Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

WTTC MENA forum in RAK in October

RAK_Jebel Jais Viewing Deck Park

World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) will host their inaugural Middle East & North Africa Leaders’ Forum in Ras Al Khaimah on October 2nd. The one-day forum will engage 150-200 leaders in keynotes and panel discussions focusing on key themes, including: challenges and investment opportunities; job creation and skill development; climate and environment action and digital disruption. This will bring together government agencies, industry associations, CEOs and senior leaders of the top travel and tourism companies, experts, and media from across the region. The WTTC Middle East & North Africa Leaders Forum will delve into contemporary issues facing the sector and discuss growth opportunities to advance the regional agenda.

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Saudi tourism forecast growth in religious and business travel


According to the latest data released by various indicators Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen an exponential increase of tourists from UAE, USA and UK over 2018 which secured a continued growth in the hotel sector.  A report by Colliers reveal that international arrivals to Saudi Arabia are expected to increase 5.6 per cent per year from 17.7 million in 2018 to 23.3 million in 2023. According to the Savills report, recent tourism growth in Saudi Arabia has been driven by three key demand pools – leisure, pilgrim and corporate visitors. Paula de Keijzer, Senior Director Market Management, Africa, Indian Ocean, Middle East and Turkey, Expedia Group, said, “Major hotel groups are driving construction trends across the country as they aim to meet the demands of an ever-increasing number of domestic tourists and international visitors. When it comes to brand affinity and customer loyalty, it is essential to engage at each level of the customer journey. Tools, data and insights available via OTA extranet sites, like Expedia Partner Central (EPC), offer hoteliers the opportunity to inspire and convert travelers, set expectations, create personalised experiences, identify and address issues to better meet guest needs, improve guest experience and drive repeat bookings.” With travel bookings in the Kingdom considered the largest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the power of the international traveler growth to Saudi Arabia is expected to remain strong.  USA saw more than 110 per cent year on year growth in demand compared to the same period in 2017 with almost 45 per cent share of total room nights, UAE saw a whopping year on year growth of above 140 per cent than last year with almost …

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Dubai hotels occupancy records a high of 76%


According to a recent report released by Dubai tourism, the hotel sector has recorded one of the highest in the world with occupancy at 76 per cent with establishments delivering a combined 15.71 million occupied room nights during the first six months of the year, a five per cent increase over the same period in 2018. Another noteworthy fact is that the emirate has now reached an inventory of 118,345 within 714 establishments at the end of June 2019, representing a six per cent increase, which showcased continued strong investor confidence in Dubai’s tourism demand. In the Middle East, Dubai continues to be the much favoured destination recording the largest traffic from all over the world. Brands such as Rove have revolutionised the market in Dubai. Luxury five-star and four-star hotels commanded 34 and 25 per cent of the emirate’s total inventory, respectively.  Meanwhile properties in the one to three-star categories represented a share of 20 per cent. Increasing demand for diversified accommodation options was met with a combined 21 per cent of hotel apartment establishments across the deluxe/superior and standard categories.

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SCTDA unveils initiative to empower women in the tourism sector

HE Khalid Jassim Al Midfa - سعادة خالد جاسم المدفع (1)

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) aims to uplift women’s role in the travel and tourism sector with an initiative that combines tourism training and promotes equality through community initiatives. The dates for the training, as part of the women’s empowerment initiative, were announced in conjunction with NAMA Women Advancement Establishment during Women Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS) 2017, which was held in Sharjah. Through creating a learning programme that advocates for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment as per Goal #5 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, SCTDA shall contribute to the UAE’s efforts towards driving women’s empowerment. The training of first and second batches of candidates will be held from July 7-11; and October 13-17, respectively. By equipping more women with the skills and knowledge needed to address the demands of the sector, the initiative will prepare them to take on challenging roles in tourism and the travel and hospitality industry. Furthermore, the programme is set to have a wider impact and social reach to resonate with the UN-Women Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). H.E Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, said: “Our partnership with Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit, which serves as a catalyst for positive change, adds further value to our efforts in this direction.” As part of the initiative, SCTDA has set two main objectives including the promotion of education, training and professional development for women. To achieve this, the Authority has designed a customised women’s empowerment training programme to address the key learning needs identified for 40 Emirati women who are graduates. The promotion of equality through community initiatives and advocacy is also a focus area of the programme. The initiative offers …

