech showcased eyen module and the new smart travel gate at the Airport Show 2015 at Dubai World Trade Center. emaratech is also the Gold sponsor for the Gulf Airport Leaders Forum 2015 held in conjunction with the exhibition.

Mohammed Karzoun, COO of emaratech lecturing in the Leaders Program by Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Leadership development organized by HR department at Dubai Government. Karzoun highlighted differences of many project management methodologies and best practices in the development of analytical skills.

|Manafez |ManafezDubai Dubai||June June 2015 | 17

In Focus

GDRFA-D conducts successful working from home experiment, employee productivity doubles

Work or shirk from home?


mid concerns raised about its effectiveness, working from home is gradually gaining higher acceptance than ever before.

Apart from private companies worldwide becoming more open to letting their employees Work from home (WFH), also called tele-commute or telework, government bodies are also experimenting with the concept. 1818|Manafez |Manafez Dubai Dubai |June |June 2015 2015 ||

When the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-D) recently allowed five women employees to work from home, there was a clear increase in their productivity with some of them doubling their performance from 250 to 500 transactions a day. Ctrip, China’s largest travel agent, ran a nine-month experiment in the firm’s Shanghai headquarters call centre, and saw the performance of its WFH employees rise by 13 per cent within the nine months. The employees recoded

more minutes per shift, more calls per minute, improved work satisfaction and their attrition rate also halved. The success of the experiment Ctrip to roll out the option to all its employees and more than half opted for it. One in five Americans are reported to be working from home atleast once a week and the number is expected to rise to more than 60 per cent. Forbes cited a Telework Research Network study as saying that home based work accounts led to savings of more than $10,000 per employee every year, lowered


facility costs and absenteeism while the employees saved between $1600-$6800 and 15 days of time they earlier used for driving or taking public transportation. Technological innovations are transforming the way employees work worldwide. A ‘Global Evolving Workforce Study’ commissioned by Dell and Intel and conducted by TNS studied how technology is shaping the workforce of future. The study on nearly 5,000 employees from 12 countries including the UAE, India, US, UK, Germany, Japan, Brazil, China, Russia and Turkey, also analysed how perceptions on working from home continue to drastically vary across regions. The key trends that emerged from the research centered on where and how employees work, the impact technology has on personal and work lives, and predictions around the automation of technology in the future.

Multiple devices: Wherever and whenever they are working, employees are using multiple devices, rather than just one to get their jobs done. Performance in work device is the top priority for employees.

20 % employees wear headphones to avoid distractions in offices

Of those who use desktops, more than half also use another device, and those who use either a tablet or 2-in1 laptop for work only use these in conjunction with other devices. However, tablet and 2-in-1 adoption is growing, with the highest use among executives and in emerging markets.

Office, the primary place of work: As they conduct work in different locations, office continues to remain the primary place of work but distractions in office remain a concern among many with 48 per cent indicating they are frequently disrupted at work.

Location of work also has an impact on the devices used. Sixty-two percent of employees consider the desktop PC as their primary business device while at work, with the highest use in financial services, public healthcare and government, but when doing work at home, laptops are used as frequently as desktops. For personal purposes, employees are switching to more mobile forms of technology where laptop, tablet and 2-in-1 usage is higher than when working in the office.

On average, employees in developed markets are spending 32 hours per week in the office, compared to 26 hours for employees in emerging markets. Thirty-five percent of employees globally indicate they work in public places on average two hours per week. Employees average four hours per week working at an external location, such as a client’s office, and another five hours per week working from home, compared with 29 hours per week working in the office.


Almost one in five employees wear headphones or earbuds in the office, and that usage doubles for those who feel they are frequently interrupted.  The office doesn’t seem to aid in increasing interpersonal communications either, as 51 percent of employees still frequently IM or email colleagues who are located physically near them, rather than talking with them directly.

Who is more productive?

Perceptions of at-home workers are shifting as 52 percent of employees surveyed believe that those working from home are just as productive as or more productive than those in the office. |Manafez |ManafezDubai Dubai||June June 2015 | 19

In Focus

UAE, however, is among the countries where four in 10 employees believe that those working from home are less productive. Of those who spend any time working from home, half believe they are more productive there than in the office. Of the remaining 50 percent, 36 percent believe they are equally as productive at home as in the office, and only 14 percent say less productive. There are clear benefits of working from home; 30 percent sleep more, 40 percent drive less and 46 percent of employees feel less stress, but not everything about working from home is good. There are distractions from spouses, children, parents and pets in the home and 20 percent of employees indicate exercising less when working from home, with 38 percent indicate snacking more. Work Life Plus Personal Life = Life: As innovations in technology continue to advance, people have increasing flexibility to choose when and where they meet their professional obligations.

4 in 10 UAE employees say working from home is less productive

The study found that 64 per cent of employees globally conduct at least some business at home after business hours. Employees in emerging countries are increasingly expected to be accessible at home, with 83 percent indicating they check work email after hours, compared to 42 percent in developed markets. Executives blur the lines between “work” and “personal” more than other employees. They indicate they use personal technology for work more frequently than other employees (64 percent vs 37 percent), take work technology home for personal purposes (45 percent vs 20 percent) and access personal websites/apps/software at work (67 percent vs 49 percent). More than half of employees globally currently use personal devices for work purposes or expect to do so in the future, while 43 percent of employees globally are secretly using personal devices for work without the company knowing, with smartphones and laptops being those most frequently used. “The challenge many IT departments face is how to manage

2020|Manafez |Manafez Dubai Dubai |June |June 2015 2015 ||

and secure the increasing number of devices coming in and out of an organization. Smartphones, in particular, have been the primary device behind the BYOD model,” said Bob O’Donnell, founder and chief analyst TECHnalysis Research. “That’s forcing many organizations to rethink the way they manage devices, especially ones not purchased or completely accessible by IT.” The Secret to Happy Employees? Technology: One out of four employees globally report they are influenced by the technology provided to them at work and would consider taking a new position if provided better technology that helps them be more productive. Employees in the media and entertainment sector are most likely to quit over poor technology. Those in management roles and employees in emerging markets, in particular, expect the best technology in order to stay with their current employer or consider a new one. Seventy-six percent of employees said technology has had an influence on the way they work in the past year. · The Future of Tech in the Workplace is Bright, But Not Fully Automated: Employees are generally optimistic with the future of technology, believing it will keep evolving and will provide different benefits and capabilities to the workforce, but will not fundamentally change the way in which people work. They believe that in the future, voice recognition will be used instead of the keyboard (92 percent), tablets will completely replace laptops (87 percent), all


computers will use hand gestures (87 percent), and keyboards and mice will be obsolete (88 percent). But those advancements in technology won’t replace the need for humans in the workplace as only 34 percent of respondents think their job will be fully automated in their lifetime. Those in emerging countries, specifically UAE, India, and Turkey are more willing to rely on technology, while those in UK, US and Japan are looking for a more human touch in their work lives. With the workplace changing, job responsibilities are being met at home, at client locations, even in public spaces like coffee shops and public transportation, so mobility has become a priority. Amid the flux, mobile technologies and alternative interfaces are playing an increasing role – laptops, tablets,

Right environment and technology key to enhancing employee productivity

mobile phones, 2-in-1s, thin clients and desktop virtualization introduce unprecedented versatility into the IT toolkit.


applications from any device and ensure security of data and information. As acceptance to working from home grows, experts recommend that employees be provided with tools that help them be effective in their preferred work environment.

The study recommends that business leaders, IT managers and human resource professionals should focus on the following to better understand their employees’ diverse needs and provide the right environments and technology to enable them to do their best work.

The Dell-Intel study said: “As innovations in technology continue to advance, people have increasing flexibility to choose when and where they meet their professional obligations so employers need to provide the tools to enable them to be effective in their preferred environment.

