Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

Dubai tourism at UAE Innovation Week

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Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) highlighted its new initiatives aimed at further enhancing the overall visitor experience and boosting green tourism practices, as part of the activities that are being held during UAE Innovation Week from November 20-26. Dubai Tourism has set up an exhibition stand at BOXPARK, the offbeat outdoor destination by Meraas that is showcasing a new version of the Dubai Calendar App, two exciting concepts developed under the Dubai Sustainable Tourism Initiative, and information on the Dubai Expert training programme. The annual UAE Innovation Week was launched in 2015 by His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai to help create and sustain a culture of innovation in the UAE and help position the country as a global hub for innovation. Dubai Tourism is one of the government entities that are organising activities to celebrate Innovation Week in each emirate. Open daily from 3-9pm, the free-to-attend outdoor exhibition at BOXPARK features an upgraded Dubai Calendar App, a digital smart hub that is being displayed on an interactive screen designed as a mobile phone frame and offering visitors the opportunity to view all upcoming events in Dubai, buy tickets and make seat reservations through just one click. There are also video screens on site, highlighting Dubai Calendar activities. Visitors to the Dubai Tourism stand at BOXPARK can also learn about the Hospitality Sustainability Board Game and the Carbon Calculator, two concepts developed under the Dubai Sustainable Tourism Initiative. Workshops will be held daily during the exhibition to allow representatives from the hotel industry to play the Board Game, an educational tool that was created …

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Rosoom e-payment platform for Global Village ticket sales

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Dubai Trade, the single window for cross-border trade and smart trading solutions, is integrating the “Rosoom” e-payment gateway with the Global Village website. The agreement gives visitors the convenience of buying tickets online through the Global Village website www.globalvillage.ae or its mobile application. During the 159 days of its 20th edition, Global Village received 5.3 million visitors. With the new service, this year’s visitors will no longer need to wait in long queues at ticket booths before sampling the shopping and entertainment experience available at Global Village. They have a wide range of payment options to choose from including credit cards, direct debit by linking to the online internet banking portals of major banks, and pre-payment tools such as the e-dirham.

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Bollywood Parks opens in Dubai on Nov 17

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World’s first Bollywood inspired theme park opened its doors at Dubai Parks and Resorts. Bollywood Parks Dubai is a first-of-its-kind theme park that showcases rides and attractions based on some of Bollywood’s biggest blockbusters. The park opened with a ceremony that included various live entertainment shows performed by the talented Bollywood artists and dancers. Bollywood Parks Dubai will recreate the Bollywood experience through themed attractions and rides spread across five zones: Bollywood Boulevard, Mumbai Chowk, Rustic Ravine, Royal Plaza and Bollywood Film Studios. Visitors will experience bold action, colourful story-telling and captivating dance sequences inspired by nine popular films: Rock On!!, Don, Lagaan, Sholay, Dabangg, Mughal-e-Azam, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, RA.One and Krrish. Bollywood Parks Dubai’s flagship offering is the 850-seater Rajmahal Theatre that will be home to a separately ticketed Broadway-style, Bollywood -themed show. During the day, the park will have up to 20 live shows across five stages: Rock On!!, Crossroads, Mumbai Express, Rangmanch and Stars on Steps. The park will also offer six themed restaurants that capture India’s mouth-watering culinary offerings and eight retail outlets stocking quintessential filmy fare.

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Ras Al Khaimah’s inaugural investment forum from Dec 13-14

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Ras Al Khaimah Finance & Investment Forum (RAKFIF), the new platform for uncovering business investment opportunities and set-up in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), is gearing up for a successful first edition. Taking place from December 13-14, 2016, at the Rixos Bab Al Bahr in Ras Al Khaimah, [UAE], RAKFIF is already attracting huge interest in line with the growing demand for events like this in the region, which focus on markets with high growth rates such as RAK. Aiming to help business leaders, financiers, and investors navigate this developing landscape, the inaugural event Ras Al Khaimah Finance & Investment Forum provides a platform for information, networking and commercial opportunities. The forum will cover Hospitality & Tourism, Real Estate, Manufacturing & Production and Infrastructure sectors. RAKFIF, hosted under the patronage and with the presence of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, is backed by strong government support and key RAK entities.

