Archive for May, 2011

Qatar Airways wins awards in Dubai

For the sixth year running, the Doha-based carrier retained the Leading Business Class Airline In Middle East title, as voted by travel industry professionals, at the World Travel Awards.

And the airline, now in its 14th year of operations, was honoured as the region’s Best Business Class by readers of the prestigious monthly magazine Business Traveller Middle East at its annual awards ceremony in Dubai.

Guests from across the regional and global travel, tourism and hospitality industries attended the ceremonies, held at The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and Armani Hotels respectively.

Qatar Airways’ Dubai-based Country Manager UAE Mohammed El Emam collected both awards on behalf of the airline.

Voting was based on the strength of the airline’s inflight service, cabin comfort, ground hospitality and product offerings for travellers in Business Class. Superior seating with a pitch of up to 78 inches, above the industry norm, and fully flat beds are a hallmark of the airline’s Business Class cabin onboard its flagship long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 777.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the latest awards reflected continued achievements for the young airline in an historic year of milestones.

“Once again Qatar Airways has proved it is an airline being increasingly recognised for its high levels of service and outstanding products by travellers from around the world and by travel professionals,” Baker said.

Al Baker said Qatar Airways had come a long way since its inception in 1997, with a remarkable milestone of reaching 100 destinations recently and a fleet size set to pass 100 aircraft later this year.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 97 aircraft to 100 diverse business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America. The airline’s 100th destination was to the Syrian city of Aleppo with the introduction of scheduled flights last month.

So far this year, Qatar Airways has added five destinations to its international map – Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels, Stuttgart and Aleppo – and is gearing up for more route expansion with a further 10 destinations being inducted into the airline’s global network by the end of 2011.

Qatar Airways’ June – November 2011 route expansion highlights are:-
New Routes:

· SHIRAZ, Iran: June 5 Twice-weekly flights – carrier’s third destination in Iran

· VENICE, Italy: June 15 Daily non-stop flights take Italian network up to three cities

· MEDINA, Saudi Arabia: July 14 4-flights-a-week – airline’s fourth Saudi Arabian gateway

· MONTREAL, Canada: June 29 Debut in Canada with introduction of thrice-weekly flights

· KOLKATA, India: July 27 Daily flights take airline’s Indian network up to 12 destinations

· SOFIA, Bulgaria: September 14: 4-flights-a-week strengthen Eastern European presence

· OSLO, Norway: October 5: 5-flights-a-week – airline’s third Scandinavian route

· ENTEBBE, Uganda: November 2: Daily non-stop flights

· BAKU, Azerbaijan: November 30: Daily non-stop flights

· TBILISI, Georgia, November 30: Daily via Baku

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 31, 2011 at 6:49 am

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Over 6,000 retail outlets expected to participate

Dubai: The Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (Depe) has an official mandate from the Government of Dubai to boost the emirate’s retail and events sector through year-round attractions.

So far, 2011 has been a challenging year to do business globally — political upheaval in the region, nuclear disaster in Japan and soaring commodity prices. Gulf News talks to Laila Suhail, chief executive of Depe on organising the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) amid these dramatic circumstances. 

Gulf News: The duration of DSS has been cut short this year. Why?

Laila Suhail: Dubai Summer Surprises 2011 is the shortest in the history of the event. Numerous factors are taken into account when deciding on how long DSS or other festivals organised by Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (Depe) should run.

The GCC is a key target market for DSS so the festival ideally starts when school holidays begin across the region. This is an important factor for families that decide to go on a holiday during summer.

Additionally, Ramadan is scheduled to begin in August, so obviously we cannot extend DSS beyond July.

Given these circumstances, Depe created a campaign called ‘Summer in Dubai’ that would encompass Dubai Summer Surprises, Modhesh World, Ramadan in Dubai, and Eid in Dubai (Eid Al Fitr). So despite the fact that DSS is five weeks long, residents and visitors can expect an exciting summer of over three months.

