Shivani DDPPL

Oman Air partners with Grand Millennium Muscat to offer passengers complimentary stay

Grand Millennium Muscat image

Following the success of the recently extended Business and First-class stopover offer, Oman Air is launching another attractive offer for all its passengers. Partnering with the Grand Millennium Muscat, Oman Air’s guests, travelling through Oman on to their end destination, can now enjoy a free night’s accommodation in this luxurious hotel in the centre of Muscat.  Passengers travelling from the Far East on their way to Europe, or vice-versa, can now leave the airport in Muscat to enjoy a complimentary 5-star night in the capital, as well as an opportunity to have a glimpse of the city and its highlights and return to their travels the next day. Visitors wanting to extend their stay can avail attractive rates at the hotel. Richard Bodin, Senior Vice President of Oman Air Holidays, said, “We are delighted with the success of our previous campaign, offering a free stopover option to our premium guests. We are now broadening our offer to include all our passenger base and we are excited to partner with Grand Millennium Muscat for this campaign.” He added, “Oman Air has been successfully attracting passengers from across the world to use Muscat as a connection point to other destinations across our network. Campaigns like this are appealing to them to break their journey, step out of the airport and see some parts of the Sultanate; thereby, promoting Oman and all it has to offer.” Luca Medda, Cluster General Manager at Millennium Hotels and Resorts confirmed his company’s commitment to the campaign, “We are keen to promote Oman to travellers across the globe, and what better way than to get them to actually sample our quality and the famous Omani culture and …

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RAKTDA strengthens European ties with multi-city roadshow in UK and Germany

Haitham Mattar (8)

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has further strengthened its position in Europe with a multi-city roadshow in the UK and Germany last month that brought together more than 370 tour operators and travel agents. In a bid to attract 1.5 million visitors by 2021, increased emphasis has been put on growing further awareness in key European markets. The European roadshow covered key cities including Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, London, Birmingham, Liverpool, and Edinburgh to meet industry representatives and introduce Ras Al Khaimah’s diverse and spectacular beach, desert, mountain, and adventure offerings.  Held at iconic venues such as the Emirates Stadium in London and Edinburgh Castle, the roadshow allowed participants an opportunity to discover Ras Al Khaimah’s unique proposition and its tourism products via presentations, networking events, and interactive quizzes. Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said, “With a unique combination of authentic Arabian hospitality, pristine beaches and outdoor adventure pursuits, Ras Al Khaimah has a great appeal to holidaymakers from all over Europe. We have seen a significant growth in the number of visitors from Europe over the last couple of years, and therefore, our ongoing roadshow programme is a great vehicle to tell the story of the accessible Arabian hospitality. As we look towards our goal of 1.5 million visitors by 2021 and 3 million by 2025, it is essential to personally connect with travel professionals from our source markets to give them a real flavour of everything Ras Al Khaimah has to offer our visitors.”  

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flydubai’s inaugural flight lands in Naples

FlyDubai (11)

flydubai inaugurated its new service to Naples, becoming the first UAE national carrier to offer direct flights from Dubai. The new route is codeshared with Emirates and gives passengers access to more than 200 destinations worldwide on the combined network. With up to five flights a week, Naples becomes flydubai’s second destination in Italy after it launched flights to Sicily’s Catania last year. Onboard the flight was a senior delegation led by Jeyhun Efendi, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations and E-commerce at flydubai and Thierry Aucoc,  Senior Vice President, Commerical Operations, Europe, Russian Federation and Latin America at Emirates, together with representatives from the regional media. On arrival in Naples, the delegation was met by Roberto Barbieri, CEO of Naples Airport and Margherita Chiaramonte, Business Aviation Development Director, Naples Airport. Commenting on the occasion, Jeyhun Efendi, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations and E-commerce at flydubai said, “We are delighted to be flying to Naples, the second destination we have launched in Italy in a year. It is another example of flydubai’s decade long commitment towards opening up underserved markets and giving those in Italy more opportunities to benefit from direct flights to Dubai and beyond on our network. We look forward to the increased opportunities for trade and tourism that this new route will bring.” “Through our codeshare partnership, Emirates’ customers from across our global network, particularly from key inbound markets such as Australia, Japan and China, will now also be able to easily access Naples, while local travellers in the Naples region can connect seamlessly from their flydubai flight to Emirates flights at our Dubai hub to popular destinations such as Thailand, Australia, Egypt and China,” said Thierry Aucoc, …

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Travelport partners with Arabian Travel Awards for third consecutive year

