BTN interview: Shahab Shayan, senior manager, international operations, Dubai Tourism | Focus

first_img– Advertisement – OlderRevelton Suites have once again won the World Travel Awards “On top of that, we are trying to make sure safeguards for residents and for visitors coming to the destination are being met. “There are frameworks from the World Travel & Tourism Council, called Safe Travels, as well as the Dubai Assured programme, both of which are being adhered to across the emirate. “All customer touchpoints, across hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls have seen the regulations enforced – all public spots.“Checks are carried out on a bi-weekly basis; we send inspectors in to make sure all necessary protocols are being implemented.”This was due to be a banner year for Dubai, with the emirate hoping to welcome 20 million international guests for the first time.While the figure will not now be achieved, a domestic boom has made up for some of the short-fall, with plans in place to ensure growth returns in 2021.Shayan explains: “We have seen a big domestic boom in tourism since we reopened in July. “We had around 750 hotels open in Dubai pre-pandemic, in February this year, and we currently have around 600 open. “There has been some international visitation, and we are looking at a positive feeling moving forward.“At this stage we are not able to put a figure on how many guests we will welcome this year, with hotels opening and closing, it has been a more complex situation than normal.“However, we hope to have some numbers out by the end of the year.”While the market looks likely to remain subdued in the short-term, investment has continued to flow into the emirate, suggesting confidence in a long-term return. Sofitel Dubai the Obelisk recently became the latest in a long line of hotels to open this year, while properties set to come onto the market in coming months will allow the emirate to reach previously untapped segments. Shayan continues: “There are new properties opening, which does show the strength of the industry here in Dubai. “We have the Sofitel Dubai the Obelisk which has recently opened, while there is also the Rove La Mer Beach. “The latter is an affordable hotel, aimed at families who want to be right next to the beach, but do not want to pay Palm Jumeirah prices – really for those in the know. “There is also the Riu Dubai, a four-star beach resort, the first of its type here in Dubai – with around 400-keys. “These are all very exciting openings and show our strength in the long term.”Of course, there would be little point opening new rooms if travellers were unable to get to the emirate. Flag-carrier Emirates has been instrumental in the success of Dubai as a tourism destination over the past three decades, and there has been no change this year.“Emirates remains one of our key strategic partners and they really have been since the emergence of Dubai on the world hospitality map,” says Shayan. “They have done a fantastic job throughout the pandemic, initially by providing insurance for travellers, which has now been extended until the end of the year.“They have also gone back to two thirds of their network, and they are now flying to over 90 destinations. “Emirates has also given residents who want to come back to Dubai a chance to do so, and this has been getting some very positive feedback.”The carrier most recently returned to a series of European cities, while it has also been at the forefront of Covid-19 testing. Over the summer months, when demand is traditionally low, even without a global pandemic raging, Dubai has also worked to develop new markets.New types of visa are now on offer, both to those looking to ‘work-from-home’ in Dubai, or considering somewhere to retire.Both are part of a wider plan to grow the emirate in new directions, explains Shayan: “As a destination we always need to look at how we can evolve, looking at different angles of how we can introduce different people to what is on offer here.“There is a big belief at Dubai Tourism that this is a city for all, and we try to showcase that through products we have, as well as through the initiatives we launch.”He adds: “The two new visas are an example of that. “The retirement visa is pretty straightforward, it is aimed at people who have been to Dubai before, who have spent some time here and are looking for a destination which has sun, sea and sand. “They know their retirement funds are doing well, there is no complicated paperwork, and it is an easy step forward. “Secondly, I think the work visa is one of most exciting things we have done during the pandemic. “In this new day-and-age, with people working from home, what better place to work from than by the pool here in Dubai?“We have the perfect eco-system to support this market, and we have had major success in terms of enquiries on this – people asking how they can make the move.“This is a nice alternative to people who might have travelled to Dubai, who can now spend some time here longer-term.” As attention turns to next year, and a possible Covid-19 vaccine brings hope to the global hospitality market, Dubai is well placed to return to growth. The rescheduled Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a focal point for the year, while there is optimism Covid-19 regulations might eventually be relaxed. Shayan continues: “Expo 2020 Dubai will now take place in October next year, running into March 2022. “There are a lot of fantastic people working on the project and they are looking into how best we can showcase the experience of an event of this kind in the post-pandemic world.“I think, with the expo itself, it is really meant to be an event for all.“A lot of people initially thought it was for a business market, but this is not the case – it is very much aimed at the public, offering a chance to come and learn. “The team, right now, are examining how they can come back stronger, to reassure everybody things are going to be managed well.”In closing, Shayan says Dubai is now once again very much open for business: “Dubai is really open for all, and with the different protocols and measures we have put in place we are very confident we are ready to welcome people safely. “The message is very much that we are ready.”More InformationDubai is considered the Middle East’s Leading Destination by voters at the World Travel Awards. Find out more about visiting on the official website. Combined, these measures have allowed the city to curtail the growth of the pandemic, and led to the return of something like normal life. As Shahab Shayan, senior manager for international operations at Dubai Tourism, tells Breaking Travel News: “We reopened on July 7th, and since then we have made sure there are strict guidelines and protocols in place, and that they are followed. “We have used the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, which are essentially to test, test and test – so far, we have carried out around 14 million tests here in the United Arab Emirates. – Advertisement –center_img With an economy dependent on international tourism, it was no surprise to see Dubai reopen its doors to travellers in July. The commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates counts on the sector for over ten per cent of gross domestic product, or upward of US$30 billion, each year.- Advertisement – However, what was not inevitable, was the success the emirate has welcomed over the following months.A strict testing regime at Dubai International Airport sees all guests checked for Covid-19 on arrival, limiting imported cases.At the same time, comprehensive protocols govern the day-to-day actions of both residents and guests across the emirate.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Freddie Longe – IMG Arena will deliver fresh prospects for betting innovation