This includes providing them with the right technology for the job, seamless access to their data and

For those who don’t have the flexibility, provide a variety of workspaces to meet the task at hand.”  |Manafez |ManafezDubai Dubai||June June 2015 | 21

UAE News

Sheikh Mohammed endorses AED 500 million Union Museum project


AE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has endorsed the implementation of the Union Museum project at a cost of AED 500 million.

The 25,000 square-meter museum is adjacent to the Union House which witnessed the signing of the treaty establishing for the United Arab Emirates federation in 1971 according to WAM. Sheikh Mohammed, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was briefed by the members of the Board of the Union House on the final designs and external components of the museum and the timeline to implement the project, which celebrate a pivotal event in the history of the UAE. 22 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

Union Museum is a landmark that tells the federation formation story in 1971. The museum narrates the events from 1968 to 1974 and draw on the political and social circumstances surrounding this phase of UAE history. The museum’s location includes restored historic buildings, and the entrance of the new pavilion is designed on a shape of manuscript with seven columns that simulate the pen used to sign the declaration. The museum includes permanent and temporary halls, a theatre, educational area, recreational area and the administration offices, said the report.

The project also includes restoring the Union House to its original state, restoring Dar Al Dheafa to its original state and refurbishes its furniture and rebuilding the Ministry House in its original location and the building will be dedicated for state visitors. The museum will be constructed underground and connected with the Dar Al Dheafa and the Ministry House. The entire landscape of the area will be restored to its state in 1971. The project also will add new waterfront that simulates the coastline in that phase and a new 123 meter flag pole to substitute the old

UAE News

one that was built in 2001. Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority will supervise the project and Dubai Culture and Arts Authority will operate the museum once completed. The Union Museum is composed of eight permanent pavilions in addition to one temporary pavilion to exhibit items from international museums. While the first pavilion is dedicated for a documentary movie about the history of the United Arab Emirates, the second pavilion illustrates a panoramic interactive map highlighting the era before the formation of the federation. The third pavilion is an interactive timeline that demonstrates key historical events before the union phase through photos and exhibits. The fourth pavilion includes a visual presentation for the main events and meeting between late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum starting from Al Samha

discussions to the day the declaration was signed. The fifth pavilion utilizes advanced technologies to stimulate imagination and offer visitors a visual tour to understand the backgrounds of the formation of the union. The sixth pavilion highlights the leadership’s political approach and includes the formal and informal meetings and the important moments and challenges confronted the founding fathers before 1971.

The seventh pavilion is dedicated for the UAE Constitution and includes the declaration that turned the dream into reality in addition to a digital copy for the Constitution. The eighth pavilion is an open gallery offers a sight on the new-born nation after the formation of the federation and the important events during that phase. ď‚…

|Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 23

UAE News

Sharjah to attract 10 million tourists by 2021

S harjah Commerce and Tourism De-

velopment Authority has launched Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, aiming to attract more than 10 million tourists by year 2021, when the UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary. The announcement was made at a press conference recently by H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of SCTDA , and H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General of SCTDA , in the presence of a number of dignitaries and representatives of key players in tourism, travel and hospitality sectors as well as the media. SCTDA stated that as part of its role towards developing the tourism sector in Sharjah and to promote its attractions, it studied the

Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development authority has launched Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021

factors that affect tourism at the local, regional and international levels, and analysed the development of tourism in the emirate based on scientific data. This effort has been translated into an ambitious strategy, through a plan of action based on key pillars for a promising future for the tourism sector, the Authority said. H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Noman said: “There is no doubt that Sharjah has established a leading position for itself on the global tourism map as one of the favourite des-

tinations for millions of visitors from all over the world. We have been able to tap into our historical and cultural tourism potential and leverage our advanced infrastructure and innovative hospitality services to attract tourists from different parts of the world. However, we believe that developing tourism capacity and launching strategic projects are essential to ensure sustained growth and excellence. We are therefore focused on maintaining the uniqueness of our tourism sector and expand the market share of tourism in the economy.” H.E. Al Noman clarified that the main goal of the vision is to build a platform to unite all the efforts, initiatives and tourism programmes under one umbrella, to provide industry players and stakeholders with the ability to reach the stated goal, and enable the tourism industry to play a prominent role as one of the most important economic sectors in Sharjah. Stating that the development of tourism sector is vital for the overall development of Sharjah’s economy, H.E. Al Noman added: “This is a goal that cannot be achieved by any particular sector on its own. To achieve this, we need the active partnership of all public and private sector companies and institutions in the aviation, tourism, and hospitality sectors. Everyone must support this vision in a collabora-

24 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

UAE News

tive framework to achieve the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021.” H.E. Khalid Al Midfa gave a presentation on the plans to achieve Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, during which he explained that SCTDA will adopt, in collaboration with partners in the tourism sector, four strategic pillars working in parallel to achieve the aim of welcoming 10 million tourists by year 2021. As the first pillar, Sharjah will be promoted as an Ideal Family Tourism Destination by offering distinct packages and offers specially designed for families. The second pillar will be Innovative Tourism Approach to improve the tourist experience through the provision of innovative solutions. World Class Tourism Facilities and Capabilities constitute the third pillar to enhance efficiencies in tourism sector through partnership and collaborative action. International Cultural Hub will be the fourth pil-

SCTDA to adopt 4 strategic pillars to achieve the goal of 10 million tourists by 2021

lar which will help achieve the Vision through effective promotion of cultural and heritage elements among families. Guided by the wisdom and skills of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the Emirate of Sharjah has not only emerged as the Cultural Capital of the UAE but has also been crowned as the Cultural Capital the Arab World. The promotion of Sharjah as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World by UNESCO in 1998 has been further endorsed by its recognition as Islamic Cultural Capital in 2014 and Arab Tourism Capital in 2015. “Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority will play

a key role in coordinating tourism activities through a collaborative effort involving partners in both public and private sectors. We will expand the existing tourist attractions and build on the success of our festivals and special events. We are also looking to expand tourist numbers through exhibitions and conferences and enhance Sharjah’s reputation as a major international cruise tourism destination in the region,” H.E. Al Noman said. “We will create advanced tourism infrastructure to offer an exceptional tourism experience that takes care of every requirement of visitors, right from the moment of their arrival until their departure. Through innovative marketing strategy, we aim to achieve a bigger market share in the tourism sector,” Al Noman said. The SCTDA Chairman said the announcement of Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 marks a new phase in the Authority’s approach, based on innovation and creativity.  |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 25

UAE News

Britons invest AED 1.8 billion million in Dubai’s property market in Q1 2015 B ritons

were amongst the largest group of foreign investors in Dubai property in the first quarter of 2015, as leading officials in the region last week stated that the market is currently displaying signs of “sustainable growth”, according to a report in Select Property.com. Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Director General of the DLD, was quoted by the report as saying that the data

Dubai’s first solar power zero-waste hotel in 2017

D ubai’s

first solar-power and zero waste hotel will open in 2017, according to an Emirates247 report. The hotel, which will have 170 rooms, will have solar buses to transport guests to different locations in the emirate. The Indigo Hotel by InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) will be part of Dubai’s first sustainable integrated development The Sustainable City (TSC). The hotel will be a Net Zero energy building, where 100 per cent of its energy needs will be met by solar power. All waste water produced by the hotel will be recycled, and all material waste will be sorted at source and then recycled. A solar powered shuttle bus transportation service will be available to guests of the hotel, ensuring they are well-connected to Downtown Dubai, said the report. 

26 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

shows “well established trust in our real estate market”. The report said that the latest data from the Dubai land Department showed 669 UK nationals invested AED 1.892 billion into real estate in the emirate, the second highest from a foreign nation. Wealthy Indians were the biggest foreign investors, pouring AED 3.04 billion into the market.

Locally, investment from GCC nations (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait etc.) topped AED 9 billion whilst Arabs based outsi©de of the GCC in countries such as Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon invested AED 3 billion into properties at both ends of the market, particularly luxury apartments.In total, investment stood at AED 64 billion, a 4.6 per cent increase over the same period in 2014, added the report. 

