Shivani DDPPL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Seven Tides appoints Barceló Hotel Group to manage DUKES Dubai

Luxury residential and hospitality property developer Seven Tides has confirmed Barceló Hotel Group as the new operator of its five-star DUKES Dubai, located on the west trunk of Palm Jumeirah. The hotel will be rebranded as DUKES Dubai – A Royal Hideaway Hotel and will become the first property in the region under the Royal Hideaway Luxury Hotels & Resorts brand which features unique destination hotels connected with art and culture as well as authenticity, detail and discretion. The Spanish hospitality group assumed operations of the Palm Jumeirah hotel following the signing of a management agreement recently in Dubai between Abdulla bin Sulayem, CEO, Seven Tides and Jaime Buxó, Chief Development Officer, Barceló Hotel Group. Commenting on the new agreement, Sulayem said, “Barceló Hotel Group has been appointed to manage DUKES Dubai because it is a dynamic and flexible hospitality company, operating 249 hotels across 22 countries, with a wealth of experience, running luxury international resorts and most importantly, fulfilling guest expectations. The group also has its own wholesale and retail travel division incorporating 700 travel agencies on four continents, so we are also confident that they will be able to develop new niche markets for DUKES Dubai, as well as optimising our position in the key international markets.” Barceló Hotel Group currently operates 54,000 rooms in 22 countries worldwide. Jaime Buxó, Chief Development Officer, Barceló Hotel Group, said, “Our partnership with Seven Tides further reinforces our growth strategy to expand our footprint across the UAE and indeed the Middle East over the next five years. The hotel is a stunning addition to Barceló’s growing luxury portfolio. Guests will experience first-class service coupled with exceptional facilities and vibrant surroundings on the …

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Denmark partners with VFS Global to launch visa application centre in Kuwait

Denmark, in partnership with VFS Global, has announced the opening of its Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Kuwait. With the launch of the new centre, applicants will no longer need to visit the Embassy of Denmark. Instead, they can conveniently submit their visa applications with ease at VFS centre in Kuwait. During the official inauguration of the VAC in Kuwait, H E Ole Emil Moesby, Ambassador of Denmark to the State of Kuwait, said, “The VAC in Kuwait will facilitate much easier visa application procedures for anyone living in Kuwait who needs a Schengen visa to visit Denmark. Previously, applicants had to travel to Danish missions elsewhere in the region to apply for a visa, which made travel to Denmark somewhat cumbersome and expensive. More recently, we’ve noticed that it is not just Denmark that tourists are looking to explore. There has also been a steady increase in tourists interested in visiting Iceland, which is another great travel destination within easy reach of Denmark.” Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO – Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said, “As a hub for global trade and tourism, Denmark has many drawcards for tourists and business travellers alike and we are pleased to add this great location to our ever-growing list of destinations in the State of Kuwait. As a preferred outsourced visa-processing provider to governments across the world, we are proud to build on this legacy and will continue to provide convenient services, which open up more of the world to our valued customers.”

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Emirates inks codeshare with China Southern Airlines to expand network in China

Emirates and China Southern Airlines have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to progress on a comprehensive reciprocal codeshare agreement, which is set to open up new destinations for passengers travelling between China, Middle East and Africa. The partnership with the Guangzhou-based carrier also allows Emirates’ passengers to enjoy seamless connectivity on domestic flights within China, adding eight new destinations to its global network. The Chinese cities covered by the codeshare agreement include Fuzhou, Chongqing, Kunming, Qingdao, Xiamen, Chengdu, Nanjing and Xi ‘an during the initial phase of the partnership, subject to necessary government approvals. Passengers travelling from China will have more choice and travel seamlessly with minimum connection times when flying to destinations in Emirates’ Middle East network such as Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Muscat, Kuwait and Cairo. The codeshare agreement also includes flights to African destinations such as Seychelles and Lagos, operated by Emirates. With the UAE’s visa-free policy for Chinese visitors, passengers can also enjoy hassle-free stopovers in Dubai and experience what the city has to offer before flying to their final destinations. The codeshare partnership will provide customers with the simplicity of purchasing connecting flights using one reservation and a smooth ticketing, check-in, boarding and baggage check experience during the entire journey. “We’re pleased to establish a partnership with China Southern Airlines, allowing Emirates’ customers to benefit from increased choice, flexibility and ease of connection to different cities across China’s provinces, by connecting in Guangzhou. The addition of the eight domestic routes in the initial stage expands our reach in China, beyond the three Chinese hub cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou,” said Adnan Kazim, Divisional Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning, Revenue Optimisation & Aeropolitical Affairs, …

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Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA launches Emiratisation programme

Millennium Hotels & Resorts has launched the ‘TooMooH’ Internship Development tier as part of the ‘TooMooH’ programme, – a concerted programme to accelerate Emiratisation and promote regional talent and leadership development in the hospitality sector. This programme aims to integrate UAE nationals into the booming hospitality sector and boost their presence in the job market. According to Alpen Capital’s latest report on GCC Hospitality Industry 2018, the UAE hospitality market is expected to reach $7.6 billion by 2022 at a five-year CAGR of 8.5 per cent (2017-2022) and international tourist visits are expected to grow at a five-year CAGR of 4.3 per cent to 25.5 million while the hotel supply is expected to grow at a five-year CAGR of 6 per cent to 183,718 hotel rooms. These additional hotels will require a large hospitality professional talent pool. However, without the engagement and employment of local talent, hoteliers would find it difficult to manage such a large industry with just foreign professionals. The TooMooH Internship Development Programme (TIDP), part of the recently launched TooMooH initiative by Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA, is aimed at increasing local employment in the hospitality industry and the overall private sector and designed for UAE national undergraduate students to gain work exposure. The duration of TIDP could range from three to six months. As part of the initiative, Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA will partner with local colleges and universities to provide UAE national students with a comprehensive programme to support their enhancement of knowledge and skills, thus contributing positively to the hospitality industry and the country. “The Arabs are globally known for their warm hospitality tradition. However, the hospitality industry in the Arab world is …

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