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Nicholas Pooran has been signed by the Guyana Amazon Warriors as their Marquee Player for the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League which will take place from 4 September to 12 October. The Trinidadian wicket-keeper batsman played for the Barbados Tridents last year but in a big move for him and the franchise he will be playing for the Guyanese team in 2019.

Pooran has played 11 T20 Internationals for the West Indies and has become a fixture in T20 tournaments around the world. He is also a member of the West Indies squad for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. This will be the third CPL team that Pooran has represented having started his career with the Trinbago Knight Riders before moving to the Tridents.

The rest of the Amazon Warriors squad will be decided at the Hero CPL Player Draft which takes place on 22 May 2019.

Omar Khan, Team Operations Manager, for the Amazon Warriors, said: “Nicholas is amongst the very best T20 batting talents in the world and we wanted to bring him into our team as we push to go one better than last year where we finished as runners-up. He is explosive and exciting, and we are very pleased to be able to have such an impressive young talent representing the Guyana Amazon Warriors this year.”

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Audi networks with traffic lights in Europe

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  • Audi Traffic Light Information begins this year in Ingolstadt
  • Andre Hainzlmaier, head of Smart City Development: “Audi customers will feel more relaxed. Traffic will flow better”
  • GLOSA speed recommendation increases the probability of a “green wave”

Audi is introducing the vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) service “Traffic Light Information” to Europe. From July Audi will network new models with the traffic lights in Ingolstadt/Germany; further European cities will follow from 2020 onwards. Then cars will be more likely to catch a “green wave” in the city: Audi drivers will see in the cockpit what speed is required to reach the next traffic light on green. If that is not possible within the permitted speed limit, there will be a countdown to the next green phase. Driving in cities will thus become more relaxed and efficient. In the USA, Audi customers have already been using this service since late 2016. Audi is the first manufacturer worldwide to network its series-production models with traffic lights in cities.

“Stop-and-go traffic in cities is annoying. By contrast, we are pleased when we have a “green wave” – but we catch them far too seldom, unfortunately. With the Traffic Light Information function, drivers are more in control. They drive more efficiently and are more relaxed because they know 250 meters ahead of a traffic light whether they will catch it on green,” says Andre Hainzlmaier, head of Development of Apps, Connected Services and Smart City at Audi. “In the future, anonymized data from our cars can help to switch traffic lights in cities to better phases and to optimize the traffic flow.”

In the USA, Audi customers have been using the “Time-to-Green” function for two years: if the driver will reach the lights on red, a countdown in the Audi virtual cockpit or head-up display counts the seconds to the next green phase. This service is now available at more than 5,000 intersections in the USA, for example in cities including Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland and Washington D.C. In the US capital alone, about 1,000 intersections are linked to the Traffic Light Information function.

Since February Audi has offered a further function in North America. The purpose of this is especially to enable driving on the “green wave”.  “Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory” (GLOSA) indicates the ideal speed to the driver for reaching the next traffic light on green.”

Both Time-to-Green and GLOSA will be activated for the start of operation in Ingolstadt in selected Audi models. These include all Audi e-tron models and the A4, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q7 and Q8 to be produced from mid-July (“model year 2020”). The prerequisite is the “Audi connect Navigation & Infotainment” package and the optional “camera-based traffic sign recognition”.

Why is this function becoming available in Europe two years later than in the USA?

“The challenges for the serial introduction of the service are much greater here than, for example, in the USA, where urban traffic light systems were planned over a large area and uniformly. In Europe, by contrast, the traffic infrastructure has developed more locally and decentrally – with a great variety of traffic technology,” explains Hainzlmaier. “How quickly other cities are connected to this technology depends above all on whether data standards and interfaces get established and cities digitalize their traffic lights.”

On this project, Audi is working with Traffic Technology Services (TTS). TTS prepares the raw data from city traffic management centers and transmits them to the Audi servers. From here, the information reaches the car via a fast Internet connection.

Audi is working to offer Traffic Light Information in further cities in Germany, Europe, Canada and the USA in the coming years. In the large east Chinese city of Wuxi, Audi and partners are testing networks between cars and traffic light systems in the context of a development project.

In future, Audi customers may be able to benefit from additional functions, for example when “green waves” are incorporated into the ideal route planning. It is also conceivable that Audi e-tron models, when cruising up to a red traffic light, will make increased used of braking energy in order to charge their batteries. Coupled with predictive adaptive cruise control (pACC), the cars could even brake automatically at red lights.

