Category Archives: Govt

VFS Global opens Italia Tourist Information Centre in Bahrain

Italy Information Centre Bahrain1

In addition to applying for an Italian visa at VFS Global Visa Application Centre, travellers heading to Italy from Bahrain now have access to a wealth of information at the newly inaugurated Italia Tourist Information Centre located in Manama. VFS Global, the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, also launched The Little Book of Italy travel guide at the opening ceremony, in the presence of H.E Domenico Bellato, Ambassador of Italy to the Kingdom of Bahrain, on June 16, 2019. With the launch of the Italia Tourist Information Centre and the Little Book of Italy, VFS Global and the Italian Embassy aim at providing applicants with first-hand information on visa procedures and travel tips. Speaking at the inauguration, Bellato said, “It is a pleasure to inaugurate the Italia Tourist Information Centre in Bahrain. There are not many places globally which can match the combination of history, culture, scenery, fashion, shopping, and food offered by Italy. With the launch of this centre and the Little Book of Italy we hope visa applicants will receive timely touristic information from a reliable source. We are confident that the centre will help to further increase the number of Bahraini citizens and residents who choose Italy as their destination for tourism and business.” Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO – Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said, “We are excited to take our partnership with the Government of Italy to the next level with the launch of Italia Tourist Information Centre. Bahrain has a large number of travellers to Italy for leisure and business, and this new centre will bring accurate information to their close proximity as …

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RTA and Emaar team up to offer discounts to Dubai Metro users

RTA and Emaar offer

Emaar and Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) have joined hands to offer Dubai Metro users exceptional discounts. Hop on the Metro and head straight to a world of wholesome entertainment, while enjoying a slew of attractive offers on some of Dubai’s most famous attractions. Dubai Metro users will have the exclusive opportunity to experience 360 degree sweeping views from At the Top, Burj Khalifa – levels 125 and 124 of the iconic Burj Khalifa for AED 75 per person instead of AED 141 inclusive of a complimentary signature beverage at The Café. Dubai Metro users can also enjoy a 50 per cent off on all Emaar Entertainment attractions including the Explorer Plus ticket at Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Ice Golf at Dubai Ice Rink, any Dolby Cinema experience at Reel Cinemas and double their credit on a minimum AED 100 spend at VR Theme Park. Visitors can indulge in appetising delicacies at a 30 per cent discount from over 50 food and beverage outlets at The Dubai Mall. Dining at Address Downtown restaurants, including NEOS and The Restaurant, will also be at half price. Also on offer at half price are the mesmerising Front of House tours of Dubai Opera to learn more about the iconic architecture, hidden secrets behind its breathtaking design, beautiful sculptures, art pieces and the modern technologies used to deliver a magnificent experience. To avail of these great offers, Dubai Metro riders only have to collect the discount voucher from Dubai Metro stations and present them at the ticket counters of their chosen leisure destination along with a valid Emirates ID. Vouchers are available at all metro stations. One can enjoy this limited offer …

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Dubai witnesses stellar growth of 24 per cent of Romanian visitors

Diverse experiences await visitors to Dubai

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has reported a steady increase in tourism volumes from Romania, welcoming 29,670 overnight visitors in the first three months of 2019. Underscoring a 24 per cent year-on-year increase when compared to the same period in 2018, the emirate and its diverse portfolio of attractions has experienced sustained interest and a steady uplift in the number of Romanian travellers choosing Dubai as their destination of choice. Underpinned by Dubai Tourism’s efforts to create targeted and customised experiences for Romanian tourists, the emirate has established itself as a ‘must-visit’ destination by offering a variety of unique and iconic attractions to its target audience. With an evolving market strategy that is well catered to the Romanian tourist profile, the department deploys a custom-market specific approach with targeted strategic activations, always-on marketing campaigns and ongoing trade and business partnerships with key industry players, keeping the city front of mind for these travellers. Building on the city’s commitment to ensuring ease of accessibility for its key source markets, Dubai is only a short travel time away from Bucharest, and benefits from two direct daily flights between Dubai and the capital with flydubai. Other direct flights between Dubai and Bucharest as well as Cluj-Napoca are available on Hungarian airline WizzAir. Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai’s Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said, “We have seen sustained momentum from Romanian visitors as one of our key emerging source markets, with strong double digit growth in overnight stays during the first quarter of the year. This growth is testament to the market specific approach we’ve adopted and the appeal of Dubai’s variety of attractions and experiences that cater …

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RAKTDA strengthens European ties with multi-city roadshow in UK and Germany

Haitham Mattar (8)

