Category Archives: Govt

Dubai RTA to launch ‘flying cars’

Flying car

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), in collaboration with the Chinese EHANG Company, has carried out the first test run of an Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV) capable of carrying a human, branded as EHANG184 in Dubai skies. RTA is set to start the operation of the AAV as early as July this year. The EHANG184 vehicle is fitted with a touchscreen to the front of the passenger seat displaying a map of all destinations in the form of dots. It has preset routes and the rider is to select the intended destination. The vehicle will then start automatic operation, take off and cruise to the set destination before descending and landing in a specific spot. A ground control center will monitor and control the entire operation. Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA said: “The trial run of the first AAV is in implementation of the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world. It is also part of RTA’s endeavors to provide self-driving transport through engaging in the technological tests of self-driving vehicles under Dubai environment. It replicates Dubai Self-driving Transport Strategy aimed at transforming 25 per cent of total individual trips in Dubai into Self-driving trips using various modes of transport by 2030. The step would also enhance the integration between public transport modes and people happiness through the provision of smooth, quick and innovative mobility. The AAV exhibited at the World Government Summit is not just a model; it is a real version that we have already experimented …

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Ride an abra on Dubai Canal

Abra_RTA

Traditional abras are now available for a ride on the Dubai Canal, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced. Catering mainly to tourists, the 20-seater abras will be available from the Shaikh Zayed Road station at Dh25 per ride per person. The abras will also be available for chartering at Dh300 per hour. According to Abdullah Yousuf Al Ali, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency, the operation of traditional abras in the Dubai Canal is part of a plan to expand marine transit services, particularly targeting tourists. “The traditional abra, which would be available on demand, has a capacity to accommodate 20 riders, with a minimum eight riders required for a trip and [it] ferries them on a journey that starts from the Shaikh Zayed Road station. The service is aimed at supporting RTA’s pioneering efforts to provide tourist services capable of enhancing the profile of Dubai and bringing happiness to people,” said Al Ali. The service will be available from 4 pm to 11.30 pm throughout the week. Al Ali said ferries are also available on demand in case of congestion experienced by the traditional abras. The RTA is projecting a significant demand for the service with 23,000 people expected to use it this year. He added that the operation of a tourist service through one of the oldest transit means in the region on the Dubai Canal enables the public to savour and explore the new tourist landmark of the emirate. He said that the RTA has already endorsed the operation of marine transit services at nine new stations — five on the Dubai Canal and four on the Business Bay stretch of the canal.

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Abu Dhabi Tourism hosts US travel experts

ABU DHABI LOGO

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) hosted a 50-strong delegation of senior travel industry experts from the United States on a tour of the emirate’s key attractions as it bids to strengthen ties with one of its key global markets. The high-profile attendees on the trip were all travel agency owners who are members of BCD Travel’s affiliate programme. BCD Travel is the third largest travel management company in the world representing $27 billion in 96 countries with 15,000 employees worldwide. Senior leaders from BCD Travel will also be in attendance. HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi, said: “Last year was a record one for the number of visitors we received and we aim to capitalise on this momentum. The total number of hotel guests showed an increase of 8 per cent in 2016, hitting over 4.4 million. These results demonstrate the emirate’s growing international appeal, as well as our ongoing successes in positioning Abu Dhabi as a distinctive global destination built on rich experiences, our cultural heritage as well as unlimited opportunities for family leisure and MICE events. The U.S. is one of our key markets, last year we welcomed 136,000 guest arrivals into the emirate generating more than half a million guest nights.. Our hosting of this influential delegation will demonstrate a world-class destination with first-class hotels, and a rich diversity of cultures and attractions.”

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Bahrainis exempted from Belarus visa requirements

Bahraini passport

Bahrain is the latest country to be added to Belarus’ list of countries exempted from visa requirements to enter its territories. On January 9, the President of Belarus signed a Decree “On establishing a visa-free order of entrance and departure of foreign citizens”. Under the decree, Bahraini nationals, and nationals from the list of exempted countries, can enter the country for a period of five days and via the international Minsk airport. Visitors to Belarus should also carry documents such as valid passports or any other acceptable travel documents, a minimum sum of money equal to €25($26.6) per day (€125/$133.4 for five days), and at least €10,000 ($10,675.6) health insurance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Also excluded from the advantages of visa exemption are travelers on official business and travelers with diplomatic or special passports or its equivalent. The visa exemption procedures do not apply to flights departing or coming from Russia through the international Minsk airport. Considered domestic flights by the Government of Belarus, these trips are not subject to audit procedures across the Belarusian border, the Ministry added.