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Cultural Tourism Middle East 2016 to boost tourism

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In partnership with Architectural Heritage Society and IQPC the Cultural Tourism Middle East 2016 was held at Al Murooj Rotana. This brought together high level officials from the Tourism, Cultural Development & Antiquities, Heritage & Arts, Cultural Activities, and Architectural Heritage community to showcase their latest developments and discuss ideas and strategies to boost tourism through culture, heritage, arts and festivals. In the opening remarks by Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director, Dubai Tourism Development and Investments, stated that many initiatives are underway to establish Dubai as a cultural hub with the opening of the Dubai Opera and other culturally important and interesting programmes. In order to build towards making Dubai a cultural hub currently steps are being taken by Dubai Tourism to focus on sustainable tourism. Some of the key areas covered at the event included how the region is setting a foundation to support the expected doubling of tourist arrivals over the next few years in light of the economic downturn, The role cultural tourism play in economic  transformation in a mission to diversify economy, the needs to boost cultural and societal awareness, how the region could make use of their cultural assets to improve their tourism performance, and how  cultural tourism strengthens cultural understanding and perception of the Arab world.

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Sharjah’s robust presence at WTM London 2016

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Sharjah’s tourism industry attended the World Travel Market (WTM) in London, in full force this year under a pavilion organised by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). Exhibitors presented Sharjah’s tourism destinations, hotels, resorts and amenities at the 2016 exhibition from November 7-9, including Sharjah Investment & Development Authority’s (Shurooq’s) award-winning Mleiha Archaeological and Ecotourism Project. Recently awarded the prestigious Cityscape Global – Best Community, Culture & Tourism Project Award in the Middle East in September, this is the first time that the Mleiha Archaeological and Ecotourism Project has been showcased at WTM. Shurooq has earmarked an estimated AED 250 million (US$ 69m) of investment to develop the tourism and heritage destination over the next few years, which is located in an area of natural beauty 50 kilometres to the east of Sharjah city. Other government authorities participating in WTM include Sharjah Museums Department, which manages 10 museums and a variety of other cultural attractions, and Sharjah’s Environment & Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), which has worked closely with Shurooq in the development of Mleiha. The EPAA has also recently opened two tourist-ready wildlife conservation centres. The Wasit Wetland Centre, in Sharjah’s 4.5 square kilometre Wasit Natural Reserve, was opened to the public in November 2015: a protected area that regularly attracts 150 species of birds, both migratory and resident. Meanwhile, earlier this year, the EPAA opened the new 12 square kilometre Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre located in the Hajjar mountains, near the emirate’s east coast. The wildlife centre includes a visitor centre, tourist amenities and has trained guides are on hand to show visitors the reserve. Other Sharjah exhibitors at WTM 2016 include Al Shaab Village, Copthorne Hotel, …

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VFS launches France Visa Application Centre in Muscat

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Residents of the Sultanate of Oman can now apply for visas to France at the visa application centre launched for the Embassy of France in the capital city of Muscat. Applicants can visit VFS Global’s centre to submit visa applications and enrol for biometrics. The Muscat centre is conveniently located in main city centre at Level 1, Tilal Office, Muscat Grand Mall, Dohat Al Adab Street, Al Khuwair, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. Services at the centre commenced on 08 November 2016. With France being a popular tourist destination with Omanis, the launch of this new centre will bring added convenience and ease to applicants through quicker and more streamlined application processes. Furthermore, the new centre joins 5 other client governments served at the same premises, making it more convenient for travellers planning multiple business or leisure trips abroad. The Sultanate of Oman is the fourth country in the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, from where applicants can apply for a visa to France. Since commencing visa processing operations in the Sultanate of Oman in 2005, VFS Global now serves 9 client governments in the country. VFS Global has been serving the Government of France since 2004, and currently serves the client in 15 countries from 52 visa application centres globally. Some of the key features of the centre include: Convenient and centrally-accessed location, professional staff with local language capability to handle queries and applications, well-appointed centre for enhanced comfort of applicants, automated queue governance for smooth flow of applicants, dedicated website for easy access to information including visa categories, requirements, check-list and applicable fees, 100% secure handling of passports, documents and personal information, door-step delivery of …

