Shivani DDPPL

Al Noor Island launches five unique destination experiences

Al Noor island 4

Al Noor Island, one of Sharjah’s prominent destinations, is rolling out new and revamped education packages, which combines nature, art and entertainment by introducing five unique experiences. Visitors will be able to learn about butterflies, plants, trees, birds, photography and even practise yoga and learn more about sky objects. “With the winters at our doorstep, Al Noor Island has customised experiences for visitors to explore and appreciate nature in all its forms. From pure adventure to relaxed leisure, or wondrous discoveries about our environment, I encourage all UAE citizens and residents to visit and enjoy the new immersive and educational natural experiences at the destination. This will be a part in raising the community awareness when it comes to green and eco-friendly programmes and activities at the island.” said Mahmoud Rashid Al Suwaidi, Manager, Al Noor Island. The five new activities that are being rolled out for visitors of all ages and experience levels are as follows – Explore the Island with ‘Tropical Labyrinth’, Explore the Night Sky with ‘Sky Watch’, Learn about Bird Life with ‘Bird Watching and Photography’, Stretch your limbs with ‘Yoga at Sunrise Workshops’ and Learn Special Gardening Techniques with ‘Nurture Nature Workshops’. In this new workshop, families, schoolchildren and individuals can learn about various indoor gardening techniques (including the Japanese art of Kokedama) with experts at the island. The eco-educational activities will be hosted from October until December. All the workshops can be viewed on the island’s social media platforms.

Read More »

ADNEC launches first online interactive chatbot platform for MiCE venues in MENA

Picture - Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, group CEO, ADNEC

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) has announced the launch of an online chatbot platform ‘Jawab,’ which has been designed and developed to effectively respond directly and automatically to enquiries from exhibitors, organisers and visitors on all event-related aspects, including the diverse range of services provided by ADNEC. With this launch, ADNEC becomes the first venue within the exhibitions and conferences sector in the MENA region to launch a customer interactive machine learning chatbot, and among the top companies globally to adopt this new technology, which contributes to facilitating and accelerating the process of providing information to public and private sector customers. Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Group CEO, ADNEC said, “It is our constant endeavor to integrate the latest technological advancements seamlessly into our products and service offerings, as part of our mission to foster a culture of innovation and excellence, which effectively contributes to enhancing our competitiveness and capabilities to emphasise Abu Dhabi’s position as the regional capital for business tourism.”

Read More »

Germany opens visa application centre in Kuwait

kuwait pic

The German Embassy has announced the opening of a new visa application centre in Kuwait in a move aimed at bringing greater efficiency to visa application processing services and enhanced customer experience to the residents of Kuwait. The centre operated by VFS Global will also provide biometric enrolment facilities to residents of Kuwait applying for Schengen visas. The processing time for a Schengen visa takes a maximum of 15 days and can be applied for up to three months before the planned date of travel. The VFS Global German Visa Application Centre in Kuwait is located at Level 25, Arraya Tower 2, Al Shuhada Street, Kuwait City, Kuwait. Inaugurating the visa application centre, H E Karlfried Bergner, Ambassador of Germany to the State of Kuwait, said, “The opening of the new centre is in line with the mandate the Federal Republic of Germany has awarded VFS Global to open external visa application facilities in 10 countries world over, including the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.” Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO—Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said, “VFS Global has a robust and long standing relationship with the Federal Republic of Germany and in the MENA region alone, it is expected that we will handle some 200,000 visa applications a year. While the decision of granting visas will rest with the German Embassy, our endeavor will be to provide visa application submission services efficiently and diligently and to the delight of our customers in Kuwait.”

Read More »

Etihad Airways to introduce Boeing 787-9 to Kuala Lumpur and Brussels routes

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Etihad Airways will introduce Boeing 787-9 on its daily scheduled services from Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur, effective December 20, 2018 and to Brussels, effective January 3, 2019. The new two-class 787 Dreamliner service features Etihad Airways’ next-generation Business and Economy Class cabins, configured with 299 seats – 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats. Etihad Airways’ modern fleet of 21 Boeing 787-9 aircraft feature innovative, award-winning cabin designs and products, complemented by the airline’s acclaimed service and hospitality offering. Flights include Food and Beverage Managers in Business Class and a Flying Nanny in Economy Class to provide specialised care for families with young children. Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Aviation Group said, “Kuala Lumpur and Brussels are two very important destinations on the Etihad network, popular with both business and leisure customers and we are delighted to be introducing the 787-9 Dreamliner on these routes. Our customers can expect the quietest cabins and our latest in-flight products and technology, one of the world’s most technologically advanced and fuel-efficient aircraft. Our customers flying between Abu Dhabi and these capitals continue to benefit from convenient departure and arrival times at both ends, and those transiting through Abu Dhabi enjoy seamless connections onto Etihad’s global route network.”