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UAE grants visas to Russian citizens

Al Maktoum

Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has approved Cabinet Resolution No (24) for 2017 on granting citizens of the Russian Federation visas at all UAE’s entry points. The resolution states that citizens of the Russian Federation are to grant a 30 days entry visa at first time, renewable one time only for another 30 days, and subject to applied UAE regulations. The resolution will enhance strategic co-operation and the common ambitions of the two countries. It will also create new horizons of economic and touristic co-operation serving common interests and goals, as it strengthen the UAE’s international competitiveness as a vibrant economic, commercial, and tourist hub in the region. Official information shows that Russia and the UAE have always benefitted from a strong bilateral relationship in all aspects. This cooperation appears in the strategic partnerships between the two countries, and the various agreements covering economy, tourism, and clean energy co-operation. The UAE ranks first in the GCC states as Russia’s most important business partner, and is considered the tenth largest foreign investor in Russia, with projects valued at Dhs66 billion up to 2014. During 2015, the non-oil trade between the UAE and Russia reached Dhs9 billion, and the UAE is investing around Dhs18 billion in infra-structures in Russia. The average growth of foreign non-oil trade between the UAE and Russia over the past 5 years is 31 per cent. The UAE has received more than 600,000 Russian tourists in the past two years, and there are 56 weekly flights between the two countries by UAE National carriers. This number is expected to rise after the issuance …

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Dubai tops vacation ownership destination for Africans

dubai_hotels

Dubai tops the list of timeshare destinations for Africans, driven by its world-class shopping malls and traditional attractions. Africa represented 5 per cent of the total inbound tourism source market of Dubai in 2015 and the potential to develop this segment appears lucrative due to the government’s effort to encourage economic ties with the African continent. The survey was done by Arabian Falcon Holidays (AFH), the independent timeshare player in the Middle East. According to Arabian Falcon Holidays, the timeshare market is expected to grow strongly, surpassing the average growth rates of 15 per cent to 20 per cent per year, with 2017 heralding a new era that will witness 50 per cent growth as new tourists visit theme parks and attractions such as Dubai Opera.A recent report by Interval International, a world renowned exchange company with over 2,500 resorts worldwide, stated that Dubai has the potential to become the new Orlando or Las Vegas of timeshare. Analysing the figures in Dubai, the report found out that if 5 per cent of the emirate’s 100,000 hotel rooms and serviced apartments are converted to timeshare, with an estimated average sale price of AED73,400 ($20,000) for each week’s vacation ownership, it could result in a whopping AED18.35 billion ($5 billion) in sales volume. Mohannad Sharafuddin, Founder, Arabian Falcon Holidays, said: “Dubai is the top destination amongst our timeshare owners from Africa. Efforts of the UAE government in strengthening its economic ties with the African countries proves to yield mutual benefits. One of the vital reasons behind the dynamic UAE-African relations is the robust role of Dubai. This is reflected through an increase in a number of African tourists coming to the country …

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Sharjah Light Festival starts February 2-11, 2017

sharjah light festival jpg

The seventh Sharjah Light Festival will begin from February 2-11, 2017, covering over 23 locations across the Emirate. His Excellency Khalid Jasim Al Midfa stated that this year there will be some new additions and the theme will focus on the future of innovation and technology hence the partners to support this event are from the sectors of technology. Last year, over 600,000 visitors enjoyed this magnificent festival which provides a good platform for those passionate about art and culture. Some of the locations include – Al Qasba; Al Taqwa Mosque, Al Noor Mosque; Al Maghfira Mosque; University City Hall; Sharjah Center for Astronomy & Space Sciences; Al Qasimi Mosque; The new Jubail Fish and Vegetable Market; The Family Supreme council of affairs; Al Majaz Amphitheatre; Cultural Square; Cultural Palace; Khalid Lagoon Corniche; Al Majaz Waterfront; Flag Island; the bridges; A few mini locations across the city, This year the opening will be at Al Qasimia University. Outside the city there will be events at Khorfakkan University; Dibba; Kalba and Al Dhaid. So you should have plenty of opportunity to get involved. With some interactive locations around the corniche we are all excited to take part. As Sharjah promotes itself as the Arab capital of culture more families are drawn to the Light Festival as each member has something that could be enjoyed which will make them more culturally responsible humans. Each location will be unique to attract visitors and this year there will be a special competition for the artists as well. More information will be provided in due course.

