Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

Victoria celebrates 20 years of commitment to the MENA region

The Victorian Government has a strong presence at Gulfood in Dubai

The State Government of Victoria is celebrating 20 years of trade and tourism ties with the Middle East region. The Australian state set up its Victorian Government Business Office (VGBO) in 1997 to forge and strengthen trade and investment ties with the region, which two decades later has seen Victoria’s annual exports to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region grow to AUD$ 2.49 billion (US$ 1.85 billion). Tourism and aviation links between Victoria and the region have also multiplied over the years, with Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways all flying daily to Melbourne. Emirates Airline has had a long-term relationship with Melbourne, having sponsored the famous Collingwood Football Club and the Emirates Melbourne Cup, the flagships among a portfolio of key partnerships in the state. Etihad Airways also has a strong connection with Melbourne, which is home to Australia’s Etihad Stadium, and has seen the UAE’s national carrier become the lead sponsor of Melbourne City Football Club.

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Bahrain hosts 1st restaurant and hospitality forum

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Under the patronage of H.H Shaikh Khalid bin Humood Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority (BTEA), Bahrain hosted the first Bahrain Restaurant and Hospitality Forum (BRHF) organised by Culinaire & Beyond at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Center. This unique forum is strategically supported by the BTEA and Tamkeen, which seek to stimulate the launch of new projects and expand the scope of small and medium-sized businesses in the restaurant and hospitality sector, both locally and internationally. “The BTEA is committed to supporting initiatives aimed at boosting investments in Bahrain’s tourism sector. Restaurants and hospitality facilities are the most important aspects that help to enhance the experience offered to visitors. We therefore encourage this forum, which is in line with the Authority’s long-term strategy to make the Kingdom a leading regional center offering a diverse and distinct variety of restaurants and hospitality facilities,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the BTEA, H.E Shaikh Khalid bin Humood Al Khalifa.

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Emirates renews partnership with Mauritius and Seychelles

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Emirates has renewed individual global marketing agreements with Mauritius and Seychelles in the form of Memorandum of Understandings with the respective tourism boards. The MoUs were signed by Orhan Abbas, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations for Africa, Kevin Ramkaloan, Director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, and Sherin Francis, Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board in presence of Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine in Seychelles. Various joint activities will be developed under the agreement, such as attendance of tourism trade shows and fairs, trade familiarisation trips, product presentations and workshops. Emirates started operations to the Mauritius in September 2002 with three weekly flights. The daily A380 service was launched in December 2013, and the double-daily service was introduced in October 2014, following a strong demand for Emirates’ flagship aircraft on this route. In 2016, more than 1,200,000 tourists visited Mauritius. In June 2015, Emirates increased its capacity to the Seychelles, when it switched from the Airbus 330-200 used on one of the two daily services to a larger Boeing 777-300ER. The introduction of the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER, which operates as flight EK 705 from Dubai and as EK 706 on the return flight, increased the overall capacity on the route by 1722 seats per week and made the route an all-Boeing 777 operation.

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Japan offers visa free entry for UAE nationals

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As part of its strategy to proactively reach out and welcome travellers from the Middle East region, Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) in collaboration with Cathy Pacific has launched “Journey to Japan” packages. These packages come just in time as part of the new visa waiver programme which allows UAE Nationals to have visa free entry to Japan. Curated exclusively to highlight country’s unique heritage, modern pop culture, luxury experiences, tax free shopping and Japan’s traditional ‘washoku’ cuisine, “Journey to Japan” packages allows travellers to enjoy the nature and culture the country has to offer. In three years since 2013, the number of international visitors to Japan has more than doubled, resulting in over 24 million visitors travelling to Japan in 2016 compared to the 10.3 million experienced in 2013. 2016 also marks first time Japan has welcomed more than 20 million visitors in one year. Having achieved this milestone result, the target of welcoming 40 million visitors before the country hosts the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 seems an ever more realisable goal for the Japanese tourism industry. Ms. Akiko Yoshida, Executive Vice President of JNTO, says, “Japan offers plethora of unique cultural experiences in a cosmopolitan setting. Unique not only to region but also by seasons, there is always something new to be discovered in Japan. The “Journey to Japan” packages are crafted in such a manner to make the best of Japan’s many offering.”

