Neha Rawat

Swiss-Belhotel International to unveil new brands and hotels during ATM 2021

Diversifying its market offering, Swiss-Belhotel International will launch two compelling new brands worldwide and two stunning new hotels in the Middle East during the Arabian Travel Market 2021. The new brands, with an innovative approach to hospitality, will join the groups existing suite of 14 distinctive brands providing greater choice to owners and customers. Gavin M. Faull, Chairman, and President of Swiss-Belhotel International said, “Although the crisis is far from over, ATM Dubai is a great way to prepare for the recovery of the hospitality sector. At Swiss-Belhotel International, our business strategy is focused on responsible recovery while delivering value. We are thrilled to unveil our latest upscale lifestyle brands Maua and Bohemia Collection designed to offer inspiring and unique experiences to our guests. These fit perfectly into our extensive portfolio of brands and will give us a tremendous opportunity to leverage our 5-star luxury offering across a wider spectrum of segments and markets for future growth.” As part of Swiss-Belhotel International’s commitment to people’s well-being and the environment, Maua focuses on wellness, peace, and health in exclusive, isolated, and eco-friendly settings; while the Bohemia Collection puts forth a bold statement of being the luxury brand created to cater to an ego that is hungry for a lively, chic and a special experience. Gavin stressed, “Maua’s brand story is built around togetherness, strength of people and nature. The brand name is created from the Maori Culture of New Zealand. Dating back to the 13th century A.D. and taken from Te Reo Maori – the indigenous language of the Maori people, Maua will add a new dimension to the branding of Swiss-Belhotel International. Maua also reflects the heritage of Swiss-Belhotel International …

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Travel tech giants stage a conference comeback at ATM in Dubai

Travel Forward has revealed an impressive line-up of big name brands to present live on stage as a part of sister event Arabian Travel Market (ATM). This year’s ATM is a hybrid event. Travel Forward is part of the in-person event taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 16-19 May 2021, co-located with ATM Dubai. ATM Virtual will take place from 24-26 May and all sessions from the in-person event will be available to view during the virtual event. In collaboration with the travel tech powerhouse Amadeus, Travel Forward Theatre will welcome Amadeus’s senior vice president of retail for Middle East and Africa, Jamel Chandoul, who will discuss how collaboration can help to rebuild the travel industry using technology to offer travelers a smoother and safer travel experience. The session looks at travellers’ top concerns including health apps. It takes place on Monday 17 May from 13:30 – 14:30. The four-day event kicks-off on Sunday 16 May with a two-part session featuring Gavin Harris from travel marketplace Skyscanner and Kathryn Wallington from next-generation global distribution platform Travelport.

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MENA Leisure & Attractions industry to experience boost during the holidays

MENA Leisure and Attractions businesses are all set to welcome a larger number of visitors during Ramadan and the subsequent Eid holidays. The Leisure and Attractions industry is not only one of the greatest contributors to national GDPs in the region, but it also brings immense joy to families looking to spend more quality time together during Ramadan and Eid. Making the Holy Month a truly memorable time for families, the region’s theme parks, family entertainment centres, water parks, and other attractions continue to bring stunning world-class experiences to visitors. Rosa Tahmaseb, Secretary-General at MENALAC shares, “The MENA region is highly enthusiastic about leisure. This paired with Ramadan and Eid, a period during which people have more time to spend on themselves and their loved ones will result in a much-needed revenue uptick for our sector”. Tahmaseb comments, “We’re thrilled to see technology being adopted more regularly at multiple attractions across the MENA region. The uptake of technology means that our ever-evolving industry can clearly see the benefits of better technology, both from a business management tool view as well as the increased hygiene and security measures that come as standard with various ticketing and cashless cards systems”. She continues, “It is fantastic to see how each attraction adopts the new technologies available to them from amusement parks in Dubai with their contactless technology to Cultural sites in Saudi Arabia”. Sustainability also plays a key role in the industry’s future with eco-friendly features forming a cornerstone of up and coming projects in the region. Renowned for its passion for leisure and entertainment, the MENA region remains committed to bringing its residents and international visitors world-class experiences. As waves of cultural …