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Finland witnesses 20.6 per cent increase in visitors from the UAE


Finland welcomed almost 12,000 tourists from the UAE in 2018, revealed VisitFinland, as it returned to Arabian Travel Market with a unique campaign aimed specifically at Middle East tourists. Joonas Halla, Representative, VisitFinland said, “2018 was another successful year for the Finnish tourism industry. Not only did the number of visitors from the UAE increase by 20.6 per cent from 9,906 in 2017 to 11,951 in 2018, the number overnight stays during the winter season also doubled. In Lapland alone, the number of UAE visitors increased by 36.1 per cent to 2,791 between 2017 and 2018. This year, we have already witnessed remarkable growth, with UAE visitor numbers increasing by 131 per cent in January 2019 compared to January 2018, and 110 per cent in February compared to the same month last year, so we are confident our tourism numbers and receipts will eclipse the successes of 2018.” Finland’s links with the UAE have strengthened in recent years mainly due to the introduction of new direct airline routes. In October 2018, flydubai started a new direct, daily flight between Dubai and the Finnish capital, Helsinki. Meanwhile, Finnair, the national carrier of Finland, is expected to restart its seasonal Dubai to Helsinki flight later this year, flying between October 2019 and March 2020. Turkish Airlines are set to launch a new direct route from Istanbul to Rovaniemi in December, further widening the reach. Halla said, “Building on the success of our participation at last year’s ATM, this year we are looking to learn more about potential partners and tour operators we can work together with to promote Finland as the perfect winter and summer destination for Middle East tourists. Finland has long been …

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Emirates renews MoU with Mauritius and Seychelles to boost tourism

Seychelles signing 2

Emirates renewed its support to Mauritius and the Seychelles by extending a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which outlines joint activities to promote the two countries. His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group met a VIP delegation from Mauritius and Seychelles at Arabian Travel Market 2019.  An MoU was signed  by Orhan Abbas, Senior Vice President—Commercial Operations for Africa, Emirates and Sherin Francis, Chief Executive Officer, Seychelles Tourism Board and Arvind Bundhun, Director, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, in the presence of the Didier Dogley and Anil Kumar Gayan, Tourism Ministers of Seychelles and Mauritius respectively. “We have enjoyed long and fruitful partnerships with both Mauritius and Seychelles, and have taken an active role in boosting the tourism industry of the island nations. Our commitment to these destinations and the partnership forged with the respective government authorities, have seen great success. The renewal of our agreements underpins our confidence that the growth of tourism to both Mauritius and Seychelles can be further developed, and we remain confident that we will continue to see these numbers grow,” said Abbas. “The signing of this MoU with Emirates underpins the long-standing strong relationship, developed over a decade, between the Government of Seychelles and the leadership of this global airline. We value the services Emirates has provided and continues to provide to the Seychelles and its tourism industry. We look forward towards further deepening this relationship towards our mutual benefits”, said Didier Dogley, Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine of the Seychelles. “I am happy that we are renewing this Memoradum of Understanding with Emirates as this is the basis on which we have built …

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Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board highlights latest visitor attractions at ATM 2019

Malaysia tourism (11)

Tourism Malaysia has outlined its ambitious plans for growth today during an event held at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2019 in Dubai. The organisation’s participation is designed to support the objectives of the Visit Malaysia 2020 initiative, which aims to attract more than 30 million tourists and around AED 89 billion in tourist receipts. More than 50 representatives from key stakeholders in Malaysia’s travel and hospitality sectors have travelled to the UAE for the event, where they showcased the latest news and updates on the country’s tourism offerings. The GCC remains a key market for inbound tourism to Malaysia, with total arrivals from West Asia standing at 315,733 during 2018, an increase of 25% on the previous year. The number of visitors from Saudi Arabia increased by 11.7%, while UAE travellers increased by 9.7%. Oman recorded the biggest rise in visitor numbers, at 36.9%. During the same period, visitors from the region contributed more than around AED 2.7 billion to Malaysia’s economy, with tourism receipts rising by 33% compared to 2017. Travellers from GCC countries also recorded the highest average expenditure per person, with visitors from Saudi Arabia spending around AED 10,300, United Arab Emirates around AED 8,300, Oman around AED 7,500, and Kuwait around AED 7,400. Y B Datuk Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia commented, “It is particularly relevant for us to be here during the national Year of Tolerance, which highlights the common values of our two countries by emphasising on the importance of diversity and harmonious coexistence. We look forward to further building on our shared legacy of cultural exchange and extend a warm invitation to travellers from the Middle East to …

