Shivani DDPPL

Turkish Airlines adds Samarkand to its network

The latest addition to the growing network of Turkish Airlines is Samarkand, making it the second destination of Turkish Airlines to be operated in Uzbekistan after capital city Tashkent. Founded on the Silk Road,  Samarkand is one of the most important transportation lines of world trade for centuries. Istanbul-Samarkand flights will be operated twice a week in both directions. Round trip fares are available from Istanbul to Samarkand starting from $364 including all taxes and fees. Bilal Ekşi, CEO, Turkish Airlines said, “We have launched direct flights to Samarkand from 121 countries. We are glad to serve this city that is the eternal resting place for historical figures and scholars. Turkish Airlines is operating flights to Tashkent seven times per week and to Samarkand flights twice a week. We expect that the frequency of Samarkand flights will reach to three per week.”

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Abu Dhabi conducts four-city roadshow in India

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi is embarking on a four-city roadshow to India along with partners and stakeholders to help promote the emirate and lure more Indian visitors to explore Abu Dhabi. The delegation, which includes Rotana Hotels, Yas Experience, Royal Arabian Destination Management, Royal Rose Hotels, Etihad Airways, Jet Airways, Lama Tours, Air Travel Enterprises, Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, and Holiday Inn Hotels will be in India from until March 23. The roadshow began in Chandigarh in northern India, followed by Ahmedabad, Mumbai and concluding in Pune. Last year, more than 360,000 Indians stayed in Abu Dhabi’s 162 hotels and hotel apartments, an increase of more than 11 per cent compared to the previous year. Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director, Promotions and Overseas Offices, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said, “India is a vital Tier-I source market for us which is providing more and more hotel guests for us each year and helped us reach a record of more than 4.9 million numbers of guests last year. In 2017, we recorded spectacular double-digit growth from India and we are already recording further progress from the Indian market since the turn of the year.”  

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Dubai to welcome one million cruise tourists by 2020

Highlighting Dubai’s position as a leading winter cruise destination, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) is on track to welcome 1 million cruise tourists by 2020-21. DTCM also emphasised on the city’s growing popularity as a global cruise destination viable for pre-cruise and post-cruise stopovers, and an apt homeport in the region at the Seatrade Cruise Global in Florida, USA, a leading event for the cruise industry. Exhibited under the Cruise Arabia banner, Dubai Tourism brought together the tourism authorities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain on a unified stand with the goal of promoting the region as a whole, and improving business sustainability and development. The three-day event also saw networking and business opportunities with leading brands in the global cruise industry, to discuss deployments and homeporting opportunities in Dubai to heighten the awareness of the destination’s cruise offerings to a global audience. Hamad Bin Mejren, Senior Vice President, Dubai Tourism, said, “Cruise Tourism is certainly a key industry for the Gulf and we are dedicated to educating consumers around the world about the region as a key winter cruising destination. We have been working to highlight Dubai’s ease of accessibility with the latest introduction of a multi-entry UAE visit visa exclusively for cruise tourists, as well as simplified immigration and cruise-specific visa procedures on our online portals.”

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Turkish Airlines launches direct flights to Aqaba

The latest destination aboard Turkish Airlines is the direct flight to Aqaba in Jordan, with existing services to Amman. The Aqaba flights will be operated thrice a week. Round trip fares are available from Istanbul to Aqaba starting at 404 USD including taxes and fees. Additionally, there is a special offer for Miles&Smiles members to be used for their trips departing from Turkey which should be completed by June 11, 2018, and the trips departing from Aqaba are to be completed by June 12, 2018, with a 25 per cent reduction in the miles needed to redeem either award tickets or upgrades. Aqaba flight times as scheduled from March 19 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays depart Istanbul at 22:00 hours with arrival to Aqaba by 23:50 hours. The flight will depart Aqaba on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 00:45 hours and arrive to Istanbul at 04:20 hours.

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Etihad and SWISS ink codeshare agreement

A new codeshare partnership was signed between Etihad Airways and Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) with bookings effective immediately. Under the agreement, Etihad Airways will have its EY flight code on SWISS services between Geneva and Zurich, two key gateway cities served in Switzerland from Abu Dhabi. SWISS will market its LX code on Etihad Airways’ services between Zurich and Abu Dhabi, offering its passengers codeshare flights to and from the UAE’s capital city. The codeshare services are bookable now, for travel from March 26. Peter Baumgartner, Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, said, “This codeshare deepens Etihad Airways’ commitment to the Swiss travel market and Switzerland, a key destination for travellers from UAE, neighbouring Gulf countries, and across our Asia Pacific network. The partnership further strengthens the historic cultural, business and tourism ties that the UAE and Switzerland have enjoyed over many decades. For travellers from Switzerland, our new relationship with SWISS will provide access to Etihad’s award-winning service and the hospitality for which our Abu Dhabi home is known.”

