Category Archives: Agents

Salalah Rotana renews deal with European tour operator Itaka

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Salalah Rotana, a five-star hotel in Oman renewed its partnership deal with Polish tour operator Itaka. The deal directly complements the government’s effort in promoting Oman as a destination of choice to travellers. The renewed partnership will see 180 guests arrive weekly to the resort. Hossam Kamal, General Manager, Salalah Rotana Resort, said, “The renewal of our partnership signifies the success of our journey with Itaka. We pride ourselves in the level of service provided by our colleagues and achieving high guest satisfaction. The Sultanate’s appeal in terms of safety, political stability and unique tourism offering continues to be an attraction for travellers to Oman. Piotr Wrzesniewski, Charter Produce Director, Itaka said “Our journey with Salalah Rotana has been a very rewarding one. The resort has been a great holiday destination to our guests with exceptional service. Oman has gained popularity in the Polish market and it is our pleasure to facilitate the movement of our guests to Oman’’.

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Thumbay Group supports Dubai’s goal of 500,000 health tourists by 2020

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The Thumbay Group has vowed to support the goal of securing 500,000 health/medical tourists to Dubai by 2020. This was revealed at the recently-concluded 4th Annual Health & Medical Tourism Conference held at Hotel Hyatt Regency – Dubai Creek Heights and organised by Thumbay Medical Tourism in association with Thumbay Hospital. The conference brought together industry experts from healthcare, travel, medical tourism and medical education sectors. The half-day event highlighted the latest trends and developments in medical tourism and explored ways to boost health tourism the UAE. Speaking at the conference, Dr. Layla Mohamed AlMarzouqi, Director Dubai Health Tourism Council, said that Dubai is well-positioned to achieve its goal of welcoming half a million international patients by 2020, thanks to the support of key players in the private sector like the Thumbay Group, which announced its plans to attract 1,000 tourist per day to its facilities across the UAE. Dubai currently ranks number 1 in the Arab world and 16th globally, based on the 2016 Medical Tourism Index. In 2016, the number of health tourists visiting Dubai reached 326,649, an increase of 9.5 per cent compared to 298,359 the previous year. Top medical and health treatments sought by visitors to the emirate were orthopedics, dermatology, dental, fertility, health and wellness, ophthalmology and aesthetics. Akbar Moideen Thumbay, Vice President of the Healthcare Division of Thumbay Group, reiterated the conglomerate’s commitment to Dubai’s plans of becoming an international hub for health tourism, by adding three new hospitals, five clinics, 15 pharmacies and five diagnostic labs to its existing network.

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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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AviaReps to promote Baltic and Scandinavian states in ME

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AviaReps has been appointed by Latvia’s Spare Travel as the agency to promote travel to the Baltic states, Scandinavia and Finland from the Middle East. The appointment, which has immediate effect, is the result of Spare Travel’s international outreach programme to engage and provide customised, VIP travel solutions for Middle Eastern travellers seeking authentic, unique and bespoke Northern European travel experiences. The appointment is also timely as it was made on the heels of airBaltic airlines’ launch of direct non-stop flights from Abu Dhabi to Latvia’s capital Riga on October 30, 2017. To celebrate the launch, Spare Travel is offering special promotional travel packages to discover Latvia based around the themes of Castles, Chocolate and Culture. Many UAE travel agencies have been quick to offer promotional packages to Latvia as a new must-see destination. The direct flight from Abu Dhabi with airBaltic takes just over six hours, thereby making Latvia perfect for a long weekend getaway.

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IATI to power international expansion with Travelport

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Travelport announced the signing of a new, extended agreement with IATI Travel, based in Turkey. Travelport will support its operations while extending the geographical reach of the partnership to cover Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The company’s high performance is powered by Travelport Universal API (uAPI) technology. This aggregates the most comprehensive content from multiple sources, including national and low-cost carriers, branded fares and ancillary services, as well as unique hotel properties, rail and car rental. Levent Aydın, Chairman of the Board, IATI, said, “We are impressed by Travelport’s customer-driven solution which provides highly efficient tools for our agents. We are pleased to have Travelport as our preferred technology partner and have great confidence in its extensive reach and expertise.” Rabih Saab, President and Managing Director, Europe, Africa, Middle East and South Asia, Travelport added: “We are delighted to support the fastest growing OTA in Turkey as it continues its global expansion. Our partnership with IATI has flourished since 2012 and we are looking to further power its success and expansion across new territories.”

