Shivani DDPPL

Oman Air Holidays announce bespoke Golf packages

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Oman Air Holidays has unveiled its bespoke golf package product that combines the inbound tour operating expertise with local golfing knowledge provided by Arabian Greens Tours. This new service provides everything a golf enthusiast needs to get the best out of their visit. Packaging Oman Air flights, the best hotels and transport options, with all the courses around Muscat and Sifah, visitors can get a fabulous sporting holiday in Oman. The new product caters for golfers of all ages and levels; from novices, all the way through to professionals looking for some warm weather practice. Richard Bodin, Senior Vice President of Oman Air Holidays, said, “Announcing a dedicated golf product, in partnership with the experts at Arabian Greens Tours, will help us drive more visitors to Oman and its wonderful hotels and courses.” Salim Al Harthy, CEO of Arabian Greens Tours confirmed his company’s commitment to the product: “Golf represents huge growth potential for tourism Oman. Hosting recent events such as the Oman Open, which is a part of the highly prestigious European Tour, has resulted in a wave of interest in Muscat as a golfing destination.” Golf tourism caters for over 40 million tourists and is worth in excess of $22 Billion around the world; it is therefore important that Oman attracts some of this traffic to the country. As proud sponsors of the 2019 Oman Open Championship, amongst many other sporting events throughout the calendar, Oman Air is playing its part in promoting the country as a strong, activity-led destination and the launch of the Oman Air Holidays golf specific product is another step forward in achieving that objective.

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25th edition of Leisure Moscow from Sept 10-12


Leisure Moscow will celebrate the 25th edition from September 10-12 at Expocentre Fairgrounds. One of the key programmes this year is the international forum for tourism industry professionals and experts. The theme will be new destinations and territory marketing. The new generation of tourists and digital technologies inspire changes in the travel industry that require a flexible approach. There will be emerging of new niches and increasing competition between routes and regions. What is the next step in the industry development, and how to predict trends? What destinations will be relevant? What prospects have been opened by the event tourism over the past 5 years (on the example of Sochi 2014, 2018 FIFA World Cup)? How the cultural tourism develops? These and other topics will be discussed by experts and professionals during all three forum days. Last year, the exhibition attracted 870 exhibitors from 41 countries and 44 Russian regions with 38,303 visits in 15 000 sqm exhibition area with 287 media attendees and 80 media partners.

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WTTC MENA forum in RAK in October

RAK_Jebel Jais Viewing Deck Park

World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) will host their inaugural Middle East & North Africa Leaders’ Forum in Ras Al Khaimah on October 2nd. The one-day forum will engage 150-200 leaders in keynotes and panel discussions focusing on key themes, including: challenges and investment opportunities; job creation and skill development; climate and environment action and digital disruption. This will bring together government agencies, industry associations, CEOs and senior leaders of the top travel and tourism companies, experts, and media from across the region. The WTTC Middle East & North Africa Leaders Forum will delve into contemporary issues facing the sector and discuss growth opportunities to advance the regional agenda.

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Turkish Airlines enhances its cabin uniforms


Turkish Airlines’ cabin crew will now greet passengers with ‘welcome onboard’ dressed in new uniforms on long haul flights of the national flag carrier. The new cabin crew uniforms of Turkish Airlines, flying to the most countries in the world, were designed with the aim of celebrating the airline’s 85th anniversary and will be visible on the entire cabin crew on the long haul flights of the flag carrier. The new uniforms in flag-red and anthracite gray colours, which were rigorously tested on long-range flights in different climates, have been tailored to 25,000 employees in order for cabin crews to serve passengers comfortably. İlker Aycı, Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, Turkish Airlines, said; “I believe that our brand’s presence in the skies will be much more impressive when the new cabin uniforms, which bear elements of our culture, are combined with the elegance of our cabin crews.” Italian haute couturier Ettore Bilotta designed the new cabin uniforms, which were specially sewn by Vakko, and the main fabrics were produced by Altınyıldız, based on the compliance of Turkish Airlines with flight standards.