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Rove Hotels celebrates International Day of Happiness

Rove Hotels is taking over the UAE with the ‘Roving Bus of Happiness’ to celebrate the United Nation’s International Day of Happiness on March 20, 2018 and support the UAE’s vision to be among the happiest countries in the world. The big, bright and bold double-decker ‘Roving Happiness Bus’ travelled around the city to some of the most iconic locations including Al Seef, La Mer, The Beach and The Dubai Mall. The newly appointed Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) Happyness Chipote will be joining Rovesters who will be giving a round of Happy High Fives and instill happiness among UAE residents.  The Courtyard Playhouse, Dubai’s first improvisational theatre experts, will bring fun and laughter with a show every 30 minutes. DJ Bliss has also curated a dedicated happiness playlist. Paul Bridger, Corporate Director, Rove Hotels said, “The International Day of Happiness is an amazing way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. We are excited to spread some positive vibes around among our Rovers (guests) and Dubai residents with our team, and are thrilled to take part in this incredible initiative that supports the UAE’s vision to be among the happiest countries in the world.”  

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SalamAir enters into partnership with Smart Travel

An official ceremony was held in Dubai to celebrate the partnership of SalamAir with Smart Travel. Captain Mohamed Ahmed, CEO, SalamAir, stated that over the past year, the airline carried over half a million passengers aboard the aircraft and currently operates to nine destinations. SalamAir is the first low-cost carrier from the Sultanate of Oman which started operations about 14 months ago with the preferred aircraft Airbus A320 for its economical standard and comfortable for passengers. Two SalamAir flights operate in Dubai, besides flying to other destinations like Jeddah, Pakistan, Doha, Shiraz, etc. Ahmed further stated that although the flight has the capacity to carry 186 passengers, they only accommodate 174 to provide comfort to passengers. The objective is to ensure the cost is kept at minimal rates so that it is affordable for more travellers.

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Royal Jordanian to resume Erbil and Sulaymaniyah services from April 1

Royal Jordanian (RJ) will resume its scheduled flights between Amman and each of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, in northern Iraq, as of April 1, 2018. RJ passengers on these routes will enjoy the added benefit of reduced round-trip fares, at JD280, in an offer valid from March 16 to March 31, 2018, for travel to take place between April 1 and June 8, 2018. RJ will operate 10 weekly flights to Erbil and four weekly flights to Sulaymaniyah. The decision to relaunch the flights was taken as Iraqi authorities announced the reopening of the airports in these cities. Airlines operating to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah had suspended their flights on September 29, 2017, upon directions from the Iraqi authorities. RJ customers are invited to purchase their tickets on rj.com or by visiting RJ’s global sales offices and through travel agents.

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310-room Kempinski Hotel Muscat opens doors

Located in the modern community of Al Mouj, Muscat, the five-star Kempinski Hotel Muscat is an unparalleled luxury destination in the capital of Oman. The hotel features 310 rooms and suites, state-of-the-art meetings and events facilities, world-class restaurants and bars, a fully equipped fitness centre and a luxury spa, allowing visitors to revel in the beauty of both the location and warm Omani hospitality. Serving as the gateway to authentic Omani adventure, visitors can experience the unbeatable mix of local traditions and world-class European luxury at the luxury hotel.

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IHG expands luxury footprint, adds Regent to portfolio

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced to bring Regent into its brand portfolio at the top end of the luxury segment and will accelerate its growth globally. It has agreed to acquire a 51 per cent stake in Regent Hotels and Resorts for $39 million in cash. IHG’s intention is to grow the brand from six hotels today to over 40 hotels in key global gateway city and resort locations over the long term. The Regent brand has set the benchmark for luxury hotels globally since it was founded in 1970. It has a world-renowned heritage, built around the elegant, timeless design of its hotels and rooted in its focus on delivering a truly unique and superior luxury experience for guests. The acquisition of Regent is part of one of IHG’s new strategic initiatives focused on continuing to expand its footprint in the fast-growing $60 billion luxury segment.  This initiative is supported by the creation of a new dedicated division to further enhance capabilities in this area and will be funded by IHG’s efficiency programme. IHG also announced that following an extensive refurbishment due to commence in early 2020, InterContinental Hong Kong will become a Regent Hotel in early 2021.

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