Tag Archives: Middle East

Dubai hotels occupancy records a high of 76%


According to a recent report released by Dubai tourism, the hotel sector has recorded one of the highest in the world with occupancy at 76 per cent with establishments delivering a combined 15.71 million occupied room nights during the first six months of the year, a five per cent increase over the same period in 2018. Another noteworthy fact is that the emirate has now reached an inventory of 118,345 within 714 establishments at the end of June 2019, representing a six per cent increase, which showcased continued strong investor confidence in Dubai’s tourism demand. In the Middle East, Dubai continues to be the much favoured destination recording the largest traffic from all over the world. Brands such as Rove have revolutionised the market in Dubai. Luxury five-star and four-star hotels commanded 34 and 25 per cent of the emirate’s total inventory, respectively.  Meanwhile properties in the one to three-star categories represented a share of 20 per cent. Increasing demand for diversified accommodation options was met with a combined 21 per cent of hotel apartment establishments across the deluxe/superior and standard categories.

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Tamil Nadu Travel Mart focuses on Middle East market

Mr.Sundar image

The second edition of the Tamil Nadu Travel Mart will be held from September 19 to 22, 2019 at the Chennai Trade Centre in India. S Sundar, Honorary Secretary, Tamil Nadu Travel Mart Society, shared, “Tamil Nadu Tourism will be taken to the next level after this second edition and Middle East agents will get to know more about Tamil Nadu and increase their business opportunities for further mutual benefits. The main objective is to sell Tamil Nadu as a destination bringing together the many touristic attractions available for different types of tourists from around the world. To tell the world Tamil Nadu is not only a pilgrim destination but we have various other leisure products as well. It is purely a Tourism Mart like Kerala Travel Mart but this year CII is organising a Medical Value Mart along with this whereby both buyers will have a seamless entry to both venues using the same buyer ID.” Tamil Nadu Travel Mart is one of the biggest global events that focuses on marketing the destination of Chennai as not just a pilgrim and heritage site but also promotes the various other offerings that are important to  travellers from around the world. Middle East has always been a close ally of the destination mainly due to its connectivity and one of the most famous tourism partnerships is travel for medical tourism.

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FCM’s first Sam chatbot now available in the Middle East

Sam chatbot app from FCM

Sam, FCM’s ground-breaking ‘Smart Assistant for Mobile’ is now available to its clients in the Middle East.  An industry first, Sam is technology that entirely enhances a traveller’s experience whilst on the go. The mobile app blends a powerful mix of Artificial Intelligence with the expertise of real FCM travel consultants to deliver personalised, relevant information to business travellers’ mobile devices through a chat-based interface. The highly interactive, travel-savvy app supports business travellers with all aspects of travel via a conversational interface to answer questions, make recommendations and perform actions before, during and post trip. As of now, two versions of Sam are available to FCM clients and business travellers in the Middle East:  A premium version exclusively for FCM customers with additional features that are configured for these customers as part of their tailored rollout. These premium features include auto-synching the traveller’s bookings, integrated self-booking tool, live chat with an FCM consultant to provide service and make or amend bookings on the move; weather, restaurants, traveller tips and the option for the user to ‘share location’ as part of a mobile duty of care feature.  A basic free version  enables any user to add their trips manually, view weather, traffic and flight alerts, and connect with local ground transport options. Ciarán Kelly, Managing Director Middle East & Africa, FCM Travel Solutions, commented, “As a leading global TMC, we are the first to offer AI to our business travellers, and our Middle Eastern clients are now using Sam’s ground-breaking interactive and supportive features while they are on the move. Sam supports the business traveller, and the Travel Arranger in an organisation, understanding and reacting to their circumstances and enhancing their …

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Witness Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts’ innovative approach to luxury hospitality at ATM 2019

Four Seasons Athens 1

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts will to showcase its latest innovative guest experiences and global expansion plans at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2019 in Dubai. Building on its long history of constantly enhancing guest experiences through its innovative approach to luxury hospitality, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts will be highlighting the recent launch of ‘Take Your Time: Daily Discoveries’, a collection of on-property experiences that invites guests to celebrate the culture of each destination. The experiences are designed to encourage guests to truly connect with the world and the people who matter most in their lives. Simon Casson, President – Hotel Operations—Europe, Middle East and Africa, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, said, “At Four Seasons, we have a long legacy of innovation – not only in terms of how we leverage technology to enhance our offering and services, but also in the way we embrace and celebrate innovation as a way to constantly elevate the guest experience. Whether it is by inviting guests to connect with Four Seasons people and destinations in more meaningful ways, such as through ‘Take Your Time’, or providing real-time assistance through the Four Seasons Chat service, innovation has always defined our approach to creating unforgettable luxury hospitality experiences for our guests.” “While technology clearly has a vital role to play in shaping the future of the hospitality industry, we recognise that the human touch remains key to delivering authentic personal care that makes each and every guest feel treasured and understood. We will continue to evolve our services in line with the changing needs of travellers, but without compromising on our fundamental belief in the power of deep personal connections, which remains at the heart of …

