Category Archives: Govt

Chinese visitors to Sharjah surge 63% in 2016

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Sharjah hotels and hotel apartments registered a 63 per cent increase in visitors from China during 2016, according to new figures from Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). More than 86,000 Chinese visitors stayed in Sharjah hotels last year, compared to 53,000 during 2015, making China the emirate’s sixth largest inbound tourism market. The UAE’s recent move to introduce visa-on-arrival for visitors from China is expected to further boost tourism numbers during 2017. China is the world’s largest outbound tourism market worth an estimated $168 billion, with 120 million Chinese travelling abroad during 2016. The country is a priority target market for Sharjah and the tourism authority is planning to welcome 200,000 Chinese visitors per annum by the year 2021, as part of its tourism development strategy. China is already the emirate’s fastest growing inbound tourism market, with hotels registering a 78 per cent increase in hotel guests from China during 2015 (compared to 2014 levels). The SCDTA has been driving an active marketing campaign to attract more visitors from China, opening up a representative office, recruiting Chinese staff and adding a Chinese language website to Sharjah’s tourism portal. Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority has recently taken tourism roadshows to Chengdu, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. This month, the authority hosted 15 major outbound Chinese travel companies from China’s east coast on a familiarisation visit (‘fam trip’) to Sharjah. Visiting travel agencies were introduced to Sharjah’s tourism destinations, heritage and cultural attractions and the emirate’s areas of outstanding natural beauty. The travel trade visitors also attended workshops together with key local tourism stakeholders. The UAE is China’s second largest trading partner and largest export market in the Middle East …

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RAK Tourism’s 6th international office opens in Riyadh

RAKTDA

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), which develops the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and initiates its domestic and overseas promotions, has expanded its presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the opening of a new representation office in the country’s capital, Riyadh. Marking its sixth international representation office, the Riyadh opening will support the tourism body’s promotional activities and trade partnerships to penetrate the Kingdom’s high potential outbound market. A team of dedicated trade promotion, MICE and business development staff will manage various in-market promotions and initiatives to drive further awareness of Ras Al Khaimah as a multi-faceted business and leisure destination to Saudi travellers. The move comes as Saudi Arabia produces more hotel guests to the emirate than ever before. According to recent RAKTDA data, tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia increased by 71.28 per cent year-to-date, with further growth expected during the course of 2017. Commenting on the new office opening, RAKTDA CEO Haitham Mattar said: “This market on our door-step is extremely important to us. The UAE has long been a favourite destination for Saudi tourists and our new our new representative office will further cement our promotional presence in the Kingdom. Through this representation we will build upon current travel trade partnerships, explore further opportunities and continually position Ras Al Khaimah as a year-round destination through targeted campaigns.” RAKTDA’s policy of positioning the emirate as more than a sun, sea and sand destination, driven by the implementation of the Destination Ras Al Khaimah 2019 strategy, has resulted in attracting 820,772 visitors in 2016, placing it in a strong position to achieve its target of one million visitors by the end of 2018.

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Abu Dhabi’s 1st GCC Patient Experience Summit from September 18-19

Patients Summit

More than 20 industry experts are set to speak in Abu Dhabi this year at the GCC Patient Experience Summit. The two-day event, which will be held on 18-19 September, is the region’s only forum dedicated to patient experience that will feature CEOs, Patient Experience Directors and Chief Quality Officers from organizations such as HAAD, DHA, Cleveland Clinic, Hamad Medical Corporation, King Fahad Medical City and many others.  The summit aims to offer access to a unique learning opportunity that sets the tone for establishing excellence benchmarks, effective communication and leadership strategies in customized care delivery. “To be successful in the new era of challenging and promising healthcare, organizations will have to take engagement to a new level and consider patients central to the care team. Strategic focus on patient feedback all along the care continuum will be essential to continually improve the health of populations. Wellness and prevention are key. We are moving from an era of treating disease to engaging patients in healthy behaviours that maintain their highest quality of life,” Samer Ellahham, Chairman of the Summit and Chief Quality Officer at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, said while stressing out the importance of patient-centred care. The UAE healthcare market is estimated to reach Dh71.56 billion by 2020, achieving an annual average growth of 12.7 per cent, marginally higher than the GCC growth average, propelled by medical tourism and a higher than ever demand for new facilities & technologies. With its vision to develop world-class healthcare infrastructure, expertise, and services, the UAE government is extensively expanding and upgrading its healthcare systems to match international standards by developing the best care and wellness for exceptional patient experience. Patient experience elevation …