first_img IMG Arena nets major media extension with Brazil’s Liga Nacional de Basquete August 19, 2020 DraftKings CBO – Industry ‘only just scratched the surface’ of US sports betting July 16, 2020 StumbleUpon IMG ARENA boosts table tennis offering with WTT deal July 9, 2020 Share Related Articles Share Submit Last November, leading international sports marketing agency, publisher and data distributor IMG launched its industry-specific ‘IMG Arena’ division, seeking to deliver innovation and audience dynamics for all betting stakeholders.The standalone division is led by Freddie Longe Managing Director, who details to SBC how IMG Arena will utilise all active corporate components to shake-up betting’s legacy tech values and market propositions… ________________SBC: Freddie, great to speak to you on IMG Arena. 2018 was a disruptive year for all sports stakeholders, why did IMG launch a specific unit supporting its sports betting operations/functions? Freddie Longe (Managing Director at IMG Arena): IMG has been successfully serving the sports betting industry since 2012, when we introduced our tennis data service that has gone on to set the gold standard for data delivery.We have now created a standalone division that continues to leverage the scale, expertise and reputation of IMG, yet is very much its own entity, with a high level of autonomy.IMG Arena is focused on bringing sport and sports betting closer together through a selection of world-class products and services.This was immediately highlighted with the announcement of our exclusive, multi-year partnership with the PGA TOUR, where we will distribute live shot by shot data for sports betting and media purposes. We believe our approach will revolutionise in-play golf betting as a fan-first experience that is centred around the consumer and genuinely delivers on their expectations in a digital age.SBC: Can you detail further insight on developing ‘fan-first’ propositions and innovations and how they can impact sports betting’s current value chain? FL: For many years, we have been working with rights holders to create propositions that allow the organisations and sports betting operators to truly engage with fans, as particularly demonstrated by our work in tennis and now in golf.Working with the PGA TOUR, official data will be collected via the ShotLink® system. Through an elaborate network of walking scorers, lasers and greenside cameras, this will yield a rich set of data points from each shot in PGA TOUR competition in real time. IMG Arena will then use this to develop a range of innovative golf products that will provide golf fans with new and exciting ways to enjoy the sport. The difference is the increased level of immersion that will enable unseen levels of spectator participation. In turn, this boosts engagement and enjoyment, stimulating new betting opportunities.SBC: As sports betting enters 2019, what dynamics do you believe that the industry does not understand with regards to nurturing modern sports audiences? FL: The industry has, to a certain extent, been guilty of taking sports audiences for granted, pushing products that are not first and foremost fan-focused. That is where we believe the opportunity lies. In some cases, it will be relatively simple refinements to what’s already on offer, but there is also the potential for completely different ways of thinking.SBC: IMG operates multiple legacy functions for global sports (data, content, publishing, agency representation) how will these components be utilised for IMG Arena’s future development? FL: Our company heritage as IMG and part of the wider Endeavor group means we are uniquely placed to shake up the market. We bring a level of multi-faceted knowledge and experience that is simply unmatched by other providers in the sports betting space. IMG is a world-leader in sports, events, media and fashion, operating across the globe. The potential for identifying synergies, implementing learnings and driving creativity is enormous.SBC: Launching IMG Arena, you have stated that you will be actively targeting new US market propositions. Why is innovation such a crucial component for the future of US betting? FL: Innovation is crucial in all markets and this will be pushed to the extreme in the US, a hugely developed and digitally-savvy nation. Look at US sport broadcasting – the presentation is incredibly innovative and sophisticated and gives a good indication of the level of user experience that sports bettors will demand. US sport fans are used to being transported to the heart of the action. They are furnished with intricate and advanced information and enjoy footage captured from an array of camera angles on the best possible equipment. It’s still early days for sports betting in the US, but as it develops and matures, only a world-leading product will suffice in the market.      ________________________________Freddie Longe – Managing Director –  IMG Arenalast_img read more

