Saudis to spend $9.6bln on entertainment by 2030, authority says

The entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia is poised to boost diversification of the state’s revenues with consumer spending on the sector expected to reach 36 billion Saudi riyals ($9.6 billion) by 2030, a Saudi official said.

Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Faisal Bafarat, the chief executive officer of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) said that the entertainment sector in the kingdom is also expected to generate 114,000 direct and 110,000 indirect job opportunities by 2030, according to the authority’s official twitter account.

“We want to put Saudi on the global entertainment map, so keep your eyes open for 2018. The target is to have at least one top tier international event every weekend in 2018,” Bafarat said.
“In 2017, there were more than 2,000 events. We were able to entertain more than 8 million audience, and we managed to enable 149 event providers and vendors,” he added.

Saudi Arabia plans to create a thriving domestic tourism and entertainment sectors to redirect some of the $22 billion Saudis spend on tourism outside of the kingdom back into the local economy. (Read more here).
The kingdom set a clear target to increase household spending on entertainment and cultural activities inside the country from 2.9 percent to 6 percent by 2030, according to its Vision 2030 economic overhaul plan.

“To realise the Vision 2030, there were 12 different programmes, and the key program for entertainment was the quality of life,” Bafarat added.

In December, Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year old ban on cinemas, and theatres will be able to start showing films next month. More than 300 cinemas are expected to open by 2030, according to the government, contributing around $24 billion to the economy.

(Reporting by Nada Al Rifai; Editing by Michael Fahy)
13 FEBRUARY, 2018

Construction, tourism and jobs growth boost Dubai’s economy

Dubai’s economy recorded stronger business activity in January on the back of faster output and new orders, driven by the construction, travel and tourism and retail sectors.

Emirates NBD’s Dubai Economy Tracker Index rose to 56.0 in January mainly on the back of faster output and employment growth after easing in the previous month. The output/business activity index rose sharply to 61.0 last month, the highest reading since July.

The employment index rose to 52.3 in January, and while this does not indicate a staggering number of new jobs created, the reading is the strongest since November 2015, Emirates NBD in its research note released on Sunday.
The survey results revealed that new orders rose sharply in January although at a slightly slower rate than in December. Stocks of pre-production inventories also increased at a slower rate, as many firms would have boosted purchased in December ahead of the introduction of value-added tax (VAT).

“The impact of the new tax is evident in the sharply higher input cost index [59.2 in January from 51.7 in December]. However, the selling price index only rose 1.7 points last month, to 52.2, suggesting that not all firms passed on the full impact of VAT to purchasers. In fact in the travel and tourism sector, prices were close to unchanged from December, suggesting that the full impact of VAT was absorbed by firms in this sector,” said Khatija Haque, head of Mena research at Emirates NBD.
After a relatively soft fourth quarter of 2017, the travel and tourism index rose to its highest level since July at 55.7. Output surged (58.1 from 52.1 in December) as did new work (58.1). Employment in the sector also increased at the fastest rate since March 2015, with this sub-index rising to 53.5 in January.

The Dubai survey data may seem to be at odds with the whole UAE PMI survey as the index rose while the UAE PMI declined slightly in January. This is likely due to the fact that construction, travel and tourism and wholesale and retail trade, which all posted faster growth in output, new work and employment in January, account for a much bigger share of Dubai’s economy relative to their share of whole UAE GDP.

“The rise in the Dubai Economy Tracker Index signals a strong start to 2018, despite the introduction of VAT putting upward pressure on both input and output prices. The construction sector had a particularly strong month in January, and this supports our view that construction will be a key driver of Dubai’s growth this year,” Haque added.

The wholesale and retail trade sector index rose 1.2 points in January to 56.1, indicating a solid rate of growth, despite the introduction of VAT.

By Waheed Abbas, Khaleej Times
11 FEBRUARY, 2018

Copyright © 2018 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (

Bahrain retail sector ‘valued at more than $5.8bln’

Country’s retail sector has been growing steadily over the past decade at an annual rate of 13%

MANAMA: Bahrain’s retail market is valued at more than BD2.2 billion ($5.8bln) per year and the sector outlook is positive for 2018 and beyond, finds a new study by KPMG.