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DTCM records 12% y-o-y increase in 2017

Dubai Tourism

Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) reported a 12 per cent year-on-year growth over the first two months of 2017, which saw Dubai welcoming just over three million visitors, nearly four times the rate of the previous year. Supported by growth in all key markets, China and Russia in particular drove the volumes and set the stage for a strong first quarter result. This period witnessed a 60 per cent growth in overnight tourists from China with January alone peaking at a dramatic 102 per cent, while attracting a total of 157,000 Chinese visitors across just the first two months. Reflecting an even more significant percentage increase, Russian visitation jumped 84 per cent over the same period last year with February delivering a massive 140 per cent volume increase to bring a total of 65,000 travellers in the first two months. Consequently, both contributing countries moved up in their rankings as key source markets for inbound tourism to Dubai with China entering the top 4 for the first time and Russia moving to just outside the top 10, up 4 places from 15. His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, said: “As we continue to invest in raising consideration for Dubai as the destination of choice for global travellers, our focus at Dubai Tourism is equally on increasing Dubai’s accessibility and removing barriers to travel by working closely with partners and stakeholders in the public and private sectors on both a federal and emirate level. Ultimately our collective aim is to make it as easy and seamless as possible for any prospective tourist from our diversified base of source markets to visit and revisit Dubai. We …

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New baggage rules at Dubai Airports

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Under a new rule at Dubai Airports, bags without flat surfaces will be rejected at check-in effective from March 8, 2017. Dubai Airports has advised all airlines operating into DXB of the imminent change and has updated its website, mobile app and signage across the airport to help raise awareness. The rule is aimed to improve service, reduce the risk of mishandling and enhance the performance of its check-in and baggage operation at Dubai International. “Dubai International provides some of the most sophisticated baggage systems in the world,” said Ali Angizeh, Vice President of Terminal Operations at Dubai International. “However, even the most technologically advanced systems can be disrupted by irregular shaped or oversized bags. Bags that are round or do not have a flat surface of any kind are by far the largest source of baggage jams. These jams can shut down sections of our system, delay baggage delivery to the aircraft and inconvenience our customers.” “We are trying to get the message out there as much as possible,” added Angizeh. “Passengers, who show up at the airport with non-compliant baggage, will also be given the option to have it repacked in boxes for a fee.” Stretching 140 kilometres and covering a surface area of 75 football fields, DXB’s baggage handling system is among the largest in the world. It has 15,000 trays and is powered by 21,000 motors. DXB handled approximately 9.3 million bags in January this year. A bag spends an average of 29 minutes in the baggage system at DXB.

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Shurooq launches eco-tourism project – Kalba Kingfisher Lodge

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The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has begun implementing the Kalba Kingfisher Lodge, its latest ground-breaking eco-tourism project, in collaboration with the Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA). Shurooq said that the five-star hospitability project, featuring a tented camp that offers unique experiences within the mangrove nature reserve in the heart of Kalba’s natural beauty, is the perfect addition to its strategy of promoting environmentally friendly tourism. The Kingfisher Lodge, due to be completed by the end of the first half of 2017, will house 20 luxury tents. With a private swimming pool for each tent, the accommodation is designed to provide guests with comfort, privacy and amazing views overlooking the Indian Ocean and a forest of mangrove (Qurm) trees surrounding the lodge – also home to a number of kingfishers and a host of flora and fauna. With an ambience of luxury and convenience, the Kingfisher Lodge will include an outdoor yoga and wellness centre and a range of public facilities, including an information desk, a reception lounge, restaurants and outdoor recreational areas.  The tented lodge is being constructed in compliance with the highest global standards of green and sustainable building in order to have minimal impact on the surrounding environment. H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO, Shurooq, said: “There are so many parts of Sharjah which qualify as outstanding areas of natural beauty and we have identified that there are numerous hospitality opportunities which could cater to that market. We understand that there are a growing number of eco-tourists, and a shift in trends towards visitors who want to enjoy incredible natural surroundings in a luxury environment. The Kalba Kingfisher Lodge is an ideal fit …

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231% growth in Polish arrivals to Ras Al Khaimah