Anthony Davis misses 4th consecutive Lakers game

first_imgEL SEGUNDO — For the fourth consecutive game, the Lakers had to do without Anthony Davis.In the morning shootaround, Coach Frank Vogel confirmed Davis, who has been recovering from a bruised backside for more than a week now, would miss another game. As of Tuesday, Davis told the media he had not sprinted nor taken contact. Wednesday morning saw some progress, but not much more.“He moved a lot more,” Vogel said. “It wasn’t live action. The coaches bumped him around a little bit trying to test it. He’s still not ready.”With two days before a five-game trip through Houston then the Northeast, the Lakers are hoping to get a practice incorporating Davis by Friday. They’ll play Houston on Saturday, and all parties would like Davis to return by then. If he isn’t ready to play before the trip, Vogel said the team could possibly squeeze in live work during an off-day through Boston, New York (two games) or Philadelphia. On Tuesday, the WNBA agreed in principle to new terms on a deal with the players association that will raise the average salary of the game above six figures. The deal notably increases the percentage of revenue players receive, improves travel accommodations and offers paid maternity leave. The WNBPA has worked for the better part of a year to hammer out new terms with the league, which is operated by the NBA.James voiced his support for the WNBA and its players on reaching new terms.“Hopefully it means that continued greatness is on the rise,” he said. “I mean, it’s a big step in their league. I’m happy for all the women that’s a part of that league, both on the floor and off, and I just hope they continue their success.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersKyle Kuzma started for Davis for a fourth straight game after filling in robust scoring production in the previous three contests, averaging 24.3 points while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and over 35 percent from 3-point range. Kuzma’s production has been a huge reason the Lakers have managed to skate by without Davis (and without LeBron James against the Oklahoma City Thunder).“It’s really been a great time for Kuz to climb the rope,” Vogel said. “He struggled to catch a rhythm in this system early in the year, battling the injuries and having a new role than he had last year. But just to get the minutes that he’s getting right now and to find an offensive rhythm and tighten up the defensive coverages, I think it’s an invaluable time for him, in particular.”Rajon Rondo (right ring finger non-displaced fracture) also sat out against Orlando, his second straight absence. Rondo was seen after practice doing individual skill work with assistant coach Phil Handy with a wrap on his right hand.Rondo injured his hand twice last season while missing extended time for the Lakers. Vogel said he was unsure if Rondo would wear a protective wrapping upon his return.JAMES LAUDS WNBA LABOR AGREEMENTLeBron James has been involved in labor disputes before, so he can understand how tough agreements can be.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

NASCAR schedule 2021: Busch Clash moving to Daytona road course as part of Speedweeks changes

first_imgDAYTONA 500 WINNERS: List of past champions Daytona International Speedway president Chip Wile announced the news Wednesday in advance of the track hosting this weekend’s 50th running of the Daytona Supercross.”We continue to look for opportunities to differentiate the Busch Clash from the Daytona 500 and obviously everything we do around Speedweeks . . . is about building toward the 500,” Wile said. “This is about how we can continue to push and elevate the Busch Clash to be something different. And we’ve done that with a lot of new initiatives the first weekend.”We’ve seen growth year over year with the Busch Clash and that weekend, but to see the resurgence in road-course racing and the excitement around it from the fans, we thought, why can’t we do this?” Wile added.The road course at Daytona is best known for hosting IMSA’s season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as the DAYTONA 200, North America’s premier races for sports cars and motorcycles, respectively.The Busch Clash will be followed by Daytona 500 pole qualifying on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The Duel races to set the rest of the Daytona 500 field will remain on a Thursday evening, Feb. 11, followed by the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race on Friday, Feb. 12. The track will host a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 13, starting with the Xfinity Series season opener and the ending with the ARCA Menards Series Lucas Oil 200.  The Daytona 500, “The Great American Race,” will take place Sunday, Feb. 14, putting an exclamation point on the week of speed.”Fans coming to the track will get to see six consecutive days of exciting NASCAR action, with no days being the same,” Ben Kennedy, NASCAR vice president of racing development, said.Holly Cain writes for the NASCAR Wire Service. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Less than a month after Denny Hamlin celebrated his Daytona 500 crown in the sport’s most famous victory lane, Daytona International Speedway has announced major adjustments to the traditional NASCAR Cup Series season-opening race week for 2021 — changing the course of the popular Busch Clash race and condensing the schedule.Next winter, the Busch Clash will be run the night of Tuesday, Feb. 9, and kick off six consecutive days of on-track action. The race is also being moved from Daytona’s high-banked 2.5-mile oval; stock cars will instead race on the track’s famed road course for the first time.last_img read more