Another key finding of the study highlighted in a report titled “Tourism: A Game Changer for the Retail Sector in Bahrain”, is that the country’s retail sector has been growing steadily over the past decade at an annual rate of 13 per cent.

During the 2007-17 period, the increasing population coupled with household income growth, as well as the inflow of tourists from Saudi Arabia, have led to the tripling of retail capacity between 2007 and 2017.

Elaborating on the findings, KPMG in Bahrain head of management consulting Kenan Nouwailati told the GDN that tourism plays a significant role in the performance of retail in Bahrain.

“At least 65pc of tourists in Bahrain arrive from Saudi Arabia, accounting for the dominant revenue share for retail businesses. Cinemas, food courts and family entertainment centres in Bahrain’s shopping malls are the main attractions for the Saudi visitors coming from the Eastern Province and Riyadh.”

According to the report, the 10 largest malls in Bahrain are located in prime areas and account for a total footfall of 51 million visitors per year and enjoy high occupancy levels ranging between 95pc and 100pc.

However, the average number of retail square metres per resident is less than half in comparison with global cities such as New York and Dubai, and is more comparable with cities like Singapore and Hong Kong.

This means the local retail market has still not reached full maturity, which indicates positive signs for growth potential.

“With increasing investment in infrastructure and malls, especially in the Northern part of the island, we expect the sector to continue to grow at the same rate in the next two to five years,” added Mr Nouwailati.

The report also highlighted how tourists’ spending patterns differ, according to the number of days they spend in the country.

On average, tourists arriving via Bahrain International Airport tend to stay four days longer than those arriving through King Fahad Causeway.

Up until 2017, the latter group accounted for more than 90pc of one-day visitors per year.

As a tourist destination, Bahrain has an average length of stay of 2.6 days compared with 4.2 days in benchmark cities, such as Dubai, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and London.

Hence, there is a huge opportunity to increase revenues for public and private stakeholders in the retail sector, if tourism, including the number of tourists and the length of stays, are improved.

According to him, if Bahrain can attract an additional 1m tourists and increase the average stay length to 3.6 days, the country could generate BD300m of additional revenue from tourists’ expenditure on the retail sector only.

Looking forward, it reflects on six breakthrough ideas to help grow the retail market through tourism.

They are: Redefining the pillars of the tourism strategy; Enhancing the hospitality offering; Developing new events and festivals; Investing in revenue generating assets; Developing partnerships with travel agencies based in the GCC and Promoting Bahrain online.

By Staff Writer, Gulf Daily News, 06 FEBRUARY, 2018
© Copyright 2018

Copyright 2018 Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (

9 Tips for Nailing a Skype Interview

1. Make no EXCUSES

In case you’re making a request to do an interview over Skype, saying you’d rather use the telephone, or that you have a bad internet connection, or that you don’t have a Skype account is a bad move. Answering your first question in the interview by providing excuses is definitely a fail. You just have to find a way to make it work.


2. Use professional username

Do not use any username that is difficult to read or unprofessional that will leave a bad impression, better just use your name.


3. Dress up for the interview

Dressing up for the interview leaves a good first impression and helps you feel like having an in-person interview.


4. Choose a proper location

You have to think about your location that has to be a clean, quiet with good lighting.


5. Better use a headset

It is better to use a headset to block out any other noises coming from around you and to be able to talk and hear the interviewer clearly.


6. Maintain eye contact

You have to look at your webcam not the screen. Avoid looking at yourself in the bottom corner.


7. Fix all tech issues smoothly

Handle all technical problems that can happen during a Skype call and don’t be afraid to ask to hang up the call and try again if your Skype is freezing up. The way you will handle this type of stressful issues will show the interviewer your ability to work and handle pressure.


8. Prepare before the interview 

Try avoiding any technical issue by preparing everything before the interview like making sure the audio and camera are working.


9. Minimize interruptions as much as you can

Try to prepare a location where you can be least interrupted and that also includes putting your phone on silent mode and switching off all notifications.


Gianotti, M. and Gianotti, M. (2017). 9 Things You Need to Prepare for a Skype Interview | Koru. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Aug. 2017].

Is the GCC Prepared for VAT in January 2018?

