Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

DCT Abu Dhabi partners with Airbnb to promote Emirati experiences to visitors

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi and Airbnb

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and Airbnb have teamed up to promote the UAE capital’s offerings. DCT Abu Dhabi’s already established Emirati Experiences initiative offers visitors to the emirate a selection of 20 different tours and experiences designed and led by Emirati nationals which provide firsthand insight into Emirati culture, heritage and history. These tailor-made experiences are echoed by Airbnb’s own ‘Experiences’ – unique excursions and activities designed and led by local hosts – which Airbnb offers across 800 cities worldwide. This new joint initiative means all 20 Emirati Experiences will now be included on Airbnb’s popular global platform for the first time. “This collaboration with our friends at Airbnb to showcase Emirati Experiences on their hugely popular service makes perfect sense and is in line with our mandate to promote our emirate to the widest possible audience. Each year, millions of tourists come to Abu Dhabi to experience our history, traditions and heritage and there is no better way for visitors to experience the uniqueness of Abu Dhabi and its districts, and to learn about our rich history than by spending time with an Emirati tour guide, which is what Emirati Experiences offers. With this new initiative, the demand for these unique experiences should increase as more potential visitors are exposed to the wonderful things on offer in Abu Dhabi. This co-operative initiative will no doubt result in greater visibility of our emirate to an international audience, which can only positively impact visitation numbers going forward,” said HE Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Executive Director, Tourism Sector, DCT Abu Dhabi.

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Dubai Tourism hosts sustainability workshop for hospitality stakeholders

Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director - Tourism Development & Investments, D...

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) recently hosted an immersive workshop to provide hotels with a refreshing outlook of its innovative Sustainability Board Game and encourage hospitality stakeholders to enrol their properties in the Carbon Calculator, to further enhance Dubai’s position as the world’s leading sustainable tourism destination. The Board Game and Carbon Calculator have been created specifically for the hotel industry and serve as integral awareness tools used by the Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST) initiative, launched by Dubai Tourism to support and encourage hotels to actively drive sustainable tourism practices, efficiently manage their resources and reduce the collective carbon footprint of Dubai’s tourism industry. 74 hospitality professionals from 51 hotels attended the workshop in addition to representatives from Dubai Municipality who presented the Dubai Lamp, the world’s most energy efficient lamp designed by Philips Lighting and Dubai Municipality. The industry event held at Zabeel House by Jumeirah, Al Seef was hosted by Tourism Development & Investments at Dubai Tourism. Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director – Tourism Development & Investments, Dubai Tourism, explained the mechanics of the Board Game and highlighted DST’s Carbon Calculator programme, emphasising the ways in which private sector collaborations can be key to achieving the wider objectives of DST and further raise awareness of adopting eco-friendly practices in hotels across Dubai.” Ahmad Saeed Al Badwawi, Director of Applied Sustainability and Renewable Energy Department, Dubai Municipality, said, “The applied sustainability and renewable energy department at Dubai Municipality participated with Dubai Sustainable Tourism by presenting “Dubai Lamp” the most efficient lamp in the world.”

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Sharjah hotels, Air Arabia & travel agencies partner for Sharjah Summer Festival

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To contribute to the ramped-up efforts in promoting Sharjah as a family tourism hub, Air Arabia and various hotels and travel agencies in the emirate have separately rolled out exclusive promotional deals during the ongoing, spectacular Sharjah Summer Festival organised by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). Running until the end of August this year, the Festival’s first edition was launched to boost the domestic tourism sector as well as bolster local shopping and retail activities. Tourists and visitors can grab exclusive hotel offers and price discounts in numerous popular entertainment and cultural activities during the Festival. In line with the festival, special family-themed events will be held, along with kids summer camps and cultural workshops. Additionally, hotel facilities will also be offering up to 50 per cent reductions in room rates. Air Arabia is also offering attractive offers covering its key flights and services. As for hotel establishments, Radisson Blu Hotel provides 15 per cent discounts on hotel reservations, spa, restaurants, and many other exciting recreational and leisure activities, while Sheraton Sharjah Resort and Spa offers 20 to 50 per cent discounts on hotel room bookings, wedding halls, spa rooms and restaurants. Similarly, the Oceanic Resort & Spa and Marbella Resort give up to 25 per cent discount on website bookings. “We extend our gratitude to all participating government agencies, private institutions, travel agencies, leisure facilities, and retail stores. By offering promotional offers and special discounts as part of the Festival’s celebration, they are significantly contributing to our efforts to increase tourist arrivals to the emirate and diversify our tourist activities,” said SCTDA Chairman Khalid Jasim Al Midfa.

