Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

Prioritising the safety of travellers

The Department of Tourism in Philippines has hosted a series of three virtual dinners this year. The first Middle East CEOs Virtual Dinner was held on June 23, 2021 for trade partners from the Gulf while the second Middle East Virtual Dinner took place on Aug 18, 2021. This virtual dinner was for trade partners from UAE & Oman.  The third Middle East Virtual Dinner held on Aug 25, 2021 had leading travel agents from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain attending the event. It was discussed how GCC is way ahead of most of the world in terms of the vaccination drive. SanJeet, Director, Durga Das Publications – a market representative for the Middle East, opened the session by sharing the current realities in the Middle East market. The small get together was organised to provide a from the ground update on what is happening in the Philippines and its different islands and to stay in touch with trade partners. Daks Gonzales, Head – Product and Market Development, Philippine Department of Tourism – Middle East, said, “The good news is that we are definitely on our way with the goal of full vaccination of the citizens. As of now, 15 million people eligible for vaccination have been vaccinated with the two doses and another 15 million of the population have been vaccinated with a single dose. Our current supply is enough to provide all those who have had their first vaccination. They will receive their second vaccination in the next month or within this month. An additional 60 million vaccines are going to be arriving from September 1, 2021 which means that an additional 60 million or …

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Ras Al Khaimah to become the Regional Leader in Sustainable Tourism by 2025

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) announces its comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy that will see the nature-based Emirate become the regional leader in environmentally conscious tourism by 2025. The strategy maps out key steps for the Emirate to secure long-term sustainability that will drive overall tourism growth objectives and contribute directly to national and international climate change and environmental policy commitments. The guiding principles for Sustainable Tourism in Ras Al Khaimah include: delivering authentic tourism experiences through preservation and conservation, taking an industry wide focus that provides both economic productivity and sustainable development, improving the quality of life and well-being of citizens and residents with a community based approach and setting environmental goals based minimizing the industry’s carbon footprint and contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Commenting on the launch of the new strategy, Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “the far-reaching effects of the pandemic brought into razor focus the need more so than ever to accelerate our environmental tourism agenda.  However, instead of focusing only on one area – the environment – we broadened our approach to address all areas of sustainability ranging from cultural preservation, employee mental well-being to industry wide protocols and carbon emission goals.” He further added: “With the theme ‘Rise Together’ at this year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), the time is right to signal to industry investors that sustainable considerations need to be top of mind for long term investment and hospitality development in a destination.” The Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy follows the Authority’s earlier announcement of over 20 new sustainable tourism initiatives across the Emirate marking an investment of half a billion dirhams in …

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Wego collaborates with Azerbaijan Tourism Board to provide a sustainable and safe travel experience post covid-19

Wego is working closely with Azerbaijan Tourism Board (ATB) to propel more Middle East travelers to visit Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s response to the pandemic has been phenomenal. They have adopted the robust strategy to fight the COVID-19 and to minimize the impact of the pandemic on tourism. Most international airlines have resumed flights to Azerbaijan. The country is a perfect vacation choice for travelers who want to visit less crowded, off-the-beaten-path destinations where it’s easier to socially distance and maintain health protocols. Attracting all the nature lovers to this pristine haven it is ethereal to experience the untouched natural beauty of the Caucasus Mountains, Caspian Sea, subtropical zone in the south, lakes, forests, and semi-deserts. Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director, MENA and India, said: “It’s great to collaborate with Azerbaijan Tourism Board again. The country is progressing towards becoming one of the biggest destinations for safe and sustainable travel post COVID-19. We have been seeing a great interest from the GCC to Azerbaijan and the searches on our platform recorded around 115,000 in July and August, a 50% growth compared to the previous months.” Wego and ATB will be promoting this marvelous destination to GCC travelers through tailored marketing campaigns featuring the best things to do and explore. This charming country is now welcoming citizens and residents of 29 countries including UAE, Qatar and Bahrain. To enter the country, citizens and residents of these countries need to submit an official document issued by the relevant country (COVID passport) on complete vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before the flight. For passengers aged from 1 to 18 years, it is sufficient to submit a negative …

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TDF and Seera Group partner to develop the first sustainable tourism project in Al Baha

