Shivani DDPPL

VAT refund for tourists to open doors for further growth

Tejas Goenka, Executive Director

Tourists visiting the UAE will be entitled to claim back any Value Added Tax (VAT) payments they are charged. “The UAE has become a regional magnet for foreign investors and tourists, and the move to refund VAT yet again shows UAE’s strategic ability to drive the growth of the country,” said Tejas Goenka, Executive Director, Tally Solutions. Since the launch of VAT, thousands of businesses in the UAE have been using Tally’s software to comply with VAT regulations. The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) is also working on an advanced integrated digital system to set up a direct connection with points of sale as well as with all UAE ports of entry, allowing the global operator to coordinate among retailers registered with the FTA and enable tourists to submit refund requests for their purchases. “Internationally, most countries that implement VAT have an online robust system connecting multiple refund agencies and retailers on a single platform, offering tourists a seamless and hassle-free experience while verifying, processing and disbursing the tax refunds. We are confident that the new digital system to be implemented by FTA will be at par with international standards, offering tourists and retailers easy access to claim and release refunds. Since the launch of VAT, thousands of small companies in the UAE have switched to digital platforms from manual systems, demonstrating the country’s global competitiveness,” added Tejas. While the UAE’s decision to refund value-added tax (VAT) will boost tourism, it will serve as a buoyant force for the MiCE industry as well according to Tejas.

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Dubai records 8 million overnight visitors in first half of 2018

HE Helal Saeed Almarri - Director General DTCM

Dubai welcomed a record 8.10 million international overnight tourists during the first six months of 2018, representing a consistent increase on the same period last year. Figures released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) have confirmed the continued success of the emirate’s tourism sector. A destination of choice for a number of global markets, Dubai is on track for projected growth into the second half of 2018. Top source markets continued to witness stable year-on-year performances in the first half of 2018, with India, KSA and the UK retaining their top three positions when compared to the same period last year. India again brought in the highest number of international guests, once again crossing the 1-million-mark over a six-month period, up by 3 per cent year-on-year. KSA and the UK retained their spots as the second and third largest feeder markets respectively, with the former rallying to a slight increase and remaining as the highest traffic driver from the GCC region. His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, commented, “The first six months of 2018 have both generated and sustained a steady performance, supporting strong growth across our global feeder markets. Attracting 8.10 million visitors during the first half of 2018 stands us in good stead as we accelerate momentum towards our visionary aspiration of becoming the most visited city in the world.”

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Marriott opens world’s largest Four Points by Sheraton in Makkah

FP Makkah_Lobby

Four Points by Sheraton has announced the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Al Naseem in Saudi Arabia – the brand’s largest property globally. Adding over 1,100 rooms to the Holy City, the hotel is situated in the Al Naseem district and is in close proximity to the centre of Makkah and the holy Masjid al-Haram. “The trajectory for religious tourism into Saudi Arabia continues to grow, resulting in a strong demand for hotels in the Holy Cities,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director – Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “We are delighted to open our fifth property in the Holy City of Makkah. Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Al Naseem offers pilgrims the brand’s excellent service and a comfortable hospitality experience in the Holy City. With this opening, we now operate 24 hotels in the country and are on track to double our presence in the Kingdom in the next five years.” Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Al Naseem features 1,136 spacious and modern guest rooms including 121 suites, offering unmatched views of the holy city of Makkah. Reflecting the brand’s promise to provide what matters most to today’s independent travellers, the hotel offers the brand’s defining touches including complimentary bottled water in all rooms, fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and an energising breakfast with fresh coffee. The hotel includes four dining concepts, Al Sharq, Asia House and two Lobby Cafés.

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Emirates inks codeshare with Trenitalia to expand network in Italy

Trenitalia_4x3

Emirates and Trenitalia, Italy’s national railway company have announced a new codeshare agreement which will enable Emirates’ customers to discover new destinations across Italy. With just one easy-to-book ticket, travellers will be able to fly on Emirates and reach some of Italy’s picturesque cities and towns using high speed, modern and comfortable trains that leave from Emirates’ four Italian gateways – Bologna, Milan, Rome and Venice. Customers can now start booking their codeshare trips via Emirates’ website and travel onwards to these destinations. “This codeshare agreement with Trenitalia opens up new possibilities for our customers and complements our current services to Bologna, Milan, Rome and Venice. With Trenitalia, travelling to the Far East from Foggia or to Padova from Sydney has never been easier. Emirates already flies more than 1.6 million passengers to and from Italy every year. With this codeshare agreement, we’re connecting Italian regions to our global network, significantly boosting the Italian tourism industry,” said Hubert Frach, Divisional Senior Vice President – Commercial Operations, West, Emirates.

