Shivani DDPPL

Dubai’s aviation sector pledges to go green

GreenVehiclePledge

Dubai Airports has joined Dubai’s aviation community in signing a pledge to purchase only ‘green vehicles’ in the future. The pledge was signed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports; President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority; Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, and representatives from Emirates airline, flydubai, dnata, Dubai Police, Dubai Customs and Dubai’s General Directory of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). “This commitment is fully aligned with the Dubai government’s aggressive goals to reduce energy consumption by 30 per cent by 2030 as well as our sector’s strategy to limit our environmental footprint while continuing our significant contributions to Dubai’s employment and GDP,” said Al Maktoum. DXB is home to a fleet of over 6,345 ground service vehicles comprising various types ranging from water tankers to tow tractors to fork lifts operated by a number of companies that operate on the airfield including airlines, control authorities and ground handling services provider dnata. Of these DXB features a variety of green vehicles including BMW hybrid limousines for VIP services and RTA’s fleet of Tesla taxis but wants to scale up efforts to convert the fleet to top hybrid or electric models.

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20 smart gates at DXB’s Terminal 1 for quick passport control

Majed-Brig Tala-Michael-Thani

Dubai Airports, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) and Emaratech marked the completion of the installation of 20 smart gates at Dubai International’s (DXB) Terminal 1. The new smart gates are now fully operational in the arrivals area of Terminal 1 in addition to the 10 installed last year in departures. In total, some 127 smart gates are available across the entire airport reducing average transaction times from minutes to under 10-15 seconds. The launch of the new smart gates coincides with the start of UAE’s Month of Innovation, which is being observed from February 1 to 28 in response to a call last year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, to promote a culture of innovation. “Smart gates make customers’ journey smoother by slashing transaction times to just 10-15 seconds and shortening queues,” said Michael Ibbitson, Executive Vice President—Technology & Infrastructure, Dubai Airports. “What’s surprising is that only 17 per cent of our passengers take advantage of the service. If you have a UAE residency card, don’t wait in line, use it.”

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Amadeus to support Sharaf Travel for digital transformation

Sharaf Travel and Amadeus Gulf

Amadeus has entered into a partnership with Sharaf Travel for end-to-end automation throughout its business operations. Set to go live from April 2018, Amadeus will assist the travel company to focus its business on online success, using the latest Amadeus web services and mobile traveller products. All Amadeus solutions will be adopted across Sharaf Travel’s UAE and Oman operations. Jayaram, Managing Director, Sharaf Travel, said, “Automation will enhance our business offerings and help us to better serve our customers. Amadeus was a natural choice for this transformation for its strong portfolio of solutions that are ideal for our needs.” This partnership will enable the best-in-class offerings to Amadeus’ customers and streamlined services that will boost the company’s competitive edge. Using the latest generation of travel technology, Amadeus Web Services offer Sharaf Travel unparalleled connectivity to the entire range of Amadeus content all from a single point of access, supporting easily-customised travel booking applications. With Amadeus Mobile Traveller, Sharaf Travel will also be able to stay connected to its customers 24/7, providing them with a 360° travel experience wherever they might be in the world. Graham Nichols, Managing Director, Amadeus Gulf, said, “Our technology-driven solutions enable our customers to benefit from cutting-edge innovations that streamline travel agency processes.”

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Emirates Palace partners with DWTC to launch catering company

(L - R) His Excellency Sultan Dahi Al Hameeri, Managing Director of EPCO and Mahir Julfar, Senior Vice President - Venue Services Management, DWTC.

Emirates Palace has partnered with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to launch UAE’s premiere catering company–Emirates Palace Catering by Dubai World Trade Centre (EPC by DWTC). This joint venture is set to elevate the events and catering scene in the capital, offering the best in local and international cuisine. The collaboration will bring a fully integrated, turn-key catering enterprise, both for events at the hotel and off-site. Commenting on the partnership, His Excellency Sultan Dahi Al Hameeri, Managing Director, Emirates Palace Company Owners (EPCO) said, “The collaboration of two such distinguished brands is the answer to the capital’s demand for a catering concept that attends to the needs of our discerning local community and offers traditional cuisine. EPC by DWTC will strive for a level of luxury and distinction that is simply unprecedented in the region”. Mahir Julfar, Senior Vice President–Venue Services Management, DWTC said, “Our partnership with a celebrated brand like the Emirates Palace allows us to tap into the capital’s thriving culinary scene, showcasing our market-leading skills and offering guests events that are most memorable.”

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Abu Dhabi tourism hosts delegates from Thomas Cook India

Thomas Cook 2

As part of the Department of Culture and Tourism–Abu Dhabi’s mandate to promote Abu Dhabi as a world-class destination of distinction, the capital welcomed travel agents from Thomas Cook India as part of a familiarisation trip to highlight key tourism offerings in the emirate. The five-day trip included a wide range of cultural, hospitality, leisure and entertainment activities showcasing Abu Dhabi’s diverse offerings, with a special focus on attracting Indian travellers. In 2017, more than 360,000 Indian hotel guests stayed in the emirate’s 163 hotels and hotel apartments – a year-on-year rise of 11 per cent – making India the second largest international source market for tourists in 2017. This collaborative trip’s main aim was to help boost Indian visitor numbers for this year. Delegates were taken to a variety of key heritage sites including Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Arabian Knight Village, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre and Al Ain Oasis. Hotel site visits were also an integral part of the itinerary. Additionally, the travel agents and tourism delegates were invited to experience leisure and entertainment attractions including day trips to Yas Island, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Mall.

