Shivani DDPPL

UNWTO General Assembly to highlight tourism issues

St Petersburg will host the 23rd session of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly from September 9-13. Over 1,500 delegates from 158 countries will gather together at the assembly venues to discuss solutions to global issues faced by the tourism sector. The event is organised by the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation in cooperation with the Government of St Petersburg, with Roscongress acting as the operator. The business programme comprises of 16 events in different formats: meetings, debates, plenary sessions, presentations, and discussions. The agenda is focused on the topical issues concerning the organisation’s operation, as well as the challenges faced by the UNWTO and tourism industry players. The event activities will take place across three venues: ExpoForum, the Tauride Palace, and the Presidential Library. Working sessions and meetings on UNWTO’s performance, in particular discussing its reform and current financial situation, will be held as part of the Assembly. UNWTO’s Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili will present the report on current trends in international tourism while the World Committee on Tourism Ethics and the Credentials Committee will also present their respective reports. Important discussions will also include the adoption of the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics, as well as the approval of themes of the World Tourism Day for 2020 and designation of the host country for 2021. The high-level forum on medical and health tourism in the Tauride Palace will be the key event of the Assembly. Head of the Federal Tourism Agency (Russian Federation) Zarina Doguzova, Chairman of the Medical Tourism Association (USA), Jonathan Edelheit and former football player, founder of Bionox Group and UNWTO Ambassador for Sustainable Tourism Fernando Hierro will perform their reports. Debates …

Read More »

Saudi tourism forecast growth in religious and business travel

According to the latest data released by various indicators Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen an exponential increase of tourists from UAE, USA and UK over 2018 which secured a continued growth in the hotel sector.  A report by Colliers reveal that international arrivals to Saudi Arabia are expected to increase 5.6 per cent per year from 17.7 million in 2018 to 23.3 million in 2023. According to the Savills report, recent tourism growth in Saudi Arabia has been driven by three key demand pools – leisure, pilgrim and corporate visitors. Paula de Keijzer, Senior Director Market Management, Africa, Indian Ocean, Middle East and Turkey, Expedia Group, said, “Major hotel groups are driving construction trends across the country as they aim to meet the demands of an ever-increasing number of domestic tourists and international visitors. When it comes to brand affinity and customer loyalty, it is essential to engage at each level of the customer journey. Tools, data and insights available via OTA extranet sites, like Expedia Partner Central (EPC), offer hoteliers the opportunity to inspire and convert travelers, set expectations, create personalised experiences, identify and address issues to better meet guest needs, improve guest experience and drive repeat bookings.” With travel bookings in the Kingdom considered the largest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the power of the international traveler growth to Saudi Arabia is expected to remain strong.  USA saw more than 110 per cent year on year growth in demand compared to the same period in 2017 with almost 45 per cent share of total room nights, UAE saw a whopping year on year growth of above 140 per cent than last year with almost …

Read More »

Dubai hotels occupancy records a high of 76%

According to a recent report released by Dubai tourism, the hotel sector has recorded one of the highest in the world with occupancy at 76 per cent with establishments delivering a combined 15.71 million occupied room nights during the first six months of the year, a five per cent increase over the same period in 2018. Another noteworthy fact is that the emirate has now reached an inventory of 118,345 within 714 establishments at the end of June 2019, representing a six per cent increase, which showcased continued strong investor confidence in Dubai’s tourism demand. In the Middle East, Dubai continues to be the much favoured destination recording the largest traffic from all over the world. Brands such as Rove have revolutionised the market in Dubai. Luxury five-star and four-star hotels commanded 34 and 25 per cent of the emirate’s total inventory, respectively.  Meanwhile properties in the one to three-star categories represented a share of 20 per cent. Increasing demand for diversified accommodation options was met with a combined 21 per cent of hotel apartment establishments across the deluxe/superior and standard categories.

Read More »

