Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

Dubai most expensive city on New Year’s Eve 2016


Dubai has again been ranked the most expensive place to celebrate New Year at Dh2,240 per person in an annual survey of seven popular global cities, with Edinburgh, Scotland, rated the best value for the second year in a row at Dh725, a difference of Dh1,515. In its annual research the company measured the average cost across selected establishments, with results reflecting expected costs for a partygoer buying food, entertainment and refreshments. Sydney offers an affordable option for UAE residents wanting to get abroad for the holiday and Paris is cheaper than New York by Dh700 to ring in 2017. The full listing (from cheapest to priciest) is as follows: Edinburgh (Dh725) Sydney (Dh950) Amsterdam (Dh955) Paris (Dh1,170) London (Dh1,435) New York (Dh1,870) Dubai (Dh2,240) Errol Fonseca, head of retail at Travelex, explained New Year is a busy time for Travelex, with customers flying off for city breaks to enjoy the festivities. “We always see an increase in orders of foreign currency in the run up to the new year, so it’s our pleasure to put these figures together for our customers. Exchange rates can also play a big part in decision-making and up to date figures can be found our website,” he said.

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Oman hosts 19th Arab Ministerial Tourism Council


The Arab Ministerial Tourism Council met from the December 13-15, 2016, at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel in Muscat. Attendees included Ministers from the Arab countries, members of World Tourism Organisation as well as representatives from the Arab Center for Tourist Media. The council met to discuss ways to develop the tourism industry in the Arab World. This meeting was preceded by the Executive Office Meeting for the Arab Ministerial Tourism Council, which is entrusted to follow up and study the recommendations made by the Council. In his opening statement, His Excellency Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrizi said, “This meeting will foster cooperation between the countries of the Arab world, and help boost the growth of the tourism sector. We are proud that the Sultanate of Oman is hosting such an important and impactful meeting.”His Excellency also added that the meeting coincides with the 46th National Day celebrations of the Sultanate, marking the achievements that the people of this country and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos continue to make. Dr Dina Hussain Dhaher, Director of the department of Transport and Tourism at the General Secretariat of the Arab League of States thanked the Sultanate for its efforts in ensuring the success of the 19th edition of the Arab Ministerial Tourism Council, and that she looks forward to seeing the results of the meeting. Among the many issues, the Council addressed the development and implementation of the Arab Tourism Strategy as well as the tourism activities that drive the youth, as this is one of the most important tourism segments in the region. The Council also discussed initiatives that will generate tourism-related statistics from different hotels and feed the development of future …

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Sharjah World Championship Week from today

UAE-Sharjah-December 14, 2016-Free practice for the UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix of Sharjah. 
Picture by Vittorio Ubertone/Idea Marketing - copyright free editorial

Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority will be hosting the UIM F1H2O World Championship Grand Prix of Sharjah from December 15-21, 2016, at the Khalid Lagoon. Speaking at the press conference, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority H.E.Khalid Jassim Al Midfa stated the importance of promoting sports tourism by hosting events of this nature which brings together more tourists from all over the world. Further he reiterated that this enables Sharjah an opportunity to showcase their authentic culture and reveal the true Arabian spirit of sports.

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Bahrain Tourism to conduct trade survey

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Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) and Bahrain Information and eGovernment Authority  are coming together for a tourism survey aimed at further integrating cooperation between the two authorities to enhance the statistical tourism database in the Bahrain. It will also measure the actual level of contribution the tourism sector is making in the national economy in accordance with international recommendations. Several business are expected to benefit from the survey as it will provide inclusive data to help decision makers and the hospitality sector to understand the needs and desires of tourists and visitors. Furthermore, it will be a reference source for these sectors to base strategies aimed at fostering local tourism throughout the year. The CEO of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), Shaikh Khalid bin Humood Al Khalifa, recently met with the Bahrain Information and eGovernment Authority CEO, Mohammed Ali Al Qaed to discuss the survey. Commenting on the survey, CEO of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority Shaikh Khalid bin Humood Al Khalifa said, “We are pleased to work with the Bahrain Information and eGovernment Authority to obtain a more detailed view of the tourism sector in the country, especially tourism activities conducted by residents as it contributes to the overall development of the economy.” The Bahrain Information and eGovernment Authority also praised BTEA’s efforts and cooperation in this field: “We aim through this project to provide a manual for BTEA as it is considered a significant asset to assist implementing the Kingdom’s tourism development strategy. It also aims to put a structure in place that covers the different aspects of the tourism activity. We will ensure during the implementation phase of the project to follow the …

