Last week, Dubai was chosen to host Expo 2020, the upcoming world’s fair Dubai was happiest ever on the news.
Dubai known for being a luxury city, will spend an estimated $6.8 billion prepping for the six-month event to be held in Dubai in the year 2020. Rulers of Dubai say the city’s spruced-up Trade Center and surrounding sites will “astonish the world.”
A few things you should know about our opulent new host town:
1. In Dubai mail is not delivered on street addresses rather People get mail delivered to PO boxes, Courier service though does deliver mail at door steps.
2. About 85% of Dubai’s residents are foreigners.
3. Since 2008, there’s been a series of theme parks in the works at DUBAILAND, the city’s already-gigantic “entertainment complex.” When completed (reportedly in 2015), DUBAILAND will include such zones as “Attractions and Experience World,” “Themed Leisure and Vacation World,” and “Sports and Outdoor World.” It will encompass 107 square miles.
4. Part of DUBAILAND? A $1 billion replica of the Taj Mahal — filled with hotels and shops instead of a tomb — which developers hope will become a “major wedding destination.”
5. Dubaians (as some might call them) celebrate National Day on December 2, the day the United Arab Emirates broke from the U.K. in 1971.
6. Dubai has just one season that is hot. The average summer temperature is 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and in January the average high is 75.
7. There’s no federal income tax for individuals in Dubai, however there are several charges levied on foreigners.
8. If you kiss in public, you’re subject to arrest: in 2010, a visiting British couple spent a month in jail after a two-year-old saw them smooching in a restaurant.
9. Wearing indecent dresses is unlawful, if you wear a miniskirt or expose your body resident can complaint to the police which will fine you or arrest you
10. Dubai has an indoor ski resort… but you probably already knew that. Lesser discussed is the Madinat Jumeirah, a massive “resort” compound with two hotels, 29 summer homes, 40 restaurants and taxi boats to shuttle visitors through its manmade thoroughfare of natural sea water.
11. At the Burj Al Arab — the $2,000 per night hotel on a man-made island in the Persian Gulf — private butlers are on call 24/7 for each guest.
12. Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport is the largest airport terminal in the world, and the second-largest building in the world in terms of floor space. It has a full-service hotel, an Apple store, and two zen gardens. …all the more reason to fly in for the World Expo!
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, has said “thanks to prudent policies of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan UAE is free from violence.
He was addressing the event held by the Indian Islamic Centre in cooperation with the Indian Embassy and Indian Media Corporation in Abu Dhabi on “World Day Without Violence. The occasion was attended by Speaker of Kerala Legislative Assembly G. Karthikeyan, Indian Ambassador to UAE M. K. Lokesh. Indian businessman Yusuf Ali and representatives of Indian community in the UAE.
The minister noted that every one feel secure in the UAE at a time violence prevails in many parts of the world. “There is no violence here because we have understood our exceptional situation”, he said citing mutual efforts among the communities to ensure truthfulness, humbleness and tolerance.
Sheikh Nahyan underlined that the founding father of the UAE Union, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, had outlined that a ruler should exercise tolerance, love and dialogue with people, not confrontation, war and destruction.
He said President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, follows the legacy of Sheikh Zayed to preserve the authentic values of the community through cherishing peaceful approach to build community free from violence. He noted that the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Members of Supreme Council, Their Highnesses Rulers of Emirates and, His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, follow suit.
Sheikh Nahyan hailed Mahtma Ghandi who had outlined the nonviolence concepts.
Known as the most incredible cave, Son Doong Cave in Vietnam which is so big that it harbours underground jungle and a river has been opened to public now. The cave was discovered in 2009 but was not open for public or tourist.
Discovered was made by British cavers, led by Howard Limbert. The cave will finally open to tourists and will enter its first batch of 220 adventure travelers by the end of August 2014.
The cave is so large that it could easily fit in a skyscraper inside it. Located in the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province near the Laos-Vietnam border this cave will be a prominent tourist destination from 2014.
Oxalis, a Vietnam-tour company has opened bookings for six days and seven night tour package for the world’s largest cave’s exploration. Oxalis is the only official operator with permission to host tours to Son Doong Cave.