What is the budget allocated for this year? Is it more or less than last year and why?

The budget of DSS 2011 stands as last year’s budget of around Dh60 million. 

How many retail outlets are participating this year?

Over 6,000 retail outlets are expected to participate in this year’s DSS. 

What new marketing initiatives will you be taking and which platforms will you be concentrating your marketing efforts on?

Like every year, Depe will be embarking on a GCC road show to promote “Summer in Dubai” and its components.

This road show will also include Depe strategic partners such as Emirates and Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). Also, we are trying to increase our exposure through diversifying the marketing channels. So we are looking to make the most of social media, which has a wide and credible reach across the GCC today.

Tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are as popular as conventional media among the youth and we believe that social media represents word of mouth which is the strongest form of marketing. 

People from Dubai usually leave town for the summer and tourists from the area often go to destinations with cooler weather — factors leading to lower footfall. How will you be dealing with this?

In the absence of any reliable statistics, it is only assumed that the majority of residents leave Dubai during summer. In our experience, the resident market is as important as the visitor segment during DSS. Additionally,

DSS has helped position Dubai as a family holiday destination, with its logo “big fun for little ones.” Vacationers from across the region are more likely to choose Dubai as a secure, affordable, and family oriented summer destination. 

What are your expectations for footfall in shopping malls this year compared to 2010?

Due to the summer season’s challenging weather, shopping malls become the main destination for all visitors and shoppers.

However, footfall has become highly unpredictable in the past few years. Nevertheless, we have done our homework and we are very optimistic that we will witness an increased number of shoppers this year. Dubai’s retail is focused on offering value added shopping experiences to shoppers. It is notable that the majority of DSS visitors are GCC nationals who are also among the highest spenders. 

From which income bracket of shoppers are you expecting the most footfall?

With more than 6,000 shops participating in DSS 2011 with a wide spectrum of promotions and sales offers, each sector of the community will be able to enjoy the shopping aspect of the summer fiesta. Depe makes sure that the promotions offer something for everyone, hence we are expecting the effective participation of all levels of income earners in Dubai. 

From which countries are you expecting the most visitors this year? And who is your target market?

GCC and Mena are generally the main target markets for DSS. We don’t expect any major shift in this strategy this year. 

How are you co-operating with retail, tourism and airlines sectors for a well-rounded DSS?

DSS always enjoys unique support through the collaboration of private and public sectors to add value to the event. Retailers come together to offer the best promotions and discounts in the region during DSS. Tour operators prepare special packages during the summer fiesta to attract more families, hotels also offer visitors reduced prices and added value packages, while major airlines create innovative packages that includes offering children free tickets during DSS. 

How would you evaluate Dubai’s retail sector now, following the economic crisis and the regional political unrest?

In a recent Nielsen study, UAE ranked the eighth country globally in terms of regaining consumer confidence — one of the few countries that had a double digit increase. Depe will be building on these new facts to create innovative promotions that will help attract shoppers and encourage them to spend in a more positive way. On the other hand, retailers after the crisis are more aware now of the importance of maintaining and gaining new customers in these difficult times. So they will have to raise their customer service standards and make sure that shoppers get the maximum value for their purchases. 

Market research shows Abu Dhabi’s retail scene is picking up with the construction of more shopping malls, making it an attractive shopping destination for customers and retailers. How do you see this development?

We feel that Abu Dhabi and Dubai complement each other’s efforts to attract tourists to the UAE in general. It is a very well known fact that most of the visitors to Abu Dhabi tend to spend a few days in Dubai and vice versa.

Hence, we don’t really see this as competition but as joint efforts to position UAE as the shopping and events hub in the region. On the other hand, Dubai enjoys one of the highest retail space per capita in the region with more than 50 shopping malls. Dubai will always have the edge in terms of being a leading shopping destination. 

