Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

SAIF Zone roadshows to attract Indian investors

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Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone) has carried out an extensive series of marketing roadshows across India this year, promoting the free zone in key cities and states throughout the country. This week, the free zone presented its proposition to investors in Kolkata in West Bengal, the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. Over the past 20 years, SAIF Zone has become a magnet for Indian investors and entrepreneurs, with 48 percent of the 7,500-plus companies registered in the free zone being of Indian origin. The free zone’s strategic location, free import and export, single-day licence issuance and tax-free status have proved to be a hit with Indian SMEs. India is one of the UAE’s primary trading partners, accounting for about 9.8 percent of the country’s total non-oil trade, buying 14.9 percent of the Emirates’ exports and 8.7 percent of its re-exports. Economists expect the total volume of bilateral trade between India and the UAE to increase from USD 60 billion in 2014 to USD 100 billion by the year 2020. A frequent visitor to India, Sharjah Airport International Free Zone embarked on it’s 2016 Indian road show in January. Organising events in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the zone first targeted Aurangabad and Pune in Maharashtra state and neighbouring Goa, before attending the MSME Business Summit in New Delhi (held with the support of India’s Ministry of Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises). Following this, the free zone also held roadshow events in Faridabad in India’s National Capital Area bordering on New Delhi; Chandigarh and Jalandhar in the northwestern state of Punjab; and Gwalior in in Madhya Pradesh. In April, SAIF Zone took its message to Mangaluru …

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23% increase in Indian visitors to Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah has recorded a 23 per cent increase in visitors from India during the first six months of 2016 compared to the corresponding January-June period last year, according to the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). The positive growth trend during 2016 ranks India as the third largest international source market for the UAE’s most northern emirate – up from fourth last year. Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAKTDA stated that their new brand positioning emphasises Ras Al Khaimah’s natural assets, luxurious indulgence, range of activities for different types of travellers and authentic Arabian heritage and culture – their diverse destination pillars resonate well with Indian travellers.  In-line with the emirate’s international promotional strategy, RAKTDA recently attended July’s MICE India and Luxury Travel Congress (MILT) in Mumbai, the latest stop in a series of roadshows and familiarisation trips with Indian travel trade partners in the first six months of 2016. The promotional programme in India has targeted the country’s swelling MICE and luxury market, which has witnessed tremendous growth in outbound corporate travel in recent years as more and more corporates recognise the importance of MICE activities as a key driver to engage internal and external customers. With RAKTDA projecting further growth from the Indian source market as part of its target to attract one million visitors to the emirate by the end of 2018, Mattar highlighted the emirate’s close proximity to Dubai – a long-standing destination of choice for Indian tourists – has proven a key factor in making Ras Al Khaimah an attractive destination.

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Sharjah-UK trade ties strengthen

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In order to strengthen trade ties between Sharjah and United Kingdom; Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) introduced Sharjah’s investment proposition to businesses in United Kingdom last month, participating in the second edition of the GCC-British Economic Forum, which took place on 21 July in London. Organised by the Arab British Chamber of Commerce and hosted in London, the forum was attended by senior officials, executives, and investors from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Held under the theme ‘Vision, Challenges and Ambitions: Integration Prospects for a Better Future,’ the one-day event was supported by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and UK Trade & Investment. Shurooq CEO H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal and Shurooq Head of Investment Promotion Mohammed Juma Al Musharrakh also participated in ‘Social and Economic Development’ panel session of the event. Sharjah Investment and Development Authority has stepped up its trade and investment promotion efforts in the UK, opening a permanent office in London earlier this year. Last year the Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) to encourage, promote and facilitate investment and development cooperation between Sharjah and the United Kingdom. In April 2016, Shurooq held ‘Sharjah Day’ in London, a business–to-business (B2B) forum aimed at introducing British investors and businesspersons to investment opportunities in Sharjah, with an emphasis on the many projects run by Shurooq.

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Ambassadors for Women’s Journey campaign by TAT

Thailand

Tourism Authority of Thailand Dubai and Middle East office has named HH Sheikha Hend Al Qassimi and TV Host & model Amy Kitchingman as official tourism ambassadors of Thailand in the Middle East region. The appointment was made to coincide Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Women’s Journey Thailand campaign that was launched on August 1, 2016. The campaign encourages women travellers from around the world to enjoy a huge range of activities, special offers, discounts and privileges as well as products and services geared to meet their needs throughout the month of August. Chalermsak Suranant, TAT Dubai & Middle East office Director, said, that they are thrilled to have HH Sheikha Hend Al Qassimi and Amy Kitchingman as official Middle East ambassador of Tourism Authority of Thailand. The appointment aims to help them further promote Thailand to women expat and local residents in the region. As part of the new contract, HH Sheika Hend Al Qassimi and Amy Kitchingman will attend several events in the Middle East and Thailand and conduct series of filming and photo shoots in Thailand to be used as official promotional materials of TAT in the Middle East.

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UAE visitors to the UK rise by 15% in Q1 2016

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The latest figures released by VisitBritain show that UAE tourist visitor numbers increased by 15% in the first quarter, with 77,000 visitors during the first three months of the year – the strongest first quarter on record. VisitiBritain added that the total spend by visitors from the UAE was also up 9%. VisitBritain APMEA Director Sumathi Ramanathan said she expects to see a further increase of visitors from the Gulf region over the summer months, particularly with the favourable currency exchange for visitors coming from countries where the currency is pegged to the dollar. “We are welcoming visitors from the GCC to Britain and we are expecting this summer to see more GCC nationals visiting as we continue our activity in the market to promote Britain as a favourite holiday destination,” Ramanathan said. “We’re driving a strong value message coupled with great quality to ensure we continue to attract GCC visitors. With favourable currency exchange rates also helping matters, tourism from the GCC to Britain is very much on track for a great performance this year,” she added.

