Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Flynas orders 60 A320neo aircraft

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Flynas, Saudi Arabia’s leading low-cost carrier, has signed an agreement with Airbus for 60 A320neo family aircraft. In addition to the 60 aircraft, Flynas has converted 20 A320ceo from a previous order to A320neo bringing the airline’s total firm order to 80 A320neo. The deliveries are scheduled to take place during 2018-2026. The agreement was announced in Riyadh in the presence of Ayed Al Jeaid, Chairman, NAS Holding, Bander Al Mohanna, Chief Executive Officer, NAS Holding Group and Fouad Attar, Managing Director, Airbus Middle East. Flynas, an all Airbus operator, currently has 26 A320ceo in service. Ayed Al Jeaid, Chairman, NAS Holding Group said, “Flynas has come a long way to establish itself as a highly reputed airline in Saudi Arabia. With the introduction of the new aircraft technology, we are confident of our ability to provide best services to our customers. We also look forward to being the first airline in the Kingdom to be successfully listed on the Saudi Stock exchange, which will offer equity ownership to the public and be a part of a great journey.”

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Abu Dhabi Airport received 1.9 million passengers in November

Abu Dhabi International Airport--2

Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) received close to 1.9 million passengers in November, representing a 4.4% increase in airport traffic compared with November 2015. Abu Dhabi Airports’ traffic figures also show consistent growth throughout the year, with total AUH passenger numbers having increased by 5.3% on the previous year. More than 22 million travellers have used AUH so far during 2016. Total passenger traffic in November reached 1,860,207 which was a 38.6 per cent increase in passenger traffic through Terminal 3 compared to the same month last year, reaching 1,317,591. Traffic to and from Saudi Arabia saw a large surge compared to the previous year, with a significant increase of 43.5 per cent and the cargo services experienced growth of 1.3 per cent this year (2016) compared to November 2015.

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VFS launches Belgium visa centre in KSA

VFS GLOBAL

Residents of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can now apply for visas to Belgium and Luxembourg at a Visa Application Centre launched for the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium for the first-time in the Middle East. Services at the centre commenced on December 12, 2016. Visa applicants can visit the centrally located VFS Global centre located on the First Floor at Dove Plaza, Umm Al Hamam Street, Umm Al Hamam, Riyadh, to submit their visa applications and enrol for biometrics. The well-appointed centre caters to the growing needs of outbound travellers from the country. With Belgium and Luxembourg emerging as popular travel destinations, the new centre will offer applicants greater convenience and enhanced quality of services when applying for their visas. Since commencing visa processing operations for the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium in 2006, VFS Global serves the client government in 10 countries from 51 visa application centres across the globe. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the company currently serves 21 client governments, from 67 visa application centres located across the country. Some of the key features of the centre include convenient and centrally-accessed location, professional staff with local language capability to handle queries and applications, well-appointed centre for enhanced comfort of applicants, automated queue governance for smooth flow of applicants, dedicated website for easy access to information including visa categories, requirements, check-list and applicable fees, 100 per cent secure handling of passports, documents and personal information, door-step delivery of passports and Premium Lounge for personalised and comfortable service.

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Hotels.com revamps Middle East site

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Hotels.com has recently refurbished and improved the functionality of its Middle Eastern websites, in both English and Arabic, to improve both usability and performance. Hotels.com already serves millions of customers globally through 89 localised websites in 39 languages, and is continuously building its portfolio of properties with the latest hotel deals for popular destinations like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. Hotels.com offers an unsurpassed hotel booking experience and unbeatable Secret Prices to Hotels.com™ Rewards members, making it ideally positioned to cater to the hotel booking needs of the regional market. “We know that speed is important to our customers and we want to provide fastest booking experience possible in all languages on desktop and mobile. In fact, one in every three bookings on Hotels.com globally is now made on mobile. Speed and convenience are crucial to delivering unsurpassed experiences for our customers,” commented Michael Korkia, Senior Marketing Manager EMEA for the Hotels.com brand.

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Saudi Arabia to invest $1.6 billion in MICE industry

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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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Four Points by Sheraton Riyadh to open in 2019

Marriott

Marriott International has signed an agreement with Al Maryia Real Estate Establishment to open a Four Points by Sheraton in Riyadh. Scheduled to open in 2019, Four Points by Sheraton King Abdul Aziz Road will offer 130 rooms in the Sulaimaniyah district. The Four Points brand is on track to open six properties in Saudi Arabia in the next five years. The new Four Points will offer 130 guest rooms, including 30 suites. Located in the Sulaimaniyah district in central Riyadh, the hotel is 15 minutes from King Fahd Road and Olaya Road, and within close proximity from the King Khalid International Airport, King Abdul-Aziz Metro Station and the King Abdullah Financial Center. Marriott International currently operates 19 properties and over 5,000 rooms in Saudi Arabia. The company is on track to reach its milestone of 50 operating hotels in the country in the next five years. 

