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Emirates and flydubai offer seamless travel to Zagreb this winter

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Emirates and  flydubai have announced that flights between Dubai and Zagreb in Croatia will be operated by flydubai from December 2018 to March 30 next year after which flights will be operated by Emirates. The move will ensure that capacity is deployed to best serve customer demand by maximising the frequency for passengers during the winter season. This further illustrates the passenger benefits of the strategic partnership between the two Dubai-based airlines. During this period, flight FZ1793 will depart from Dubai at 10:00 and arrive in Zagreb at 13:15 local time. The return flight FZ1794 will depart from Zagreb at 14:30 and arrive in Dubai at 23:00. flydubai will operate the route with its new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which offers customers an enhanced travel experience including lie-flat seats in Business Class, the latest Economy Class seating, in-flight entertainment via HD touchscreens and Boeing’s innovative Sky Interior throughout the cabin. Emirates and flydubai will continue to offer a travel experience reflective of each other’s brand. flydubai’s Zagreb flights will operate from Terminal 3 at Dubai International (DXB), allowing seamless connections for passengers flying Emirates to Dubai’s ultra-modern airport.

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Sharjah hotels, Air Arabia & travel agencies partner for Sharjah Summer Festival

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To contribute to the ramped-up efforts in promoting Sharjah as a family tourism hub, Air Arabia and various hotels and travel agencies in the emirate have separately rolled out exclusive promotional deals during the ongoing, spectacular Sharjah Summer Festival organised by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). Running until the end of August this year, the Festival’s first edition was launched to boost the domestic tourism sector as well as bolster local shopping and retail activities. Tourists and visitors can grab exclusive hotel offers and price discounts in numerous popular entertainment and cultural activities during the Festival. In line with the festival, special family-themed events will be held, along with kids summer camps and cultural workshops. Additionally, hotel facilities will also be offering up to 50 per cent reductions in room rates. Air Arabia is also offering attractive offers covering its key flights and services. As for hotel establishments, Radisson Blu Hotel provides 15 per cent discounts on hotel reservations, spa, restaurants, and many other exciting recreational and leisure activities, while Sheraton Sharjah Resort and Spa offers 20 to 50 per cent discounts on hotel room bookings, wedding halls, spa rooms and restaurants. Similarly, the Oceanic Resort & Spa and Marbella Resort give up to 25 per cent discount on website bookings. “We extend our gratitude to all participating government agencies, private institutions, travel agencies, leisure facilities, and retail stores. By offering promotional offers and special discounts as part of the Festival’s celebration, they are significantly contributing to our efforts to increase tourist arrivals to the emirate and diversify our tourist activities,” said SCTDA Chairman Khalid Jasim Al Midfa.

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Dubai to host world’s biggest B2B event for Destination Wedding Industry

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Dubai has been announced as the winner of the bid to host the 2019 edition of the biggest annual international gathering of destination wedding industry, the Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress, which is set to take place at the iconic Atlantis, The Palm hotel. Dubai overcame stiff competition from several countries to win the bid to host the 6th Annual of the Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress, the premier business-to-business networking event in the USD 300 billion global wedding industry. More than 500 delegates from over 70 countries are expected to attend the three-day conference from March 27th to 29th 2019, to be held in Dubai’s iconic five-star hotel and luxury resort, Atlantis the Palm. Commenting on the upcoming congress, Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said, “Dubai already holds a strong appeal for destination weddings, and hosting an event like the Destination Wedding Planners Congress will give us the opportunity to familiarise more of the industry with the city. It will also place Dubai at the forefront of the sector’s development and enable the city’s stakeholders to be involved in discussions about the key issues affecting it and shaping its future.” “We at Atlantis, The Palm see great value in the Destination Wedding Planners Congress and look forward to welcoming global wedding and events companies to collaborate and develop this important sector during the 2019 event,” comments Ian Renton, Director of Group Sales at Atlantis.