Read More »

New Al Hosn cultural site to open this December

Al Hosn site

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced that the much-anticipated grand opening of Al Hosn, will take place on December 7, 2018. Al Hosn is the city’s original urban block and will comprise four interrelated components: the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort, the Cultural Foundation, the National Consultative Council building, and the House of Artisans. The official launch will be a celebration of Abu Dhabi’s rich history and culture, with days of public programming to mark the occasion. The newly renovated premises of the Cultural Foundation will host a diverse visual and performing arts programme, alongside the opening of the first children’s library of its kind. To mark the occasion of its reopening in December, the Foundation’s Visual Arts Centre will present a landmark exhibition which will focus on the building’s history as a beacon for local artists. Cultural Foundation will re-open in phases with December 7 allowing access to the Visual Arts Centre, which will feature exhibition halls and art studios. The two remaining components – a theatre and the Children’s Library – will open in 2019. HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “Qasr Al Hosn retraces the history of the city of Abu Dhabi. It stands as a constant in our evolving city. It is a testament to the heart and spirit of our people and the repository of our collective memories, and its reopening is a key moment for both the citizens of Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE. In addition, we are thrilled to reopen the Cultural Foundation, which has always played an integral role in the cultural scene of Abu Dhabi, the UAE and …

Read More »

Travelport becomes first GDS operator to offer NDC content

Travelport GDS operator

Travelport has become the first GDS operator to manage the live booking of flights using the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) technical standard. The first transaction was made by a British agency, Meon Valley Travel, on October 19 for a short-haul low-cost flight from London to Milan issued by a major European carrier. The new capability allows bookings to be made for any services on the airline without incurring a surcharge. Travelport’s new NDC capability is enabled using similar XML connections to those Travelport already deploys with APIs for over 20 low-cost carriers. The company published a roadmap for its initial range of NDC products in February, having been the first GDS operator in December 2017 to acquire Level 3 certification from IATA as an aggregator. It will also be followed by a series of product enhancements, including a version for online agents in 2019. Gordon Wilson, President and CEO, Travelport, said: “We are delighted to have taken a lead in bringing the NDC era to life. It has required an extraordinary amount of skill and expertise to make this happen and I want to thank my own colleagues at Travelport as well as our partners. We are still at the earliest stages of NDC deployment. Its evolution will continue to take time as we learn from the practical experience of its first use. Meanwhile, we continue to offer a comprehensive global travel commerce platform capable of handling mass volumes of searchable and bookable content at speed for the world’s travel providers and agents.”

Read More »

Emirates signs three MoUs to support Vietnam tourism

Badr Abbas JPG

Emirates has signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate tourism and trade in Vietnam’s largest and most visited city. The airline will mutually collaborate with the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Promotion Center (HTPC), Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism and Investment and Trade promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC) to promote Ho Chi Minh City as a tourist destination and trade hub. HE Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman, People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, led a high-level delegation and working visit to the UAE from October 22 to 25, 2018. Further, Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, Department of Tourism, Department of External Relations and Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC), Embassy of Vietnam in the UAE, in cooperation with partners in Dubai, held a conference on “Trade, Investment and Tourism Promotion into Ho Chi Minh City.” At the conference, the agreements were signed by Badr Abbas, Senior Vice President – Commercial Operations for Far East, Emirates; Haitham Al Battawy, Country Manager – Vietnam, Emirates and Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates SkyCargo in the presence of HE Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman, People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City; HE Trinh Vinh Quang, Vietnam’s Ambassador to the UAE; Le Phuong, Commercial Counsellor – Head, Vietnam Trade Office, Dubai; Omar Khan, Director, International Offices, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Aldulrahman Mohamed Al Hosani, Director, Exporter Services Department, Dubai Export. Commenting on the signing of the MoUs, Badr Abbas, SVP – Commercial Operations for Far East, Emirates said, “Vietnam is an important destination within Emirates’ network and we are pleased to collaborate on joint promotional activities that will leverage the route’s …

Read More »

