Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

RAK targets 900,000 visitors for 2017

3. RAK Q3 Visitor Numbers - Haitham Mattar

Ras Al Khaimah is edging closer to its 900,000 visitor target for 2017 after producing record arrivals in the first nine months of this year – the January to September 2017 international arrivals reveal nine per cent growth in the same period in 2016. The latest figures released by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), which develops and regulates the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and initiates its domestic and overseas promotions, show nine-month growth in key categories including arrivals, hotel occupancy, guest nights and length of stay. Visitor arrivals over the period reached 631,617, guest nights grew 12.4 per cent, occupancy rose 1.3 per cent to 69.2 per cent, while length of stay came in at 3.55 days – a growth of nine per cent. “While growth in all KPIs was satisfying, we are particularly pleased with the extended length of stay which we attribute to development of our events calendar and products, such as the highly successful Via Ferrata around Jebel Jais in the Hajar Mountains. As the first regional product of its type, the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata has done much to established the emirate as a credible leisure activity and adventure destination,” explained Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAKTDA.

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Wonderful Indonesia sales mission in Dubai

Indonesia 1 (1)

The Wonderful Indonesia hosted a roadshow at the Pullman City Center in Dubai under the patronage of Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia in Dubai, H. E. Arzal F Firman. The Visit Indonesia Tourist Officer in the Middle East Nour Aridi explained the importance of the destination with a great presentation whilst the Consul General stated that nearly 169 countries can visit for tourism in Indonesia visa free and Pakistan has been given the ease of visa by obtaining the visa in 2 to 3 working days as against the one month wait earlier. The event was attended by the creme-de-la-creme  travel agents in Dubai and officials of Emirates who partnered with special packages along with several sellers and DMC’s from Indonesia.

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94% increase in Russian guests staying at Sharjah hotels

Sharjah Light Festival 1

A total of 106,693 Russian guests stayed at hotels in Sharjah during the first six months of 2017 compared to 54,017 guests during the same period last year, according to a report by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). This is a welcome sign of recovery of one of the most important source markets for the emirate of Sharjah. The emirate’s tourism market was hard hit by the decline of Russia’s outbound tourism in 2014-2015, due to a steep drop in value of the Russian currency in 16 years. Global outbound tourism from Russia fell by 15 per cent in 2014, by almost 20 per cent in 2015 and by 8 per cent last year. Meanwhile, Sharjah, which received 400,000 Russian hotel guests during 2014, saw the numbers of Russian hotel guests drop to 54,000 in 2015. The results from the first half of this year now confirm Russia’s position as of Sharjah’s top two fasted growing inbound tourism markets. China has, so far, proved to be the emirate’s most consistent growth market increasing from nearly 31,000 in H1 2015 to 49,000 in H1 2016 and reaching 62,000 during the first half of this year. According to SCTDA statements, Sharjah’s hotels enjoyed a 70 percent occupancy rate from January to June this year and registered a total of 885,000 hotel guests during the period. China, India, Oman, Russia and Saudi Arabia were the biggest inbound tourism markets for Sharjah during the first half of 2017.

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Visit Indonesia roadshows in ME from Sept 26-Oct 19

Nour image

To  promote destinations like Bali, Lombok, Jakarta, Bandung, Sumatra, south Sulawesi, Visit Indonesia Tourism Office is conducting workshops and roadshows in the Middle East. According to Nour Aridi, Country Manager, Visit Indonesia Tourism Office (VITO). The roadshow will begin in Bahrain on September 26 at Sofitel Manama, then move on to Sheraton Muscat on October 3, and reach UAE on October 18 in Dubai and October 19 in Abu Dhabi.  

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RAK focuses on concierge training for hospitality partners

RAKTDA hosts Concierge Training Programme

Ras Al Khaimah’s hotels and resorts, in line with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)’s mission to develop the emirate as a world class tourism destination, have engaged their concierge teams in a two-day extensive training programme to  enhance the quality of services provided by hotels across the northern emirate. Organised by RAKTDA, the Concierge Training Programme welcomed more than 20 participants to Hilton Garden Inn, Ras Al Khaimah. Led by Prof I.S. Mirza, Director Principal, Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education, the training included insights on the UAE’s culture and history, traditions, customer service skills, as well as key tourist attractions and projects in the region’s fastest growing tourism destination. Commenting on the course, Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAKTDA, said, “The emirate’s hotels are key partners in RAKTDA’s drive to help enhance our guests’ experience when they visit Ras Al Khaimah and these workshops strengthen our offering. Earlier this year we conducted a Visitors Satisfaction Survey which was extremely encouraging and a strong indicator of the success RAKTDA and our partners have had with positioning Ras Al Khaimah as an all-round destination. We want to make sure we continue offering our visitors the best experience and this can only be achieved by working together with our hotel and industry partners.” The survey, carried out by Nielsen on behalf of RAKTDA, polled a sample of visitors through face-to-face exit or intercept interviews following their stay across a cross section of the emirate’s hotels. The results found that 85.5 per cent of those asked were satisfied with their trip to Ras Al Khaimah. The northern-most emirate welcomed 390,499 between January and June 2017, registering an average occupancy of 72.7 per cent …

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Dubai Culture supports Dubai Tourism’s ‘Medyaf’ initiative

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Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) recently participated in Dubai Tourism’s ‘Medyaf’ initiative, which is conducted regularly to provide opportunities to UAE nationals to acquire appropriate training and become adept professionals of any sector of the tourism and hospitality industry. The ultimate aim of the project is to build a force of skilful tourism professionals from within the country who could take care of the 20 million guests that are expected to visit Dubai for Expo 2020. Dubai Culture’s participation in this training programme reflects its commitment to nurturing and empowering national talent. Through this training programme, which was held at Shangri-La Hotel on July 18, Dubai Culture aimed to enhance the technical skills of its staff specialising in history, Islamic civilisation and tourism. It also launched a cultural tour guide programme and trained the first batch of employees in this initiative, who were drawn from across the Authority’s numerous heritage sites, including the recently unveiled Etihad Museum. It received a large number of applications from candidates seeking to get trained for the roles of cultural tour guide, customer service, etc. Source – Dubai Media Center

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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

BRHF 2017(4) (640x361)

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

mauritius Seychelles combine JPG

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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