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Designs unveiled for Saudi Arabia’s captivating Desert Rock mountain resort

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) in Saudi Arabia is taking the concept a step further by carving a luxury hotel into a rock mountain for its future guests to literally immerse themselves in. Set in one of the most dramatic desert landscapes in the world, the Desert Rock resort is being integrated into the stunning mountainside and offers panoramic views of the mountain canyons below and a canopy of stars above. As part of The Red Sea Project, TRSDC recently revealed a first look at Desert Rock’s designs, which are intended to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s spectacular natural beauty and Nabatean heritage.  “Since the inception of the Desert Rock project, creating a development that combines luxury, sustainability and an immersive experience for our guests has been at the heart of it all,” said John Pagano, TRSDC CEO. “We cannot wait to welcome guests to enjoy a stay at this unique property.” Inspired by the surrounding beautiful mountains, volcanoes and wadis, Desert Rock will feature 48 villas and 12 hotel suites. A variety of accommodation styles will be available to best meet guests needs, from ground level dwellings to crevice hotel suites midway up the mountain. An impressive feat of engineering, a select number of rooms will sit within the excavated rock-scape, giving guests access to stunning views of Saudi Arabia and opportunities for star gazing, all from the comfort of your room.  The unique rock formations included in the resort architecture were produced by a series of cataclysmic seismic events thousands of years ago, and so the architecture has been designed to keep this natural beauty while also reducing energy consumption, supercharging the ecosystem, and regenerating native flora. This innovative architecture …

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SCTDA increases support for Sharjah’s licensed tour guides through the launch of Hadaf Initiative

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) reaffirms its commitment to empowering professionals in the tourism sector by launching the Hadaf Initiative, which offers rewards and incentives to SCTDA-licensed tour guides. This initiative, which is part of SCTDA’s plan to support national talent interested in establishing a career in Sharjah’s tourism sector, also opens more opportunities for those interested in obtaining a tourist guide license in the emirate. The Hadaf initiative is being launched in conjunction with the World Tourism Day, which falls on September 27 each year. The Hadaf program comprises three main strategies. The first being the hosting of virtual workshops centered around training tour guides to develop relevant skills, keeping pace with the latest global trends within the sector. The training will moreover aid tour guides in increasing their awareness of the importance of having accurate data regarding tourist destinations, as well as the culture and heritage of Sharjah and the UAE in general. The second is for SCTDA-licensed tour guides to receive incentives in appreciation of their efforts in serving the tourism sector and Sharjah visitors. As part of the incentives, tour guides will receive the Hadaf e-card, which provides special discounts and exclusive packages. As for the third one, the Authority will have observers and experts participate in the tours and evaluate the performance of tour guides during their interaction with tourists. H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, said: “The Hadaf initiative, which will initiate the virtual workshops, field inspection tours, and the Hadaf reward card, is part of our commitment to support and reward licensed tour guides and encourage young talent in the tourism sector. This also reflects our confidence in …

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flydubai touches down in Ljubljana

flydubai became the first airline to operate direct air links to the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana from the United Arab Emirates. The inaugural flight FZ 1789 from Dubai International (DXB) to Ljubljana Joze Pucnik Airport (LJU) touched down just after 14:00 to a water cannon salute and a warm welcome from the airport and government officials. flydubai and Fraport Slovenija, the operator of Ljubljana Airport (LJU), held a press conference at the airport prior to the arrival of the carrier’s inaugural flight. The press conference was attended by local media, travel agents and representatives of government bodies. Speaking at the press conference, Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at flydubai, said: “we are excited to see our network in Europe grow to 20 points in 17 countries, many of which had very few or no direct links to the UAE. flydubai’s direct flights to Ljubljana will strengthen the ties between our two countries and help stimulate tourism, trade and investment opportunities in the future. We look forward to welcoming on board our passengers from Slovenia, especially as our city gets ready to welcome the world as Expo 2020 Dubai opens its doors to visitors from beginning of October.” Slovenia will be among the 191 participating nations taking part at the anticipated Expo 2020 Dubai. The Slovenian pavilion is designed to be a floating green oasis that inspires sustainable solutions. His Excellency Oto Pungartnik, Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Arab Emirates, said: “The new flydubai route between Dubai and Ljubljana will have a positive impact on the growth of tourism in both countries. We are convinced that the tourists from UAE will enjoy the hospitality of our people …

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Etihad Airways adds more flights to Seychelles

