Tag Archives: United Arab Emirates

Travelport reveals fastest-growing international destinations for KSA travellers

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Egypt, UAE and Turkey have seen the greatest growth in flight bookings from travellers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the last 12 months, according to analysis conducted by Travelport. Fastest-growing international destinations for KSA travellers booked through global distribution systems. This data is derived from Travelport’s interpretation of relevant MIDT data. It reflects bookings made in the KSA through GDS only. Additional booking will have been made directly with airlines, which may or may not also have a GDS presence. From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, bookings made in the KSA through all global distribution systems (GDS) to Egypt increased by nearly 190,000, up 17% on the previous 12 months. Bookings to the UAE rose by over 70,000, up 13%, and to Turkey by just over 65,000, up 31%.  Global distribution systems (GDS) are vast hi-tech reservation networks that allow travel agents, travel management companies, and large corporations, among others, to search and book airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel-related items. Matthew Powell, Travelport’s Managing Director  for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, said, “Growth in flight bookings tends to be driven by increased airline capacity, rises in demand from leisure trave”llers, economic and political advances, which attract more interest in trade and investment, and major construction projects that require large international labour forces. The results we’re seeing here cut across all of these.”

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Jumeirah launches Zabeel House for curious travellers

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Jumeirah Group has launched Zabeel House by Jumeirah in response to the growing travel trend for exploration through travel experiences. Zabeel House will have a strong appeal for this increasing segment of travellers from across a broad demographic, who want to connect meaningfully with their travel destinations. With five management agreements already signed in the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom, Jumeirah Group is creating an eclectic collection of hotels under the Zabeel House by Jumeirah brand, with a focus on locations at the heart of exciting neighbourhoods. Hotels under the new brand will offer brilliant basics and unexpected extras set in an upscale environment. The core target market for the brand will be both business and leisure travellers who want a lively base from which to explore. The core design ethos of the Zabeel House brand is centred on the uniqueness of each individual neighbourhood. Each hotel will offer an element of bespoke design, unique features and architectural details. Although positioned as an upscale hotel brand, there is no reference to a particular hospitality category.

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Sharjah tourism delegation arrives in Bahrain

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H.E. Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), received a delegation from the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The delegation included Second Deputy Chairman Walid Abdulrahman Bukhatir, Honorary Treasurer Ziad Mahmoud Al Hajji and Board Member Mohamed Ali Al Hazami. During the meeting, H.E Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa stressed on the importance of strengthening cooperation and reinforcing bilateral relations between both countries across all fields, especially the tourism sector. He also mentioned the BTEA’s readiness to strengthen relations with the United Arab Emirates and work towards achieving their joint goals. The delegation expressed their gratitude for the warm welcome and affirmed their readiness to enhance the joint cooperation between the two countries in the tourism field and to further explore bilateral initiatives.

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Etihad to fly to Azerbaijan from March 2018

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Etihad Airways will launch flights to Azerbaijan’s capital Baku from March 2, 2018. The new route is being introduced to capitalise on the growing demand for flights between the United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan. The service will be operated thrice a week using a 136-seat Airbus A320, configured with 16 seats in Business Class and 120 in Economy. Azerbaijan introduced a visa waiver programme for UAE nationals in November 2015 and expanded it to other GCC nations in early 2016. This prompted a surge in travel from across the GCC to the emerging tourist destination located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, offering visitors access to vast areas of unspoiled nature and centuries-old culture. Baku, which sits on the Caspian Sea, is the country’s primary gateway and commercial centre. Peter Baumgartner, Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, said, “The creation of the first ever air corridor linking the two capital cities demonstrates the importance of strengthening business, tourism and cultural ties between the UAE and Azerbaijan.

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UAE and Bahrain civil aviation ink deal for air transportation

HE Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of UAE GCAA

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) signed an agreement to regulate air transport services between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Bahrain. In light of the Bahrain Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ objective to upgrade all its services, especially in the air transport sector with close cooperation between the UAE and its sister, the GCAA witnessed an MOU signing ceremony between the two countries after a successful round of negotiations. Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of UAE, GCAA expressed his appreciation to the Kingdom of Bahrain for hosting important negotiations and raising the development of air transport services between the two countries. Mohammed Thamer Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation Affairs said, “The draft agreement signed with the UAE represents a qualitative leap in the organisation and development of air transport services between the two countries for providing legal frameworks that meet the highest aviation security and safety requirements.”

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Al Bait, Sharjah to see the light of day by 2018

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Scheduled to open in the beginning of 2018, Al Bait Hotel will be preserving the majority of the traditional houses in the area which were exclusively chosen to build and shape the hotel. Managed by GHM hotels, the this AED 100 million Al Bait Hotel has been designed to provide guests with a unique and unrivalled experience of the best Sharjah has to offer. These houses will keep the names of its original owners and rooms so as to highlight the environment and lifestyle of the Emiratis who lived in these houses in the past. Located in the heart of Sharjah, the hotel brings to light Sharjah’s legacy and thoughtful vision to revive the heritage in the region by the protection and restoration of the historic fabric within the city and the Emirate at large. This will allow guests to experience the atmosphere of the past through elements that are in harmony with culture, society, history and civilisation as well as the hospitality and etiquette of the United Arab of Emirates.    