The political turmoil in the Middle East has made many tourists reluctant to come to the region while some foreigners tend to lump all the countries here together without distinguishing between them. Will this reduce the number of visitors to Dubai?

On the contrary, the modern-day traveller is well-informed of happenings in the Middle East and is able to distinguish clearly between destinations. The target market for DSS is the GCC whose citizens are aware of Dubai as a safe destination and hence we expect increased interest from this region.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 29, 2011 at 6:42 am

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Grounded international flights may get back wings

Srinagar, May 27: If all goes as planned, international flights may again operate from the Srinagar International Airport in next few months, brining respite to the stakeholders who have been pitching hard for revival of the service to bring Kashmir on the international air travel circuit.

Highly placed sources disclosed to Greater Kashmir that serious efforts are on in the power corridors of New Delhi to revive the grounded Srinagar-Dubai flight and also make a Srinagar-Jeddah flight operational.

The development comes in the wake of recurring demands from the stakeholders that the Srinagar-Dubai flightwhich was launched with much fanfare by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi on February 14, 2009be revived to give fillip to the tourism sector in Kashmir. The maiden international flight to Kashmir was grounded in January last year, with the Air India Express citing it was not a commercially viable venturesomething which the stakeholders never accepted.

At appropriate levels, New Delhi has set in motion the process to revive the international flights and in the concerned quarters feasibility study is also being undertaken to look into the commercial viability of the ventures. Once the exercise is completed, youll certainly see some positive headway on the issue, which has been a long-pending demand of the people of Kashmir, the sources disclosed.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation, the sources said, is in the process of persuading the Air India Express, a subsidiary of Air India, on the issue. So far there is nothing in black and white which says the Srinagar-Dubai flight was not a commercially viable venture. At least nothing of this sort has been communicated to the state government so far. There are, no doubt, some issues involved in the flight like a proper route plan, but those things can be sorted out, they said. It is in that connection, a feasibility study is must to sort out the issues facing the airlines and come up with a solution for the same. Having an airport with international tag serves no purpose. It has to be ensured that international flights operate from here so that the tourism sector in the Valley gets considerable fillip.

THE DEMANDS
The stakeholders have been crying hoarse to restore the Srinagar-Dubai flight and also the direct Hajj flights, which were not able to operate from the Srinagar International Airport, last year. The tourism and travel agencies in Kashmir had reacted sharply to grounding of the flights, describing the international status of the airport as a cruel joke being played with Kashmiris. After the public outcry, the state Congress chief, Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz, raised the issue in the Parliament, urging the Civil Aviation Ministry to restore the service. If you connect the flight with Jeddah, you will draw many customers, Soz had told the Parliament in May last year.

Sources said in the wake of criticism on the governments failure to get the Srinagar-Dubai flight restored, the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah recently took up the issue with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

WE ARE AT IT
When contacted, the Commissioner, State Civil Aviation Department, Capt S Katoch said the issue has been taken up at the highest level in the Centre.

And the state government is pursuing vigorously with the Government of India to recommence this operation, at least to the destination where it was working before and also to some other destinations. In a couple of months, we may see some decision in this direction, Katoch told Greater Kashmir.

The GOI is very much aware of the problem. A couple of meetings have taken place on the issue and another meeting is scheduled next month where the matter shall again be discussed.

FLYING RIGHTS ISSUE
Sources said route plans with regard to the international flights are also required to be reviewed. This comes in the backdrop of reports that foreign airlines are barred from carrying out operations from the Srinagar airport even though it has been designated as an international airport.

Foreign airlines cannot be allowed to operate direct flights from Srinagar as Pakistan does not allow these airlines to use its airspace (other than Indian) while flying to and from Srinagar. Foreign Airlines will have to follow a circuitous route, halting in either Delhi or Mumbai, a Delhi-based newspaper reported last year when Srinagar was ousted as embarkation point for Hajj pilgrims.