Travelport Jpg

The coveted, Arabian Travel Awards, on June 13, 2019, announced its partnership with Travelport, a leading travel commerce platform, for its annual award ceremony in September this year.  Arabian Travel Awards is a platform for the Middle East to recognize those behind the success of the travel and hospitality industry and to reward their continued hard work. Travelport continues to be the technology partner for the third consecutive award ceremony, reinforcing the ties between these two leading brands in the Middle East. Kathryn Wallington, Travelport’s Country Manager for the UAE, commented, “We are delighted to partner with Arabian Travel Awards 2019 for the third consecutive year as the technology partner. In the past year, Travelport has worked closely with customers and partners to launch a series of innovative solutions in travel distribution and emerging technologies, such as mobile, AR/VR, blockchain etc. Meanwhile, we have solidified our leading position in rich content with over 270 airlines currently benefiting from Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding merchandising. We also have a solid roadmap to embrace IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC).” Arabian Travel Awards are fair and unbiased, following a systematic method of internet-based voting. These awards are supported by media partners Travel TV.News, TravTalk Middle East, tourismbreakingnews and TravTalk India. “This is the third consecutive year that Travelport is coming onboard as our technology partner at the Arabian Travel Awards and we are very excited to welcome them. Having one the world’s biggest GDS platform as a partner is not a mean feat to achieve and we are happy that our association has only grown over the years. This is also a great opportunity for our award winners who will be recognized on …

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Instant e-Visas for Jeddah Season 2019 visitors


Visitors coming to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the Jeddah Season 2019 can obtain a tourist visa in three minutes or less through the Sharek e-Visa website. Implemented by the Organising Committee for Jeddah Season 2019, the online application method is linked to ticket purchases for Jeddah Season 2019 events. Once visitors buy a ticket, they can get an instant e-Visa simply by logging on to and following the step-by-step instructions. “Making it quick and easy to obtain an entry visa will encourage more tourists to discover the beauty of Jeddah, known affectionately as the Bride of the Red Sea, attracting regional and international visitors to the 2019 edition of Jeddah Season, said Eng. Raed Abuzinada, General Supervisor of the Jeddah Season. “The introduction of the e-Visa system will have a positive impact on the travel and tourism sector, which is a key driver of the nation’s economy and remains a vital component of the economic diversification that is a fundamental aim of Vision 2030.” Jeddah Season 2019 offers visitors a dazzling choice of more than 150 events and activities celebrating music, arts, culture and sports. Taking place from June 8 till   July 18, 2019, the inaugural edition of the festival aims to position Jeddah as the capital of tourism and entertainment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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SCTDA partners with Emirates to embark on a three-city Central European roadshow

Khalid Jassim Al Midfa JPG

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), in partnership with Emirates Airlines, has embarked on a three-city roadshow, which is taking place from June 11, 2019 in Budapest and will run until June 14, 2019 covering other key stops; Warsaw and Prague. The series is aimed towards focusing the spotlight on Sharjah’s main tourist attractions across three key markets in Central Europe for the first time. “The three-city roadshow forms part of SCTDA’s ongoing efforts to accelerate Sharjah’s tourism industry. It also serves as one of our key contributions to the government’s economic diversification policy. Additionally, by organizing strategic B2B events, we are demonstrating our commitment to tapping new source markets worldwide to boost our international tourist arrivals as per the objectives of Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021. We look forward to highlighting why Sharjah is a destination of choice among global visitors,” H.E Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, SCTDA, said. “These B2B events in Budapest, Warsaw, and Prague are being held to help raise awareness about Sharjah’s diverse tourist offerings and advanced amenities along with increased ease with which people can travel to the emirate,” H.E. Al Midfa added. The roadshow will also be featuring workshop and networking sessions. Apart from SCTDA officials, Sharjah delegates will include Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq); Emirates Airlines, Air Arabia, Sharjah National Hotels along with Sharjah-based DMC – Orient Tours; The Sharjah Collection, Managed by Mysk; Coral Beach Resort & Spa; Golden Tulip Hotel Apartments; Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort &Spa; and Four Points by Sheraton, Occidental Sharjah Grand.

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Dubai welcomes Karnika – India’s first premium cruise ship

‘Karnika’ at Mina Rashid

Dubai welcomed India’s first premium cruise liner, ‘Karnika’ by Jalesh Cruises, to Mina Rashid as it homeport in Dubai for the season. Christened in an official naming ceremony in Mumbai, India last month, Karnika’ is Jalesh Cruises first liner to homeport in the region, marking a significant milestone for both the Indian domestic and international cruise industry. In celebration of this significant occasion, a traditional ‘Plaques and Keys Exchange’ ceremony was hosted on board in the presence of the ship’s captain and key industry stakeholders from the Dubai Cruise Committee. The vessel will commence the operation of regular Arabian Gulf itineraries from June to mid-September 2019, entertaining both residents and visitors of Dubai. Cruise aficionados can choose from two itineraries a week with Dubai as the home port; the Friday itinerary is set to cover Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, while the Monday itinerary will include Muscat and Khasab. Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannai, CEO of P&O Marinas and Mina Rashid, said, “Proving its position as the Middle East’s leading cruise destination, Karnika’s arrival highlights the value proposition Mina Rashid offers to luxury cruise lines globally. Our world-class quality services have exhibited Mina Rashid to be the preferred tourist destination, observing a 172 per cent increase in visitors between 2014 and 2018.” Jamal Alfalasi, Director of Dubai Cruise Tourism, said, “Our support for Jalesh Cruises further cements the enduring bond that exists between India and the emirate, underpinning our continued commitment to Dubai’s top performing source market which brought in more than 564,836 visitors during Q1 of 2019.” Jurgen Bailom, President & CEO, Jalesh Cruises, said, “It is an honour and a privilege for us at Jalesh Cruises to bring India’s …

