Issue 10: Public Sector Excellence UAE

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Dr. Mai Al Jaber offers tips and advice to identify risks and symptoms of breast cancer

The Happy Hub Meet this month’s startup

inspiration: Asma Lootah, CEO of The Hundred Wellness Centre


AUTHENTIC ARABIA Exclusive Interview Meet Mr. Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director of Tourism at TCA

Have a Positive Attitude?

Our Experienced Correspondent dives into the world of networking

that are sure to disrupt your business

ISSUE 10 October 2015

AED 20 • US$ 6.00

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Arab Development (ARDECO) is one of UAE’s leading business enterprises with operations covering a wide range of industries: Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Power & Water, Engineering& Contracting,Energy & Industry. Following a “Partners of Success” policy, ARDECO always ensures long term success and growth of its companies. ARAB DEVELOPMENT - ARDECO PO Box 2761 Abu Dhabi, UAE T: +971 2644 7373 D: 644 9499 , F: +971 26444 066 E:

SHARING EXCELLENCE Meet Mr. Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting Executive Director of Tourism at Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, who gives his insights on the capital’s thriving tourism sector


Denise Daane, Managing Editor at PSP gives you a breakdown of what to expect in our latest issue



A summary of the latest public-sector news and current affairs across Abu Dhabi

Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015


“Excellence Customer Results and the Surest Way to a Delightful Customer Experience” is this month’s article in the first of our Excellence Results series








Guest Writer Alexander Matthey provides his insights and advice on Project Management Networking A look at some of the good practices in the global tourism industry and a rundown of 2015’s top tourist destinations worldwide



Asma Lootah, Founder and Owner of The Hundred Wellness Centre in Duba,i is our entrepreneur of the month. Find out what it takes to build a successful business from the ground up in the UAE

KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE Martin Roll, Business and Brand Strategist, INSEAD Editorial Contributor, looks at “Building a Customer-Centric Mindset”

DELIVERING EXCELLENCE IN MEDICAL SERVICES PSE meets up with Healthpoint’s Dr. Mai Al Jaber who offers some practical insights and advice on women’s health and wellness


This month we look at how 3D printing is set to change the world

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An in-depth look at the Abu Dhabi’s thriving tourism sector






Learn about the five digital trends that are sure to disrupt your business This month, PSE explores the newly renovated Mushrif Central Park, a guaranteed new favorite hangout in the capital


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remember just a few years ago, whenever I would travel abroad and people would

ask me where I live, I would say Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The usual response would be: Where is that? Then I mention Dubai and start getting somewhere. This summer, I didn’t have to go through that even once whilst away on summer holiday. As soon as I mentioned Abu Dhabi, people responded with “Wow,” or “I would love to visit there,” or “I heard about such-and-such in Abu Dhabi.”

Yes, Abu Dhabi is now officially on the international tourism map. Number four on CNN’s “Ten Top Destinations to Visit” list of 2015, Abu Dhabi has made some remarkable strides in attracting more and more tourists each year through a collaborated and sustainable tourism strategy. In this month’s issue, we explore Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry by looking at the evolution of this increasingly prosperous sector of the economy. Then in “Lets Benchmark,” we look at what makes a city a tourist hotspot as we explore some of the world’s other top destinations. “Delivering Excellence in Medical Services” this month features Dr. Mai Al Jaber from Mubadala’s Healthpoint Hospital, who joins us to talk about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and offers our readers some tips and advice on women’s health and wellness. In our episode on “Sharing Excellence,” PSE meets up with Mr. Sultan Al Dhaheri, the acting Executive Director of Tourism at Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, who shares with us his insights and vision for the future of Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector. Also, meet Asma Lootah, Founder and Owner of The Hundred Wellness Centre and find out how she built her “Happy Hub” in the heart of Dubai. In this month’s “Empowering Excellence” article in “Knowledge Exchange,” Martin Roll, INSEAD MBA and Business and Brand Strategist, shares his views on “Building a Customer-Centric Mindset.” In “Project Management at a Glance,” our new guest writer Alexander Matthey shares his expertise and experience on “Project Management Networking.”



Managing Editor Denise Daane Deputy Editor Paul Cook Copy Editor DeMar Southard Art Director Regis Sudo


Group Production & Distribution Director Faisal Chareuf Tel: +44747 2011995


To our subscribers who have contributed their valuable feedback and suggestions, we offer a word of appreciation and continue to encourage our readers to share their opinions via email to Also, stay tuned for some upcoming competitions with great prizes in our future issues.

General Manager Khalid Mohammed Tel: +97150 3188891

If you have missed any of our previous issues, or are looking for additional articles, downloads, and professional resources please visit our website:

Sales Manager Peter Mushington Tel: +97152 7297978

Denise Daane Managing Editor

Please visit our website


for more information and visit our Knowledge Centre for useful Project Management and Business Excellence Templates and Resources!




YOU CAN ALSO FOLLOW US ON /pse-magazine @PSEMagazine


In November, we explore the growth and developement of Abu Dhabi’s banking and finance industry into the world class system it is today

Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015

In December, PSE takes you into the thriving renewable energy sector in the capital PSE also takes a look at the Excellence Award winners of ADAEP’s 4th cyde.

As the capital continues to diversity its economy, the manufacturing sector has seen phenomenal growth. Find out more.

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Abu Dhabi Current



EMIRATIS CAST THEIR VOTES IN FNC ELECTIONS 2015 Thousands of voters turned up to polling stations across the country to select members for the next Federal National Council (FCC). In this year’s election 79,175 votes were cast, with the preliminary list of winners announced on Saturday evening. Voter turnout was 35.2 per cent, said Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for FNC Affairs and Chairman of the National Election Commission. In the capital, Khalifa Al Mazrouei received the highest number of votes, with 2,167 people standing behind him. Next was Mattar Al Shamsi, with 1,634 votes. Two other winners from Abu Dhabi were Saeed Al Remeithi (1,597 votes) and Al Ain representative Saleh bin Othaith (1,382).

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NEW UAE LABOUR REFORMS TO COME INTO EFFECT IN 2016 The UAE will introduce new labour law reforms aimed at tightening oversight of employment agreements for millions of temporary migrant workers who make up the majority of the UAE’s workforce, according to the Ministry of Labour. The reforms are being implemented through three decrees that will take effect on January 1, 2016. They focus on improving transparency of job terms and employment contracts, spelling out how contracts can be terminated, and could make it easier for workers to switch employers. Under the new policies, prospective workers would be asked to sign an employment offer in their home country that would in turn be filed with the Ministry of Labour before a work permit is issued. That agreement would then be registered as a legal contract once the worker arrives in the country, and no changes would be allowed unless they extend additional benefits that the worker agrees to.

GSEC ISSUES GOVERNMENT CUSTOMER SERVICE HANDBOOK The Abu Dhabi General Secretariat of the Executive Council (GSEC) has issued a customer service handbook to 39 entities in the capital. The handbook provides guidelines that aim to train government employees to improve customer service, the state news agency Wam reported. About 1,000 government employees are now enrolled on 41 courses tailored around the handbook’s standards as part of the first phase of a training program. The initiative will eventually lead to a unified Government Services Handbook that will enable customer service employees to better support and serve customers.

PUBLIC SECTOR NEWS AND AFFAIRS TOURISM ETIHAD AIRWAYS ARE THE “AIRLINE OF THE YEAR” Etihad Airways were awarded the prestigious ‘Airline of the Year’ title by the UK at the Travel Trade Gazette, TTG in London. The Chief Commercial Officer, Peter Baumgartner, said, “We are delighted to have been recognized”. Etihad Airways has six flights to the UK every day. The first destination chosen for the groundbreaking Airbus A380 (2014) happened to be London Heathrow as well. The TTG awards also appreciated Etihad Airways for its year-round program, ‘SuperSeller’ used by 2,500 registered agents in the country.

ENERGY FUEL PRICES TO DROP IN OCTOBER Petrol prices will drop to almost the same level they were at before the fuel market was liberalized in October. The Fuel Price Committee from the Ministry of Energy and the two main distribution companies, ADNOC and ENOC, announced price reductions for all types of petrol, but the price of diesel will increase slightly. In summary, E-plus (91) will fall to Dh1.72 from Dh1.89 a litre, and Super (98) to Dh1.90 from Dh2.07. Octane 95 will return close to its pre-deregulation price and fall to Dh1.79. Diesel however will rise to Dh1.89 a litre from Dh1.86.

BARAKAH RECOGNIZED AS WORLD LEADER IN NUCLEAR CONSTRUCTION Under the patronage of His Excellency Eng. Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) celebrated a key milestone for the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program as Barakah becomes the world’s leading nuclear energy construction site with four identical nuclear reactors being constructed simultaneously in one site using cutting edge methods. With the construction of four identical nuclear energy reactors now underway, Barakah surpasses nuclear construction

sites in China, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Russia and other countries to become the largest project with simultaneous construction of identical nuclear technology in the world.

PORTS KHALIFA PORT RATED ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING PORTS KPCT or Khalifa Port Container Terminal was recently rated the third fastest growing container ports worldwide. The rating comes from the list of Top 120 World Container Ports by the Container Management magazine. Khalifa Port was established only three years ago and is now the fastest growing port in the Middle East. This rank also highlights the important and strategic position that the UAE capital occupies in the context of global shipping. According to the Abu Dhabi Terminals, the rapid growth of KPCT is also a testament to the expanding Abu Dhabi industry and its role in regional transshipment. The first seven months of this year have shown a 41% increase in the growth of KPCT.

HEALTH MINISTRY OF HEALTH LAUNCHES PREVENTION INITIATIVES The Ministry of Health launched two initiatives in September that are aimed at raising cancer awareness and the importance of early detection through regular medical check-ups. Developed under the name “Etmnan”, the National Periodic Health Screening and Cancer Screening initiatives were announced during a press conference in late September. The Cancer Screening initiative aims to increase detection rates of the most common types of cancers during early stages to improve the effectiveness of treatment, while The National Periodic Health Screening initiative focuses on reducing the number of non-communicable diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, through early detection and identification of the primary factors that cause them.

TRANSPORT ETIHAD RAIL TRANSPORTS OVER 2 MILLION TONNES OF SULPHUR Etihad Rail, the operator of the UAE’s national railway, has announced that more than two million tonnes of Sulphur have been transported from Shah and Habshan to the Ruwais port over the past year during the testing and commissioning phase of the railway. The 264km route was completed last year, and trials are now running on a daily basis. Full commercial operations are expected to start once Etihad Rail is granted its regulatory approvals. This announcement offers an insight into the significant economic and environmental benefits that the federal railway network will bring to the UAE, with Etihad Rail having already replaced more than 66,000 truck trips from the roads in the western region of Abu Dhabi in the past year.

EMIRATES TRANSPORT CONVERTS TO CNG Fuel prices increased last month, leading to many vehicle owners converting to CNG. Since 2010, about 5500 vehicles have seen conversion by Emirates Transport. This alternative is saving them money, as well as protecting the environment. The difference is around 15 per cent less when compared with petrol-driven cars. The manager at the Abu Dhabi Technical Services Centre of Emirates Transport, Maher Al Refai, said, “Now the financial savings approximately are 50 per cent on the converted CNG vehicles. This is because of inflations in petrol prices. Before we had only 35 per cent savings.” CNG is sold at Dh1.32/m3. Emirates Transport intends to open another conversion centre next year.


The competitiveness report by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) ranked the UAE at the 17th position, and said that its economy is more diversified than the other GCC states. This ranking is from a study that assesses over 100 countries on

Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015


PUBLIC SECTOR NEWS AND AFFAIRS their prosperity and productivity. The report stated, “The UAE’s excellent macroeconomic environment, highly developed infrastructure, and strong institutions provide a solid base”. However, the report mentioned the need for the nation to strengthen its innovative capacity through quality scientific research.