The cave was restricted to tourists but with recent approvals from the Government of Quang Binh Province has allowed pilot tours in to Hang Son Doong from present till end of August 2014. Two of the very best caving experts from the UK will accompany each tour of Son Doong Cave.
With 30 m tall trees and rivers flowing inside Son Doong literally means mountain, river and cave. These distinct features set it apart from other caves located at different parts of the world.
The cave was formed two to five million years ago by river water eroding away the weak limestone underneath the mountain creating huge skylights. Fossils as old as 300 million years have also been found inside the cave. So if you’re interested just pack your bags to take a firsthand look of this incredible wonder of nature.
Emirates’ expansion reaches new heights today with the launch of flights to Clark in the Philippines, the inauguration of a route between Milan and New York, and a brand new A380 service to Brisbane – all on the same day in four different continents.
First to take off from Dubai International at 0440hrs this morning was EK 338, a Boeing 777-200LR, bound for Clark International in the Philippines.
This was followed by EK 205, pushing back at 09:05hrs for Milan, where the Boeing 777-300ER stops before embarking on a brand new transatlantic connection to New York. Click here to see the video of a JFK landing from a pilot’s perspective.
Next in line was EK 434, departing Dubai at 1025hrs for the airline’s latest A380 destination, Brisbane.
Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, said: “Today is an extremely significant day for our network – we are connecting two great cities across the Atlantic, opening an important new gateway into the Philippines, which helps links Filipino communities across the world, and our magnificent flagship aircraft will quietly descend into yet another destination.”
“These multiple activities embody the scale of our growth, the increasing reach of our network and the role we play in connecting people, minds and cultures as Emirates navigates a path to becoming a top global lifestyle brand,” said Mr Clark.
Clark will be Emirates’ second gateway into the Philippines after Manila. The airport is located 80 kilometres north of the capital, in Angeles City. With a catchment area of 17 million people, the region is poised to become a new tourism and commercial hub. The flight will also help connect the sizeable Filipino communities around the world.
Emirates already serves New York and Milan. The new service addresses an underserved transatlantic link between the two commercially vibrant cities, both in terms of non-stop flights and a premium product offering. Through agreements with JetBlue in the U.S and with Easyjet in Europe, customers can easily connect onto flights serving the U.S via New York and Europe via Milan. With the Milan-New York connection, Emirates becomes triple daily into New York, home to the largest Italian community in America.
Brisbane becomes Emirates’ 22nd A380 destination. Emirates will be the only airline flying a scheduled double-decker into Brisbane, a fitting development to mark the 10th anniversary of services to the state of Queensland. When the A380 leaves Brisbane and continues to Auckland, an Emirates’ A380 “hotspot” will be created. Auckland will become the only place on the Emirates’ network, outside of Dubai, where three of the airline’s A380s can be seen on the ground at the same time; EK 434 from Brisbane, EK 412 from Sydney and EK 406 from Melbourne.
After launching Warsaw, Algiers, Tokyo Haneda and Stockholm so far in 2013, the airline is preparing for the start of services to Conakry in Guinea, Sialkot in Pakistan, Kabul, Kiev, Taipei and Boston in the coming months.
The new additions
Emirates flight EK 338 departs Dubai International Airport at 0400hrs, arriving at Clark International Airport at 1640 hrs. The return flight, EK 339, departs at 1835hrs, arriving in Dubai at 2305 hrs.
Emirates flight EK205 will depart Dubai at 09:05hrs, arriving in Milan at 13:50hrs. The flight will then depart Milan at 16:00hrs and arrive in New York at 19:00hrs the same day. The return journey on flight EK206 will depart New York at 22:20hrs, which lands in Milan at 12:15hrs the following day before departing for Dubai at 14:00hrs, arriving in Dubai at 22:05.
Emirates’ non-stop EK434 service leaves Dubai at 1025hrs and arrives in Brisbane the next day at 0605hrs before departing Brisbane at 0750hrs and arriving in Auckland at 1415hrs. On its return journey, EK435 departs Auckland at 1830hrs arriving in Brisbane at 1915hrs before departing Brisbane at 2100hrs arriving in Dubai at 0520hrs the next day.