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Dubai to host world’s biggest B2B event for Destination Wedding Industry

dubai tourism

Dubai has been announced as the winner of the bid to host the 2019 edition of the biggest annual international gathering of destination wedding industry, the Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress, which is set to take place at the iconic Atlantis, The Palm hotel. Dubai overcame stiff competition from several countries to win the bid to host the 6th Annual of the Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress, the premier business-to-business networking event in the USD 300 billion global wedding industry. More than 500 delegates from over 70 countries are expected to attend the three-day conference from March 27th to 29th 2019, to be held in Dubai’s iconic five-star hotel and luxury resort, Atlantis the Palm. Commenting on the upcoming congress, Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said, “Dubai already holds a strong appeal for destination weddings, and hosting an event like the Destination Wedding Planners Congress will give us the opportunity to familiarise more of the industry with the city. It will also place Dubai at the forefront of the sector’s development and enable the city’s stakeholders to be involved in discussions about the key issues affecting it and shaping its future.” “We at Atlantis, The Palm see great value in the Destination Wedding Planners Congress and look forward to welcoming global wedding and events companies to collaborate and develop this important sector during the 2019 event,” comments Ian Renton, Director of Group Sales at Atlantis.

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Dubai witnesses 41.4% rise in Chinese visitors

Dubai welcomes growing number of Chinese visitors

Dubai has seen a surge of 41.4 per cent in overnight Chinese visitors from 2016 to 2017 combined with a number of key agreements signed with major players in China. Now one of Dubai’s fastest growing source markets, closing the first five months of 2018 with a record 400,547 visitors, this growth is predicted to continue in 2018. Speaking ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UAE this week, HE Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai Tourism, said, “Our approach to engaging Chinese tourists is two-fold, with landmark partnerships, investments and marketing activities undertaken in 48 cities across China, partnered with a city-level China-readiness strategy in Dubai to enhance the experience of Chinese tourists. The introduction of visa-on-arrival for Chinese nationals in 2016, working in conjunction with the increase in air capacity by national carriers from China – currently standing at 30 flights a week, a 13% increase in non-stop seat capacity in 2017- has also contributed to rapid growth.” Earlier this year, Dubai Tourism signed an agreement with Huawei, one of China’s leading smartphone manufacturers, in January which pre-loads devices with both user-generated and official cinematographic content of Dubai.

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Hala China tourism initiative signs first agreements in Dubai

Hala China Board

The Hala China initiative, jointly launched by Meraas and Dubai Holding earlier this year, has announced the signing of its first strategic agreements at a press conference at Bvlgari Resort Dubai. The event was organised by Meraas, with support from the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Dubai, and also saw the establishment of a new Hala China Board of Directors. Dubai-based Emirates Airline was appointed official carrier for Hala China, with plans to develop attractive packages and privileges for Chinese speakers across its seven routes from China. Payment services company Union Pay will be the preferred payment partner for the initiative, with Bank of China also looking to establish long-term economic relationships through its own range of financial services. Other organisations to join the initiative include Dubai Parks & Resorts, Bank of China, China Everbright Group, Union Pay, China CYTS Tours Holding Co, Hikvision, JollyChic, Mafengwo, Utour Group, DYO Consultants, Zhongteng Tianchuang Information Technology and Sino-Union Reserve Investment. The remit of these partners spans banking, finance, travel, tourism, marketing, technology, e-commerce, education, entertainment, and the environment, and will result in direct investment while creating a seamless visitor experience. With the President of China due to be in the United Arab Emirates later this week, this initiative will further attract Chinese visitors to the United Arab Emirates and further strengthen the relationship between the two nations.

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DCT Abu Dhabi delegation attends executive summit at Google HQ

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi Attends Executive Summit at Google HQ

