Category Archives: Govt

RAKTDA first destination to provide free PCR tests for international visitors

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and RAK Hospital announce a partnership to provide free PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) testing to international visitors staying in and departing from Ras Al Khaimah until 31 December, 2020. Subsidised by RAKTDA, the free PCR test is available for international visitors to avail either at RAK Hospital, one of the UAE’s most renowned private hospitals or RAK Medical Centre in Al Hamra Mall. The partnership marks the Emirate as the first global destination to provide PCR testing free of charge for its international guests and visitors. Earlier in the year, Ras Al Khaimah became the first city in the world to be certified as safe by Bureau Veritas, the global leader in testing, inspection and certification and the first Emirate to receive the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels Stamp, due to extensive hygiene and security measures in place at its hotels and attractions. This recognition was quickly followed by free COVID-19 PCR testing for hospitality staff across the Emirate’s hotels. All these efforts align with the Emirate’s recovery plans, including far reaching support initiatives aimed at hospitality partners and stringent safety measures implemented to safeguard guests and residents, which in turn, have led to green shoots of recovery for its tourism industry. “As travel corridors begin to open up, we will continue to incorporate and implement global best practices into our efforts to safeguard against the spread of the pandemic. This initiative comes at a perfect time as we move towards the cooler months of the year into the ‘Winter sun’ season, encouraging all visitors to experience all that the destination has to offer, from the striking Jebal Jais mountain …

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UAE affirms its support to encourage tourism

UAE affirmed its commitment to support international efforts to encourage and facilitate the recovery of the tourism sector and enhance the safety of travel experiences while adhering to global recommendations on the COVID-19 response, during its participation in a virtual G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting. The meeting took place under the chairmanship of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), with H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, representing the UAE. During the meeting, the G20 ministers discuss ways to capitalise on growth opportunities in the post pandemic phase and increase the sector’s contribution to comprehensive and sustainable development. In addition, it reviewed the progress made by the Tourism Group during KSA’s G20 Presidency, including the commitments made in response to COVID-19. These include enhanced focus on the role of tourism in driving comprehensive community development and efforts to enhance safety and convenience in order to improve the travellers’ experiences. H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi said that in light of the unprecedented circumstances that the world is currently navigating, there are many transformations and changes that have occurred not only within the tourism sector, but across various aspects of daily lives and behaviours of billions of people around the world. H.E. added, “We, in the UAE, believe that there is an opportunity generated along with every challenge, and that the exposure to shocks makes us stronger and resilient in the face of future crises. Therefore, we are confident that the tourism sector, although it is the most affected by the pandemic, will emerge stronger, faster and more resilient.”

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Etihad introduces travel programme for UAE government employees

Etihad Airways is offering federal government employees up to 15% off flights with the launch of its UAE Government Employee Travel Programme. Travellers who enrol into the programme for free will be able to check in at Abu Dhabi International Airport using a dedicated counter and will receive 15kg additional baggage allowance. When travelling to the USA or Canada, travellers can bring an extra bag weighing up to 23kg in Economy and up to 32kg in Business and First class. Duncan Bureau, Senior Vice President Sales and Distribution, Etihad Airways said, “We are delighted to partner with the UAE Government to offer its employees exclusive travel discounts, benefits and rewards. Whether booking for business or leisure, we hope this new travel programme will encourage more residents to start flying again.”

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New trends post lockdown

Ian Phillips CEO – Sharjah National Hotels speaking at the session stated that “There are almost 1100 people from Dubai regularly drove over the months from mid- June to July and August to Khorfakkan. These were people who brought their bicycles and came over to be fit in an area where there was less crowd. So the new trend he stated that they can see is exercising which is quite important to those who want some space and be active. He also mentioned that the drive to Khorfakkan due to infrastructure has really become better than before and spend less time on the drive and more time to enjoy and relax in the destination.”

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Engaging communities in tourism

Natalia Bayona

Natalia Bayona, Director Innovation, Digital Transformation and Investments- UNWTO said, “Looking at World tourism day this year there are two areas they are focusing on in terms of rural development. First is development of rural areas is part of teaching opportunities to the community and secondly to identity and heritage of the destination bringing rural experiences as a way to preserve heritage and added value. She also reiterated that at this point of time social distance is important hence nature, adventure and cultural tourism are other ways to diversify. She further stated that in creating innovation in tourism sector with technologies they signed an agreement with google arts and culture where you can multiply rural territories to spread the voice and promote as emerging destinations.”

