Category Archives: Govt

SCTDA unveils initiative to empower women in the tourism sector

HE Khalid Jassim Al Midfa - سعادة خالد جاسم المدفع (1)

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) aims to uplift women’s role in the travel and tourism sector with an initiative that combines tourism training and promotes equality through community initiatives. The dates for the training, as part of the women’s empowerment initiative, were announced in conjunction with NAMA Women Advancement Establishment during Women Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS) 2017, which was held in Sharjah. Through creating a learning programme that advocates for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment as per Goal #5 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, SCTDA shall contribute to the UAE’s efforts towards driving women’s empowerment. The training of first and second batches of candidates will be held from July 7-11; and October 13-17, respectively. By equipping more women with the skills and knowledge needed to address the demands of the sector, the initiative will prepare them to take on challenging roles in tourism and the travel and hospitality industry. Furthermore, the programme is set to have a wider impact and social reach to resonate with the UN-Women Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). H.E Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, said: “Our partnership with Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit, which serves as a catalyst for positive change, adds further value to our efforts in this direction.” As part of the initiative, SCTDA has set two main objectives including the promotion of education, training and professional development for women. To achieve this, the Authority has designed a customised women’s empowerment training programme to address the key learning needs identified for 40 Emirati women who are graduates. The promotion of equality through community initiatives and advocacy is also a focus area of the programme. The initiative offers …

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Hospitality veteran Raki Phillips appointed as CEO of RAKTDA

RAKTDA_CEO Raki Phillips Photo

Raki Phillips, an award-winning hospitality veteran, has been named as the new CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), with the authority saying that his appointment marks the commencement of a new phase of tourism development for the Emirate. Phillips, who has worked for some of the world’s most renowned global brands, including Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Universal Studios Orlando and who was named one of the ‘Top 20 Most Powerful Hoteliers,’ will be responsible for delivering the authority’s recently announced Destination Strategy 2019-2021, which aims to attract 1.5 million visitors to the Emirate by 2021 and 3 million by 2025. Phillips takes over the reins from Haitham Mattar, whose four-year tenure as CEO of RAKTDA is credited with repositioning Ras Al Khaimah to become one of the fastest growing destinations in the world and exceeding the target of one million visitors in the first three years. His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, thanked Mattar for his commitment to the role and for his efforts in positioning the Emirate as one of the world’s fastest-growing tourism destinations. RAKTDA’s first tourism strategy was launched in January 2016 and was responsible for accelerating visitor growth, increasing visitor satisfaction and raising the contribution of the tourist sector to the Emirate’s GDP. The strategy introduced new tourism demand generators, including the world’s longest zip line and the Middle East’s first via ferrata, both of which helped position Ras Al Khaimah as the region’s nature-based adventure hub. As the new CEO, Raki Phillips will supervise a number of key projects, with notable development projects on Jebel Jais including multiple zip lines, adventure park …

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Hala China to promote Chinese weddings in UAE; sign MOUs

Hala China First Anniversary

Building on the success of the first-ever UAE-hosted Chinese group wedding in March 2019, Hala China is collaborating with Shanghai Qianxilu Cultural Communication to bring more Chinese couples to Dubai this year and the year of Expo 2020. The themed tour, named Chinese Style, Chinese Red, Chinese Love Wedding Stepping into Expo 2020, will fly 2020 couples from across China out to Dubai for a similarly romantic knot-tying occasion at Meraas and Dubai Holding destinations. In addition, the two parties plan to jointly design Expo-themed tourist packages for 3,000 Chinese entrepreneurs, 3,000 Chinese families, and 3,000 Chinese children and teens coming to Dubai. Hala China celebrated its first anniversary with the signing of six collaboration agreements that will launch a host of unique activations in Dubai throughout 2019 and 2020. The first agreement seals the deal between Hala China and Shanghai Qianxilu Cultural Communication to jointly create Expo 2020-themed wedding and tourism packages. Next, Hala China is collaborating with the Miss Model of the World International Organisation to organise Dubai Fashion Days and the 32nd Miss Model of the World Grand Final Awarding Ceremony, also set to take place in Dubai. Further agreements with More Trip International Travel Service, Shanghai Qilin International Travel Service and ShenZhen JI-Tour International Travel Service aim to bring more Chinese tourists to Dubai. The sixth agreement was signed with Chengdu World Culture Communication and aims to strengthen the collaboration between Sichuan and Dubai in various sectors. Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Hala China, said, “The UAE-China relationship continues to develop apace. Today, more than ever, we share a bond that is multifaceted, always evolving, always open to new endeavours …

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DTCM partners with TikTok for #ThisisDubai campaign

