Sharjah Tourism launches interactive map of the emirate –

Sharjah Tourism launches interactive map of the emirate

Smart, convenient and interactive way to move around Sharjah

    • Staff Report
    • Published: 14:48 January 6, 2014
    • Gulf News

Sharjah: The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority has announced the launch of the first interactive map of Sharjah, which will be available online and as an application on smart phones. The map aims to offer residents and visitors a smart, convenient and interactive way to visit and move around Sharjah. The interactive map ( highlights all the major tourist attractions, historical sites and business centres across all its major cities i.e. Sharjah, Khorfakkan, Kalba and Dibba Al Hisn. The new initiative is part of the Authority’s policy to boost smart, e-governance solutions in all areas and activities of the tourism sector in the emirate.

Online grocery shopping gathers pace in UAE


Online grocery shopping gathers pace in UAE

Residents with busy schedules take advantage of websites that will deliver everything you need right to your door

  • By Noorhan Barakat, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 17:00 January 4, 2014

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • The online grocery shopping scene in the UAE is relatively new, with the earliest online groceries starting in 2006.

Dubai: For many like Sharuque Moideen, a 24-year-old Indian social media strategist who works and commutes for long hours, online grocery shopping is a welcome respite from the chores of daily life.

Moideen said that he tried online shopping for the first time in 2013 and since then has it has become an essential part of his routine.

“My working hours leave me [with very little time] to do my groceries. I work from 9pm-6pm and reach home at around 8pm, so what’s better [than having] your groceries delivered between 8-10pm?”

He said he found out that online grocery shopping was available in the UAE while browsing an expatriate forum. Moideen said he still prefers to shop at malls during the weekends, but due to his busy schedule during the week, he shops online to save time.

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He likes to keep watch for deals on merchandise, not just groceries online, and has only tried Geant Online for his groceries, he said.

“I have been to other websites as well, but was not satisfied with the product range they offer. Initially, I was worried about buying frozen stuff online, but when I received my first order, my assumptions were [proved] wrong. It was packed and delivered perfectly,” he said.

The online grocery shopping scene in the UAE is relatively new, with the earliest online groceries starting in 2006.

Cornelius Durm, managing partner at Early Bird, a family-run business in Al Quoz, said that they were the first online grocery shop in the UAE when they launched in August 2006.

At the beginning, Durm explained, they had just a few customers as online shopping was not common in the UAE back then.

“People initially did not trust that they [could] really get their goods delivered when they ordered over the web; building that trust was a major task in the first couple of years.”

Durm said that they have witnessed a significant growth in customers, with numbers accelerating over the last two years.

“On average, we do a total between 6,000 and 8,500 deliveries per month, of which 28 per cent are placed online, the rest come through traditional channels…we have above 10,000 active customers.”

However, he said, compared to developed e-commerce markets like the US or Europe, the UAE still has a lot of room for growth. Durm said that he expects their online sales to go up by 25 per cent in the next two years.

Sajid Azmi, head of e-commerce at Geant Online, which was launched in June 2013 said that “month on month there is a significant rise in grocery shoppers online and also [an] increase in average basket size from regular customers.”

Azmi said that online grocery shopping is a growing business that has the potential to outgrow supermarket sales with less investment and higher average baskets than a supermarket.

As for the type of goods that people mostly buy online, Azmi said that they “see complete grocery baskets focusing on customers’ monthly needs and recurring orders [for] weekly needs.

“For customers who are still not able to drive, mothers with small kids, working mothers, bachelors working late night and having long [commutes] this is a convenient way to shop, which takes away the time and effort to load and unload heavy groceries and also beats the long parking waits,” Azmi said.

Another overlooked benefit of online grocery shopping, Durm noted, is that it gives one better control of their budget.

“You can see at any time the value of your shopping cart and can easily remove or add products with a click. It saves time and money, as you can see all the promotions at one glance and benefit from better prices without searching for bargains in a supermarket.”

Omar Awwad, CEO of Trolley Trading (, which was launched in February 2011, explained that as the majority of their shoppers are expatriates, which was also the case with Geant online and Early bird, there is a marginal drop during school holiday seasons.

Durm from Early Bird explained that they have also noticed seasonal changes in the different product groups. “During the summer, the demand for water and soft drinks are higher, and in the winter months products like tea, coffee, chocolates, crisps sell better.”

He added that they have also noticed peak times for deliveries.