RTA accomplishes 100% smart services

H is Excellency Mattar Al Tayer,

Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), announced that the RTA has accomplished the transformation of all customer services into smart services tailor-made to be innovative and easy-to-use. About 173 services have transformed into smart services offered via nine apps available via platforms of various smart phones (Android, Apple, Blackberry, and Windows). Through these apps, the RTA is seeking to shape Dubai into the smartest city in the world in terms of roads and transport systems. The announcement was made at a press conference held at

RTA premises recently in the presence of the CEO of Corporate Technical Support Services Sector and Chairperson of Dubai Smart City Project Support Committee Abdullah Al Madani, CEO of Licensing Agency and Chairperson of the Higher Committee of Customers Service Ahmed Bahrozyan, Director of IT and Head of Smart Apps Development Team Abdullah Al Bastaki, and a host of RTA Directors. 

UAE News

Dubai world’s second most popular shopping destination

Abu Dhabi ranks third place in top target market by new entrants

D ubai is world’s second most im-

portant shopping destination, according to global property advisor CBRE. The Emirate has retained its position for the fourth consecutive year, closely behind London, according to the 2015 edition of “How Global is the Business of Retail?” by CBRE. Dubai has a presence of 55.7 per cent of international retailers and it attracted 45 new international brands, with high profile retailers including Hollister, Cavalli Caffe and McQ Alexander McQueen opening outlets in the emirate last year.

“Dubai’s global air connectivity and its growing stature as a hub for trade between the East and West has clearly given an added impetus to the retail sector. Dubai continues to remain the clear destination of choice for the majority of the brands looking to enter the region for the first time, frequently using the emirate as a stepping stone to wider regional expansion programmes,” said Nick Maclean, Managing Director, CBRE Middle East. Retailer globalisation remained a key theme with half of the 164 cities surveyed attracting at least five new retailers. Markedly, Abu

Dhabi featured prominently on the list of target cities with 55 new brands, ranking the emirate in third place for new retail entrants during 2014. Tokyo took the coveted top spot with 63 new retailers entering the market followed by Singapore. “Whilst Dubai has maintained its position for overall retail representation in 2014, the increased number of new retailer brands entering Abu Dhabi has been driven in part by a significant increase in supply in the capital amidst the opening of a number of new malls, most notably Yas Mall which opened in November 2014,” added Maclean.  |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 27

UAE News

Dubai World Trade Centre made a free zone

A new

law has established Dubai World Trade Centre as a free zone, with an aim to boost Dubai’s position as a global trade centre and hub for regional and international exhibitions and conferences in addition to attracting local and international investments and hosting commercial and trade establishments, reported WAM. Pursuant to this Law, Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) subjoins Investment Corporation of Dubai as an incorporated public body with financial, administrative and legal independency. Pursuant to the Law, Dubai World Trade Centre Authority may jointly and severally establish companies, invest in such companies, buy, rent and/or enter into possession of movables and immovable moneys, investing such moneys duly and coordinating with other free zones to facilitate the activities of DWTC’s companies within such free zones. The Law also defines the organisation structure of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) and prescribe responsibilities of its Board of Directors which include President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority

and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum as Vice Chairman of the Board and Butti Saeed Al Kindi as Second Vice Chairman.

the Dubai World Trade Centre at Jebel Ali.

Members of the Board are: Ziad Abdulla Galadari, Abdullah Mohammed Rafee, Khalifa Saeed Al Zaffin, Saud Ibrahim Obaidallah and Abdulrahman Mohammed Rashid Al Sharid.

Law No (9) of 2015 substitutes Law No (10) of 2008 on the establishment of Dubai World Trade Centre and further annuls any other legislation that contradicts or challenges its provisions. The rules and regulations issued pursuant to Law (10) of 2008 remain valid unless amended or substituted by others.

The DWTC’s zones include free zones and districts managed and supervised by Dubai World Trade Centre Authority; the geographical domain includes the current facilities of Dubai World Trade Centre, the under-developing facilities and

The new Law is to be published in the Official Gazette and valid from the date of publication. Decree No (11) of 2015 is to be published in the Official Gazette and valid from the date of validity of Law No (9) of 2015. 

Air Arabia opens new sale office in RAK

A ir Arabia, the first and largest low-

cost carrier in the Middle East and North Africa, has strengthened its operations in Ras Al Khaimah with the opening of a new sale office and City Terminal Check-in to serve customers in the emirate, ac-

28 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

cording to Khaleej Times.The facility on Nakheel Road was officially opened by Shaikh Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Civil Aviation. Air Arabia opened a hub at Ras Al Khaimah International Airport

in May 2014 following the signing of a strategic partnership between the airline and the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Civil Aviation. This is Air Arabia’s fourth sales office in Ras Al Khaimah, including its facility at the airport. 

UAE News

UAE passenger numbers rise by 17.3%

T he

UAE’s main airports handled 17.3 per cent more passengers in the first four months of the year compared the previous year, according to a Gulf News report.

rapidly expanding Etihad Airways, and Dubai International, home to one of the world’s largest carriers, Emirates, accounted for the bulk of additional passengers.

Quoting statistics from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the report stated that a total of 37.84 million passengers arrived, transferred and departed at airports in the country from January to April compared to 32.24 million a year ago. Abu Dhabi International, home to

Dubai International, which last year overtook London’s Heathrow to become the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic, saw a 14 per cent rise in passenger numbers to 27.5 million, the report said. The report added that Emirates and flydubai are driving growth at Dubai

International with an additional 12 per cent and 17 per cent of seating capacity, respectively, in the first four months, stated Will Horton, senior analyst at CAPA — Centre for Aviation. Passenger numbers at Abu Dhabi International rose 27 per cent, above the five-airport average, to 7.4 million passengers with an average monthly increase of 392,577. DWC, Dubai’s airport in the emirate’s south, handled 158,216 passengers in the first four months of the year, 80 per cent more than the 84,125 passengers a year ago. Al Ain International, in Abu Dhabi’s east along the Omani border, has seen a sharp increase in the number of passengers this year of 90 per cent to 10,313 passengers over the January to April period. 

5,200 new jobs in UAE’s travel and tourism industry T ravel and tourism, a major driving sector of the UAE

economy, will generate more than 5200 jobs, according to a report in Emirates 247. Citing the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index report, the report said UAE’s travel and tourism industry in 2014 employed around 291,000 people – or 5.3 per cent of the total employment base, said the report. The WEF study has forecast that the sector will see generating approximately 1.8 per cent or 5,250 new jobs, it added. According to the report, Dubai attracts a major chunk of tourist arrivals in to the UAE every year. According to the Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Com-

merce Marketing, Dubai welcomed a total of 13.2 million international overnight visitors in 2014 and the emirate is on track to realise 20 million visitors by the start of the next decade.Unaffected by the political unrest in the other parts of the Middle East, the UAE also benefited from its status as a “safe” destination, WEF said.World Economic Forum study showed that the UAE was the most touristfriendly country in the region followed by Qatar, Bahrain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, added the report.  |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 29

Middle East News

Biometric passenger screening at Cairo aim, as in so many other biometric eGate systems, is to automate the passenger screening process, making it more efficient and secure.

E gypt’s Cairo International Airport has started using a biometric passenger screening system, according to an article in The Cairo Post. The system was set in motion at an inaugural ceremony attended by Egypt’s Prime

Minister Ibrahim Mahlab along with other government officials. It uses facial recognition to identify travelers, matching the biometric data against their electronic passports. The

It’s an increasingly popular means of conducting these security checks. In America, such efforts are being spearheaded by MorphoTrust (Safran) in collaboration with the government’s Transportation Security Administration in a program called PreCheck, while many countries in Europe are adopting such systems partly in an effort to promote ease of travel between EU member countries. While many of those deployments are in border crossing areas on land, demand for biometric security in airports specifically is also taking off. 