In the long term, urban traffic will benefit. When cars send anonymized data to the city, for example, traffic signals could operate more flexibly. Every driver knows the following situation: in the evening you wait at a red light – while no other car is to be seen far and wide. Networked traffic lights would then react according to demand. Drivers of other automotive brands will also profit from the development work that Audi is carrying out with Traffic Light Information – good news for cities, which are dependent on the anonymized data of large fleets to achieve the most efficient traffic management.

In future, V2I technologies like Traffic Light Information will facilitate automated driving. “A city is one of the most complex environments for an autonomous car. Nevertheless, the vehicle has to be able to handle the situation, even in rain and snow. Data exchange with the traffic infrastructure can be highly relevant here,” says Hainzlmaier.

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U14 Teams Lock Horns Vying for a Place in Quarter Finals on the 4th Day of the of SRFC

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Young talents showcase superior play as Quattro and Waset Youth advance to next level in recent encounters 

  • Sport4All out of the championship
  • Wasit Youth dominates Talento 

The fourth day of the Sharjah Ramadan Futsal Championship witnessed four talented U14 teams going head-to-head to be on the list of qualifiers to the quarter- finals of the championship.

The event that’s in its fourth consecutive year, is being organized by Sharjah Sports TV. It is being is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, at the Sharjah Sports Club’s indoor stadium, Al Hazana. The tournament will conclude on 19 May 2019.

Sport4All crashes out of the tournament

In the U14 games, Quattro beat Sport4All who are out of the tournament after their second defeat 3-2. Sport4All’s Mayed Abbas opened the scoring but Quattro, managed to pull one back with Omair Hassan’s goal. Another goal came in quick succession by Ibrahim Hassan.

Sport4All’s Mad Abbas netted the ball in the second half but in the last minutes of the match, Quattro’s Zayed Al Sheryani scored the third goal for his team.

Wasit Youth outclasses Talento

It was a full value match for the audiences who witnessed a 12-1 win in this massively one-sided encounter where Waset Youth thrashed Talento.

Abdullah Yousef netted the ball 5 times for his team Waset Youth. The team found the net four more times through strikes by Abdul Rahman Al Shamsi and Fahd Jassim. Salman Nabil, Salman Al Rashed and Khaled Al Amiri continued pressing hard, with one goal each. Mohammed Ahmed scored the consolation goal for Talento.

The knock-out games will take place from Thursday between qualified teams from the four groups who are in the race for the championship title.

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Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa hosts Media Ghabka Event

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Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa recently hosted its annual media ghabka event at the exquisite Layali Al Messilah Tent. The event was organized in celebration of the holy month of Ramadan and in recognition of the ongoing support and efforts made by the media sector.

Upon arrival, the guests were welcomed by General Manager at Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa, Savino Leone, along with the hotel management team. In his speech, Leone expressed his sincere appreciation to the media for their continued support and invited them to enjoy the distinctive true Ramadan hospitality of the special evening. He also extended his gratitude to Lincoln Alghanim, the diamond sponsors of Layali Al Messilah Ramadan Tent for the entire period of Ramadan.

The evening was held in the family-friendly Layali Al Messilah Ramadan Tent with its sophisticated and elegant design and décor, offering a rich cultural and authentic experience along with a fantastic opportunity to engage and network in a unique surrounding. The evening was complemented by enlivening sounds of traditional live Arabic music and a sumptuous Ramadan buffet featuring a wide variety of Middle Eastern favourites as well as international delicacies.

The Ghabka lasted till after midnight and Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa ensured that each guest had a truly memorable evening filled with warm hospitality and exceptional delights.

The Layali Al Messilah Tent is designed in perfect Arabian style and can accommodate private Iftars and Ghabkas for families and corporate bookings. Create unforgettable memories by celebrating traditional Ramadan festivities with loved ones at the Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa.

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England captain Eoin Morgan has been suspended for one ODI and fined 40 per cent of his match fee, while his players have been fined 20 per cent of their match fees, for maintaining a slow over-rate during the third ODI against Pakistan on Tuesday.

Richie Richardson of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees imposed the suspension on Morgan after England were ruled to be two overs short after time allowances were taken into consideration.

In accordance with Article 2.22.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minor over-rate offences, players are fined 10 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.

As Morgan had previously been found guilty of a minor over-rate offence during the Barbados ODI against the West Indies on 22 February, this offence constituted his second minor over-rate offence within a 12-month period.

The suspension means Morgan will miss the fourth ODI against Pakistan in Nottingham on Friday.

Meanwhile, England’s wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow has been reprimanded for breaching Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct also during the third ODI against Pakistan in Bristol.

Bairstow was found to have breached Article 2.2 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings during an international match.”

In addition to this, one demerit point has been added to the disciplinary record of Bairstow, for whom it was his first offence since the introduction of the revised Code in September 2016.