It goes without saying that many governments around the globe view the VAT or Value Added Tax as a far more effective means of raising taxes than systems such as direct and/or sales taxes. The GCC is one of the latest groups of nations that is taking up this model (along with India and China, which also began using VAT in the recent past).

Interestingly enough, the proposed rate for the VAT in the GCC is lower than the global average (it is 5%), and it is believed that this introductory rate is to avoid any major disruptions to business, while also keeping the general public more comfortable with the new tax. Can they increase it? Absolutely, and Egypt stands as an example having introduced VAT in 2016 and raised it in 2017 from 13% to 14%.

This is good news for those concerned about the GCC’s preparedness for implementing the VAT in 2018. After all, if it is determined that a higher rate is required, there are already other models that were increased almost immediately after launch.

The question of overall preparedness lingers, though as it is only the Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain who have indicated that they will be ready to begin collecting VAT on January 1 of next year. The UAE has an online registration process slated to open within 90 days of VAT introduction, but it is believed that the remaining GCC countries may be unable to implement due to their various legislative processes.

As reported in one whitepaper, “Each states domestic VAT legislation will require the incorporation of the key principles set out in the GCC Unified VAT Framework Agreement,” and some countries have also indicated that they will have VAT exemptions and a zero rate.

Of course, as the report also went on to note, “The GCC States face the challenge of not only incorporating VAT into their domestic legislation but also communicating the nuances of VAT to the general public.” And perhaps that is the greater challenge as evidenced by other regions seeking to implement VAT. Malaysia, for example decried inadequate technologies necessary for calculating and reporting VAT.

Businesses in the GCC have been aware of the need to ensure their IT capabilities as well as the best methods for replacing any existing systems. The new tax is going to prove a challenge, but several GCC countries have already expressed themselves ready, and offer a model for neighbors to follow. (2017). Is the Gulf Cooperation Council Ready for VAT in 2018?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Aug. 2017].

Job Market Trends in Saudi Arabia

Anyone seeking employment in Saudi Arabia is well aware that the announcement of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan outlines some dramatic shifts in its economy. Designed to help the country wean itself from oil, it means that the job market in Saudi Arabia is going to shift, as well.

How? According to one expert, “Jobs are going to be created for Saudi nationals going forward, [and] they are going to be increasingly in the private sector.” This is in line with what another business consultant has written of the job market in Saudi Arabia, explaining that it has “witnessed several rotations”.

Growing resilient to recession, it promises workers access to employment in areas such as hospitality, real estate, information technology, retail, and entertainment as well as more creative industries such as journalism, graphic design and even data entry.

As a recent report noted, “The competition in the Saudi Arabia market has given birth to several private sector organizations that are constantly on the hunt for people who can serve them with a right attitude, and skills in order to have an advantage over others.”

Like many other countries in the GCC, though, Saudi Arabia is in a bit of a bind as its population is lacking in the college training suited to many of these new or emerging fields. Fortunately, the kingdom has committed itself to the creation of 40 million new jobs by the year 2020, and expects roughly 60% of them to be private sector positions. Though a global leader in the oil industry, the aim of this area is also shifting with Saudi expansion into natural gas exploration, petrochemicals and power generation.

Another report from Hays also agrees with this, indicating that GCC hiring is going to see an uplift throughout 2017, with earnings positioned to experience the same five to ten percent increase as in previous years.

One area of particular interest on the global scene is the ability for startups to emerge in the current economy. Difficulty in finding funding seems to be diminishing as specialized venture capital firms appear. Though Saudi investors are still a bit risk averse, it is these venture groups that seem to be filling the gap and helping smaller businesses enter the Saudi job market. Additionally, the Saudi government is increasing support in the venture capital sector, demonstrating its commitment to the growth of the job market in the coming years.











Alkhalisi, Z. (2017). Saudi economy will barely grow this year, IMF says. [online] CNNMoney. Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2017].

B.V., ©. (2017). Current employment scenario of Saudi Arabia.. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2017].

Anon, (2017). [online] Available at:[Accessed 15 Aug. 2017].

Wamda. (2017). This is what this Saudi VC firm seeks in an entrepreneur. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2017].

