Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Etihad flight to Jeddah to celebrate Saudi National Day

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Etihad Airways has unveiled its series of activities to celebrate the leadership and people of Saudi Arabia on the 88th National Day of the Kingdom. To mark the occasion on September 23, the airline’s flagship Year of Zayed-branded A380 will be deployed on EY311 and EY312, between Abu Dhabi and Jeddah. Ahmed Al Qubaisi, Senior Vice President Government & International Affairs said, “In recognition of the special bond between two countries and the increasing importance of the Saudi market to the airline, we are delighted to host this exciting programme. Over the coming months, Etihad will continue to strengthen this relationship and announce new partnerships with key Saudi Arabian organisations that will add greater value to our guests.” Etihad recently announced sponsorship of Riyadh-based Al Nassr FC, and players from the football club have recorded a special video which will be broadcast on the National Day. The airline commissioned Emirati poet, Ahmed Al Zarounei, to write a unique prose to symbolise the friendship and bond between the two countries. The 380-word Arabic poem, inspired by the A380, was transcribed on digital screens at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The gesture was captured on film and will be broadcast across Etihad’s social media channels. Guests travelling between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia will receive themed chocolates and greeting cards on the National Day. All guests visiting Etihad’s lounge in Abu Dhabi will be treated to a selection of Saudi Arabian themed cuisine. The airline is also offering special fares from Saudi Arabia during the National Day celebration period.

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VFS Global opens new joint visa application centre in Riyadh

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VFS Global has opened a UK visa application centre in Riyadh, close to the Diplomatic Quarter. The company said that the new centre in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will serve travellers to the UK & Australia, is equipped to handle more visa applicants conveniently with increased seating capacity and ample parking space, while also offering ancillary travel services facilities within the premises. Officially inaugurating the new visa application centre, the Ambassador of United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia, HE Simon Collis, said, “‘Our customers in Saudi Arabia are extremely important to us, and we continually look for new and innovative ways to improve the visa service we offer, both to Saudi nationals and local residents. For Saudi nationals, the average processing time for non-settlement visas is less than five days.” The new centre is located at Al Hada District, besides Courtyard Marriott Hotel and close to Ritz Carlton, Riyadh. Visa applicants to the UK and Australia can access details on visa application procedures at  www.vfsglobal.co.uk/sa/en Commenting on the launch, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO for Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said: “The new stand-alone centre has been designed to provide a comprehensive experience to applicants in terms of visa processing and accessing necessary travel services under one canopy. The UK continues to remain a popular destination for tourism, business and student visitors from Saudi Arabia. The latest visa figures show that over 130,000 Saudi nationals were issued a UK visa in the last year. We are confident that the new centre for the UK and Australia visa applicants will provide enhanced convenience to the customers.”

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Marriott opens world’s largest Four Points by Sheraton in Makkah

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Four Points by Sheraton has announced the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Al Naseem in Saudi Arabia – the brand’s largest property globally. Adding over 1,100 rooms to the Holy City, the hotel is situated in the Al Naseem district and is in close proximity to the centre of Makkah and the holy Masjid al-Haram. “The trajectory for religious tourism into Saudi Arabia continues to grow, resulting in a strong demand for hotels in the Holy Cities,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director – Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “We are delighted to open our fifth property in the Holy City of Makkah. Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Al Naseem offers pilgrims the brand’s excellent service and a comfortable hospitality experience in the Holy City. With this opening, we now operate 24 hotels in the country and are on track to double our presence in the Kingdom in the next five years.” Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Al Naseem features 1,136 spacious and modern guest rooms including 121 suites, offering unmatched views of the holy city of Makkah. Reflecting the brand’s promise to provide what matters most to today’s independent travellers, the hotel offers the brand’s defining touches including complimentary bottled water in all rooms, fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and an energising breakfast with fresh coffee. The hotel includes four dining concepts, Al Sharq, Asia House and two Lobby Cafés.

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Ukraine opens visa application centres in Saudi Arabia

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The Embassy of Ukraine has opened two visa application centres in Riyadh and Jeddah to efficiently serve travellers from Ukraine in partnership with VFS Global. In a joint statement, VFS Global and the Embassy said that both the centres have started accepting visa application submissions for processing both short-term and long-term visas to Ukraine. Opening the visa application centre, Head of Consular Section of the Embassy of Ukraine in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, HE Yurii Tereschenko said, “The new visa application centres have been opened in the light of increasing number of travellers to Ukraine from Saudi Arabia. The centres will considerably ease the visa application process providing streamlined service to expatriates from the Kingdom wishing to travel to Ukraine for both tourism and business purposes.” The inauguration of the centre was done in the presence of HE Serhii Pushkarsky, Deputy Head of Mission and Bohdan Kostiuk, Consular Assistant of the Embassy of Ukraine. The opening of the visa application centres follows the VFS Global mandate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Under the terms of the contract, VFS Global is entrusted with the opening of 10 visa application centres in eight countries across the Middle East, Levant region and South Asia. Commenting on the launch, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO for Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said, “We are confident that the opening of the Ukraine visa application centre in Saudi Arabia will help catalyse travel to the East European country from the Kingdom.