Issam Kazim JPG

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has concluded the regional #ThisisDubai social media campaign, hosted in collaboration with the world’s leading short-form mobile video application, TikTok. As part of the partnership, TikTok, which is available across 150 markets, created bespoke AR stickers with exclusive Dubai themed music inviting participants to capture striking aspects of the city. Calling on the platform’s expansive base of storytellers from across the GCC, the campaign received an overwhelming response of over 30 million video views on the campaign page and 9.8 thousand videos created, with posts showing users enjoying ‘only in Dubai’ experiences across the city, or destination videos with the campaign’s themed music, helping them to tell the story of Dubai. With the competition wrapped up, the two winning entries will be awarded an exclusive holiday package, with first prize winning a two-night stay at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, and both first and second prize winning shopping vouchers from Mall of the Emirates and tickets to experience the incredible La Perle by Dragone show. Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said, “In an age where shareable bite-sized content is the new social currency, Dubai Tourism makes it a priority to ensure we diversify our channels beyond traditional mediums to reach our target segment, using programming that is most appealing to them. Our partnership with TikTok is testament to the success of this approach, and through #ThisisDubai, we encouraged tourists from the region to share what makes the city unique to them by highlighting their favourite Dubai experiences.”  

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VFS Global becomes first company to process 200 million visa applications

VFS Global

As the leading visa outsourcing and technology partner for several governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, VFS Global has achieved a milestone by processing a record 200 million visa applications. Set up in 2001, the company touched its first 100 million applications milestone in May 2015. Since then, the next 100 million applications were processed over a record four-year period. In 2018 alone, VFS Global processed 26.7 million applications globally – the most number of visa applications processed in any single year, registering a 16 per cent increase year-on-year. Commenting on this achievement, Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global Group, said, “We take pride in this achievement of processing our 200 millionth visa application, with 100 million of these processed in a timespan of the last four years. We are grateful for the co-operation of the 62 client governments we serve – 18 of which were added in last four years, pointing to the trust and credibility we have built since we started this journey in 2001.” Even through its rapid expansion, the company has introduced game-changing visa solutions offering greater convenience, reliability and flexibility in service. Some of these are: Visa at Your Doorstep, Mobile Visa Application Centres, the first visa services chatbot ViVA among others, introduced in the recent years. In terms of the total visa market (both outsourced and non-outsourced), VFS Global’s share is 15 per cent. Across the world, there are as many as 50 players catering to the visa outsourcing business, and together they hold a market share that is identical to VFS Global. VFS Global today has an unparalleled network of over 3,000 application centres with operations in 147 countries.

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DTCM launches third edition of Futurism Programme

Yousuf Lootah - Executive Director Tourism Development and Investments

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing launched the third edition of the Futurism Programme, an entrepreneurial platform for technology start-ups worldwide. Aimed at bringing about a paradigm shift within the industry ecosystem to help create innovative tourism experiences, the third edition is in collaboration with leading professional services company, Accenture, further contributing to the success of the annual start-up programme, which has the ongoing support of industry partners and investors including Tajawal-Seera Group, Atlantis The Palm, Emaar Hospitality Group and the Emirates Group. The 2019 Futurism Programme invites entrepreneurs to submit their applications by  July 31, 2019.  With the goal of contributing towards transforming tourism experiences, the start-ups will showcase technological innovation with solutions to help drive the following Futurism themes; Hyper personalisation, Connected travel,    Digitising operations, First choice destination, Conscious travel, and ‘Phygital’ experience. A judging panel comprising leading technology experts, Dubai Tourism’s senior leadership and its partners across the industry, will select the top 10 start-ups from all entries submitted in the process. Dubai Tourism will announce the winning start-up and a runner-up, who stand to win a prize totalling AED 100,000 as the initial start-up capital. In addition to licensing, the winner will receive relevant visas in Dubai, office space and the opportunity to secure potential future funding. Commenting on the launch of the 2019 Futurism Programme, Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director – Tourism Development & Investments, Dubai Tourism, said, “In line with the Dubai 10X initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to develop path-breaking strategies and projects that will put Dubai 10 years ahead of other world cities, the Futurism Programme …

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RTA plans to improve marine transit services on Dubai Water Canal

