Category Archives: Govt

Saudi Arabia partially eases international travel restrictions from today

Saudi Arabia will partially lift the suspension of international flights from September 15, six months after travel restrictions were imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. An official source of the Ministry of Interior announced through Saudi Press Agency that a royal approval has stated that lifting of complete restrictions, previously imposed due to the spread of coronavirus, on the departure and return of citizens to and from the Kingdom and allowing the opening of air, sea and land outlets will take place after the first of January 2021 The following categories of citizens will be allowed to travel outside the Kingdom and return to it according to certain requirements: A – Civilian and military governmental employees, assigned to official tasks; B – Personnel at the Saudi diplomatic and consular missions as well as attachés abroad and personnel at the regional and international organisations, their families and companions; C – Personnel at permanent jobs, in public, private or non-profit facilities, outside the Kingdom, and those who have job tasks in companies or commercial institutions outside the Kingdom. D – Businesspersons whose their business requires travel to conclude commercial and/or industrial activities as well as export, marketing and sales directors whose tasks obligate them to visit clients; E – Patients whose treatment requires the travel outside the Kingdom, based on medical reports, particularly cancer patients and patients in need of organ transplantation; F – Students on scholarships, or those studying at their own expense and trainees on medical fellowship programs whose studies or training require travel to the countries in which they study or train and their dependents. G – Those who have humane cases, particularly the following two cases: 1) A …

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#AskDXBOfficial campaign helps clarify travel concerns

Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO) has launched #AskDXBOfficial, an initiative that gives the public and the media a chance to ask questions to Dubai’s senior government officials. The initiative is part of GDMO’s objective of creating platforms that allow the community to clarify issues and concerns with government officials. Alia Al Theeb, Senior Manager, Strategic Communications, Government of Dubai Media Office said, “#AskDXBOfficial is part of GDMO’s aim of introducing new interactive communication channels to ensure the Government of Dubai is constantly connected and engaged with citizens and residents. In a continuously evolving environment, we place high priority on communicating directly with the community with clarity and transparency. #AskDXBOfficial invites the public to ask questions to key government officials each week. Answers to their queries will be posted on GDMO’s official social media platforms.” Answering a question in the first #AskDXBOfficial interaction, Major General Mohammed Al Marri said all residents holding a valid resident visa are allowed to return to Dubai. Once they receive a return permit from GDRFA-Dubai and obtain a negative PCR test result, they can return to Dubai through any UAE airport. Holders of expired residency visas should renew their visas before exiting the country if they wish to return to the UAE, Al Marri clarified. Valid UAE residency visa holders currently outside the country can return to Dubai provided there are no flight restrictions between the UAE and the country they are in. Responding to a question regarding people who have incurred fines after losing their jobs because of travel restrictions Al Marri said, “To all those who have accumulated fines, please do not assume you cannot exit the country. We at Dubai Airports and …

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Ministry of Economy discusses plans with SCTDA to boost tourism

H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, SCTDA, addressing a special meeting chaired by the UAE Ministry of Economy explained that the visit served as an important platform in the efforts to explore further joint cooperation with the Ministry of Economy, especially in the move to promote tourism during a post-COVID-19 phase. H.E. expressed the Authority’s continuing commitment to be a key partner of the Ministry of Economy and its move to support the country’s tourism segment. We highly appreciate the efforts made by the government to limit the impact of the global pandemic on the tourism sector and their provision of the means to further accelerate the pace of recovery to help push the path of tourism development.” “We renew our commitment to support the proactive endeavours led by the Ministry of Economy to implement initiatives related to the tourism segment, which are part of the 33 initiatives planned to support the economic sectors, especially those concerned with promoting tourism to achieve future directions in building a diversified, competitive and sustainable economy. We look forward to uniting our energies in support of domestic tourism, which is seen as the main pillar in the return of tourism activity post COVID-19. In line with further consolidating its domestic tourism’s role as a key contributor to the local economy in Sharjah, we have launched a package of specific initiatives that are aimed at consolidating the leadership of the emirate in the list of safe tourist destinations in the world, by focusing on following the best practices that guarantee the health and safety of visitors,” concluded Al Midfa.

