Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

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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Saudi Arabia to invest $1.6 billion in MICE industry


Saudi Arabia aims to become the main destination for conferences and exhibitions in the Middle East by 2020. The Kingdom has announced ambitious plans to invest USD1.6 billion in its MICE tourism industry for the coming years to 2019, and several centres and venues will benefit from this financial boost. Backed by a growing number of modern facilities and government support, Makkah is set to become a new destination for the MICE tourism industry in Saudi Arabia, according to industry experts.  Traditionally seen as a site for religious travel, Makkah today is attracting a growing number of local companies and government authorities looking to combine their meeting and training requirements with Umrah pilgrimage. Conrad Makkah Jabal Omar, the first Conrad property opened by Hilton in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, has seen its MICE business grow steadily, driven by demand from pharmaceutical companies and government entities that tend to conduct their board and annual meetings, as well as training and development programs, over weekends in the Holy City. “There are several factors that contribute to the development of MICE tourism in Makkah, one of which is the growing supply of modern venues from new hotels that are opening in the market, equipped with the latest technology,” said Ismail Sirry, general manager of Conrad Makkah Jabal Omar. “Other factors include the improving infrastructure, companies’ desire to hold their meetings and trainings in nearby locations, and continuous government support.”  

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Bahrain launches new identity “Island Wedding”


The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) has launched its new wedding identity “Island Wedding”. The new identity aims to promote the Kingdom of Bahrain as a wedding destination making the Kingdom, the first country in the Gulf region, to launch a dedicated platform focused on showcasing its offerings to the international community. Commenting on the launch, BTEA Advisor, Dr. Ali Follad: “The launch of the identity “Island Wedding” comes in line with the authority’s effort in promoting the Kingdom as a wedding destination aimed at attracting couples to host their wedding in the Kingdom. We have a robust hospitality sector that is appealing to many couples looking for a destination wedding.” The identity was designed carefully by a group of international experts from the wedding sector in order to showcase the Kingdom’s main offering as a wedding destination. The main aim is to offer newlyweds a variety of options in terms of hosting unforgettable celebrations and spending their honeymoon at the best hotels and resorts in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The logo was inspired by an engagement ring and the lines on the diamond portrayed in the logo represent the services and products offered by the Kingdom. A dedicated website along with social media channels was also launched. The BTEA is taking part in Jewelry Arabic and their features 14 participants representing various five-star hotels and wedding planners in order to deliver exceptional and integrated experience for couples looking to host a wedding in Bahrain. Some of the participating wedding planners include Lala Bella, IQ Art, Jandal Group, and Leaves. As for the participating hotels are ART Rotana, Amwaj Islands, Gulf Hotel, Crown Plaza, Sofitel Bahrain, Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Al …

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