Tips for Finding Your Dream Job

Are you feeling tired from all of the time you spend on job oriented websites or sending resumes to dozens (or more) companies? Do you feel like you might be doing something wrong? If so, you are not alone. Many people seeking a job (whether it is their first job after graduating or just a new job and change in careers) experience what is called “burnout”. Are you feeling tired from all of the time you spend on job oriented websites or sending resumes to dozens (or more) companies? Do you feel like you might be doing something wrong? If so, you are not alone. Many people seeking a job (whether it is their first job after graduating or just a new job and change in careers) experience what is called “burnout”.

Often, it begins with someone using the most common job search tools and then beginning to respond to any employer requests for submissions. Yet, your job search fatigue may have started right with that first search engine request for “jobs” in your industry.

If you want to find your dream job, it is important that you know exactly what words to use as you look for it, and to be certain that it is actually your ideal job. In this article, we are going to briefly review the simple process of identifying your dream job and then using that information to conduct a flawless job search that gets you on the path you so desire.

  • Understand your priorities – Let’s say you want a private sector job in information technology. You have the education and training, and your dream job is…? It is up to you to take the time to actually write down five top priorities you have in your job hunt. It can be whatever you desire – pay, company mission, job responsibilities, growth potential…this is up to you. If you skip this step, you might interview with the right companies but the wrong jobs.
  • Take it to the next level – Use that list of priorities to begin making a list of job criteria that meets those priorities. For example, if you are in IT and you want a job with growth opportunity, but one that also has some creativity, these must appear in your criteria. Try to streamline this list of words to only a few, as this is what you will begin to use in any job searches. It is also helpful to know that this will enable you to cater your CV or resume to the job much more easily.
  • Use the criteria to do a search – Once you have committed yourself to this process, you will be able to more readily find jobs that line up with your goals and dreams. Read the job descriptions closely, and spend time applying strictly for those that meet your criteria.

It may seem as if you are being too demanding, or required to do a lot of research, but it is only when you focus a lot of energy and attention on finding the right job for your goals that you can win your dream job.





Sun, C. and more, R. (2017). 5 Ways to Find Your Dream Job. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: [Accessed 16 Aug. 2017].

Top Tips for Preparing for a Job Interview

The job market in all parts of the globe is incredibly competitive, and this is true whether you are seeking an entry level job just after graduating or completing your studies, or if you are an experienced worker with years of knowledge available. This means that you need to be sure that your CV or resume is as effective as possible (which means learning what contemporary employers want to see when gazing at the document) as well as learning some winning techniques for a job interview.

In this article, we are going to look at several key tips that will help you get the job you desire, even in a highly competitive company. Before we look at them, we have some basic suggestions that can make things much easier for you, and these include:

  • Check your communication skills – Are you someone who speaks clearly, holds eye contact and projects confidence? If not, you must work on this before an interview.
  • Are you clear about your workplace skills – Your resume doesn’t (and shouldn’t) speak for you. Take time to itemize all of your workplace skills in your thoughts so you can draw connections as you make your way through the interview.
  • Master remaining calm – Body language always shows if we are nervous, so try to find ways to keep yourself calm during interviews. Preparing ahead is actually a great way to remain calm throughout.

After that, you should do the following steps to ensure the very best outcome:

  • Research the company AND the job – Too many people head into an interview knowing the details about the job and how they fit into that model. However, they may not know a lot about the firm. Know your interviewer’s name and job, learn about the company culture, find out the company’s mission…these are very important facts to have in your mind.
  • Relate – Though we said you need to be clear about workplace skills, before you head for an interview, take some time to actually list what the company wants, what the job requires and how your skills or experiences align with them. This allows you to be able to calmly speak about such issues when asked – and you will be asked.
  • Follow up – A thank you and handshake is good, but don’t forget to write a thank you note to the interviewer. This lets you reiterate your interest in the job and shows you are a conscientious person. Be sure you do this within one business day of the interview.

These may seem like simple tips, but many experts say that candidates that “looked good on paper” did terribly in interviews. You can avoid this by preparing using these tips.





The Balance. (2017). 7 Interview Tips That Will Help You Get the Job. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Aug. 2017].