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has further strengthened its position in Europe with a multi-city roadshow in the UK and Germany last month that brought together more than 370 tour operators and travel agents. In a bid to attract 1.5 million visitors by 2021, increased emphasis has been put on growing further awareness in key European markets. The European roadshow covered key cities including Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, London, Birmingham, Liverpool, and Edinburgh to meet industry representatives and introduce Ras Al Khaimah’s diverse and spectacular beach, desert, mountain, and adventure offerings.  Held at iconic venues such as the Emirates Stadium in London and Edinburgh Castle, the roadshow allowed participants an opportunity to discover Ras Al Khaimah’s unique proposition and its tourism products via presentations, networking events, and interactive quizzes. Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said, “With a unique combination of authentic Arabian hospitality, pristine beaches and outdoor adventure pursuits, Ras Al Khaimah has a great appeal to holidaymakers from all over Europe. We have seen a significant growth in the number of visitors from Europe over the last couple of years, and therefore, our ongoing roadshow programme is a great vehicle to tell the story of the accessible Arabian hospitality. As we look towards our goal of 1.5 million visitors by 2021 and 3 million by 2025, it is essential to personally connect with travel professionals from our source markets to give them a real flavour of everything Ras Al Khaimah has to offer our visitors.”  

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Instant e-Visas for Jeddah Season 2019 visitors


Visitors coming to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the Jeddah Season 2019 can obtain a tourist visa in three minutes or less through the Sharek e-Visa website. Implemented by the Organising Committee for Jeddah Season 2019, the online application method is linked to ticket purchases for Jeddah Season 2019 events. Once visitors buy a ticket, they can get an instant e-Visa simply by logging on to and following the step-by-step instructions. “Making it quick and easy to obtain an entry visa will encourage more tourists to discover the beauty of Jeddah, known affectionately as the Bride of the Red Sea, attracting regional and international visitors to the 2019 edition of Jeddah Season, said Eng. Raed Abuzinada, General Supervisor of the Jeddah Season. “The introduction of the e-Visa system will have a positive impact on the travel and tourism sector, which is a key driver of the nation’s economy and remains a vital component of the economic diversification that is a fundamental aim of Vision 2030.” Jeddah Season 2019 offers visitors a dazzling choice of more than 150 events and activities celebrating music, arts, culture and sports. Taking place from June 8 till   July 18, 2019, the inaugural edition of the festival aims to position Jeddah as the capital of tourism and entertainment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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SCTDA partners with Emirates to embark on a three-city Central European roadshow

Khalid Jassim Al Midfa JPG

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), in partnership with Emirates Airlines, has embarked on a three-city roadshow, which is taking place from June 11, 2019 in Budapest and will run until June 14, 2019 covering other key stops; Warsaw and Prague. The series is aimed towards focusing the spotlight on Sharjah’s main tourist attractions across three key markets in Central Europe for the first time. “The three-city roadshow forms part of SCTDA’s ongoing efforts to accelerate Sharjah’s tourism industry. It also serves as one of our key contributions to the government’s economic diversification policy. Additionally, by organizing strategic B2B events, we are demonstrating our commitment to tapping new source markets worldwide to boost our international tourist arrivals as per the objectives of Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021. We look forward to highlighting why Sharjah is a destination of choice among global visitors,” H.E Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, SCTDA, said. “These B2B events in Budapest, Warsaw, and Prague are being held to help raise awareness about Sharjah’s diverse tourist offerings and advanced amenities along with increased ease with which people can travel to the emirate,” H.E. Al Midfa added. The roadshow will also be featuring workshop and networking sessions. Apart from SCTDA officials, Sharjah delegates will include Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq); Emirates Airlines, Air Arabia, Sharjah National Hotels along with Sharjah-based DMC – Orient Tours; The Sharjah Collection, Managed by Mysk; Coral Beach Resort & Spa; Golden Tulip Hotel Apartments; Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort &Spa; and Four Points by Sheraton, Occidental Sharjah Grand.

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Dubai welcomes Karnika – India’s first premium cruise ship

‘Karnika’ at Mina Rashid

Dubai welcomed India’s first premium cruise liner, ‘Karnika’ by Jalesh Cruises, to Mina Rashid as it homeport in Dubai for the season. Christened in an official naming ceremony in Mumbai, India last month, Karnika’ is Jalesh Cruises first liner to homeport in the region, marking a significant milestone for both the Indian domestic and international cruise industry. In celebration of this significant occasion, a traditional ‘Plaques and Keys Exchange’ ceremony was hosted on board in the presence of the ship’s captain and key industry stakeholders from the Dubai Cruise Committee. The vessel will commence the operation of regular Arabian Gulf itineraries from June to mid-September 2019, entertaining both residents and visitors of Dubai. Cruise aficionados can choose from two itineraries a week with Dubai as the home port; the Friday itinerary is set to cover Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, while the Monday itinerary will include Muscat and Khasab. Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannai, CEO of P&O Marinas and Mina Rashid, said, “Proving its position as the Middle East’s leading cruise destination, Karnika’s arrival highlights the value proposition Mina Rashid offers to luxury cruise lines globally. Our world-class quality services have exhibited Mina Rashid to be the preferred tourist destination, observing a 172 per cent increase in visitors between 2014 and 2018.” Jamal Alfalasi, Director of Dubai Cruise Tourism, said, “Our support for Jalesh Cruises further cements the enduring bond that exists between India and the emirate, underpinning our continued commitment to Dubai’s top performing source market which brought in more than 564,836 visitors during Q1 of 2019.” Jurgen Bailom, President & CEO, Jalesh Cruises, said, “It is an honour and a privilege for us at Jalesh Cruises to bring India’s …

