Author Archives: Thomas Schellen

Q&A: Saad Al Barrak

Q&A: Saad Al Barrak

The operators of the currently government-controlled Lebanese mobile phone networks are officially called MIC 1 and MIC 2, for Mobile Interim Company. MIC 2 is the Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) Group, the rapidly growing Kuwait-based Arab telecommunications firm with operations across the Middle East. EXECUTIVE talked to MTC general manager, Saad Al Barrak, on their

The growing pains of ICT

It sure looks as if in the world and region, all things ICT are returning to normal. Shares in e-companies are no longer an anathema. The big market move of the season from a tech perspective, the Google IPO, clawed its way beyond obstacles to achieve figures that appear, all in all, more respectable than

Look who’s coming to town

This summer, Lebanon is riding on a wave of inbound tourism that is, by local standards, monumental. For the first time in recent memory, the month of June saw more than 100,000 arriving visitors. In relation to June 2003, the upward jump amounted to 37.43 % from 97,273 to 133,678 visitors, translating into a 26.4%

Cornering niche tourism markets

Tour operators report a 50% improvement in bookings over 2003; the streets of Bhamdoun are rocking; guides are having the best summer in three years and their busy season increased to six months…. But Lebanon wants more tourism. EXECUTIVE details how the country can get more by taking a look at tourism niches and sub-niches

Q&A: Roger Edde

The city of Byblos is one of five UNESCO world heritage sites in Lebanon. Its tourism potential is tremendous but much of it has lain dormant. Roger Edde, business tycoon and developer with international experience in Europe and the United States, is a member of an old influential family here. After establishing a beach resort

Prepared for tourists?

While, economists tend to measure tourism in visitor numbers, employment and/or contribution to GDP, an equally important gauge is the level of infrastructure development and the intensity of tourism “hotspots” (full of enthusiastic tour guides corralling tours through the nation’s must see sites). Theses abound at the pyramids, the Acropolis, St. Mark’s Square, the Louvre

Lost in translation: the Elyssar plans

The large majority of building stock in any modern society needs to consist of affordable, social, smart residential units, which means a massive presence of low cost apartments. This is an inescapable attribute of the highly populous and predominantly urban human existence that defines our world. Lebanon, with its very high degree of urbanization and

Resorting to luxury: Lebanon’s new tourism

Lebanon’s new boom is tourism-related real estate. Significant developments – worth in excess of $4 billion – in this field have begun roughly four years ago and accelerated massively by this year. The Middle East’s largest resort project, Sannine Zenith, topped the list of headline-making projects by size. But other projects are also highly noteworthy,

Counting the profits

The position of modern banking in the global economy vastly exceeds the main functionality that banks fulfilled during their 600-year rise since the Medicis: financing trade and warfare and serving as safe havens in times of danger. The expansion of banking and finance into universal socioeconomic denominators has come at the price of intense interdependence

Still seeking quality

Merger Ability It is an accepted business paradigm that mergers can be instrumental in corporate growth, especially as positions in the top three companies are in many sectors associated with taking the lion’s share in total profits realized in the sector. However, the overall global picture shows that the majority of mergers are unsuccessful because