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James Gavin

James Gavin
Red Sea sustainable tourism

Sustainable tourism the new priority for Middle East  

Sustainable tourism was once viewed as a marginal segment of the Middle East’s offering – an eco-lodge in Jordanian desert, or a Bedouin trail in the Sinai.   Times are changing. The Gulf’s marketing chiefs are rolling out ambitious projects that are designed to lure the eco-conscious traveller. Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global project airport will […]

Saudi Arabia tourism

Reimagined kingdom: Saudi Arabia’s tourism challenge

Not so long ago, the extent of tourism in Saudi Arabia amounted to pilgrims and business travellers. Other visitors were largely discouraged. Attracting them is now a priority, in a reimagined kingdom where hotels, leisure venues and cultural assets stand to generate income and jobs.  Saudi Arabia now has ambitious goals in tourism: it wants […]

Jordan's Al Karamah Dam, shrunk by drought. US fund manager BlackRock sees investment opportunities in tech to improve water systems and other infrastructure

A thirst for action: Jordan must resolve its severe water crisis

Jordan is one of the most water-stressed nations in the world. Severe water scarcity is defined as less than 500 cubic metres per person per year, according to Unicef. In Jordan, the figure is just 100 cubic metres.  With rainfall rates lowering and evaporation rates increasing as the climate changes, the kingdom has been plunged […]

Jordan tourism

Tourists beginning to catch on to more than the wonder of Petra

Given the Hashemite kingdom’s surfeit of historical sites – from the Nabataean city Petra through the natural beauty of Wadi Rum to the Roman towns of Jerash and Gadariyya – Jordan could be forgiven for being blasé about the need to market its tourism attractions more aggressively.  But the authorities in capital Amman are determined […]

Aqaba Container Terminal was developed via a PPP deal with APM Terminals, part of Maersk

PPP pioneer has all the right moves – now it needs new partners

Jordan is a pioneer of public-private partnerships in the Mena region – and has been since the early 2000s, when the new Queen Alia airport was constructed under a PPP deal.  Marquee developments such as Aqaba Container Terminal and a range of water and renewable energy projects have since been financed via PPP, says Hamzeh […]

Aquaculture is part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 programme to diversify its economy

Baiting the hook to develop Saudi’s aquaculture industry

Aquaculture – farming in water – is the world’s fastest-growing food sector, accounting for more than half of global seafood supply. For Saudi Arabia, eager to bolster its food security and to build non-oil exports, this is an opportunity. On February 12, Arabian Agricultural Services Company (Arasco) signed an agreement with Neom Food and Cargill, […]

Talks between Egypt and the UAE over the loan deal to purchase wheat from Kazakhstan are in early stages

Egypt’s farmers are prepping the soil for a digital revolution

Agriculture may be the world’s least digitised industry. While machine learning and artificial intelligence are transforming many areas of our lives, in many countries farming is behind the curve. “Agriculture has been slow to transform and that’s largely because it happens in rural locations and it’s also very fragmented,” said Andy Jenkinson, chief technology at Varda, […]

RAK quarrying company Stevin Rock provides limestone to the Gulf's construction sector

Heavy metal and fine porcelain boost Ras Al Khaimah economy

Ras Al Khaimah has been making up for its limited hydrocarbons sector by developing non-oil businesses such as quarrying, cement, ceramics and pharmaceuticals. Today RAK’s manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, along with its construction/real estate activities amount to about 50 percent of GDP. The direct contribution of the mining and quarrying sector is currently only […]


Ras Al Khaimah: the UAE’s sustainable tourism destination

Early in 2022 US hotel operator Wynn Resorts announced it was partnering with the Ras Al Khaimah property developer Marjan and RAK Hospitality Holding to build a multibillion dollar integrated luxury resort in the northern emirate. Critically, this includes a gaming area, a first for the UAE, which inevitably captured the headlines. But RAK isn’t intent […]

Less dramatic year ahead for Middle East post-Covid and oil boom era

After the sugar rush of 2022, Gulf states will have to get used to less dramatic rates of growth in 2023, as economies stabilise following the immediate post-Covid period that coincided with the spillover effects from the Ukraine crisis.  GCC growth averaged 6.5 percent in 2022, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates, and the […]

Lionel Messi accepts the World Cup trophy from the emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Fifa president Gianni Infantino after Argentina defeated France on penalties at the Lusail Stadium

Qatar 2022: The making of a sports nation

From Formula 1 to the 2030 Asian games, Qatar’s hosting of a series of major events before and after the World Cup has reinforced its role in the global sporting diary.  Having built eight stadiums for the 2022 tournament, the Gulf state now boasts an infrastructure that will make it a go-to location for many […]

Urban, Night Life, City

Gulf states to capitalise on World Cup tourism ‘halo’ effect

Qatar’s Gulf neighbours have more than a passing interest in the World Cup. When the tournament ends Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman will be looking to capture the ripple effect resulting from the surge in tourists to the region.  For the GCC’s tourism sectors, the World Cup is viewed as a catalyst for a […]

Qatar 2022

Nine ways the World Cup will transform Qatar

Qatari strategists conceived the World Cup as a catalyser for long-term development ambitions. Across a range of economic sectors, the government has sought to embed the transitory impact of the tournament with longer-lasting side-benefits. None are more evident than in the tourism sector. As Berthold Trenkel, chief operating officer of Qatar Tourism, told AGBI: “The […]

How Oman got its budget back into the black

Oman’s economic outlook looks rosier now than policymakers might have dared to expect just a few months ago – having registered a rare budget surplus in the first half of 2022. Data from the Ministry of Finance revealed a OMR784 million ($2 billion) fiscal surplus, compared to an OMR457m deficit in the same period in […]

Bahrain’s non-oil economy has wind in its sails

With Bahrain’s finances looking better than many expected, inflation broadly contained, and moves under way to boost private sector projects, the mood in the capital, Manama, is more upbeat in 2022 than seemed plausible 12 months ago. Darkening economic skies – largely coronavirus-related but also due to weaker hydrocarbons proceeds – had forced the government […]

Malek Al Malek, the chairman of TECOM

Boom time as TECOM leads the Gulf IPO resurgence

As Dubai announced plans to sell a 12.5 percent stake in business park operator TECOM today – its second public offering this year after Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) – Middle Eastern bourses have generally defied the downward international trend with increases in trading activity and values amid a robust pipeline of initial public offerings […]

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, will reap the benefits of rising oil prices

Higher oil prices ease budgetary woes

Surging oil prices in 2022 mean most Middle East and North African (MENA) oil producers can look forward to recording a surplus this year – often after running budget deficits and, on occasion, plundering their sovereign wealth funds. In 2020, as demand collapsed on the back of the pandemic, Brent crude averaged just $42 a […]

Tie, Accessories, Accessory
  • Analysis

Rising inflation and falling tourism deals Egypt a ‘double whammy’

With inflation surging and the government forced to fix the price of bread to head off civil unrest, Egypt has felt the heat from the Ukraine crisis more acutely than most countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Higher commodity prices and the loss of tourism revenues from both Russian and Ukrainian […]