The incident occurred in the 29th over of England’s innings, when Bairstow struck the stumps with his bat after being dismissed.

Bairstow admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Richie Richardson of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees, and as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.

On-field umpires Michael Gough and Paul Reiffel, and third umpire Chris Gaffaney laid the charges.

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Sharjah Art Foundation’s Photography Exhibition Vantage Point Sharjah 7 (VPS7) Still Accepting Open Call Submissions

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Submissions from international applicants to be accepted for the first time

 Submission deadline: 1 June 2019

 Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual photography exhibition, Vantage Point Sharjah, returns this summer for its seventh edition. An open call is being extended not only to residents of the UAE and GCC countries but also to international applicants for the first time. The foundation welcomes submissions through 1 June 2019. Selected photographs will be presented in an exhibition this summer at the foundation.

Interested photographers should submit up to six digital photographs in 300 dpi resolution and an application form, where they should provide a short description of their work(s), the location where each photograph was taken and a brief biography. More information and the application form can be found at Materials can be submitted via email to

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Federal Tax Authority Marks 500 Successful Days of VAT in the UAE

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  • The Authority processed 1.5 million digital transactions to refund taxes to tourists.
  • A total of 375 applications, worth AED14.74 million, were received from UAE nationals to recover taxes on building homes.
  • The FTA answered more than half a million phone and online enquiries from businesses.
  • The UAE was named Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Organisation.

“The rates of compliance with tax laws and procedures have increased exponentially among all taxable businesses,” said His Excellency Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director General of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA), in a press statement issued by the Authority to mark 500 days of Value Added Tax (VAT) in the UAE, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, at a rate of 5% on the supply of most goods and services.

“Compliance was made possible by the seamless, flexible, and clear procedures the FTA has rolled out through electronic, fully paperless systems that are among the most advanced of their kind in the world, underpinned by a sophisticated legislative environment that meets the highest standards in the field,” H.E. Al Bustani added. “The Federal Tax Authority implemented an easy-to-use system for submitting tax returns and paying due taxes via the e-Services portal, available 24/7 on the FTA’s official website, which was designed to meet the highest international standards, offer diverse and flexible payment options, and provide information and guides to raise tax awareness.”

The FTA Director General said that as part of the Authority’s efforts to manage and collect federal taxes, various tax refund mechanisms have been launched for legally eligible groups to recover VAT, including the Tax Refunds for Tourists Schemes. H.E. noted that the Authority has processed 1.46 million digital transactions to refund taxes to tourists. The system has been lauded by tourists for its fast, easy, and clear procedures, where nearly 8,110 transactions were processed on a daily basis.

H.E. Al Bustani highlighted the success of the VAT Recovery on the Building of New Residences by UAE Nationals programme, noting that the Authority has issued a manual through its website, offering an extensive explanation of the procedure.

“A significant number of UAE citizens have benefited from the VAT Recovery on the Building of New Residences by UAE Nationals programme, with its simplified electronic procedures,” H.E. said. “The system has received more than 800 applications, 375 of which were approved allowing applicants to recover AED14.74 million worth of taxes, incurred on the construction of their homes. This aligns with the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership to develop a modern housing system for citizens and provide high living standards for them.”

“As of April 2019, the FTA began implementing the VAT Refund Mechanism for Visiting Foreign Businesses, receiving a number of refund requests for taxes incurred in 2018 by foreign businesses,” H.E. Al Bustani continued. “This mechanism calls for refunding taxes paid for supply or import undertaken by any legal Person not residing in the UAE or any other country that implements VAT, conducting business but is not taxable. The system covers the countries that reciprocate and refund VAT to visiting UAE businesses.”

“The Federal Tax Authority has made significant achievements in a relatively short period of time, progressing along its strategic plans that seek to provide best-in-class services to businesses in terms of managing and collecting federal taxes with efficient and flexible procedures. The objective is to diversify sources of income by providing sustainable resources for future generations to finance strategic projects, develop infrastructure, and provide high-quality services to citizens and residents,” the FTA Director General explained.

“In light of the positive results and successive recent achievements, the UAE’s tax system has become a role model, as it encourages auto-compliance through sophisticated yet seamless electronic procedures. The system has earned praise from experts and official entities in the UAE, the region, and the world,” he continued. “This has been made evident by the Federal Tax Authority’s participation at the Arab Regional Tax Forum, which Dubai hosted in March 2019, as well as its participation in April at the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Forum in China, where it showcased the UAE’s experience with implementing tax laws.”

These achievements and the tremendous progress the UAE has achieved in its tax systems have culminated in the country being elected to serve as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Organisation, H.E. said.