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Rural Development in Sharjah

HE Khalid Jassim Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) in his statement he stated that “Agility of response, how dynamic are we, in the tourism sector whether it is government or private sector or academic partner or how quick are we in responding is really what matters and what will make a difference. We see different countries around the world are taking different directions depending on their situations and how they prepare, each country is different. Diversification is another key factor and element in facing such challenges now talking about United Arab Emirates I think it was proven that the preparedness here was at a very high level and the government has given a lot of benefits and support to the tourism sector across the UAE at different levels. We depend 10-12 % GDP on tourism at the same time diversified as tourism sector we are able to survive. We took a lot of measures to make sure that we were able to survive during these challenging times. We need some positive measures instead of talking about challenges, they will be there all the time.” He further reiterated that infrastructure play a key role and can see the rural areas been developed especially the central region and east coast in Sharjah like Kalba and Khorfakkan. Earlier it used to take about 2 hours to drive to the destinations but now we can do so in about an hour to Khorfakkan. He further reiterated that rural areas have SMEs that will develop and this guarantees more due to the infrastructure that has played a key role.”

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Dubai Safari Park to welcome visitors from October 5

Dubai Municipality announced that the Dubai Safari Park will welcome visitors starting from October 5, 2020, with a wide range of new interactive, educational and entertainment experiences for visitors of all ages.The opening follows the completion of a comprehensive renovation and development process aimed at expanding the facilities of the Park and further enriching the visitor experience. The revamped Dubai Safari adds new value to the emirate’s offerings as a leading global tourist hub. HE Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality said, “The Dubai Safari Park contributes to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make the emirate the world’s most preferred lifestyle, leisure and tourist destination. Dubai Municipality continues to introduce new initiatives to support His Highness’s objective of creating a happiness-centred model of development.” “As the momentum of recovery in the tourism market gathers pace, Dubai Safari provides an exciting attraction for both international visitors and residents. The redesigned Dubai Safari has many unique interactive programmes blended into the safari journey that provide visitors a unique and memorable experience. Not only can they see different types of animals from across the world, they can also enjoy activities, performances and shows that entertain as well as educate,” Al Hajiri said. New activities such as animal feeding, educational and awareness programmes and seasonal events have been added to enrich the visitor experience. The activities have been designed to increase visitors’ awareness and provide opportunities for interaction with animals.

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Dubai tourism introduce new guidelines for tourist camps

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) held a virtual meeting with leading tour operators to discuss a range of new guidelines that are being developed for tourist camps across the city that will positively impact the business of travel companies, further enhance the tourism experience and reinforce Dubai’s position as a must-visit destination. The new features that will be rolled out for tourist camps is based on the latest Executive Council Resolution No. (24) of 2020 that was issued by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai. His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai Tourism, commented, “As we continue to take a measured and coordinated approach towards a full reopening of the tourism sector, the strategic directive by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai on regulating tourist camp operations is a timely boost to the business of travel companies, and is a reflection of our commitment to work closely with our stakeholders to build a stronger, more sustainable and resilient tourism economy. The Resolution is also testament to the continued support of our visionary leadership to showcase Dubai as the most preferred destination that provides UAE residents and visitors a diversity of experiences. Dubai Tourism will continue to work with its stakeholders and partners to further strengthen Dubai’s destination proposition and ensure that it stays at the forefront of the world’s widely recommended cities for global travellers.”

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Abu Dhabi amplifies global tourism revival with return to UFC Fight Island

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and UFC have announced that Return to UFC Fight Island, the much-celebrated UFC series will be held on Yas Island from September 26 to October 24. Following the undisputed success of July’s inaugural series, which saw the state-of-the-art UFC Fight Island Safe Zone implemented across all event-related areas of Yas Island, the series’ epic return less than three months later marks another historic first for Abu Dhabi and the sport. The capital of the UAE is continuing to take a leading position in safely organising large, high-profile sports events through successful management of health and safety protocols, providing a further boost to the local economy and showcasing the world’s leading athletes. “UFC Fight Island proved to be a tremendous success and its rapid return is testament to the strength of our partnership with UFC, and the global confidence in Abu Dhabi’s ability and preparedness to host major international events with the highest standards of health and safety,” said His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi. “The Return to UFC Fight Island concept underlines both Abu Dhabi’s commitment to global sporting and tourism events as well as the collaborative approach taken by various government departments to ensure the emirate is ready to safely welcome back visitors, business and more major international events across multiple sectors.” Dana White, the UFC President added, “While the rest of the world shut down, we worked with our partners in Abu Dhabi to put on the best live sporting experience, and we did it safely and responsibly. The infrastructure they have in place, from the arena, to the hotels, to the …

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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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