Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

Bahrain Tourism promotes kingdom in Spain

Brand Bahrain Logo

A delegation from the Kingdom of Bahrain took part in the ‘Seatrade Cruise Med’ held between September 21-23, in Tenerife, Spain, with an aim of further promoting the Kingdom as a tourism destination. The delegation included Yousif Al Khan, Director of Tourism Marketing and Promotions at the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority and Amal Jamal from the Economic Development Board (EDB). The Bahraini representative’s participation in the event came as a part of a comprehensive team representing the Gulf region under the name of ‘Cruise Arabia’. “The main aim behind our participation in the Seatrade Cruise Med is to promote the Kingdom as a destination for cruises in order to increase the number of inbound tourists and further develop the industry and overall national economy,” said Khan. Further commenting on the participation, Executive Director Marketing and Communications at the EDB, Vivian Jamal said, “Last year, 40,000 tourists visited Bahrain through cruise ships. The Seatrade Cruise Med is one of the most important global cruise events and is the right platform to promote Bahrain as a destination among exhibitors from all around the globe.” The participation is in line’s the Kingdom’s tourism strategy launched earlier this year under the brand, ‘Ours. Yours’. The strategy, launched by the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority in cooperation with the EDB, focuses on four pillars; awareness, attraction, access and accommodation. A key integral component of the strategy is to develop the sea ports in the Kingdom in order to further attract yachts and cruise ships.

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Emirates and Tourism Ireland launch UAE Sales mission


Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons has unveiled the Emirates Airline and Tourism Ireland Sales Mission at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Dubai. The Sales Mission is part of Tourism Ireland’s continued efforts to drive tourism from the UAE to the island of Ireland and provides unique networking opportunity for Irish suppliers and the UAE travel trade community. With six speakers, five presentations and a networking session followed by a series of one to one sessions with Irish suppliers, the mission was attended by 90 tour operators and included a key note speech from Gerald Lawless, Head of Tourism and Hospitality at Dubai Holding. Nine Irish suppliers attended the mission, including DMC’s, hotels, retail outlets and attractions. The Sales Mission showcased the island of Ireland’s filming locations of hit TV series Game of Thrones and blockbuster movie, Star Wars. During his visit to the UAE, Gibbons also met with Mohammed Al Rais, CEO of Al Rais Travels. Tourism Ireland and Al Rais Travel have recently joined together to bring one of the region’s top bloggers, Taim Al Falasi, to tour the island of Ireland. During the Sales Mission, Al Rais Travel launched a new seven day itinerary ‘Taim’s Ireland Experience’, allowing fans of the blogger to follow in her footsteps and experience the island of Ireland.  As part of the destination’s focus on innovation to attract new audiences, Tourism Ireland also invited agents and partners to view a series of Virtual Reality Films during the roadshow which brought stunning itineraries to life including The Wild Atlantic Way and Belfast City through personal VR viewers made available to attendees.

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Qatar unveils new transit visa rules


A new transit visa structure unveiled by Qatar will now allow passengers with a minimum transit time of five hours in Hamad International Airport, to stay in Qatar for up to 96 hours (four days), without the requirement to apply ahead of time for an entry visa. Qatar Airways, Qatar Tourism Authority and Qatar’s Ministry of Interior recently announced this revised tourism visa scheme in a move to promote Qatar as a world-class stopover destination. This is a significant increase from the previous transit visa scheme, which allowed travellers with a minimum layover of eight hours to spend a maximum of 48 hours (two days) in Qatar. This increase is designed to make stopovers easier and more attractive to Qatar Airways’ global passengers, and aims to deliver additional value to the local economy while strengthening Qatar’s position as an attractive tourist destination. The Qatar transit visa is free of charge and available on arrival at Hamad International Airport to passengers of all nationalities, upon confirmation of onward journey and completion of passport control procedures. All visas are approved and issued at the sole discretion of the Ministry of Interior. The development, announced on the eve of World Tourism Day, is the third in a series of enhancements that Qatar has made to facilitate entry into the country for visitors. Last week, officials announced a new process to quicken the entry of tourists arriving on board cruise ships, and earlier, representatives signed an agreement with VFS Global, which will see the development of a new, faster and more transparent tourist visa application mechanism.

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Hala Abu Dhabi, the one-stop-shop solution for Gulf


Hala Abu Dhabi, the destination management company of the Etihad Aviation Group (EAG), has been selected as the exclusive shore excursions and activities provider for Sir Bani Yas Island and Beach Oasis, the latest cruise destination stop in the UAE for the 2016/2017 season. The announcement was made at the Seatrade Cruise Med conference, being held between September 21 and 23 at the International Trade Fair and Congress Centre in Tenerife. Darren Peisley, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Hala Group, said: “We’re delighted to have been selected for this exciting development. Sir Bani Yas Island will be one of the best new locations to enter the cruise market this year. By offering customised add-ons including flights, visa processing, accommodation, in-house operated tours and safaris alongside multi-lingual tour guides, Hala is able to provide a one-stop-shop solution to cruise operators in the Gulf.”

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Dubai Business Events secures 86 new events in 2016


Dubai Business Events, the city’s official convention bureau, is delivering one of its strongest year-to-date, with 86 new international business events secured in 2016. The bureau has secured 15 percent more events in the first eight months of this year than the whole of 2015, and is poised to capitalise on increasing demand from international meetings, conferences, and incentives organisers, according to internal auditing at the city’s official convention bureau. The events secured this year will be held over the course of the next four years and combined, will bring 65,000 delegates to Dubai from around the world, as speakers, panellists, exhibitors and visitors. And with each delegate expected to add almost AED 6,000 to the economy, the impact of these events could be as much as AED344 million. Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said: “Dubai’s growing appeal as a premier destination for international business events is a testament to the vision and leadership of the government and the positive response that we have seen as we have shared the emirate’s remarkable story with a global audience.”