5th World Green Economy Summit 2018 opens in Dubai


The 5th World Green Economy Summit 2018 has begun on October 24 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, UAE; Prime Minister and Ruler, Dubai, Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre with the theme ‘Driving innovation, leading change.’ His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler, Dubai, also attended the inauguration ceremony’. During the opening ceremony, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum honoured delegations and representatives of countries participating in the Preparatory Conference on the Establishment of World Green Economy Organization (WGEO). HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, Dubai; Managing Director and CEO, DEWA; and Chairman, WGES, delivered his keynotes at the summit, extending thanks and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for inaugurating the summit. HE Al Tayer reaffirmed that the summit comes in line with the vision of the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President, UAE, and the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister, UAE and Ruler, Dubai and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince, Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander, UAE Armed Forces, for the United Arab Emirates to be the best country in the world, by the UAE Centennial 2071. It also witnessed a speech by HE Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister, Climate Change and Environment, highlighting the UAE’s transformation progress into green economy. Christina Figueres – Former Secretary General, UNFCCC, also gave a speech, reviewing leading efforts being made by the United Nations and Member States to …

Read More »

Petra’s renovated Mövenpick Nabatean Castle Hotel reopens with 90 rooms

Nabatean castle ima_4X3

Petra’s popular Mövenpick Nabatean Castle Hotel has officially reopened, comprising 90 rooms decorated in natural tones and featuring modern showers and attractive tile flooring. As part of the renovation, a new Bedouin tent has been built where traditional Jordanian cuisine and Arabic coffee are served, while the revised layout at the Nadeem Bar & Terrace promises impressive views of Mount Aroun, the area’s highest peak. The property is located in the rolling hills of the Rift Valley, close to Jordan’s most visited attraction – the ancient city of Petra, also known as the ‘Red Rose City’.  The property has also introduced new tailor-made experiences such as mountain-view bonfires that really bring Jordan’s magic to life – perfect for special occasions or small family gatherings. Mövenpick Nabatean Castle Hotel is located just 10 minutes from the entrance to Petra – a 2,000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of the World’. Perched at an elevation of 1,400 metres and offering stunning vistas of the valley, it is an ideal – and inspirational – base for travellers discovering the ancient archaeological landscapes nearby.

Read More »

Over 200 authors to sign their latest releases at SIBF 2018

Sharjah International book fair

The 37th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) 2018 will see more than 200 authors from 19 countries, who will be present at the fair’s book-signing corner to meet and interact with book lovers as well as sign their works personally. Books written by them will also be on display, and include genres of classic and folk poetry, novels, historical studies, literary criticism and translations, cookbooks, children’s literature, arts, legal research, archaeology and others. The signing corner will bring together Sheikha Fatima bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Dr Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, Obaid bin Sandal, Dr Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, Dr Hamad Ben Saray, Dr Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Rashid Sharar, Karim Matouq, Dr Talal Al Junaibi, Dr Yousef Al Hassan, Fahad bin Ghorab Al Marri and other acclaimed emirati writers. Many other emirati writers like Salem Obaid Al Alili, Fatat Tihama, Mariam Al Naqbi, Ghaleb Jazilan, Dr Mariam Al Hashemi, Saleha Obaid, Dr Shehab Ghanem, Fathia Al Nimr, Dr Abdel Hakim Al Anis, Mohammed Jowkar, Naema Al Suwaidi, Moza Haji, Aisha Saeed Al Qaidi, Dr Ibrahim Al Naqbi, Aisha Al Ajel, Abdullah Saif Al Shuwahei, Adel Khuzam, Ali Al Abdan, and Dr Issa Al Hammadi will also be signing their works. The signing corner will also see the participation from Dr Salah Fadl, Dr Abeer Sharara, Nabil Suleiman, Karim Al Iraqi, Dr Ali Jaafar Al Alaq, Sharbel Dagher, Sharbel Qattan, Dr Medhat Al Adl, Amer Tahboub, Hamza Qenaoui, Dr Mohammed Jaradat, Darine Shubair, Dr Mania Suwaid, Shaker Nuri, Mohammed Abu Arab, Dr Omar Abdul Aziz, Abdul Fattah Sabri, Dr Farouq Majdalawi, Samiha Al Masri, Raed Aman, Abdul Karim Al Jalasi, Dr Omar Munir Dahab, Dr Mona Bounaama, Dr Abdul Sattar Al …

Read More »