Banks are bracing for a tougher end to the year as deposits ease and consumers hold back from fresh borrowing. As banks prepare to release their third-quarter earnings, analysts expect the sector to face challenges caused by funding pressures, a slowing economy and a long period of lower oil prices.

Major UAE lenders – National Bank of Abu Dhabi, FGB, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank – reported strong earnings in the first two quarters of the year, with many beating the expectations of analysts.

MINISTRY OF INTERIOR MOI COMPLETES SMART APPLICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has completed its project to enhance its Smart Applications and E-Services Infrastructure, with the establishment of a cutting-edge data center that meets leading international standards. The MoI Data Center will be the main hub for E-Services at the ministry, and will contribute significantly to support the daily operational processes, as well as to introduce appropriate solutions and improvement opportunities in order to complete tasks with efficiency and excellence.

MOI HOSTS 3RD EDITION OF SMARTPHONE APPLICATIONS AWARD 2015-2016 The Ministry of Interior (MoI) launched the third edition of its Smartphone Applications Award 2015-2016 for university students. The event took place mid-September during a forum held at Fairmont Hotel in Abu Dhabi, and reflects the directives set for the implementation of a Smart Government, in pursuance of the higher leadership’s vision. The Ministry of the Interior seeks to support and motivate university students and


Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015

adopt their smart ideas that cater to the needs of Emirati citizens. The prizes that will be distributed as follows: First place: Dh100,000; Second place: Dh75,000; Third place: Dh50,000.

EDUCATION ADEC LAUNCHES THE “JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY – INNOVATION” CAMPAIGN The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) launched the 2ndedition of the “Journey of Discovery” (JoD) campaign with a focus on innovation for schools and universities across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. By the end of this academic year, ADEC will establish 255 Innovation Clubs across Abu Dhabi, providing every school with state-of-the-art laboratories in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The laboratories are designed to enable the latest in education technology including the concept of flip laboratories. The initiative is aligned with the government and ADEC’s vision to build the foundation for a knowledge-based society and economy. Students will attain hands-on experience in various fields of STEM including robotics, transportation technology, renewable energy, water technology and computer coding.

Project Management



AVE YOU FOUND YOURSELF unexpectedly out of a job in recessionary times? Were you requested to deliver something “tomorrow” in an area you have not mastered? And in both cases, were you able to draw support from your existing network At the moment a challenge arises, if you have not already started building and relying on your network, If you have not already taken the opportunity to be someone else’s lifeline in times of trouble, it may be too late to avoid a career-limiting setback. The time to build your network and become an active participant in it is yesterday. As a Project Manager (PM), you may have little to no formal authority, yet you still have great accountability. To be successful in influencing the whole team, you need to set a precedent, to establish a pattern of cooperation and success. Talent and knowledge are a start, but a network of supportive individuals is invalu-


able in finishing any involved task. The ability to draw on a team of experts for support is not sufficient, but is necessary for a successful project manager. If the PM hasn’t already established his or her network, the first order of business is to establish one in fast track mode. In this article we’ll discuss how this is done.

What is professional networking for Project Managers? Armed with professional or academic project management credentials, you step into the arena of the PM job market and find yourself immediately — ignored. You check your suit and your hair. Your smile is bright, your teeth are clean. Fingernails are manicured. Your CV is impeccable. You’ve done your homework and posted it on all the best sites. You’ve heard nothing except good news about the PM job market. You answer ads that seem to have been written with you specifically in mind. And still the phone

isn’t ringing. You have the experience, the knowledge, and the credentials. What’s going wrong? To win the position of your dreams in these highly competitive times you need advice in advance, feedback in the middle, and favorable decision-fostering assistance at every step of the process. Unless you have family or friends in the industry you can’t count on them for career assistance. Nor can you count on associates in academia if they are not close to the PM profession. For successful networking you need a different category of person in your professional circle: professionals and subject matter experts in the project management profession and in the industry in which you would like to work. They should think and behave in accord with you. Your relationships should be comfortable and mutually beneficial. Your network should include not only peers, but those more advanced in their spheres of influence, in their career path. In the beginning you may not be able to help others in your network in ways exceeding

moral support and passing along information and opportunities that you come across. But in the future, others in your network will be those who are just beginning, where you might be today, and you’ll be able to “pay forward” the help you’ve received from more senior people in your network.

What are the benefits of networking?

In the beginning your success begins with you; your education, your dedication to your future, making yourself as valuable as possible to the marketplace. Thereafter success grows as a result of and in direct proportion to your relationships and associations with people. Simply put, you cannot succeed on a grand scale all by yourself. That is why networking is so important. The relationships you develop with others create the foundation of your greater success. Building and maintaining a professional network takes time and effort, but the alternative may take just as much effort,

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albeit in a less rewarding career position. And time is going to pass whether or not you are developing and maintaining personal and professional relationships, so why not make the most of it? What can you do to enhance the effectiveness of your network? Experts suggest practicing a few simple techniques that can be placed into two broad categories: career enhancing and present job enhancing.

Career enhancing networking Have a positive attitude


To be good at networking, attitude is key. At all times and in all circumstances you must project a winner’s attitude. If you are up-beat and enthusiastic people will want to be around you. People want to be associated with a winner, to be part of a successful team. To be part of your winning team they will be ready to pitch in, to work harder, exercise their creativity, and then to recommend their friends and associates to you. Every voluntary human relationship benefits all connected parties. They may benefit physically, monetarily, or only psychologically, but the benefit will be mutual.

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Personal branding

People who know who they are, stand loyally behind a worthy cause, who behave, act and appear in the media consistently reinforcing the same message, are the most successful networkers. They know what it is that makes them unique and how to present their uniqueness in a way that inspires and attracts others.

Live, eat, and breathe your personal brand statement

Your “elevator speech,” that thirty-second sound bite that tells others who you are and summarises what you believe in and do, when said confidently will cause people sit up and take notice of who you are. Your elevator speech must roll easily off your tongue, and your wording should be flexible enough to slip into any conversation, whether it’s a black tie affair or a backyard barbecue with friends.

Build your network as you go

Take advantage of everyday opportunities to met people. You can make excellent contacts just about anywhere. You never know from what seed your next valuable relationship will sprout. It pays to network with diverse people, from potential clients to industry peers and community groups. Networking

is not just about who you meet and connect with, but also about who those connections may refer you to.

Be a leader in your association(s) At a minimum you should be a leader in your main discipline. For purposes of this article this means Project Management. A PMI chapter and a chapter meeting is always within reach. The second area in which PM’s should concentrate is the industry in which they are employed. Effective networking and relationship building takes more than paying dues, putting your name in a directory and showing up for meetings. You must demonstrate that you will take the time and make the effort to contribute to goals of the group. What kinds of things can you do? For starters, you can volunteer for committees or serve as an officer or member of the board of directors. The other members will respect you when they see you roll up your sleeves and do some work. This will also allow you to spotlight your people and organizational skills, your character, your values, and your leader’s attitude. Leaders are in the minority; most people are looking for someone to follow. In most cases, all you need to be that person is a simple decision to “just do it.”.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT AT A GLANCE demand with a qualified potential offer of service.

Give references professionally

Serve others in your network Serving others is crucial to building and benefiting from your network. You should always be thinking, “How can I be of service?” instead of “What’s in it for me?” If you come across as desperate or as a taker rather than a giver, you will not find people willing to help you. Going the extra mile for others is the best way to get the flow of good things coming back to you. How can you serve others in your network? Start by referring business leads or potential customers. In addition, whenever you see an article, a PM template, sites of interest, or other information that might be of interest to someone in your network, forward the document, the URL, or the material to that person.

Be selective when referring

Don’t refer every person you meet; respect the time of those in your network. Referring “unqualified” leads will reflect poorly on you. Ask yourself whether a particular referral is really going to be of value to your network partners. Keep in mind that the key is the quality, not quantity, of the leads you supply. Add value by filtering, by discerning the true talents and abilities of another and matching a potential

If you refer someone, make sure that the person mentions your name as the source of the referral. Be explicit. Let’s assume you are about to refer Sam Smith to your graphic designer, Jane Jones. You might say to Sam, “Sam, give Jane a call, and please tell her that I referred you.” In some instances, you may even call Jane and let her know that Sam will be contacting her. Then, the next time you see or speak to Jane, remember to ask if Sam called and how it turned out. You want to reinforce in Jane’s mind that you have her best interests in mind.

Express gratitude for every service received

When you receive a reference or helpful written materials, ALWAYS send a thank you note or call to express your appreciation. (Follow this suggestion only if you want to receive more useful references and more help from your network!) If you don’t acknowledge that person sufficiently, he or she will be much less likely to assist you in the future.

Send congratulatory messages or a card

If someone in your network gets a promotion, award, or celebrates some other occasion, write a short note of congratulation. Everyone loves to be recognized, yet very few people take the time to do this. Being thoughtful in this manner can only make you stand out among the crowd, especially nowadays when the crowd seems increasingly ignorant of simple social graces. It is also appropriate to send a card or memorial gift when a family member passes away. LinkedIn facilitates electronic notifications enormously, but an electronic greeting card,

something you can dash off in fifteen seconds while browsing a social networking site, will not get you noticed. The old-fashioned paper card will have an astonishing effect.

Call or send a short message to people from time to time

Do this just because you sincerely care. (If you don’t sincerely care, you’re not going to fool anyone anyway.) How do you feel when someone calls you on the phone and says, “Hey, I was just thinking about you and was wondering how you are doing?” I’ll bet you feel like a million bucks! If that’s the case, why don’t we make these calls more often? Every now and then, make it a point to call people in your network simply to ask how they are doing and to offer your support and encouragement.

Present Job Enhancing Networking As a PM, after being entrusted with a new project, whether you’re new to a company or an old hand as a staff member or consultant, being put at the helm of a project demands reinforced networking. If you were already building your trusted links internally, that’s a good start. Now it becomes imperative. Compile a list of executives—the sponsors and influencers at higher levels, their personal assistants, all the mighty door openers, agenda keepers, line managers, anyone with decision-making authority over human resources. Learn the first names, study their faces, and carefully craft your elevator speech about the project and yourself. Make it personalized and make sure you mention the advantages your project brings to each one of them. There is no second chance to make an excellent first impression. As a project manager you become the CEO of the part of the enterprise covered by the scope of the project. As you will be on stage very often,

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PROJECT MANAGEMENT AT A GLANCE Don’t support and sit with the same group at every work opportunity. While it is comfortable to talk with friends, you will reap greater benefits if you make the extra effort to meet new faces, assist new people in their endeavor to deliver their part on your project. By helping others and going the extra mile you will earn the right to request assistance from others. Don’t be shy. As you serve those in your fledgling network within your project, they will be more than willing to return the favor either now or later. Finding out who’s who in the corporate jungle

pay special attention to your appearance when you drop by “accidentally” and informally to introduce yourself and your project. Pay attention to your mood. Be enthusiastic! Pay attention to your physical self–men should be well-groomed and shaved, all should have nails cut of manicured, hair done in a business-like style, and shoes shined. If there is a company dress code it should be respected. Make eye contact. Be open and warm and use a firm, confident handshake. Respect the length of your elevator speech—30 seconds is ideal. If your listener wants to continue, it becomes chatting, laying the first bricks of a peer-to-peer professional relationship.


Here’s a short list of easy but critical steps you can take to enhance your current job networking.