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UNWTO General Assembly to highlight tourism issues

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St Petersburg will host the 23rd session of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly from September 9-13. Over 1,500 delegates from 158 countries will gather together at the assembly venues to discuss solutions to global issues faced by the tourism sector. The event is organised by the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation in cooperation with the Government of St Petersburg, with Roscongress acting as the operator. The business programme comprises of 16 events in different formats: meetings, debates, plenary sessions, presentations, and discussions. The agenda is focused on the topical issues concerning the organisation’s operation, as well as the challenges faced by the UNWTO and tourism industry players. The event activities will take place across three venues: ExpoForum, the Tauride Palace, and the Presidential Library. Working sessions and meetings on UNWTO’s performance, in particular discussing its reform and current financial situation, will be held as part of the Assembly. UNWTO’s Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili will present the report on current trends in international tourism while the World Committee on Tourism Ethics and the Credentials Committee will also present their respective reports. Important discussions will also include the adoption of the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics, as well as the approval of themes of the World Tourism Day for 2020 and designation of the host country for 2021. The high-level forum on medical and health tourism in the Tauride Palace will be the key event of the Assembly. Head of the Federal Tourism Agency (Russian Federation) Zarina Doguzova, Chairman of the Medical Tourism Association (USA), Jonathan Edelheit and former football player, founder of Bionox Group and UNWTO Ambassador for Sustainable Tourism Fernando Hierro will perform their reports. Debates …

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Saudi tourism forecast growth in religious and business travel


According to the latest data released by various indicators Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen an exponential increase of tourists from UAE, USA and UK over 2018 which secured a continued growth in the hotel sector.  A report by Colliers reveal that international arrivals to Saudi Arabia are expected to increase 5.6 per cent per year from 17.7 million in 2018 to 23.3 million in 2023. According to the Savills report, recent tourism growth in Saudi Arabia has been driven by three key demand pools – leisure, pilgrim and corporate visitors. Paula de Keijzer, Senior Director Market Management, Africa, Indian Ocean, Middle East and Turkey, Expedia Group, said, “Major hotel groups are driving construction trends across the country as they aim to meet the demands of an ever-increasing number of domestic tourists and international visitors. When it comes to brand affinity and customer loyalty, it is essential to engage at each level of the customer journey. Tools, data and insights available via OTA extranet sites, like Expedia Partner Central (EPC), offer hoteliers the opportunity to inspire and convert travelers, set expectations, create personalised experiences, identify and address issues to better meet guest needs, improve guest experience and drive repeat bookings.” With travel bookings in the Kingdom considered the largest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the power of the international traveler growth to Saudi Arabia is expected to remain strong.  USA saw more than 110 per cent year on year growth in demand compared to the same period in 2017 with almost 45 per cent share of total room nights, UAE saw a whopping year on year growth of above 140 per cent than last year with almost …

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Dubai hotels occupancy records a high of 76%


According to a recent report released by Dubai tourism, the hotel sector has recorded one of the highest in the world with occupancy at 76 per cent with establishments delivering a combined 15.71 million occupied room nights during the first six months of the year, a five per cent increase over the same period in 2018. Another noteworthy fact is that the emirate has now reached an inventory of 118,345 within 714 establishments at the end of June 2019, representing a six per cent increase, which showcased continued strong investor confidence in Dubai’s tourism demand. In the Middle East, Dubai continues to be the much favoured destination recording the largest traffic from all over the world. Brands such as Rove have revolutionised the market in Dubai. Luxury five-star and four-star hotels commanded 34 and 25 per cent of the emirate’s total inventory, respectively.  Meanwhile properties in the one to three-star categories represented a share of 20 per cent. Increasing demand for diversified accommodation options was met with a combined 21 per cent of hotel apartment establishments across the deluxe/superior and standard categories.