Sources said route permits need to be reviewed to see how best the flights can operate.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 27 May 2011 21:30:00 Mecca time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 27 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 28 May 2011 00:00:00 IST

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 28, 2011 at 6:37 am

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Dubai ‘needs a Disneyland’ to boost tourism

Dubai needs an entertainment resort on the size and scale of
Disneyland if it is to attract a larger slice of the global tourism pie, the
president of UAE’s BinHendi Enterprises said.

The UAE’s trade and tourism hub must create an anchor
attraction to push it into the league of destinations such as the US and UK, and
mark Dubai as the region’s top holiday spot, Mohi-Din BinHendi said.  

“We need an entertainment anchor for the family, something
like Disney but not Disney. If we have a project like this in Dubai, we have an
anchor for the whole of the world,” he told Arabian Business. “There is a big
gap between Euro Disney and Tokyo Disney. There is a craving for an
entertainment anchor [in this region].”

The UAE plans to attract 15 million tourists by 2020 under
efforts to diversify its petrodollar-driven economy. The capital is spending
billions on visitor attractions such as the Yas and Saadiyat island
developments, in a bid to establish itself as a holiday destination.


BinHendi said he was in talks to create a theme park project
with Star Wars director George Lucas and US engineers Bechtel before the global
financial crisis. The resort, ‘The Magic World of Dubai’, was to be linked by monorail
to Dubai Airport but the plans were scrapped when the financial backers pulled
out after the credit crunch, BinHendi said.

A key barrier to Dubai creating its own family entertainment
resort would be a lack of capital, he said. “Today we attract a lot of tourists
who come here to enjoy the sun, the beaches and the hotels, but we are not an
exotic destination. We are not like Fiji or Hawaii. This is what is missing in
Dubai. If I had the finance I would do this project as one of the leading
projects in this part of the world,” he said.

In Dubai, the sprawling entertainment resort Dubailand was
placed on hold in 2008 after the credit crunch saw the emirate’s real estate market
collapse.

The resort was designed to be twice the size of Walt Disney
World Resort and boasted tie-ups with Universal Studios, Legoland and US theme
park giant Six Flags.

The developer behind the AED335bn project said this week
that it is in talks to agree four major deals by the end of the year with
entertainment partners.

“Dubailand is currently in the process of evaluating new
projects,” said Khalid Al Malik, CEO of Dubai Properties Group (DPG).

DPG is “negotiating a couple of [major new deals] this year…
So we want at least two to four to be announced this year, as much as we can. They
are relating to the kind of designs we had for Dubailand at the start; it could
be tourism, themes of the kind of entertainment stuff we want.”

Jordan’s Rubicon Group last week announced it had signed a
deal with US media giants Paramount and CBS to launch a $1bn theme park and
resort in the coastal town of Aqaba.

The 184-acre Red Sea Astrarium will include a Star
Trek-themed attraction inspired by the 2009 film Star Trek, which is being
developed by Paramount Recreation.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 27, 2011 at 6:31 am

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Dubai has ‘more than enough’ malls, says BinHendi

Dubai cannot sustain any more mega-malls in an already
glutted retail market, the head of one of the UAE’s largest retail conglomerates
said Monday.

“[Dubai has] more than enough malls,” Mohi-Din BinHendi,
president of BinHendi Enterprises, told the 4th Arabian Business Forum in
Dubai
.

“If anyone wants to add another mall, they need to visit a
psychiatrist.”

The UAE’s trade and tourism hub, Dubai is the shopping capital
of the Middle East. A report by consultancy CB Richard Ellis last year found
the emirate ranks second only to Hong Kong for its percentage of luxury fashion
brands.  


Much of these sales are driven by Dubai’s tourism trade,
said BinHendi, particularly a rise in visitors from the increasingly wealthy
emerging markets.

 “The Chinese have
started coming here – they come in big groups, and the Russians are still very
prominent shoppers, as are the Indians,” he said.