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Thailand waives off tourist visa fee, discounts VoA from Dec 1, 2016, to Feb 28, 2017


By the Order of the Ministry of Interior dated November 30 B.E. 2559 (2016), starting from December 1, 2016 until February 28, 2017, Thailand will launch a temporary tourist visa fee exemption scheme and a temporary Visa on Arrival (VoA) fee reduction scheme. All applicants applying for Tourist Visa (single entry) to Thailand during the aforementioned period will be exempted from the visa fee and Visa on Arrival (VoA) fee will be decreased from THB 2,000 to THB 1,000 for applicants of the nationalities which are entitled to apply for the VoA at the designated immigration checkpoints.

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Dubai cements global shopping destination image

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Following an exhaustive review of the competitiveness of Dubai’s retail sector in terms of its global positioning as a ‘shopping destination’ for tourists, undertaken by Dubai Tourism, strategic recommendations spanning priority aspects of the industry value chain were developed in consultation with the Department of Economic Development and key government and private sector stakeholders earlier this year. Outcomes of the strategy cover initiatives to address consumer perceptions, pricing competitiveness, product-mix, experience enhancement, e-commerce and future proofing through digitisation and proactive innovation. His Excellency Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said: “Dubai has been continuously growing its standing as a leader in global travel, ranked number four today with the highest average spend per tourist within the economy compared to any other city in the world. Beyond growing tourist volumes, one of the mandates of Dubai Tourism is to significantly enhance the economic value created across all travel related industries to our GDP. Retail is one of the core pillars of our destination proposition, and one that is a key driver of spend within the economy – hence the incredible support from the Department of Economic Development has been paramount to the success of this project. In undertaking this exercise, our aim was to work with the industry towards making Dubai the world’s leading destination for retail-tourism, attracting more traffic and fueling consumption across the shopping precincts, and ultimately accelerating domestic retail industry growth. It has been through exemplary collaboration and joint ownership between the private and public sector that DTCM has been able to deploy a comprehensive list of initiatives to be taken forth to implementation by relevant stakeholders. And …

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Dubai’s National Day focus on retail tourism

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Dubai’s first National Day Super Sale kicks off December 1, with the new retail initiative promising to offer a memorable and rewarding shopping experience to residents and visitors during the UAE’s 45th National Day celebrations. The National Day Super Sale is organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), with the aim of boosting Dubai’s vibrant retail sector and further spreading the festive cheer on this joyous occasion. Many local, regional and international brands are participating in the citywide sale, which runs until Saturday, 3 December, and will surprise shoppers with amazing discounts from 30- 90 % on a diverse range of merchandise including apparel & fashion, footwear and leather accessories, cosmetics, jewellery, and much more. Saeed Mohammad Mesam Al Falasi, Executive Director, Retail and Strategic Alliances, DFRE, said: “The National Day Super Sale initiative falls within the framework of our strategy to develop plans aimed at further boosting the emirate’s retail sector. Running promotions that offer retailers numerous options to boost sales during this time of the year will further enhance the emirate’s appeal as a year-round shopping hub. No other destination in the region offers such a superb collection of fashion and lifestyle brands, all under one roof. As Dubai has set the highest standards in terms of brand mix and quality in the retail sector in the region, it is significant to note that we have the participation of leading retail groups in the UAE. This unique National Day initiative provides several opportunities to buy sought-after items at incredible prices – giving shoppers even more reasons to celebrate the UAE National Day.” The three-day …

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Ras Al Khaimah Civil Aviation marks National Day