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58% growth in bookings for Ireland from the UAE: dnata Travel


Travel from the UAE to the island of Ireland has seen strong growth from January 1st until June 30th, according to travel statistics released by dnata Travel. Compared to the same period (H1) in 2018, UAE locals and residents have been visiting Ireland in greater numbers, drawn to its diverse landscape full of lush greenery and vast natural beauty.  Over the first two quarters of the year, 58 per cent more bookings to Ireland were made through dnata Travel’s platforms, and room nights booked have also increased by 72 per cent. Antonio Fellino, Vice President of Retail and eCommerce for dnata Travel UAE, commented: “Trips to Ireland with dnata Travel offer UAE travellers unique opportunities including the chance to stay in a grand castle, or a small cottage at the heart of a colourful local village, or to explore rugged, scenic landscapes that follow in the footsteps of their favourite Game of Thrones characters.” Additional data indicates that sales of trips and accommodation to Ireland increased nearly two-fold during Eid Al Fitr alone, as compared to last year. This correlated to the travel provider noting that online searches for holidays to Ireland have seen a 675% augmentation in the first six months of this year. The most preferred destination for travellers from the UAE market was to Dublin, with 95 per cent of hotel bookings made through the dnata Travel platform favouring the capital city, followed by the cosmopolitan city of Cork. Visitors from the region have been found to reinforce their preference for luxury accommodation whilst abroad, as 47 per cent of hotels booked were for 5-star properties, followed by 4-star and 3-star hotels respectively. The ever-strengthening relationship between …

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Travelport to develop a blockchain solution for hotel commission reconciliation

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Travelport has announced the development of a blockchain solution to enhance the hotel commission reconciliation process. Working with IBM Services and BCD Travel, as well as a number of high-profile hotel chains, the blockchain technology solution aims to optimise hotel commission processing on a distributed ledger by managing reconciliation, tracking and accounting for commission payments owed from hotel chains for services purchased by travellers via booking agencies. Ross Vinograd, Senior Product Director, Travelport, said: “Blockchain technology applied to commission reconciliation has the potential to deliver real ROI to both a travel agency and the hotel. Traveller modifications at property, no shows, and complimentary room nights are just a few examples that drive commission discrepancies which in turn generate escalations, cost, and revenue loss. Our aim is to put the lifecycle of a booking on the blockchain and we believe doing so will drive transparency, trust, and ultimately booking volume.” Kurt Wedgwood, IBM Blockchain Leader-Travel, added: “Global distribution companies and providers would benefit from this use of blockchain technology to remove their never-ending work of reconciliation to spend that time adding new experiences and insights for the traveller. Eliminating the hours spent addressing dollars in dispute or the timeliness and accuracy of information allows all participants to focus on what matters most: the traveller.”  

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Bahrain, significant market: Etihad CEO

Skyline of Manama Central Business District. The capital of Bahrain

As Etihad Airways marks its 15th anniversary of its operations between the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, and Manama,  Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, mentions that Bahrain has evolved as a significant market for the airways. Kamark,  said: “We are delighted to celebrate the 15th anniversary of our flights to Bahrain, which was one of the first routes we served after Etihad was established in November 2003. “Bahrain has evolved as a significant market for Etihad, notably because of its strong relationships, long history and shared culture with the UAE.” Since launching services to Bahrain on August 22, 2004, Etihad has carried more than 2.5 million guests between the two capitals. Today, the airline operates 28 flights per week and carries 200,000 guests annually to and from Bahrain, using Airbus A320 aircraft. Etihad’s flights to Manama provide a vital link between Bahrain and major markets in Asia, Indian subcontinent, MENA and the United States, via the airline’s home and hub, Abu Dhabi. Earlier this year, Etihad Airways and Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, signed a codeshare agreement in which each placed their flight codes on services operated by the other between and beyond Abu Dhabi and Manama, strengthening the offering of both airlines.   The United Arab Emirates has boasted robust economic ties with the Kingdom of Bahrain throughout history. The business links between them are now stronger than ever, with the total non-oil trade volume exceeding 7.5 US billion in 2018. Etihad Airways has played a vital role in encouraging the import and export traffic between the two GCC countries, carrying goods and cargo shipments in both ways. The United Arab Emirates exports Portland cement and precious …

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