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Escape the heat, head to Ras Al Khaimah mountains

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As temperatures continue to soar across the United Arab Emirates, the country’s most northern emirate Ras Al Khaimah is celebrating its cooler climate by inviting holidaymakers and domestic staycationers to experience its mountains, where temperatures are 10 degrees cooler than anywhere else in the UAE. Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAK TDA), said that while visitors and residents are looking to escape the heat with indoor activities across other areas of the UAE, Jebel Jais offers the opportunity for travellers and residents looking for outdoor adventures and diverse scenery at significantly cooler temperatures than at sea level, and incredible views of the stunning Ras Al Khaimah landscape. Ras Al Khaimah’s Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the UAE at 1,934 metres tall, records temperatures that are 10°C cooler on average than other popular landmarks across the country. During the third week of July, temperatures at all the major landmarks across the emirates reached between 43 – 45°C, – at the Jebel Jais summit, temperatures reached a moderate 31°C during the day time and 27 °C during the late afternoon. Throughout the year Jebel Jais plays host to a number of events including the GCC Hiking Challenge and the Ras Al Khaimah Mountain Festival which made its debut in 2015.

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Dubai Maritime promotes marine and leisure sector

DMCA

The Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) revealed the formation of RASEINA Maritime Domestic & Leisure Working Group, a first of its kind in the UAE, which aims to promote Dubai’s marine and leisure sector activities. The group has been created in a push to advance the Maritime Sector Strategy and further lead Dubai into becoming one of the world’s most important maritime centers. It forms part of DMCA’s efforts to implement strategic programmes and innovative projects highlighting the emirate’s maritime services and effectively promote marine and leisure sector in Dubai, given its leading role in the local maritime sector. The first meeting, which was organized by DMCA, saw the review of key topics covered in the Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy and identified the important goals to be achieved by the marine leisure sector as part of their continuing support to the emirate in becoming a pioneering global maritime hub. Participants also discussed the current status of the maritime leisure sector in Dubai and the challenges and opportunities within. They also talked about the joint work between the private and public sectors and the related guidelines, standards and procedures that can help in achieving the best results and the application of best practices to achieve sustainability of the sector and increase its level of competitiveness. Amer Ali, Executive Director of DMCA, said that the decree paves the way for a new era of excellence in terms of promoting the competitive advantages of Dubai on the global marine leisure and recreational activities. He noted that the group is one of the best examples of active partnership between the government and private sectors, which clearly support national efforts towards developing, regulating and promoting …

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59% UAE residents prefer staycations

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A recent survey by Emaar Hospitality Group conducted by YouGov stated that staycations are very popular during the summer. 63% of respondents voted Dubai as their preferred leisure destination with the staycation serving as a hassle-free, cost-effective option when looking for a quick getaway or a last minute weekend break. Staycations are most popular among Western expatriates with 80% polled stating they take one at least once a year compared to 59% Emiratis and 55% Asian expatriates. On average, 59% of UAE residents take a staycation at least once a year. 62% of over 35-year-olds opted for staycations compared with 55% of those below the age of 35. The word ‘staycation’ refers to a vacation taken in the country of residence. In the UAE, staycations are gaining ground as the survey, which was conducted ahead of the recent launch of the U By Emaar rewards programme, reveals. The survey also revealed interesting lifestyle habits of people relating to staycations with 68% choosing to take a staycation to spend quality time with loved ones, and 40% stating they take staycations with family. Some 32% take a staycation 4 to 6 times a year, while 21% take a staycation at least two times every year. Further, 34% of 18 to 24-year-olds take staycations to spend time with friends, while 36% females do so to pamper themselves. The top activity during a staycation is enjoying a dining experience according to 49% respondents, while 40% use the pool and sauna and 34% voted for visiting tourist attractions and going shopping. The key factors in choosing which hotel to stay, as well as choosing where to return, were value for money, special offers, and consistently …

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16,636 hotel guests for Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah has recorded 10.7 per cent and 17.4 per cent increases, respectively,  in visitor numbers and guest nights during Eid Al Fitr compared to the corresponding period last year, according to figures released by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). The latest figures released by RAKTDA reveal the emirate attracted 16,636 hotel guests during the July Eid weekend, generating 30,220 guest nights. Recognised as one of the region’s fastest growing destinations, the RAKTDA figures show record growth across key indicators including hotel guests, room revenues, F&B revenues and occupancy rates. Hotel occupancy during Eid Al Fitr reached 86.6 per cent, 10.6 per cent higher than in 2015 (78.5 per cent), while RevPar grew by 12.7 per cent over the same period. The UAE market continues to be an important source market for Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism growth. More than half (56.5 per cent) of guests staying in the emirate during Eid Al Fitr were UAE residents. Indian, Egyptian, British and German visitors are in the top five source markets during the festive weekend, totalling 18.5 per cent of total guests.

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45 agents attend ‘Know India’ seminar in Cairo

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India Tourism in Dubai and Indian Embassy in Cairo organised a ‘Know India’ seminar for the travel trade at Tagore Hall, Embassy of India, in Cairo recently. I.R.V. Rao, Assistant Director, India Tourism in Dubai, Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Ambassador of India to Arab Republic of Egypt, Melwin D’ Silva, Regional Manager-Gulf, Middle East and Africa, Air India, attended the event with 45 travel agents, representatives from Egypt Air and Qatar Airways. The delegation from the Government of Egypt included Mahmoud Abdel Wahab, General Manager-Tourism Relations, Ministry of Tourism, Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt; Mohamed Salama, Egyptian Tourism Authority (ITA), Ministry of Tourism, Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt. The event was held on July 14, 2016.

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