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Emirates invests in high-speed inflight broadband onboard 50 new A350 aircraft

Emirates will offer passengers yet another opportunity to ‘fly better’, with new high-speed, inflight broadband powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation, onboard 50 new Airbus A350 aircraft – scheduled to enter service in 2024. The new agreement will significantly improve the passenger experience with enhanced connectivity and greater global coverage, even on flights over the Arctic. The Airbus A350s will be the first Emirates aircraft to take advantage of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which powers the world’s first and only globally available broadband network, ensuring passengers can enjoy uninterrupted global connectivity, no matter their destination, including the North Pole. The advanced high-speed capabilities of the broadband will enable Emirates passengers to stay connected with family and friends, browse the internet, and enjoy social media, all from the comfort of their seat. The GX network that will power the Emirates inflight broadband currently consists of five Ka-band satellites and will be further enhanced with the addition of seven more satellite payloads as part of Inmarsat’s fully funded technology roadmap. This includes two Inmarsat-6s, the most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built, both of which are scheduled to enter service in 2023. These will be followed by three additional satellites in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity, and resilience – and two in highly elliptical orbit, to enable the world’s only commercial mobile broadband service for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic, such as routes between the Middle East and North America. Adel al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, said “Delivering a world-class onboard experience has always been paramount to Emirates and we understand the importance of being connected during flights. Over the years, we have worked closely …

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Ras al Khaimah records 1.13million visitors in 2022

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) announces its highest ever annual visitor numbers, with the Emirate welcoming over 1.13M overnight arrivals in 2022, a total increase of 15.6% vs 2021. The results exceed pre-pandemic levels indicating recovery and resilience in a volatile year. Despite geopolitical and economic challenges, Ras Al Khaimah has become one of the fastest destinations to bounceback. In addition to its record visitor numbers, key 2022 achievements include: Launched Balanced Tourism – its roadmap to becoming the regional leader in sustainable tourism by 2025 Announced the largest foreign direct tourism investment project in partnership with Wynn Resorts, Marjan and RAK Hospitality Holding Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), Mövenpick and Radisson brands entered the destination for the first time, marking a 17% annual growth in hotel supply to over 8,000 keys 5,867 keys scheduled to be added over the next few years, a 70% increase on current inventory – among the highest growth rates in the UAE 40% increase in international visitors driven by 90+ roadshows, trade fairs, workshops and media events across 24 markets Recognition in Time magazine as one of the World’s Greatest Places of 2022 and CNN Travel’s best destinations to visit in 2023 Opened new attractions, including Jais Sledder, which has seen more than 100,000 visitors since its February opening, and the longest developed hiking trails in the Emirate Achieved a visitor satisfaction score (NPS) of over 80% – far above the industry average of 51 Hosted over 50 events including the prestigious Global Citizen Forum, 15th edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, Arab Aviation Summit, DP World Tour and secured the 2023 Minifootball (WMF) World Cup for the first time in …

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Diriyah giga project to be unique with distinctive cultural and tourism landmarks in KSA

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced today the Diriyah Project as PIF’s fifth giga-project, reflecting Diriyah’s status as a unique destination with distinctive cultural, historical, and tourism landmarks. The announcement reflects HRH the Crown Prince’s efforts in enabling the Saudi cultural  identity, which includes the Diriyah Project due to its historic, cultural, and political value proudly showcasing to the world Saudi Arabia’s 300 years of history. Diriyah Project is a globally significant destination that includes the Turaif District UNESCO World Heritage Site. These cultural and historical aspects position Diriyah as an unrivaled destination of global significance where the authenticity of Saudi heritage can be celebrated, revealing the historic origins of modern Saudi Arabia. Tourists will have the opportunity to explore and get to know Saudi’s history, and its culture at the city’s museums and purpose-built pavilions. The Diriyah giga-project is expected to enable many strategic domestic sectors, create partnerships with the local private sector, and unlock many new investment opportunities throughout its development and production phases in sectors such as construction, operation and management of hotels, retail, entertainment, and cultural facilities, creating thousands of new job opportunities and providing a series of initiatives designed to contribute to enriching the quality of life for residents and visitors. Giga-projects form a key part of PIF’s strategy due to their ability to create new economic ecosystems that drive economic growth and diversification in Saudi Arabia. Diriyah becomes the fifth PIF giga-project after NEOM, Red Sea, Qiddiya, and Roshn projects. The Diriyah Project aligns with PIF’s strategy to focus on unlocking the capabilities of promising sectors, including tourism and …

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Indonesia and Pakistan, the top two international markets for Umrah reveals Mawasim