While Dubai may not have room for another mega mall,
BinHendi said the city could support smaller, niche malls, such as those
dedicated to furniture or hardware.

BurJuman shopping centre, one of Dubai’s oldest malls, announced
plans earlier this month for a major renovation aimed at increasing retail
space by more than a fifth. The overhaul will free up space for a string of
high fashion brands, the mall said, and the inclusion of a cinema complex,
grocery store and extended food court.

Dubai is also set to play host to the world’s largest
shopping centre should plans to build the Mall of Arabia, part of the delayed
Dubailand complex, come to fruition.

The mall, part of the $5bn City of Arabia Project within
Dubailand, was scheduled to open in the last quarter of 2010 but work has
stalled in the wake of the emirate’s real estate crash.

Original plans show the mall featuring four million sq ft of
gross leasable retail space, more than 1,000 retail outlets and access to the
dinosaur-themed Restless Planet park.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 26, 2011 at 6:20 am

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TravelWise pt 1 – Arabian Travel Market Dubai and Royal Wedding boost for UK tourism

Phil Blizzard, Head of Broadcast
Sunday, May 22 – 2011 at 15:35 UAE local time (GMT+4)

Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited
without the prior written consent of AME Info FZ LLC / Emap Limited.

This article was updated on Mon May 23 2011.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 25, 2011 at 6:18 am

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Emirates seeks to boost tourism, trade with Germany

DUBAI — Emirates is responding to strong passenger demand in Germany by launching extra frequencies to Frankfurt and upgrading one of its Munich flights to an A380 superjumbo.

The moves will further bond two powerful trading partners — the UAE and Germany — whose relationships is worth billions of dollars annually. The UAE is the largest buyer of German products in the Arab world.

The new, daily Frankfurt flight will take effect during the next winter schedule, making the city a triple daily service. Slot times will be confirmed in due course. Like all of its existing services between Dubai and Germany, the additional daily will be operated in accordance with the current air services arrangements between the UAE and Germany. From January 1, 2012, the airline’s morning service to Munich will be upgraded to a superjumbo. EK 49 departs Dubai at 0910hrs and gets into Munich at 1245hrs, one of two daily flights.

Emirates will be the first foreign airline to return the A380 to its home in Germany and the first carrier to operate an A380 to Munich, supporting the airport’s A380-readiness.

“A third daily flight to Frankfurt and the German-built A380 serving Munich is another positive step in what is now a multi-billion US dollar relationship between Emirates and Germany, supporting thousands of German jobs,” said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice-President, Commercial Operations, Europe Russian Federation.

“Meeting clear demand is of direct benefit to consumers, who want more choice, and to the German economy. We know international air services are a key driver of economic growth — facilitating the flow of business and cargo and opening up new markets to German exporters and importers,” Obaidalla added. “Frankfurt welcomes the third daily service by Emirates. This will strengthen Frankfurt’s position as one of the leading hubs of international aviation,” said Petra Roth, Lord Mayor of Frankfurt.

Emirates is currently the biggest buyer of the Airbus superjumbo and one of the largest customers for the Airbus A350 aircraft. The A380 programme alone is estimated to provide at least 40,000 direct and indirect German jobs.

“Munich is looking forward to the Emirates’ A380. Good connections to the Middle East are an essential catalyst for tourism from the region. And as Lord Mayor of Munich, I would like to point out that key components of the extremely quiet A380 engine have been developed and produced in Munich at MTU,” remarked Christian Ude, Lord Mayor of Munich.

In addition to being the top purchaser of German products in the Arab world, the UAE is also Germany’s seventh biggest export market outside Europe. German exports to the UAE reached $8.4 billion in 2010. Furthermore, Emirates contributes more than $535 million into the German economy each year via its purchases of other German products and services, its direct expenditures in Germany, as well as marketing spend.

After starting flights to Frankfurt in 1987, Emirates currently operates 49 weekly passenger flights between Dubai and Germany — double daily to Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf and daily to Hamburg, becoming double daily from September 1. Additionally, Emirates operates eight weekly freighter flights to Germany.