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His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurates ATM 2019


His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, has inaugurated the 26th edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM). He was joined by Helal Saeed Al Marri, CEO, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and Director-General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), plus other VIPs who embarked on a tour of the show floor as the four-day event got underway at DWTC. Taking place from April 28 to May 1, this year’s event has 400 main stand holders with representation from over 150 countries. With more than 40,000 visitors expected to attend the event, ATM 2019 will showcase over 2,500 exhibiting companies – of which 100 will be making their show debut. The 26th edition of ATM will form part of the inaugural Arabian Travel Week, as well as ILTM Arabia, CONNECT Middle East, India and Africa – a new route development forum launching this year and new consumer-led event ATM Holiday Shopper. Other highlights will include the debuts of Arabia China Tourism Forum and Hotel Industry Summit, as well as the return of Global Halal Tourism Summit. As this year’s main theme, cutting-edge technology and innovation will be integrated across all show verticals and planned activities.

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Belgium opens visa application centres in Al Khobar and Jeddah for Schengen visas

Belgium VAC launch in Al Khobar

Citizens and expatriate residents of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can apply for Schengen visas to Belgium at the new Visa Application Centres jointly launched by the Embassy of Belgium in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and VFS Global. The new centres provide outbound travellers from Al Khobar and Jeddah a very convenient visa application platform, ensuring enhanced quality of services and seamless procedures. Applicants also complete their biometric enrolment at the same application centre. With the launch of these new centres, applicants no longer need to visit the Embassy of Belgium and instead need to submit their visa applications at the VFS Global centres in Al Khobar and Jeddah. During the official inauguration of the Visa Application Centre in Al Khobar, H E Dominique Mineur, Ambassador of Belgium to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said, “The recent opening in Jeddah last month has already resulted in an increase in the number of visa applications received for Belgium from the Kingdom. We hope the Al Khobar Centre will also generate the same interest, and we thank VFS Global for their support. This will undoubtedly strengthen the relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Belgium.” The first Visa Application Centre for Schengen visas to Belgium started its operations in December 2016 from the capital city of Riyadh. Commenting on the new centres for visas to Belgium, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO—Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said, “The number of applications for Schengen visas applied in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has increased significantly and continuously over the years. The positive economic environment in the Kingdom and the high level of economic growth has created more opportunities for business …

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WiT Middle East 2019 makes a comeback in Dubai on April 9

Siew Hoon YEOH, Founder & Managing Director, WiT (1)

WiT Middle East 2019 returns to Dubai after a gap of four years. WiT 2019, which will adopt the theme of WiT 2018 Singapore conference–‘Through The Looking Glass’– is making its comeback with three Foundation Sponsors as a one-day event on April 9, 2019. “After four years away, we feel it’s time to make a comeback plus we’ve had numerous requests from key players in the region, who have attended both our events in Dubai and Singapore, to return. When we were there in 2014 and 2015, we definitely felt the excitement and dynamism of an emerging market and observed it had very similar characteristics to the South-east Asian markets – fragmented, diverse, young, social and even then, it was mobile first – so we look forward to seeing what else has changed and how the industry has grown. With the way the Middle East travel market has grown, we expect a bigger, more international audience. In particular, we are looking forward to seeing how the startup ecosystem has grown and evolved,” said Yeoh Siew Hoon, founder, WiT. “Wego, Cleartrip and Travelstart are three leading travel brands from outside the region that have invested in the Middle East market and are committed to seeing its development and growth,” said Siew Hoon. “We will also be working with Insight Out Consultancy and tap into their regional expertise to ensure our content is locally relevant,” she said.

