Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

59% UAE residents prefer staycations


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


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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100 travel partners attend Ras Al Khaimah workshop

Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA) gathered close to 100 tourism stakeholders for a destination workshop designed to increase collaboration and alignment of the emirate’s promotional activities. Hosted at the Rixos Bab Al Bahr, a five-star property on Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island, the event attracted industry partners, hoteliers, destination management companies (DMCs) and government entities from across Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE. The workshop provided attendees with updates on RAKTDA’s marketing and communications activities at home and abroad, including recent partnerships with travel trade entities in key European and Asian source markets. Additional details were shared on the strategy to attract one million visitors to the emirate by the end of 2018.

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US top source market for inbound in UAE: report

UAE Travel pic

United States is the top source market for inbound travel in the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia, Germany, India and France, according to a recent Q2 Report by Sojern. As per the report, except for India all other destinations which topped last year dropped due to various reasons. Outbound travel ranking of popular destinations for MEA travellers had changed in Q2 as well. This time Bahrain shows the highest growth percentage of 188 per cent in travel between June 30 and July 1, followed by Qatar with 164 per cent, Iraq 148 per cent, Kuwait 132 per cent and the UAE with 131 per cent in comparison to the week before. There has been a regional travel increase from 15 per cent to 25 per cent post Ramadan.

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Thailand tourism’s new action plan


The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is to start shifting the structure and directions of the national tourism industry towards a new value-based offer in order to position Thailand as a quality leisure destination. The Annual TAT Action Plan meeting (TATAP) held in the Northeastern province of Khon Kaen between 4-7 July, 2016, was designed entirely around how to ensure that the tourism industry can contribute to this objective. The meeting was attended by TAT executives from head offices, as well as domestic and overseas offices worldwide. The new strategic policy is designed to bring tourism, now recognised by the country’s leaders and policymakers as of one of Thailand’s most successful economic pillars, in line with the 20-year reform programme, called Thailand 4.0, being charted by the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha under the vision slogan, “Stability, Prosperity, and Sustainability.” Tourism is one of seven industries considered the backbone of the emerging digital economy. It also has enormous potential to contribute to the creative development of sub-sectors; such as, health and wellness, culture and heritage, and the natural environment. Hence, the new model will strive to transform Thailand’s comparative advantage into a competitive advantage.

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Ras Al Khaimah partners with TUI


Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has entered into a cooperative marketing agreement with German tour operator TUI. The RAKTDA-TUI partnership will initially focus on the fourth quarter of 2016, with the cooperation extending to consumer and travel trade communication via the TUI media and distribution portals. The two entities will also activate joint marketing activities across leading German travel agencies. Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah TDA, stated that Germany remains a key source market for Ras Al Khaimah and this prestigious partnership with TUI will further strengthen their distribution base and highlight their distinctive product offering to potential German visitors. The cooperation will raise awareness of Ras Al Khaimah as a premier leisure destination by leveraging their core product pillars of genuine Arabian experiences, heritage, great beach resorts, adventure tourism and diverse natural landscapes. With RAKTDA aiming to attract a total of one million visitors per year by the end of 2018, Mahpar Azarpira, Head of TUI’s Partner Marketing, believes the RAKTDA-TUI partnership will contribute significantly to the emirate’s tourism objectives.    

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Turkey: 4th most popular destination for Muslims during Ramadan

Ankara Turkey

Turkey has ranked fourth in the list of top 20 destinations for Muslim travellers during the holy month, as per the Ramadan Travel Report 2016. According to the recently released Global Muslim Travel Index, Turkey comes third on a list of top five destinations for Muslim travellers.“The trend for Muslims to travel to the GCC during the fasting period has been growing over the last few years – these countries offer them Muslim-friendly services and facilities such as Halal food, prayer rooms and post-iftaar activities. Turkey not only offers all of these, but serves up a world-class tourist destination, with popular sights to visit and activities to be a part of,” says Salih Ozer, Attaché of Culture and Information from Turkey to the UAE, on the nation’s unwavering popularity as a Muslim tourist destination during Ramadan. Turkey featured in the list of top five destinations for Muslim travellers in 2015 as well. The Ramadan Travel Report 2016 also forecasts that GCC destinations will rise further in popularity by 2023, when Ramadan will fall during the cooler winter months. Ozer further adds that Turkey is preparing to accommodate this projected surge in tourist numbers.

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Abu Dhabi Duty Free launches e-commerce website

Abu Dabhi

Designed to further enhance the passenger experience at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), Abu Dhabi Duty Free has launched its website,, to enable travellers to browse and shop online from wherever they are, prior to their arrival at the airport. Products are available for guests departing, arriving, or transiting through the airport, and those who are using the exclusive VIP terminal. The online store, which initially offers around 1000 of the most popular products varying from beauty, fragrances, food and confectionery, to jewelry, sunglasses, watches, souvenirs, and toys, will allow passengers to select their desired items online and pick them up from designated collection points conveniently located inside Abu Dhabi Duty Free. Online orders can be made between two weeks and up to four hours before a flight. By using the website passengers will be able to shop efficiently and spend more time enjoying the other facilities on offer at the airport. Abu Dhabi Duty Free is offering a 5 per cent discount on all online orders for first time users. For passengers who do not yet have a confirmed date of travel they can shop and create a “Wish List”. The “Wish List” is accessible to registered users and will allow them to keep their items for later when their trip is booked. Duty free shopping at AUH rose 7 per cent in 2015 despite the global slowdown of the retail market.

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Bahrain Tourism promotes kingdom as a ‘Wedding Destination’

Brand Bahrain Logo

The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority has launched its 2016-2017 action plan focusing on positioning the Kingdom as a ‘prime wedding destination’. The plan is a part of the long-term tourism strategy highlighting Bahrain’s overall tourism offering. The plan was unveiled during a press conference held in the presence of various stakeholders representing the vibrant industry including wedding planners, fashion designers and florists. The two-year plan focuses on promoting the Kingdom as an attractive wedding destination and other related events by developing the sector and promoting the local talents in various fields such as fashion, music and make-up. During the press conference, the Advisor to the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, Dr Ali Hassan Follad, stressed that the wedding sector in the Bahrain impacts a number of businesses from the hotel and hospitality industry, fashion, beauty, rental cars, aviation and much more. BETA will also be taking part in the annual Jewelry Arabia exhibition through a large stand in order to promote Bahrain as a wedding destination. The stand will include top fashion designers from Bahrain and the region. Also, the authority will host a fashion wedding focusing on wedding clothes from all across the globe during the event. The authority will also take part in the Wedding Fair, the largest event of its kind, held next year in Thailand in order to further promote Bahrain as a wedding destination. The plan will focus on promoting wedding venues such as the dessert, on an island, beach and at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).

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