Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

Sharjah-UK trade ties strengthen


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


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


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

Jebel Jais

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


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


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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