“Fair market access and open competition is good for Emirates, customers and the global economy. Operating out of Dubai with its Open Skies policy, Emirates is well used to competition. In the midst of extraordinary consolidation within our industry, we believe that the merits of competition are now more important than ever,” Obaidalla concluded.

·         —muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 24, 2011 at 6:14 am

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Dubai-Tuzla flight may start in July

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ABU DHABI – Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has announced that a direct air link between Dubai and Tuzla, a city some 150 kilometres north of the capital Sarajevo, will be established in July this year.

The Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the UAE, Radomir Kosic-said, “the opening of direct flight route will contribute to the revitalisation of tourism and trade between the two countries.”

On the basis of Open Skies policy, the UAE, represented by the General Authority for Civil Aviation in Dubai recently signed the Agreement for the air transportation, with the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to facilitate closer cooperation in the field of air transport between the two countries.

The Ambassador noted that the first promotional trip to the new destination, heading to Tuzla from Dubai will depart on the first of July 2011. The ambassador added: “This direct link represents a leap to facilitate the movement of people of the UAE and Bosnian and Herzegovina, and is expected to contribute to improving the economic relations significantly over the coming period.

© Khaleej Times 2011

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 23, 2011 at 6:10 am

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Unrest boosts tourism in more stable Gulf states

Gulf Arab states least affected by regional turmoil are likely to see a boost in tourism, analysts said on Tuesday, with the United Arab Emirates outperforming other destinations.

“Dubai has benefitted drastically, with high occupancy rates, more tourists, and high retail numbers, because your average Arab who used to go to … Jordan, Syria or Lebanon, or to Egypt find these countries suffering from unrest,” said Mahdi Mattar, chief economist at Abu Dhabi-based CAPM Investment.

“They have adjusted to the next best thing which is Dubai. Also international tourists who used to go to Egypt and wanted to see a better weather are coming to Dubai right now,” he said.

UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri said earlier this month that he had already seen an uptick in tourism in the first four months of 2011.

Tourism contributes about 25 percent to Dubai’s economy.

“It’s a very broad mix of tourists. If we look at the Dubai market for tourism, the number one nationality providing tourists to Dubai is traditionally the United Kingdom, closely followed by Asian, Russian and (Gulf) tourists,” said Farouk Soussa, Citi’s Middle East chief economist in Dubai.

“If you look at the number of tourist arrivals, the number of people going through Dubai airport, all these indicators are growing at a rate of between 10 to 15 percent,” he added.

The UAE, along with Qatar, has avoided the public protests that have swept through the Arab world, and Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in the Gulf. Occupancy rates in Bahrain hotels dropped to 10 percent in March, compared with 60 percent a year earlier, according to a Ernst Young Middle East survey.

In Oman, a small sultanate hit by street protests since February, hotel occupancy rates stood at 68 percent in March this year, down from 83 percent in March 2010, the data showed.

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 22, 2011 at 5:59 am

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Azerbaijan tourism gets boost with new office in Dubai

DUBAI – Azerbaijan, the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia is hoping to get a boost to its tourism sector from GCC, with the opening of the republic’s tourism representative office in Dubai.

Announcing the official opening of the Republic of Azerbaijan Cultural and Tourism Middle East representative Dubai office earlier this month in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, Abulfas Garayev, Azerbaijani Minister for Culture and Tourism, said that GCC was a very important region for the country’s tourism sector given its tremendous economic and infrastructuraldevelopment.

“Last year, we saw an increase in the number of scheduled flights from the Middle East to Azerbaijan, and with the support of our regional travel trade partners, we are happy to report an increase in numbers of visitors from GCC to Azerbaijan,” he said.

“We expect further expansion of this market for destination Azerbaijan and this prompted us to open our first dedicated representative office in Dubai to be able to do extended marketing and public relations activities planned for this region,” he explained.