Etihad Airways will be operating more flights to Seychelles from October to provide leisure holidaymakers and families with convenient travel options to the tropical paradise. The national airline of the UAE will upgrade its Seychelles service from four to five weekly flights from 7 October, as well as operate seven additional services between 15 and 24 October to coincide with the half-term holidays. These additional flights have been scheduled to provide families with younger children with more travel options during the school break. Martin Drew, Etihad’s Senior Vice President Sales and Cargo, said: “This is the perfect time to discover the beauty of Seychelles, with balmy temperatures and calm waters ideal for snorkelling, diving and enjoying its picture-perfect beaches. “Seychelles is a one-of-a-kind destination, and with vaccinated travellers in the UAE being able to fly there and back without quarantine, it is the perfect destination for a short getaway or a longer family holiday.” Etihad Airways has launched a sale on fares to Seychelles, valid only on etihad.com until midnight on 2 October. Available on a first come, first served basis, guests can enjoy return fares starting from AED 1,795 in Economy, for travel in October and November 2021. Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is a short 4 hours and 35 minutes flight from Abu Dhabi.  Etihad Airways flies to the largest island of Mahé which is home to the capital of Victoria. Travellers will need to present a negative PCR test before boarding Etihad Airways flights. For up-to-date travel guidelines, visit etihad.com. Flight schedule between UAE and Seychelles effective 7 October. Subject to change.    

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Dubai Tourism partners with Marriott International

As Dubai further consolidates its strategic partnerships in the domestic and international markets in the post-pandemic period, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has highlighted the pivotal role played by global hospitality partners in accelerating the city’s tourism recovery. At a meeting with the General Managers of Marriott International hotels in Dubai, Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Tourism referred to the critical support provided by Marriott in showcasing the city as a safe must-visit destination, further instilling confidence among global travellers. During the meeting, Mr. Kazim recapped the efforts made by stakeholders and partners like Marriott International to help bring about industry stabilisation, and also shared a positive industry overview underlined by the steady growth in international visitation and high occupancy levels in the first seven months of 2021. He highlighted the fact that Dubai was ranked second globally ahead of London and Paris in terms of hotel occupancy with hotels enjoying 61% average occupancy levels from January – July 2021. Mr. Kazim also emphasised the importance of leveraging all efforts to attract more international visitors, especially benefiting from the Expo 2020 Dubai and the UAE Golden Jubilee celebrations. With the hospitality sector employing a local and expatriate workforce that boasts unrivalled service excellence, Dubai Tourism also stressed the need for hotels to use the Dubai Way online platform created by the Dubai College of Tourism, which is aimed at ensuring that hotel staff impart standardised information and instructions and provide exceptional guest relations. Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Tourism, commented: “The growing industry momentum is the result of a robust strategy that was developed to manage the pandemic under the visionary leadership and guidance of …

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Have a Florida break with Disney Cruise Line

In summer 2022, the Disney Wish will sail its inaugural season of three- and four-night cruises to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, from its new home port of Port Canaveral, Florida. Bookings now open. The highly anticipated fifth ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet will greet its first guests on June 9, 2022, for a special five-night maiden voyage that includes two days at sea and stops in Nassau and Castaway Cay, a private tropical paradise reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests. On June 14, 2022, Disney Vacation Club will host a three-night, members-only cruise to Castaway Cay. These sailings will be followed by alternating three- and four-night cruises from Port Canaveral — about an hour’s drive from Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida — that will offer families an all-new way to experience the magic of Disney at sea combined with a tropical beach vacation. The Disney Wish will whisk families to the blue skies and sunshine of the Bahamas. In Nassau, cruisers will enjoy breathtaking beaches and activities for everyone in the family as they swim, snorkel, shop and more in this popular vacation destination. At Castaway Cay, guests will explore a pristine island completely outfitted for family fun and relaxation and brimming with special Disney touches. On these truly enchanting vacations, families will find everything they love about a Disney cruise — like dazzling entertainment, world-class dining, unique character encounters and signature Disney service — plus brand-new experiences aboard the Disney Wish, such as: AquaMouse, the first-ever Disney attraction at sea that will immerse families in “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse” animated shorts on a wild water ride with Mickey and Minnie. Arendelle: A Frozen …

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Qatar Airways to launch flights to Almaty in Kazakhstan ‎

Qatar Airways announced that it will launch scheduled passenger services to Almaty, Kazakhstan starting from 19 November 2021. The new service will be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy Class. This service will enable passengers flying to and from Almaty to enjoy seamless connectivity to over 140 destinations, via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport in Doha, the State of Qatar. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are proud to bring our award-winning services to Kazakhstan, adding this unique destination to our growing network. This new service reinforces the warm relations between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Kazakhstan, and reaffirms our commitment to further developing trade and tourism between our two great countries.” Kazakhstan is the economic powerhouse of the Central Asia region. It is an adventurer’s paradise, with landscapes varying from snow-capped mountains to expansive deserts, rocky canyons, coniferous forests, and untouched river deltas. Visitors can also admire historical landmarks including the bright-yellow towers of the famous Zenkov Cathedral in Almaty. The national carrier of the State of Qatar continues to rebuild its network, which currently stands at over 140 destinations. Qatar Airways also features flexible booking policies that offer unlimited changes in travel dates and destinations, and fee-free refunds for all tickets issued for travel completed by 31 May 2022. A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ in the latest World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. The airline’s hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), was recently recognised as the ‘Best Airport in the World 2021’, by the Skytrax World Airport Awards …