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UAE, KSA remain top destinations for UK travellers

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The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are the top destinations in the GCC preferred by business and leisure travellers from the United Kingdom, according to a recent survey. A review conducted by HotelsCombined of the top 10 countries travelling to GCC in 2016 revealed that more than 10 percent of the total visitors to UAE and KSA are from the UK, followed by Australia and the United States. Other travellers are from South Korea, India, Sweden, Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany. The UAE and Saudi Arabia’s proximity to the UK makes it a convenient destination for travellers seeking warm weather and world-class experience including an extensive range of shopping malls, finest restaurants, luxurious and comfortable accommodation and leisure attractions. The study also revealed that 43 percent of those who booked their accommodation were between the 25 to 34 years old, followed by those aged 35 to 44, which comprised 30 percent of the total numbers. Statistics from Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) showed that in 2016, Western Europe is the second highest demand driver for travel to Dubai, accounting 21 percent of the total tourism volume, with more than 3.1 million tourists. The UK retained its position as Dubai’s number three market bringing in nearly 1.25 million visitors, while Germany stayed within the top 10 list with 460,000 visitors. HotelsCombined also highlighted that travellers to UAE and KSA are comprised mainly of families, couples and businesses. When searching for accommodation, these travellers look for luxury hotels, food and dining options, as well as sport and leisure attractions, spa and relaxation and other activities for family, businesses and couples.

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Saudi Arabia inks deal to boost tourism vision 2030

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Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage represented by the Tourism Routes Program, signed a media cooperation agreement with Eye of Riyadh with the aim of marketing the program, raising national awareness about it and contributing to support the tourism sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in accordance with the vision of 2030 aiming at upgrading this sector to the highest levels of what contribute supporting the economic development of the country. Commenting on the agreement, Abdullah Mataen, the General Supervisor of Tourism Routes Project in the commission, clarified that one of the most important objectives of the program is to discover Saudi Arabia in its real image, through identifying the most beautiful diverse and dazzling places and by motivating the citizens and the residents to see them through several amazing tourist routes. He confirms saying: “Our agreement today with Eye of Riyadh is to move forward to expand the circle of tourism knowledge, so that every citizen and resident in the Kingdom should have the sufficient knowledge that in Saudi Arabia he can go to the desert, climb mountains, catch fish, dive into the surprises, coexist with the history and civilizations of various eras, taste the best food, and learn the most beautiful folk arts and dances.” “Our confidence in Eye of Riyadh is what motivated us to choose them to be our media partners in our next phase, by using their expertise in marketing, media and advertising alike” Mataen added. Abdullah Al Harbi, CEO, Eye of Riyadh, stressed the idea of exploiting the features of Saudi Arabia in promoting all types of tourism available in it, whether it is recreational, sports or shopping, and even the events …

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Turkey receives 300,000 UAE tourists in 2016

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UAE residents and nationals travelling to Turkey in 2016 reached around 300,000 tourists, according to new figures released by the Turkish Consulate General Cultural and Information Office in Dubai. The figures show a 27 per cent increase in tourists travelling to Turkey from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries over the 2014-2016 time period. “This growth shows the Turkey is culturally and economically interesting for GCC travellers,” said Salih Ozer, Attaché of Culture and Information, Turkey to the UAE. “Over the past year, we have conducted many workshops and seminars for our GCC travel agents to get them better acquainted with what Turkey has to offer the GCC traveller.” Turkey has strengthened its position as a top holiday destination for GCC nationals and residents. From January to December 2016, a total of 822,849 holiday makers from the GCC visited Turkey’s many destinations. “We attach a great level of importance to these deepening relations between Turkey and the Gulf countries,” continued Ozer. “The UAE, in particular, continues to contribute heavily to Turkey’s tourist numbers, and we have taken many steps to simplify GCC tourist access to Turkey by facilitating visas for them in a quicker fashion.” Turkey is one of the top tourism destinations in the world based on the number of tourists and revenues. Whether its nature and the outdoors, history and archeology or beaches and relaxation, travelers from everywhere in the GCC can find their unique experience in Turkey. From Istanbul to Pamukkale, Cappadocia and Bursa in the west, Trabzon and Ayder on the shores of the Black Sea, to Antalya, Bodrum and Maramis to the south the country, Turkey’s unique offerings are unparalleled in the region. The Turkish …

