Shivani DDPPL

Leva Hotel Apartments marks its debut in Dubai

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Leva Hotels has launched a four-star property on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. The new hotel consists of 178 rooms with chic interiors, custom designs and fittings, luxurious bedding and fine furnishing. Tucked between Al Wasl Road and Sheikh Zayed Road, Leva Hotel Apartments occupies one of the most enviable addresses in Dubai. Located in Mazaya Centre, Leva stands in the midst of celebrated tourist attractions like City Walk and oversees Burj Khalifa as well as The Dubai Mall. Catering to the modern traveller who seeks comfort, service and value, Leva understands the needs and requirements of modern guests who look for unforgettable experiences tailor made for them and will rate experience over expense. J S Anand, Chief Executive Office, Leva Hotels said, “We are delighted to announce that Leva Hotel is ready to take its guests on a journey of unmatched hospitality. At Leva, we believe in offering our guests with experiences that stay with them. An excellent experience is what wins a guest over and creates value for them, and good value creates its own market.”

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Al Tayer briefs Singaporean delegation about RTA’s smart mobility projects

الطاير خلال استقباله الوفد السنغافوري 4

HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman—Board of Executive Directors, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), received a visiting delegation from Singapore headed by HE Lim Sim Seng, Chairman, Singapore Land Authority. The meeting discussed ways and means of boosting cooperation whilst exchanging expertise between RTA and Singapore Land Authority in the fields of smart mobility, smart services and artificial intelligence (AI) as well as the upcoming roads and infrastructure projects in Dubai. The meeting discussed projects related to smart mobility and Dubai’s Autonomous Transportation Strategy aimed at transforming 25 per cent of total mobility journeys in Dubai into driverless journeys by 2030. Al Tayer briefed the visiting delegation about RTA’s experience in applying AI to projects such as the Dubai Metro, and the Enterprise Command and Control Center; which handles big data besides simulating & forecasting transport & crowds’ movement. RTA also uses AI in the smart testing of drivers and vehicles using robots, and the smart scanning of parking. HE Seng was impressed with RTA’s projects and initiatives for migrating to the Smart City, rendering Dubai a smart technology model. He added that efforts were being made to boost the strategic partnership between RTA and Singaporean entities dealing in the smart mobility field. RTA is currently making trial runs of an electrically powered 10-seater autonomous vehicle featuring high safety standards. Trials are also underway for the Autonomous Air Taxi capable of carrying two persons, autonomous mobility pods, and the first autonomous taxi in the region.

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Wyndham Hotels & Resorts opens 100th property in the Middle East with Wyndham Garden Dammam

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Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has opened the company’s 100th hotel in region, Wyndham Garden Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This milestone follows several other significant openings in 2018 across the region, including new hotels in the United Arab Emirates, India and three additional hotels in Saudi Arabia, further strengthening the diverse offering of brands and destinations. Ignace Bauwens, Regional Vice President—Middle East, Eurasia and Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, said, “We are exceptionally proud to have reached the incredible milestone of 100 hotels in the Middle East, Eurasia and Africa region with our latest opening in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With a wide footprint of hotels, significant diversity of brands and a robust pipeline in place, our mission is to make hotel travel possible for all. Reaching 100 hotels in the region marks another important step in our quest to  offer travellers unique and authentic experiences, wherever and however they want to travel. Growth will continue to be our focus in 2019 and beyond, as we expand our footprint further and continue to bring more hotel choice across the entire region.” Wyndham Garden Dammam opened its doors in December 2018. Marking the introduction of the Wyndham Garden brand in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the opening further strengthened Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio in this key growth market, now including 15 operational hotels and over 2,300 rooms. Located in the heart of Dammam, Wyndham Garden Dammam offers a variety of rooms, suites and apartments and a fully-equipped female and male health club, as well as a restaurant, café and executive lounge.

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Etihad Airways inks codeshare agreement with Royal Jordanian to enhance guest experiences