58% growth in bookings for Ireland from the UAE: dnata Travel

Travel from the UAE to the island of Ireland has seen strong growth from January 1st until June 30th, according to travel statistics released by dnata Travel. Compared to the same period (H1) in 2018, UAE locals and residents have been visiting Ireland in greater numbers, drawn to its diverse landscape full of lush greenery and vast natural beauty.  Over the first two quarters of the year, 58 per cent more bookings to Ireland were made through dnata Travel’s platforms, and room nights booked have also increased by 72 per cent. Antonio Fellino, Vice President of Retail and eCommerce for dnata Travel UAE, commented: “Trips to Ireland with dnata Travel offer UAE travellers unique opportunities including the chance to stay in a grand castle, or a small cottage at the heart of a colourful local village, or to explore rugged, scenic landscapes that follow in the footsteps of their favourite Game of Thrones characters.” Additional data indicates that sales of trips and accommodation to Ireland increased nearly two-fold during Eid Al Fitr alone, as compared to last year. This correlated to the travel provider noting that online searches for holidays to Ireland have seen a 675% augmentation in the first six months of this year. The most preferred destination for travellers from the UAE market was to Dublin, with 95 per cent of hotel bookings made through the dnata Travel platform favouring the capital city, followed by the cosmopolitan city of Cork. Visitors from the region have been found to reinforce their preference for luxury accommodation whilst abroad, as 47 per cent of hotels booked were for 5-star properties, followed by 4-star and 3-star hotels respectively. The ever-strengthening relationship between …

Read More »

Travelport to develop a blockchain solution for hotel commission reconciliation

Travelport has announced the development of a blockchain solution to enhance the hotel commission reconciliation process. Working with IBM Services and BCD Travel, as well as a number of high-profile hotel chains, the blockchain technology solution aims to optimise hotel commission processing on a distributed ledger by managing reconciliation, tracking and accounting for commission payments owed from hotel chains for services purchased by travellers via booking agencies. Ross Vinograd, Senior Product Director, Travelport, said: “Blockchain technology applied to commission reconciliation has the potential to deliver real ROI to both a travel agency and the hotel. Traveller modifications at property, no shows, and complimentary room nights are just a few examples that drive commission discrepancies which in turn generate escalations, cost, and revenue loss. Our aim is to put the lifecycle of a booking on the blockchain and we believe doing so will drive transparency, trust, and ultimately booking volume.” Kurt Wedgwood, IBM Blockchain Leader-Travel, added: “Global distribution companies and providers would benefit from this use of blockchain technology to remove their never-ending work of reconciliation to spend that time adding new experiences and insights for the traveller. Eliminating the hours spent addressing dollars in dispute or the timeliness and accuracy of information allows all participants to focus on what matters most: the traveller.”  

Read More »

Bahrain, significant market: Etihad CEO

As Etihad Airways marks its 15th anniversary of its operations between the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, and Manama,  Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, mentions that Bahrain has evolved as a significant market for the airways. Kamark,  said: “We are delighted to celebrate the 15th anniversary of our flights to Bahrain, which was one of the first routes we served after Etihad was established in November 2003. “Bahrain has evolved as a significant market for Etihad, notably because of its strong relationships, long history and shared culture with the UAE.” Since launching services to Bahrain on August 22, 2004, Etihad has carried more than 2.5 million guests between the two capitals. Today, the airline operates 28 flights per week and carries 200,000 guests annually to and from Bahrain, using Airbus A320 aircraft. Etihad’s flights to Manama provide a vital link between Bahrain and major markets in Asia, Indian subcontinent, MENA and the United States, via the airline’s home and hub, Abu Dhabi. Earlier this year, Etihad Airways and Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, signed a codeshare agreement in which each placed their flight codes on services operated by the other between and beyond Abu Dhabi and Manama, strengthening the offering of both airlines.   The United Arab Emirates has boasted robust economic ties with the Kingdom of Bahrain throughout history. The business links between them are now stronger than ever, with the total non-oil trade volume exceeding 7.5 US billion in 2018. Etihad Airways has played a vital role in encouraging the import and export traffic between the two GCC countries, carrying goods and cargo shipments in both ways. The United Arab Emirates exports Portland cement and precious …

Read More »

OYO Hotels & Homes announces Arabic support on customer App and mobile platforms

OYO Hotels & Homes have announced multilingual support for its customer app (Android and iOS) and mobile web platforms. With a consumer-first approach backed by innovative technology, through its newly launched multilingual support on the customer app and mobile web platforms, OYO aims to offer a hassle-free and customized booking experience to millions of users across the world. With Arabic language support, OYO aims to extend support to more users in UAE and reach out to the growing number of internet users. The Change Language Functionality will enable users to simply switch from English to Arabic and enjoy customized yet quality booking experience. Commenting on the launch, Anil Goel, Group Chief Technology & Product Officer, OYO Hotels & Homes, said, “At OYO, customer experience is a priority. Being a tech-driven hospitality business, we leverage the right technology and talent to deliver predictable, affordable, good quality stay experiences for everyday travelers and city dwellers. With this multilingual support, we aim to make user interactions hassle-free and convenient, further adding to the overall customer experience across the world. We believe that Arabic language support will make us more accessible to customers in UAE.”    