Online visa application

I n order to further reduce the wait-

ing time during appointment, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Oman has introduced a new application form VIDEX which allows for an online completion, reported Times of Oman. “Once the printed visa application is submitted at the appointment, the automatically generated barcode is scanned and all the information is transferred into the visa system immediately,” a release from the embassy said. The release also said, “in view of the travel season, the Germany embassy wishes to facilitate a smooth

30 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

cooperation between the Embassy, the Omani authorities and the public. Issuing visas is an important and sensitive part of our work to which we give the highest attention.”

In order to ensure a swift procedure, the Embassy has said that “all applicants over 12 year old need to book an appointment on the website www.maskat.diplo.de. 

Middle East News

Dammam airport to welcome 9 million passengers this year K ing Fahd International Airport (KFIA)

said it handled in 2014 more than 8.49 million passengers, a growth rate of 12 percent, beating competitor airports in the region for the second consecutive year, said a report in Al Arabiya. The report quoted Yousef Al-Dhahri, director-general of KFIA, as saying: “The momentum continues to accelerate and in the first quarter of 2015 KFIA achieved a growth rate of 18.5 percent, handling over 2.4 million passengers. “This is the highest number of passengers handled in a single quarter in KFIA’s history and the airport is on track to welcome more than 9 million passengers this year. International traffic increased by 10 per cent last year and now accounts for more than half of KFIA’s passenger traffic, with the addition of new airlines or increased services from existing airlines such as Lufthansa, Philippine Airlines and Jet Airways to Europe, southeast Asia and south Asia, said the report.During the first quarter of 2015, KFIA said international traffic grew by over 16 percent as the airport continues to

introduce more direct flight connections to Asia and Europe.“KFIA and the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) are working together to further improve connectivity in KFIA to respond to the growing traffic with the support of the Eastern Province Municipality and leading Saudi businesses in the region,” the report quoted Al Dhahri. The airport continues to grow from strength to strength, anchored by a management and operational partnership with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) and Changi Airports International (CAI). This cooperation enabled KFIA to achieve growth in the number of airlines, passenger traffic and city links, it added.

KFIA is served by 35 airlines and has added 15 new destinations since 2008 to develop a global network of 65 cities.To improve its air cargo services, KFIA inaugurated the new multimodal Cargo Village facility on Apr. 6, with DHL Express, NAQEL, SMSA Express, TNT and UPS operating as anchor tenants. Additional capacity is coming online and will assist airlines operating into the Kingdom. Located 20 kilometers northwest of Dammam, KFIA serves the entire eastern region of the Kingdom, mainly Dammam, Dhahran, AlKhobar, Qatif and Ras Tanura, while also covering the fast developing city of Jubail and its cluster of industrial complexes. 

Kuwait to study visa fee increase proposal T he Interior Ministry’s Residency Af-

fairs Department is mulling to send a proposal to Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah to impose new fees on visit visas for business,

tourism and family members, according to a report in Kuwait Times. The proposal also includes increasing the visa fees for self sponsorship (article 24) and family dependency

(article 22) from KD 200 to KD 400. Reports said that the minister may refer the study to the National Assembly for discussion. It is expected to decide the fees before the end of the year.  |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 31

Middle East News

Jordan eases visa fee J ordan has announced it will waive entry fees and charges for most travelers, regardless of their country of origin or their departure city, said a report in Hoteliermiddleeast.com.

According to the report, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania have approved the proposed changes conceived by Jordan’s minister of antiquities Nayef Al-Fayez. The move is expected to open new source markets for Jordan as well as help expand existing ones The Ministry has stated that the aim of the proposals is to make traveling to Jordan, which is home to the third most-visited city for UAE residents, more convenient and affordable for people of all nationalities. The report quoted Al-Fayez as saying: “The Jordanian tourism sector is working diligently on promoting regular and low cost flights from all around the world, specifically from new potential target markets, through the implementation of several incentive schemes and tax reductions.” “The measures approved by the government aim to encourage travel-

lers to add Jordan to their next itinerary and will aid in promoting Jordan as an accessible, safe, and inviting destination. They also reflect our dedication to constantly and vigilantly develop our products and services to cater to our guests from all around the world.” According to the report, the new changes are below: • Waiving visa fees for tourists of all nationalities coming through Jordanian tour operators whether traveling individually or in groups. The visa fee is waived on the condition that the

traveler/travelers spend a minimum of two consecutive nights in Jordan.

Waiving visa fees for individual tourists who have organized their trip to Jordan without arrangements through a tour operator and have purchased the unified tourist site ticket on the condition that they spend a minimum of three consecutive nights in Jordan.

• Reducing visa fees for tourists en-

tering Jordan through land borders. The visa fee will be reduced from 40JOD to 10JOD on the condition that these tourists spend a minimum of three consecutive nights in Jordan.

Waiving departure tax for all scheduled flights from Aqaba and Amman, on the condition that tourists purchase the unified tourist site ticket and spend a minimum of three consecutive nights in Jordan.

• Waiving the departure tax and en-

try visa for all low cost and charter flights leaving King Hussein International Airport – Aqaba.  32 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

|Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 33

Middle East News

Oman amnesty estimated to benefit over 60,000 undocumented workers I n a move that is expected to benefit thousands of undocumented expatriates, Oman has announced amnesty for workers living and working illegaly in the Sultanate.

The amnesty, which runs from May 3 to July 30, gives an opportunity to such workers to take advantage of the government’s move to pardon fines and legal penalties if they voluntarily turn themselves in and exit the country. According to a report in the Times of Oman, the Ministry of Manpower uploaded a notice on its official Twitter account announcing amnesty dates for undocumented migrant workers. Consular representatives from many Asian countries, which are major suppliers of manpower to Oman, have urged their compatriots to avail of this opportunity, according to media reports. According to a Khaleej Times report, the amnesty is expected to benefit over 60,000 undocumented workers, majority of whom are from Asian countries. “Each and every undocumented migrant worker should make use of this opportunity. It is not fair to stay as an illegal alien in any country. Staying without valid papers could land you in prison for years making your future uncertain. So, we urge all such workers to make use of this opportunity,” the Times of Oman report quoted a Muscatbased social activist Shaji Sebastin as saying. 34 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

This is not the first time that the Sultanate has announced amnesty. “In the last amnesty, which was announced at the end of 2009 and lasted until the beginning of 2011, around 60,000 workers had returned home without facing legal action,” noted Shaji. Amnesty to run from May 3 to July 30

The report quoted an official from the Bangladeshi embassy in Muscat urging all undocumented workers to make use of the opportunity. “So far, 9,000 workers have registered. We expect more in the coming days,” said the Bangladeshi embassy official.The official said that approximately 40,000 undocumented Bangladeshi workers are living in Oman, said the report. It quoted an official from the Pakistani embassy saying that the

number of overstaying Pakistanis would be between 4,000 and 5,000 and so far more than 2,000 have registered.“Everyone should make use of this opportunity,” said the Pakistan embassy official.Earlier, an official from the Indian embassy had said that they would get to know the exact figure of illegal workers only after people turn up for registration and the procedures are completed. However, Shameer PTK, an Indian social worker in Muscat, estimated the number to be around 3,000 and quite a few had registered so far.According to the Indian embassy official, out of the 22,000 Indians registered, only 15,000 had made use of the opportunity last time, said the report. According to the National Centre for Statistics, there were 1,575,298 expatriates working in Oman as of January 2015 of which 59,952 were in the government sector and 1,273,327 in the private sector, the report added. 

|Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 35

International News

China, India top immigrant suppliers to US C hina and India overtook Mexico as

top suppliers of immigrants to the United States, according to media reports.China became the top sending country of immigrants to the US according to numbers computed for 2013, Indian-newspaper Hindustan Times quoted a recently released study of immigration trends. China was the top sending country with 147,000 followed by India with 129,000 and then Mexico with 125,000, according to census bureau’s American Community Survey for 2013. Numbers for Indians and Mexicans were not “statistically different” in 2013, said the study done by census bureau researchers, though Mexico was Number 1 in 2012.