Top Tips for Writing a Winning CV/Resume

The idea of the CV or resume is to convey as much information as you can, while also convincing the recruiter or hiring professional that you are the best fit for the job. While other guides might tell you about the order of the headings, the spacing or the fonts that make good impressions, these lead to attractive resumes alone. What you want to create is a resume that wins you the interview and the jobs you pursue. That means you will want to take a different perspective on the entire process than you may have ever taken before.

What sort of different perspective? The experts tell us that “competition for top posts [is] higher than ever, your goal in preparing your resume is to communicate a clearly defined brand promise, which leaves no doubt about the value you bring to the table.” Did you see the key phrase in there? They are saying that you have to look at yourself as a “brand”, and show yourself as an answer to the company’s needs. It is actually a lot like marketing, which also seeks to convey how a product or service solves a consumer or business problem.

How do you do this? With the following tips:

  • Insert a Professional Summary – Instead of listing your personal objectives that seem so outdated or bland, use this part of a resume to explain what makes you different from other candidates, what is your brand’s “story”. It actually helps to do some research on each job you seek, identifying keywords that a hiring professional might use to describe the job, and ensuring those are part of your Professional Summary.
  • Expand on basic job titles – While any jobs in your past will have some sort of title, which is not always enough to support your goal of getting an interview and a job. Be sure that your job titles include words that showcase your skills – and especially those that your potential employer desires.
  • Keep education last – While you might be enthusiastic about a recent graduation or degree, employers do not put much value in them during initial screening. The amount of detail needed actually depends on the stage of your career. Are you new to the workforce? Itemize what you learned. Are you experienced and seeking a new job? Use summary information as it is your experience that matters most.
  • Your CV or resume has to be relevant and concise, if you use a Professional Summary, keywords, expand on titles to show how they make you stand apart, and don’t overemphasize your education, you will get more calls than ever.








Undercover Recruiter. (2017). 7 Tips for Writing a Killer Executive Resume. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Aug. 2017].

Advice for Graduates Seeking Their First Job

Transitioning from the classroom or campus to the office is a big change, and it won’t matter if you are taking a job in the public or private sector. It is an entirely different world, and instead of doing your best on assignments and listening to professors, it is the time to apply all that you have learned. Naturally, it is important that you make all of the right decisions as you seek a first job, and that includes knowing just what sorts of jobs you should seek. While we could offer you some standard job hunting suggestions, we want to help you look for the ideal jobs first.

Obviously, you are going to look in the field or industry in which you had some training, and hopefully your school has some support in aligning you with potential employers. Whether or not you do get that sort of support in your search for a first job, there are some highly recommended tips from major business organizations like Entrepreneur and Harvard Business Review. These are universally applicable tips that can often make you stand out from the crowd of fellow graduates also seeking their first jobs, too.

Let’s look at them one by one:

  • Don’t try to look more knowledgeable than you are – In many parts of the world, people say things like “fake it until you make it,” implying you don’t need to be experienced if you are good at looking experienced. All of the experts say to avoid this behavior. Why? Not only will it put you at risk for failure at your first job, but it costs you many opportunities. After all, if you try to appear knowledgeable, you don’t ask important questions. If you don’t ask those questions, you don’t advance in your industry or career; you don’t get invaluable experience. Instead, think of your first job as the very best learning opportunity and choose jobs that can give you the information you desire or need.
  • Set the same sort of boundaries you set for yourself while studying – You didn’t study to the point of exhaustion (hopefully), and even if you did, you learned that it harmed rather than helped. Start your search for a career with a firm that is not going to expect longer than normal hours or force you into a state of constant overdrive.
  • Think and speak collaboration – It hardly matters what field you are in, the modern business world emphasizes collaboration as much as individual performance. As you seek your first job, remember to look for companies or positions that encourage this approach, and be sure you mention this during any interviews.

Don’t act like you are more experienced, choose a company that has realistic expectations of you and be clear about your desire to grow and work with others, and you should find the perfect first job.






Writer, C. (2017). 10 Tips to Help Graduates Succeed in Their First Job. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: [Accessed 22 Aug. 2017].

Harvard Business Review. (2017). Five Tips for Your First Job. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Aug. 2017].