While leading a project render yourself reachable Have new business cards printed (when appropriate) with your up to date coordinates. When you’re not available someone else should be, so consider including alternate phone numbers and email addresses. Check that you are in the phone directory both for your landline and mobile number. Ensure your email address is easy to find. The same may be said for the entire project team. If you are

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candid, you will have all team members’ pictures published with their respective project role and contact information. As you may often be meeting people for the first time, display your company badge visibly high on your chest, on the right hand side, not on the left as usual. Have a second phone for emergency calls always with you. Those, and they are many, who have difficulties remembering names will appreciate your tactfulness.

Be a good listener

In a meeting, workshop, or normal work have you ever been in a conversation with someone who goes on and on about himself, his business interest, his problems, and never takes a moment to ask about you? We have all run into the “Me, myself, and I” types and they are the last people you want to assist beyond the normal call of duty as a PM. So don’t be this person. In your conversations, focus on actively listening to others. Do not inundate them with your problems and requests. Let them talk about their interests and problems while focusing on the agenda. In return, you will be perceived as caring, concerned, and mindful of the business at hand.

Mingle with a variety of people from different departments

Treat every person as important

This doesn’t apply to just the “influential” ones. Treat each person with respect, dignity, and without condescension—even the junior members and support staff. You will be remembered and respected and your network will grow. Every level contributes to the success of the project or organization and you never know who may develop into a senior role in the future. While you do want to prioritize your time and attention—giving more to executives and other business superiors—still, it is never acceptable to disrespect your team members or anyone else in the organization.


After a first meeting with any team member send a prompt note or e-mail to her or him. Explain how much you enjoyed meeting and talking with them. Reinforce the message about their benefit in participating and what is expected from them in return. Enclose as much information as useful that might be of interest at this stage. Ask if there is anything you can do to assist them. Be sure to send the note or e-mail within 48 hours after your initial meeting so that it is received while you are still fresh in your contact’s mind. Happy networking!

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Let’s Benchmark!







COUNTRY THAT BASES A LARGE PART OF ITS ECONOMY ON TOURISM must concentrate on one thing above all else: customer satisfaction. The art of tourism has morphed into a science in its own right; countries spend millions of dollars on studies of all kinds with the goal of improving their hospitality industries.


RESEARCHERS HAVE COME UP with ways to satisfy customer wants and needs, with widely differing results between countries, and even within them. However, all studies find that at least one thing is common to all coun-

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tries and tourist venues: customer satisfaction cannot be gauged by a single attribute. Measuring and affecting the level of satisfaction is a complex undertaking requiring multi-faceted objective and subjective measurement


criteria. The difficulty of the task, however, is no reason for a country serious about promoting tourism to back away from the endeavor. If a country wants to be counted in the top tier of tourist destinations, it is necessary to con-

Let’s Benchmark! stantly study, evaluate, and improve this nebulous but vital thing called customer satisfaction.


Voltaire said, “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.” We’re not going to get into a deep philosophical discussion here, but it is necessary to understand what we mean by customer satisfaction. This term, for our purposes, simply refers to the outcome on behalf of the customer of an interaction between that customer and a service or product. The definition necessarily infers that there must be an emphasis on the personal link between the service provider and customer. The hospitality model must also ensure that it emphasizes the customer/service provider relationship in a manner that promotes the highest quality service, and at the same time maintaining the destination’s authentic local identity. Now that we understand what customer satisfaction is, we can ascertain what factors lead to obtaining it at a level that makes your customers want to return year after year. Let’s look at them one by one.


One cannot place too much importance on the region’s transport in creating a vital tourist destination. An efficient and effective transportation system is a basic requirement to make a beautiful city a destination. No matter how ancient and historic a city may be, easy access to its interesting sites is necessary, and that means safe, well-maintained networks of vehicle roads, or at a minimum, a good light rail or bus network should be easily available to visitors. It should be noted also that tourism has led to development of quality and quantity of transportation systems, while at the same time better transportation has led to an increase in tourism. Improving and increasing transport choice, including the all-important availability of airports

to facilitate convenient international tourism should be seen as an investment, not an expense, that will generate a positive return.


Following close on the heels of transport in importance to tourism customers is accommodations. This covers a wide spectrum of types of facilities. In addition to the standard hotel, there are bed-and-breakfasts, timeshare and rental condominiums, conference centers, motels, campgrounds, and now, shared homes arranged through internet sites. While their primary purpose is to provide a place where the tourists can stay overnight, they can be so much more than a ceiling and four walls. Along with the physical building, also required are a bevy of well-trained staff who can ensure that your guests’ needs are met. The complete role of accommodation is to provide a facility for overnight stay that will turn simple travel into a memorable journey. The availability of accommodations suitable to the tourist’s desires can be the factor that makes the tourist decide for or against the destination.


All services that are related to this attribute play a crucial role in tourism. Cuisine will vary widely depending on the destination and the prevalent culture or cultures. And don’t discount the service operations, which are just as important as the food and beverage selection. To meet a high standard of food and beverage service requires a tremendous behind-the-scenes effort provided by trained and talented staff. And food service is not just about the food and drink, but just as importantly their presentation: colors, place settings, menu design, plate presentation, service style, and all factors that generate the ambiance that makes dining so much more than just “eating.” It’s no secret that the entire culinary experience is one of the prime motivators when it

comes to travel and tourism.


Even before the tourist considers whether he or she had a satisfactory tourism experience, they will take into consideration safety and security of the location before even deciding to visit. Even if all other attributes are running like a well-oiled machine, if the destination is not considered safe, no other factors will even come into play. Further, it is well to remember that perception is as important as reality. Once a location develops a reputation for poor tourist safety, even if the situation is exaggerated in the media or has improved from some time in the past, unless marketing efforts change the perception of the public, for all intents and purposes, the level of safety remains the same in the eyes of potential visitors and will drastically reduce tourism.

ENTERTAINMENT AND NATURAL ATTRACTIONS Museums, architectural ruins, and quaint shops are all popular tourist sights, but available entertainment venues are just as important for a well-rounded tourist destination. Historic locations can easily accommodate opera and ballet houses or theatres, which benefit from the ambiance of “old world charm.” In planning entertainment venue locations, it is important to consider location and whether the type of entertainment fits in the area. A nightclub, for instance, may not be a good fit within an ancient historic district. It may, however, be perfectly appropriate elsewhere and contribute handsomely to the economic well-being of the tourist venue overall. Natural or ancient architectural attractions may also be considered within the entertainment realm. Cultural festivals are also popular among a not insignificant percentage of the world’s millions of tourists. Planning and an eye to the atmosphere of individual areas within a city or other tourist

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Let’s Benchmark! cation, location, and location. A resort steeped in exquisite natural beauty can even afford to skimp a little in the areas discussed above and still maintain a loyal client base. Be it beautiful sunset views from a mountain

destination can result in a much improved tourism experience.


Sometimes in tourism, as with real estate investment, it all comes down to three things: lo-

lodge, a lush, green misty valley next to a waterfall, or sugar-white sandy beaches, some locations just have that certain something that brings visitors back again and again no matter the cost, inconvenience, or difficulty.

2015’s Top Ten

Tourist Destinations


dex. This year, it ranked more than 100 cities worldwide, measuring past tourism traffic and making predictions of future travel destinations. Among other factors, the two that this index focuses on are the number of visitors who come to a city and stay at least one night, and how much they spend.

London 18

mix of history, culture, culinary and creativity THIS YEAR’S REPORT INDICATED THAT LONDON will be the travel destination preferred by the highest number of visitors. With its unrivalled mix of history, culture, culinary gems, and creativity, the UK’s capital continues

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to surprise and excite visitors from all over the world. Attractions such as Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, and a long list of fascinating museums and shopping districts are among just a few of the top attractions. This is the second

consecutive year that the city has held the crown for the number one tourist destination. More than 18 million overnight visitors will grace the beautiful city this year and spend more than $20 billion!

Let’s Benchmark!


Royal palaces and temples TWO YEARS AGO BANGKOK occupied the first position. However, with political unrest and other negative factors, it has lost its number one ranking. Although the number of tourists expected is roughly equal that for London, the expected revenue falls far short at an estimated $12.36 billion in 2015. Royal palaces and temples as well as museums constitute Bangkok’s major historical and cultural tourist attractions. Shopping and dining experiences offer a range of choices and prices and the city is famous for its nightlife. Just like London, this capital is easily navigated, which makes it a favorite among tourists. Transport is very good, but what may surprise some is the fact that English serves the tourist very well in this city also.

New York

abundance of attractions WHILE BANGKOK WAS SECOND on the list based on visitor count, for dollars spent, New York took the second spot at $17.37 billion. What makes NY so appealing is its limitless energy and the abundance of attractions—you can indulge yourself in everything from sports to history to food to shopping, and so much more. Major destinations include Liberty Island, home to the iconic Statue of Liberty, the Broadway theatre district, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Washington Square Park, Times Square, the Bronx Zoo, Barclays Center, Coney Island, South Street Seaport, and the New York Botanical Garden. You may want to indulge in luxury shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues or attend the Tribeca Film Festival or free theatre performances in Central Park at Summerstage and Delacorte Theater.


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Let’s Benchmark! PARIS CAME IN THIRD with $16.61



billion estimated to be spent by tourists this year. Paris-lovers know what they can look forward to and that is why over 16 million of them will be heading to the City of Lights this year. Whether it is for a pain au chocolat at a quaint French patisserie or a stroll along the Seine or Champs-Elysees, Paris is a big draw for tourists from around the world. The energetic can climb the iconic Eiffel Tower, or take a more leisurely stroll through the numerous exhibits at the Louvre. The Paris Metro network allows visitors to move around the city easily, but if you have been to the French capital before, then you will know that this is a city best explored on foot!




mosques and palaces

AMERICAN EXPRESS PREDICTS DUBAI will be welcoming 14.26 million tourists this year who will spend approximately $11.68 billion! Dubai offers something for everyone and the city continues to awe its visitors with new, record breaking attractions every year. Some notable examples include the largest dancing fountain in the world located at the world’s largest mall, Dubai Mall, as well as several iconic landmarks including the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, and the world’s first seven-star hotel, Burj Al Arab. The Dubai Shopping Festival is an annual event that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, flocking to the city to take advantage of city-wide discounts on all the best global brands.

ABOUT TWELVE MILLION VISITORS will flock to Istanbul this year and spend roughly $9.37 billion. One of the major reasons that tourists love this city is that it is as if the best parts of Europe and Asia were extracted, only to be rejoined in Istanbul! The ancient architecture will take your breath away, even as you marvel at the paradoxical modern restaurants and nightlife. The Turkish baths and hammams could easily take up several days of your holiday itinerary if relaxation is what you seek. Awe-inspiring mosques and palaces will fascinate you while the ancient bazaars will lure even the most shopping-averse visitor to the stalls.


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Let’s Benchmark!


Kuala Lumpur



Zoo and Night Safari cultural diversity

12 million tourists in 2015 who will spend more than $14 billion! This safe, orderly, and environmentally friendly city is a favorite destination for both Asian and Western tourists. As English is among the city’s four official languages, it’s easy for tourists to get around. Transport in Singapore, including the well-known Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, serves most public venues, a great convenience for tourists. The Orchard Road District, which is dominated by shopping centres and hotels, can be considered the center of tourism in Singapore. Other popular tourist attractions include the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, which allows people to explore Asian, African, and American habitats at night without any visible barriers between guests and the wild animals.

the city’s cultural diversity, low costs, and wide shopping variety. MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) tourism has expanded in recent years to become a vital component of the tourism industry, and is expected to grow further once the government’s Economic Transformation Programme is implemented and the MATRADE Centre is completed. The major tourist destinations in Kuala Lumpur include the Merdeka Square, the House of Parliament, Petaling Street, the National Palace, the Kuala Lumpur Tower, the National Museum, the Central Market, and religious sites such as the Jamek Mosque and Batu Caves.