“The opening of this office not only proves the importance of the Middle East as a developing market for Azerbaijan, but also our commitment to develop this market further,” he added. While highlighting the vital role played by Azerbaijan Airlines and flydubai, currently offering daily flights to Baku from Dubai, the Minister also pledged to initiate joint marketing and promotion campaigns to sustain and consolidate leisure and business travel from GCC to Azerbaijan.

Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Azerbaijan, with its history dating back to 10,000 BC, rich culture and beautiful nature, offers a unique experience. Industry observers say that given the regional unrest, Azerbaijan can become an alternative destination to once booming, but now troubled tourist destinations in the Middle East.

According to Aydin Ismiyev, head of tourism department at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, the Middle East market is still not very well informed about Azerbaijan. “While we have a lot of tourists from Europe, South East Asia, Far East and US every year, numbers from the Middle East, although encouraging, but do not reflect the existing potential,” he said.

Out of 1.98 million of visitors to Azerbaijan from abroad last year, some 1.5 million people were tourists, he said, adding that six more five-star hotels in addition to the existing 16 will be launched this year to meet demand in high-end segment.

business@khaleejtimes.com

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 21, 2011 at 5:49 am

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Cut spending 20 to 25%, Dubai Government asks all departments

Dubai: The Dubai government is asking its departments to reduce expenditure by 20 to 25 per cent in a bid to help the emirate achieve a budget surplus of Dh3-Dh3.5 billion until 2013, Ahmad Humaid Al Tayer, Member of the Supreme Fiscal Committee, told Gulf News.

“Fiscal prudence comes as the government looks to do some trimming of its own after running up deficits to the Dubai budget 2011,” he said yesterday.

“Thus to fill the resulting financing gap, expenditure by government bodies in Dubai should be cut by 20 to 25 per cent until 2013.”

However, he asked the government entities not to increase their revenues by charging more fees or indirect taxes for the services they provide.

“There is a persistent need to restructure and merge operations of several government entities, departments and commissions to reduce government expenditure in general,” he said.

Revenue

According to the budget for 2011, the Dubai Government expects to generate Dh29.9 billion in revenue against expenditure of Dh33.6 billion, leaving a Dh3.77 billion deficit.

“However, the shortfall in the 2011 budget is not a major concern yet and definitely we’ll be looking for alternative revenue streams this year. It is a precautionary procedure,” he added.

While the budget deficit has been kept within the targeted bracket of three per cent of Dubai’s GDP, about 43 per cent of total expenditure was allocated to the economy. This spending includes several of Dubai’s vital projects such as roads and transport, airports and civil aviation, as well as tourism.

Al Tayer also called for the setting up of an entity to manage the public debt in Dubai.
This should be part of an efficient financial system which would support the achievement of sustainable development.

He said: “The financial goals of the government should be defined. The concerned government bodies should link operational goals with strategic objectives of the government to meet the needs of society.”

He emphasised that the zero budget initiative, which was already being implemented by the UAE government, is increasing efficiency of government spending.

“It enhances efficiency of government spending and preserves public money by clearly determining activity and programme costs, outcomes and objectives.”

He also said that the Dubai Financial Support Fund, under the Supreme Fiscal Committee, is offering financial support and credit for public entities to develop their projects.

Dr Mohammad Al Asoomi, a UAE-based economist, said: “There are no worries about reducing government expenditure. All UAE nationals, residents as well as the business community should not be concerned by this attempt. Such a policy has been implemented in the Gulf in 1986 and 1998 when the region faced difficulty in economy. However, with similar situation what Dubai is looking for would be useful and won’t affect the economy, but would come with more saving to the government.”
 

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 20, 2011 at 5:45 am

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Unrest boosts tourism in more stable Gulf states


DUBAI |
Tue May 17, 2011 12:57pm EDT

DUBAI (Reuters) – Gulf Arab states least affected by regional turmoil are likely to see a boost in tourism, analysts said on Tuesday, with the United Arab Emirates outperforming other destinations.