“The Federal Tax Authority has successfully provided all procedures required to implement integrated tax legislation, clearly outlined mutual obligations between the FTA and taxpayers, and provided an ideal environment characterised by transparency and good governance, which, in turn, led to a smooth introduction of VAT that only has a short-term effect on businesses,” H.E. Al Bustani went on to add.

H.E. Al Bustani revealed that the number of users who registered in the system for VAT purposes has exceeded 300,000 companies, individuals, and tax groups, asserting the FTA’s commitment to maintaining continuous communication with all parties concerned with the tax system, answering as many as 405,000 phone queries and 105,000 emails, bringing the total number of enquiries processed in 500 days to more than half a million. Meanwhile, the user base is expanding rapidly, which compelled the Authority to authorise 123 clearing and forwarding companies, increase the number of accredited tax agents to 357, and commission 28 accredited tax accounting software vendors.

His Excellency asserted that the Authority is implementing a continuous awareness campaign; it has issued 55 guides on VAT, a series of e-learning programmes, educational short films, and about 50 infographics, in addition to 229 “Public Clarifications”, including 218 specific clarifications addressing specific enquiries and 11 general clarifications that seek to raise awareness and promote auto-compliance. H.E. noted that the FTA provides comprehensive and continuously updated information on laws and regulations through its website, allowing businesses and members of the community to know their rights and obligations, and to learn how to calculate taxes for themselves.

H.E. Khalid Al Bustani said that the Authority has organised some 95 seminars and awareness sessions attended by nearly 30,000 experts in various business sectors. Furthermore, the FTA recently launched new campaigns, most notably the tax invoice campaign beginning in the first quarter of 2019, to promote the use of tax invoices in all business transactions in tandem with the “Tax Clinic” campaign launched in August 2018 to establish direct contact with the business sectors, raise tax awareness among them, and identify any obstacles they may be facing.

The FTA Director General added that the Authority was committed to forming strategic partnerships with all relevant federal and local government authorities, as well as the private sector. These partnerships play a key role in the successful implementation of the tax system, and the achievement of its objectives, which include raising tax awareness among businesses and consumers; protecting consumers rights; deterring businesses from exploiting the tax system to increase prices; and organising joint inspection campaigns in coordination with the Ministry of Economy, Departments of Economic Development, and municipalities to alert businesses that have failed to comply with regulations and urge them to correct their situation.

H.E. lauded the close cooperation with the Federal Customs Authority and local customs departments in order to link their systems with the Federal Tax Authority’s network, which contributed to the smooth implementation of the tax system and to maintaining the flow of foreign trade.

H.E. Khalid Al Bustani asserted: “The coordination with the Ministry of Finance and the UAE Central Bank played a key role in facilitating payment of due taxes and refunds. The payment mechanisms available include the UAE Fund Transfer System (UAEFTS) of the Central Bank, which ensures the rapid transfer of funds through accounts and enables Taxable Persons to pay their taxes through the branches of nearly 77 banks, exchange offices and financial firms across the UAE. These payments are made using the GIBAN or e-Dirham systems.”

“The Authority spared no effort in assisting businesses to comply with tax regulations and procedures, organising several introductory and consultation meetings to prepare the private sector for dealing with the tax system,” H.E. concluded. “We have held 40 joint meetings with business groups and representatives of concerned sectors, which include banks; insurance; financial markets and brokers; importers; exporters; telecommunications companies; travel and tourism agencies; diplomatic missions; free zones; shipping companies; accounting and audit; maritime operations companies; maritime suppliers; real estate; charities; healthcare; education; hospitality; gold and diamond traders; new and used automobiles; vegetables and fruits; fisherman’s unions; farmers; and retailers (particularly those taking part in the VAT Refund Scheme for Tourists); among others.”

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In a rare move for the automotive world, it will be a group of women taking centre stage at the forthcoming London Motor & Tech Show. The show, to be held at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre from 16th-19th May, features hundreds of cars and a huge display of technology – and some very special awards judged by women from around the world.

The GCC countries will be represented by Dubai based pioneering female motoring journalist, Shereen Shabnam at the WWCOTY stand. Shereen is also the female Jury for the Middle East Car of the Year Awards and Founder of All About Wheels. For the women motoring journalists from Women’s World Car of the Year, the London show represents a landmark occasion. It’s the first time in the 121-year history of motor shows, that women motoring journalists have had their own stand.

On the opening day of the show (Thursday 16th May), female motoring writers from 11 different countries will gather on the Live Stage in the Main Hall of the exhibition centre.