“Korean wave”


come to this city from Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The recent popularity of Korean popular culture, often known as the “Korean wave,” in these countries has given a boost to tourism. Seoul is packed with countless sights to see and places to visit, such as ancient palaces, traditional markets, high-end shopping districts, and beautifully landscaped gardens and parks. Getting around is easy with a highly efficient and connective transit system. Some of the top tourist attractions in the city include the traditional marketplace area of Insa-dong, the premier ancient palace of Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun markets, and the panoramic views of the city from Mt. Namsan.

Hong Kong


Chinese culture


brant and modern business centres, Hong Kong packs in Chinese culture, some incredible natural beauty in its marine and country parks, as well as world class shopping, entertainment and hospitality venues and facilities. Hong Kong is truly a must see destination for travel enthusiasts from far and wide. Some of the most popular attractions include the Avenue of Stars Skyline, the Star Ferry, Victoria Peak, shopping on Nathan Road, Lantua Island, Ocean Park, and dozens of other sites to enjoy!

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Customer Results

and the Formula for a Delightful Customer Experience



T THE HEART of the very purpose of striving for organizational excellence is the customer. For Abu Dhabi’s public sector, all of the public—all citizens and residents of the UAE—comprise “the customer.” Organizational excellence, in specific, exceeding expectations in the delivery of public services,

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has become a key priority of the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and is fundamental in the government’s aim to become among the top ten performing governments in the world. Excellence Enablers are the surest route to achieving your desired customer results. Prior to taking any action toward the specific results you want to achieve, they need to be

mapped out so the firm has a clear set of goals and targets. Outcomes of actual results can then be measured against these planned targets to ascertain whether the organization is on the right track. This will guide the firm in actions that need to be taken in order to accomplish those customer experience goals. In this article, we will outline the

EMPOWERING EXCELLENCE targets are clearly defined and communicated across all levels of the organization, employees will align their efforts towards clear and common goals, creating the energy and momentum required to reach organizational targets.

to desired outcomes and indicate whether specific goals are being met. Performance indicators for customer results can help determine the successful deployment of a firm’s customer strategies and associated policies.

road to excellent customer results and examine the surest way to a delightful customer experience.

Develop Performance Indicators Performance indicators are a set of measures that help a firm monitor progress toward success and make intelligent decisions leading to improvement. They are linked

Performance indicators are crucial for any organization operating in the 21st century. These indicators enable decision makers to gauge organizational performance, predict future trends, and make adjustments and improvements along the way. Key indicators for customer results include, among many other facets, the quantity and value of sales and associated statistical measures, quality and value of products and services, delivery effectiveness, customer perceptions, customer service and after sale support, the number of total and new customers, complaints and compliments, as well as external recognitions such as awards and accolades. All of these can be used to indicate the level of customer satisfaction and how this vital business asset can be improved.

By considering the organizational strategy, one can help move the organization in accord with them through the design of specific targets. The Abu Dhabi Healthcare Services Authority (SEHA) for example, seeks to “develop the infrastructure required to support/achieve world class standards for healthcare delivery” as part of their strategic objectives. One of the specific, measurable targets towards this goal is decreased patient wait time. They have achieved this goal through the use of a waiting area analysis dashboard that identifies and measures causes of service delays. By identifying root causes, management can evaluate and resolve the most pressing problems quickly. For this, SEHA received the Cerner Achievement Innovation Award for the category of Achievement and Innovation in Patient Care Delivery in Departmental Experience in 2014, an achievement largely attributed to setting clear targets for customer results.

Demonstrate positive sustained customer results

Set Clear Targets

Anyone who has been involved inetting clear targets aligned with customers’ needs benefits a firm not only in the short run, but enables it to achieve results that help build customer loyalty and other long-term benefits. When these

Achieving excellent customer results is only one small part of the victory. At the heart of Organizational Excellence are the concepts

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of sustainability and continuous improvement; for an organization to truly claim the mark of “Excellence,” sustaining excellent customer results over time is key.

their customers’ needs and desires. Understanding these trends and the underlying causes that drive them is crucial in figuring out exactly how they may affect your organization.

In order to demonstrate excellent results, it is essential for an organization to continuously measure and monitor customer related performance indicators, all the while revising targets and refining customer service processes and systems.

Excellent organizations use customer analytics and market data to make future predictions and anticipate the results and outcomes that will be achieved in coming months and years. Based on these predictions, an organization can revise strategic goals and improve related processes.

Understand trends and anticipate the future The operations of every field cCustomer trends can indicate a number of things for a firm. Staying abreast of customer trends—their preferences, tastes, behaviors, and buying patterns—is vital for organizations that want to stay in tune with

rent results in order to formulate performance trends. By plotting these trends against external factors such as price inflation, newly acquired partnerships, resource constraints, developments in technology, and changes in the workforce, the firm’s management can make informed predictions of what the coming years might bring.

Benchmark Customer Results

In addition to customer data and trends, organizations need to stay in the loop with economic trends and market changes that can directly or indirectly affect their business. Annual and quarterly performance reports are invaluable in comparing past with cur-


Facilities, equipment, staff appearance, and other physical aspects of the customer experience

Ability of staff to inspire confidence and trust through knowledge, courtesy, and professionalism



Extent to which caring, individualized service is given to make the customer feel valued

RELIABILITY Ability to perform service dependably and accurately, doing it right the first time

5 5

RESPONSIVENESS The timeliness of services and willingness to help and respond to customer needs


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Performance driven organizations always look at external benchmarks and international standards for inspiration. In selecting your benchmarks, it is important to ensure suitability and relevance by selecting organizations that share similar organizational mandates, structures, and environmental conditions. This will help to ensure that your benchmarks will be realistic and attainable. Challenging your organization to meet benchmark performance targets is an effective way to ignite organizational improvement. We find a prime local example of benchmarking at the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority which takes part in various programs that help it compare its lab accuracy and performance with international standards. This allows them to make improvements over time to reach and even exceed these standards.

Segment Customer Results Naturally, not all customers are the same. An organization, especially one in the public sector, has a wide range of customers spread over various ethnic, gender, social, income, and age groups. All these market segments have their own specific needs and expectations. It is important for your organization to define relevant market segments and then decide the best way to fulfill each group’s needs and desires. The use of customer satisfaction surveys and customer relationship management (CRM) systems are great for segmenting customer results and improving the understanding of the behaviour of customer groups. The data collected using these tools can then be used in the development of a holistic marketing strategy to attract, retain, and delight all your customer segments.

Private Sector Insights: The formula for a delightful customer experience As public sector entities become increasingly performance driven and competitive, it is important to draw on private sector experience and insights, particularly when it comes to customer service and ultimately, customer “delight.” A customer is delighted when he or she receives a holistic customer experience, one that satisfies all expectations and desires. To delight a customer, organizations need to focus on delivery of three key experiences:

Functional Experience

This experience is felt by the customer as part of the functional features of the core product or service offering. The fundamental nature of the product is what fulfills the customer’s desire and need; it is the basic reason he or she looked for and purchased the product or service. The firm’s basic responsibility, then, is to ensure the products or services meet the customers’ quality and value expectations.

Social Experience

The social experience develops much earlier than the functional in the customer’s journey toward the product or service. It starts with the very first time the customer begins their search for various service providers and product offerings to identify and shortlist the best provider to finally buy from. This involves research done over the internet, social and print media, as well as feedback and opinions of friends and family who might have already purchased or are using a similar product. Make sure your customers find positive, helpful information about your product or service where they seek it. Create a positive social experience for potential customers by ensuring information is prominent and easily available, with relevant information, evidence of high brand integrity, and positive feedback across all avenues.

Emotional Experience

The emotional experience is the most subtle of the three, yet carries the most powerful effect. It has the ability to influence every major decision including first-time purchase, repurchase, and continued usage. On the other side of the coin, it also may affect or determine whether a customer or client decides to terminate use of the product or service. Thus a vitally important aspect is how your product and/or service makes the customer feel. Does it engender a positive association in the mind of the customer? Do your customers feel a personalized experience that ultimately leads to long term bonding and brand loyalty? Make your customers feel good about using your products and services and ensure that your customers are delighted with your brand at every step of their customer experience journey!

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Building a

customer Centric


Mindset Martin Roll

Martin Roll, Business and Brand Strategist, Founder of Martin Roll Company (INSEAD MBA ‘99D) | April 20, 2015

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RGANISATIONS that want to become customer-centric must shift their focus from tools towards people in the organisation in order to get employees thinking like their customers. Customer-centricity is a mindset first and a set of processes and tools later. As customer-driven organisations increasingly establish themselves in the global business marketplace, the concept of customer-centricity needs to evolve and develop. The evolution needs to be driven more by an in-depth, pragmatic and intelligent understanding of customer behaviour rather than by development of second, third or fourth generations of tools. The evolution in customer behaviour understanding directly links up with the development and dissemination of a customer-centric mindset in an organisation. Understanding needs to link up with the desire for action within the organisation for successful implementation of the new mindset. Customer-centricity is a broader platform than simply understanding needs, preferences and behaviour of customers. These act as the primary inputs or catalysts for change. Customer-centricity involves changing the strategic thinking and direction of the organisation at the highest level and goes down to the development of products and solutions at the ground level. The common thread through the whole organisational hierarchy, functions and departments is the intent to stay close to the customer as much as possible.

Customising your organisation

ORGANISATIONS like Ritz-Carlton implement this by striving to achieve excellence in each and every point of contact with their customers. On the other hand, BMW practices excellence in customer-centricity by creating experiences for its key

KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE customer groups (for example, VIP parking at major events, factory tours in Germany, BMW magazine subscriptions, exclusive digital access to BMW lifestyle content etc.) This common thread can take many different forms and shapes in different organisations. Innovation-driven organisations that have the constant need to introduce new product offerings will orient their product development to be more customer-centric. Sales driven organisations will evolve and adapt their selling techniques to be more rooted in customer understanding rather than pushing their wares. Organisations in services industries will start providing customised rather than standardised offerings. But this is the outcome or the end product of the implementation of the customer-centric mindset. The focus should be on the path taken to create the customer-centric vision for the organisation and the strategic direction taken internally to implement the vision. The principles for successfully developing a customer-centric organisation can be categorised under the following three topics:


THE ESSENCE of successful customer-centric thinking is to evolve a customer’s needs and associated behaviour. This means offering products and solutions that not only meet their expectations and fulfill their needs, but also create new ones, anticipating their behaviour. This is the point where “blue ocean strategies” meet “customer-centricity”. Industries and product segments that require constant innovation for differentiation and market survival, ultimately turns towards creating needs, rather than meeting ones. This form of strategic thinking is how customer-centricity can be evolved. Branded coffee chains were not required for making and selling coffee, but now the world cannot be imagined without them.

Remote controlled refrigerators, smart grid heating and cooling systems and intelligent home security systems were never an explicit need, but they are now one of the biggest innovations in home technology. Streaming music and television content was a logical next step in innovation in a multi-connected world without a direct realisation that the need existed.


VALUE CREATION should underpin customer-centricity. Selling is the end exercise of positioning the value as an attractive proposition in front of customers. But customer-centric organisations are very good at creating products and solutions. Innovation is the lifeblood that keeps this creation part going. Creation does not always mean coming out with a constant stream of new products (which does more harm than good to an organisation’s brand equity). It’s about finding creative ways of extending a product’s value across a broader or adjacent need spectrum. This can only happen successfully if the organisation has a continuous understanding of customer behaviour and its evolution. Organisations that are successful in creating value are excellent predictors of trends, have a strategic understanding of how product categories will evolve in the future and the disruptive forces that will come into play. For example, bookstores still hold their ground by expanding the value of a bookstore beyond a physical space that sells books, to a space that sells experiences around books. They have been able to withstand the threat from e-readers quite well until now.

