Shivani DDPPL

His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi opens Sharjah FDI Forum 2018

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The fourth edition of the two-day Sharjah FDI Forum titled ‘Shaping the Future of Economies’, got underway in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member Ruler of Sharjah. The event opened with optimistic comments by the HE Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, the UAE, and the Shurooq Executive Chairman about the nation’s readiness to promote foreign direct investments (FDIs) as an enabler of sustainable development, despite the slump experienced globally – especially in developed economies – in 2017. Al Mansouri shed light on how the new UAE Investment law has come into force to consolidate the nation’s position for FDI both regionally and globally, in line with the UAE Vision 2021 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Global flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) fell by 16 per cent in 2017 to an estimated US$1.52 trillion, from a revised US$1.81 trillion in 2016, according to the latest World Investment Report. The Economic Minister cited examples like the approval of 10-year visas for those in the fields of science, technology; new stimulus packages like bank guarantees; flexible remittances; 100 per cent business ownership by foreign investors; the promotion of entrepreneurship, technology transfer, and building capacities of national cadres. Al Mansouri remarked, “There is a need to promote cooperation and dialogue to turn this negative decline around. The UAE has number 1 position in FDI in the Arab region. It is forums like this that offer a platform for the same, and will contribute to mapping of FDI in Sharjah and the UAE.” He explained that the UAE Agenda 2021 has a focus on attracting qualitative investments targeted towards achieving sustainable …

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Sharjah tourism unveils Sharjah World Championship Week 2018

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Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), in partnership with Sharjah International Marine Sports Club has announced The Sharjah World Championship Week to be held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler, Sharjah from December 11 to 15, 2018. Two championship water sports competitions form part of the Grand Prix of Sharjah, which include the UIM F1H2O World Championship 2018 and the UIM-ABP Aquabike Class Pro Circuit World Championship and will be the main highlights of the event. HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, SCTDA, said, “Sports tourism is a key focus of Sharjah’s drive towards attracting 10 million tourists in line with the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021. As a city which offers every member of the family an activity to enjoy, we are confident that this edition will be popular, successful and well attended once again by water sports fans, especially among the youth and the travel-driven millennials who love the challenge and exciting, competitive nature of water sports.” Up to 10 Formula 1 Powerboat Racers and 60 Aquabike racers from over 32 countries excel in showcasing their strengths navigating the tunnel-hull catamarans over the water. The key partners of the events include the Department of Seaports & Customs, Sharjah Police Headquarters; Sharjah Electricity & Water, Sharjah City Municipality; Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority; Sharjah Civil Defence and Sahara Centre. Other sponsors include Al Zahra Hospital as medical sponsor; Sharjah Media Corporation as media sponsor; Sharjah International Marine Sports Club as strategic partner; Hilton Sharjah, Royal Tulip the Act Hotel, Golden Tulip and Copthorne Hotel as hospitality partners. Nicolo di San Germano, Promoter, UIM F1 PowerBoat & Aquabike …

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ADNEC and Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau collaborate to attract key conferences to the capital

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Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) and Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, a division of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) have teamed up to win bids to host four leading international conferences in Abu Dhabi – all of them being held in the Middle East region for the first time. These wins, for the World Congress of Nephrology, the Annual Conference of the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) Congress, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Africa, Europe, Middle East Global Conference, and the XIV World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR) World Congress – will contribute to enhancing Abu Dhabi’s growing reputation as a global health and education hub. Securing these significant conferences will also support the Abu Dhabi government in its efforts to further develop these sectors, which have been identified as key development areas in the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 roadmap for the future. HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary, DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “Abu Dhabi is now firmly established as a major player on the global events stage, able to excel at hosting the world’s most prominent conferences and exhibitions. Working in partnership with our colleagues at ADNEC to secure these conferences for the Emirate is further proof of the great strides we are making in positioning Abu Dhabi as a destination of choice for a whole host of major international organisations.” Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Group CEO, ADNEC, said, “These four conferences are of strategic importance as we continue our efforts to position the Emirate as a key global hub for health and education, which are among the sectors identified in the Abu Dhabi vision document as crucial to the Emirate’s …

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Royal Air Maroc to join oneworld besides Royal Jordanian and 12 global carriers