The other significant contributors of immigrants, defined for the purpose of data collection as those living abroad until a year ago, were South Korea, Japan and Philippines, said the report.And this is likely to hold as a trend, according the study: “The contribution of immigration

Self check-in, baggage handling at Bangaluru airport

P assengers flying out of Kempegowda International

airport, the busiest airport in South India, will no longer need to get into long queues for check-in as the airport operator plans to implement a system that allows passengers to print their own boarding passes as well as baggage tags from next month. KIAB will use passenger processing technology from SITA, air transport IT specialist, to manage its passengers. The seven-year, multimillion-dollar contract includes SITA’s AirportConnect Open passenger processing platform, the latest self-service check-in kiosks, and SITA’s baggage reconciliation service - BagManager, as per a release. In total, 180 common-use workstations and 30 CUSS kiosks, which allow passengers to print their boarding passes and tag their bags, will run on the SITA AirportConnect Open platform. 

36 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

to overall population growth will be greater for Asians than for HispanicsImmigration from India to the US has been traced back to early 19th century — documented in pictures at the Smithsonian — with the first bunch arriving to work on railroads. 

More than 40,000 Filipinos get Canadian PR in 2014

M ore than 40,000 Filipinos became permanent residents of Canada in 2014, making the Philippines the top source country for Canadian immigration last year.

The Philippines had previously been the top source country in 2012, with China having been the top source country in 2013, according to CIC News. Canada also issued nearly 47,000 visitor visas to Filipinos in 2014, a 56 percent increase since 2006. The number of new permanent residents from the Philippines is up from 14,004 in 2004, a near three-fold increase in just one decade. Many of the Filipino newcomers originally came to Canada under the Live-In Caregiver Program, now simply the Caregiver Program after modifications made last November. The government of Canada’s immigration plan for 2015 states that it aims to convert between 26,000 and 30,000 caregivers to permanent resident status this year, said the report. 

International News

Australia to strip dual nationality from terror suspects A ustralia plans to pass a law soon to

give the government power to strip citizenship from dual nationals who are suspected terrorists even if they are not convicted of a crime, said an Associated Press Canberra report. More than 100 Australians are suspected to be fighting with the Islamic State movement and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq. Up to 50 per cent of those fighters were estimated to be dual citizens, the report quoted Prime Minister Tony Abbott as saying The amendments to the Citizenship Act would allow Islamic State sup-

porters both overseas and at home to be treated the same as Australians who join foreign armies at war against Australia, Abbott said. The Immigration Minister Peter Dutton would have the discretion to revoke Australian citizenship from dual nationals suspected of terrorism, even if they had been not been convicted of any offence, Abbott said. The decision would be subject to judicial appeal. “There should be no difference in how we treat Australians who join a hostile army and those engaged in terrorism — both are betraying our country and

Tony Abbott

don’t deserve to be citizens of Australia,” Abbott said in a statement. The amendment would bring Australian citizenship laws closer to those the United States, Canada, France and Britain, he said. No one was to be left stateless by losing their Australian citizenship. 

International students contribute £2.3 billion to UK economy I nternational

students are contributing around £2.3 billion to the UK economy annually, according to new research by London First and PwC. The students studying in London alone spend around £2.8bn annually in tuition fees and consumer spending spending, while generating health service and public sector costs of just £540 million. Their spending also supported 70,000 jobs in the capital, said media reports citing the research. “International students are made to feel unwelcome because of antiimmigration rhetoric – and the fact that they are currently included in the

government’s net migration target,” said Baroness Jo Valentine, London First’s chief executive. “But students’ expenditure here is a modern-day export: they pay substantial fees and contribute significantly in consumer spending.” “As a matter of priority, our new government should follow the lead of Australia and Canada and reclassify international students as temporary visitors, not migrants. It makes no sense to imply through classification

and rhetoric that they are unwelcome, which is harming our universities’ abilities to sell education to talented students around the world,” she said. According to reports, vast majority of the current and alumni students from across London’s universities surveyed as part of the research said that they would recommend studying in the UK to friends and family, while 60 per cent said that they were more likely to do business with the UK as a result of their studies.  |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 37

Special Study

UAE is highest ranking Middle East country on MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2015


AE has been ranked as the top destination in the Middle East on the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015 released by Master Card-Crescent Rating.

The ranking reflects suitability as a family holiday destination for Muslim travellers, the level of services and facilities it provides, accommodation options, marketing initiatives as well as visitor arrivals. Worldwide, the UAE is among the top three destinations among the Organisa-

Muslim travel market forecast to grow to 150 million visitors by 2020 tion of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations. Singapore came first for the non-OIC destinations, which also saw

Thailand, UK, South Africa and France make the top five. Malaysia, Turkey and the UAE are the top three OIC destinations according to the index. With Muslim travel market forecasted to grow to 150 million visitors by 2020, the index provides provided all stakeholders with some invaluable insight into how the halal-friendly tourism sector is growing and developing from a global perspective.

Muslim travel market

The Muslim population is growing rapidly and is expected to become 26.5 per cent of the world’s population by 2030, making Muslims an important consumer market for the entire world. The majority of the Muslim population comes from some of the fastest growing economies such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and the Gulf countries and they are set to become an increasingly important segment for businesses across all sectors. The Muslim travel market, which is among the fastest growing tourism segments in the world, is forecasted to grow to 150 million visitors by 2020 and 11 per cent of the entire segment with a value projected to grow to $200 billion. Albania Algeria Andorra Argentina Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahrain Bangladesh Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina Brazil Brunei Bulgaria Cambodia Canada Chile

38 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |


























































































































































































17.0 50.0

The overall visitor arrivals at the destination in 2014

The report also revealed that in 2014, this segment was worth $145 billion with 108 million Muslim travellers representing 10 per cent of the entire travel economy. UAE saw 2.9 million Muslim visitors in that period which accounts for 27 per cent of the total arrivals to the Gulf destination. Faith is increasingly influencing purchase decisions of Muslim consumers, clearly reflected by the accelerated growth of Halal food, Islamic banking and lifestyle sectors in the last decade.

The availability of activities such as shopping, sightseeing, architecture, arts and culture, nature and wildlife, beaches and more Special


The typical Muslim consumerMasterCard-CrescentRating is now and facilitiesGlobal available a destination Muslimat Travel Index 2015 younger, educated and with a larger such as dining options, halal assurance, disposable income which has precipi- ease of access to prayer places, airport tated an increased propensity to travel. services and facilities, accommodation This means travel and hospitality, and options; Muslim travel market awareits various sub-sectors, is now one of ness and reach out and the biggest markets within the Muslim consumer space. Ease of communication. “Not only is it the most in-depth reGlobal Muslim Travel Index search that we have undertaken so far The GMTI covered 100 destinations, on the fast-growing Muslim travel creating an overall index, based on a market, but has provided all stakeholdnumber of criteria. ers with some invaluable insight into how the halal-friendly tourism sector is The index considered Muslim visitor growing and developing from a global arrivals, safety of travel environment perspective,� said Fazal Bahardeen, as well as Muslim friendly services CEO of CrescentRating & HalalTrip. |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 39

Special Study

can include the Hijab. In some cases the face covering, Niqab, is also worn. Any resentment prevalent at the destination for such clothing is also taken into account,” according to the report.

Visitor arrivals

Arrivals calculation model to the overall visitor arrivals as reported by UNWTO.This study revealed that in 2014 total Muslim visitor arrivals were 108 million representing 10 per cent of the entire travel economy. In 2014 30 destinations accounted for 80% of Muslim visitor arrivals. The top country was Saudi Arabia. This included religious travel to Saudi Arabia.