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Another ‘My City Centre’ mall in the offing

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Majid Al Futtaim recently announced that it’s going to start building its third ‘My City Centre’ mall, named My City Centre Al Dhait, in Ras Al Khaimah this month. The retail pioneer’s expansion into the Northern Emirate comes as part of the company’s strategy to increase its total investment in the United Arab Emirates by AED 30 billion by 2026. The new shopping mall will start serving Ras Al Khaimah’s communities early next year. Located in a strategic location, between two growing residential communities in the north and south-west of Al Dhait in Ras Al Khaimah, the new community mall represents an investment of AED 68.5 million. My City Centre Al Dhait will bring a diverse and tailored mix of shopping and dining outlets, offering nearby residents a convenient and accessible destination for everyday shopping needs.  It will be home to 30 stores across 5494 sq. m. of gross leasable area, including a Carrefour Market spread over an area of 1178 sq. m. Further, it will offer 117 parking spaces to visitors.

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7 carriers from the Middle East suspend flights to Doha

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In keeping with the recent instructions from the governments of UAE, Saudi and Bahrain, seven carriers from the various Middle East countries have suspended their services to Doha with effect from June 6, 2017 until further notice. Among these airlines are Royal Jets, Etihad, Emirates, flydubai and Air Arabia from UAE; Saudia from Saudi and Gulf Air from Bahrain. While Etihad, Emirates and flydubai suspended all flights between Dubai and Doha, Royal Jets suspended their services between Abu Dhabi and Doha and Air Arabia suspended their flights between Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah and Doha. Saudia has suspended its flights between Saudi and Doha and Gulf Air between Bahrain and Doha. So all customers who have booked tickets on any of these airlines for flying to Doha will have to contact the airlines for alternative options, which will include full refunds on unused tickets or free re-booking to the nearest alternate destinations. For detailed information, the relevant airlines can be called or their websites can be looked up.

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Sharjah Expo Centre sees 7% increase in visitor numbers in Q1

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Expo Centre Sharjah has recorded a 7 per cent increase in the number of visitors coming to its exhibitions and events during the first quarter of 2017, in comparison to the number of visitors that came during the same period in 2016. According to the Expo Centre management, 302,474 people visited the Centre’s events, including 12 specialised exhibitions, in January, February and March. The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry in the United Arab Emirates currently generates a total of $653 million (AED 2.4b) per year and is expected to continue growing at about 7 per cent per annum until 2020. Overall, the GCC’s MICE market is estimated to be worth some $1.3 billion (AED 4.8b) annually. Located on Al Taawun Street in the centre of Sharjah city, the Expo Centre now has 6 exhibition halls surrounding a central boulevard, with a combined gross exhibition area of 26,000 square metres (279,862 sq. ft.) indoors, plus a further 6,000 square metres (64,583 sq. ft.) of outdoor space. A 200-room Novotel Sharjah Expo is currently under construction adjacent to the expo site. Sharjah is also building a new 370,000 square metre (4 million sq. ft.) exhibition and conference centre in Al Tai district, near the intersection of Emirates Road and Mleiha Road. Expected to open in November, the new centre’s first major event is going to be this year’s edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (1-11 November).

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UAE, KSA remain top destinations for UK travellers

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The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are the top destinations in the GCC preferred by business and leisure travellers from the United Kingdom, according to a recent survey. A review conducted by HotelsCombined of the top 10 countries travelling to GCC in 2016 revealed that more than 10 percent of the total visitors to UAE and KSA are from the UK, followed by Australia and the United States. Other travellers are from South Korea, India, Sweden, Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany. The UAE and Saudi Arabia’s proximity to the UK makes it a convenient destination for travellers seeking warm weather and world-class experience including an extensive range of shopping malls, finest restaurants, luxurious and comfortable accommodation and leisure attractions. The study also revealed that 43 percent of those who booked their accommodation were between the 25 to 34 years old, followed by those aged 35 to 44, which comprised 30 percent of the total numbers. Statistics from Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) showed that in 2016, Western Europe is the second highest demand driver for travel to Dubai, accounting 21 percent of the total tourism volume, with more than 3.1 million tourists. The UK retained its position as Dubai’s number three market bringing in nearly 1.25 million visitors, while Germany stayed within the top 10 list with 460,000 visitors. HotelsCombined also highlighted that travellers to UAE and KSA are comprised mainly of families, couples and businesses. When searching for accommodation, these travellers look for luxury hotels, food and dining options, as well as sport and leisure attractions, spa and relaxation and other activities for family, businesses and couples.

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