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Mӧvenpick Hotel Tahlia opens in the heart of Jeddah

Swimming Pool

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has opened doors to its fourth property in Jeddah with Mövenpick Hotel Tahlia Jeddah. Owned by Hadia Abdul Latif Jameel Food Products Trading Company, the hotel is a sophisticated lifestyle property with a prime location on Hail Street, just 30 minutes from King Abdulaziz International Airport and within walking distance from both the thriving Jameel Square commercial building and Al Thalia shopping street. With a leading-edge noise cancelling system built into the structure, the hotel’s 161 rooms and suites, equipped with expansive living areas, are a haven for business and leisure travellers in the heart of the city. Ideal for families and long-term stays, special rooms are equipped with a full kitchenette, while children can be kept entertained at The Little Birds Club, featuring a range of entertaining and educational activities. The property is also set to become one of the city’s most sought-after dining destinations, with Jeddah’s first restaurant managed by Michelin star chef and restauranteur Vineet Bhatia whose culinary creations are brought to life at ‘Rasoi by Vineet’. “This contemporary property is a distinctive addition to our fast-growing portfolio in Saudi Arabia where we currently operate 12 properties and have four more pipelined. Mövenpick Hotel Tahlia Jeddah, through its design, unique dining options and spacious rooms and suites, will add to Jeddah’s upscale offering as the city continues to attract a greater number of visitors through Saudi Vision 2030’s economic and social reforms. Adding a fourth property in Jeddah bolsters our cluster strategy in the Kingdom, consolidating Movenpick’s reputation for innovation, culinary excellence and authenticity, reinforcing its we make moments brand promise,” said Sami Nasser, Chief Operating Officer—Middle East & Africa, AccorHotels. Guests can also embark on a gourmet …

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the ENTERTAINER partners with Wego to offer leisure and dining deals


Dubai-based international incentives provider, the ENTERTAINER, and Wego, the largest online travel marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa, announced a partnership that gives Wego users access to exclusive offers across the dining, leisure, entertainment and beauty sectors. Travellers using Wego’s offers on the metasearch engine’s iOS and Android Apps will now gain access to hundreds of 2-for-1 ENTERTAINER offers. These offers, cherry-picked for their relevance to the MENA traveller, can be redeemed across a number of global locations via the Wego App. Members can benefit from these offers at select lifestyle business outlets in the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UK, Singapore, Malaysia and Bali. Donna Benton, Founder, the ENTERTAINER, said, “Our partnership with Wego only further highlights what we believe in – appealing to all digital travellers. We want to ensure that they experience some of the best restaurants, spas and leisure activities, stress-free and at great value”. Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director—Middle East, North Africa and India, Wego said, “This partnership is in line with our constant endeavour to give users, from around the world, the best travel shopping experience. Adding the ENTERTAINER bouquet of offers to the Wego offers regular selection of curated discounts and deals whilst reaffirming Wego’s commitment towards deepening its bond and engagement with existing users. Today, these users can avail great offers even when on holiday, rather than just securing bargains on flights and accommodation (which are booked pre-trip). Since Wego is the MENA region’s top travel App, we believe that it is best positioned to act as the natural distribution partner for the ENTERTAINER.” Tony Marshall, Head of Travel, the ENTERTAINER added, “We’re proud to be increasing the …

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UAE to welcome 8.92 million visitors from top five source markets by 2023


Expo 2020 and its legacy, District 2020, are expected to have a long-term influence on the growth of inbound arrivals to the UAE from the country’s top five source markets between 2018 and 2023, according to data published ahead of Arabian Travel Market, set to take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 28-May 1, 2019. Looking at the country’s top three source markets, the number of Indian visitors travelling to the UAE will increase at a CAGR of 7 per cent to 3.01 million in 2023, while arrivals from Saudi Arabia and the UK will witness an increase of 2 per cent and 1 per cent to 1.76 million and 1.28 million respectively over the same period. While the UAE’s top source market rankings are expected to remain mostly unchanged post-Expo 2020 – the latest research from Colliers International, in partnership with ATM, reveals the Russian and Chinese source markets will show above average annual growth rates for inbound passenger arrivals. Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director—ME, Arabian Travel Market, said, “The number of Russian tourists travelling to the UAE will increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12 per cent to 1.6 million in 2023, while the number of Chinese tourists visiting the UAE will increase at a CAGR of 8 per cent to 1.27 million over the same period, according to the data. Taking a look at the other key drivers, besides Expo 2020, Russian visitors to the UAE have grown in recent years, due to the introduction of additional and direct airline routes. According to some analysts, China’s middle-class will swell to 338 million households by 2020, a 13 per cent increase in just five years. Therefore, the growth …

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