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Air Canada taps new markets in the Middle East

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Air Canada is expanding its reach within the Middle East and aims to tap new markets such as Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman. The only four star international network carrier in North America, Air Canada celebrated one year of their operations in Dubai recently in the presence of Margaret Skinner, Director Sales EMEAI, Air Canada. Skinner says that the Dreamliner is a game changer for them, but now they have upgraded it to a Boeing 777 for the convenience of the passengers travelling from Dubai – Toronto route and vice versa. Deepu Cyriac, Country Manager for UAE/GCC, Air Canada, stated that they recently opened BSP in Kuwait. They are further expanding their services to have SPA partnerships with Qatar Airways, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air and Saudi Arabian Airline to travel via Dubai and London to more destinations in Canada. This flexibility has seen a very good growth from the region. They are currently serving a very good mix of markets around the region.

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Ras Al Khaimah ramps up tourism promotion in Saudi

Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has ramped up its travel trade activities and consumer awareness campaigns in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in an effort to draw more visitors from the GCC market. Positioning itself as one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the region, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority hosted a travel trade roadshow in Saudi Arabia this week in partnership with Emirates Airline. More than 85 key stakeholders from the Saudi travel trade attended the roadshow which comprised awareness workshops for the travel trade in Jeddah and Riyadh on 9th and 10th October. During the first nine months of this year, RAKTDA reported an upturn of 18 per cent in the number of Saudi visitors staying in Ras Al Khaimah’s hotels, compared to the same period in 2015. Moreover, for the month of September, Saudi visitors to Ras Al Khaimah have increased by 39 per cent compared to September 2015. RAKTDA has launched its Vision 2019 tourism strategy with a target for 1 million visitors by the end of 2018. The strategy focuses on the emirate’s inimitable assets which include some of the finest beaches and nature in the region, the highest mountain in the UAE, a unique terracotta desert, 7,000 years of history and heritage, as well as authentic Arabian cultural experiences. The tourism body is planning an additional 20,000 hotel rooms by 2025, along with new tourist attractions, products and events to be developed across Ras Al Khaimah. Emirates Airline serves the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with 70 flights a week offering seamless travel to Dubai from its four gateways: Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Medinah Al Munawarah.

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GCC Tourism Ministers Summit in Riyadh

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The UAE successfully took part in a special meeting for GCC tourism undersecretaries held in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as part of the preparations for the 3rd GCC Tourism Ministers Meeting. The UAE delegation was headed by H.E. Mohammed Khamis Al Muhairi, Undersecretary, Ministry of Economy, and was joined by Saeed Al Samahi, Director General, FTAA; and Abdullah Al Hammadi, director at the Ministry of Economy. The delegates discussed key points from the minutes of its previous meeting — strongly focused on the development of the GCC region’s tourism industry, the further promotion of joint tourism work among GCC countries and the continuation of efforts to achieve common strategic goals and objectives in support of enhancing and improving national tourist attractions of respective member countries. H.E. Al Muhairi shared that tourism in the GCC region has witnessed a positive upward shift in the last few years and has resulted in the region’s tourism segment’s ability to contribute significantly to the economies of countries in the GCC, supplementing contributions that has helped in promoting economic diversity. The Undersecretary revealed that the recommendations produced in the recent meeting complements the move to further enhance joint cooperation among GCC countries.

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Mövenpick Hotel City Star opens in Jeddah

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Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts opened the doors to the Mövenpick Hotel City Star Jeddah, an European-style property in one of Saudi Arabia’s fastest-growing cities. The 228-room property, which marks the Swiss hospitality firm’s third hotel in Jeddah and 11th in the Kingdom, seamlessly blends a classical interior design with a contemporary façade and the latest modern comforts. Located near to both the Al Harthy Exhibition Centre and Mall of Arabia, and just a 15-minute drive from King Abdulaziz International Airport, the five-star hotel meets the diverse needs of business, leisure and MICE-related travellers. The deal to manage Mövenpick Hotel City Star Jeddah has been signed with AlTayyar Travel Group, a major player in the Middle East’s tourism industry and the only publicly-listed travel group in Saudi Arabia. There are three restaurants from which to choose, including all-day dining outlet Al Deira, the glamorous Al Moltaqa Café, and Al Zohoor Garden located next to the rooftop pool. To celebrate the opening of Mövenpick Hotel City Star Jeddah, the property is offering a 25% discount on reserved room prices, which start at SAR 700 per room, per night.

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