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Dubai Airports maintains number one ranking for international traffic

dubaiairports

Dubai International (DXB) retained its position as the world’s number one airport for international passengers for the fourth consecutive year with annual traffic for 2017 reaching 88.2 million passengers, according to the annual traffic report issued by Dubai Airports. Propelled by high traffic volumes averaging 7.35 million passengers per month throughout the year, including the record months of January, July and August when traffic breached the 8-million passenger mark, DXB’s traffic reached 88,242,099 passengers for the full year, up 5.5 per cent compared to 83,654,250 passengers recorded during 2016. The airport welcomed 7,854,657 passengers in December, up 1.9 per cent compared to 7,706,351 recorded in the same month in 2016. India continued its domination run as the single largest destination country for DXB with 12,060,435 passengers in 2017, up 5.4 per cent compared to 11,440,215 passengers recorded in 2016. The UK claimed the second spot with 6,466,404 passengers (+6.7 per cent), overtaking Saudi Arabia which recorded 6,364,598 passengers (4.6 per cent). Top regions in terms of percentage growth in 2017 were South America (36.1 per cent), Eastern Europe (25.3 per cent) and Asia (17.9 per cent)–mainly spurred by network expansion by Emirates, flydubai and other carriers.

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Latvia opens external visa centres in UAE

Latvia Visa centre opening

The Embassy of Latvia has announced the opening of external visa application centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in partnership with VFS Global, providing convenience to travellers from the UAE in processing Schengen entry permits to the Baltic nation. Visa applicants from the UAE need not henceforth approach the Embassy of Latvia for their visa requirements as VFS Global is mandated to handle the applications as well as biometric enrolment. Speaking at the inauguration, H.E. Astra Kurme, Ambassador of Latvia to the UAE said, “It is an important step towards facilitating contacts between people and nations. The possibility to apply and receive visa to visit Latvia will significantly improve tourism and business exchange not only between Latvia and the United Arab Emirates, but also the whole Gulf region as the Embassy’s consular mandate covers all GCC region.” Vinay Malhotra, COO–Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global, said, “We are honoured to be part of this growing relationship between the two countries and are confident to bring enhanced level of efficiency in services and a seamless, delightful customer experience to visa applicants from the UAE.”

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Rove Hotels to debut in Saudi Arabia with Rove King Abdullah Economic City

Rove Hotels expands to KSA with Rove King Abdullah Economic City Artist Render

Rove Hotels has announced its expansion to Saudi Arabia with Rove King Abdullah Economic City, located centrally in the Bay La Sun waterfront district of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in the vicinity of a newly established entrepreneurship hub. The construction work is anticipated to start in the second quarter of 2018 with the soft opening scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019. Featuring 240 rooms, fitness centres and a wide range of lifestyle amenities, Rove Hotels aims to deliver reliable, modern and efficient hospitality services that appeal to all. Like all Rove Hotels, Rove King Abdullah Economic City also takes its contemporary design cues from its surroundings. All rooms will have 48-inch interactive TV screens with smart media hubs and free Wi-Fi. Comfortable mattresses, sofa beds for extra guests, mini-fridges, safety lockers and modern bathrooms with power rain showers are standard for all rooms. Several rooms will be interconnected, ensuring the hotel is suitable for groups and families with children.

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Abu Dhabi to launch an app for culture on February 27

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi to launch major new Digital Initiative for Culture in the Capital 1

The Department of Culture and Tourism–Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) is set to launch ‘Abu Dhabi Culture’ app on February 27. The digital initiative will act as a one-stop reference point for all information relating to culture in Abu Dhabi  and will be available in three languages – Arabic, English and French. It will feature on iOS and Android and can be accessed online at abudhabiculture.ae. The initiative, planned to launch as part of UAE Innovation Month, will allow users to gain instant access to information on all aspects of cultural life and heritage in the emirate. ‘Abu Dhabi Culture’ will educate culture-seeking locals, expats and tourists on one level, at the same time as becoming a reference point for researchers and academics in search of more detailed information. “This product has been designed to maximise accessibility to Abu Dhabi’s rich cultural landscape,” said HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, DCT. “The Abu Dhabi Culture digital experience will be a truly connected hub, immersing users and inspiring them to experience our culture for themselves. The mobile app will provide a ‘360 degree experience’, a comprehensive interactive map, a personalised interface, user-generated stories as well as features which will allow travellers to plan their trip,” Ghobash said.

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Sharjah promotes its offerings at South Asian trade show in Delhi

HE Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, SCTDA Chairman

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) attended the 4th South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE), South Asia’s leading travel trade show, in New Delhi, India where they showcased the emirate’s best tourist  spots, popular leisure activities and unique culture and traditions. SATTE was held from January 31 to February 2, 2018 at Pragati Maidan and saw over 12,000 visitors worldwide. H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, SCTDA, said, “India is undisputedly one of the largest key markets for the tourism and travel industry around the world. In fact, 138,000 Indian guests stayed in Sharjah hotel establishments during 2017. As the South Asian nation is one of our priority markets, this year’s SATTE is an opportunity to encourage more Indian tourists to explore Sharjah’s beauty. We also hope to utilise SATTE’s popularity to enhance the emirate’s brand in major markets worldwide as well as achieve growth in terms of the number of international tourist arrivals in the coming years.” Over the last two decades, SATTE has become the launch platform for many countries from across the globe to conduct business in and with India. SATTE has been working closely with the Ministry of Tourism, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), among many other leading associations.

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