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UAE roadshow in China from March 27-28

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For the second year in a row, the Ministry of Economy is organizing a promotional roadshow under the slogan ‘Visit UAE’ in the People’s Republic of China from March 27 to 28, 2017 in Shanghai and Beijing to showcase the UAE’s world-class tourism destinations. The delegation will be headed by H.E. Mohammed Khamis Al Mheiri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy and Advisor to the Minister for Tourism Affairs. Accompanying him are H.E. Abdullah Saleh Al Hammadi, Director of the Ministry of Tourism’s Tourism Department, representatives of tourism agencies in the UAE, hotel and tourism and travel companies. H.E. Al Mheiri said that the latest edition of the roadshow aims to attract more Chinese tourists to the UAE and represents collective nationwide efforts organized by the Ministry of Economy in cooperation with relevant bodies and departments to highlight the country’s diverse tourist destinations, attractions, and distinctive and innovative services awaiting tourists. The Undersecretary pointed out that the UAE’s tourism sector is growing rapidly thanks to the full support of the wise leadership. He also noted the continuous development of industry-enhancing infrastructure and sustained investments in innovative tourism facilities and services as well as the diversity of tourism options offered by the different emirates to foreign tourists. H.E. emphasized that the participation in and organization of events abroad are of great importance in enriching the image of UAE tourism among foreign visitors as well as introducing special advantages and incentives offered by the sector to different countries. He added they help secure a greater share of the global tourism and travel markets. H.E. Al Muhairi pointed out that China is a priority tourism market for the UAE due to its great …

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Tuscany tourism debuts in Dubai

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In a move to enhance the tourism offerings in Tuscany, the tourism board of promotion introduced the destination to the United Arab Emirates at a gala event. The event was presided over by Alberto Peruzzini, Managing Director of Tuscany Tourism board (Toscana Promozione Turistica) at Meydan hotel Dubai. At the same event the inauguration of the Alabaster Tower of Pisa – the Project of “The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Japan and in the United Arab Emirates” supported by Tuscany Tourism Board, Chamber of Commerce of Pisa, Municipality of Pisa and Municipality of Volterra took place at the event. The exhibition of the Alabaster Tower, which is reproduced from the original drawings of the famous Tower of Pisa, is realized by the alabaster masters of Arte in Bottega di Volterra’s Association. The Foundation Cassa di Risparmio di Volterra, the Province of Pisa, Cassa di Risparmio di Volterra and the Municipality of Volterra, as well as the Opera della Primaziale Pisana; the work owner, has taken part in the realization of the Tower. The copy of the famous bell tower of the Cathedral of Pisa, will be shown at the luxurious Meydan Hotel in Dubai, with a panoramic view on the prestigious Meydan Racecourse. Tuscany Region and the UAE have an already forged relationship that has been strengthened since 2015 thanks to “Toscana Endurance Lifestyle”, international event of sport and networking organized by sistemaeventi.it in Pisa at the San Rossore Racecourse that in 2017 will return with two top level endurance rides (14-16 July and 4-6 August). The inauguration ceremony was attended  by Alberto Peruzzini, Managing Director of Tuscany Tourism Board, Riccardo Fedeli, Vice Mayor of Volterra and Gianluca Laliscia, Chairman …

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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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