Shivani DDPPL

Al Bait Sharjah to open doors on September 1

Al Bait Sharjah image

General Hotel Management Ltd (GHM) has announced the opening of its second resort — Al Bait Sharjah in the Middle East on September 1. Following the success of the award-winning Chedi Muscat, this announcement marks yet another significant milestone to celebrate Arabian heritage. Developed in partnership with Shurooq (the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority), Al Bait Sharjah offers an unrivalled dimension of luxury, sophistication and personalised service never experienced before in the Emirate. Located in the region’s biggest restoration project known as ‘Heart of Sharjah’, the opening of Al Bait plays a key role in re-establishing Sharjah as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. Paying homage to traditional Sharjah architecture, the 53-key heritage resort is constructed from the restored foundations of vintage homes that once belonged to noted Emirati families. Al Bait, meaning home in Arabic, is carefully remodelled and designed to provide world-class hospitality services and luxurious experiences to its guests, through elements that are in harmony with culture, society, history and civilisation as well as quintessential Emirati hospitality and etiquette. “GHM has taken the lead in pioneering luxury hospitality in the Emirate, while connecting the modern traveller to Sharjah’s rich storied past. We eagerly look forward to welcoming guests to Al Bait for an experience comparable to no other,” states Patrick Moukarzel, the resort’s General Manager.

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New Sharjah City Center opens as the regional retail tourism destination

Sharjah city center 2 (2) JPG

As Sharjah drives towards welcoming 10 million tourists by 2021, the retail tourism sector is being developed by Majid Al Futtaim. The latest family lifestyle and entertainment tourism destination is the Sharjah City Center which was refurbished and expanded with a cost of over AED 260 million to a spacious 51,000 plus sq ft. area housing over 23 new brands, unique cinematic experience with Michelin chef served menus and 1400 plus new parking slots. “We work very closely with hotels, agents and Sharjah tourism to ensure that we present a good retail tourism destination which could attract tourists from all over the world. We are constantly working towards reimagining the retail and leisure landscape to meet the evolving demands of our discerning shoppers and retain our position as their preferred shopping destination in Sharjah. The new, revitalised City Centre Sharjah is a result of valuable feedback from our long-standing customers who seek trendy international brands, exciting F&B concepts that appease a plethora of tastes and a destination where they can spend hours with their loved ones enjoying the wide variety of entertainment options,” said Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, Managing Director for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Shopping Malls (UAE, Bahrain & Oman). The mall has been redesigned with a skylight roof to allow for more natural light and spacious storefronts that extends a fresh and contemporary feel to make every visit pleasurable. Keeping accessibility and convenience of shoppers at the heart of the project, City Centre Sharjah has revamped the carpark with 1,426 parking bays and easy entry and exit routes close to the mall’s anchor stores.

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Collinson signs exclusive lounge operator deals with Muscat and Dammam

naSmiles Lounge_Image1 - Dammam King Fahad International Airport

Collinson has announced two new, exclusive partnerships to bring additional lounge access to its customers in the Middle East. The new relationships means Collinson customers will have the opportunity to make use of the Primeclass Lounge at the newly opened Terminal at Muscat International Airport in Oman, and the naSmiles Lounge at Dammam King Fahd International in Saudi Arabia. Through an exclusive partnership with TAV, Collinson customers now have access to the Primeclass Lounge, the only independent lounge at Muscat International. The lounge is located airside on the second floor and is accessible to all customers 24/7. The lounge’s décor and styling is based on a reinterpretation of Oman’s traditional architecture and distinctive landscapes, reflecting the beauty of the country while combining comfort with utility. A range of facilities catering for leisure and business customers make it the perfect place for Collinson’s customers to relax and unwind before a flight. The naSmiles Lounge, a brand-new addition to one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest airports, is located airside, on the ground floor next to Gate 16. It is open 24/7 to domestic passengers only. Priyanka Lakhani, Regional Commercial Director, Middle East, Africa and India at Collinson, the operator of Priority Pass, commented: “These new partnerships demonstrate our commitment to providing lounge access to our customers all over the world. The newly opened terminal at Muscat International is a key hub for the Middle East and is fast becoming a go to destination for business travelers, while the brand-new lounge at King Fahd International provides a sanctuary for travelers with its modern design and spacious layout.”