MAKE IT AN ORGANISATIONAL MENTALITY IF A CEO of a global organisation calls select customers and thanks them for choosing the organisation’s products or goes to every

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KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE country where the organisation has operations and meets customers, we have the first evidence that customer-centricity is being driven top down. This is a critical, and often overlooked, aspect of ensuring success of customer-centric thinking. It is very important that the vision and mission of making the organisation customer-centric comes from the board with the CEO leading. The mission then needs to percolate down the organisation through appropriate thinking, processes, tools and solutions. It is a mistake to assume that customer-centric thinking and ways of working is the responsibility of say, the marketing function, brand strategy function or sales function. The mindset change needs


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to happen throughout the organisation and at all levels. In global organisations with operations in multiple countries, this is challenging because many local operations can act in complete silos. In such instances, it is imperative to have a global driving group or custodians whose primary responsibility is to imbibe customer-centric thinking into the nooks and corners of the organisation. We can think of it as an extension of a brand guardrail to an organisational guardrail around which the organisation will manoeuvre to focus on understanding customers. Organisations aiming for superior product-led market leadership positions have to embrace the

co-creation process with customers from the drawing board to the retail shelf. Successful integration of customer-centric thinking also needs to be supported by excellent implementation of tools and platforms. Though they are not the cornerstone of customer-centricity, but tools are important for the organisation to deliver on the goals and objectives designed around customers. More importantly, the thinking originates with people and ends with people. Customer-centric growth strategies are most successful when they are people-driven and tool-agnostic. The success levels in engaging people within the organisation primarily lie in the acceptability and believability of the customer-centric vision.


Doctoring the Art

of Women’s Health I Dr. Mai Al Jaber is a pillar of strength and health. Here we speak to one of the UAE’s leaders in medicine to discover the country’s public health opportunities and challenges, and how one woman is changing the path to recovery for many. by Shannon Wylie


T TAKES A LOT TO LEAD: to lead a family, to lead a team, to lead a hospital department. But lead Dr. Mai Al Jaber does and with precision, cutting-edge consciousness and technical training that allows her to “always be ready and prepared.”

Having graduated from Al Ain University with a degree in medicine, Dr. Mai went on to enhance her already impressive education with a one-year internship that spanned her country. “I went to Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain to explore the healthcare se rvices in the different Emirates. Then in 2004 I joined the military as an officer and worked in the family medicine department.” Years of dedication, fierce determination and a rigorous schedule saw Dr. Mai rise through the ranks during her nine-year military service, which


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DELIVERING EXCELLENCE IN MEDICAL SERVICES courage women to check for breast cancer. I believe that to invest in women’s health, you’re investing in the community’s health. At the end of the day, it’s a daughter, mother or sister who is diagnosed. If she’s a mother, she’ll take care of her daughter or her son if she’s healthy. If she’s not healthy, this will affect her whole family.”

she claims “definitely impacted my personality.” She recalled one sullen event: “I went on a mission to Afghanistan for two weeks. One of the base camps there had a small clinic and they used to send doctors from the UAE to cover the clinic. There, I was exposed to people who had just stepped on IEDs (landmines), so they would come to the clinic with an amputated leg in a very serious condition. This really added to my view of life and how precious life really is.”

appreciate health until sickness comes’. We can’t guarantee life, but we have evidence-based medicine and research, which can ensure a long, healthy life is possible.”

Another post, which proved particularly pertinent to Dr. Mai’s career, was her appointment to first an administrative role, and then to the Board of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy. “I was involved in the establishment of the academy, which really developed my career and my administrative skills. I learnt a lot from the athletes themselves, especially how to have a target and reach that target, to reach your goals. I also learnt how to be passionate about what you love.”

Women’s health in particular is at a pivotal point in the Emirates, as the number of gender-related illnesses continues to rise. Cancer, according to statistics, is the second leading cause of death behind cardiovascular disease. As a subset, a staggering 13 percent of women are diagnosed in the UAE every year with breast cancer. “One of my roles in healthcare is to promote well-being and a healthy lifestyle, and one of the most important parts of any healthcare program is education,” says Dr. Mai. “Most women know about breast cancer, but they don’t often know how to detect it. Breast cancer, if it’s detected early, can be 100 percent treated and cured.”

Today, Dr. Mai Al Jaber is Head of Public Health and the Women’s Wellness Initiative at Healthpoint Hospital in Abu Dhabi and a General Practitioner in its Department of Family Medicine. “When I have a female in my clinic I take a holistic approach, from head to toe. I say: ‘Take care of yourself. Life is precious. You don’t

Men too can suffer from breast cancer, though it is very rare. “We don’t have a statistic for men with breast cancer in the UAE, but in the UK there are about 350 men diagnosed each year, compared with around 50,000 cases of breast cancer in women. In general, less than one percent of all breast cancer occurs in men. It’s very rare because of hormonal differences but there


Breast cancer signs and symptoms, treatment and diagnosis are put under the microscope in October for pink month. “We dedicate a month to increase awareness and to en-

are a few cases which have been reported.” However, no one is immune to cancer, and there are risk factors. “Being female is a risk factor for breast cancer. If you have a member of your family who has had breast cancer, this is an added risk factor. So what we usually focus on are risk factors and then the signs and symptoms.” Education is a key part of understanding how to check for symptoms of breast cancer. Signs to look out for include: “A painless lump. Plus the skin changes and we see what we call the ‘orange peel effect’ on the surface near the lump.” However, according to Dr. Mai, “At the beginning there are no symptoms.” Lifestyle can also be a contributing factor. “A lack of exercise, a

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Physicians meet at Healthpoint’s Women’s Wellness Launch

stressful lifestyle and diet are the main risk factors of most cancers. We call them ‘modifiable risk factors’. You can modify your diet and lifestyle, but people always have the excuse ‘we don’t have the time’. You should make time! If you want to do it, you’ll do it.”


Yet, as a result, breast cancer isn’t the only form of illness affecting women in the UAE. “We have a good number of expat women patients here at Healthpoint and they share some of the same health issues with local woman. The similarities are weight problems plus chronic illnesses, such as diabetes.” Interestingly however, Dr. Mai has observed one key ailment affecting expats. “The difference I’ve noticed with some expat patients is that they have stress-related illnesses. Anxiety is very common. I see it very frequently.” Circling back to exercise, diet and lifestyle, a common link is clear. Additionally, cardiovascular disease is ranked as the leading cause of death in Abu Dhabi. “Because of this, the UAE Government and Health

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Authority Abu Dhabi developed the Emirate-wide screening program, Weqaya, which is a cardiovascular disease prevention program.” Dr. Mai implemented the program at Healthpoint Hospital with the help of management. “Cardiovascular disease is usually the result of chronic illness such as hypertension or diabetes. The good thing is it’s on the decline. In 2012, cardiovascular disease accounted for 39 percent of deaths in Abu Dhabi. This is why we needed to find a solution. Now we have a blood test and a questionnaire through Weqaya that highlights your lifestyle, nutrition and exercise.” Prevention (the English translation for “Weqaya”) is key. Ensuring that women (and men) have the correct information and a clear course of action is one of the main focuses on Dr. Mai’s radar, which has stemmed from the initiatives of the UAE Government: “Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said delivering or improving our health care system here in the UAE and providing the patient with the best practice is our top priority.”

Aside from splitting her days between the clinic and administrative work, public health initiatives and screenings are another major area of activation for Dr. Mai. As another example, Healthpoint Hospital was recently named the official partner of a disease prevention screening and health check-up system for the Abu Dhabi Police. “We offer health check-ups for a huge number of their personnel, aiming to improve their health and aiming to identify any health or risk factors. We developed a series of tests including a blood test, ECG (electro cardiogram) to check heart rates and chest x-rays specifically for police officers. This ultimately helps prevent any abnormalities or health risks. If diagnosed, we then also look to treatment options.” It also ensures the livelihood of the region’s governing bodies. “One of the reasons why I joined the faculty of medicine was because I wanted to serve my country.” Dr. Mai’s devotion to the UAE clearly continues to extend much further than the walls of Healthpoint hospital.

Sharing Excellence


RECORD 3.49 MILLION tourists visited Abu Dhabi in 2014, and even though global economic conditions did not look favorable for 2015, Abu Dhabi witnessed a growth in visitor numbers from January to June this year, prompting the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) to consider new targets from current projections for 2015 and beyond. “We are targeting 3.9million visitors in 2015”, says Mr. Sultan Al Dhaheri, TCA Abu Dhabi’s acting Executive Director of Tourism. When asked about the factors that contributed to this phenomenal growth, he responds: “There are a number of factors which contributed. These include sustained and results-oriented marketing initiatives, an increase in our attraction and accommodation line-up and the staging of world-class events which appeal to an international audience”.


Mr. Sultan proudly adds: “In terms of new attractions, last year Yas Mall became one of the most popular shopping destinations in the Middle East with its impressive lineup of retail offerings, contemporary interior, effortless layout, and great location. As for accommodation, we now have over 160 hotels and hotel apartments as compared to 150 last year and currently boast 28,374 rooms as opposed to 26,001 for the comparative period. This is a 7% increase in available rooms.” “Visitors are now aware of our world-class tourism offering, and there are encouraging signs for further growth as we add more diverse products, drive more effective stakeholder coordination and expand our local, regional and global marketing initiatives.” Mr. Sultan reaffirms. In getting into the importance of the growth of Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector, Mr. Sultan elaborates on

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All Eyes on

Abu Dhabi With Sultan Al Dhaheri,

Acting Executive Director of Tourism at Tourism & Culture Authority Abu Dhabi its significance, “Tourism is one of the Emirate’s strategic sectors for economic growth and diversification as identified in the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. The industry has significantly contributed to raising Abu Dhabi’s image and recognition worldwide, encouraged infrastructure improvements, such as better hotels, roads, land, water and air transport networks,

recreation facilities such as parks, malls, attractions etc., all of which improve the quality of life for residents as well as visitors.” In further expanding on the importance of this sector, Mr. Sultan adds: “The rapid expansion of tourism in the emirate which has grown from less than one million visitors in 2004 to 3.49 million in 2014 has led to a

significant contribution to the GDP for the emirate. In numbers, the tourism sector has contributed AED 24.6 billion to Abu Dhabi’s GDP in 2012, out of which the direct contribution was 5.3%, which equates to 10.4 billion of non-oil GDP and direct employment of 59,317 jobs in 2012 with hotels and restaurants representing the largest share of this employment at 30,720 jobs”. When asked about TCA Abu Dhabi’s strategic priorities for 2015 and beyond, he responds, “The key strategy for 2015 and beyond is to attract more visitors, to stay longer, and experience more across the emirate of Abu Dhabi. We will press ahead with our strategy of steady measured growth aligned to the development of the tourism sector and support public and private sector investment through promotional activities, tourism investment, marketing and activities by the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau which handles the lucrative

MICE sector requirements.” Abu Dhabi’s diverse portfolio of tourism offerings provide for great opportunities for growth, as Mr. Sultan explains: “By continuing to appeal to visitors through an expanding portfolio of tourism products and events, and a healthy mix of leisure and MICE promotional campaigns, our focus will be to get the message out, to as wide an audience as possible so that there is more to do in this emirate than ever, to encourage our guests to stay longer and all the while, encourage new SME and headline tourism product development. We have also recently expanded our overseas footprint with a new South African promotional office, and work hand-in-hand with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE to identify and support their route development programme. Product themed promotion has also been

stepped up in 2015, with plans for enhanced multi-stakeholder seasonal campaigns, further promotion of our existing public-private sector cruise and golf partnerships and event packaging.” “We will maintain strategic operations from our 11 overseas offices and are also expanding our footprint to new markets – namely Serbia, Holland and Azerbaijan – as part of an extensive programme of 21 trade exhibitions and 8 roadshows across 32 cities in 20 countries through 2015.” Numerous other initiatives have also been underway to attract more visitors from key source markets such as the United States, China, and European countries. We asked Mr. Sultan what are some of the main selling points in attracting these tourists on a large scale. In response, Mr.

Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015


Sharing Excellence


Sultan replies enthusiastically, “I think the growth in visitor numbers and destination accolades is testament to our success. Most significantly though, it is our engagement with international travel trade which tells the brightest story. We continue to form partnerships with operators from leading source markets and are actively promoting our Access Abu Dhabi joint initiative in partnership with Etihad Airways to promote and sell the emirate as a leading leisure destination. “ “Furthermore”, Mr. Sultan adds, “Abu Dhabi has become one of the best-selling holiday destinations for British travellers in 2015, according to worldwide tour operator Kuoni, with the operator reporting sales growth to Abu Dhabi of 15 per cent in 2014 from an expanded portfolio of hotels, attractions and experiences in the UAE’s rapidly developing cultured capital.”

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“The opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi will be a significant milestone in our ambitions to create a world-leading cultural destination and has been a

Grand Mosque - one of the most important architectural treasures of contemporary UAE , - as well as the evolving Saadiyat Island Cultural

ALL EYES ARE ON ABU DHABI (...) WE AIM TO POSITION ABU DHABI AS THE GLOBAL DESTINATION OF CHOICE TO EXPERIENCE THE “AUTHENTIC ARABIA” key factor behind the destination being named amongst’s list of the Top 10 Destinations to visit in 2015 – a good third party recommendation to have!” “Abu Dhabi has a compelling lineup of attractions that are distinctly different from any other destination. Our culture and heritage is among our best selling points. This includes attractions such as the Sheikh Zayed

District which will house Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.” “Tourists can experience the local heritage heartland of Al Ain, also known as the Oasis City, taking in Al Jahili Fort, one of the country’s most historic buildings, Al Ain Palace Museum - the former home of the late UAE founder Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Na-

world voyage itineraries. “ “Abu Dhabi’s cruise passenger arrivals have increased five-fold since the sector began in the emirate in 2007 with anticipated arrivals this season reaching 220,000 passengers from 95 vessel calls. Over the coming years, we anticipate steady measured growth, fuelled by expanding capacity from regular rotational Arabian Gulf cruisers and home-porting operations at Zayed Port. By the 2019/2020 season, we forecast 300,000 passenger arrivals from 130 calls by a minimum of 16 ships.” As Abu Dhabi continues to establish its position in the leisure, business, sports, health and cultural tourism markets, Mr. Sultan gives us insight into some of the strategic positions that Abu Dhabi wishes to dominate. “We aim to position Abu Dhabi as the global destination of choice to experience the “Authentic Arabia. We want to further promote and strengthen our culture and heritage attractions by engaging our partners to leverage more of our UNESCO world heritage sites to deepen the sense of an authentic Arabic feel in the capital.”

hyan -and the Al Ain oasis whilst also exploring the stunning desert scenery of Liwa.” Cruise Ship tourism has also been identified as an important and fast growing segment of Abu Dhabi’s overall tourism portfolio. Mr. Sultan gives us his insights into this growing new sector: “Abu Dhabi Ports Company has invested in a dedicated 8,000sq m cruise terminal at Zayed Port, which will be fully open for the 2016/17 season. This will be a game-changer in terms of both client and consumer service. It

has been designed with both operators and passengers in mind. This is a direct response to our desire to nurture this sector. The terminal will increase the port’s capacity and will be able to accommodate up to three mega cruise ships simultaneously.” “Working closely with Abu Dhabi Ports and a number of private sector stakeholders, our primary aims are to encourage regional cruises to ‘home port’ in Zayed Port – that is to start and end in Abu Dhabi and to continue to attract new lines to include Abu Dhabi on their

“Furthermore,” Mr. Sultan continues, “We aim to expand our partner engagements in our events and festivals to attract more visitors to stay longer. We also want to further develop Abu Dhabi’s position as the family-friendly resort-driven winter sun leisure destination as well as develop Halal Tourism products to attract more Muslim visitors from around the world.” “All eyes are on Abu Dhabi. As our mega developments and new tourist attractions come to life, we will continue to see people from around the world flock to Abu Dhabi to experience a destination like no other.”

Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015



Abu DhabI

on the Global Tourism Map


OURISM IS AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT of the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and is seen as one of the key enablers towards building a sustainable future for Abu Dhabi through economic prosperity and diversification. The tourism sector is expected to

Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015

play an important role in fueling the engine of economic growth and diversification in Abu Dhabi and across the UAE. The task of promoting tourism in Abu Dhabi rests with Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority (TCA). This multi-faceted Authority manages and regulates the tourism sector in Abu Dhabi and markets it internationally through a

wide range of initiatives and events. The TCA preserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi and leverages these aspects of the city to attract the maximum number of tourists to the area. Their policies, plans, and programs serve as a catalyst in driving tourism investment, growth, and development.

IN FOCUS THE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES THAT ARE OFFICIALLY ASSIGNED TO THE AUTHORITY INCLUDE: ❖❖ Management of Abu Dhabi’s growing tourism sector and its promotion ❖❖ Preservation and protection of Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage ❖❖ Fostering a future class of leaders and professionals in the field of culture and education ❖❖ Management of both existing and new museums, including the overseeing of operations in developing the Saadiyat Island Cultural District ❖❖ Promoting the development of human and cultural capital in light of the challenges posed by the knowledge economy

The Authority’s foremost ambition is to create a cultural infrastructure that will allow it to establish itself as a cultural reference point locally, regionally, and globally. It works closely with emirates tourism stakeholders such as airlines, the transport sector, hotels and restaurants, and infrastructure development authorities in both the public and private sector. The primary aim of the collaboration is to promote Abu Dhabi as an up-market destination with a focus on sustaining and preserving its natural environment and heritage.

Changing Landscape of Tourism Industry in Abu Dhabi The tourism industry in Abu Dhabi has experienced a dramatic change in the past few years. Due to extensive planning and efforts by local authorities, the transformation envisioned by the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 Master Plan is already taking shape. The efforts of the Abu Dhabi government and private sector partners have been able to successfully place the UAE’s capital on the international tourism radar,

landing it on CNN’s Top Ten Travel Destination List of 2015. Business Monitor International projects the UAE tourism sector will grow at an average rate of 6.5 percent per annum between 2011 and 2021. Last year, a record 3.49 million tourists visited the emirate, according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. TCA’s semi-annual figures released in June indicate a continuation of this positive trend. Initially, this year’s target was set for approximately 3.5 million tourist visitors despite many challenges, including a weak euro against dollar, the potential impact of low oil prices on the sector, and the growth in oil supply expected this year, placing continued downward pressure on oil prices. However, in response to a 20% year-on-year increase in arrivals in the first four months of the year, the TCA is now predicting 3.9 million visitors through to the end of 2015, up 11.4% over previous forecasts. According to official sources, India was again the largest foreign source of tourists last year with 231,702 guests arriving from that country. Abu Dhabi’s next biggest sources of tourism are the UK, Germany, China, Saudi Arabia, and the US.

While China currently ranks fourth by number of hotel guests with a 5% share, behind the UAE (33%) and India (6%) and the UK (6%), the country posted the strongest growth in the first six months of 2015, after a 166% increase in Chinese hotel guests last year, according to local media, due to an influx of incentive corporate travel. This growth of tourism is attributed to development of infrastructure, opening of new hotels and attractions in Saadiyat Resort and Yas Islands, and other initiatives of the TCA in coordination with various stakeholders in Abu Dhabi. Finally, international events like the Formula 1 Grand Prix event at Yas Island and of course, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship attract a large number of tourists to Abu Dhabi every year.

How Does Abu Dhabi want to Attract More Tourists?

Key local players, including the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), have undertaken a number of key initiatives to attract more tourists to the area. One great example of the mega developments that are attracting tourists includes Saadiyat Island in

Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015


IN FOCUS Abu Dhabi which translates into “Island of Happiness.” When completed, it will be a cultural oasis serving 7.9 million tourists annually along with 145,000 permanent residents.

of services for Chinese travellers, including Mandarin-speaking attendants at malls and payment services at hotels for China’s UnionPay bank cards.

Some of the attractions that are planned in the area include an $800 million Guggenheim Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum, a golf club, and various luxury hotels and resorts. Private and government developers are expected to invest around $200 to $300 billion to fulfill demand for marina berths that is expected to double by 2015 to about 82,000 berths.

While slower economic growth in China could impact demand, the Chinese tourist market remains much sought after, with some 100 million Chinese tourists spending a combined $164.8 billion last year.

The TCA has also adopted target international marketing programs to attract large tourist markets from around the world. A great success story is the huge increase in Chinese tourists to Abu Dhabi. In February, more than twenty hotels, malls and tourist attractions in the capital signed up for the “Welcome Chinese” programme, an initiative by China’s state-backed tourism body, China Tourism Academy. The move has prompted a wider range


Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015

Events are another big component of the local tourism marketing strategy. Abu Dhabi will continue to host high-profile international events, such as the annual Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will remain the last race of the F1 season next year, as well as football’s 2019 Asian Cup, which was awarded to the UAE in March. In the meantime, the construction of the Midfield Terminal Building at Abu Dhabi International Airport, set to open in the summer of 2017, will almost triple passenger handling capacity to 45 million per year, according to the Abu Dhabi Airports

website. The terminal will include 700,000 square metres of internal space and a 22-km baggage handling system capable of processing some 19,000 bags per hour. When the terminal opens for business in 2017, it wil be a huge factor in achieving the future growth targets.

Tourism and the Economy The growth of tourism in Abu Dhabi has greatly benefited the economy. World Travel and Tourism Council predict that in the next five years the tourism sector in Abu Dhabi will generate around $15 trillion. Last year, the tourism sector contributed around $259 billion to the economy. The retail and hospitality sectors in particular are set to reap the rewards as Abu Dhabi continues to become an increasingly popular tourist destination, making it to CNN’s Top Ten Travel Destination List of 2015. The hospitality sector has profited the most from the boom in tourism in the area. The latest reports by TCA published in June 2015 indicated a 17% y-o-y increase in ho-

IN FOCUS tel guests in the first six months of the year, with 1.98m visitor check-ins, and 11% y-o-y growth in guest nights, to 5.73m. Hotel earnings were up 8% at Dh3.35bn ($912.1m), driven by an 11% increase in room revenue. Abu Dhabi’s retail sector is also starting to mature on the back of increased tourism in the area. The retail sector in Abu Dhabi has now become a major contributor to the non-oil economy. Other sectors that have profited in the area include food and beverage and construction sectors that have seen a rise in profits due to booming tourism in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Tourism Highlights Economic Contributions UAE GDP $259 Billion Contribution to GDP in 2014



17% 11% 8%

in hotel guests in guest nights in hotel earnings

Achievements and Awards

3.4 m Tourists in 2014

6.5% Average Annual Growth Rate Predicted (2011-2021)

Largest Tourist Source Markets UK

Abu Dhabi named on CNN’s Top Destinations List 2015

Etihad Airways awarded Best Airline – Business Class at TTG Travel Awards 2015


Winner: Middle East's Leading Meetings & Conference Destination 2015




Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015

Local Enterprise

Asma Lootah

Founder and CEO of


PROUD EMIRATI, when asked where she is from, Ms. Asma Lootah replies proudly, “I am from Dubai. 100% from the UAE, born and raised!” She characterizes her family as being a tightly knit and conservative Emirati family, with parents who were keen on seeing their children receive the best private school education. Asma continued her education in the United States where she received a bachelor degree in Business Administration and a minor degree in fine arts from George Washington University.