They will present a trophy and certificate to Beatrice Simonsson, Senior Product Manager from Volvo in Sweden, to recognise the Volvo XC40 as supreme winner of the 2018 Women’s World Car of the Year awards, as judged by 37 women motoring journalists from around the globe.

On Friday 17th May, the writers will again take to the Live Stage, this time to present a trophy and certificate to Fiona Pargeter, Global Communications Director for Jaguar Land Rover. The occasion credits Fiona as the inaugural winner of the Woman of Worth Award initiated last year as part of the Women’s World Car of the Year Awards.

The invitation came from the show’s organiser, Andy Entwistle. The New Zealand-based Founder of Women’s World Car of the Year, Sandy Myhre, said without Mr Entwistle’s initiative and some support from Jaguar Land Rover, the journalists would not have been able to be together for such an historic occasion.

“It’s uncommon for female motoring writers to be in the same room at the same time, so to be at the London Motor & Tech Show on our own stand and on the Live Stage is certainly very special.”

Women’s World Car of the Year was formed nine years ago with just eight jury members.  There are now 37 journalists on the judging panel from 28 different countries and more jury members will be added during the year.  It is the only car awards in the world voted entirely by women.

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ITFC Arab Africa Trade Bridges Program Facilitates over 1320 Bi-Lateral Trade Meetings at Agri-Food Forum in Dubai

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  • ITFC’s Intra-Regional Strategy Delivers over 1320 Bilateral Business Meetings Between Importers and Exporters in the Arab & African Regions
  • An Estimated $7.8 million of preliminary Import Deals Under Negotiation
  • A Total of 200 Import and Export Deals Currently Under Negotiation 

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB), reported 1320 bilateral meetings and 200 deals under discussion through its flagship program: the Arab Africa Trade Bridges Program (AATB) at an Agri-food Trade Forum held recently in Dubai in collaboration with Dubai Exports.

The two-day forum promoted trade and investment between African countries and the UAE and 8 other Arab Countries. Attended by 40 companies from 15 African countries, in addition to 70 companies from the UAE and Arab countries, the event focused on how to increase the import and export of Agri-Food products. Agri-food companies from Mauritania, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Benin, Gabon, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Mozambique were among the participants in the forum.

Commenting on the importance of the agri-food forum, ITFC CEO, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol said, “With the huge potential of trade and investment between the Arab and the African regions, The AATB Program attracted the interest of several regional financial institutions and Arab and African Member Countries. The USD 500 million agreement signed last month with one of the main AATB partners to finance Arab and African trade is a strong signal on the growing importance given to African markets.  Similarly, the high number of participating companies in this B2B and the 1300 business meetings held confirm the increasing trend to explore the African Markets.”

The AATB Program is a regional trade promotion program, led by ITFC to address some of the challenges faced in promoting trade between the two regions. The Program aims to enhance the potential for products of Arab origin to be exported into African countries and vice versa, and to create a platform that allows for business exchange and greater awareness of intra-regional trade opportunities. In addition, it brings together business communities from Arab and African countries, providing an opportunity for exporters to present their products; and creates new trade finance and export credit insurance solutions that facilitate to businesses to present their services and products.

ITFC was established to advance trade and contribute to the improvement of socio-economic conditions and sustainable growth in OIC member countries. ITFC has facilitated more than $45 billion of trade financing solutions to OIC member countries since its inception in 2008, in addition to improving access to trade-related capacity building tools, enabling SMEs and growing businesses to compete in the global market.

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Ian Rydin named General Manager at Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai

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With more than 30 years’ experience, Ian brings a distinctive commercial acumen matched with a guest-centric approach

Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai appoints Ian Rydin as its new General Manager.

Rydin will oversee the overall operations and strategic direction of the 396-room, five-star property including its eight dining outlets.

“I am honored to join Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai and be a key driver in ensuring the success of the property and its continued business development. Following Mövenpick’s recent inclusion to the Accor premium portfolio, I see a bright future for the Hotel as we continue to solidify its iconic presence in the region and the Brand’s expanding global footprint,” said Rydin.

A Swedish national, Rydin has three decades of expertise in the hospitality industry where he recently served as the general manager and district director of four hotels in Nairobi and Kigali, Kenya including various key roles within the Radisson Hotel Group.

His career has taken him to different parts of the world including Africa, Europe, and the Middle East where he was the pre-opening general manager for Radisson Blu Hotel in Downtown, Dubai in 2010.

Rydin holds an International Hospitality Management Diploma from Gothenburg International Hospitality College in Sweden, a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, UK and completed a General Manager Programme from Cranfield University, UK.

Making time amidst his busy schedule, Ian finds time for a round of golf on the weekends or enjoy quality time with his family with ski trips in Europe.

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