Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

Thailand promotes golf tourism for ME

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has appointed a golf ambassador to promote the country as a leading golf destination. With over 260 world class golf courses in the country, TAT hopes to attract more golfers from the Middle East to enjoy their different courses. Thongchai Jaidee, a professional Thailand golfer ranked at number 54 will be the brand ambassador for the next year. During this period of time he will work very closely with the tourism board of Thailand in order to attract more “golfing visitors” to the destination. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications TAT stated, “The brand ambassador partnership with Thongchai Jaidee will help achieve a key strategic objective to better link tourism and sports and increase the number of long staying, high spending visitors from the Middle East and Europe. Thailand has over 260 world class golf courses nationwide, with superb facilities and services including experienced, friendly caddies, wonderful accommodation and excellent side activities, such as shopping and spa treatments. Thailand also holds many international golf tournaments every year including Honda LPGA Thailand 2017 will be hosted on February 23 to 26, 2017 at Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course which attract a large number of professional players and spectators.”

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Second Belgium Visa Application Centre in ME opens in Abu Dhabi

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Residents of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can now apply for visas to Belgium at a new visa application centre launched at the VFS visa center in Abu Dhabi. The centre was inaugurated by H.E. Dominique Mineur, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the United Arab Emirates. VFS Global currently serves the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium in 10 countries from 45 visa application centres, globally. The new centre in Abu Dhabi is located at the Joint Visa Application Centre, Level 25, Shining Tower, Mubarak Bin Mohammed Street, Adjacent to Khalidiyah Mall, Abu Dhabi. H.E. Mineur said, “The launch of the new Visa Application Centre is a step forward in Belgium’s goal to serve our clients in a better and quicker way. Abu Dhabi is the first step and Dubai will follow. Our collaboration with VFS Global is also part of a more global plan to promote Belgium as an interesting country for tourism and business. Our collaboration with VFS Global is a long lasting and based worldwide, and I am convinced that together we can achieve these goals.” Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global, “We are honoured to partner with the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium and further extend visa services in Abu Dhabi. It is also a great privilege to be a part of the journey towards advancement of travel between the beautiful country of Belgium and the UAE. We are confident the centre will help us achieve our common goal of providing added convenience and accessibility to UAE residents applying for a visa to Belgium.”

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Thailand Tourism Festival 2017 from Jan 25-29


The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is bringing back the Thailand Tourism Festival (TTF) to Bangkok’s Lumpini Park to highlight some of the fun and fascinating attractions that can be enjoyed by local and international tourists travelling in the kingdom with free admission. The Festival, which coincides with Chinese New Year 2017, will be held during January 25-19, 2017, and is expected to attract over 650,000 visitors with 90 per cent of these visitors predicted to travel in Thailand in 2017. These trips could generate up to 400 million Baht in revenue. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of TAT said, “Thailand has so much to offer visitors and domestic tourists, and we want this year’s Thailand Tourism Festival to showcase the unique local experiences and attractions to be found in all parts of the nation. By visiting Lumpini Park, visitors can enjoy a taste of the foods, festivals and culture found in all five regions before they choose where to travel. They can also enjoy live music, cultural shows, lucky draws, and a wonderful holiday atmosphere with the best of Thailand on show in the heart of Bangkok.”TTF 2017 is expected to attract over 650,000 visitors with 90 per cent of these visitors predicted to travel in Thailand this year, which could generate up to 400 million Baht in revenue. At the TTF 2017, activities will be organised with 10 zones that highlight Thainess from the five main regions of Thailand – the North, Northeast, East, South and Central regions. Each of the zones will have demonstrations of the local culture and cuisine. There will also be the chance to make merit by giving alms at 7:00 a.m. to 88 monks on …

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Dubai’s Global Village hosts 2.3 mn visitors in first two months


With the opening of the 21st season at the entertainment destination Global Village with the concept of a new world every day, the visitor numbers for the first two months from November 1 to December 31, 2016, have gone up to 2.3 million. It was stated at a recent press meeting with the CEO Ahmad Hussain Bin Essa that over 250,000 tickets were sold at the smart solutions with smart gates which was just introduced during this season and as the social media presence had been extremely active they have been able to sell the tickets in various new and innovative ways such as special family packs at the fuel stations which would increase the awareness amongst the residents living around and they have determined that the current length of stay of the guests on average is about six hours. He further stated that this season they signed an MOU with 42 top travel agents in order to increase the number of tourists visiting the destination.  They have been very active in most road shows alongside DTCM with a focus on Russia, Africa, India and China markets. Their main aim is to improve the guest experience and ensure that they have the happiness meter at a very high level.

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Dubai to develop MENA’s largest marina


Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has announced the development of ‘Dubai Harbour’, a unique new waterfront destination that will feature the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s largest marina. The announcement was made in the presence of Crown Prince of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum; Chairman of Dubai International Marine Club HH Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Director General of Dubai Protocol Department H.E. Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman; and Group Chairman of Meraas HE Abdulla Al Habbai. The project, located on King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street, in the area between Jumeirah Beach Residence and Palm Jumeirah, also known as Mina Al Seyahi, will be developed by Dubai’s leading holding company Meraas. The iconic luxury waterfront destination, spread over 20 million sq. feet, will include a 1400-berth marina as well as a cruise ship port and terminal, a shopping mall covering 3.5 million sq. feet, an events arena, luxurious residential buildings, hotels, offices, retail stores, public services, restaurants and cafes and ‘Dubai Lighthouse’. The masterplan of the new destination integrates Skydive Dubai, Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) and Logo Island into a single community. To be developed in phases, the ‘Dubai Harbour’ project will be completed in four years once ground has been broken.

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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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