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Emirates announces A380 aircraft to Accra, Ghana for new terminal opening

An Emirates Airbus A380

Emirates A380 aircraft will operate a one-off flight to Kotoka International Airport (ACC), Accra, Ghana on Tuesday October 2, as the global airline joins local authorities in celebrating the opening of the airport’s new Terminal 3. The airline’s flagship double-decker will become the first-ever scheduled A380 service to Ghana, with Emirates partnering with the airport to test its operations and infrastructure to accommodate an A380 service. The one-off A380 flight EK787 from Dubai, will arrive at 11:35 hours and be on ground for more than six hours before it returns to Dubai as flight EK788 departing at 17:50 hours. “We have enjoyed a close relationship with Ghana as a strategic hub to West Africa for over a decade, and are honoured to bring our flagship A380 to this vibrant city. The launch of Terminal 3 is a milestone in Ghana’s aviation history and we support every effort to facilitate greater trade links, grow tourism and boost cargo to the region. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and our trademark A380 experience is very popular with our customers including Ghanaians who have flown on it to popular destinations like London, Beijing and Guangzhou. We take great pride in showcasing our unique products and services on this aircraft such as the Onboard Lounge and Shower Spa, to travellers between Dubai and Ghana for the first time,” said Orhan Abbas, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations – Africa.

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Marriott will no longer manage Habtoor City properties

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Marriott International and Al Habtoor Group, have agreed that Marriott International will no longer manage or otherwise be associated with The St Regis Dubai, W Dubai Habtoor City and The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City, with effect from July 31, 2018. These hotels will no longer be part of the St Regis, W Hotels and Westin Hotels global brand portfolios. This is a mutual decision reached amicably between the parties. After July 31, 2018, the management of these hotels will be transferred to the owning company. The parties are working closely together to ensure a smooth and seamless transition for associates, clients and partners. “Al Habtoor Group continues to be an important partner of Marriott International. We value the relationship and thank them for their partnership, wishing them all the very best in their future endeavors,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. The UAE continues to be a key growth market for us and our momentum of growth in this market demonstrates the trust owners have in our compelling brands and their interest to tap into Marriott International’s distribution, network and globally recognised loyalty programme. As a company we continue to explore and discuss opportunities that are in line with our overall growth strategy.”

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Emaar to develop Middle East’s largest Chinatown in Dubai Creek Harbour

Chinatown at Dubai Creek Harbour by Emaar

Emaar has announced landmark developments that will further strengthen UAE-China relations. To honour Chinese expatriates in the UAE and further bolster business ties with China, Emaar will develop the Middle East’s largest Chinatown within the retail district of Dubai Creek Harbour, its six-square-kilometre mega-development, only 10 minutes from the Dubai Internal Airport and the iconic Burj Khalifa. The retail precinct will occupy a central location within Dubai Creek Harbour – a destination which will be home to the world’s new icon, Dubai Creek Tower, and encompass vibrant lifestyle elements. Set by the Dubai Creek waterway, elegantly designed homes in Dubai Creek Harbour will offer spectacular views of the city’s dramatic skyline, the waterfront and the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary – home to over 450 animal species and migratory birds, including pink flamingos. Further strengthening Emaar’s outreach to China, the company also announced that it will open three dedicated pavilions in China – Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, all cities served by direct daily flights to Dubai on Emirates Airline. The three offices will promote tourism, education, trading and investment between UAE and China. In a third significant announcement, Emaar will expand its premium luxury hotel and serviced residences brand, Address Hotels + Resorts, to China. Discussions are ongoing to develop and operate Address branded hotels in key cities in the country, given the strong appeal and familiarity that the brand enjoys among Chinese tourists.

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Ukraine opens visa application centres in Saudi Arabia

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The Embassy of Ukraine has opened two visa application centres in Riyadh and Jeddah to efficiently serve travellers from Ukraine in partnership with VFS Global. In a joint statement, VFS Global and the Embassy said that both the centres have started accepting visa application submissions for processing both short-term and long-term visas to Ukraine. Opening the visa application centre, Head of Consular Section of the Embassy of Ukraine in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, HE Yurii Tereschenko said, “The new visa application centres have been opened in the light of increasing number of travellers to Ukraine from Saudi Arabia. The centres will considerably ease the visa application process providing streamlined service to expatriates from the Kingdom wishing to travel to Ukraine for both tourism and business purposes.” The inauguration of the centre was done in the presence of HE Serhii Pushkarsky, Deputy Head of Mission and Bohdan Kostiuk, Consular Assistant of the Embassy of Ukraine. The opening of the visa application centres follows the VFS Global mandate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Under the terms of the contract, VFS Global is entrusted with the opening of 10 visa application centres in eight countries across the Middle East, Levant region and South Asia. Commenting on the launch, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO for Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said, “We are confident that the opening of the Ukraine visa application centre in Saudi Arabia will help catalyse travel to the East European country from the Kingdom.