Halal assurance and dining options


With more than 50 per cent of Muslim tourists travelling with their families, a much higher per cetange compared to other segment, the index gave high weightage to the popularity of a destination for holidays as well as its family friendliness. It studied overall visitor arrivals at the destination in 2014 as wella s the availability of activities such as shopping, sight seeing, architecture, arts and culture and nature and wildlife. 40 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

The safe travel environment score was calculated from the perspective of a Muslim traveler for which the index considered ‘Muslim travel safety’ and travel alerts issued on a particular destination by UK, USA, Canada and Australia. “For the Muslim travel safety metrics, extensive online research was done to check forincidents reported against Muslims. Many Muslim female tourists wear traditional Islamic clothing which

Availability of Halal food is one of the most important aspects when it comes to catering for Muslim travelers. Given the complexity of the food industry, an independent Halal assurance of a food outlet by a Halal certification body8puts Muslims at ease when choosing where to eat, said the report. While Halal is easily available in most of the OIC destinations, the availability of Halal food in non-OIC destinations has also being growing in recent years. One example is Taiwan, where the last two years have seen the number of Halal certified outlets double.



The certification body is part of the China Muslim Association. The report found Singapore to have the best halal food environment among the non-OIC destinations. With its well established Halal certified body, MUIS, it has close to 10,000 halal certified food outlets.

Ease of access to prayer places

Most Muslims travelers would prefer a mosque or a designated place for prayers. Hence, ease of access to prayer facilities in the tourist destination makes Muslim travelers comfortable. While OIC destinations, most of which have easy access to mosques, got a score of 100, among the non-OIC destinations, Singapore and the United Kingdom got the highest scores of 70. Among other key aspects taken into account that make for a travel friendly destination for Muslims were airport facilities, language proficiency suitable accommodation with access to Halal food, prayer direction markings, no alcohol and water friendly washrooms .

“Partnering with Crescent Rating to develop the Global Muslim Travel Index has helped us better understand what travelers look for when exploring different destinations. We understand that travel is a core passion for many consumers and we hope that this Index will help our partners tailor

products and services to the needs of this customer segment. The ranking will also help our consumers make more informed decisions, based on their specific requirements,” said Raghu Malhotra, Division President, Middle East and North Africa, MasterCard.  |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 41

New Technology

Smartworld brings next gen ‘Relationship Analytics’ solutions to the Middle East Smartworld has announced its partnership with Singapore-based technology provider TrustSphere to bring their advanced Relationship Analytics technology to the Middle East. TrustSphere’s software will help Smartworld’s clients enhance their internal risk and governance functions. Smartworld is a leading emerging technology provider with an impeccable track record of developing and delivering cutting-edge digital solutions to government agencies, telecommunication operators, SMEs and large enterprises in the region. The smart services provider’s innovative digital systems enable digital economic growth across the Gulf, Middle East and Africa. Through this partnership Smartworld’s customers will gain unique access to TrustSphere’s relationship analytics. These analytics improve a corporate investigator’s ability to identify and prevent internal fraud. By understanding communication patterns and flows, real time insights can be delivered to management enabling them to better manage risk and improve compliance. Information technology theft continues to be a major threat to businesses and can add huge cost to the company. According to a Kroll Business Intelligence and Investigations study, more than 60 per cent of business frauds were internal. 42 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

Ahmed Qurram Baig, Senior Director for Corporate Strategy, Risk & Excellence, Smartworld with Arun Sundar, VP, Strategy and Alliances, TrustSphere

Analytics to help companies manage risk, prevent frauds Experts emphasise on the need for better analysis and strong risk and fraud prevention mechanisms in place for companies. Smartworld has a strong track record of successful deployments and implementations of state-ofthe-art ICT systems in a number of major national projects in UAE, including the IT system at Al Maktoum International Airport at DWC and the installation and implementation of a first-of-its-kind Open and Equal Access Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) at DWC. The company’s success is based upon its world-class IT infrastruc-

ture, a full spectrum of tailored high-value integrated services, extremely talented and well-trained team of engineers and consultants, quick response to customers’ needs and textbook-perfect adherence to schedules, budgets and quality standards. Ahmed Qurram Baig, Senior Director for Corporate Strategy, Risk & Excellence, Smartworld, said, “TrustSphere’s relationship analytics platform plugs a major blind-spot for organisations in the Middle East. Through this partnership with TrustSphere, our customers can better manage risk, reduce fraud and improve compliance.” Mr. Manish Goel, CEO of TrustSphere, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Smartworld who are a true market innovator with an excellent customer base. 


+971 4 701 9111

|Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 43

New Technology

Smart baggage for smart travel

Your baggage will check itself in

B aggage frustrations would soon be a thing of the past as the

next-gen ‘smart baggage’ not just tracks itself and alerts you when its unloaded but also checks itself in.

Luggage-manufacturer Samsonite, alongwith tech giant Samsung, are teaming up to come out with smart bags that will use GPS to track their location, and alert you when your luggage is unloaded from an aircraft or about to appear on the carousel.According to media reports, Samsonite is work-

44 44|Manafez |Manafez Dubai Dubai |June |June 2015 2015 ||

ing with airlines on baggage that checks itself in drop them off and they’d tell the airport about your airline, the weight and your destination. Samsonite CEO Ramesh Tainwala, told the Mail in an interview, that the company’s smart luggage

will include built-in GPS locators that will let you track their location using a companion smartphone app. So if you get off of your flight and don’t see your bag at the carousel, you can check the app to see where your things are.

New Technology

According to a report, Tainwala said that the smart luggage will also be able to send you an alert when it is taken off of your plane, as well as when it is moved to the carousel, and if it is opened when you’re not around. The companies are also working to develop bags that can automatically check themselves in when you arrive at the airport. An inbuilt chip in the bag would automatically ping the airport when when a passenger arrives, identifying the luggage and remotely tagging it with the passenger’s flight and destination. You would then drop your bags at a carousel which will check the weight and send an identification tag to your phone, it added. The two companies are also working on is a self-propelled bag that will be able to follow the bag owner as they make their way around the airport. However, this is not the only effort at smart luggage. To be launched soon is ‘Trunkster’, a zipperless bag with built-in smart features. such as a GPS, that lets you track the bag anywhere in the world with GSM coverage, no subscription necessary. Best of all, the device is removable so you can share with friends and family, or leave behind when not needed. This smartbag comes with a sliding rolltop door, representing the first major update to the core industrial design of luggage since wheels. Rolltop entry is a road warrior’s best friend, specifically engineered to withstand the perils of baggage handling, and providing an enhanced level of theft protection, unlike vulnerable zippers. The bag has a TSA approved combination lock that allows airport security to search for the bag if need be, an inbuilt digital scale and a removable battery that can charge portable devices via a USB connection. Trunkster co-founder Jesse Potash said he and his co-founder, based in New York, created the luggage in 2014, after finding nothing they believed prioritized

accessibility. They wanted to “completely alter” the classic case — with zippers, clasps and flaps — for “the modern, minimalist traveler,” Potash tells OZY in a statement. He adds that they didn’t want to overload the user with “as many features as possible” because that would be “superfluous.” “Conceptualized during our travels from the uncharted wilderness of remote African islands to the fabled streets of Havana, Trunkster is the realization of the luggage we always wished we had. An effortlessly simple and beautiful bag, we’re confident that Trunkster represents the evolution of luggage and the promise of an optimized travel experience,” he says. Another company, Bluestar is also planning to roll out its smart luggage this year. The Bluestar carry-on connects to your smartphone, which means it can be locked and unlocked using your phone. If you get separated from your Bluesmart, it will lock automatically. Access can be shared with people you trust, and you will be notified anytime someone attempts to open the suitcase. The Bluesmart Travel Sentry® Approved Lock will be accepted by the TSA. Its proximity sensors will send you alerts when you are separated from your Bluesmart. You can also locate your Bluesmart with a proximity heat map and receive a reminder of the last recorded location. The suitcase comes with a battery charger that can charge two devices - whether it is your smartphone, tablet or ebook - at the same time. The suitcase battery will enable you to recharge your smartphone six times over. According to reports, the Bluesmart Carryon connected luggage that raised more than $2,000,000 in pre-orders from 8,000 backers in more than 100 countries on their crowdfunding campaign.  |Manafez |ManafezDubai Dubai||June June 2015 | 45