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According to Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAKTDA, there was an increase of 231 per cent in visitor arrivals from Poland in comparison to 2015. The guest nights had also increased by 290 per cent from the previous year with an increased revenue of 273 per cent and an increase in the average length of stay by 17.64 per cent. In an effort to further strengthen the Polish relationship and increase the number of visitors to the emirate, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), which develops the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and plans, initiates and drives its domestic and overseas promotions, welcomed H.E Robert Rostek, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Ras Al Khaimah. H.E Robert Rostek was greeted by RAKTDA CEO Haitham Mattar to discuss future projects and tourism initiatives that will help boost tourism to the emirate and support the tourism authority’s vision in attracting one million visitors by 2019. “Through its efforts to increase visitor numbers from both established source markets and emerging ones, RAKTDA is constantly looking at ways to create strategic initiatives, promotional activities and partnerships,” said Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA. Last year RAKTDA partnered with the pan-European tour operator TUI to bring two new charter flights – operated by Enter Air – from Poland to Ras Al Khaimah International Airport. The new service followed a new co-marketing agreement between RAKTDA and TUI, which was signed in August 2016. RAKTDA’s Vision 2019 includes a roadmap for innovative hospitality concepts which take advantage of the emirate’s unique natural assets, including pristine coastline, stunning mountain ranges, hot springs and expansive desert.  

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DTCM updates Desert Tour & Camp Regulations

Khalid Bin Touq, Executive Director of Tourism Activities and Classifica...

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has announced updates to the Desert Tour & Camp Regulations first introduced in May last year. The revisions are intended to further enhance the emirate’s popular desert experiences, elevating the sector’s standards and bolstering Dubai’s reputation as an adventure hub with a distinct and diverse offering. Dubai Tourism has created a more manageable and cohesive set of rules for desert tour and camp operators to follow, which will ultimately simplify and streamline compliance across the sector. These optimisations are a result of continued collaboration between Dubai Tourism and key government departments including Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Municipality, and the Directorate of Civil Defence. Khalid Bin Touq, Executive Director of Tourism Activities and Classification Sector, Dubai Tourism, said: “In order to further improve standards across the many desert experiences and desert-based activities available in Dubai, all of which remain integral to our tourism agenda, we are committed to helping tour operators by providing an easier and more transparent list of regulations. This is a result of our open dialogue with key industry and government partners, and we are grateful for their continued support as we collectively work towards our shared goal of evolving our targets and services to establish sector-wide best practices, which benefit both operators and tourists.” The updated regulations will be rolled out to desert camp and tour operators in stages to ensure smooth implementation. In addition, Dubai Tourism has put together and made available to its partners and stakeholders a clarification document providing answers to frequently asked questions. These cover everything from health and safety aspects, such as ensuring staff are trained in first aid and displaying …

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Foundation stone laid for Silicon Park in Dubai

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His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), the regulatory body for Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), unveiled the commemorative plaque and laid the foundation stone of “Silicon Park”, the first integrated smart city project taking shape at the hi-tech park. Once complete, the landmark development spanning 150,000 square meters and constructed at a cost of AED1.3 billion will reinforce the green credentials of Dubai and the wider UAE. The unveiling ceremony was attended by Dr Mohammed Alzarooni, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DSOA, and senior management from DSOA. Set for completion in 2018, Silicon Park will comprise 71,000 square meters of office space, 25,000 square meters of commercial space, 46,000 square meters of residential area and the 115-key business hotel Radisson RED Dubai Silicon Oasis. In addition, it will feature value-added contemporary lifestyle facilities, such as restaurants, cafés, prayer rooms, a shopping centre and an underground parking space that can accommodate more than 2,500 cars. His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “In line with the vision of His Highness 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, we have conceptualized Silicon Park with smart technology at the core of its DNA. With the objectives of the UAE Vision 2021 in mind, the integrated smart city project reflects global trends for smart cities and incorporates most of the KPIs of the UAE National Agenda, including cohesive society, safe public and sustainable environment. We are confident Silicon Park will offer a modern holistic lifestyle for residents, workers and visitors.”  

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Sharjah eyes India market

SCTDA at SATTE (533x400)

India has emerged as the fourth largest market for global visitors to Sharjah, according to the figures revealed by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). The Authority led a marketing campaign targeting India’s outbound tourism over the past few years, attending key travel events and visiting cities across the country. In a first, the SCTDA led a delegation of Sharjah-based tourism and hospitality organisations to the 23rd edition of the SATTE travel trade show, in New Delhi, India. Sharjah’s delegation to SATTE and India International Travel Mart in Mumbai included Ramada Sharjah, Golden Tulip Sharjah, Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa, Sharjah National Hotels, Air Arabia, SATA (Sharjah Airport Travel Agency), Cozmo Travels and Auras Tours. According to the Indian Ministry of Tourism, 18.33 million Indians travelled overseas during 2014 and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) expects that Indian outbound travel could grow to 50 million by the year 2020.

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