Asma returned home in 2000 and soon accepted a job offer with Etisalat. “For the first four years, I worked in the Internet Engineering Department. I am not an Engineer so that was definitely very interesting,” she comments. “My business degree was in Information Systems, so perhaps they got confused! Maybe they thought I had a computer science degree.” Asma laughs. Looking back, Asma admits that those first four years at Etisalat were painfully slow. So when I asked her why she stayed for so long, she replies, “I think I am the type of person who doesn’t give up easily. I just wanted to prove that I could do it!”

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Asma refers to her years in Etisalat’s Engineering Department as a great turning point in her life which she calls her “self-discovery phase.” She spent a lot of her days asking over and over, “What do I want? What do I like? What do I enjoy doing?” She also made a quick career change during this period, moving to the Marketing Division at Etisalat to explore other career options. However, Asma was constantly thinking about her Plan B. “I did not want to leave Etisalat without having a plan B. Everyone in my family works. Nobody sits at home and does nothing so I didn’t want to be labelled as the loser,” Asma says with a chuckle. It was also during this time that she discovered the fitness system Pilates, and became an instant and loyal fan. “I fell in love with the system. It truly changed my life!” Asma exclaims. “It was my escape; something I could look forward to. I loved the teacher, the group of friends that we established in the class, and the positive energy.” There came a point when Asma knew it was time to leave Etisalat. She wanted to resign and start her own business. But what business? She explored options and brainstormed with friends and family members for months, and finally came to the conclusion that if

she was going to open a business, it would be best to create one for herself, by herself. “I asked myself these questions: What do I love? What am I passionate about? What can I give back? To my country? To the people? I wanted a business that reflected me.” When the Pilates Studio Asma attended was about to close down, that’s when it all started. “My brother Arif suggested that I open my own Pilates Studio. It was like he read my mind! This is what I want!” Asma says, giving her brother great credit for her initial inspiration. In 2006, Asma resigned from Etisalat without notice, and with confidence and faith, determined to start her own business. “When I look back, I asked myself: Oh my God, how did I do that?” She says she still remembers her parents’ initial reaction: “Shooo Pilates Studio?! What is Pilates anyway? You resigned from a good job to open this?” With limited funding and a sceptical reception from her parents, Asma opened The Hundred Pilates Studio in Dubai’s Healthcare City in 2008. Asma gathered what she could from her Etisalat savings and investment shares, which she sold for cash. She did her own research and purchased the equipment in her 1600-square foot studio herself. She then created and

Local Enterprise published a recruitment ad and sent out emails to all the good Pilates Studios around the world, looking for the best trainer. She finally found the perfect trainer who ended up staying with her for the next three years. When asked about the name of her brand, she explains: “The name is derived from the Hundred, which is a classic Pilates mat exercise. I came up with the name while discussing the idea with a good friend of mine from university over the phone. It evoked great memories from my first Pilates sessions. We used to whine and complain because it was so hard!� Asma focused her energy in the first couple of years on perfecting the core service, which was her


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Local Enterprise


Pilates classes. Starting off with just two trainers and herself, Asma’s business soon grew to include three trainers and two receptionists to keep up with the number of classes and customers. In 2011, Asma’s dad approached her with a great surprise. He owned an old villa in Jumeirah where the tenants were about to move out and offered to give it her. “That was one big surprise for me. The location was perfect and this was an opportunity of a lifetime. What’s better was that it was a clear sign of approval from my father which meant a great deal to me,” she recalls fondly. Initially, Asma was going to renovate the old villa. Her brother Tariq recommended that she just demolish the villa and build her new centre from scratch while expanding her services, and that’s just what she did. When we asked Asma how she funded this big venture, she replies with a smile, “First, I applied for what I refer to as a type of crowdfunding: At home! I received great financial support from my parents and siblings who helped finance my initial costs.” She also applied for a business loan from Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Fund for to cover the costs

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of outfitting the new centre and became a member of Dubai SME for further financial and administrative assistance. Asma credits both these local government agencies for great financial and administrative support in setting up her business and recommends them to all Emiratis who want to establish their own enterprises.

services that include Pilates, functional training, physiotherapy and holistic treatments, and much more. Asma has also teamed up with the renowned nutrition and weight loss specialists, the Wellness Brothers, to offer high quality supplements and weight loss programs that are to be dubbed “The Downsize Me Program.” She has

MOST OF MY CUSTOMERS HAVE STAYED WITH ME SINCE THE FIRST STUDIO. EVEN IF A TRAINER LEAVES, THEY KNOW THAT I WILL ALWAYS BRING THE BEST STAFF. THEY KNOW ME AND THEY TRUST ME.” In April 2014 and after three years of hard work, Asma opened The Hundred Wellness Center in Jumeirah in her new, two-floor, 10,000-square foot space. The new centre is a one-stop shop for health and wellness that Asma likes to call, “The Happy Hub.” The new centre is packed with

also partnered with fellow Emirati, Ibrahim, who runs the café at the centre. She says that it is important to find like-minded individuals to work with, and that’s just what she found in her strategic partners who source only the best, most wholesome, and healthy ingredients for their products.

Local Enterprise

When asked about the most difficult challenges she faced in getting her business off the ground, Asma comments, “The toughest part about setting up a business in the UAE is navigating through the licensing and government approvals processes! I feel that there is confusion and a lack of integration when it comes to getting all the approvals and inspections for businesses and this takes a lot of time and energy. Having Dubai SME’s support did help a lot though, especially with waving my licensing costs for three years and helping me complete all the necessary approvals and inspections.” As for the most important qualities an entrepreneur should have, Asma says: “For me, the most important thing is ethics. You need to build

a brand that people can trust. You have to be dedicated to providing the best quality services and maintaining your brand integrity. Having a specific goal in mind is also very important, but I believe that the most important goal should not be a financial one. Being passionate and driven are also essential to business success.” She adds, “Most of my customers have stayed with me since the first studio. Even if a trainer leaves, they know that I will always bring the best staff. They know me and they trust me.”

Dubai’s top 100 small and medium enterprises. In 2012 Asma won the Emirates Woman of The Year Award in the achievers category. And in March 2013 The Hundred was selected as best health and fitness facility in the UAE by Sports Industry Awards.

Her business philosophy and ethics certainly seem to be paying off. Asma has claimed a number of awards and achievements including being named one of the Ahlan Magazine HOT100 in 2011 and in the same year The Hundred ranked number 45 as one of

“I had a gut feeling and thanks to Allah, my gut feeling never fails me… I knew that it would succeed!” Seven short years later, with a lot of hard work and more than a little faith, Asma has proven her gut feeling correct and is an inspiration not only to other women but all Emiratis.

Asma has created a place where people can come to feel good. She is now working on opening her weight loss section and introducing more holistic services.

Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015


Idea Watch


Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015

Idea Watch

3-D Printing Will Change

the World


O ANYONE who hasn’t seen it demonstrated, the whole process might sound like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. Three-D printing is the process of turning a computer-generated design into a real-life, physical entity. This is accomplished by making use of different materials such as nylon, ABS plastic, or even a biodegradable plastic filament, PLA, melting these materials into thin, shaped layers on a surface, and then printing sub-

sequent layers one atop the other until the object is complete.

How Does 3D Printing Work?

There are many types of 3D printers in the market, each making use of a different material. A “selective laser sinter� makes use of a laser beam in order to heat and then solidify a substance into patterns for each slice. Another method incorporates UV light on different resin layers. However, regardless of the material used in the process, they all use some

method of applying multiple layers onto a platform to slowly build up the physical object. Before you can start with the printing of the 3D object, you need to have a proper 3D image prepared using computer assisted design, or CAD, software. After digital creation by the designer, the program then digitally slices the item into hundreds or even thousands of layers horizontally that are printed one atop the other.

Applications of 3D Printing The first ever functional 3D printer was created by Charles Hull in 1984. Its use and popularity has gained steadily since that time which today comprises an amazing-

ly wide swath of applications. For example, it can be used in printing smartphone cases, car parts, medical equipment, and fashion accessories. Its use extends even to printing artificial organs, where it has quite literally been a life saver. Here are just a few representative examples where 3D printing is used:

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Idea Watch 3D Printed Organs With 3D printing, organs can be printed incorporating the cells of patients, practically negating the need in the future for patients to have to wait for compatible donors. The story of baby Kaiba is illustrative. Kaiba was born prematurely in 2011 with insufficiently developed lungs. In order to maintain blood oxygen levels he was put on a ventilator, but even that wasn’t enough as Kaiba’s windpipe kept collapsing. Doctors from the University of Michigan then made use of a 3D printer to make a bioresorbable splint to reinforce the baby’s windpipe. Prior to the operation, Kaiba wasn’t expected to leave the hospital. Sixteen months later he had the splint removed and has continued developing into a healthy boy.

3D Printing In the Automotive Industry Companies such as General Motors and Ford have made use of 3D printing for car parts. GM has made use of stereo lithography, math data, laser sintering, and specialized software to build parts of the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu from liquid resin to improve the quality of the vehicle.

3D Printing In the Aerospace Industry


Recently, NASA made use of 3D printing to make a rocket engine injector. This was so successful that they now plan to take a 3D printer to the International Space Station to set up a mini factory for customized spacecraft and instrument parts.

3D Printed Gun

Liberator is the name of a gun made using the 3D printer, designed and manufactured by Defense Distributed, a nonprofit digital publisher and 3D Printing R&D firm. Fifteen out of its sixteen parts are made of 3D printed plastic.

3D Printed Prosthetics

Feathered Angels Waterfall Sanc-

Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015

tuary went to the aid of Buttercup, a duck born with a deformed foot. Born in a high school biology lab, Buttercup was unable to walk properly and was in constant pain from the deformity. After the foot was amputated, technicians used detailed photographs of the duck’s other foot to create a silicon replacement on a 3D printer. The foot is kept in place using Winters Gel, a jelly-like material that adheres the artificial foot to Buttercup’s leg. Elsewhere, an 83-year old woman required a lower jaw replacement due to a severe infection. Doctors created a titanium replacement using a 3D laser printer, which was then coated with a bioceramic material. The patient was able to speak a few words shortly after waking up from surgery, and was able to talk and eat the following day. The medical community is excited by the promise of 3D printed prosthetic devices that can be made from porous titanium structures, allowing bone in-growth in addition to better

fit and more precise attachment to natural body parts. Further, with 3D printing the cost of prosthetic devices is lower than with other methods of manufacture and post-surgery recovery time is significantly reduced.

3D Printing As A Way to Help the Senses Scientists at Princeton University have made a bionic ear with the help of a 3D printer. This bionic ear enables users to hear even better than with the natural human ear. Yahoo! is also working with Hakuhodo Kettle in Japan, a creative agency that is lending a hand at a school for the blind. There, Yahoo! is involved in teaching children to make use of a hands-on search machine for web browsing. This machine combines a MakerBot 3D printer with voice recognition technology so that voice queries can be turned to physical objects.

3D Printing Outside of the Manufacturing Sector Personal Printing 3D printers started becoming popular for personal use by many enthusiasts and hobbyists in 2011.

However, with so much development and vastly reduced costs nowadays, the technology is becoming widespread in every area of business and personal use.

Idea Watch Services in 3D Printing

Despite the technology being much cheaper now, we are far from the time when everyone can afford their own printer. Companies like Ponoko and Shapeways have developed to give users the benefit of 3D printing by delivering a digital file, which then gets printed at an affordable rate. These commercial printers also let

their users sell their designs through their web sites, much as an electronic book might be for sale. 3D printing services are also offered business to business. For instance, an architect might want to print a model of a house for presentation to a potential customer. Slowly and gradually, people are


3D Advantages Using printing, can of 3D Printing one create models that exactly replicate a future production version, with complete functionality for end-user testing prior to the expensive and time-consuming process of making molds and machine tools and dies. This replaces limited-functionality, limited-use models that cannot give a complete and accurate end-user experience, thus saving possible waste of early production models that have hidden flaws or design problems. While 3D printing has been in use for years, it is only recently that the technology has been commercially viable. Because the cost is decreasing, quality is increasing, and the technology is within reach of more users, 3D printing has aroused great interest in a wide range of industries and among potential users.