Ras Al Khaimah’s Department of Civil Aviation (RAKDCA) held a celebratory event with great pomp and show to celebrate the 45th National Day of the UAE at the Civil Aviation Department premises. Presided over by His Excellency Engr. Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation, Ras Al Khaimah, the event was graced by top officials from the Civil Aviation Department, Airport, Police, Immigration, Customs, National Security, aviation industry and National carriers like Air Arabia and Qatar Airways. The celebratory event remembered with respect the great leadership and vision of the founding father of the nation His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The event also thanked His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,  Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for following the vision of the founding father and guiding the country to prosperity. The participants thanked His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah,  for the visionary leadership and support to the aviation sector. In order to pay respects to the Martyrs,  a band was played by the students of Al Bustan School, followed by 40-minute audiovisual show highlighting the progress of the country and the dedication and sacrifice of the martyrs, and a march past by the Military School, which evoked patriotism among the spectators. The school children performed an entertaining ayala (traditional local dance), which was enjoyed by all. The event ended with honouring senior employees and long-serving staff as well as outstanding employees.

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Celebrity Constellation calls on Dubai


Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), in collaboration with Celebrity Cruises, commemorated the inaugural visit to Dubai of Celebrity Constellation during her maiden voyage in the region. Marking the occasion at a welcome reception, held at Dubai Cruise Terminal in Mina Rashid were Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, Director of Dubai Cruise Tourism, Mohammed Al Mannaei, Director of Mina Rashid, DP World and Lakshmi Durai, CEO of Travel Matrix, the Middle East representative for Celebrity Cruises. Attended by dignitaries from Dubai Immigration, Dubai Customs, Dubai Police, Environment Health and Safety (Trakhees) and PCFC Security, the arrival of Celebrity Constellation commenced with a traditional Plaques and Keys ceremony held aboard the luxury cruise liner, in which an honorary plaque was exchanged between government dignitaries and the ship’s captain. Event attendees were then invited on a tour of the 13-deck-high vessel, to experience the entertainment, culinary and wellness offerings available on board. Celebrity Constellation is the latest premium cruise ship to visit Dubai. The 91,000-tonne, 294-metre-long vessel features extensive family amenities, with some of the most expansive children’s facilities in the Celebrity fleet. The luxury liner is set to sail two nine-night cruises within the UAE and Oman, as well as longer trips from the UAE that follow the ancient Spice Route to the Indian cities of Cochin, Mangalore, Goa and Mumbai, before returning to home port in the UAE. The ship is scheduled to have four overnight and six day calls to Dubai between 29 November 2016 and 16 April 2017, contributing over 15,000 cruise tourists towards the record number of 600,000 expected to visit Dubai in the 2016/2017 cruise season. These projected numbers follow the 19% season-on-season increase …

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Sharjah hotels register 19% rise in room nights


Sharjah hotels and hotel apartments registered a 19 percent increase in room nights booked during the first nine months of 2016, totalling 2.94 million room nights, according to Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). The increase in total booked room nights comes in spite of the fact that occupancy rates have remained flat at 62 percent, suggesting that visitors may be remaining in Sharjah for longer stays. Although the largest number of guests registered in Sharjah hotels are from the GCC states (360,000 Gulf nationals visiting during the first nine months of the year), the tourism authority’s international marketing seems to be paying off, with increases reported from several key markets. The SCTDA has been targeting markets identified as having high potential for growth in its strategic marketing plan, in order to attract 10 million tourist per annum by 2021. According to SCTDA figures, China is now Sharjah’s fastest growing tourism market with 62,936 Chinese travelers visiting the emirate during the first nine months of this year: 75 percent increase compared with the equivalent period of 2015. This growth is consistent with the 78 percent increase in Chinese hotel guests registered during 2015. The SCDTA has recently stepped up marketing efforts in China, opening up a representative office, recruiting Chinese staff and adding a Chinese language website to Sharjah’s tourism portal. Meanwhile, Sharjah saw a 12 percent growth in the number of Pakistani visitors and an 8.7 percent increase in visitors from Russia, being the first growth measured from the Russian market since the Russian currency fell in 2014. Sharjah offers more than 100 hotels and hotel apartments, including properties managed by some of the leading five star hotel …

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