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Wizz Air Abu Dhabi commence flights to Kiev, Bari, Salalah and Muscat

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will commence flights to its latest destinations, Kiev, Bari, Salalah and Muscat. The flight to Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev will be operated three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; flights to Bari, Italy will be operated two times per week on Tuesdays and Saturdays; routes to Salalah, Oman will be operated two times per week on Wednesdays and Saturdays; and flights to the capital of Oman, Muscat will be operated three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Kees Van Schaick, Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi said: “We’re excited to offer these new routes giving travellers sustainable options to explore new places. Travellers will be dazzled by the beautiful architecture found in every corner of Kiev, a wealth of history and gorgeous beaches in Bari, and the nature and diverse landscape found in Oman. Kiev, Bari, Salalah and Muscat are our next destinations in a series of new route announcements we have made, and will continue to make – we are committed to providing Abu Dhabi residents and tourists with new travel options and destinations at affordable prices.”

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Europe’s leading National Tourism Offices present United Front at MARHABA Europe

MARHABA Europe is set to return to Dubai this month with a delegation of almost 60 exhibitors from across Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland, presenting a united tourism front ahead of this year’s Arabian Travel Market. The two-day event, which will take place between 14-15 May at W Dubai, The Palm, will host close to 80 travel professionals from the GCC, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon who will meet with the European exhibitors. The schedule of B2B meetings aims to strengthen ties and encourage business between the countries across the travel sector, inviting attendees to interact with European airports, shopping facilities, local tourist boards, hotels, destination management companies, and transport companies keen to network with local representatives and to bridge communication between the regions. MARHABA Europe will also host a Gala dinner on 14 May which offers a much welcome opportunity to network with industry professionals, with Ambassadors to the UAE from Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland set to be in attendance. Yamina Sofo, Director of Sales & Marketing, German National Tourist Office (GNTO), the regional office of German National Tourist Board (GNTB) said, “As one of our top three overseas source markets, the GCC is vital for our restart activity in encouraging travel to Germany. MARHABA Europe’s return provides us with an ideal opportunity to reengage and further develop B2B partnerships between the two regions which will support our continued efforts to position Germany as a destination of choice. Matthias Albrecht, Director GCC of Switzerland Tourism commented, “When speaking to our GCC guests, we really feel that they are desperate to travel again to Switzerland and Europe; therefore, MARHABA Europe is a fantastic way to reconnect tourism professionals with each …

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DCT-Abu Dhabi expands retail Abu Dhabi calendar

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced plans to boost the recovery of the emirate’s tourism industry by rolling out a series of new retail consumer events, promotions, and campaigns in 2021 under its dedicated retail platform, Retail Abu Dhabi. The new events will expand on a successful 2020, which saw a series of innovative programmes, such as the Vogue Fashion’s Night In Powered by Retail Abu Dhabi, seasonal initiatives including the Unbox Amazing summer campaign, and the signature Abu Dhabi Winter Shopping Season, which generated a 23% growth on total transactions (YoY), and 17% growth in spending, with retail sector sales topping AED 2.4bn on Visa cards alone in participating malls. Now, and in line with the latest global trends for innovative and immersive experiences, Retail Abu Dhabi will continue to elevate the consumer shopping experience in Abu Dhabi in partnership with key stakeholders and international brands, by creating exclusive programming for the Abu Dhabi market, promoting the emirate’s global appeal, and stimulating post-pandemic recovery. “2021 will see the most exciting roll-out of dedicated Retail Abu Dhabi programming, as a result of strategic collaborations with a consortium of global and local, public and private sector entities,” said HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi. “As partners, we are all striving towards a shared goal, which is injecting purpose, passion and energy into the emirate’s tourism reopening and recovery. Introducing unique and first-in-the-region experiences, Retail Abu Dhabi’s 2021 calendar will continue to offer opportunities for both the retail and tourism industry.” A major contributor to Abu Dhabi’s booming economy, Rabih Al Hajri, Acting Executive Director …

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Skyscanner reveals trending destinations for Eid Al Fitr and Summer 2021 for MENA travellers