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Hyperloop inks deal with Dubai’s RTA

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The UAE is one step closer to being the world’s first location for a new form of high speed transport system that can enable people to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 12 minutes, following an agreement signed between Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) and pioneering mobility company, Hyperloop One. Alongside the signing of the RTA agreement, the Hyperloop One team introduced, for the first time ever, a vision that represents a complete transformation in the way that people travel in the 21st century as the engineers, architects and designers from Hyperloop One and BIG have collaborated intensively for six months to produce a wholly original system design for Hyperloop travel. The idea of a Hyperloop – a low-pressure tube through which levitating pods containing both passengers and goods can travel at up to 1,200 km/h – has recently gained attention around the world. Benefits include higher standards of safety than a passenger jet, lower build and maintenance costs than high-speed rail, and energy usage, per person, that is similar to a bicycle. Today the company showcased the first-ever routes from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, several Hyperports (the equivalent of a station or airport) throughout Dubai, and the conceptual interiors and exteriors of the individual passenger pods. The work is based on a detailed study of how an urban and inter-city transport network should integrate with the existing infrastructure. It’s autonomous, point-to-point and vastly simplifies the experience of getting from your front door to your destination.

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Dubai supports sustainable tourism initiative

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Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) hosted the Hospitality Sustainability Board Game, the inaugural activity of the Dubai Sustainable Tourism Initiative. Created specifically for the hotel industry, the game, held recently at Media One Hotel, engaged industry professionals from across the city, as they gained insight into Dubai’s commitment to adopting sustainable practices and their role in achieving the goals. Designed by Dubai Tourism in collaboration with Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF, Royal International and Insignia, the game was created as an educational tool for Dubai’s world-class hospitality industry to contribute towards the city’s goal of sustainability. Participants at the event included staff across all aspects of hotel operations, who worked in teams of 2-3 people to measure consumption baselines and identify opportunities to reduce consumption. Speaking at the event, Solaiman Alrifai, Senior Manager, Tourism Development, Dubai Tourism, said that Dubai’s hospitality industry, which recently crossed the 100,000 room threshold, has been a cornerstone of the city’s economy. As they look forward to capacity expansion and increased visitor volumes in the lead-up to 2020 and beyond, it is paramount to implement measures for this industry to reduce consumption and conserve resources. Raising awareness of conservation practices is a key pillar of the Dubai Sustainable Tourism Initiative, making this game a very significant step towards creating ä clear understanding of how powerful hospitality employees are in bringing about change.

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13% increase in passengers at Sharjah airport this summer

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Sharjah International Airport handled 2,996,433 passengers during July, August and September this year, a 13 percent increase over the same period in 2015. Overall, the number of inbound, outbound, transit and transfer passengers handled during the first nine months of the year increased by 12 percent, compared to the same period last year, to total 8,344,293. Sharjah airport recorded its first million-passenger month in August, with the months of July and September falling just slightly short of the million passenger mark. Meanwhile, 20,362 aircraft take-offs and landings were handled during the July to September period, 8 percent more than the equivalent period during 2015. Airlines have added a number of new connections from Sharjah International Airport this year, including new Air Arabia routes from Sharjah to Batumi (Georgia) and to Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Indian international airlines Air India Express and Jet Airways have both launched new Sharjah routes this year catering to business travellers and tourists, plus Indian expatriates working in the UAE. Jet Airways added new daily routes to Mangaluru (IXE) and Kozhikode (CCJ), while Air India Express has introduced new flights to Mumbai (SAHAR), Chandigarh (IXC) and Tiruchirapalli (TRZ) airports. Turkish airline, AtlasGlobal, also launched a new Sharjah route in April, adding a three-times-weekly service to Istanbul Atatürk International Airport. More new airline routes are planned for the next few months including the addition of a Hyderabad to Sharjah service from Jet Airways in December 2016 and a new Sharjah to Baku service from Air Arabia scheduled for 23 March 2017. Sharjah International Airport surpassed 10 million passengers per annum for the first time during 2015 and plans to handle 25 million passengers per annum by the …

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