Shivani DDPPL

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

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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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Bahrain reveals Tourism Vision 2018

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H.E. Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), presented tourism insights for 2018 at the first Special Interest Group (SIG) organised by Bahrain British Business Forum (BBBF) in collaboration with the BTEA at Westin Bahrain City Centre. Al Khalifa said, “The BTEA is committed to supporting initiatives aimed at boosting investments in Bahrain’s tourism sector. We therefore encourage this initiative, which is in line with the BTEA’s long-term strategy to make the Kingdom a leading regional centre offering a diverse variety of tourism facilities.” The event was attended by leading business men and women in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry and forum members who had the opportunity to learn, in detail, about the industry’s highlights for the coming year. The BBBF is a leading network of businessmen and women in Bahrain. The forum has nine Special Interest Groups covering oil, gas and energy; hospitality leisure and tourism; construction; banking and financial services; ICT; legal; organisational effectiveness; young professionals and women in business. The SIGs offer members and guests a valuable medium for exchanging industry specific ideas.

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Dubai tourism launches multilingual audio tour guides

Al Fahidi Historic District

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has collaborated with two digital tour apps to launch two new free Dubai tours that will help visitors discover and learn more about historic sites and landmarks in the city. The tours, titled ‘Metro Moments’ and ‘Al Fahidi Architecture Tour’, are available to download for free from the Apple Store and Google Play. Supported by GPS technology, both tours use audio narrations to guide visitors through Dubai, automatically progressing from one point of interest to the next in real time, depending on the user’s location. The pre-recorded audio is available in English, Chinese and German and each tour also comes in text form and is accompanied by a map to help with navigation. Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director, Tourism Development and Investments at Dubai Tourism, said, “In accordance with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, we are continually looking for ways to enhance the visitor experience in Dubai, ensuring it is a city that is accessible for all. The launch of these audio tours will help people from all over the world gain an enhanced understanding of Dubai.”

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Dubai launches first sustainable floating food truck

Aqua Pod - 3

Ever thought of savouring your food while enjoying the sea? UAE has launched Aqua Pod, the world’s first sustainable floating drive-through, set to float in Dubai’s lagoons, providing visitors with a first-of-its-kind experience while at sea. For the first time ever, sea-goers can satisfy their hunger while at sea and enjoy food and beverages as they would from a traditional food truck. This unique concept comes at the hands of award-winning architect Ahmed Youssef, founder of Aquatic Architects Design Studio (AADS) and creator of Aqua Pod. “Realising the value of the sea, we have set out to create an innovative platform which allows us to tap into the aquatic market, with sustainability at the core of every design decision to preserve the marine environment,” says Ahmed. “At AADS, we understand the value of the region’s shorelines and beyond, so we saw an untapped opportunity to bring an innovative concept to the UAE,” he said. The Aqua Pod boasts a revolutionary architectural design with sustainability features, matching the UAE government’s focus on green initiatives. Largely running on electrical power, the Aqua Pod’s operations enable the production of clean water from the sea excluding any negative discharge. The Dubai Maritime City Authority pledged its support to this project by creating a new license category for this unique floating facility.

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Arab Health 2018 opens with over 100,000 attendees from 150 countries

Arab health opening pix

The 2018 edition of Arab Health, the largest gathering of healthcare and trade professionals in the MENA region, welcomed more than 4,200 exhibiting companies and 103,000 attendees from 150+ countries. H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance, and President of the Dubai Health Authority, DHA, opened the event at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre held from January 29 to February 1. Accompanying the exhibition were 19 business, leadership and Continuing Medical Education (CME) conferences providing the very latest updates and insights into cutting edge procedures, techniques and skills. Exhibitors displayed the latest in “smart” healthcare technology that connects patients to physicians and hospitals/clinics.

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