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Etihad Airways and Royal Jordanian have announced a new codeshare partnership to provide customers with greater access to key leisure and business destinations in North Africa, Europe, Canada, Asia and Australia. This is the first such partnership between the two airlines which offer multiple daily services between their respective hubs in Abu Dhabi and Amman. The partnership will see Etihad Airways place its ‘EY’ code on Royal Jordanian’s flights from Abu Dhabi via Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport to Larnaca and Berlin, while Algiers, Tunis, Vienna and Montreal will be added to the agreement soon. In turn, Royal Jordanian will initially place its ‘RJ’ code on Etihad Airways services from Amman to Abu Dhabi and vice versa, and then from the UAE capital to Brisbane and Seoul. Subject to government approval, RJ will also market Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi to Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calicut, Cochin, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Manila, Beijing and Shanghai. Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said, “This partnership reinforces the deep cultural, tourism and trade connections between the UAE and Jordan, and opens up a new world of opportunities for our customers. Both the airlines share the common values of genuine Arabian hospitality and service, combined with the next-generation fleets, enviable reputations for efficiency and reliability, and a combined network spanning the globe.” Stefan Pichler, President and CEO, Royal Jordanian, said, “We are delighted to have Etihad Airways beside our codeshare partners who help us grow in different markets. This move is bound to expand our presence in Asia and Australia, which are key destinations for many RJ customers. This commercial partnership offers convenient transiting in Amman and Abu Dhabi to their final …

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Sharjah to host 50 countries at IWAS World Games 2019 from February 10-16

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The Higher Organising Committee of IWAS World Games Sharjah 2019 confirmed that 1,462 participants from 50 countries are set to compete in the world’s largest wheelchair and amputee sports championship in Sharjah from February 10-16. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member Ruler of Sharjah, the IWAS World Games has returned to the emirate for the second time after its successful debut in the city in 2011. The eighth edition of the world championship brings together seven games including archery, athletics, badminton, swimming, shooting, table tennis and wheelchair fencing. New details of the upcoming biennial sports championship were revealed at a press conference held recently at Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa. Global athletes landing in Sharjah over the next few days are set to represent 50 competing nations confirmed by the Higher Organising Committee which include the UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Algeria, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, India, Sweden, Ukraine, Thailand, Turkey, Brazil, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Kenya, Russia, China, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Italy, South Africa, South Korea, Poland, Pakistan, Norway, Kenya, Latvia, Macau, Azerbaijan, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Serbia, France, Georgia, the UK, the US, Hong Kong, Greece, Czech Republic, Austria, Belarus and Comoros.

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Dubai Tourism in discussion with Alipay to create a cashless destination for Chinese tourists

Issam Kazim

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) is strengthening its bilateral ties with the China market by endorsing Alipay, a mobile payment and lifestyle platform, through a series of activations and promotions during the upcoming Chinese New Year. The inaugural campaign, launched to mark Dubai’s growing popularity among Chinese tourists and Alipay’s continuous efforts to connect them with overseas merchants, will take place annually across the city with the goal to transform the emirate into a cashless destination for Chinese travellers. As part of the ongoing partnership, Dubai Tourism will continue to amplify Alipay’s prominent role in the market to bring further awareness to the industry’s network of stakeholders, facilitating future collaborations with a wide range of retail partners. Underlining the remarkable growth and the importance of tourism from China to the emirate, the city welcomed 779,000 visitors between January and November 2018, representing a 12 per cent increase on the year before. Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said, “Our ongoing partnership with Alipay is testament to our commitment to providing seamless payment and travel experiences to our guests, and is underpinned by the emirate’s China Readiness Strategy with the shared goal of further enhancing the visitor experience of Chinese tourists in Dubai.” Li Wang, Director, Alipay, said, “Chinese New Year is the most important holiday for the Chinese as well as the biggest campaign for Alipay. We are keen to work with Dubai Tourism to provide seamless payment and travel experiences to Chinese tourists. Together with our partners in Dubai, we are committed to create value for merchants and retailers in Dubai, better connecting them with Chinese tourists.”

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Culture and family take centre stage at 9th Sharjah Light Festival 2019

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The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has launched the ninth edition of Sharjah Light Festival from February 6-16, 2019 under the patronage of H H Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. The festival will present a line-up of renowned artists during its 11-day run, spread across 20 shows throughout the emirate, on the theme ‘Culture and Family.’ The theme of Sharjah Light Festival 2019 will illuminate 17 leading locations in the emirate of Sharjah including Sharjah University City Campus Avenue, Sharjah Police Academy, University City Hall, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah Book Authority, Sharjah City Municipality, Khalid Lagoon, Masjid Al Noor; Al Qasba (Internal Facades), Palm Oasis- Khalid Lagoon, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Directorate of Human Resources – Kalba, Municipality and Municipal Council – Al Hamriyah & Kalba; Municipality and Municipal Council – Khorfakkan, Directorate of Town Planning Department – Khorfakkan; and Masjid Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmad Al Qasimi – Dibba Al-Hisn will light up in motifs that encapsulate the significance of culture and family, as part of the festival. H E Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, SCTDA, said, “The festival has achieved great success over the past years, embodying the most important tourist attractions in Sharjah whilst reflecting the richness of the emirate’s culture. There will be a range of artistic performances and a showcase of historical architecture through modern lighting techniques such as laser mapping, which will be shown for the first time in Al Qasba and Khalid Lagoon.” The light shows will be accompanied by specially composed music by renowned artists from all over the world. The daily shows will run from 6:00 pm to 11:00 …

