Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

100,000+ customers from 78 countries check into OYO since its launch in UAE

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OYO Hotels & Homes welcomed over 100,000 guests from 78 countries across 14 properties and 20 homes in the UAE, since its launch in April last year. With this lease and full inventory control model, OYO currently manages 1,300 rooms within these properties in Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah and Fujairah and is set to touch 12,000 rooms by 2020. Since the first 9 months of its launch, the hotel chain has received guests from within the UAE, which accounted for 45.73 per cent of their guests and the remaining from countries such as India, Oman, Saudi Arabia, France, Russia, United States, Australia, Italy, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mauritius and United Kingdom, among several other counties. OYO aims to grow its market share through its ‘Manchise’ business model — a unique business model that combines the best of management contract and franchise agreement. Through this model, OYO aims to grow its footprint within the two-, three- and four-star hotels in the UAE.  With nearly 15.8 million overnight visitors in 2017, Dubai retained its ranking as the fourth most visited city in the world for the fourth year in a row, according to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index. Dubai was ahead of Singapore, followed by New York, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Istanbul, and Seoul. Manu Midha, Regional Head — Middle East, OYO Hotels & Homes, said, “OYO has now grown to become a preferred choice for several nationalities across the globe due to its ideal location, quality and also the price point. At the moment, we have touched around 78 countries and we are going to take this number higher due to the upcoming EXPO 2020. With 190 nations already signed up, we are confident that our …

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2nd Saudi Maritime Congress to be held on March 11 and 12 in Riyadh

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Saudi Arabia’s maritime sector is set to receive an allocation of SAR 33 billion (USD 8.8 billion) for the energy, industry, mining and logistics sectors, according to its recently announced budget for 2019. The 2nd Saudi Maritime Congress, to be held on March 11 and 12 at the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, Kingdom Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, will examine these budgetary implications on this sector, focus on the growth of intra-regional trade and the booming north-south network, analyse the changing regulatory environment and study existing project opportunities. Held under the patronage of the Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI) and in partnership with Bahri, the event is expected to set new trends in the shipping and logistics industry, providing extraordinary insights into the country’s ambitious growth agenda and consolidate Saudi Arabia’s position as a global trading hub and a strategic gateway to Asia, Africa and Europe. Chris Hayman, Chairman, Seatrade, said: “We are pleased to organise the Saudi Maritime Congress for the second time, following the great success of the first edition in 2014. Against the background of global change, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan is set to transform the Saudi economy, with massive consequences for its maritime and logistics sectors. This event will provide a unique opportunity to see at first hand the scale and nature of the developments which are now unfolding in the Kingdom, as it consolidates its role as a major industry player and as a global logistics hub.”

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The Heritage Village at the Janadria Festival attracts Saudi families

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Tens of thousands of visitors have visited the National Festival of Heritage and Culture, the 33rd edition of Janadria, organised by the Ministry of National Guard under the slogan ‘Faithfulness and Loyalty.’ The heritage village at the festival as well as the shows of the folk groups from various regions of Saudi Arabia and some Arabian Gulf countries are popular and have become a milestone in the most beautiful elements of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Janadria is the largest cultural festival in Saudi Arabia and the largest event of its kind in the world that is being held for 21 days during the period from December 20, 2018 to January 9, 2019 as part of efforts to intensify attention to the Saudi heritage and regional and international visibility. In addition, it promotes a dialogue of cultures and civilisations between nations and people. The heritage village at Janadria is attracting thousands of families from different age groups, in addition to the artisans who are present throughout the festival area, especially in the folk market. The National Festival of Heritage and Culture offers heritage lovers a unique application which includes a complete definition of the Janadria Festival, a map of the stands and elements of the festival, activities and updated news about the festival on a daily basis. The folk groups programme is one of the most important pillars of the festival and there are more than 700 people that reflect the folk heritage, customs and traditions of all regions of Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries of the UAE, Bahrain and Oman.