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Al Jawaher attracted 120,000 visitors in 2016 boosting Sharjah’s MICE industry

Al Jawaher (6)

Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC) attracted more than 120,000 visitors and guests in 2016. This brings the total number of visitors who participated in some of the most prestigious and high-level events, organised and hosted by the Centre to 388,420 visitors, since they opened their doors in early 2013. Dotted with an array of the exclusive in-house events services and world-class catering, JRCC was home to more than 300 events in 2016, bringing the total tally to more than 1,000 events since its inception – 25 per cent of which were characterized by government conferences, business forums and exhibitions. The remaining 75% were taken up by unique and memorable social events. JRCC forecasts a 10% growth in events organised in 2017, thanks to its high-quality services and a dedicated team of professionals contributing directly to the emirate’s events industry.  Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director, JRCC, said, “Since its inception, JRCC has worked in line with the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, to offer an outstanding destination that contributes to attracting major local and international events, as well as to strengthening Sharjah’s phenomenal growth in the MICE industry. JRCC will soon be four-years-old, and looking back, we feel a sense of immense satisfaction and pride in having delivered the outstanding quality of catering and hospitality services to each and every event we have hosted.”

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Dubai Shopping Festival kicks off

dsf

The official Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) has kicked off under the slogan – ‘Shop. Win. Celebrate.’ The festival will end on January 28, making this edition one of the longest in its history. The arrival of DSF 2017 also kicks off the new Retail Calendar of Dubai, with the festival starting earlier than in previous years to take advantage of the holiday season retail buzz. As part of the exciting line-up of activities, one of DFRE’s Strategic Partners, Dubai Festival City (DFC), an Al Futtaim Group development,  launched a stunning new waterfront attraction that is set to rival popular waterfront shows in other global destinations worldwide. The DFC launch event will culminate in a spectacular fireworks show celebrating the start of DSF 2017. To make the shopping experience even more rewarding, thousands of retail outlets will be offering discounts of up to 75 per cent on a range of merchandise including apparel and fashion, consumer electronics, watches, perfumes, furniture, home appliances, and much more. DSF 2017 promises a lot of entertainment programs and events for their visitors. There are innumerable programs that have been organized for different segments of people. Special efforts have been taken to ensure that every guest is well taken care of throughout their visit to the festival. This is because of their impressive and exclusive festival ideas people around the globe eagerly wait for celebrating this festival. It is known to be the most successful and largest entertainment and shopping programs that are conducted every year. Thankfully, with flexible Dubai tourist visa options, you can easily travel to Dubai to be part of this astounding shopping festival. An experienced visa specialist will carry out all legworks, …

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Oman hosts 19th Arab Ministerial Tourism Council

oman

The Arab Ministerial Tourism Council met from the December 13-15, 2016, at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel in Muscat. Attendees included Ministers from the Arab countries, members of World Tourism Organisation as well as representatives from the Arab Center for Tourist Media. The council met to discuss ways to develop the tourism industry in the Arab World. This meeting was preceded by the Executive Office Meeting for the Arab Ministerial Tourism Council, which is entrusted to follow up and study the recommendations made by the Council. In his opening statement, His Excellency Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrizi said, “This meeting will foster cooperation between the countries of the Arab world, and help boost the growth of the tourism sector. We are proud that the Sultanate of Oman is hosting such an important and impactful meeting.”His Excellency also added that the meeting coincides with the 46th National Day celebrations of the Sultanate, marking the achievements that the people of this country and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos continue to make. Dr Dina Hussain Dhaher, Director of the department of Transport and Tourism at the General Secretariat of the Arab League of States thanked the Sultanate for its efforts in ensuring the success of the 19th edition of the Arab Ministerial Tourism Council, and that she looks forward to seeing the results of the meeting. Among the many issues, the Council addressed the development and implementation of the Arab Tourism Strategy as well as the tourism activities that drive the youth, as this is one of the most important tourism segments in the region. The Council also discussed initiatives that will generate tourism-related statistics from different hotels and feed the development of future …

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