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Dubai welcomes cruise ship Oceana on its maiden voyage in the Arabian Gulf

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Dubai Cruise Tourism, a department of Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), alongside its public and private sector partners welcomed cruise ship Oceana into Dubai for the debut of UK-based, P&O Cruises into the region as it homeports for the season. With Dubai as its official winter hub, the luxury vessel has recently commenced the operation of regular Arabian Gulf itineraries. The ship is scheduled to make six round-trip programmes, bringing in over 20,000 tourists to Dubai during the 2018-19 season. At 261.30 meters long and weighing over 77,000 tonnes, Oceana will remain in-port in Dubai for over 48 hours at a time giving guests the chance to explore the city’s diverse tourist experiences and varied attractions before setting sail on an exciting itinerary across the Arabian Gulf. The luxury liner will offer three different itineraries as part of its Arabian Gulf fly-cruise programme ranging from seven nights covering ports in the UAE and Bahrain; 10 nights covering UAE, Oman and Bahrain; and a 13-14 nights between Dubai and Malta on its repositioning voyages till March 22. Jamal Alfalasi, Director, Dubai Cruise Tourism said, “Our partnership with P&O Cruises is testament to the robust growth of Dubai’s cruise industry and further highlights the emirate as a significant destination for cruise tourists worldwide. We are grateful to our valued network of public and private sector stakeholders for their continued cooperation and support, which has led to an ever-increasing number of cruise operators looking to anchor in the emirate.” During the 2019-2020 cruise season, the liner will have an extended deployment in Dubai with 14 calls offering a variety of itineraries to an anticipated 40,000 tourists.

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RTA and CIPS MENA sign MoU to upgrade procurement and supply practices

ممثلو الطرفين أثناء توقيع الاتفاقية

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply in the Middle East & North Africa (CIPS MENA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance the professional skills of RTA’s personnel in procurement and supply. The move is a part of RTA’s strategy to boost the cooperation between public and private sectors guided by the directives of Dubai Government. Yousef Al Redha, CEO, RTA Corporate Administrative Support Services Sector and Malcolm Harrison, CEO, CIPS signed the MoU at the RTA’s Head Office. “The signing of the MoU renders RTA the first government entity to enhance the professional standards of delivering services. The move stems from RTA’s appreciation of the importance of procurement and supply within RTA, considering it a key contributor to protecting and sustaining the financial resources of RTA,” said Al Redha. “This MoU will boost RTA’s professional practices of procurement and supply through workshops held by the CIPS for RTA employees. It will thus contribute to realising RTA’s seventh Strategic Goal (RTA Excellence) and assist in turning Dubai into an excellent global hub in procurement & supply,” he added. Harrison was delighted for the signing of the MoU with RTA; one of the biggest government authorities in Dubai with an expansive procurement and supply system. “Under the MoU, we will apply all our abilities & expertise in holding events and workshops to step up the professional standards of RTA’s employees in this field.

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Rotana signs five-star hotel in Baghdad

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Rotana has signed a hotel management agreement with Al Ibaa Company to operate a five-star property in Baghdad. It will operate the city’s famed Babylon Hotel under its new brand name Babylon Rotana Baghdad. With a prime location next to the high-security Green Zone, close to the banks of the famous Tigris River and just 30 minutes’ drive from Baghdad International Airport, Babylon Rotana will offer long and short-staying guests alike all the comfort required for a pleasant and memorable stay experience. Boasting avant-garde architecture, the hotel features 284 spacious and modern rooms and suites with stunning views of Baghdad’s skyline and the majestic Tigris River. Imad Al Yasri, Chairman, Al Ibaa Company, commented, “It gives us immense pleasure to partner with Rotana to operate our five-star property in Baghdad, and we are excited about the planned upgrade and refurbishment of the hotel. We are confident that the partnership with Rotana will present a compelling value proposition for our guests, employees, and stakeholders, and further drive our business growth. We look forward to working closely with Rotana to enhance the overall performance of the hotel, thereby contributing to the development of a thriving hospitality market in the capital city.” Guy Hutchinson, Acting CEO, Rotana, said, “At Rotana, we are delighted to have made a strong start to the New Year with the signing of the agreement to operate the Babylon Rotana Baghdad. This new milestone is closely aligned with our vision to further deepen our footprint in the region and cement our leadership position in the hospitality sector.”

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