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RAKTDA announces strong performance in post-COVID recovery

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) announced a strong upturn in the Emirate’s tourism and hospitality performance during the initial phase of recovery post the COVID-19 pandemic. The Authority had launched a range of far reaching support initiatives, aimed at its hospitality, leisure and development partners, during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis to lay the strong foundations for future recovery. Moreover, stringent safety measures were implemented across the Emirate to safeguard guests and residents leading to internationally renowned certifications and a quick bounce-back of its tourism industry. Ras Al Khaimah’s key performance highlights during the initial phase of recovery include: Ras Al Khaimah reported an average ADR increase of 12.9% over Eid Al Adha break, the highest average room rate, compared to the last three years under normal (non-pandemic) travel circumstances; Despite the regional effects of the pandemic, Ras Al Khaimah leads in RevPAR in the UAE. The ongoing ‘Shortcation’ Campaign, which was launched in early June targeting domestic travel, drove bookings of almost 7,000 nights during the first eight weeks of the campaign; During Eid Al Adha holiday, Ras Al Khaimah hotels and resorts welcomed over 18,000 guests who chose the Emirate as their preferred staycation destination; The Jais Adventure Peak which has welcomed over 52,000 thrill seekers to date, reopened with strict sanitary measures and continues to receive visitors; Ras Al Khaimah becomes the first city in the world to be certified as safe by Bureau Veritas and the first Emirate to receive the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels Stamp. RAKTDA partners with the National Crisis & Emergency Management Authority and Ras Al Khaimah Preventive Medicine Department provide free COVID-19 PCR testing for …

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Dubai tourism extends deadline to July 1, 2021 for hotels sustainability

Habtoor City

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has extended the deadline for implementation of the 19 Sustainability Requirements and Carbon Calculator submissions by 12 months. The requirements have been laid out to support the emirate’s hotel establishments in their compliance with Dubai Tourism’s hotel classification system, and the long-term objective of advancing sustainability performance across the sector.In light of the current situation surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic, hotels will benefit from an additional 12 month implementation period to finalise their sustainability compliance, a decision that has has been announced by Dubai Tourism to strengthen the foundations for recovery of the hospitality sector. All requirements will now be mandated from 1 July 2021 with the extension also including the postponing of the Carbon Calculator monthly submissions until the same deadline. The 19 Sustainability Requirements include sustainable management approaches, performance metrics, energy, food and water management plans, guest education, employee training initiatives, the presence of sustainability committees within hotel establishments and corporate social responsibility programmes for local communities. Through improving internal sustainability operations, hotel establishments in turn will enhance the competitiveness of Dubai’s tourism-linked economy. Since its inception in January 2017, the Carbon Calculator – part of the Tourism Dirham Platform, is a tool that has been measuring the carbon footprint within Dubai’s hospitality sector. On a monthly basis hotels submit their consumption of 11 carbon emission sources, including; electricity, district cooling, water, waste, fuel for transportation, fuel for generators, fire extinguishers, and liquefied petroleum gas for analysis. This information is aggregated and analysed to provide valuable industry insights on the sector’s collective carbon footprint. In addition, by formulating a baseline along with consistent tracking, this information enables hotels to …

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Dubai Tourism partners with Microsoft to streamline solutions for stakeholders

DCT & Microsoft

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has partnered with Microsoft to further streamline data-driven services offered to stakeholders, enhance the e-learning platform for Dubai College of Tourism (DCT) and adopt an innovative approach towards showcasing the city as a must-visit destination. Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, commented, “As we plan for future scenarios, cloud based solutions have emerged as a crucial element of Dubai Tourism’s digital transformation strategy because of the secure, sustainable and scalable nature of the technology. The diversity of our partnership with Microsoft will add to our efforts to embed world class technology solutions to our business systems and further enhance the scope of cutting-edge digital services that we provide our stakeholders in real-time, to help ensure Dubai stays ahead of the curve and also maintain its position at the forefront of the world’s leading travel destinations.” “Microsoft Azure has been at the heart of the company’s efforts to form several strategic partnerships across UAE’s public and private businesses and accelerate their digital transformation agendas by migrating to the cloud,” said Sayed Hashish, General Manager, Microsoft UAE. “Our partnership with Dubai Tourism enables their platform to seek better customer engagement, empower its workforce, optimise operations and reinvent products and services. This is made possible by our two cloud regions in the UAE serving customers across the region to innovate and grow.” Essa Bin Hadher, General Manager, Dubai College of Tourism, said, “Dubai College of Tourism established a strong online learning platform even before the pandemic and today the advantages of using such a system have become more important than ever. Indeed, in this challenging environment, we are able …

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RCU partners with Accor to expand the Banyan Tree brand in AlUla


