Shivani DDPPL

Noor Bank, UB QFPay launch innovative mobile payment solutions

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Noor Bank has collaborated with UB QFPay, the joint venture between Dubai-based United Brands (UBPAY) and China-based QFPay, to bring a new and innovative mobile payment solution to the UAE. The solution, a first-of-its-kind in the region, will enable tourists as well as overseas visitors to make payments at retail outlets in the UAE using multiple international mobile wallets from various markets. As part of its collaboration, Noor Bank will handle all transaction settlements for the solution while UB QFPay will allow retail outlets within the UAE to accept secure payments from tourists who wish to pay from their preferred mobile wallets for their purchases. John Iossifidis, CEO, Noor Bank said, “I am proud of the collaborative efforts between UB QFPay and our Global Transaction Services (GTS) team to introduce a new payment solution in the market. The solution will allow overseas visitors to use international mobile wallets for the purchase of goods and services in UAE, for the first time. This partnership is well aligned to the strategic focus of the bank on delivering an enhanced customer experience through digital transformation.” Ahmed Alrafi, Managing Director, UB QFPay said, “Chinese tourists are a huge segment for retailers in the UAE, who have focused on attracting more Chinese shoppers to their stores and UB QFPay makes them ‘China Ready’ by allowing Chinese tourists to pay with their preferred mode of payment.”

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Bahrain’s Festival City attracts 21,000+ visitors

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More than 21,000 people visited the ‘Festival City’ located at Bahrain Bay and one of the main events held during the fourth edition of the Bahrain Festival ‘Shop Bahrain’. The Festival City was launched last week by H.E. Zayed Bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, in the presence of H.E. Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA). ‘Shop Bahrain’ aims to offer a fun-filled schedule of entertaining activities and a chance to win valuable prizes. The 30-day celebration will run until February 10, 2018. “We are delighted to witness the success of Shop Bahrain during the first few days of its launch and we look forward to welcoming more visitors to attend events held throughout the Kingdom. The Festival City, a key event held during Shop Bahrain, aims to create a fun-filled environment for the entire family to enjoy,” said Shaikh Khaled. “The Festival City is also in line with BTEA’s strategy which aims to further develop the tourism industry in line with Economic Vision 2030,” he said. The Festival City includes a number of family-oriented activities, live performances, carnival games, valuable prizes, outdoor market, delicious food and live performances.

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flyadeal adds Abha to its growing network

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flyadeal is set to add Abha to its growing network route, starting February 1. Abha will be the airline’s fifth destination from Jeddah and third from Riyadh, after having launched flights to Dammam, Qassim and Jazan in its first three months of commencing operations. The new destination is made possible with the arrival of the fifth brand new A320 aircraft, Al-Kawkab (The Star). The airline will connect Abha to both Jeddah and Riyadh, with two daily flights between the cities, offering convenient schedules in both morning and evening. His Excellency Eng. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Chairman, flyadeal, said, “With the opening of the Abha route, we connect travellers point to point within the Kingdom with a new low fare service, and in the months ahead, we look forward to even further expansion both domestically and internationally.” Abha, a mountainous region with year-round pleasant weather, is a popular holiday destination. By connecting the heart of the Asir Province with the Kingdom’s two largest cities, flyadeal’s new routes will allow customers to explore the national heritage and wonderful scenery in Abha.  

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Emirates inks deal for 36 A380s worth $16 billion

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Emirates announced a US$ 16 billion (AED 58.7 billion) deal for 36 additional Airbus A380 aircraft, with 20 firm orders and 16 options. Emirates’ A380 fleet operates both GE and Rolls-Royce engines, and the airline is evaluating engine options for its latest A380 order. The additional Airbus A380s will be delivered to Emirates from 2020 onwards. Together with the airline’s 101-strong A380 fleet and its current order backlog for 41 aircraft, this new order brings Emirates’ commitment to the A380 programme to 178 aircraft, worth over US$ 60 billion. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, said, “This deal reflects Emirates’ confidence in shaping the future and its commitment to advancing Dubai’s vision to grow further as a world-class destination and aviation hub.” His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group signed the MOU with John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer Customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft at the airline’s headquarters in Dubai.

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Oaks by Minor Hotels to debut in Lebanon

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The 110-key Oaks Beirut is scheduled to be launched by the middle of this year and will be located in Sodeco, a commercial area of Beirut, approximately five minutes’ drive from the central downtown area and 15 minutes from Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport. Minor Hotels signed a management agreement with Allied Investment Group to operate Oaks Beirut. “We are very excited to announce the forthcoming debut of our Oaks brand in Lebanon later this year, commented Dillip Rajakarier, CEO, Minor Hotels. “For Minor Hotels adding Lebanon to our footprint has considerable strategic value and we are pleased to launch our first hotel in the country. Beirut is a dynamic city with so much to offer and is widely regarded as one of the most influential trendsetters in the region.” The property will provide modern accommodation with a selection of guest rooms and suites, including an all-day dining restaurant, lounge bar & café, rooftop pool and bar, plus dedicated conference facilities. Providing the luxury of space, Oaks Hotels & Resorts offers a range of contemporary accommodation, from hotel and resort rooms and suites, to furnished serviced apartments, in central city locations and resort destinations.  