Special Report

97% UAE travelers see technology as key to stress free travel


survey conducted by Honeywell, a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, has revealed that air travel passengers in the United Arab Emirates are increasingly relying on new airport and in-flight technologies for a smarter, stress-free travel experience. According to the survey, while there is a consensus among UAE passengers (94 percent) that airports and airlines have taken the right steps to improve punctuality and minimize delays over the past 10 years, many feel there is still more to be done. Looking ahead, nearly half of travelers (47 percent) believe improving the speed and efficiency of flights should be the industry’s top investment priority. The survey highlights the importance of technology in making air travel easier for passengers at every stage of flight, from check-in to baggage claim. With passenger numbers in the Middle East region expected to rise threefold by 2020 according to the International Air Transport Association, the survey reveals ways in which the latest airport and aircraft innovations are being used by passengers to beat congestion, minimize stress, save time and stay connected. 46 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

Norm Gilsdorf, president of Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, Honeywell

One in four would not consider traveling with the same airline after experiencing delays

“Efficiencies inside the terminal and on board the aircraft are crucial to passengers’ perception of air travel in the UAE,” said Norm Gilsdorf, president of Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, Honeywell. “With more people traveling through the region every year, this survey shows airports and airlines can increase customer satisfaction even further by investing in technology to minimize disruptions and stress, and create a smarter travel experience for passengers.”

Smooth flying through check-in

According to the survey, the majority of passengers are taking advantage of new technologies to help them check

in quickly and move through security more efficiently. E-boarding passes, e-tickets and luggage location tracking are top of mind when it comes to improving time spent at the airport, with almost all passengers surveyed (97 percent) agreeing that such systems reduce stress levels. This reliance on technology is reflected in the demand for Honeywell’s radio frequency identification baggage tag printers and other scanning solutions, which are used in self-service kiosks to ensure passengers collect their baggage on time at the right destination. These types of efficiencies mean travelers have more time to enjoy a leisurely experience at the terminal, such as shopping and dining, before heading for the gate. Over half of those polled (56 percent) said they spent more time using amenities dur-


ing their last airport visit than they spent going through security and queuing for baggage check combined. With an increasing number of passengers moving through the region’s airports, and spending longer in shops and restaurants, Honeywell’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, as well as lighting, security and zonal fire safety solutions, ensure that they feel comfortable and that their safety is maximized at all times.

Technology takes off

Once on the aircraft, passengers continue to look for ways to improve their flight experience. Although Wi-Fi is still an emerging technology across large parts of the aviation industry, passengers are increasingly considering it an essential travel tool. Threequarters of those polled (75 percent) said they would substitute at least one in-flight extra such as pre-bookable seats or free in-flight meals for fast,

Seventy-five per cent would give up extras such as pre-bookable seats or free in-flight meals in order to stay connected using free in-flight Wi-Fi

reliable and free Wi-Fi on board. Interest in such a service suggests people want a smarter and seamless way to travel, without the inconvenience of losing their connection with friends, family or work.

Approaching final destination

The survey also reveals the significant impact of delays on passengers’ travel experiences. Flight delays, diversions and cancellations significantly influence passengers’ perception of airlines with almost a quarter (23 percent) saying they would not consider traveling with the same airline again after experiencing delays.


An agreement between Honeywell and Inmarsat will soon make it possible for passengers to browse on their smartphones, tablet devices and laptops when in the air over both land and sea, at the same speed and quality as they would expect at home. Honeywell is exclusively providing the airplane hardware for Inmarsat’s GX Aviation global high-speed, in-flight connectivity service, which is scheduled to come online in late 2015 and is capable of delivering up to 50MB per second broadband to the aircraft. The most dissatisfied group was young travelers between 25 and 29 years old, among whom 29 percent said they would not consider flying with the same airline in the future. 

|Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 47

Customer Service

'Technology drives our product and service offerings'


s a 34-year old brand, with more than 7.9 million customers worldwide, the UAE Exchange is among the region's leading foreign exchange, money transfer and payment solutions companies The company recently received `TISSE certification from the International Customer Services Institution and according to its UAE Country Head Mr Varghese Mathew, it is the customisation of services that has helped the company gain its clients' trust. In an interview with Manafez Dubai, Varghese said the company continues to utilise technology to its manximum for its product and service offerings. Excerpts:

UAE Exchange has recently been presented with TISSE certificate. Can you share with us your key values when it comes to customer service? Addressing the financial needs of customers in the UAE for over 34 years has helped us to remain at the helm of providing superior customer experience. We have constantly strived to achieve excellence in all spheres of conducting business. This 360-degree approach to achieve perfection has earned us many a recognitions including the prestigious TISSE certificate. We see this recognition as an encouragement for our efforts to achieve the best. The key values that inspire us in this endeavour are Integrity, Commitment, 48 |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 |

Empowerment and Care. These are the cornerstones for our brand and its business. They enable us to evolve from being a service provider to being the most admired brand that delivers superior experience to customers, every time.

How do you think is customer service in the UAE any different from that in the West or another part of the world? 

Service delivery and expectations are perceived to be at different levels for each culture and country. UAE being home to expatriates from many We believe, engaged and countries, the service expectations empowered colleagues will are also varied. Thus the service levraise the bar els sought for by customers here tend to be much more dynamic. UAE Exchange, which serves all nationalities,  How does UAE Exchange go an constantly strives to match these exextra mile in customer service? pectations and deliver superior experiEach customer and each business is ence to customers, every time. We ofunique and thus the yard stick to meas- fer customised products, services and ure the extra mile varies largely. Hence even promotions based on the requirecustomisation is the key and we adopt ments of customers and communities it to offering value-laden service. A which we serve. culture of excellence is imbibed in each one of us through continuous  What are the indicators of a hapemployee development programmes. py customer? Each delivery channel is gauged and When customer expectations are met empowered to extend extra comfort in or surpassed by the service provider our service interactions. consistently, then the feeling of fulfillment experienced in the customer’s We believe, engaged and empowered mind is happiness. When the customer colleagues will raise the bar. Our val- is happy he will frequently come back ues, internal initiatives and strong vi- to the brand, and affirm his loyalty. sionary leadership will empower each When a customer is happy he makes one of us to go that extra mile every the brand a part of his life and exhibits time to enhance customer experience. a strong bonding and belongingness.


All your activities must add value and relevance to customers

When a customer is happy, he will spread the word among his friends and relatives. This positive publicity through word of mouth impacts business more productively than any other sort of promotion initiative. As a brand with 34 years of operations, we have experienced the trust of our customers, over 7.9 million of them, worldwide. They trust their hard-earned money with us to transfer across borders and we take every measure to stand up to their expectations.

In wake of rapid technological transformations, what are the changes in Customer Service? How are you using technology for better customer service? Our technology enhances our business and its operations. The ultimate beneficiaries of such transformation are our customers. Our products and service offerings are driven by technology. Our habit to set trends in offering innovative

products in our industry is legendary, and our every move is towards enhancing our customers’ experience with us. We explore every opportunity in this direction, be it partnering with entities like MasterCard, with whom we have a principal membership to offer Smart Pay payroll cards and gocash prepaid travel cards; being the first exchange house to get SWIFT membership; or bringing self-service technological revolutions like MyBranch through which our customers can send money or pay bills on their own. Not to mention the scores of process enhancements, which we continue to adopt constantly to enrich compliance, Know Your Customer norms, and secure our customers’ hard-earned money and identities. Customer Service is the spine of any business to sustain and succeed, and technology is the power of the future. If we use this power to strengthen and energise the spine, then there is no looking back.

Please share some key tips you can give to companies in the UAE for excellent customer service.