100 Days count down has begin for Dubai’s competition \with three other cities to host the World Expo in 2020. Representatives from 167 member nations of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) will cast their votes on November 27 2013.
The Dubai Expo 2020 team is now focused on working towards the ‘Theme Symposium’ in Dubai this October. The symposium is an opportunity for all candidate cities to showcase their Expo 2020 themes. Dubai’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, has the sub-themes of mobility, sustainability and delegates, which represent crucial elements of global development.
The United Arab Emirates’ robust infrastructure, warm hospitality and global connectivity will allow delegates to experience the country’s unique advantages as a potential host nation.
If Dubai is awarded the accolade, the Expo will be scheduled to take place on the eve of the UAE’s 50th anniversary, bringing the World Expo to the Mena region for the first time. It is expected to attract 25 million visitors and would mark the first World Expo in which more than 70 per cent of visitors would not belong to the host nation.
Moreover, as well as aiming to be an inspiration for future generations, the event is expected to create 277,000 jobs.
Abu Dhabi: PAL the national airline of Philippines, will operate a direct daily flight from Abu Dhabi to Manila starting from 1st October.
This comes as part of PAL’s plan to expand its operations in the region, starting with Abu Dhabi, followed by Dubai on November 6.
The return fare (Abu Dhabi-Manila-Abu Dhabi) starts from Dh1,985 for premium economy. PAL also offers domestic connection to Laoag, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Kalibo and Tagbilaran for Dh2,320, while Dh2,535 for Davao and General Santos. Prices are valid till July 2014. The fare prices are inclusive of full in-flight service, such as meals on board, taxes and 30kg baggage allowance.
Departure from Abu Dhabi is 11:15pm arriving to Manila the following day at 12:25pm. On return, departure from Manila is 4:25pm, arriving here at 9:45pm. PAL passengers will arrive and depart at the Philippine Centennial Airport.
According to Pocholo Azucena, general sales agent relations and charter services manager at PAL, the A330 aircraft for the inaugural flight is due for delivery this month. It can take up to 414 passengers, 39 seats of which are for premium economy. Only Etihad Airways currently operates a direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Manila with two flights per day, which are often overbooked especially during the peak season. At present, there are 161,449 Filipinos in Abu Dhabi.
With about 500,000 overseas Filipinos currently residing and working in the UAE, Azucena said there’s a potential market here, especially with Christmas just three months away.
“There’s a need for us to support the Filipinos. We owe it to them,” he stressed. Quoting their slogan, he said PAL would serve as “your home in the sky.”
“PAL’s coming into the UAE market will solve the lack of seats currently experienced by our compatriots especially during the high season of Christmas, school graduation (March/April), Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha, and when prices are so high from other airlines,” said Philippine Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa. She noted that the UAE is considered the top labour destination in the world and the Philippines the top labour origin in terms of ratio.
Cebu Pacific, the Philippines second flag carrier, has announced recently the launch of its direct flight from Dubai to Manila also starting next month.
“The Philippine embassy strongly supports the additional carriers to come here. Aside from answering the needs of Filipinos for more accessibility and cheaper airfare, this will also hopefully support the “More Fun” tourism campaign of our government,” Princesa said.
According to the Philippine Department of Tourism (DoT) statistics, visitor arrivals from the UAE from January to May this year increased by 16.47 per cent compared to the same period last year. The October 1 flight will see PAL resuming operation in the emirate after 15 years. It ceased flying to Abu Dhabi as a stop-over in 1998. PAL’s expansion plan into the region also included Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia by December, targeting the estimated one million Filipino workers there; and Doha in Qatar.
The airline also plans to operate to London by the end of November, following the partial lifting of the ban by the European Union on Philippine planes in July.
“Only PAL can fly to Europe right now (for) complying with all the standards,” said Azucena.
Reservations and tickets for PAL flights can be done online through exotic Dubai Tours at http://www.exoticdubai.com/pal/ . In Abu Dhabi, PAL passengers have the option of checking 24-hour early and upto four hours before departure through the City Terminal. “We are also considering the bus service (from other emirate) in future to further improve our service,” Azucena added.
Dubai: a HotStats survey by TRI Hospitality Consulting Middle East shows hotels in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region did not reach high occupancy levels in July 2013, .
Hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi registered declining revenues and profits in July.
The summer, alongside restrictions on sales of food and alcohol during Ramadan impacted UAE hotel performance, according to the findings.
In Dubai, occupancy declined 12.5 per cent to 54.6 per cent, which pushed revenue per available room (RevPAR — a benchmark for performance) to fall 16.8 per cent. Average room rates (ARR), however, was up 2.2 per cent to $196.87.
“As expected, Dubai has seen performance reach the lowest point of the year in absolute terms. This naturally resulted from a lack of events, coupled with the fact that this month is traditionally characterised by low demand,” said Peter Goddard, Managing Director of TRI Hospitality Consulting.
As more hotels open in Dubai, supply of rooms may not meet demand, Goddard told Gulf News.
“Overall demand will increase; however, there will be a slight drop in occupancy, the reason being that supply will exceed demand. So I think occupancy [in July next year] will be between 48 and 50 per cent,” he said.
As a result of declining room and food and beverage revenues, total revenue per available room (TrevPAR) in Dubai dropped 10.7 per cent to $242.98 compared to a year ago.
In addition, profitability declined 63.6 per cent to $37.35.
Meanwhile in Abu Dhabi, occupancy grew slightly by 0.5 per cent to 50.1 per cent, as per the survey.
But ARR fell 4.7 per cent to $105.82 , which caused RevPAR to grow 3.8 per cent.
Due to high operating costs, the Abu Dhabi market recorded falling profitability, according to the survey.
In Kuwait, too, hotels registered small growth in occupancy of 0.7 per cent to 42.8 per cent, while RevPAR fell 2.2 per cent to $101.02, as a result of ARR dropping 3.8 per cent to $236.15. Additionally, TrevPAR was up 13.9 per cent to $245.86.
Meanwhile in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, hotels showed strong performance with occupancy growing by 81.2 per cent, while RevPAR was up 11.6 per cent to $214.75, triggered by a 15.3 per cent growth in rates.
Jeddah hotels recorded the highest profit margins among the markets surveyed, with gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) up 21.5 per cent to $174.68.
In the eastern city of Riyadh, meanwhile, hotels recorded a 4.2 per cent drop in occupancy to 43.9 per cent, which saw RevPAR fall 7.9 per cent to $96.06. Profitability was down 10.3 per cent to $53.20.
Similarly in Cairo, occupancy dropped 23.5 per cent to 21.3 per cent, which triggered RevPAR to fall 46 per cent to $25.31.
In Sharm al Shaikh, hotels also saw occupancy levels drop 7.5 per cent to 58.2 per cent., while RevPAR fell 10.4 per cent to $23.4.
ABU DHABI, 22nd August, 2013 (WAM) — The National Center for Documentation ‘&’ Research (NCDR) has accomplished 81 per cent of the archives of the Governmental and federal local authorities.
This came as part of the project aims to organize the official archives of the country.
This achievement comes in light of a federal law issued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on establishing National Center for Documentation and Research to carry the responsibility of the National Archives Center in the state and stresses the importance of keeping the country’s archive for the future generations.
In the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the NCDR’s missions visited the archives of 39 authorities, in Dubai they visited 22 entities, 24 in Sharjah, 13 in Ras Al Khaimah and 10 archives in Fujairah.
Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, has made travel to Dubai much easier, with 48 hour UAE visa processing. This is aimed at reducing the amount of time for travelers to acquire a visa to the Middle East nation.
The process handled by Emirates Uganda office requires a traveler to book their travel with the airline and fill in the required forms for the Visa and pay the necessary fees. Successful applications are submitted by the Airline on behalf of the traveler, and once approved the Visas are ready for collection from the Emirates office within a maximum period of 48 hours.
“Supporting our Ugandan travelers to acquire the Visa for the UAE is part our service to facilitate t ease of travel and visit the UAE. Our team is committed to making travel hassle free by handling the process for our passengers within a short period of time”, said Khalid Al Zarouni, Emirates Country Manager.
Since the launching of the service, many Ugandan travelers have taken advantage of the simple, quick and convenient way to acquire a visa for the UAE. Dubai is one of the leading travel destinations for Ugandans and the visa process has helped them save time and costs by applying for the UAE visa directly at the Emirates Uganda office.