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Etihad will increase its flights to Canada from October 2018

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Etihad Airways will increase its flights from Abu Dhabi to Canada’s largest city, Toronto, from three to five weekly services from October 28. The flights will be operated by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, featuring 40 seats in Business Class and 340 in Economy Class. Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “We are thrilled to announce more flights to cosmopolitan Toronto, one of the most successful and popular destinations on our global route network. This news has been eagerly anticipated. We have welcomed well over a million guests on our flights to Toronto since we launched the service almost 13 years ago. This development is great news for UAE nationals, for who Canada is an exciting trade, touristic, and cultural partner, and for Canadians, including the thousands residing here in the emirates. The UAE is also Canada’s largest export market in the MENA region, so the extra services are a boost for trade to and from the area and beyond.” Etihad Airways inaugurated services to Toronto on October 2005, and since then the route has proved very successful for the airline, recording consistently strong demand to and from both cities. Approximately 45,000 Canadian citizens reside in the UAE, with over 150 Canadian companies registered across the country. Citizens of both countries now enjoy visa-free entry for business and tourism on stays of up to six months. Etihad Airways has a codeshare partnership in place with Air Canada, with the Canadian flag carrier placing its ‘AC’ code on Etihad services from Toronto to Abu Dhabi and from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi.

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Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group launches Mindful Meetings designed to enhance MiCE

MOPUD- Boardroom

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has launched a new global initiative, Mindful Meetings by Mandarin Oriental, designed to enhance and energise meetings and conferences with creative solutions that are based on five key dimensions of wellness: nourishment, movement, stillness, connections and wellbeing. Emily Snyder, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s Vice President of Global Sales said, “Our aim is to support meeting planners by providing a unique offering, that will ensure all participants leave a Mindful Meeting feeling refreshed, motivated and ready to implement new ideas, information and connections. Mandarin Oriental is renowned as a leader in global wellness, with more Forbes Five-Star Spas than any other hotel brand. By extending and utilizing this expertise in the meeting space, we can provide participants with a truly enhanced environment, that is conducive to success.” Examples of wellness enhancements include healthy and energising menu choices, yoga sessions, guided meditations, digital wellness and jet lag tips, massage and movement breaks, custom spa events, expert health talks and group exercise activities. All options can be customized and made available for participants either in or out of the meeting room. To celebrate the launch, a ‘Mindful Meetings Promotion’ is available for every new event or group booking made between 6 June and 30 September 2018 at all Mandarin Oriental destinations worldwide. By inserting the term ‘Mindful Meetings Promotion’ in the initial meeting request, meeting bookers can select one of the following benefits: Energizer welcome shots upon arrival for all participants, 30-minute guided wellness activity such as meditation, yoga for participants in the meeting space, Mindful in-room amenity for all participants; of course terms and conditions would apply.

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Emaar Hospitality to create over 5,300 new jobs in next five years across UAE

EMAAR_HOSPITALITY_LOGO_ENGLISH

Emaar Hospitality Group has announced creation of more than 5,300 jobs in the hospitality sector in the next five years across the UAE including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Significantly, the group is focusing on hiring and nurturing the talents of UAE Nationals for jobs in the hospitality sector, and has put into place ambitious strategies and plans to drive Emiratisation across all functions within the Group. These goals will also be achieved through partnerships with key government entities and departments that support Emiratisation within the hospitality industry. Emaar Hospitality Group is creating jobs across the entire breadth of the hospitality and leisure supply chain – from guest facing and heart-of-house functions to administrators, marketing, sales, finance, HR, logistics, and other professionals. An equal opportunity company, the Group welcomes professionals from across the world who are passionate about building a long-term career in the hospitality sector. Aseem Kapoor, Corporate Director of Human Resources at Emaar Hospitality Group, said: “We are emerging as one of the largest providers of jobs in the hospitality sector in the UAE. With hospitality professionals from across the world working with us, we take pride in offering a world-class work environment that enables them to progress in their careers. While we will continue to promote and nurture a multi-cultural work environment, one of our focal points will be to attract more Emirati and National talent to the industry – given the superb value they can deliver, with their local knowledge and skills – and we are committed to ensuring that our team members achieve professional and personal success.”