Be customer-centric: Keep your customers at the core of your activities. Understand the customers and their requirements well. All your activities must add value and relevance to customers. Don’t leave any aspect, however small it may seem, to chance. Address everything with utmost detailing. Keep your senses open to customer reactions, understand their feedback and offer optimised solutions in time. Empower your employees: Your people are your real assets. They deal with your customers. So they must be well aware about your organisation and the services on offer. Don’t leave any aspect, however small it may seem, to chance

They must also be given the freedom and authority to take decisions in the interest of the organisation. Only when you empower them, will they be able to do their job with utmost integrity and commitment, resulting in attracting and retaining the customers forever.Build the culture of excellence: Your must not leave any stone unturned to inculcate a culture of excellence across the length and breadth of the organisation. A 360-degree approach in terms of achieving excellence at all times is essential to strengthen the brand image. Only when each employee imbibes the same intensity to achieve the best, will the organisation move forward towards being a entity that adds value to customers, employees and the society at large, thus emerging into the most admired brand in its category.  |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 49


& Hospitality

83% UAE residents make online purchases


nline shopping is growing rapidly popular among UAE residents, 83 per cent of whom made a purchase online during three months preceding a study by MasterCard on Online Shopping Behaviour. The growth in online shopping has nearly doubled in comparison to 2011, when, according to a previous MasterCard survey, 42 per cent of UAE shoppers accessed the internet for online shopping in 2011; up from 33 percent in 2010. The results of the study also highlighted a growing preference for making purchases through smart handheld devices. The Online Shopping Behavior Survey, which meas-

ures consumers’ propensity to shop online, was conducted at the end of 2014 and was based on interviews with 4000 respondents across eight markets in the Middle East and North Africa including the UAE. Aaron Oliver, Head of Emerging Payments – Middle East and Africa, MasterCard, said: “Online is quickly becoming the norm for more shoppers in the UAE due to the high level of awareness amongst consumers

about the convenience, speed and safety of their transactions. They are adopting new technologies, such as MasterPass, which allows consumers to store all their MasterCard or other branded payment card information, as well as shipping and billing address details, securely in one place. This gives them the ability to make online payments quickly, with a single click, tap or touch of the MasterPass button at checkout.” “From a merchant’s point of view, banks and other financial institutions in UAE are driving the growth of the e-commerce industry by eradicating barriers to e-commerce and developing customized payment solutions that facilitate the acceptance of online payments for both large and small businesses,” he commented.

Preference for local websites

Almost one-third of respondents made online purchases through their mobile phones 5050|Manafez |Manafez Dubai Dubai |June |June 2015 2015 ||

In the UAE, Souq.com emerged as the most commonly visited website for shopping online, with over 45 per cent of respondents having made a purchase from the site during the three months leading up to the study. The next most visited site was Amazon.com, with 16 per cent of respondents having purchased from it, reflecting UAE consumers’ preference for local websites over foreign sites. The advantages cited for shopping online locally included con-


& Hospitality

Maximum online purchases on buying air tickets, followed by spending on hotels, household appliances, electronic products and travel related items venience and economy, followed by safety and the fear of hidden charges on foreign sites. Co-Founder of Souq.com, Ronaldo Mouchawar said, “We are seeing huge growth in the trend toward online shopping and currently one in two consumers in the UAE have shopped on Souq.com, with an item sold every 1.5 seconds. As the number of people shopping online increases, so do their expectations of service and delivery which is something Souq.com strives to not only meet, but exceed together with our partners, including MasterCard. We currently provide customers secure payment options, a one-year warrantee on all products as well as free delivery, all of which enhance the whole online shopping experience.�

Mobile shopping

The survey highlighted an affinity for making purchases through smart handheld devices. Of the respondents polled, nearly one-third made online purchases through their mobile phones, which is higher than what was observed in the UAE for results collected in 2012 and 2013. According to Mouchawar, 40 to 50 per cent of sales on Souq.com are

made through mobile devices, demonstrating a huge opportunity for growth in this category. Respondents pointed to convenience and the wide availability of apps as key reasons for relying on their mobile phones, with fewer people mentioning a preference to shop in

brick and mortar stores compared to the results of the 2014 study (results collected in 2013).Airline tickets and phone apps were found to be the two main categories of products purchased online via mobile phones, followed by clothing, accessories, hotel accommodations and cinema tickets. ď‚… |Manafez Dubai |June 2015 | 51

opinion column

Accommodate growing demand for air travel safely, securely and efficiently


CI forecasts that in less than two decades emerging markets will represent as much as 45 per cent of global passenger traffic, that is expected to nearly double to 12 billion by 2031.

Of course, the challenge for airports lies in effectively managing this increase in traffic.

screening is just not going to be sustainable with the growth in air service demand that we forecast.

ACI is working with stakeholders around the world to develop workable solutions to increase efficiency, from check-in and security through to air traffic management.

ACI has joined forces with IATA on a project we term Smart Security, to work with governments to define the future of security screening and drive the needed change.

Let’s start with the aviation security regimen. I think we can all understand that the current approach that we collectively take towards passenger

 The objective is to improve the journey from curb to boarding, where passengers proceed through security checkpoints with minimal

5252|Manafez |Manafez Dubai Dubai |June |June 2015 2015 ||

inconvenience, where security resources are allocated based on risk and where airport facilities can be optimised.We are looking to test procedures using existing technology as well as leveraging new technologies with advanced capabilities. But this is only part of the solution. Security culture needs to be embedded in everyday operations and we need to cater to passenger needs by taking the hassle factor out of the security process.To get there, first, we need to develop a better understanding of risk.

opinion column

And here I must congratulate ICAO on the work it has done through its Aviation Security Panel on the Risk Context Statement. It looks at a range of possible security risks in a true risk management assessment process. It determines the likelihood of an event, the consequences and the vulnerability after mitigating measures have been put in place. All of this information is then used to determine a picture of the overall residual risk. With a better understanding of risk, we can put more effort on improving the overall air travel experience. Human factors, including the security culture, need to be examined.ACI, in collaboration with LeighFisher, released a publication titled “Assessment of Human Factors in Checkpoint Security” that can help an airport benchmark its current performance and help point the way toward increased efficiency and effectiveness. Of course, there is more to the passenger experience than security screening. To help airports understand how to best serve their passenger customers, ACI provides the Airport Service Quality program (ASQ). The backbone of the programme is the ASQ Survey. Each year, some 550,000 passengers at ACI member airports are surveyed about their on-the-day experience.Dovetailing nicely with ASQ is our PassengersPlus website. It showcases the efforts that airports make in serving their customers and allows airports to share their experiences and gain ideas as they seek to provide exemplary service, day in, day out. We want people to know that airport operators are committed to a positive passenger experience even while we strive for efficiencies and lower costs. In an era where cutbacks are the order of the day, we can still put the passenger first. Towards that end, ACI is collaborating within and outside of the industry on facilitation solutions, with projects to support implementation and harmonisation of automated border control solutions that use interoperable equipment and common international standards. In the same vein, ACI, along with ICAO and IATA, has supported the proliferation of Automated Passport Control systems in the US and Canada. Collaboration is a cornerstone of ACI’s work, and it’s clear that we can put more efficiency and reliability into the system by sharing information among the players.

Angela Gittens, Director General, Airport Council International (ACI)

Airport Collaborative Decision Making, or A-CDM, which consists of sharing information among the various players whose operations affect the movement of planes, passengers, baggage and ground vehicles, provides the kind of awareness needed to restore functionality or at least mitigate the effect of irregular operations. A-CDM is a project that involves elements of the airport operation that are not customer facing but have a big impact on the passenger experience. With the leadership of EuroControl and ACI-Europe, A-CDM implementation is well underway in Europe. ACI has joined with ICAO, CANSO and IATA to promote broader implementation of A-CDM in other regions. Common use, data sharing, self-service and automation, are all waves of the future coming to all airports along with more Business-to-Consumer interaction between the airport and the passenger with mobile technology and, more robotics. The end goal is to accommodate the growing demand for air travel safely, securely and efficiently. This will take the work of all stakeholders and operators if we’re to succeed. 

(Excerpts from keynote address at the Global Airport Leaders Forum in Dubai on May 11-12, 2015) |Manafez |ManafezDubai Dubai||June June 2015 | 53

Profile for Nadd Al Shiba PR & Event Management

Manafez dubai english june 2015 for printing  

Manafez dubai english june 2015 for printing