The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) announced a partnership agreement with Accor as part of its strategy to develop AlUla as a tourism destination for nature, culture and heritage. The agreement will see Accor operate an expanded Ashar Resort under the Banyan Tree brand. There will be 47 new units added, which will bring the resort’s total number up to 82 high-end villas, along with a luxury spa and several gourmet restaurants. This will be guided by a sensitive design that allows each villa to blend discreetly into the striking natural scenery of the Ashar valley, located 15km from the Kingdom’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra. Commenting on the agreements, the CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla, Amr Al Madani, said, “We’re working with the world’s best developers and hotel operators to deliver projects that complement our cultural oasis, as well as benefitting our local community. The partnership agreement with Accor is part of a major series of capital projects and multiple investments made by RCU into fifteen plans in AlUla, many of which will be announced in the coming months.” Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor said, “In line with our commitment to grow Accor’s unique portfolio in Saudi Arabia, and as one of the first global hospitality groups to set foot in the Kingdom, we are extremely proud to take part in the development of the historic county of AlUla, thus celebrating the Kingdom’s vast heritage and culture.” Commenting on the agreement, Bander M. Alharbi, Head of Hotels and Resorts at the Royal Commission for AlUla, said, “The Ashar Resort forms part of our strategy to create an immersive boutique destination that offers transformative experiences …

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Minister of Economy UAE extends support for tourism and foreign trade

H.E Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, UAE reviewed a detailed report on the progress of efforts undertaken by the Interim Committee to Deal with the Impact of COVID-19 on the National Economy, during the Committee’s fifth virtual meeting, which was chaired by His Excellency. HE was briefed on the economic and financial implications of all the measures adopted by the federal and local governments over the past months since the onset of the pandemic, and the extent of their effectiveness in supporting the country’s business continuity during these times. HE Eng. Mohammed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Economic Affairs said that the Committee is continuously measuring their success in developing sustainable and practical policies and solutions that suit the needs of the business sector and contribute to its speedy recovery. He affirmed that the Ministry and its partners in the Committee will directly and periodically assess the implementation of packages and initiatives and will stand by all efforts to support business activities and develop the economy. H.E. Saif Hadef Al Shamsi, Deputy Governor of the UAE Central Bank, explained the measures introduced by the Bank in detail, which helped many of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) continue their operations during the crisis, provided facilities for real estate buyers and improved liquidity of banks to meet the requests for lending and deferred payments. In this context, HE Saif Ahmed Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation for Human Resources Affairs, stated that the Ministry repaid about AED 8.3 billion of bank guarantees to employers, which represents about 50 per cent of the total bank guarantees until the …

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Al Zeyoudi discusses diversification of trade & investment partnerships with British counterpart

H.E Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, held a virtual meeting with H.E Ranil Jayawardena, British Minister for International Trade, to discuss the frameworks of bilateral trade and economic partnerships. The meeting also discussed new opportunities to expand the scope of the existing partnerships in accordance with the priorities of the coming stage, in order to serve the strategic and development aspirations and visions of the two friendly countries. The meeting was attended by H.E Mansoor Abulhoul, the UAE’s ambassador to the United Kingdom; H.E. Abdullah Bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs; H.E. Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs; and Mohammed Nasser Hamdan Al Zaabi, Director of the Trade Promotion Department at the Ministry of Economy. Simon Benny, British Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, and number of officials participated in the meeting from the UK’s side. The meeting followed up on some files related to bilateral cooperation efforts, which included coordination with regard to the convening of the sixth UAE-UK Joint Economic Committee. These include a review of investment opportunities and incentives in priority sectors, renewable energy, health care, food security and advanced technology services, as well as a number among the requirements for the restoration of tourism activity between the markets of the two countries. Additionally, the meeting discussed the ongoing efforts to initiate discussion on a free trade agreement between the GCC and the UK. During the meeting, H.E Dr. Al Zeyoudi underscored the UAE’s strong commitment to enhance bilateral cooperation with the UK in all fields of interest, especially in the area of …

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KSA’s MOT completes road maintenance to Makkah for Hajj

Saudi MoT

In preparation for this year’s Hajj, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) has completed the maintenance of about 491 km of roads leading to Makkah and has assigned buses for each pilgrim group with full precautionary measures.These steps follow the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince with the support and supervision of Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Governor of Makkah Al Mukaramah Province, and the follow-up of Eng. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Minister of Transport, to serve the visitors of the Holy House of Allah. Periodic and preventive maintenance was carried out on several major roads leading to Makkah Al Mukaramah, which included Al Madinah Highway, Jeddah Highway, Old Jeddah Road, Al Sail Road, Al Hada Road, AlLayth Road. Maintenance work included lighting, bridge expansion, fence repair, scraping and asphalting, as well upkeep of directional signs, road signs, road sign holders, paints, cat eyes, construction of concrete and metal barriers, and fence wires. Wadi Ash Shu’bah ferry also started its operation. Al-Jasser confirmed the readiness of all facilities and installations for Hajj. He sought the importance of cooperation of the entire transport users to comply with the necessary preventative measures against COVID-19. The number of passengers must not exceed 50% of the total accommodation capacity of the bus. Passengers must adhere to physical distancing inside the bus by following the recommended policy. A seat must be left vacant between two passengers. However, families can sit together. No one is allowed to stand inside the bus. All passengers must wear facemasks.

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