Shivani DDPPL

VFS Global launches Italy visa center in Kuwait

VFS Italy in Kuwait (640x427)

In a move to ease the visa issuance process for the residents of Kuwait, the Embassy of Italy in collaboration with VFS Global launched a new visa application center, located at Level 54 of Arraya Tower at Al Shuhada Street. The centre was recently inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Giuseppe Scognamiglio, Ambassador of the Embassy of Italy to the State of Kuwait. Among the many services provided for greater convenience to applicants, is the option to submit their applications in the comfort of a Premium Lounge for a more personalised experience. In addition to efficient visa application processing services, applicants will also have access to a dedicated tourism space, which will offer tourism information on a range of hand-picked tours in Italy. Kuwait is the fifth country in the Middle East from where VFS Global will serve the Embassy of Italy. Worldwide, VFS Global has served the Government of Italy since 2004, and currently manages visa processing operations for the client government in 28 countries from 66 visa application centres.

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Trade celebrates Air Canada’s 80th anniversary with fanfare

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Over 150 industry experts, trade partners, and delegates from leading travel agencies, from across the UAE joined Air Canada in celebrating the airline’s 80th anniversary at Palace Downtown Dubai. While the airline’s Country Manager for UAE /GCC Deepu Cyriac welcomed all the invitees at the event, Air Canada’s Director Sales EMEAI Margret Skinner thanked the attendees for their support and also revealed some new products available on board. His Excellency Emmanuel Kamarianakis, Consul General – Consulate General of Canada to Dubai and Northern Emirates, addressed the gathering and stated the many interesting facts about different parts of Canada and the reason to visit them. Ten agencies which were recognised as top players at the event were: Dnata, Orient travels, Nirvana Travels, Kanoo Travels, Al Naboodah Travels, SNTTA, Akbar Travels, Omeir travel agency, ATPI, and Al Rostamani Travel and Holidays.

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Czech tourism strengthens activities for ME

Czech tourism

Czech tourism authority in collaboration with VFS Global commenced a roadshow in Kuwait and UAE to showcase various tourist attractions and products to trade, tourism and business partners in the Middle East. The roadshow campaign was titled ‘Czech Republic – Land of Stories’. UAE is the number one tourism source market for the Czech Republic in the Middle East, followed by Saudi Arabia. H.E. Alexandr Sporýš, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United Arab Emirates, together with Monika Palatková, Managing Director of the Czech Tourist Authority interacted with the media at the event held in Dubai. “I’m pleased that Czech Tourism regularly promotes the Czech Republic as a tourism destination in the UAE and in other countries in the Middle East market. VFS Global is a reliable partner in the visa area and I am convinced that the partnership of Czech Tourism with this company will lead to a further increase of interest about the Czech Republic”, commented H.E. Alexandr Sporýš, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United Arab Emirates.

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Expedia hosts Wanderlust Summit in Dubai

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Expedia Lodging Partner Services (LPS) hosted its Annual Wanderlust Summit in Dubai. Over 300 delegates and partners across Expedia’s network in the Middle East attended the event. The summit was hosted by Johan Svanstrom, President of Hotels.com and Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN), Ait Voncke, Vice President Europe Middle East Africa Market Management and Paula de Keijzer, Senior Director Market Management – Middle East, Africa, Greece and Turkey. Expedia presented the latest technologies to their hotel partners through Expedia Partner Central that allow them to connect to customers. This toolkit of technology, marketing and data offerings is designed to help hotel partners drive knowledge and efficiencies to grow their business through the leveraging of data to optimise revenue. Paula de Keijzer, Senior Director Market Management Middle East, Indian Ocean, Africa, Greece and Turkey at Expedia said, “We are thrilled to host our annual Wanderlust conference in the presence of our Dubai hotels partners. With the sharing and exchange of knowledge we believe we can help our hotel partners better leverage trends and plan to anticipate and respond to travellers’ needs.”

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Crystal Cruises chooses Dubai for its flagship liner

Representatives from DTCM, Dubai World and Crystal Cruises on Crystal Symphony

Dubai has been chosen by Crystal Cruises as the location for the company’s flagship liner to make its maiden voyage in the region. The decision to make Dubai the location for the regional debut of the liner’s sophisticated new look further cements the emirate’s position as the region’s leading cruise destination. Despite Dubai’s cruise industry only really gaining momentum in 2001 with the opening of the first cruise terminal in the Gulf, the city has been instrumental in pioneering cruise tourism in region. The emirate is now serving over 20 world-class cruise lines, including Crystal Cruises, the world’s most awarded cruise line. DP World was also present to welcome Crystal Symphony on her maiden voyage to the region. “The choice of Dubai by Crystal Cruises reinforces the emirate’s reputation as one of the world’s leading cruise destinations. DP World is committed to providing all forms of support to cruise liners that call at Dubai’s cruise terminals, as part of our group’s comprehensive strategy to boost the growth of the emirate’s cruise industry.” said Mohammed Al Mannaei, CEO, P&O Marinas and Executive Director, Mina Rashid – DP World.