Lessons to Learn from Opening the Liberian Telecommunications Market

first_imgIn 2004, the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) embarked upon a great experiment: opening the telecommunications market to competition. The result has been an unmitigated success. We have gone from a landscape of only 5,000 lines when a public corporation called The Liberian Telecommunications Corporation (“Telecom” headquartered on Lynch Street) ruled the roost to a situation where there are almost 2 million GSM subscribers today. The cost to the national treasury has been zero, zilch, nada. But the treasury reaps millions of dollars each year from the GSM companies by way of tax revenue. It’s like belonging to a susu club, to which you contribute nothing but from which you receive thousands of dollars every month. A similar scenario can be brought into being with regard to electricity.According to the folks at Manitoba Hydro, the Canadian company that is managing LEC under a lucrative 5-year contract, financed by the Norwegian government, by which they will have pulled in $8 million in fees by the time their contract ends in a few days’ time, the demand for electricity in Monrovia alone is 120MW. LEC is currently producing only 6MW, just 5 percent of the demand. The rest is coming through self-generation. We are producing our own electricity using everything from small Tiger generators to large Perkins and Caterpillar machines.And why is LEC only producing 6MW of power? Because many of its old generators have reached the end of their useful life. In fact, LEC is producing less electricity today than it did, say, 3-4 years ago. One clever wag has suggested that LEC changes its slogan from “Small Light Today, Big Light Tomorrow” to “Small Light Today, Even Smaller Light Tomorrow”. LEC simply does not have the resources to get the job done. To bring 120MW of current to Monrovia will cost several hundred million dollars. LEC does not have that kind of money. The Government of Liberia (GOL) operating on a shoestring budget of $500 million does not have the millions to give capitalize LEC to level required for LEC to get the job done.  And if we are waiting for GOL come up with the money, we will be waiting another 100 years.Right now LEC is living on life support—-from donors. In addition to the $8 million that the Norwegian government has spent to finance the Manitoba Hydro contract, this same Norwegian government has shelled out an additional $29 million to enable LEC to expand its network. Well, you cannot build a sustainable business on the basis of handouts from donors. Donor programs typically are short-lived. So, what happens when the donor program comes to an end, as they inevitably do? You are left high and dry. If the Norwegians decide not to renew their aid program, LEC will collapse.So, what are the options for LEC? If LEC wishes to remain in business, it should either seek a long-term partner, a utility with bags of money and know-how, a partner which will inevitably demand a controlling interest in the entity. Or, LEC can simply become a landlord, leasing out its assets to another utility and collecting rent. Alternatively, it could simply sell its assets (and corresponding liabilities).But lest we allow ourselves to become too distracted with trying to solve LEC’s internal problems, let us return to our original premise: how can we apply the lessons we have learned from opening the telecommunications market to competition to electricity?The answer is quite simple: set aside the LEC monopoly and allow private companies to come to Liberia, set up shop and produce and sell electricity to us. This is precisely what an NGO that me and 25 other Liberian citizens established in December last year are advocating. Our NGO, “The Coalition to Bring Plenty Cheap Reliable Stable Electricity to Liberia” (“Brescelco” for short) has drafted a law, the “2015 Liberian Electricity Act” that will be introduced into our national legislature as soon as it returns from its Easter recess. We have mounted a vigorous public awareness campaign, going from community to community, to educate the public about the issues surrounding electricity and offering solutions. The purpose of this grassroots initiative is to get the public involved in making representations to their elected officials to act so that our electricity problem can be solved.Next week we will examine the specifics of what actions are necessary to solve the electricity problem.The writer is a businessman. He can be reached at .Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more