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Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project to attract one million visitors

The Red Sea Project - [Photo courtesy Saudi Press Agency (SPA)]_1544703854

One of the most important projects that will position the Saudi Arabia Kingdom on the global tourism map, eventually creating 70,000 jobs, growing GDP by SAR 22 billion and attracting one million visitors per year is on track towards completing its first phase by 2022. A delegation from the Red Sea Development Company, led by chief executive John Pagano, was received by King Salman bin Abdulaziz at Araqa Palace in Riyadh recently. Underlining its economic and development goals and the project’s objective to become a global destination for luxury tourism, Pagano made a visual presentation at the palace on the master plan of the Red Sea Project. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Chairman of the company, was also present. As part of the project that is expected to create an estimated 70,000 jobs, 22 islands on the Red Sea will be developed. It will not just contribute SAR 22 billion to Saudi Arabia’s GDP, but play a major role in the Kingdom’s economic-diversification drive – a chief objective of Vision 2030 – by attracting approximately one million tourists per year. The first phase of the project, scheduled to be completed in 2022, will include an airport, marinas, residential properties, recreational facilities and up to 3,000 hotel rooms. King Salman lauded the delegates for planning a project that will propel Saudi Arabia to a prominent position on the global tourism map and create investment opportunities for the Saudi Arabian private sector – while simultaneously preserving the nation’s cultural and environmental heritage.

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Saudi Arabia and Agoda ink deal for vision 2030 to accommodate 30 million Hajj and Umrah pilgrims

Agoda Signs MoU with KSA Ministry of Hajj Umrah

Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Saudi Arabia and Agoda have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) supporting the Kingdom’s vision of 2030 to increase its capacity for over 30 million pilgrims by utilising Agoda’s technology and travel expertise, marketing platform capabilities, intelligence tools and resources. The agreement was signed by HE Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten, Hajj and Umrah Minister, Saudi Arabia, in the presence of Damien Pfirsch, VP — Strategic Partnerships & Programmes, Agoda, during an official ceremony at the office of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. Umrah guests to the Kingdom can now visit a dedicated Agoda portal agoda.com/umrah to access select hotels that have been certified by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Umrah visitors and pilgrims bookings, as well as the wider reservation site. Pilgrims can easily find an array of accommodation options and securely book through the multi-lingual and multi-currency portal. Under the MoU, the first to be signed by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah with a global OTA, the parties will explore how together they will redefine the future of travel for pilgrims from across the world to the Kingdom, working in collaboration to help to build future services, including guest flow and booking accommodation. The MoU will leverage the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s knowledge and understanding of the pilgrim’s needs to the holy cities and Agoda’s technology expertise, to enable the partners, so that they can explore ways to use technology to manage the anticipated increase in guests to the Kingdom and make accommodation reservations more accessible, easier, faster and secure. According to Saudi Vision 2030 announced in 2016, the last decade has seen the number of Umrah …

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Over 18% growth in travel from the UAE to the Czech Republic

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The Czech Tourist Authority- CzechTourism – along with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Abu Dhabi, said that the second highest number of travellers from the GCC after Saudi Arabia to the Central European country was from the UAE. A statement from the CzechTourism and the Embassy said travel from the UAE to the Czech Republic grew by over 18% in the first half of the year, faster than the previous corresponding period, and it is expected that 2018 will end with significant rise in the number of outbound travellers. Commenting on the increasing travel from the UAE, HE Alexandr Sporýš, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the UAE, said:,“For both expatriates and the citizens, the Czech Republic is an exquisite geographically close destination. The country offers a diversity of experience within a five-hour flight distance making it possible for even weekend sojourners to visit the Czech Republic.” The overall number of travellers from the UAE to the Czech Republic in the last three year stood at close to 100,000 with an average growth rate of over 28 per cent during the period. The average length of stay of the UAE travellers to the Czech Republic was in the range of 3.4 to 4.3 days. Monika Palatková, Managing director, Czech Tourist Authority – CzechTourism, said, “The Czech Republic is one of the closest European destinations to the UAE which is being increasingly favoured by family tourists as well. Our aim is to reach out to the potential UAE travellers and to present them the eclectic experiences the Czech Republic can offer across the spectrum of heritage to modernity complemented by the country’s diversity of natural landscape and culture.” She …

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Nofa Resort opens in Riyadh

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Radisson Collection has announced opening of Nofa Resort with 57 luxurious bungalows and villas overlooking Nofa Wildlife Park. Located 1.5 hours’ drive away from Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport, the Nofa Resort Riyadh is nestled in golden sand dunes and majestic mountains. The leisure activities include an equestrian resort that features a show-jumping arena, a specialised race track, a polo field, am 18-hole course and an extensive stable complex. The hotel features three on-site restaurants- the Tswalu restaurant with its African-style interiors, serving international cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner; the Butcher’s Den provides an upscale culinary experience – featuring grilled specialties, outdoor terrace seating and stunning lake views and the Al Fresco restaurant serving Italian classics (including stone-fired pizzas) for a more relaxed and informal dining experience. Guests can also enjoy exotic vibes in the Hookah Lounge, a charming tea experience in the African Tea Room, or relax by the pool with fresh juice at Al Fresco Café.

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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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