Hajj and Umrah tour operator Mawasim, part of Almosafer – Seera Group’s travel platform, has recorded strong growth in Umrah bookings, with its new offices in Indonesia and Pakistan driving significant growth in pilgrim arrivals. The two countries are also the top international markets for Umrah bookings for Mawasim in 2022. Unveiling the new trends in Umrah travel at the 2023 Conference & Exhibition for Hajj and Umrah Services (Hajj Expo), the largest conference and exhibition for Hajj and Umrah services, Mawasim forecast exceptional growth for the coming year, with pilgrim arrivals from focus markets including Egypt, Algeria, India, Turkey, Malaysia, Iraq and Jordan, in addition to Indonesia and Pakistan. At Hajj Expo, organised by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Mawasim is showcasing its competencies and proven track record in delivering seamless Umrah services for pilgrims from around the world. The company reported strong growth in the last two quarters of 2022, despite the late start of Umrah, welcoming nearly 31,000 pilgrims from 43 countries and working with over 214 agents. Pilgrims accounted for a total of 81,730 room nights across 114 hotels with the largest number of bookings coming from Pakistan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Singapore and Egypt. With travel restrictions limiting Umrah arrivals from inbound markets during the pandemic, pilgrims have returned to make the most of their spiritual trips to Makkah and Madinah with group trips averaging 8 days and 40 passengers per booking. The increase in Umrah travel follows recent reforms in Saudi Arabia permitting visitors to perform Umrah on any visa, in addition to general visa policies that have eased access to the Kingdom with residents of the GCC now being able to obtain a visa …

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Dubai reveals events and entertainment to attract the domestic and international visitors during the first two months

In keeping with the longest running retail tourism festival, Dubai shopping festival which attracts the domestic visitors as well as international travellers year on year, this year with almost every source market opening up also brings in a lot more events to be enjoyed by the visitors. Some of the most interesting   Dubai Calendar, the official listing platform for events in the city, is gearing up to kick-start the 2023 line-up of events and live entertainment with an incredible range of music, culture and sport events which will take place throughout the city during January and February 2023. These include a host of epic live entertainment events such as Dubai Beats and Cirque Du Soleil, and sporting spectacles including Dubai Desert Classic, and much more. Dubai Shopping Festival have collaborated with Core Direction to create the region’s first ever camping, music and movement festival, COREUNITY. The event will be taking place in Hatta from 13th-15th January, working with the team who presented Yoga At The Top – Burj Khalifa and Movement & Music at the Dubai Opera Garden, to deliver an epic weekend of fun, wellness and adventure. For a night full of laughter with some of the region’s leading comedians and actors, head to Dubai World Trade Centre’s Sheikh Rashid Hall for The Sixth World War. The hilarious performance will feature stars including Hassan Al Balam, Zahra Arafat, Muhammad Al Ramadan, Fahd Al Bannai and Abdulaziz Al Nassar, and will be taking place from 13th-14th January. Get your mystery-solving hat on with a unique game of uncovering clues as the globally renowned Murder Mystery experience arrives at Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai and will run until 12th March. Be …

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Hyatt Regency debuts in Izmir with 160 room Hyatt Regency Izmir Istinyepark

Hyatt announced the opening of Hyatt Regency Izmir IstinyePark, located in Balçova, a charming district of Izmir and one of the oldest cities in the Mediterranean. Marking the sixth Hyatt branded property in Turkey, and the second Hyatt Regency hotel in the country, its opening demonstrates Hyatt’s intentional brand growth in destinations that matter most to its guests and World of Hyatt members. The hotel’s 160 spacious guestrooms and suites feature timeless interiors and memorable views over the Gulf of Izmir. Guests have access to premium meetings and event spaces, an on-site spa, 24-hour fitness center, and outdoor pool. For those looking to enjoy authentic Aegean and Mediterranean cuisine, Hyatt Regency Izmir IstinyePark also features an all-day dining restaurant with a partial sea view, and an airy bar and lounge. Located next to the IstinyePark Shopping Mall, the finest shopping and dining venue in the district, the hotel provides convenient access to the city’s rich and fascinating points of interest, including the region’s healing thermal springs, Konak Square, the main square of the city, and incredible aerial views from the Balçova Cable Car. Hyatt Regency Izmir IstinyePark also offers a central location to the city’s metro, tram, bus stations and the airport, for stress-free connectivity. Commenting on the opening, Zafer Canbaz, the hotel’s general manager said, “This is a monumental day – we are excited to welcome guests and World of Hyatt members to the culturally rich port city of Izmir. Overlooking the tranquil waters of the sunlit Gulf of Izmir, and situated in the thriving heart of Balçova, Hyatt Regency Izmir IstinyePark is an ideal gathering space for everything from productive meetings to energizing vacations.” Contemporary Guestrooms The hotel’s …

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239 key Four Points by Sheraton opens in Production City, Dubai

Four Points by Sheraton, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary hotel brands, announces the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Production City. Designed to appeal to both business and leisure travelers, the hotel offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, approachable relaxed design, and stylish comfort in the city. Four Points by Sheraton Production City is situated in Dubai Production City, a fast growing business hub in the city. The hotel is conveniently located just 30 minutes away from Al Maktoum Airport and Dubai International Airport, with excellent connections to every part of Dubai. The hotel was converted from an existing property and operates under a franchise agreement managed by Seeb Investments Limited, the owners and developers of the property. Shahzad Butt, General Manager, Four Points by Sheraton Production City noted, “We are delighted to collaborate with Marriott International on Four Points by Sheraton Production City, Dubai. Our team of passionate individuals are ready to deliver the highest standards of services and experiences for business and leisure travelers. At this time of immense change, we are certain that Four Points by Sheraton Production City will resonate in the market and will be a fantastic addition to Dubai’s hospitality industry.” Signature global brand programing coupled with a warm and welcoming atmosphere makes Four Points by Sheraton Production City an ideal gathering place for guests and the local community to kick back and relax. Designed for the independent traveler with an emphasis on delivering what matters the most, all 239 guestrooms and suites offer a 55-inch smart TV, ergonomic workspaces, and complimentary high-speed internet. The property features multiple dining venues offering a wide selection of global cuisine. The Specialty restaurant, Wagah …