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flydubai resumes operations to Prague and Zagreb

flydubai announced that it has resumed its operations to Prague and Zagreb. The carrier will operate up to five weekly flights from Dubai International (DXB) to Prague International Airport (PRG) and twice weekly flights to Franjo Tuđman Airport Zagreb (ZAG). flydubai will increase the frequency of its operations to Franjo Tuđman Airport Zagreb (ZAG) to four weekly flights from December this year. Emirates will codeshare on these routes offering travellers more seamless connections through Dubai’s international aviation hub. Commenting on the resumption of flights to Prague and Zagreb, Hamad Obaidalla, Chief Commercial Officer at flydubai, said: “we are excited to resume operations to Croatia and the Czech Republic which are two popular destinations on the flydubai network. We are confident that passengers will enjoy flydubai’s convenient and reliable service and the comfortable cabin of our Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which offers a flatbed in Business Class, and is scheduled to operate on these routes.” With international travel restrictions gradually easing, flydubai has grown its network to over 95 destinations 50 countries across Africa, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Central and South-East Europe, the GCC and the Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent. The restart of flydubai’s operations to the Czech and Croatian markets will enable more people to travel to Dubai as Expo 2020 Dubai opens its doors to visitors from beginning of October. Complimentary 1-Day Ticket to visit Expo 2020 Passengers booking a flydubai flight to Dubai will enjoy a complimentary 1-Day Ticket to visit Expo 2020 Dubai, taking place from 01 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. The initiative is valid for all bookings made from 01 September for travel during the event dates. Passenger experience Passengers travelling on a Boeing …

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Arabian Travel Awards on 21st November 2021

The third edition of the most coveted awards of the region, Arabian travel awards will kick off on 21st November 2021 amidst a gathering recognizing the heroes of the industries of travel, tourism and hospitality. The pandemic set back the industry with challenges that were harder than ever before yet the industry emerged victorious and this is the celebration for the year. Every year the awards are focused on the people behind the scenes that put in all the effort and the work and most often goes unnoticed and unrewarded. Arabian Travel Awards established itself as the first in the region to recognize these heroes and this year it is of a totally new level of recognition as it is about weathering the storm. Arabian Travel Awards will once again host the industry in a brand new venue at the Le Meridien Hotel and conference center in Garhoud. San Jeet Director Arabian Travel Awards shares, “Our awards this year is very special as it not only recognizes the untiring efforts of the industry experts but also celebrates as heroes of the industry after all the challenges, obstacles that engulfed the whole industry. Applications are still open to vote for those in the industry and who has been in the forefront promoting and proactively working during the pandemic and beyond as of today. Borders slowly open in certain parts of the world and the pandemic is now something we will have to live with for the next few years or so, yet the resilience over the period and the way in which the industry fought back and still keep at it shows the passion and commitment to move forward. As partners …

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Kempinski Hotel and Vox Cinema launches No Time to Die experience

VOX Cinemas is launching an exclusive No Time to Die experience at the Kempinski Hotel to celebrate the release of the latest installment in the James Bond franchise.  From 30 September until 14 October, guests can book the Private Cinema at Kempinski Hotel and watch No Time to Die in true 007-style. Guests who will be served a welcome drink (shaken not stirred!) by staff donning tuxedos while listening to a soundtrack of James Bond theme tunes before watching the most hotly anticipated movie on the big screen. Movie-goers can expect a truly Bond-worthy cinematic experience complete with plush seating and a personal butler in the luxurious auditorium. The Private Cinema at Kempinski Hotel is fully licensed and has an extensive gourmet menu, providing guests with the option of dining in the exclusive lounge or having their F&B delivered directly to their seats. The premium package costs AED2,000 for up to eight guests and AED3,000 for nine to 12 guests and includes admission to the screening, a welcome drink, five postcards with iconic images from the movie, popcorn and a beverage in 007-themed gold and black packaging and the maximum capacity of the Private Cinema is 12 people in line with government guidelines.  The Private Cinema at Kempinski Hotel will host four screenings per day of No Time to Die (10am, 2pm, 6pm or 10pm) from 30 September until 14 October No Time to Die is also showing across VOX Cinemas regionally from 30 September Each booking is for a duration of four hours. Bookings can be made on the VOX Cinemas iOS and Android App or by calling + 971 55 1673908.

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