Three dimensional printing enables users to construct functional models in just hours instead of days or weeks.

EASY TO USE Besides design stills required to create your 3D object using software, 3D printng is relatively easy to use, making it a tool that anyone can work with

QUALITY The objects produced by 3D printing are long lasting and durable due to the materials used in the “printing� process

MULTI-PURPOSE 3D printing methods enable the production of objects with highly detailed surface features. This makes it easy to make prototypes or construct models for a variety of products within virtually any industry.

How 3D Printing Is Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Sector The manufacturing sector is rapidly making the shift to 3D printing from the typical mechanical production. 3D printing has enabled greater creative freedom, consistency, and cost effectiveness. With the help of 3D printing, manufacturers no longer need to carry out long procedures that are highly labor intensive with lengthy turnaround times between

realizing the importance and viability of 3D printing. The future of 3D printing is exceptionally bright, with many of the sectors and industries already incorporating its use within their businesses and lines of production. Now is the time for companies to investigate for themselves the possibilities and advantages of 3D printing.

design concept and production. Instead, they can quickly make durable prototypes for trial purposes. Time consuming and expensive tooling, complex assembly lines, and interdependent supply chain mechanisms will quickly become things of the past. Nike, for instance, has made use of 3D printing to make different shoe prototypes. This, in turn, has helped to increase their production margin 30% without additional costs. Many other companies have also incorpo-

MONEY Products may be produced at a lower cost. Generating prototypes with 3D printers is cheaper and easier than making molds that may only be used

rated 3D printing in their manufacturing processes. 3D printers are also great at increasing artistic variations and creativity in designs, allowing greatly expanded possibilities for experimentation. 3D printing is already becoming highly integrated in many industries such as prosthetics, bio medicines, and the automotive sector. Future possible uses might aid in the reduction of world hunger and poverty by printing bio genetic products in medicine and food production.

Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015


Build Your DIGITAL Profile


Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2015

Build Your DIGITAL Profile

will be sure to affect, and if you’re not careful, disrupt your business. It’s time to get with the program!


OUR ORGANIZATION or business has been up and running for a long time now. Life is good. Customers seem satisfied. Your processes and technology systems are sound. You have your eye on your competitors and the industry and your business model is stable.

Or is it? It was only few years ago that technology, and business started changing faster than ever before. Social media was ignored by most except teenagers and early adopters. The web was in its infancy. Mobile phones were only for senior businessmen and the privileged few. But today the world is an entirely different place. Social media, digital technology, and mobile apps are redefining business. Uber, for example, has the taxi monopolies and authorities scared. But their business model is not just about technology; it is about building a convenient and efficient service network and adding ever increasing value. In this article we will explore some of the most disruptive digital marketing trends of 2015 and beyond that

social media marketer, or a digital marketer—to manage marketing at scale in a digital world requires a new breed of marketer and the use of a technologically adept marketing platform sooner rather than later.


DIGITAL MARKETING AUTOMATION PLATFORMS Today,it is easy to get lost in the web of infinite media, digital channels, social networks, and data. There are a lot of moving parts and making sense of it all and taking calls to action can seem complex, even overwhelming. But there is a solution, and it is found in today’s technology.

Marketing used to be a purely creative field. While creativity is still a key component, technology is a vitally important additional element. Technological tools enable marketers to interpret data and design integrated marketing solutions targeted to very specific audiences. To make use of this technology, you need a digital marketing platform, a new approach, called “marketing automation.” The good news is there are many options available. Hubspot, Ontraport, Infusionsoft, Social Sprout, Marketo, and Hootsuite are just a few. The list is growing and growing fast as companies drive the increasing demand for marketing automation solutions. It doesn’t matter whether you are a content marketer,


BIG DATA FOR ANALYTICS AND IDENTIFYING INFLUENCERS Knowing more about your customer than they know about themselves is marketing power. Because your customers spend almost half their life online, getting to know them this intimately has now become a digital phenomenon. What do they like to read about? What do they like to watch? How do they feel about brands, issues, and current topics? Where do they shop online? What drives their purchase decisions? Language processing will identify influencers, customer preferences, and content that creates feelings of need and desire among potential customers. Data Analytics can provide much usable information about your customers and can identify influencers for certain topics and industries which in turn can help you analyze and forecast trends, changes in consumer preferences and sentiments, and much more. Platforms such as BuzzSumo, Appinions and Simply Measured are all

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Build Your DIGITAL Profile using data to help you calculate your next marketing move. These and others also help you understand and keep up with trending topics, habits, and content that your customers are interested in. Data is great—we all know that. But what matters is what you do with the data. Making informed and calculated marketing decisions based on intelligent data is the marketer’s secret weapon.



PAID SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING Where do most of your customers spend about half of their time online? On social media sites of course. Facebook knows this. Linkedin and Twitter know this, as does every other social media platform on the web. This is why social media advertising has become big business. Facebook for example knows that building “likes” isn’t as important as it once was. But using its paid and highly targeted advertising data is. Now, re-targeting and Facebook’s custom audience features allow you to get a better return on your advertising budget. Facebook now dominates the worldwide social media advertising budget. It’s on target to hit over $14 billion in advertising revenue in 2015 and has become a serious rival to Google. Measurement of ROI is gaining serious attention. That is why social media advertising platforms usually come with detailed statistics of advertising performance including reach, shares, impressions, engagement, and other measures that allow marketers to analyze, interpret, and improve their advertising strategies. Although Facebook is

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leading the race in the social media advertising space, other social networks still offer marketers valuable advertising opportunities that vary depending on the specific type of business or service being advertised while being narrowly targeted to the specific audience. Targeted social advertising—on desktop, notebook, tablet, mobile, and whatever might appear in the future—is here to stay. If you have not included this in your advertising budget, we would suggest you re-evaluate your plans.


MOBILE ADVERTISING The growth of mobile advertising is astronomical. To put this in perspective, consider: 73% of Facebook’s $14 billion advertising revenue this year comes just from mobile advertising and it has barely begun to cash in on its one billion users on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger platforms. That is soon to change over the next few years. Making mobile a priority in your marketing and media focus is imperative in today’s business and customer engagement ecosystem. You don’t need to go through a thorough research study to know that smart phones have now become extensions of the human body. Just go for a walk and see how most people are glued to their mobile phone screens to get the picture. However, you will need to consider that mobile requires a different approach in how you create your digital marketing assets and use the screen to display media and calls to action. With mobile, less is more. What you want is for your customers to read about your offer or update, view a

video, capture an email, or contact you. Enabling easy mobile purchasing and other transactions are features that add tremendous value to your products and services and build not only revenue, but customer loyalty.


VISUAL MEDIA Images, photos, embedded videos in social networks, and now streaming video (Facebook, Meerkat and Periscope) are changing the engagement landscape. People love taking pictures and viewing and sharing images. This has been enabled by the rapid rise of mobile phones with high-quality cameras that are now a standard feature on most new handsets. Research indicates that an increase of more than 50% in engagement is experienced when a tweet includes an image or video as opposed to one without. This trend will only continue to grow as more people move to mobile as their primary computer screen and as developing countries gain more access to affordable smartphones and accessible internet connectivity. So, what marketing automation platforms are you considering? Is mobile on your advertising plan for next year? Are you already active in social media advertising and using Facebook’s targeted Ads? If not, you’re missing one of, if not the most important marketing trend in the last several decades. Don’t let digital marketing disrupt your business; take advantage of all it has to offer, because if you miss this trend, you probably won’t be around to miss the next.

International FZ-LLC Specializes in the design and construction of exhibition stands. Our team consists of diverse specialists who are able to cater to your marketing needs. the combination of standout’s creative departments, in-house designers, and state of the art production facilities allows us to handle all requirements from concept to delivery.

For Design Consultation, please contact us at: P.O. Box 487 151 Dubai, UAE T : +971 4 428 0779 / +971 4 428 0780 F : +971 4 429 3236 Email :

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Mushrif Park is Back and Better Than Ever!

The summer heat is almost over and there is a great new park to enjoy the cooler temperatures coming soon! Most of us who have lived in Abu Dhabi for a while will remember Mushrif Park. It was one of the largest and oldest parks in Abu Dha-

The Shade House and The Botanic Garden


The metallic structure that houses the Shade House will surely become an icon soon with its impressive size and its amazing night time lighting effects. The space houses a great variety of plants, displayed in a beautiful and visually appealing arrangement. Right next to the shade house is the Botanic Garden, offering a relaxing atmosphere. It looks like an oasis, with a lovely rocky area, natural pond and plenty of fauna and desert plants. friends at one of the many incredible Ramadan Tents for Suhoor (Breakfast).

The Saturday Market Every Saturday, from 4pm to 9pm, there will be more than 100 vendors located near the promenade selling food, art, fashion, jewels, home decor accessories, organic veggies, and fruits. The beautiful palm tree-lined walkways filled with market stalls will be the ideal place for a Saturday afternoon with friends and family.

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bi as well as one of the favourite hangouts of the capital’s residents. Well, Mushrif Park has recently undergone a Dh179 million makeover during the last two years and it has finally reopened earlier this year! Rebranded as “Mushrif Cen-

tral Park,” the new public space is huge—14,5 hectares! In this article, we’ve prepared an overview of the numerous educational and recreational facilities and other attractions this new community park has to offer.

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The Animal Barn Meet some of the new residents of Mushrif Central Park at the Animal Barn. The animals housed here include goats, ponies, donkeys, cows, and camels. This barn is a great place to take the children who always love to learn about animals. For those children brave enough, some of the animals can be petted.

The Children’s Garden is a modern interactive play area with a cooling and fun wadi. Families can enjoy a safe environment where their children can let their imaginations take over and explore freely. This is a great place for children to play and enjoy a beautiful wadi-like set-

The Children’s Garden ting right in the heart of Abu Dhabi. And while your children play, you can also enjoy a workout using the park’s training area while watching over them.


The Amphitheatre is located opposite the Entrance Pavilion. This outdoor area is a great venue for outdoor concerts and other public events, whether it’s a movie or sports event screening, cultural dances, concert, or a community theatre performance.

The Amphitheatre

The venue will be open to all community groups that want to share their artistic aspirations with the general

public so expect to see an exciting variety of shows in the upcoming months.

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The Great Lawn The Movie Lawn There will be a regular outdoor movie screening at the park where visitors can come and enjoy a movie under the stars. Grab a program at the information centre to see what movies will be playing.

The Great Lawn is the largest area in the park. This open space is perfect for a great range of activities from football to outdoor yoga classes or simply to relax on the lush

greenery. It’s also a great place to gather for a picnic with a number of different stalls open all day long to buy refreshments, food, and ice cream. Colorful cushions spread

around the lawn make for a comfortable resting place where you can relax outdoors and let the children run wild in the lawn and playgrounds surrounding the area.

The Wisdom Garden 56

Centrally located in the park, The Wisdom Garden is a Memorial to Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding President of the UAE. This peaceful and beautifully designed area invites visitors to read and reflect on Sheikh Zayed’s timeless and unforgettable quotes about the UAE and the country’s heritage and natural history.

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Whether you choose to stroll amongst the cafĂŠs of the Corniche, or savour the hustle and bustle of the Central Market, a serene oasis awaits your return. You will be captivated by Arabic splendour and tones and textures as warm as the welcome you will receive.

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