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Travel Tech Middle East Congress to be held in September in Dubai

verve

The second annual event of the Verve Travel Tech Middle East Congress will be held from September 26–27, 2018 with exclusive media partnership with Travtalk Middle East, Tourism Breaking News and Travel TV. The Travel Tech Middle East congress will focus on data insights and technology. There will be presentations on top traveller behaviour trends to watch by airlines, hoteliers & OTA’s, travel tech trends to watch, current & future, travel marketing in 2018, Artificial Intelligence: future of customer engagement & travel experience, alternative accommodation models and the future of hotels, future of bitcoin and blockchain: how will it revolutionize the travel industry, connectedness & use of technology amongst older persons and a lot more trending topics! Sabah Parvez, the Managing Director of Verve Management UAE, “These are exciting times for the Middle East region as we gear up for the World 2020 Expo in Dubai, an event that has generated an estimated $50 billion in direct and indirect investments, with $8 billion being allocated to transport and infrastructure projects alone, according to the Gulf Business news. We believe that this will generate business for the travel & tourism industry and will only keep getting bigger. This is a good time to invest in the Middle East market and travel as an industry will be one of the main benefactor as it will play a major role not only for the expo but tourism point of view as well.”

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Fly to Toronto five times a week with Emirates

Emirates in Nice

Emirates has announced that it will introduce two additional flights to its Toronto (YYZ) service, complementing its existing schedule and providing more choice and convenience to travellers.The additional Toronto flights will be introduced from August 18, 2018 and will operate on a Saturday departing Dubai as EK241 at 03:30 and arrive in Toronto at 09:30. The return flight, EK242, leaves Toronto at 14:25 and arrives in Dubai at 11:40 the next day. On Sundays, EK241 will depart at 03:30 and arrive in Toronto at 09:30. The return flight, EK242, will leave Toronto at 14:30 and arrives in Dubai at 11:25 the next day. Both flights will be operated by the iconic Emirates A380 with private suites in First Class, lie flat seats in Business Class and spacious seats in Economy Class. Emirates recently celebrated 10 years of operations in Canada last October, demonstrating the airline’s ongoing commitment to the market. Over the past decade, Emirates introduced new aircraft on the route from a Boeing 777 in October 2007 to the flagship A380 in 2009. The A380 scheduled service increased passenger capacity on the Toronto service by 40% and since then, passenger occupancy on the route has been consistently full, averaging 90% with demand outstripping supply. The additional frequency will fulfil the strong demand on the route and add 65% capacity to the market. As of June 5, UAE nationals no longer need a visa to travel to Canada for short stays. Emirates also has established codeshare partnerships in Canada with WestJet and Alaska Airlines, connecting travellers from across its global network to more Canadian cities and vice-versa.

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OTE to be held at Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resort on Sep 6

MARIO JPG

The second edition of Outbound Travel Events (OTE) organised by Luxury Connections with exclusive media partnership with Travtalk Middle East, tourismbreakingnews.ae and Travel TV.News will take place at the Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resort on September 6, 2018. The inaugural sessions last year saw a great turn out of agents from all emirates making it a sounding success. This year for the second edition new partners will be joining aboard and will be announced very soon. Come summer every year, every agent in all emirates and Middle East in general seek new destinations to explore so that their clientele will not only be able to witness varied locations but also ensure that some of the most important “bucket list” sites are covered in the long run. This event is soon becoming an important networking platform for agents from all emirates as they are given the opportunity to connect on, one on one basis with destinations, properties, attractions etc from Europe, Asia, Americas etc. This preparation for summer next year is an absolute necessity especially given the fact that next year the Eid holidays will be very much towards the end of spring paving way for the travellers to have a much longer vacation. The person behind the event Mario Anthony and the luxury connections team stated that they have already received a very good response for the event and expect a very good participation. Anthony said, “We are very excited about the second edition of the outbound travel bazaar in Abu Dhabi. After the successful event last year in Abu Dhabi, we expect this year to have more participants and partners from all seven emirates during this day.”

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