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Explore Ajman aboard a seaplane

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Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman, Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD), launched the latest tourist attraction with an inaugural seaplane ride landing in Al Zorah Marina 1 in Ajman. The launch was attended by HE Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General, ATDD; HE Eng. Omar Ahmed Bin Omair Al Muhairi, Director General, Public Transport Corporation, Ajman; Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Director of Media Office, Rulers Court; Imad Dana, CEO, Al Zorah Development Company and and Stuart Wheeler, CEO, Seawings. Ajman will now offer regular flights on the Cessna 208 Caravan Seaplanes over Ajman on a per person basis, taking in the iconic sights of the emirate in the process. Al Nuaimi said, “Ajman is increasingly offering exciting visitor attractions for our growing market of local, regional and international tourists. With the launch of the seaplane, residents and tourists can now get a unique, bird’s eye view of the emirate and travel to Dubai Creek in style.” Flights will take off on a pre-booked basis from Al Zorah Marina 1 in Ajman, landing at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, and can take up to nine passengers. It is able to swoop low over the natural mangroves of Al Zorah as well as other Ajman landmark

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HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launches ecotourism project in Dubai

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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai has launched Marmoom Reserve Project, the first unfenced desert conservation reserve in the country. Spanning 10 per cent of Dubai’s total area, the reserve will introduce more than 20 environmental, cultural and sports-related initiatives, sponsored by nine Dubai’s government agencies. Enjoying over 40 hectares of shrubland and fertile area, the reserve is home to several species of native and migratory birds. The new project will include 10 animal and bird observation platforms, star and sunset observations decks, areas for yoga, an outdoor theatre that can host 350-person events, and will be powered by a 5,000 megawatt solar power complex. Al Maktoum said, “The Marmoom Reserve is an environmental, touristic and sporting addition to life in the UAE.” He continued, “The desert provides a peaceful shelter to plants, birds and people. Our goal is to provide a fertile and robust environment for plants, natural reserve for animals and an important destination for tourists.” His Highness concluded, “When nine government agencies work as a team, the result will be exceptional, as reflected in the Marmoom Reserve.”  

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Royal Jordanian implements new security measures for US-bound flights

Royal Jordanian

Royal Jordanian (RJ) is set to implement additional security measures for US-bound flights from January 18. The measures- which include security interviews with every passenger at check-in or boarding gates- are applicable on all international airlines operating direct flights to the US, and include all nationalities flying to the US, with no exception. While they were required in October 26, 2017, the US authorities granted all airlines the option of delaying the implementation process for a limited period of time. RJ passengers are still required to be at the airport three hours prior to their scheduled US-bound flights, to avoid delays and allow more time for the implementation of new security procedures. RJ currently operates 11 weekly flights to the US, namely, five to Chicago, four to New York and two to Detroit, with a connection in Montreal.

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Turkish Airlines ends 2017 on a successful note

Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER

Turkish Airlines has performed well beyond expectations in 2017. The number of passengers in 2017 compared to previous year was increased by 9.3 per cent and the flag carrier carried 68.6 millions passengers. Compared to the previous year, the load factor reached 79.1 per cent by increasing 4.7 points. The carrier has reached the highest December load factor rate with 79.5 per cent in December 2017. M. İlker Aycı, Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee, Turkish Airlines, had given the first signal of the carrier’s proven success at the end of 2017 in January 2017. He said, “We believe that 2017 will be much better year than 2016. We made our plans and savings accordingly. We are analysing the conditions of our home country, our region, our industry, the developments and trends in aviation and tourism sector. I believe Turkish Airlines will complete the year with increased power, brand value and market share once again’’. In December, cargo/mail volume increased by 18.4 per cent, compared to December 2016. In December, Load Factor increased for all regions. Middle East, North America and Africa showed visible growth among other regions with 7,1 points, 6.8 points and 5.6 points increase, respectively. During January-December, increase in demand and total number of passengers were 7.9 per cent and 9.3 per cent, respectively, over the same period of last year.

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Ghaya Grand Hotel receives Guest Review award

Guest Review Awards 2017

Celebrating hospitality businesses that have earned great traveller reviews, Ghaya Grand Hotel has received a Booking.com Guest Review Award. Commenting on the accreditation, Olwin Desouza, General Manager, Ghaya Grand Hotel, said “With our wide variety of restaurant offerings, plus further competition from new restaurants opening up in Dubai, we have had to strive to be at the top of our game,” he said. “Winning the 2017 Guest Review Award demonstrates we are providing service with a smile for our guests as well as a product that delivers everything they require, whether visiting Dubai on business or leisure.” “With more than 110 million guest reviews on our platform, we not only guide travellers to find their perfect stays, but empower our accommodation partners to stay up-to-date with evolving customer expectations, including what travellers appreciate most about their property, as well as what can potentially be improved,” said Remco van Zanten, Global Director—Partner Services, Booking.com. “With our guest review awards, we congratulate, thank and honour the incredible dedication of our partners to create great guest experiences for our customers, time and time again,” he added.

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