What’s On – the UAE’s best-selling entertainment magazine – celebrated the crème de la crème of Dubai’s restaurant, leisure and entertainment scene on Wednesday night, with the What’s On Awards Dubai.
La Petite Maison claimed the evening’s top prize, scooping the highly coveted What’s On Restaurant Of The Year accolade, while Reif Othman was named What’s On Chef Of The Year.
Hosted by Motivate Publishing, in association with Dubai First, the awards took place under the stars at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre and were attended by more than 1,200 guests, including general managers and chefs from Dubai’s leading hotels and restaurants.
Ian Fairservice, Managing Partner And Group Editor of Motivate Publishing, and the man who launched What’s On magazine almost 35 years ago commented:
‘As we begin the celebrations for Motivate’s – and What’s On’s – 35th anniversary, it’s safe to say that the emirate we live in is very different from the one in which we started. And as the city has grown, so has the standard of living in Dubai – we’ve been lucky enough to welcome more and more world-class establishments every year, so that today we now have a scene that can proudly rub shoulders with any major city in the world.’
‘Of course What’s On was there every step of the way – creating trends, not just reporting on them – on everything from the growing campaign to promote the use of sustainable fish stocks to championing local produce in restaurants.” He added.
A highlight of the evening was the live broadcast announcement directly from Paris via ARN that Dubai had won the Expo 2020 bid. The 1200 strong audience cheered as fireworks lit up the skies and the excitement was hard to contain.
More than 200,000 votes were collected throughout Dubai over the last two months, as consumers voted for their favourite outlets. This year’s awards saw frenetic online voting as a majority of votes were cast on the What’s On awards website. Votes also came in via in-store voting slips, SMS, and Facebook.
Once again, What’s On commissioned the independent external auditors, Jacobsons, to ensure that the results of the hotly contested awards are completely transparent.
The winners awarded on the night of the awards were:
What’s On magazine
Packed with opinion, experts, insider info, reviews, music, competitions and more, What’s On is the title for readers wanting to be in the know. One of the UAE’s best-loved and biggest-selling magazines, it has been the leading entertainment titles in the region for almost 35 years. Need to know what’s on? You need to read What’s On.
Motivate Publishing is the Gulf’s leading publisher of magazines and books. Motivate’s portfolio comprises more than 20 market-leading magazines – many of which have independently audited circulations – and more than 300 books. With a staff of more than 200 experienced and dedicated professionals, Motivate Publishing is committed to providing editorial excellence, audited circulation and transparent research data across its entire platform of publications.
Dubai First is one of the leading consumer finance companies in the UAE, specialising in credit cards and corporate liability products. Over the past few years, Dubai First has developed a niche reputation in the credit cards sector by building a unique base of clients. The company strategy is based on building sustainable long-term value through innovation in harnessing a genuine customer service experience.
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In less than three days Dubai will know whether it will host the World Expo 2020. The World Expo2020 – which would be the first expo ever to be held in the Middle East if Dubai wins the bid – has successfully launched the Eiffel Tower, ice-cream and the telephone. Predicted to rake in billions of dollars from investors, the Expo will usher in economic prosperity for the UAE which will have lasting effects, according to local and international businesses.
“SanDisk is a big supporter of the Expo 2020 bid,” said Tareq Husseini SanDisk’s Regional Sales Director, Middle East & Africa. “If successful the win will signify huge opportunities for Dubai, marking a defining moment for the Emirate.”
“The economy is expected to see a significant boost, if Dubai is successful. There will be fresh investments with new ideas not to mention a list of creative inventions from all over the globe,” added Husseini.
Local and international businesses remain positive that Dubai deserves to win the bid to host the Expo 2020. Dubai competes against three cities; Ekaterinburg, Russia; Izmir, Turkey; Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Expo will represent a first no matter which city wins. The winning city will be announced on November 27.
“Dubai is unlike any other place on the planet which is why it has the strongest chance of winning the bid,” said Brent Thurrell, Vice President, EMEAI and APAC at BeyondTrust, a leading security solutions vendor. “The economic benefits that the UAE could reap will have lasting effects on the region. There’s no question, the region would benefit significantly from this win marking its transformation into a top global centre for tourism, trade and finance.”
If successful, Dubai will host the Expo in the 140 square kilometer Dubai World Central, yet to be developed, which will boast the Al Maktoum International Airport. The Expo would also increase the number of visitors to the UAE with a predicted 24 million tourists entering the country, not to mention exhibitors from more than 180 nations.
“Dubai’s position as the hub for international business and trade makes it a worthy candidate,” said Hisham Surakhi, Managing Director, Gemalto Middle East. “The UAE has gone through significant investment in IT infrastructures in the last few years, mainly driven by the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammad for transforming Dubai into a digital smart city, it has no doubt proven itself well to create new sustainable projects.”
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) participated in the Dubai Forum for Government Best Practices (DFGBP), organised by the Dubai Government Excellence Programme (DGEP) under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.
DEWA’s participation aimed to promote practical science-based experiences in public service, and strengthen the concepts of excellence, innovation, quality, and knowledge to help government departments apply them in all aspects of their work. DEWA also aimed to learn about best management and professional practices in the areas of development, quality, and organisational excellence.
HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, and HE Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of the Department of Economic Development (DED) and Managing Director of Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), participated in a panel discussion held on the sidelines of the forum, which was moderated by Ahmed Al Nuseirat, Coordinator General of DGEP, and attended by HE Abdullah Al Shaibani, Secretary General of the Dubai Executive Council, as well as a number of senior representatives from ministries and governmental departments.
The forum aimed to familiarise the participants with the accomplishments and expertise of government organisations. It also highlighted the viewpoints, experiences, and achievements of a number of government officials and leaders in the fields of leadership, management, excellence, quality, and government services.
“In line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, DEWA participates in achieving Dubai’s vision of taking the government’s performance to the highest levels of excellence, and enhancing its services by increasing staff productivity and boosting their competitiveness. DEWA adopts the best international practices and the highest quality standards, to improve its services and achieve its vision to become a sustainable world-class utility,” said Al Tayer.
“DEWA believes in the necessity of being different and successful across all aspects; in the region, the Arab world and internationally. We achieve this through positive thinking, dealing with reality, determination and challenging all difficulties to continuously progress. This is what His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has taught us.”
“DEWA management is led by positive thinking, being optimistic, and our faith in God. These have helped us to deal with difficulties and challenges with determination. A leader with positive energy positively affects those around him, helping others to turn challenges into opportunities, which in turn helps us to achieve more.”
“For example, DEWA management faced the financial crisis inspired by a positive thinking approach that its leaders follow. During this period, DEWA management looked for creative solutions that helped increased efficiency and reduce expenses. DEWA suggested to manufacturers of electricity generation plants for DEWA that they increase their capacity to more than 400MW without extra investment in new production units. This resulted in savings of over AED 2 billion for establishing the unit and hundreds of millions in operational costs in addition to protecting the environment.”
“DEWA’s success comes from the vision and sound advice of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. His Highness is a leading figure on positive thinking, patience, and not believing that anything is impossible. He has and will always be a unique leader, sure of the present and creating the future. We follow his quotes and books on the ground. He is a real teacher and model in all respects. We are all proud to be working under him and there is a lot to learn from him and from other leaders in the country, especially for our youth who will carry the flag in the future,” answered Al Tayer in response to a question on his work under His Highness and what he learned from him.
“One of the lessons is that there are no boundaries to what you can do. We have to learn from our mistakes and the possibility to succeed is there but not everyone can see it. Few can take bold decisions and this is where you find the difference.”
Al Tayer shared the lessons he learned from His Highness: “In the late 90s His Highness issued orders to extend water and electricity to Dubai Internet city within 6 months. This made us come up with creative solutions, (both short and long term), to extend electricity and water to this area using the best specifications, which in turn has positioned Dubai as a hub for media and internet services. We learnt from him that there is no place for the word ‘impossible’ and challenges have to be turned into opportunities to drive more achievements
“At the beginning of this century, His Highness made an unexpected visit to DEWA’s offices. I asked him to come to the Majlis but he insisted, in all his humble nature to sit in my office. One of the things he discussed was how DEWA will manage a crisis including gas shortages. I explained to His Highness our crisis plans including our diesel reserves. The lesson we learned from His Highness is that a successful leader communicates with everyone continuously, follows up, and gets to know every small and big thing, which in turn supports the leader’s vision.
“During the beginning of the global financial crisis, His Highness was quick to reassure everyone that everything will be fine and that Dubai’s economy will be better in no time. At the same time, His Highness asked everyone not to let go of staff in the government sector so they become the reason for the economy to recover as quick as possible. And for a fact, his vision was proved right with Dubai coming out of this crisis with amazing success. Here we learnt to have positive thinking, the right vision and the right leadership which will ensure success, even in the worst cases.”
DEWA also participated in the ‘Dubai Exhibition Achievements’ held as part of the Forum to demonstrate its latest national and global achievements which were crowned with the UAE, represented by DEWA, now ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and fourth internationally for ease of access to electricity, according to World Bank Report 2014 released recently.
Al Tayer said that one of DEWA’s latest achievements was resolving 90% of customers’ complaints in only 7 days, compared to the goal set by the Dubai Government of 75%. The required time to complete front office service was reduced to 5 minutes and 44 seconds in 2012, compared to 8m 52s in 2011, and 18m 59s in 2010. The waiting time for bills payment was also reduced to 3m 1s in 2012, compared to 5m 19s in 2011, and 16m 3s in 2010. The total electricity production capacity, which meets the steady growth in demand for electricity and water, was increased to 9,646 megawatts (peak load 6,637) in 2012, compared to 2,579 megawatts (peak load 1,989) in 1998. The total production capacity of desalinated seawater was increased to 470 million gallons (peak load 285.3 million gallons) in 2012, compared to 120 million gallons (peak load 107 million gallons) in 1998.
“Since the establishment of DEWA – a time period that spans from 1992 to 2012- we have achieved a seven-fold increase in electricity production and a six-fold increase in water production while the number of employees only increased 2.5 times. This implies that their efficiency and productivity has increased. It should also be noted that Dubai’s water and electricity increase in demand during the initial years of the global economic and financial crisis reached 6-12%.”