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Sharjah tourism delegation arrives in Bahrain

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H.E. Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), received a delegation from the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The delegation included Second Deputy Chairman Walid Abdulrahman Bukhatir, Honorary Treasurer Ziad Mahmoud Al Hajji and Board Member Mohamed Ali Al Hazami. During the meeting, H.E Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa stressed on the importance of strengthening cooperation and reinforcing bilateral relations between both countries across all fields, especially the tourism sector. He also mentioned the BTEA’s readiness to strengthen relations with the United Arab Emirates and work towards achieving their joint goals. The delegation expressed their gratitude for the warm welcome and affirmed their readiness to enhance the joint cooperation between the two countries in the tourism field and to further explore bilateral initiatives.

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GCC travellers conduct upto 70% of travel research on smartphones

Mamoun Hmedan pic

According to a recent Pricewaterhouse Cooper report, global megatrends and their impact on the Middle East’s travel and tourism industry, highlight that travellers in the GCC now do the majority of their holiday research and booking on smartphones and tablets. Smartphone usage for the GCC markets is among the highest in the world, 78 per cent in the UAE and 77 per cent in Saudi Arabia. Due to the ubiquity of high-speed mobile internet, travellers can easily access mobile applications to book flights and hotels online, and compare online reviews. Wego, a leading travel search website for GCC travellers living in the Middle East, was the first to enter the MENA region by launching fully localised services to meet the needs of a new generation of travellers wanting to shop for and book flights and hotels on their smartphones. “The response from GCC countries to Wego’s fully Arabised websites and mobile apps has been overwhelming,” said Mamoun Hmedan, Wego Managing Director of MENA and India. “Wego has grown rapidly to become the most popular and trusted travel search service in the region with over 10 million monthly visits.”

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Blackwire partners with Savvy Buddy on a smart platform

Ted VP of Business Development at Blackwire

Blackwire, an in-vehicle Wi-Fi service provider entered into a partnership with infotainment platform Savvy Buddy to create an internet connectivity bridge between the airport and hotel. With a sole commitment to create an unmatched luxury experience for the UAE visitors, Blackwire will keep travellers connected as soon as they enter their taxi upon arrival to the country. This service will allow travellers to  plan their business dinner arrangements, room preferences and family entertainment programmes. As soon as visitors enter the Wi-Fi enabled vehicle, they will be introduced to the Savvy Buddy interface that will power in-room mounted smart phones, soon to be available at major five-star properties across Dubai. The second stage of the user experience will be Savvy Buddy powered phone that hotel guests will be able to take with them everywhere they go in the UAE and use it to connect with the world, call taxi services, use the most popular apps and control their smart hotel rooms remotely.

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First Crowne Plaza in Cairo to open by 2021

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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a partnership with Cairo Sheikh Zayed City in collaboration with Al Badr for Investments and Commercial Spaces Company for the Crowne Plaza. Scheduled to open in 2021, the 187-room new build will form part of Phase II of Arkan Plaza, a prime upscale mixed-used development, and is strategically located in the heart of Sheikh Zayed City. The new Hotel is 10 minutes away from the New Cairo Museum and 15 minutes from the Great Pyramids of Giza. The new development aligns with IHG’s strategy to grow the Crowne Plaza brand across Middle East and North Africa (MENA), by further strengthening its presence in top-tier business epicentres and primary markets in the region. The property is also in close proximity to Cairo International Airport and will be just 10 km away from the Sphinx International Airport. Business and leisure travellers can get the best of both worlds with three meeting rooms and a business centre along with an outdoor pool, Club Lounge and a spa to revitalise both body and mind.

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Exclusive drive for Business Class on Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines Exclusive Drive

Turkish Airlines offers an exclusive private transfer service for Business Class passengers who purchase flexible return tickets between select markets. Passengers flying from Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Dhaka, Doha, Dubai, Cairo, Karachi, Kuwait City, Lahore, Islamabad, Mumbai, Tehran, Tel Aviv to USA and Canada or the return itinerary can benefit from the exclusive drive service. “Turkish Airlines always strives to enhance the overall experience of our passengers and continuously looks to improve upon its already impressive products and services. The exclusive programme will be a great addition to the services available to our valued Business Class passengers, who have helped us earn the top spot in the categories of “World’s Best Business Class Lounge”, “Best Business Class Onboard Catering” and “Best Business Class Dining Lounge” within the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2017,” said Ahmet Olmuştur, Chief Marketing Officer, Turkish Airlines.

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