“Ugandans can still apply for a travel visa at the UAE embassy, however we can save our travelers time by handling the process, making it convenient and easy. Our goal is to make our passengers travel as comfortable and pleasant as possible”. Khalid added
Emirates operates an Airbus A340-500 on the Entebbe – Dubai route with a capacity of 258 seats in a three-class configuration, offering twelve luxurious First Class suites, 42 seats in Business Class and generous space for 204 passengers in Economy Class.
Throughout the aircraft, passengers are able to experience the airline’s award-winning ice in-flight entertainment system with a choice of over 1,400 channels on-demand as well as meals prepared by gourmet chefs. Emirates operate daily flights (7 weekly flights) between Entebbe and Dubai and onward to more than 137 destinations across the world.
EK 729 departs Dubai International Airport every day at 0835hrs and arrives at the Entebbe International Airport at 1245hrs. The return flight, EK730, leaves Entebbe at 1535hrs and lands in Dubai at 2155hrs.
Emirates flies to 133 destinations in 77 countries on state-of-the-art aircraft where passengers can experience Emirates award-winning in-flight service and in-flight entertainment system, ice.
July 7th, 2013 Rotana Jet, the growing airline from the UAE, is to increase capacity on its services to Sir Bani Yas Island from August 1st, 2013, with the addition of two more flights per week, the airline announced today.
The flights, which will operate between Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas Island on Sundays and Wednesdays, will increase the total number of weekly flights serving Sir Bani Yas to five.
“This increase in capacity in just one year of our operation to Sir Bani Yas Island, where we flew over 10,000 people, demonstrates Rotana Jet’s continuing commitment to the destination.” said Rajendran Vellapalath, Rotana Jet’s Commercial and Planning Director. “These additional flights will enable more people to visit the island, whether to spend a day exploring the Arabian Wildlife Park, experience many of the leisure activities in the island or for overnight stays,” he added.
The new flights will be operated with Embraer jet aircraft in a single class configuration, adding 250 seats each way per week on the route.
Sultan Al Mahmoud, TDIC’s Executive Director of Strategic Performance, said, “Rotana Jet’s additional flights to Sir Bani Yas come at exiting times for TDIC, with the opening of new developments on the island, including the new Anantara Sir Bani Yas Al Yamm Villa Resort which was launched last week. This increase in flight capacity will not only provide greater accessibility for a wider audience seeking an alternative-stay experience, but is also a testament to the island’s increasing popularity.”
Abu Dhabi Events Tags:
In continuation to promote Dubai as the city of Expo 2020 yet another wonder is being built in Dubai the tourist attraction boasting miniature recreations of iconic world landmarks including the Empire State Building, the Great Wall of China and even the Burj Khalifa is set to open in Dubai.
The attraction which may be named as “Mini World Park”, was approved by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum this week. The attraction will also feature odes to Niagara Falls, Mount Rushmore, Rome’s Colosseum, and many other recognisable natural and manmade monuments.
The location and other details of the project are still to come
This is not the first time that Dubai has attempted to bring together some of the world’s most famous landmarks into a single tourist development. Falconcity of Wonders, announced in 2005, proposed builder larger-than-life replicas of the likes of the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Eight years later though and that project has failed to get off the ground.
As part of its Expo 2020 bid, Dubai Municipality this week unveiled a number of other new projects.
The Al Mamzar Corniche Beach development, opposite the incomplete Palm Deira, will add up to 60,000 sqm of new public beaches in Dubai and is expected to open in the first quarter of next year.
A new Maritime Museum, in the shape of a nautical snail, will overlook Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary and will cost AED35m ($9.5m) to build.
The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Library project, which will take the form of an open book, and will act as a new central library. Spread across nine floors, the library will accommodate more than 1m books on display and a further 1.2m in storage.
Dubai News, General Tags:
Dubai plans to introduce a “privilege” program for tourists visiting the emirate, in the form of reward points on all purchases. These points can be redeemed for various benefits, a person involved in the initiative told Zawya.