The Tourism Development Fund (TDF) and Seera Group signed a financing agreement to establish and operate the Raghadan Tourist Resort, the first sustainable tourism project in the Al Baha region – one of the main investment destinations identified under Saudi Arabia’s National Tourism Strategy. The agreement was signed during an event at the Al Baha Principality Building by Qusai Al-Fakhri, CEO of TDF and Majed Al Nefaie, CEO of Seera Group. The Raghadan Tourist Resort project represents the beginning of a new era in Al Baha’s history and will be a major boost for tourism in the region. Al-Fakhri expressed his happiness with the support that the project, located in the famous Raghadan park, has received from His Royal Highness Prince Hussam bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of Al Baha Region, and the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing, represented by the Al Baha Municipality. This support reflects the strong integration between government sectors to serve tourism investments in Saudi Arabia and reinforces the cooperation between TDF and Seera Group to transform the Al Baha region into one of the leading tourist destinations in the Kingdom. Al-Fakhri also expressed his confidence in Seera Group and its capabilities to develop the project – which aims to attract domestic and international tourists – to the highest engineering and environmental standards. Al Baha’s rich history, cultural heritage, climate, topography and geographic location in the south-west of Saudi Arabia make it an attractive area for tourism and one that will further diversify the country’s offering. Majed Al Nefaie, CEO of Seera Group, said: “Developing tourist destinations based on unique experiences will be an important priority for the Saudi tourism sector over …

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Hala Singapore from 16th to 18th September at Nakheel Mall

Singapore Tourism presents “Hala Singapore” a three day one-of-a-kind hybrid event from 16th to 18th September at Nakheel Mall especially designed for the Middle East travellers to reignite and reimagine travel to Singapore. The event promises to take the audience on an exhilarating and exciting journey to the Garden City using the latest technology Be ready at this immersive event to experience and explore Singapore’s distinctive tourist landmarks, stunning architectures, breath-taking greenery, vibrant food culture and much more, like never before. Join us at the in-mall activation which will bring to life Singapore’s diverse culture and heritage. Also explore Singapore in the comfort of your home on www.halasingapore.com by watching various exciting virtual tours, workshops, learning how to cook Singaporean cuisines and much more. Audiences can also participate in many exciting competitions and win fabulous giveaways.

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Antigua and Barbuda to Showcase “Country’s Story” at Expo Dubai 2020

Antigua and Barbuda marks a milestone in its history as it participates for the first time in Expo 2020 Dubai. Positioning itself as the emerging economic powerhouse of the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda hopes its first ever pavilion at a World Expo will showcase its booming investment and tourism industries as well as its rich history and culture to the world, as more than 20 million people are expected to visit Dubai for the six-month duration of the event. Equally significant, the country’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai coincides with its 40th year of independence and will also include a trade office to be located a floor just above its pavilion, to facilitate trade missions and leverage opportunities over the course of the Expo. “The essence of Antigua and Barbuda lies in its culture and people. Steeped in history and wrapped in a culture of warmth and vibrancy, we are excited to welcome guests from across the globe to experience our traditions, taste our delicacies and witness how a rapidly progressing nation is becoming a key business and tourism destination,” said His Excellency Gilbert Antione Boustany, non-resident Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda in the UAE. The 2500 sq ft Antigua and Barbuda pavilion will showcase the nation’s vibrant, high-end tourism sector, which supports 80% of its GDP. “While that will be a highlight in our pavilion, our focus right now is to showcase the country’s logistical geographical location, and its potential as a trading hub between the Middle East and the Caribbean along with Central and Southern America, connecting the Eastern region with 700 million people,” His Excellency added. Antigua and Barbuda welcomes over a million visitors annually to its …

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Bahrain ranked first in MEA for Tourism Capital Investment

Bahrain ranked first in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) for attracting the highest tourism capital investment in 2020, according to the fDi Intelligence Tourism Investment Report 2021. Last year, major investments from UAE-based property developers helped Bahrain’s tourism sector remain buoyant and created jobs during the worst ever period for the global tourism industry. Bahrain secured $492 million of tourism capital investment in 2020, mainly made up of investments from global property developer Emaar Properties and real estate developer Eagle Hills, despite the overall regional decline in capital investment in 2020. Capital investment into MEA last year decreased 82% from 2019, dropping to $1.6 billion. The number of tourism jobs created in the region also experienced a similar decline, decreasing from approximately 17,400 in 2019 to 2,800 in 2020. Despite the pandemic, Bahrain ranked first in MENA for the number of tourism jobs created in 2020 and second for the number of tourism FDI projects. Prior to Covid, Bahrain was attracting around a million visitors a month on average and the tourism sector contributed around 7% to GDP. As the first economy in the GCC to diversify away from oil, the Kingdom has positioned its tourism offering to cater for a broader set of visitors through new attractions, hotels, F&B, and retail. During the pandemic, the country continued developing its strategy to transform its tourism sector, allocating more than $10 billion to tourism infrastructure projects, including the $1.1 billion modernisation of its international airport. More recently, Edamah, the real estate arm of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat, also announced several new upscale property projects in the country. Accor, a hospitality group with over 400 hotels, Minor Hotels, which has …

