Even the ultra-wealthy can get skittish about dropping $50 million on a boat, so superyacht salesmen like Thom Conboy are having to do more hand-holding these days. A checklist of global challenges — including the U.S. trade war with China, a messy Brexit and Germany teetering on recession — hasContinue Reading

Saudi Arabia plans to become the world’s fastest-growing tourism market: From the mountains of Abha to the beaches of the Red Sea, to the shifting sands of the Empty Quarter, The Kingdom’s attractions aim to welcome 100 million people a year by 2030. A million jobs will be generated in the sector, making tourism a key pillar of Vision 2030, the government’s wide-ranging program to overhaul its economy.  To achieve these ambitious targets, the tourism sector will require investments in everything from food and beverage outlets to cinemas and the development of luxury beach resorts, to preparing its magnificent ancient heritage sites to accommodate tour groups on a daily basis. International investors are responding enthusiastically: Agreements worth some 100 billion riyals ($26 billion) were signed in Riyadh on September 27—World Tourism Daybetween the General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and titans of the hospitality and leisure industry including Triple Five, the UAE’s Majid Al Futtaim Group and SoftBank-backed Indian lodgings startup OYO Hotels and Homes, also known as OYO Rooms. “Visitors will be surprised and delighted by the treasures we have to share—five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a vibrant local culture and breathtaking natural beauty. To visitors we say: Be among the first to discover and explore the treasures of Arabia. To investors we say: Become part of the fastest-growing tourism sector on Earth.”  The Kingdom has also introduced a new visa program for tourists from across the world to make it quick and easy to visit the Kingdom. Visitors from 49 countries including the USA, Britain and China are now able to get e-visas and visas on arrival, while tourists from elsewhere can apply at their national Saudi consulate.   “I’ve been visiting the kingdom for 30 years, and one of the secrets is just how spectacularly beautiful this country is, diverse and welcoming.” says Gerard “Jerry” Inzerillo, CEO of the Ad-Diriyah Gate Development Authority. “So, from a tourism point of view, and opening up the Kingdom now to 49 countries, people will come and see some of the most varied, breathtaking topography in the world and get one of the warmest welcomes.”  The projects on offer are vast, including the Qiddiya entertainment city, which plans to contain more than 300 attractions, and luxury destinations built on the Red Sea, as well as infrastructure in the Kingdom’s biggest cities such as Riyadh and Jeddah. Majid Al Futtaim, among the companies that have made investment commitments, has signed an MOU worth 20 billion riyals for a mixed-use shopping and entertainment destination, which will create 12,000 jobs and feature the region’s largest indoor ski slope and snow park. In addition, OYO Rooms has announced its intent to purchase 10 or more upper-budget luxury hotel properties across the country in an agreement worth 4 billion riyals.  “Opening Saudi Arabia to international tourists is a historic moment for our country. Generous hospitality is at the heart of Arabian culture and we look forward to showing our guests a very warm welcome.” Tourist visits expected every year to the destinations throughout the Kingdom : 100 million Extra airport capacity needed for additonal visitors 150 million travelers AdditionalContinue Reading

Emerging markets need more say on digital currencies Governments in emerging markets must have greater say in the regulation of digital currencies that could facilitate illegal capital flows and disrupt foreign exchange management, a senior official of China’s foreign exchange regulator said on Monday. China has signalled it is activelyContinue Reading

Qatar Airways, JAL among suitors for Malaysia Airlines Three international carriers have put in bids to buy a strategic stake in the ailing Malaysian carrier, Malaysia Airlines, according to a report published on Saturday by business weekly The Edge Malaysia. Malaysia’s government said on Tuesday that sovereign fund Khazanah NasionalContinue Reading

Twitter revenue hit by weaker advertising, low demand; shares plunge Twitter Inc posted worse-than-expected third quarter revenue and profit on Thursday, which the company attributed to advertising problems including product bugs and unusually low demand over the summer, sending its shares down about 15%. Shares of the micro-blogging platform droppedContinue Reading

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES As genome sequencing costs continue to fall and artificial intelligence gets to work on analysing all this new data, the era of personalised medicine draws closer. More than half of Icelanders have now had their precise genetic make-up sequenced and analysed. Tens of thousands of their genomesContinue Reading