“We are very busy in the morning…and then it slows down a bit between 12pm-4pm and increases again up to 9pm.”

Durm explained that on Early Bird, one can pay online or on delivery.

“Our delivery men have credit card machines and always carry Dh3,000 in change, so there is always change for whatever amount you pay.”

Geant too, offers the same payment options

Most of the online grocery stores only deliver within Dubai, with a few that have other emirates on their delivery routes.

Time to rewrite aviation history – 1st Red Bull Flugtag Qatar – 1st November 2013

Red Bull Flugtag returns with a splash in 2013. Fearless men and women around the world will be launching themselves off a series of terrifyingly high platforms in self-constructed flying machines that range from the sensible to the what-on-earth-were-you-thinking? – Shopping Comparison website from Dubai Economic Department

From – 17 July 2013

DED introduces shopping website and app


The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai has launched a website and smart phone application to make daily shopping easier for consumers.

The website will enable consumers to browse through shelves of leading hypermarkets and stores in Dubai, compare brands and prices and make their purchase decisions from anywhere round the clock. is part of integrating advanced technology to enhance customer convenience and build on Dubai’s reputation as a shopping destination. The smartphone application is available on iPhones and Android platforms. The website and app lists all major hypermarkets.

Online Restaurant Menu Cards, directory makers have added an interesting services on their website…they have scanned most of UAE’s restaurant menu cards and have made it available as an online database (see screenshot below)…an idea I pioneered in 2006 in my blogs, and




(Click on image to view enlarged version)



According to their website:

Browse through an amazing collection of 942 menus of Dubai and UAE restaurants starting from the letter ‘A’, more being added everyday!

Now you can view the menu card of your favorite restaurant right here! Just click the restaurant name to open up the take away menu card.

Only restaurants with menu cards available with us are listed here. We have many more restaurants without menu cards listed with us, you can search for them using our search box above which will give you more details of the restaurant like phone number, fax, location map and more.

Can’t find your favorite restaurant’s menu card here? Inform us or email the scanned menu card in .JPG format to We appreciate any Takeaway menus you email us. This will not only help you in future, but will help thousands of UAE residents. Many cards in this list were contributed by users who found our website very useful.

Visit AtnIinfo’s ONLINE RESTAURANT MENU CARDS features a nice Price Comparator from UAE webstores and leading retailers

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but thought I’d share this nice price comparator that I found on

When you search for a particular model of a mobile or smartphone, it displays a list of webstores and offline retailers and their prices sorted in an ascending order (cheapest on top – obviously….though HyperPanda and Geant are missing, maybe because they still don’t have their own full fledged web stores like Carrefour which has. I googled them and couldn’t find any. Even Eros electronics don’t seem to have an extensive online database like Jumbo or Jackys have.

Here is a screenshot of the comparator (click on it to enlarge) :


cellsqouq-pricecomparator-12Feb2013 – New website to make flying easier

New website to make flying easier

Staff Report

Published: Nov 25, 2012 5:23 PM

Sharjah: Air Arabia has launched a website for smartphones to help customers access travel information, including travel details, ticket purchases, reservations view, and flight check-ins.

“At Air Arabia, we place great importance in investing in leading technology and identifying new areas where we can make our customer’s flying experience more convenient,” Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer said.

The website comes in two languages, English and Arabic, but there are plans of including more languages in the following months.

FNC ministry launches 

FNC ministry launches 

The Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs (MFNCA) has launched a new website — — to enhance communication and interaction with the public and its local partners.

“This is a pathbreak(ing) initiative that reflects the (MFNCA’s) keenness to raise the public’s awareness on its role, vision and strategic goals to implement best practices, regulating the relation between the Government and FNC, and enhancing the participation culture in policy field,” said Tariq Hilal Lootah, Director-General of the ministry.

The website has a number of interactive features such as Q&A. It also includes a section focusing on the coordination between the FNC and the government and speeches of Minister of State for FNC Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash.

Roundup of a few websites launched in 2010 from the UAE media

Click away a child’s cancer blues

Emirati girls launch a website to grant wishes of young people diagnosed with the disease (Facebook)

Published 00:00 October 2, 2010 (Gulf News)

RTA certificates are online now
All the certificates from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), including vehicle ownership and export certificates, can now be obtained through the website and call centre of RTA, Khaleej Times has learnt.

RTA Website

Posted on:1/1/2011 (Khaleej Times)

Tracking websites, web services, blogs, forums and online web presences in the United Arab Emirates