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Indonesia wellness tourism international festival in September 2021

Indonesia Wellness Master Association (IWMA), Wellness &  Healthcare Entrepreneur Association (WHEA) & Indonesia Wellness Spa Professional  Association (IWSPA y/f INDSPA) with the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative  Economy and BNI will inaugurate the biggest wellness festival in Indonesia, Indonesia Wellness  Tourism International Festival (IWTIF) which will be held on 1-30 September 2021 virtually. The opening of IWTIF 2021, carried out online and broadcast directly via IWTIF’s YouTube was  inaugurated by the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, whereby the Deputy of Tourism  Product and Event Organiser; Indonesian Embassy Representatives in Bangkok (Thailand), Den  Haag (Netherlands), London (UK), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Indonesian Consulate  Representatives in Cape Town (South Africa); regional government representatives from Central  Java, Maluku, and Papua; Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs; Ministry of Industry; as well as  wellness SMEs; Wellness Enthusiasts; and Indonesian diaspora were in attendance. The launching of this event is in line with the fact that Indonesia is in the 17th place in the world in terms of wellness tourism market, whereas wellness tourism is a pilot project to encourage and promote inclusive business in Indonesia. The Covid-19 pandemic has majorly affected tourism businesses and others, especially in relation to health and nature-based activities. Local wisdom from approximately 1340 ethnic groups, herbs and spices as product ingredients, various cultural art as well as hospitality and act of services from Indonesian therapists can contribute towards developing the world’s wellness tourism. Local wisdom-based wellness or ethnowellness is the key for Indonesia to take part in the world stage and as a chance to recover the national economy from the tourism aspect. Conversely, Indonesian SMEs are one of the most important supporters of the strength …

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Abu Dhabi welcomes all vaccinated travellers from around the world from 5th September 2021

Following the updated international entry guidelines recently announced by the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) announces Abu Dhabi is set to welcome all fully vaccinated tourists and residents travelling from all countries around the world, as well as unvaccinated visitors from ‘Green List’ countries, with no quarantine measures. Vaccines must be approved by the World Health organisation (WHO). This will take effect starting 5 September 2021. Registering International vaccinations or exemption documents In order to support seamless entry for international travellers and enable visitors to safely enjoy the the UAE capital’s diverse experiences through the Abu Dhabi Green Pass, DCT Abu Dhabi has outlined a simple process to enable tourists to register their international vaccination certificate or vaccination exemption document for verification 5 days before their travel date, via the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) Smart app or via ica.gov.ae website. Applicants will receive an SMS confirmation that will include a link to the Alhosn app, which must be downloaded prior to travel. The Alhosn app displays users’ vaccination status and PCR test results, which are required to activate the Abu Dhabi Green Pass. Upon arrival, travellers will receive a Unified ID number, from airport immigration, or via the ICA Smart app or website; this will complete the registration on the Alhosn app. Following a PCR test at the airport, visitors can activate the Green Pass, allowing them entry to all public spaces in the emirate. Children under 12 and People of Determination (POD) with moderate and severe disabilities are exempt from COVID-19 PCR testing. Entry for vaccinated travellers from Green List countries Under …

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Panama to attract leisure and business travellers from ME

At such an important time for the reactivation of post-pandemic tourism, Panama is reinforcing its image as a destination for leisure and business travel. Part of this task is carried out together with the main actors in the commercialization chain, such as tourism service providers, tour operators, wholesalers and travel agencies. With this objective in mind, PROMTUR Panama will hold a virtual fair called Explore Panama, in order to generate a commercial space where buyers and sellers can interact. The event will be held on October 20 and 21, 2021, and will have 20 virtual stands for local exhibitors, including the Tourism Promotion Fund (Promtur Panama), and is expected to attract around 350 travel agencies and wholesale operators from markets such as the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia and the United Arab Emirates, who, through a commercial agenda, will be able to interact with key suppliers of the Panamanian tourism industry. Panama will present the tourism activities that will lead this year and in the future, under the Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism 2020-2025 (PMTS). The plan revives the “Tourism – Conservation – Research (TCI)” strategy by highlighting the country’s extraordinary natural, cultural and historical wealth with a strong focus on destination sustainability through research and conservation actions.  The updated strategy focuses on three fundamental pillars: Cultural Heritage (multifaceted culture), Green Heritage (extraordinary biodiversity) and Blue Heritage (ocean wonders). The event will allow real interaction between exhibitors and buyers in a 360-degree environment with customizable virtual landscape, virtual private meeting rooms, chat, browser-based chats, presentations and live keynotes. Buyers, once registered, will be able to view the profile of participating exhibitors to schedule their meetings and once at the …

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