Read More »

Emirates anticipates over half a million travellers in upcoming weeks

Travel is expected to reach an all-time high in the upcoming weeks for Emirates, as the airline expects yet another busy period with travellers flocking into Dubai after the summer holidays and Eid breaks. Excluding transit passengers, over 500,000 people are expected to arrive into Dubai from August 20 until the beginning of September. Mohammed Mattar, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates Airport Services, said, “With another record breaking period coming up when it comes to passenger arrivals, we want to ensure that Emirates customers coming back to Dubai have the best experience possible starting from disembarkation through to every touchpoint and have positioned extra resources to ensure a speedy arrival journey.” Emirates has a number of services and initiatives in place to ensure stress-free movement from gate to arrivals, eliminating potential bottlenecks and cutting wait-times for passengers to complete their formalities. Emirates customers can expect reduced processing times at immigration counters when using smart gates, by simply using their Emirates ID or passport. They can ‘clear’ immigration in seconds without human intervention or the need for a physical passport return stamp. Emirates also offers a Home Delivery service where luggage is retrieved, cleared at customs and delivered to customers for a hassle-free arrival experience. First and Business Class passengers arriving in Dubai can quickly access Emirates’ complimentary Chauffer Drive service upon clearing customs, and Economy Class passengers can use the efficient Dubai Taxi services which conveniently awaits them. Passengers can access the Dubai metro directly from the arrivals area of Terminal 3.

Read More »

Augsburg Water Management System declared a World Heritage Site in Germany

At its 43rd session held recently in Baku, Azerbaijan, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, granted the Augsburg Application of the ‘Augsburg Water Management System’ with the exclusive UNESCO World Heritage title. At this meeting, 36 proposals were identified from around the world — three of them with German participation. The city’s delight is huge and a major water festival was launched in the city center. Mayor Dr. Kurt Gribl said, “With the recognition of the Augsburg Water Management System as a World Heritage Site, UNESCO honours an incomparable treasure that the city has retained since its founding. The location of Augsburg at the confluence of ‘Lech’ and ‘Wertach’ is no coincidence, but strategically well considered.” Thomas Weitzel, Cultural Officer in Baku/Azerbaijan, said,”The system of the Augsburg water management is located like a connecting bracket around the city, which is rich in cultural monuments, from the oldest water towers in Europe and the art-historically important fountains to outstanding monuments of industrial culture or the canoe route in the former Olympic site.” Ulrich Müllegger, World Heritage Coordinator in Baku/Azerbaijan, shared, “I’m sure many people of Augsburg are happy with the World Heritage title and are proud of it. Water is the genetic code of our city, which formed the life between ‘Lech’ and ‘Wertach’ for more than two millennia.” Götz Beck, CEO, Regional Tourism, stated, “UNESCO World Heritage Sites are tourist heavyweights. The Augsburg Water Management System Award is a great opportunity to provide exciting incentives for the development of tourism in Augsburg and the region at the national and international levels.”    

Read More »

ITB China becomes strategic partner of the 2019 World Culture and Tourism Forum

ITB China, the largest B2B exclusive travel trade show in China, has become the strategic partner of the 2019 World Culture and Tourism Forum to be held on October 22-25 in Xi’an, China. Under the topic “Integrating Culture and Tourism to Build an Intelligent Future”, more than 1,000 industry experts will explore new marketing ideas for inbound tourism, destinations and attractions, while promoting the East-meets-West culture and thinking in the mission of developing global tourism for a new era. The conference will be hosted by Xi’an Municipal People’s Government and Ctrip Group. ITB China is organising a senior delegation of international and Chinese travel industry representatives to visit the forum and enjoy four days of exploring new marketing ideas for inbound tourism in China. Hand-picked senior buyers from the established ITB Berlin Buyers Circle will attend the forum this year, representing the international tourism industry. The majority of the buyers are coming from Europe and Asia, covering the MiCE, Corporate and Leisure travel sectors. David Axiotis, General Manager of ITB China, said, “The partnership between Xi’an and ITB China will further promote the city’s amazing culture and tourist offerings beyond China and thus increase Xian’s ties with international travel professionals”. “Being one of the ‘Culture Cities of East Asia’ in 2019, Xi’an has accelerated its evolution into an international metropolis with its rich history and diverse culture backed by cultural confidence and consciousness,” noted Xu Mingfei, Deputy Mayor of Xi’an People’s Government, at the Forum of the Culture City of East Asia. In its 4th year ITB China, taking place from May 13 to 15, 2020 at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Centre, has already established itself as …

Read More »