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Bahrain launches the world’s largest underwater diving park

Bahrain underwater theme park image

HE Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism highlighted that the launch of the world’s largest underwater diving park is currently underway. The park will be the largest diving park in the world spanning an area of 100,000 sqm, and is expected to open to divers and visitors in August 2019. According to sources, the largest ever plane is to be submerged in the ocean as the first phase of Dive Bahrain got under way. Local and international divers and a fleet of tugboats are working to relocate the decommissioned Boeing 747 jumbo jet to its new home in the Arabian Gulf. The 70-metre long plane was bought from a Dubai-based airline. It is expected to rest at a depth of around 24 metres and will be positioned nose up in the water to allow novice divers access to the aircraft at shallower depths. In preparation for its submersion, the Dive Bahrain team worked for eight months to ensure the aircraft was environmentally friendly. “We could have just sunk it the way it was when it was transported here, but that’s not our intention. Every hazardous material has been removed; all plastic material has been removed. Even the bolts and the screws were removed so that we could clean any oil residue, before putting them back on,” said Hamad Al Mahmeed, project manager at Dive Bahrain. HE Zayed bin Rashed Al Zayani, the Minister of Industry and Commerce revealed, “We are proud to launch this unique eco-friendly project in cooperation with the Supreme Council for Environment and the private sector.”  

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Schengen visa fees will increase from 60 to 80 Euros from Jan 2020

schengen-visa image

According to a press release of the EU Council, the Schengen visa fees will increase 33.3% from 60 euros to 80 euros once the amended regulation comes into force. “To ensure member states can better cover the costs of visa processing without constituting a deterrent for visa applicants, the visa fee will be increased to 80 euros. The regulation also introduces a mechanism for reviewing every three years whether the visa fee should change,” says the press release. After the final adoption by the EU Council today, the new EU Visa regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Six months later, it will come into force and start applying to all third country nationals that need a visa to the Schengen zone. If the final text is published by the end of this month, in January 2020, third country nationals in need of a visa will need to pay 80 euros to apply. The new rules also permit applications to be submitted for a maximum period of six months, and no later than 15 days, before the trip. So far, the maximum period has been three months. In addition, the EU intends to introduce a harmonised approach to the issuing of multiple entry visas to regular travellers with a positive visa history for a period, which increases gradually from one to five years. Another important part of the new code is that it also intends to contribute to the cooperation of third countries on readmission through the introduction of a new mechanism for using visa processing as leverage. Through the mechanism, third countries will be assessed continuously regarding cooperation on readmission. Non-cooperating countries can become …

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DTCM partners with SEERA to strengthen KSA tourism links

Issam Kazim JPG

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) and SEERA (previously Al Tayyar Travel Group), one of the region’s leading providers of travel services in the Middle East and North Africa, have signed a strategic partnership agreement which will see both entities unite to further strengthen travel demand from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to the emirate. Working together previously on a variety of projects, the reinvigorated partnership between the department and Almosafer; SEERA’S consumer travel brand which recorded more than 100,000 bookings from Saudi Arabian travellers to Dubai in 2018, will see promotional opportunities implemented through the ongoing alliance. Almosafer will embrace a new omni-channel approach, offering its customers the choice and freedom to book their travel itineraries across online and offline touchpoints, reaffirming its commitment to promoting Dubai as a top destination for Saudi Arabian travellers. Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), said, “Dubai continues to rank among the most popular destinations for holidaymakers from across the GCC with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remaining in second place as one of our leading source markets in Q1 2019.” Almosafer will offer special hotel and flight deals exclusively for KSA travellers to Dubai, highlighting the top things-to-do in the city, iconic attractions, as well as travel tips across diverse targeted marketing channels. The brand will also create special Dubai-centric holiday packages, tailored to a variety of travel segments, including couples, families, individuals or business travellers. Abdullah Bin Nasser Aldawood, CEO of SEERA commented on the partnership, “Almosafer caters for a real range of Saudi travellers and we know, from our 40 years’ worth of travel knowledge and experience, what the varied …

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