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Etihad launches inflight guest medical services

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Etihad Airways has launched two specialised services for air travellers with pre-existing medical conditions, ensuring continuity of care and in-flight safety. The one-stop-shop services will be carried out by members of the Etihad medical team who are qualified in aviation and transport medicine. The first service allows guests, who require medical clearance prior to travel, the opportunity to request an Etihad aviation doctor to visit them and conduct an evaluation in consultation with their attending physician. All medical forms and assessments will be completed by the Etihad doctor on-site, leading to a recommendation about their “fit to fly” status within one day. The second service is the introduction of an in-flight nurse who can accompany guests during their trip and provide medical support. Nadia Bastaki, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Medical Services, said, “Etihad is delighted to be the first airline in the region to provide these new medical services which will cater for guests who require medical assistance during their travel. Both services will help ensure our guests have a smooth and hassle-free journey, greatly removing unnecessary anxiety they sometimes feel when travelling.” Guests interested in availing these services can visit: etihad.com/meda

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Emirates launches five times-a-week service to Santiago in Chile

An Emirates Airbus A380

Emirates has launched a new, five times-a-week service from Dubai (DXB) to Santiago International Airport (SCL), via the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo (GRU), marking the airline’s first arrival in Chile. On board the inaugural Boeing 777-200LR flight, which was welcomed at both Sao Paulo and Santiago airports with a water cannon salute, was a group of special guests and media. Hubert Frach, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, West said, “We are very pleased to see the interest this new route has created since it was announced in late January, reflected in strong bookings from and to Santiago. Santiago is a very popular leisure and business destination, and this new service will offer customers across our global network, particularly from key inbound markets such the Far East, Middle East and West Asia, a great travel option to South America. The new service will also give travellers from Chile the opportunity to experience Emirates’ superior product and service, and offer them more convenient travel options with Emirates to Sao Paulo, Dubai and onward to destinations across our network,”. “The arrival of Emirates in Chile is an important symbol of trust and confidence in the country, to our authorities and to how Groupe ADP, VINCI Airports and Astaldi Concessioni, through Nuevo Pudahuel, are setting a new standard of service at Arturo Merino Benítez Airport”, said Nicolas Claude, CEO Nuevo Pudahuel.

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Turkish Airlines inks deal with American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT)

1 JPG

Turkish Airlines has signed a deal with American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) to expand its existing collaboration to a global partnership. The global carrier which has added the South America region to the new joint service area, will also become one of the airlines supported by Amex GBT at the top level, within the scope of this expanded agreement. The agreement was signed by M İlker Aycı, Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee, Turkish Airlines and Greg O’Hara, Board Chairman, Amex GBT. The collaboration is aimed to determine a common strategy on a global level and increase the cooperation between the managements of both parts at all levels. Another goal at this point is to increase the cooperation in product development and sales for ‘Marine & Offshore’, ‘Travel and Lifestyle Services’ and ‘Meeting & Events’ segments. Aycı said, “We are pleased to enter such an important business partnership with Amex GBT. With this new agreement, which was existed on a regional scale and now expanded to global, we aim to increase our market share also in the corporate travel segment and be the most preferred airline for all business travellers worldwide.”

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DTCM shares outlook with industry partners and stakeholders