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Royal Air Maroc will join oneworld to be the third Arab airline member, besides Royal Jordanian and Qatar Airways by mid 2020. Its regional subsidiary Royal Air Maroc Express will join as a oneworld affiliate member at the same time. Its election as a oneworld member was announced as the chief executives of the alliance’s 13 current member airlines gathered in New York for their year-end Governing Board meeting. From then, the recruits will offer the full range of oneworld customer services and benefits, with the one million plus members of Royal Air Maroc’s Safar Flyer loyalty programme able to earn and redeem rewards on all oneworld member airlines, and with its top tier members able to use the alliance’s more than 650 airport lounges worldwide. While Comair has been a oneworld affiliate member since the alliance launched in February 1999, Royal Air Maroc will be oneworld’s first full member from Africa – the only continent, apart from Antarctica – where the alliance has, until now, had no full member. It will also be the alliance’s first new full member airline signed since 2012.  Royal Air Maroc is today the largest unaligned carrier in Africa – with a transformational strategy well underway to develop it quickly into a truly global airline and the continent’s leader in terms of both size and quality.  It carried 7.3 million passengers last year on a fleet of 55 aircraft, with a network that currently connects its Casablanca base with 94 destinations in 49 countries across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North and South America, including oneworld hubs Doha, London Heathrow, Madrid, Moscow Domodedovo, New York JFK and Sao Paulo.

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Dubai, first in ME to receive IHG’s upscale brand – Voco

Kenneth MacPherson, CEO EMEAA at IHG pictured with Ghassan Alkhaled, CEO and Vice Chairman of ACICO Group

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has signed an official management agreement with ACICO Gulf Real Estate to rebrand former Nassima Royal hotel as IHG’s upscale brand Voco. Globally, IHG launched Voco in June 2018 to strengthen IHG’s offer in the $40 billion upscale segment, which is expected to grow by a further $20 billion by 2025. Commenting on the landmark signing, Kenneth Macpherson, Chief Executive Officer Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa, IHG, said, “IHG has identified significant growth opportunities in upscale hospitality and the signing of Voco Dubai is a significant step in this direction. We are excited to partner with the esteemed ACICO Gulf Real Estate, and are confident that it will be a popular choice amongst travellers visiting Dubai. The Dubai market is ever-changing and maturing. In the UAE alone, the unbranded accommodation market makes up 60 per cent of the total hospitality sector. As such, we believe that the Emirate now requires a unique offering like Voco to cater to mindful and self-determined audiences. Voco combines the best of individual high-quality upscale hotels, with the best of IHG. It’s a brand that forms the heart of a newly built hotel or celebrates what already makes an existing hotel successful. Most importantly, guests can enjoy the freshness of unique hotels under a name they can trust.” Ghassan Alkhaled, CEO and Vice Chairman, ACICO Group added, “We are proud to partner with IHG to open the first Voco in the Middle East. Powered by the strength and scale of the IHG system and charm of the newly-launched brand, we are confident that Voco Dubai will be a great success and a preferred choice for business and leisure travellers looking for an upscale …

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Studio M Arabian Plaza marks maiden mid-market property in the UAE

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Millennium Hotels & Resorts has introduced the maiden Studio M Arabian Plaza in the Middle East region under the ‘M collection’ portfolio. The three-star property comprises 323 hotel rooms and serviced apartments and features two food and beverage outlets, meeting room spaces, a lap pool and fitness centre. The opening launch marked Millennium Hotels & Resorts MEA’s brand growth by expanding into the mid-market segment. Furthermore, Studio M Arabian Plaza is also the first venture of Hala Hospitality Group, a part of the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, into the hospitality industry. Kevork Deldelian, Chief Operating Officer, Millenium Hotels & resorts MEA, said, “The recently concluded launch of Studio M Arabian Plaza is Millennium Hotels & Resorts MEA’s strategic step in addressing Dubai’s growing demand for midscale properties.” He added, “The hotel’s features also capture the interests of the growing market of the millennial generation looking for quality-driven, trendy and technologically-advanced hotels.” Commenting on the launch, Abdullah Mohammed Juma Al Naboodah, Chairman, Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, said, “As our first venture into the hospitality market, we are extremely proud of Studio M Arabian Plaza, and the exceptional design and functionality of the property. We look forward to it becoming the go-to place for sophisticated and discerning travellers looking for a stylish, comfortable and practical place to stay in the city.”

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Saudi Arabia and Agoda ink deal for vision 2030 to accommodate 30 million Hajj and Umrah pilgrims