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‘Heart of Europe Travel Summit’ and ‘Marhaba France’ to be held in Dubai this April for trade

European Tourist Boards host Travel Trade Workshop

Demonstrating their commitment to the Gulf region, the European national tourist boards of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France are hosting an exclusive networking event in Dubai this April, ahead of Arabian Travel Market (ATM). In a combined effort, Atout France’s travel trade workshop ‘Marhaba’ will kick off its two-day event on April 24 while the national tourist boards of Germany, Switzerland and Austria will take over on April 26 and host the ‘Heart of Europe Travel Summit’ at Sofitel, The Palm Resort & Spa, Dubai. More than 40 tourism suppliers from France and 80 from Germany, Switzerland and Austria – ranging from local tourist boards, hotels, destination management companies, airports, shopping facilities, transport companies as well as medical clinics – are looking forward to developing knowledge about the destinations, and also providing travel trade from the GCC with the opportunity to source products to enhance their holiday offerings for the summer season and beyond. The four tourism boards expect an attendance of over 100 buyers from the GCC region. Highlighting the importance of the travel trade industry in the Gulf region, Sigrid de Mazieres, Director–Gulf Countries, German National Tourist Office, said, “We are excited to collaborate with our European neighbouring countries, and to facilitate business relations between our touristic partners and the local travel trade through this new innovative platform.” The travel trade workshops will include pre-scheduled B2B appointments, cutting-edge presentations and extensive social programmes to experience the destinations’ hospitality and networking opportunities with participating decision-makers. “We believe that one of the many challenges facing the travel trade industry today is to keep abreast of the growing and changing needs of travellers from the region. This joint and unprecedented event …

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Philippines to organise roadshows in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia


The board representatives of Department of Tourism (DOT), Philippines are set to host roadshows in Kuwait city and Riyadh. The roadshow in Kuwait will be held on March 24 at JW Marriott Hotel Kuwait while the one in Riyadh will be held on March 26, 2019 at Faisalaih Hotel. Leading agents from the cities are expected to participate at the event. The objective is to showcase new destinations for the Middle Eastern travellers.

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Germany rolls out new campaign in Dubai in partnership with Lufthansa Group & Al Rais Travel

GNTO images (1)

The German National Tourist Office (GNTO) kicked off its annual worldwide marketing campaign ‘German Summer Cities’ with a successful brand activation event at City Walk Mall in Dubai, together with the campaign’s premium partner Lufthansa Group as well as UAE-based Al Rais Travel. In an objective to woo the Gulf travelling community to choose Germany as their preferred destination, visitors were offered a great mix of engaging activities such as VR installations, travel information through promotional staff and special promotional packages by Al Rais Travel as well as Lufthansa. The three-day event was designed to capture the essence and unique atmosphere of the many great German cities. The multi-channel ‘German Summer Cities’ campaign which is being rolled out throughout the GNTB’s 31 offices around the world includes comprehensive digital marketing, pop-up event scheme in 14 key source markets and a wide range of PR activities. The GCC is one of the Top 15 source markets for Germany and the third largest non-European source market, after China and USA. In 2016, Germany ranked top among GCC travellers, even ahead of UK, Turkey and France. According to German Federal Statistical Office, there were 87.7 million international overnight stays recorded in accommodation establishments with at least 10 beds in 2018. For the ninth consecutive year, the number of visitors to Germany in 2018 reached record levels, showing a 5 per cent increase overall to 2017.

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