Skyscanner announced the trending destinations for Eid Al Fitr 2021 and the extended summer period. The research demonstrates that the time is now for travel, as MENA travellers are eager to travel safely and responsibly as soon as they can. The top searches for travellers within the UAE and Saudi Arabia during the Eid period included Cairo, Amman and Alexandria for families, whereas groups are turning their attention to Ibiza and Malaga and couples are looking to go to the Maldives, Mauritius and Santorini. For UAE travellers, staycations are still prioritized, with Abu Dhabi, Fujairah or Ras Al Khaimah proving popular. According to Skyscanner’s recent travel trends report – ‘Skyscanner Horizons – The Return of Travel’ – that revealed the top trending destinations globally, Dubai was ranked the 4th most popular destination, likely driven by travellers looking for a holiday, as well as wanting to reunite with friends and family to celebrate Eid. The comprehensive report also highlights that travellers are making their holidays count, as the global average trip length is 16 days in 2021 – two days higher in comparison to 2019 averages. This is a result of shorter journey times as travellers opt for trips that are closer to home, particularly from June to September, with longer trips in October 2021. In 2019, the average journey time from June to October was 11 hours. This has fallen to 10 hours in 2021. Ayoub El Mamoun, Global Travel Expert at Skyscanner shares his tips on how to bag a good last-minute deal and plan ahead for future travels, “Safe and responsible travel remains a key topic for MENA consumers and with travel beginning to re-open across the region, …

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ATM marks Tourism Malaysia’s first physical event since the onset of the COVID

Tourism Malaysia announces its participation at the 2021 edition of the annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM 2021). Set to take place from Sunday, May 16 to Wednesday, May 19 at the Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC), the Arabian Travel Market marks Tourism Malaysia’s first physical event since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting the importance of the relationship between the two nations for Malaysia’s tourism sector. H.E Ambassador of Malaysia to the United Arab Emirates, Mohd Tarid Bin Sufian, stated, “Malaysia has been one of the strongest supporters of the Arabian Travel Market since its inception. Malaysians share many common cultural and religious ties with the people in the region including in promoting tolerance and unity. Discovering Malaysia would bring people closer together and understanding as exemplified by the leaders of the two countries through the exchange of visits including by the Majesty the King Al Sultan Abdullah of Malaysia and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Prime Minister of Malaysia to the UAE as well as by His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of Armed Forces of the UAE to Malaysia recently. These cooperation are further bolstered with Malaysia participation in the coming EXPO 2020, where we aimed to further promote tourism, create more business opportunities and boost bilateral relations with the UAE.” He added “When Malaysia opens its borders, it would welcome again visitors by putting in place the new norms for the hospitality industry to comply with relevant SOPs for Covid19 in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the people and visitors alike. See you soon!” Actively supporting the preparations of Tourism Malaysia for the upcoming Arabian Travel …

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Air Arabia Egypt announces direct flights to Manama from Cairo

Air Arabia Egypt, has announced the introduction of a new service to the capital of Bahrain, Manama with direct flights from Cairo commencing on May 6, 2021. Customers can now book their direct flights between Cairo and Manama by visiting Air Arabia’s website, by calling the call centre or through travel agencies. Since COVID-19 outbreak, Air Arabia’s customer journey has been upgraded to include all safety measures that are in line with the highest international measures. Air Arabia’s entire fleet is fitted with HEPA cabin air filters, which help to provide a safer and healthier environment for passengers. Customers are always requested to comply with the conditions and requirements of the countries of departure and destination.

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Air Arabia resumes flights to Almaty from 21st May

Air Arabia has announced the resumption of direct flights between Sharjah and Almaty starting May 21, 2021. Customers can now book their direct flights between Sharjah and Almaty by visiting Air Arabia’s website, by calling the call centre, or through travel agencies. Ensuring the highest standards of safety at every step of the journey by following all health and safety protocols, Air Arabia has also added to the convenience and confidence of passengers by introducing free COVID-19 insurance coverage. The insurance is automatically included as part of the booking and no additional documents are required from passengers.

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