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541 projects and 158,950 rooms in ME by 2020


There are 541 new hotels in the pipeline across the Middle East – bringing an additional 158,950 hotel rooms to the region, an industry report has revealed. The Middle East Hotel Construction Overview report prepared by TOPHOTELPROJECTS exclusively for The Hotel Show Dubai 2016 forecasts that the majority of new hotel rooms will open before 2020. The UAE (180 projects) and Saudi Arabia (134 projects) remain the most active hotel construction hotspots in the region. The busiest year for hotel openings leading up to 2020 is forecast to be 2017 with 189 projects and 58,527 rooms. Notable hotel openings scheduled for 2017 include: the world’s largest hotel in Makkah, Saudi Arabia with 10,000 rooms, and the world’s first Paramount Hotels & Resorts property; the Paramount Hotel in Dubai.

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14.2 million visitors to Dubai in 2015


Facilities provided to the tourism sector in the recent years had raised Dubai’s hotel capacity from 15,000 rooms to more than 100,000 rooms, and tourist arrivals to more than 14.2 million in 2015, revealed Dubai Crown Prince His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on a recent visit to DTCM. He was there to monitor the progress in keeping with the Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Vision 2020. “Sheikh Mohammed’s directives to property developers to develop family leisure destinations will enable us to welcome an additional five million holidaymakers,” he added. Moreover, His Highness’s directives to grant Chinese tourists visas on arrival would bring about a paradigm shift in the sector, Sheikh Hamdan noted. “We are planning to establish Dubai as the first destination for tourists from Asia,” he continued. Sheikh Hamdan directed the team in the presence of Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), to adopt an indirect marketing strategy. Dubai welcomed 14.2 million visitors in 2015, a rise of 7.5 per cent from 2014, according to the DTCM. The growth in visitor numbers is double the United Nations World Travel Organisation’s (UNWTO) projected 3-4 per cent global travel growth for the same period.India has become Dubai’s top tourist source for the first time, with more than 1.6 million visitors in 2015. Saudi Arabia followed with 1.54 million visitors.

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Doha to add 41 hotel projects, 11,000+ rooms


Doha has 41 projects and 11,722 rooms in its hotel construction pipeline, according to a new report. The Doha Hotel Construction Overview report by TOPHOTELPROJECTS prepared exclusively for The Hotel Show Dubai 2016, reveals that Doha is the 3rd busiest city in the Middle East and Africa for hotel construction, behind only Dubai (133 projects) and Riyadh (47 projects). Doha’s busiest year for hotel openings is forecast to be 2017 with 14 new properties entering the market, including: Pullman Doha West Bay (468 rooms), JW Marriott West Bay (297 rooms), Hilton Garden Inn Doha Al Sadd (225 rooms), and Millennium Plaza Doha (232 rooms). The five-star Millennium Plaza Doha will open as part of the new Barwa Al Sadd development located in the heart of Doha. Comprised of four high rise towers offering commercial, residential and office space, the major project, currently under construction, will also offer a range of restaurants, shops and recreational facilities. Kassab added: “Barwa Al Sadd is set to be an exciting new addition to the city for both visitors and residents. Millennium Plaza Doha will be the only hotel within the development, offering an ideal base for business and leisure trips as well as for residents looking for a central location for business meetings, dining or celebrations.” TOPHOTELPROJECTS will present on development hotspots in the Middle East and Africa including Doha at the 4th edition of The Hotel Show Dubai’s annual Vision Conference, part of the “Update on market and consumer patterns and trends: get the inside track” panel discussion on 18th September 2016, 11:00-11:50am.

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7% increase in visitors to Qatar


Visits of GCC nationals to Qatar continued to increase in August, with year-to-date arrivals growing by 7 per cent compared to the same period in 2015, a Qatar Tourism Authority report has shown. Overall, total visitor arrivals in the month of August increased by 2 per cent compared to August 2015. The growth in year-to-date (January to end of August) visitor arrivals from the GCC was dominated by visits from nationals of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which increased by 9 per cent and 11 per cent respectively, compared to 2015. Visits from Bahrain nationals were up as well by 2 per cent; while visits from nationals of Oman and Kuwait were down by -6 per cent and -1 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, visitors entering the country on the Qatar-Oman tourist visa increased by 2 per cent year-to-date in comparison to the same period in 2015. Visitors who are nationals of the Americas also increased by 6 per cent between January and August 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. August is typically an off-peak month with declines in visitor arrivals compared to the rest of the year. The increase in arrivals this August, compared to August of last year, comes after efforts to incentivize travel to Qatar through Qatar Summer Festival promotions and entertainment activities. These included special packages from 56 hotel establishments, shopping promotions in malls across Qatar, and entertainment events throughout the month, including the Doha Comedy Festival. QTA projections point to further modest increases in visitor arrivals in the coming months, supported by September’s Eid Celebrations in Qatar and the docking of the first cruise ship of the season in October.  

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UAE immigration to be closed from Sept 9-13 for Eid


As the government of the UAE has announced  that both the public and private sector will enjoy Eid Al Adha holidays from September 9-18 and 9-13, 2016 respectively, it is advised to plan your client’s travel ahead to avoid any inconvenience. According to sources, the UAE immigration will be closed from 9th till Sept 13, 2016 on the account of Eid Al Adha holidays.

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