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Saudi Arabia to witness a major rise in online travel

Amadeus Saudi Arabia GM. Eng Nashat Bukhari

A recent report on ‘Middle East Consumer Travel Report 2018’ co-sponsored by Amadeus, explored an overview of the travel industry in Saudi Arabia and the latest highlights entailing consumer activities and mobile trends in the Middle East. Travellers from Riyadh showed an increase in mobile bookings in the Kingdom with 32%, followed by Jeddah with 31%. More than 40% of travellers in the region organise their trips online, 33% travellers today “actively search” for discounts online during the shopping process and 57% of travellers in the region book their flight fares only a week prior to their travel dates. The report acknowledges that the Middle East travel market is incredibly diverse when it comes to travel patterns. While value is a key driver in travel decisions, more people admit to being more influenced by friends, family and colleagues (53%) than by search engines and review sites (47%) or actual travel agents (31%). Eng. Nashat Bukhari, General Manager, Amadeus Saudi Arabia said, “We are pleased with the significant rise in the consumer’s online travel trend in the region and as the industry continues to evolve, we will continue the deliver the latest cutting-edge technology dedicate to alter the shape of the travel industry in the region.”  

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VFS Global to take over full ownership of VFS TasHeel

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VFS Global has agreed to take over 100 per cent ownership of its joint venture with the TasHeel Group – VFS TasHeel and Vasco, as per a binding agreement signed between both parties. As the outsourced visa services partner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, VFS TasHeel manages Saudi Arabia visa application services across 30 countries since 2013. VFS TasHeel is currently a joint venture between the TasHeel Group and VFS Global. The transaction will enable VFS TasHeel and Vasco to benefit from operational efficiencies and synergies with VFS Global in terms of further development of services and solutions, and improve the overall service it provides to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and Saudi Arabia visa applicants around the world. Subject to customary approval from the competition and regulatory authorities, the transaction is expected to complete later in 2018. There will be no change in the management core team or processes of VFS Tasheel and Vasco. The company will continue to fulfill all its obligations in accordance with its MoFA service contract. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global Group said, “We are pleased to take over complete ownership of VFS TasHeel and Vasco. It will enable us to accelerate the further development of the business and improve overall performance through greater synergies.”  

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Rove Hotels to debut in Saudi Arabia with Rove King Abdullah Economic City

Rove Hotels expands to KSA with Rove King Abdullah Economic City Artist Render

Rove Hotels has announced its expansion to Saudi Arabia with Rove King Abdullah Economic City, located centrally in the Bay La Sun waterfront district of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in the vicinity of a newly established entrepreneurship hub. The construction work is anticipated to start in the second quarter of 2018 with the soft opening scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019. Featuring 240 rooms, fitness centres and a wide range of lifestyle amenities, Rove Hotels aims to deliver reliable, modern and efficient hospitality services that appeal to all. Like all Rove Hotels, Rove King Abdullah Economic City also takes its contemporary design cues from its surroundings. All rooms will have 48-inch interactive TV screens with smart media hubs and free Wi-Fi. Comfortable mattresses, sofa beds for extra guests, mini-fridges, safety lockers and modern bathrooms with power rain showers are standard for all rooms. Several rooms will be interconnected, ensuring the hotel is suitable for groups and families with children.

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flyadeal on a great start in two months

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Saudi Arabia’s new low-fare airline flyadeal has received a welcome market response since the start of services, with load factors reaching more than 82 per cent. flyadeal currently operates on three routes from Jeddah to Riyadh, Dammam and Qassim. Having commenced operations on September 23, Jeddah-Riyadh was the first city pair, beginning as a double-daily service, quickly growing to five-times-daily. Dammam and Qassim began this month, with Jeddah-Dammam increasing to double daily later this month. flyadeal currently has a fleet of three aircraft, with an additional five to be delivered. All are brand new A320 aircraft in a single-class configuration of 186 seats. Con Korfiatis, CEO, flyadeal, said, “flyadeal has received a very warm welcome from our passengers so far and we are grateful for their support. We look forward to continue serving our loyal guests as we move into the next phase of expansion in the coming months.”

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TIME Hotels launches Saudi resort at WTM

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TIME Hotels unveiled its first resort at WTM London with the launch of TIME Beach Villas Resort in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Opening its doors in December 2017, the resort will comprise 61 units with detailed Arabic architecture encompassing a full reflection of authentic Gulf design. Mohamed Awadalla, CEO, TIME Hotels, said, “This resort has been built with both corporate and leisure visitors in mind. It is perfect for long staying corporate guests as well as short stay family getaways. We, at TIME Hotels, have an in-depth understanding of these market segments, how to add value and drive in business.” Located close to the beach and at a 20 minutes’ drive from Jeddah International Airport and city centre, the midrange resort will offer fitness and leisure facilities, high-speed WiFi, LED televisions in all rooms along with concierge and business services.

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Four Seasons to debut in Makkah, Saudi Arabia

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Four Seasons Hotel, Makkah will be the company’s second location in Saudi Arabia, joining Four Seasons Hotel, Riyadh at Kingdom Centre in offering the most luxurious accommodations and personalised service in the region. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Jabal Omar Development Company (JODC) announced plans for a new Four Seasons hotel in the Makkah as part of the Jabal Omar integrated real estate development. Ideally located adjacent to the Grand Mosque, Four Seasons Hotel, Makkah will offer the most gracious accommodations in the city. Award-winning architectural firm Foster + Partners was chosen following an international design competition for this project. The multi-towered building atop a retail podium cascades down toward the Grand Mosque, seamlessly integrating its public spaces into the Haram. An innovative design allows clear views of the Kaaba from every guest room and suite, each of which will feature one or more private prayer rooms. Additional features of the hotel include three restaurants and lounges, a ballroom and meeting rooms, and a spa and fitness centre.

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