Mohamed Al Hashimi

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has endorsed a three-phase 10-year plan to improve marine transport services on Dubai Water Canal 2020-2030. “The initial phase covers a Short-Term Plan 2019-2020, which already started in April. It includes modifying the current marine transport line on the canal to link Jaddaf, Dubai Design District and Sheikh Zayed road stations. The revised line excludes Marasi station and endorses the deployment of the water bus instead of Dubai ferry to run the service. The water taxi service at these stations remains unchanged,” explained Mohammed Abu Bakr Al Hashimi, Director of Marine Transport at RTA’s Public Transport Agency. “In concurrence with these changes, abra service will be running on two new lines to commute riders between the Al Wajeha Al Maeyah, Marasi and Sheikh Zayed road stations. By 2020, marine transit modes will be beefed up to include two water buses on the revised line, and three abras on the new line.” “The second phase is a Medium-Term Plan 2025. It covers the operation of nine stations in the central sector of the canal over and above the existing stations, which will be served by five new lines. It involves modifying the current line of the water bus to serve two stations, namely Dubai Creek Marina station and Business Bay Promenade station. One water bus and five abras will be added in 2025 and 2026,” shared Al Hashimi. “The Long-Term Plan 2030 covers the addition of four stations on Dubai coastal line namely Jumeirah 2, Al Safa 2, Sheikh Zayed road 2, and Godolphin. The proposed modes here are one waterbus and two ferries that will bring the total number of water transport modes in …

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UAE implements long term residency scheme


His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced the ‘Golden Card Visa’ a long term residency scheme for investors last month. Following this announcement a special media briefing was held at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs few days ago to educate the media about the special criteria and eligibility for this special scheme. Major General Mohammad Al Marri, Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, said that this scheme was implemented to create an attractive investment environment in the UAE, which further encourages business development and draws in new talent. Major General Al Marri stated that “As we celebrate the year of tolerance, there are other categories of investors such as those with 5 million AED capital visa for 3 years. Other investors are with bank deposits of 10 million AED capital with 10 years golden visa. Money should be owned by the individual investor 100 percent. Those who own 500,000 AED approved by state, doctors and specialists with certain conditions, excellent students and scientists – 95% in secondary school, executives with a Bachelor degree, five years’ work experience with 30,000 AED per month contract of state, specialists, talented people will also be authorised depending on the criteria. Inventors/innovators etc. will be awarded irrelevant of nationality, age, gender, just the criteria required equal to all.  After 10 years (the visas) are extended for another 10-year period every 10 years. There are medical insurance and other procedures that need to be done in between but it comes without any extra conditions.” He further said the visa would be renewed as long as residents continue to satisfy …

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DTCM shares positive outlook with key partners and stakeholders

HE Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General, DTCM provides an industry upd...

Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has provided a positive outlook of the industry to leading stakeholders and partners at its first biannual city briefing event, highlighting the sector’s performance across key markets, and sharing first-hand insights into major developments, marketing initiatives and future growth strategies. Led by His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of Dubai Tourism, the city briefing held at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City last week comes within the framework of regular industry engagements initiated by the Department to further enhance collaboration with its stakeholders. The event was attended by nearly 1,000 managers and key executives representing all industry segments, from hospitality to tour operators, tourism attractions to destination management companies, as well as top officials from Dubai Police and Expo 2020 Dubai. Addressing the gathering of industry professionals and senior government officials, HE Helal Saeed Almarri, said, “Maintaining a robust industry is at the core of our cross-sector efforts, and as we look ahead, we are confident that our continued cooperation with both public and private sector partners will ensure that Dubai remains a must-visit destination.” Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansour, Assistant to the Commander-in-chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs at Dubai Police, said, “Dubai Police is pleased to be a part of this event as it gives us an opportunity to exchange ideas and views with leading players in Dubai’s tourism industry, and secure their support towards further enhancing the safety and security of visitors.” Sanjive Khosla, Deputy Chief – Sales and Marketing at Expo 2020 Dubai, said, “With fewer than 500 days until Expo 2020 opens, our preparations are well on track.  We will be welcoming millions of tourists from around the …

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Global DMC Network Roadshow by JTB Group held in Dubai

Global DMC image

The inaugural Global DMC Network Roadshow by JTB Group was conducted at Conrad Dubai. JTB owns the companies worldwide with over 100 years of experience in the global networking arena with 502 offices in 143 cities in 39 countries with 29,000 employees. It is a leader in global destination management capable of providing unparalleled services all over the world in the fields of leisure, FIT or global MiCE. This roadshow was organised in conjunction with Venture Planet, the local vendor which invited over 100 travel agents in Dubai. The event started out with an introduction to the programme by the Global Marketing Team of the Global DMC Network by JTB Group. Thereafter the agents were divided into groups with four different break-out sessions where they learned an in-depth study about the destinations and the offerings for this specific market. Some of the companies under the umbrella who attended were Europamundo, Tumlare Destination Management, Tour East/CSO Tour East and Global DMC in Japan. The special discussions held by Europamundo Vacaciones in Arabic saw a very keen audience.

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