Every visitor landing at Dubai airport will be automatically enrolled in the privilege program and will receive a “smart card” that, when produced at points of sale, will accumulate reward points on the basis of the size of transactions made by the visitor, a source at Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing ( DTCM ) said.
Dubai has a number of privilege programs in operation, launched by banks, retail chains and institutions, all targeting residents of the city. The ambitious DTCM plan will ensure that tourists and other visitors also benefit from reward programs.
Hotels, shopping malls and other tourism-centric public areas will have kiosks linked to a centralized system that will administer the rewards program, the person said. “It is a win-win for tourists and for us,” the DTCM source said. “Apart from offering benefits to visitors, the program will also help the tourism authorities to better understand the buying behavior of visitors and plan accordingly.”
The Dubai Vision for Tourism 2020, developed by DTCM under the guidance of the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, envisages the number of annual visitors doubling 10 million in 2012 to 20 million in 2020. Dubai has already doubled the number of tourists from five million to 10 million a year over the past eight years, with tourism’s current contribution to GDP estimated at about USD 27.2 billion.
As a part of Vision 2020, DTCM has outlined three areas on which Dubai can focus investment in order to boost visitor numbers: promotion of the UAE as a world-leading family destination; increasing focus on business visitors by promoting Dubai as the events capital of the region; and moving from a regional events hub to a global events and entertainment destination.
As part of this, both the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE) – organizer of festivals such as Dubai Summer Surprises and Dubai Shopping Festival – and Dubai Calendar were recently integrated into DTCM . The tourism promotion authority will also work closely with the Expo 2020 team to support and promote the Dubai bid to bring the World Expo to the region for the first time.
DUBAI – Just five months after opening its doors to the public, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi swept away its formidable competition to claim the gong for the Middle East’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2013 at the World Travel Awards (WTA). The mega family entertainment attraction was lauded at the WTA Middle East ceremony recently held at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai.
The award was received by Mike Oswald, Park General Manager, who said: “When we launched the waterpark, our goal was to deliver an out-of-this-world experience to our guests and to receive this award just a few short months since starting our operations is a sign that we have been successful. This award is doubly satisfying as it is a vote of confidence from both consumers and our peers in the industry so it’s great to see that we have got the formula right straight off the bat.”
The mega waterpark beat some of the region’s most iconic tourist attractions including the Burj Khalifa, Ski Dubai and other waterparks such as Aquaventure, Atlantis The Palm and Wild Wadi, among others, to take home the prestigious prize.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the WTA serve to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry. Today, the WTA brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire. Each year WTA travels the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective successes within each key geographical region. The regional winners compete head to head in a final round of voting to decide who will triumph in WTA’s world awards – the ultimate accolade in the travel and tourism industry. The WTA Grand Final 2013 will take place in Las Vegas later this year.
The WTA award comes in the wake of a recent global ranking of the world’s top 20 waterparks by the Los Angeles Times, which named Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi as the second best waterpark in the world – a hugely promising showing for a waterpark that has yet to hit six months of operations.
Visit Exotic Abu Dhabi tour which offers a regular tour to Ya Water World
Tourism is crucial to Dubai’s economy, which had a gross domestic product of around $90 billion last year; it supports the emirate’s large retail industry as well as its hospitality sector.
Occupancy at Dubai’s 599 hotels, which have 80,500 rooms combined, was 78 percent in 2012 as the number of visitors rose 9.3 percent from a year ago to 10.16 million, according to data from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
Helal Almarri, director-general of the DTCM, told Reuters that the emirate was likely to have more than 160,000 hotel rooms by the end of the decade and aimed to attract 20 million tourists annually by then.
Most decisions to build hotels would not be made by the Dubai government but by private companies. However, the Dubai government is active in supporting growth of the industry by providing infrastructure, marketing the emirate overseas, adjusting visa policies for visitors and expanding the network of the state-owned Emirates airline.
Saudi Arabia, India and Russia will be the main contributors to expected growth in tourist numbers, Almarri told Reuters.
“With Emirates airline and other carriers we focus very much on extending the routes to those markets,” he said.
Dubai’s main airport handled 5.85 million passengers in March, up 20.6 percent from a year earlier, according to airport authorities.