Dubai Tourism DG addresses the City Briefing audience

In its first biannual city briefing event of the year, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) highlighted its strategic framework, activities and campaigns in line with the Tourism Vision for 2020. Hosted for hotel establishments, destination management companies, event organisers, tourism attractions and government departments, the event was held at the Conrad Dubai with approximately 1,000 attendees. Keynote speeches at the latest briefing led by His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General, Dubai Tourism, provided valuable insights into the growth drivers behind Dubai’s record year-to-date international visitation, providing stakeholders with an in-depth analysis of the city’s visitor demographics and visitor satisfaction results from the annual Dubai Visitor Survey. Key successes and learnings from international marketing and business campaigns were also discussed. In addition, these keynotes covered the significance of Dubai’s robust calendar of retail and festival events spearheaded by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), and Dubai College of Tourism’s first-of-its-kind multi-disciplinary educational platform for the region. Both of these are key elements of the future outlook for tourism in Dubai and set to transform the city’s fast-evolving industry and the overall visitor experience. Another keynote was delivered by Manal Al Bayat, Senior Vice President – Business Development and Integration at Expo 2020 Dubai, who provided crucial insights into what can be expected in the lead up to the event and the legacy it will leave behind.

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Emirates initiates virtual reality technology on emirates.com

Emirates 360

Introducing 3D seat models on emirates.com, Emirates has becoming the first airline to introduce web virtual reality (VR) technology on its digital platform. The 3D seat model is a visualisation engine that displays an immersive 3D 360 degree view of the interior of the Emirates A380 and the Emirates Boeing 777, giving customers a chance to explore their seats, the spacious cabin and the Emirates onboard product. This new feature available on emirates.com allows users to navigate through the Economy, Business and First Class cabins, as well as the iconic Onboard Lounge and Shower Spa on the Emirates A380 using navigational hotspots. Alex Knigge, Senior Vice President -Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand (Digital), Emirates said, “As we continually invest to provide our customers with an unmatched travel experience onboard and on the ground, we also work very hard to give our customers a world-class digital experience. We are pleased to be the world’s first airline to introduce this cutting-edge web VR technology.” The high-quality 3D generated graphics offer an outstanding render that is close to reality. Customers accessing emirates.com via their mobile devices or the Emirates app for iOS and Android will also be able to explore their seats before checking in online with the 3D seat map.

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Abu Dhabi records 4.9% growth in hotel guests during the first five months of 2018

Abu Dhabi records 4.9% growth in hotel guests during the first five months of 2018 1

The number of hotel guests staying in Abu Dhabi increased by 4.9 per cent during the first five months of 2018 compared to the same period last year. According to statistics from the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), 162 hotels, resorts and hotel apartments offering 31,236 rooms across the emirate welcomed 2,073,586 guests during January to May. The occupancy rate has averaged 75 per cent during the same period, with a 1.4 per cent increase, while the average length of stay was 2.7 nights, an increase of 2.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2017, with China topping the number of visitors, recording 192,500 visitors, an increase of 19.9 per cent. India came in second with 166,700 guests and a 22.2 per cent increase, followed by the UK with 119,900 amounting to a 12.7 per cent increase, the United States with 82,300 guests and a 25.7 per cent increase, and Germany with 71,300 guests at a 20 per cent increase. HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary, DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “These results demonstrate steady growth and prove Abu Dhabi’s ability to realise its strategic goals of positioning the emirate as a leading global destination through forward-looking marketing and promotional campaigns that seek to sustain growth.” While the Abu Dhabi Summer Season will run until August 18, the second half of 2018 will witness prominent events such as the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Art in November, and the Abu Dhabi Food Festival in December.

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AITO’s annual conference to be held in Ras Al Khaimah from November 22-25

2. Thomas Cook to open in Ras Al Khaimah

The UK’s Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) annual conference is set to be held in Ras Al Khaimah from November 22-25, 2018. Derek Moore, Chairman, AITO comments, “We’re thrilled to have been invited by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourist Development Authority (RAKTDA). It is particularly exciting for AITO members to visit such a fascinating destination that is on the cusp of change in terms of tourism. We are also pleased to be flying with Emirates to the conference – its vast network of airports in the UK will make travel to Ras Al Khaimah so convenient for our members who are spread across the country.” Gemma Antrobus, Chair, AITO Specialist Travel Agents, said, “This is a destination with enormous potential for AITO Specialist Travel Agents who are always on the look-out for something different. Ras Al Khaimah offers the perfect balance of beach, activity, history and culture, providing the variety that many of our discerning clients seek and that AITO agents enjoy selling!”

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