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Virgin Mobile MEA appoints new Group CEO

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Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (VMMEA) has announced the appointment of Alan Gow as the Group CEO, to further bolster the existing management team. He will be based at the Group’s regional HQ in Dubai, UAE.

Gow comes with an extensive Virgin senior leadership profile, having been a co-founder of the original Virgin Mobile in the UK alongside Sir Richard Branson, and an architect of the company’s ground-breaking economic model as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

Speaking from Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa’s Dubai HQ, Gow said, “I am thrilled that my Virgin Mobile journey has brought me to the UAE to lead the dynamic Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa team. The Middle East and Africa region is entering an exciting phase in its evolution, and I look forward to working with this highly talented team as we pursue a strategy of digital transformation, and drive the launch of innovative products and services that put our people and customer experience at the heart of everything we do. “

Gow brings a wealth of experience in leading the Virgin Mobile brand into new markets, having been instrumental in growing Virgin Mobile in the UK from a start-up to a $1bn company in just under four years. He was also responsible for steering the company through a series of funding rounds and a highly successful IPO on the London Stock Exchange in 2004. This was followed in 2006 with a $1.6bn sale transaction to create the ‘Virgin Media’ group in the UK, a world leader in converged communications technologies.

He has subsequently advised on Virgin Mobile’s Latin American roll-out, and led the company’s expansion in Central & Eastern Europe as Group Chief Executive Officer.

Speaking at a recent visit to the UAE, Sir Richard Branson commented on the appointment of Mr. Gow: “Alan has been a key member of the Virgin Mobile family from the very beginning of the company and has delivered stunning results for the Group time and time again. With such an experienced and proven pair of hands at the helm I have no doubt that there will be exciting times ahead as Alan and his team lead the way in innovation and continue to shake up the telecoms industry in the region.”

Mr. Gow has over 20 years of experience in mobile telecoms in both the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and MVNO sectors, having previously worked with the network operator T-Mobile in the UK. He holds an MBA with distinction from Manchester Business School and is a member of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Mr. Gow joins as Group CEO, while Mikkel Vinter remains in post as Founder & Director for Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa.

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HID Recognized for Its Design Expertise as Bahrain’s ePassport Wins Multiple Prestigious Awards

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HID has recently achieved global recognition for its Bahrain ePassport project, clinching several top honors. These include the distinguished London Design Awards, the High Security Printing Award, and the iF Design Award. This suite of praises reinforces HID’s leadership in security design, showcasing its innovative approach to integrating cutting-edge security features with aesthetic and cultural elements.

Craig Sandness, Senior VP and Managing Director for Citizen Identity at HID, shares, “Our design philosophy is centered around seamlessly weaving security into the fabric of the document’s design. The Bahrain ePassport is a prime example of this approach, where innovation meets artistry. This is not just our success; it’s a shared victory with our Bahraini partners, local artists, and calligraphers. Together, we’ve crafted a document that is as secure as it is symbolic of Bahrain’s rich heritage.”

The Bahrain ePassport, celebrated for its innovative design, marks a milestone in document security by introducing the world’s first document-embedded hashtag, #teambahrain. This feature is more than a nod to digital savviness; it’s a strong symbol of national unity and a testament to HID’s ability to integrate modern digital elements with traditional security measures.

HID’s work on the Bahrain ePassport has been recognized across several categories in the London Design Awards, including Gold awards in Service Design for Government, Cultural, and Best User Experience categories, underscoring the project’s excellence in functionality, cultural sensitivity, and user engagement. The High Security Printing Award for Best New ePassport for EMEA and the iF Design Award in the Publications and Communications category further validate HID’s skill in creating secure, user-centered design.

The collaboration between HID, Bahraini authorities, and local artisans highlights HID’s commitment to incorporating local culture into its security designs. This partnership approach not only enriches the document’s aesthetic appeal but also enhances its acceptance and significance among citizens, demonstrating HID’s leadership in creating identity solutions that respect and celebrate cultural heritage.

“As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Bahrain ePassport, we look forward to continuing our journey of innovation,” adds Sandness. “We invite governments and organizations worldwide to join us in this journey of creating secure, innovative solutions that pave the way for the future of identity documentation.”

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Fitness First Marks Mother’s Day with Four Days of Free Access

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As Mother’s Day approaches, Fitness First is proud to honour and celebrate all mothers with a special gift of health and wellness. From 21 to 24 March, Fitness First invites all mums to enjoy complimentary access to its state-of-the-art facilities at any of its UAE-based clubs.

Recognising the invaluable role of mothers in our lives, Fitness First is opening its doors to mothers of all ages and fitness levels, offering them the opportunity to prioritise their well-being and embark on a journey to better health. Whether it’s a rejuvenating yoga session, an invigorating cardio workout, or a strength training class, Fitness First provides a wide range of fitness options tailored to meet the diverse needs and preferences of every mother.

In addition to offering access to top-notch gym facilities and equipment, mums visiting Fitness First during this special period will also have the opportunity to participate in group fitness classes led by certified instructors, and connect with other like-minded individuals in a supportive and motivating environment.

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Visa-free countries for UAE residents looking to book last-minute getaways this spring term break

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As UAE schools gear up for the upcoming spring term break starting from 25 March, residents are planning for their well-deserved getaways, ready to embark on new adventures and explore the world. Global travel marketplace, Skyscanner recommends these visa-free travel destinations for UAE residents this spring term break.

Ayoub El Mamoun, Skyscanner Travel Expert, invites families and adventure seekers alike to explore these captivating visa-free destinations

Seychelles starting from AED 2,711 – “A tropical haven with pristine beaches and lush greenery, Seychelles is perfect for family retreats. Explore Anse Lazio’s white sands or snorkel in vibrant coral reefs for a blissful escape.”

Georgia starting from AED 1,703– “Steeped in rich history, Georgia welcomes UAE residents to explore ancient monasteries, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities. Georgia is becoming a regular tourist haunt for UAE residents given the sudden influx of Georgia tour packages and the family activities to be experienced.”

Jordan starting from AED 1,752 – “A treasure trove of ancient history and natural wonders, Jordan is a captivating family destination. From the rose-red city of Petra to floating in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea, Jordan promises a timeless family adventure.”

Malaysia starting from AED 1,903 – “A melting pot of cultures and landscapes, Malaysia invites families to explore bustling Kuala Lumpur, beautiful Langkawi beaches, and vibrant neighborhoods in Georgetown. Trek lush rainforests in Taman Negara or dive into the colourful underwater world of the Perhentian Islands. Try Skyscanner’s multi-city search too to explore all that Malaysia has to offer.”

For travellers still deciding on a destination to visit this upcoming break, a Skyscanner ‘Everywhere’ search is one of the easiest ways to be inspired. Ordered by cheapest price, a search to ‘Everywhere’ shows travellers all the destinations available for your desired travel departure.

Skyscanner’s Everywhere search tool reveals return flights to visa-free destinations such as Thailand from AED 1,891, Philippines from AED 1,932, Azerbaijan from AED 1,634 and Malaysia from AED 1,976 round trip.

With the convenience of visa-free travel to various destinations, the options for an unforgettable getaway are endless. So pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready for a stress-free holiday.

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