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Dubai witnesses 41.4% rise in Chinese visitors

Dubai welcomes growing number of Chinese visitors

Dubai has seen a surge of 41.4 per cent in overnight Chinese visitors from 2016 to 2017 combined with a number of key agreements signed with major players in China. Now one of Dubai’s fastest growing source markets, closing the first five months of 2018 with a record 400,547 visitors, this growth is predicted to continue in 2018. Speaking ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UAE this week, HE Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai Tourism, said, “Our approach to engaging Chinese tourists is two-fold, with landmark partnerships, investments and marketing activities undertaken in 48 cities across China, partnered with a city-level China-readiness strategy in Dubai to enhance the experience of Chinese tourists. The introduction of visa-on-arrival for Chinese nationals in 2016, working in conjunction with the increase in air capacity by national carriers from China – currently standing at 30 flights a week, a 13% increase in non-stop seat capacity in 2017- has also contributed to rapid growth.” Earlier this year, Dubai Tourism signed an agreement with Huawei, one of China’s leading smartphone manufacturers, in January which pre-loads devices with both user-generated and official cinematographic content of Dubai.

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Etihad Airways launches WhatsApp service

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Etihad Airways has launched a WhatsApp Business solution, allowing guests to communicate instantly with the airline via the messaging app. The new service, which is the latest element of Etihad Airways’ digital strategy, will provide an enhanced offering to premium guests when they are at Abu Dhabi International Airport, allowing them to chat with the airline’s agents about their flights in a fast, personal, and efficient way. In addition to communicating with customer service agents, the WhatsApp Business solution will be expanded in the future to enable guests to receive important messages like flight reminders by opting into WhatsApp communications on the Etihad Airways booking confirmation page. Robin Kamark, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer, said, “The new WhatsApp Business solution will provide Etihad Airways’ premium guests with immediate contact with the airline, using the very latest technology. Air travellers around the world use WhatsApp in their daily lives and so it is an ideal channel for them to communicate with the airline and receive the latest information about their travel journey.” Etihad Airways offers several real-time channels for guests to contact the airline, including the @EtihadHelp and @EtihadPremium accounts on Twitter, and the airline’s Facebook page. During the initial trial phase, the Etihad Airways WhatsApp number will be exhibited in Premium check-in at Abu Dhabi Airport.

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Emirates adds flights to Paris, Lyon

Emirates in Nice

Emirates has announced that it will introduce two additional flights to Lyon and one to Paris per week, complementing its existing schedule and providing more choice and convenience to travellers. The increase in frequency from five to seven between Lyon and Dubai will see the route become a daily service, while the extra flight to Paris brings to 21 the number of flights per week to the French capital, offering travellers three flights per day. The Lyon flights will start on August 2, 2018, and will operate on a Tuesday and Thursday at the same time as the current flights, which depart Dubai as EK081 at 1435hrs and arrive in Lyon at 1930hrs. The return flight, EK082, leaves Lyon at 2155hrs and arrives in Dubai at 0615hrs the next day. Both flights will be operated by an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER in a three class cabin configuration, with eight private suites in First Class, 42 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 304 spacious seats in Economy Class. The additional Paris flight will start on August 7, 2018, and will operate as the third daily every Tuesday morning. Flight EK071 will depart Dubai at 0405hrs and arrive in Paris at 0925hrs, while the return flight leaves Paris at 1125hrs and arrives back in Dubai at 2000hrs. As with Emirates other flights between Dubai and Paris, the airline’s flagship A380 will be used on the route. It will also have a three class cabin configuration, with 14 privates suites in First Class, 76 lie flat seats in Business Class and 429 seats in Economy Class.

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