“Airport capacity is not on our critical list of issues to worry about,” said Almarri. “We can easily put on more flights at any time.” Dubai is pressing ahead with a $7.8 billion plan to expand Dubai International Airport, and plans eventually to migrate traffic to an even bigger facility.
MIX OF HOTELS
Traditionally, Dubai has been known for five-star hotels, but more budget hotels have been built in the last few years, appealing to a wider tourist base. Almarri acknowledged this was an important trend.
“The importance in our growth is to have a mix of hotels,” he said. “Over the last five years the hotel offering in Dubai has become more diversified.”
At present, hotel guests stay for an average of 3.76 nights; hotel revenue was $5.13 billion in 2012.
Almarri said that to help increase the average length of stay, Dubai would build more entertainment facilities. Plans for several theme parks have been announced in the last few months by companies backed by the government or Dubai’s ruling family.
“I have every confidence that we will have over the next three to four years coming on line a significant number of tourist attractions which are purely entertainment-like theme parks,” said Almarri.
Having been forced to provision heavily for bad loans following the collapse of Dubai’s real estate market in 2008-2011, banks have become more prudent about financing large-scale projects. Almarri said the theme parks would be funded largely through public-private partnerships.
“Theme parks are procured rather than built in many cases, so come with their own financing packages – the rides are built elsewhere, so you will probably find that many governments around the world are encouraging exports,” he said. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams)
ABU DHABI // The UAE will drop its visa requirements for Canadian citizens visiting UAE within a month, the two countries’ foreign ministers announced here today.
John Baird, the visiting Canadian foreign minister, today met Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“Just over a year ago we set out an agenda between our countries to strengthen and re-energise the Canada-UAE relationship,” a statement from the two ministers said.
“We will facilitate travel requirements to increase business, tourism and joint prosperity for our citizens by restoring the visa regime.
“We are pleased to announce that we have accomplished those goals, which will be formalised in the next month.”
In January 2011, the UAE dropped Canada from a list of 33 countries whose citizens can obtain a free visa on arrival.
The move followed a diplomatic disagreement between the two countries over airline landing rights in Canada and the closure of its military base in Dubai.
Mr Baird said today’s announcement came after two years of talks to rebuild relations between the nations.
“Over the last two years of working to restore these constructive and cordial relations, the UAE Foreign Minister said they will restore the old visa regime and is expected to do so by next month,” he said.
The ministers said Canada and the UAE could make significant contributions towards the region’s prosperity, security and development.
“Within the next six months, our governments commit to explore concrete goals in each of these areas,” the statement said.
“At the end of this period, senior officials will report back to the ministers of foreign affairs with recommendations on how our strategic alliance can be strengthened.”
The two ministers said they signed major economic agreements, such as the nuclear cooperation agreement last year, and others on innovation and sustainable technology.
“More than 150 Canadian companies are currently engaged in the UAE, the region’s hub for trade and commerce,” the statement said.
“Likewise, UAE companies such as Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) are working in Canada on the cutting edge of technology, pioneering new and sustainable innovations in energy.
On regional security, the ministers stressed that the foremost obligation of any government is the security of its people.
They said Canada’s public safety minister, Vic Toews, met Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, in February to share knowledge and experience in law enforcement and security.
Both ministers agreed Canada and the UAE would strengthen cooperation on police, corrections and border matters, including training opportunities.
“We have taken action together to support stability in the Middle East, and we share deep concerns about prevailing forces behind threats to stability in the region,” the statement said.
“We are committed to working together against nuclear proliferation, and we call on Iran to address concerns surrounding its nuclear programme by cooperating fully with the international community, in particular the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engaging meaningfully with the P5+1 process.
“The international community must act effectively and responsibly to address threats to regional stability, including the brutal actions of the Assad regime against the people of Syria.
“Canada and the UAE will look together at the principal threats to regional security and work closely in strengthening stability during the transitions in the region.
“We find ourselves at a historic crossroads in the region and globally: between an opportunity to promote prosperity, security and development, and the threats posed by extremists, conflict and poverty.
“It is essential for Canada and the UAE that we continue to build our strategic partnership for the future.
“Through this partnership, our citizens will realise a world of increased prosperity, security and opportunity.”