Agoda Signs MoU with KSA Ministry of Hajj Umrah

Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Saudi Arabia and Agoda have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) supporting the Kingdom’s vision of 2030 to increase its capacity for over 30 million pilgrims by utilising Agoda’s technology and travel expertise, marketing platform capabilities, intelligence tools and resources. The agreement was signed by HE Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten, Hajj and Umrah Minister, Saudi Arabia, in the presence of Damien Pfirsch, VP — Strategic Partnerships & Programmes, Agoda, during an official ceremony at the office of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. Umrah guests to the Kingdom can now visit a dedicated Agoda portal agoda.com/umrah to access select hotels that have been certified by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Umrah visitors and pilgrims bookings, as well as the wider reservation site. Pilgrims can easily find an array of accommodation options and securely book through the multi-lingual and multi-currency portal. Under the MoU, the first to be signed by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah with a global OTA, the parties will explore how together they will redefine the future of travel for pilgrims from across the world to the Kingdom, working in collaboration to help to build future services, including guest flow and booking accommodation. The MoU will leverage the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s knowledge and understanding of the pilgrim’s needs to the holy cities and Agoda’s technology expertise, to enable the partners, so that they can explore ways to use technology to manage the anticipated increase in guests to the Kingdom and make accommodation reservations more accessible, easier, faster and secure. According to Saudi Vision 2030 announced in 2016, the last decade has seen the number of Umrah …

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HSMAI hosts maiden ‘Revenue Optimization Conference’ in Dubai

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For the first time, over 180 sales and marketing professionals in the hospitality industry came together at the Madinat Jumeirah for the region’s inaugural ‘Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC)’ hosted by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association (HSMAI). This was ROC’s fifth global event of the year, with other ROC locations including The United States, The Netherlands, Singapore, and Brazil. The conference brought together revenue management, distribution, sales and marketing executives in the hotel industry with a programme comprising education, collaboration and innovation. Robert A Gilbert, CHME, CHA, President and CEO, HSMAI, said, “The Middle East is one of the most rapidly expanding markets for hospitality and we’re pleased to bring timely insights into revenue optimisation to the region’s hotel professionals.” The conference featured an opening keynote presentation on global consumer trends by Lorraine Sileo, SVP, Research and Business Operations, PhocusWright. Other programmes throughout the day included panels on pricing strategy, digital marketing, key revenue management topics, and did not miss on covering MiCE and the value proposition of hotel restaurants and bars. HSMAI ROC Middle East also featured an impressive partner showcase; Gold Partners included Almosafer, Cendyn and Duetto; Silver Partner included Illusions, iWTX, Jumeirah and Tajawal; among other 19 Bronze and support partners. Mona Faraj, Managing Director, HSMAI Middle East Chapter, said, “HSMAI is delighted that ROC has been so well received by both our regional and international attendees, and we are excited to showcase an even more compelling line up of speakers and discussions next year. HSMAI is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners, and we are the industry’s leading advocates for intelligent and sustainable hotel revenue growth. We look forward to further engaging with the …

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Emirates adds another A380 to Johannesburg

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Emirates has introduced an additional Airbus A380 service to Johannesburg (OR Tambo International Airport), replacing the previous Boeing 777 aircraft on the route. EK762 (JNB-DXB) and EK761 (DXB-JNB) are now served by the flagship A380 aircraft. The Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft serving the Dubai-Johannesburg route will offer a total of 519 seats in a three-class configuration, with 429 spacious seats in Economy Class, 76 fully flat-bed seats in Business Class and 14 First-Class Private Suites. Upcoming festive season travel between the two global transit hubs is expected to be especially strong, building on over 700,000 customers who flew with the airline before November. With Emirates, customers from Johannesburg can enjoy a seamless A380 experience to their most popular destinations via Dubai, including London, Moscow, New York and Bangkok. All four daily Emirates flights between Johannesburg and Dubai operate as codeshare flights with partner South African Airways. The deployment of the double-decker aircraft on routes to and from South Africa gives even more regional travellers the chance to experience the aircraft’s industry-leading comforts. These include private suites and Shower Spas in its First-Class cabin, while Business-Class customers can enjoy the popular on-board lounge and lie-flat beds.

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Global Village enthralls guests with the UAE National Day celebrations

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To celebrate the UAE’s 47th National Day, a host of events and festivities took place at Global Village recently. Expressing happiness on the occasion, Bader Anwahi, CEO, Global Village, said, “Commemorating the founding of this great nation, we at Global Village are proud of our tradition of bringing all people of the world together in order to celebrate and be happy. Our country has prospered and thrived on the premise of being a welcoming nation, open to all cultures and people, globally. Today, we reflect on the founding of the Union under the wise and visionary guidance of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who brought our Emirates together and put us all on a path to peace and prosperity. The UAE has, within 47 years, become one of the most advanced, affluent, and well-developed countries in the world, thanks to our wise leadership.” An exclusive event for the National Day celebrations is the Operetta – ‘Zayed: Leader of the Humans’, that was performed by a cast of more than 25 and was a dedication to the father and founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It was produced by Ornina Arts and Events and directed by Nasser Ibrahim, well-known across the region for developing some of the finest national and international shows. The Global Village fireworks have always been a favourite for UAE residents and tourists. For the 47th National Day, a mega-musical fireworks display also took place.

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