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PIA & Sabre ink Renewal Agreements

Sabre Corporation announced the extension of two agreements with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). The national carrier of Pakistan has renewed its multi-year content distribution agreement with Sabre and the two companies have also agreed to continue their strategic joint venture partnership in the Pakistani market. The carrier and Sabre have had a successful GDS joint venture in Pakistan since 2004. The extension of the content distribution agreement means that PIA will continue to have full access to Sabre’s extensive global seller network. PIA will also continue to work with Sabre in a joint venture which allows the airline to better market and sell its content using Sabre’s advanced technological solutions, including the intuitive ‘Sabre Red 360’ point of sale, to Travel Agents across Pakistan. “We are delighted to have reaffirmed and strengthened our relationship with Sabre with these two renewals so that, together, we can move forward with our plans to not only grow PIA’s footprint and revenue, but also to facilitate growth in the wider Pakistan travel ecosystem,” said Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Amir Hayat, Chief Executive Officer, Pakistan International Airlines. PIA services a vast network of locations across Pakistan and throughout Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and has ambitious plans to expand its network further. “We greatly value our partnership with PIA, and we’re pleased and proud to have cemented this important relationship with these multi-year renewals. As the travel industry recovery continues apace, it’s vital that the travel agency community in Pakistan can access Sabre’s advanced global suite of solutions and services,” said Brett Thorstad, Vice President, Sabre Travel Solutions, Agency Sales, Asia Pacific. “We are excited about the growth trajectory of the Pakistan market and …

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Authentic travel, work-away holidays, and luxury to be key 2023 travel trends in the UAE and Saudi Arabia

Travellers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia are planning to spend more on holidays in 2023, with most in both markets (93%) planning to go away, and more than two thirds in each market (66% in Saudi Arabia and 69% in the UAE planning more breaks than in 2022. Luxury will also be a key theme, with around a quarter planning on staying in luxury accommodation whilst away. The increase in trips and spending is, in part, thanks to more confidence that 2023 holiday plans won’t be impacted by Covid, and the fact that travel remains a priority for Middle Eastern consumers. Sustainability also plays an important role in 2023 travel plans, whilst ‘having a break from it all’ is key for holidaymakers. These are the findings of Marriott Bonvoy’s 2023 Travel Trends research, which analysed the 2023 travel plans of 14,000 travellers across Europe and the Middle East. Wellbeing-led holidays that allow people to get away from it all will be the predominant type of break those in the Middle East go on. More than six in ten from the UAE (61%) plan to, whilst the figure is even higher for Saudi Arabia (73%). Authentic travel is also key, with many wanting to immerse themselves in a complete change of culture, with over half in both markets (55% in the UAE and 56% in Saudi Arabia) wanting to explore new destinations and cultures. To truly soak up local culture, 30% of those from the UAE and 27% of those from Saudi Arabia plan on taking an ‘extended holiday’ of three weeks or more in one destination. Of those going on an extended holiday, 39% from Saudi …

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Address Grand Creek Harbour opens its doors to guests

One of the year’s most anticipated hotel openings, Address Grand Creek Harbour, has arrived offering a luxury guest experience unrivalled in one of Dubai’s most picturesque locations. Sitting on the beautiful shores of the Dubai Creek, the magnificently appointed 223-room hotel offers a range of rooms and suites to make any stay an experience to remember. The first five-star luxury hotel in Dubai Creek Harbour is a sophisticated waterfront destination, where guests can look forward to relaxed decadence, unrivalled amenities, fabulous flavours, and a stay which soothes and invigorates the soul. Mark Kirby, Head of Hospitality at Emaar Hospitality Group said: “This is another momentous occasion for Address Hotels + Resorts in Dubai. The new Address Grand Creek Harbour is a masterpiece of a property, bringing five-star luxury to the stunning surroundings of Dubai Creek Harbour. “Dubai Creek Harbour is expanding at an incredible pace and will be a cornerstone of the city’s skyline for years to come – we are delighted to be part of a new community full of excitement and charm. This hotel, with its design, ambiance, luxury, and amenities is a stunning addition to the city – right in the heart of a character-filled and visually spectacular location like Dubai Creek Harbour.” Rooms are beautifully appointed with the very best in design and comfort complimenting your stay. Showpiece suites include Executive, Skyline and Panoramic Suite options with balconies, as well as the three-bedroom Presidential Suite, all of which offer magnificent views of the city and creek, along with a spacious comfort ideal for family and friends. The hotel is the ultimate destination for couples and families alike with the intimacy of a boutique offering, combined with …

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