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Bahrain launches the world’s largest underwater diving park

Bahrain underwater theme park image

HE Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism highlighted that the launch of the world’s largest underwater diving park is currently underway. The park will be the largest diving park in the world spanning an area of 100,000 sqm, and is expected to open to divers and visitors in August 2019. According to sources, the largest ever plane is to be submerged in the ocean as the first phase of Dive Bahrain got under way. Local and international divers and a fleet of tugboats are working to relocate the decommissioned Boeing 747 jumbo jet to its new home in the Arabian Gulf. The 70-metre long plane was bought from a Dubai-based airline. It is expected to rest at a depth of around 24 metres and will be positioned nose up in the water to allow novice divers access to the aircraft at shallower depths. In preparation for its submersion, the Dive Bahrain team worked for eight months to ensure the aircraft was environmentally friendly. “We could have just sunk it the way it was when it was transported here, but that’s not our intention. Every hazardous material has been removed; all plastic material has been removed. Even the bolts and the screws were removed so that we could clean any oil residue, before putting them back on,” said Hamad Al Mahmeed, project manager at Dive Bahrain. HE Zayed bin Rashed Al Zayani, the Minister of Industry and Commerce revealed, “We are proud to launch this unique eco-friendly project in cooperation with the Supreme Council for Environment and the private sector.”  

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Schengen visa fees will increase from 60 to 80 Euros from Jan 2020

schengen-visa image

According to a press release of the EU Council, the Schengen visa fees will increase 33.3% from 60 euros to 80 euros once the amended regulation comes into force. “To ensure member states can better cover the costs of visa processing without constituting a deterrent for visa applicants, the visa fee will be increased to 80 euros. The regulation also introduces a mechanism for reviewing every three years whether the visa fee should change,” says the press release. After the final adoption by the EU Council today, the new EU Visa regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Six months later, it will come into force and start applying to all third country nationals that need a visa to the Schengen zone. If the final text is published by the end of this month, in January 2020, third country nationals in need of a visa will need to pay 80 euros to apply. The new rules also permit applications to be submitted for a maximum period of six months, and no later than 15 days, before the trip. So far, the maximum period has been three months. In addition, the EU intends to introduce a harmonised approach to the issuing of multiple entry visas to regular travellers with a positive visa history for a period, which increases gradually from one to five years. Another important part of the new code is that it also intends to contribute to the cooperation of third countries on readmission through the introduction of a new mechanism for using visa processing as leverage. Through the mechanism, third countries will be assessed continuously regarding cooperation on readmission. Non-cooperating countries can become …

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Etihad Airways inks deal with Swae to power AI for innovation


Etihad Airways and Swae, an award-winning startup based in Vancouver, have partnered to launch iFikra, an artificial intelligence-powered platform aimed at unlocking the full potential of Etihad’s workforce by enabling every employee to contribute to innovation. Designed to harness the collective creativity of the organisation, the iFikra platform is a pilot aimed at promoting intrapreneurship by allowing employees to propose innovative solutions to address Etihad’s ongoing business challenges and untapped opportunities. Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, launched the new platform, reaffirming the importance of innovation within the organisation. He said, “We recognise that there is an abundance of great ideas right here in our organisation and no one knows our business better than our employees, so we developed this tool to give them the platform they need to innovate.” The new platform leverages artificial intelligence to support and augment written business proposals generated by staff, while enabling an open feedback and collaboration learning loop, based on the principles of transparency and meritocracy, to help escalate the best ideas forward efficiently. For the first time, employees have the power to shape organisational strategy by voting, commenting and providing constructive feedback on their colleague’s ideas, playing a direct role in the decision-making process.  Ideas that ‘graduate‘ from the platform will be provided with seed funding and support through Innovate Lab, Etihad’s innovation lab. The Lab supports rapid trial and iteration of promising ideas and projects, accelerating the delivery of prototypes, pilots, proof of concepts and minimum viable products. Soushiant Zangenehpour, Chief Executive Officer of Swae, said, “We’re excited to partner with Etihad on this integration of Swae. We believe Swae’s platform can help Etihad improve the inclusivity and …

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