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Apple Pay on Etihad

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Etihad Airways is now providing its customers Apple Pay, transforming mobile payments with a fast, secure and convenient way to pay for flights and travel. Available on the Etihad Airways mobile app, Apple Pay allows customers, for the first time in the UAE, to pay securely with just a touch of a finger. Etihad Airways’ customers can now buy flights and other products such as ‘Extra Legroom Seats’, ‘Preferred Seats’ and excess baggage with their iPhone or iPad by simply touching a button. Each transaction is authorised with a one-time unique dynamic security code. Justin Warby, Vice President Digital Strategy and Innovation, Etihad Airways, said, “We are proud to partner with Apple Pay to bring the latest mobile payment and technology innovations to our guests in the UAE and around the world. We were able to quickly adjust the release cycle of our mobile app to ensure we coincided our launch with Apple in the UAE.” Apple Pay is easy to set up and users will continue to receive all of the rewards and benefits offered by credit and debit cards.

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Over 200 top sellers from Russia hosted in Dubai

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Leading Russian tour operator Natalie Tours held its 12th Annual Congress at Atlantis The Palm in Dubai. The event brought together over 200 CEOs and owners of Russian travel agencies with the best sales performance in UAE during the past year. The meet was hosted under the patronage of Gocha Buachidze, Consul General of Russian Federation in Dubai; Ahmed Khalifa Al Falasi, CEO of Support Services, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing; Vladimir Vorobiev – President, Natalie tours; among other dignitaries. The event awarded the best sellers, discussed further cooperation with top managers of retail companies, motivated its partners to promote the travel direction and increase sales of Natalie Tours’ services in the UAE. The top players of the Russian tourist market expressed confidence that the plans had every chance to be implemented. According to the tour operator, the major factor driving up the demand for UAE tours is the abolition of entry visas for Russian citizens that came into effect last February.

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Abu Dhabi attracts Russian visitors by 49 per cent

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Russian guests jumped by 49 per cent from January to August as compared to the same period in 2016. A roadshow to Moscow and St Petersburg led by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism resulted in a surge in visitors into the emirate from Russia. Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director, Tourism Sector, Department of Culture and Tourism, said, “Since visa restrictions were lifted on our Russian visitors at the start of the year into the country visas now granted on arrival, we have witnessed an upsurge into the emirate, both from Russia and from counties within the Commonwealth of Independent States, with both markets together showing significant growth.” Leading Russian tour operators, travel agents and trade partners were representatives from key partners in Abu Dhabi. The delegation included Etihad Airways, Rotana Hotel Group, Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Intercontinental Abu Dhabi, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Hilton Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace, St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Sheraton Abu Dhabi, Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, Yas Viceroy, City Season, Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi and Gromaxx Hotel Management.

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Amway India partners with Arabian Adventures

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Amway India selected Arabian Adventures, Meetings, Incentives and Events, the region’s leading destination management company, to plan, conceptualise and deliver the largest incentive group from the country to visit the UAE– in excess of 4,000 distributors, in December 2017. The event will comprise a one-day business conference with Amway’s top international management, new product launches and a series of multi-cuisine events, engagements and entertainment held at venues across the city. Aikta Tyagi, Associate Vice President – Special Events and Facilities for Amway India said, “Over the last six months, we’ve worked with Arabian Adventures, Meetings, Incentives and Events to design a unique and exciting itinerary for our distributors, with the MICE team bringing a freshness to the table. It’s been a wonderful journey and we are confident that our event in December will be a great success.” Justine Thomas-Butler, Head of Meetings, Incentives and Events for Arabian Adventures also said of the partnership, “Delivering an incentive on this scale takes a special set of skills. You need to give guests and their families a true insight into this special part of the world – its people, ancient culture and modern wonders, whilst still making it feel intimate, unique and exciting.”

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1st Outbound Travel Bazaar in Abu Dhabi

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The first Outbound Travel Bazaar was held in Abu Dhabi at InterContinental Hotel on September 21, 2017. The brainchild of travel expert Mario Anthony, Proprietor, Luxury Connections, the event saw participation from buyers hailing from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The Ambassador of Finland stated that this was the first time that Finland was promoting the destination for MICE sector and that they were able to have many buyers with genuine inquiries as the destination is currently an emerging market for the UAE. The show started off with an interactive session with two experts in the field of travel followed by B2B sessions. The B2B meetings were a closed door event and allowed ample time for both buyers and sellers to connect.

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