A delegation led by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) attended an executive summit recently held at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, USA. The event offered DCT Abu Dhabi and its partners, Etihad Airways, Miral, ADNEC, and Aldar, the opportunity to explore Google’s main campus as well as giving exclusive insight into the tech giant’s work culture, technology, and innovations. As part of DCT Abu Dhabi’s mission to position Abu Dhabi as a thriving tourism destination of distinction, the summit aimed to further coordinate the commercial activity of all attending organisations by reviewing with Google shared best practice and process efficiencies, a joint approach to positioning Abu Dhabi as one of the world’s top destinations. Sessions were organised around the unique working culture at Google, on digital brand building and the variety of Google travel products, as well as trends that are shaping the industry. Google also organised an exclusive presentation by Visit California, as a way of sharing experiences among tourism boards, with particular emphasis on organisational structure, objectives and marketing strategy. The second day of the Executive Summit was dedicated to discussion and interactive sessions on Abu Dhabi’s tourism ecosystem and fostering collaboration between different entities, with the help of Google’s system intelligence and technology. Among a number of agreed action points from the summit was a shared data initiative intended to significantly bolster the tourism ecosystem of the Emirate, as well as further cooperation on consistently presenting the destination brand.

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New Sharjah City Center opens as the regional retail tourism destination

Sharjah city center 2 (2) JPG

As Sharjah drives towards welcoming 10 million tourists by 2021, the retail tourism sector is being developed by Majid Al Futtaim. The latest family lifestyle and entertainment tourism destination is the Sharjah City Center which was refurbished and expanded with a cost of over AED 260 million to a spacious 51,000 plus sq ft. area housing over 23 new brands, unique cinematic experience with Michelin chef served menus and 1400 plus new parking slots. “We work very closely with hotels, agents and Sharjah tourism to ensure that we present a good retail tourism destination which could attract tourists from all over the world. We are constantly working towards reimagining the retail and leisure landscape to meet the evolving demands of our discerning shoppers and retain our position as their preferred shopping destination in Sharjah. The new, revitalised City Centre Sharjah is a result of valuable feedback from our long-standing customers who seek trendy international brands, exciting F&B concepts that appease a plethora of tastes and a destination where they can spend hours with their loved ones enjoying the wide variety of entertainment options,” said Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, Managing Director for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Shopping Malls (UAE, Bahrain & Oman). The mall has been redesigned with a skylight roof to allow for more natural light and spacious storefronts that extends a fresh and contemporary feel to make every visit pleasurable. Keeping accessibility and convenience of shoppers at the heart of the project, City Centre Sharjah has revamped the carpark with 1,426 parking bays and easy entry and exit routes close to the mall’s anchor stores.

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Tourism major contribution to Sharjah’s economy: Shurooq

Shurooq image

Several major announcements were made on the progress of investments to Sharjah recently. It was announced that His Excellency Marwan bin Jassim Al Serkal, was entrusted the position of Executive Chairman of Shurooq under the Emiri deree by His Highness Sheikh Dr.Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council; Ruler of Sharjah. Al Serkal has been one of the key leaders in Sharjah’s tourism industry growth and has contributed immensely over the period he served as Chief Executive Officer from 2009 to mid- 2018. Under his leadership and vision at Shurooq, Al Serkal has actively diversified the emirate’s tourism sector by developing the eco-tourism in Kalba, beach tourism in Khorfakkan, cultural tourism in the city of Sharjah with attractions like Al Qasba destination, Al Majaz waterfront, Flag island and Al Maraya art center. He stated, “We are attracting and focusing on developing investments for Sharjah, making it a hub for investors to diversify the economy of the emirate of Sharjah. During the past few months Shurooq signed a few MOUs for high end tourism development.” Some of them are Palace in Al Khan beach, boutique hotel in the cultural district and the island development project. As Sharjah is on its way to receiving 10 million tourists by 2021, Shurooq is entrusted with obtaining more investments to develop the emirate of Sharjah. His Excellency Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qassimi, member of the Executive council of Sharjah and Executive Chairman of the department of government Relations, Chairman of Sharjah Supreme committee for digitalization stated that by 2019, Sharjah will be a data driven nation by digitalizing 90 per cent.

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VFS to promote Zimbabwe Tourism Authority in GCC

zimabwe pic

In a move to enhance destination awareness and foster market visibility, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has appointed VFS Global to promote Zimbabwe as a preferred tourism destination in both India and GCC region, through a collaborative relationship. The agreement was officially signed by Karikoga Kaseke, Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority at the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Office Boardroom, Harare in the presence of other eminent dignitaries from VFS Global, travel and trade fraternity. A world of wonders, Zimbabwe prides itself to being home of the Majestic Victoria Falls; one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a World Heritage Site that is the biggest curtain of water in the world in the Zambezi River. As part of the agreement, VFS Global would support ZTA to build a unique identity of Zimbabwe as a potential tourist destination by educating and spreading awareness to tour operators, travel agents, MICE planners and the general traveller based in India or GCC region.

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