“Dubai has benefitted drastically, with high occupancy rates, more tourists, and high retail numbers, because your average Arab who used to go to … Jordan, Syria or Lebanon, or to Egypt find these countries suffering from unrest,” said Mahdi Mattar, chief economist at Abu Dhabi-based CAPM Investment.

“They have adjusted to the next best thing which is Dubai. Also international tourists who used to go to Egypt and wanted to see a better weather are coming to Dubai right now,” he said.

UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri said earlier this month that he had already seen an uptick in tourism in the first four months of 2011.

Tourism contributes about 25 percent to Dubai’s economy.

“It’s a very broad mix of tourists. If we look at the Dubai market for tourism, the number one nationality providing tourists to Dubai is traditionally the United Kingdom, closely followed by Asian, Russian and (Gulf) tourists,” said Farouk Soussa, Citi’s Middle East chief economist in Dubai.

“If you look at the number of tourist arrivals, the number of people going through Dubai airport, all these indicators are growing at a rate of between 10 to 15 percent,” he added.

The UAE, along with Qatar, has avoided the public protests that have swept through the Arab world, and Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in the Gulf. Occupancy rates in Bahrain hotels dropped to 10 percent in March, compared with 60 percent a year earlier, according to a Ernst Young Middle East survey.

In Oman, a small sultanate hit by street protests since February, hotel occupancy rates stood at 68 percent in March this year, down from 83 percent in March 2010, the data showed.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 19, 2011 at 5:40 am

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Dubai tourism ‘benefits drastically’ from regional unrest

Gulf states least affected by regional turmoil are likely to see a boost in tourism, analysts said on Tuesday, with the United Arab Emirates outperforming other destinations.

“Dubai has benefitted drastically, with high occupancy rates, more tourists, and high retail numbers, because your average Arab who used to go to … Jordan, Syria or Lebanon, or to Egypt find these countries suffering from unrest,” said Mahdi Mattar, chief economist at Abu Dhabi-based CAPM Investment.

“They have adjusted to the next best thing which is Dubai. Also international tourists who used to go to Egypt and wanted to see a better weather are coming to Dubai right now,” he said.

UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri said earlier this month that he had already seen an uptick in tourism in the first four months of 2011.


Tourism contributes about 25 percent to Dubai’s economy.

“It’s a very broad mix of tourists. If we look at the Dubai market for tourism, the number one nationality providing tourists to Dubai is traditionally the United Kingdom, closely followed by Asian, Russian and (Gulf) tourists,” said Farouk Soussa, Citi’s Middle East chief economist in Dubai.

“If you look at the number of tourist arrivals, the number of people going through Dubai airport, all these indicators are growing at a rate of between 10 to 15 percent,” he added.

The UAE, along with Qatar, has avoided the public protests that have swept through the Arab world, and Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in the Gulf. Occupancy rates in Bahrain hotels dropped to 10 percent in March, compared with 60 percent a year earlier, according to a Ernst Young Middle East survey.

In Oman, a small sultanate hit by street protests since February, hotel occupancy rates stood at 68 percent in March this year, down from 83 percent in March 2010, the data showed.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 18, 2011 at 5:35 am

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Dubai Chamber all set to implement the ATA Carnet in the country

Dubai Chamber all set to implement the ATA Carnet in the country

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Dubai, UAE: After the UAE issued a decree approving the joining of the Istanbul Convention on Monday, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and IndustryDubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced its readiness in implementing the ATA Carnet system in the country which will allow the temporary admission of merchandise and goods by the end of the year.

As the National Guaranteeing and Issuing Agency for ATA Carnet in the UAE, the Chamber further announced its organising of the third ATA Carnet system workshop in the span of a year in cooperation with the UAE Federal Customs AuthorityFederal Customs Authority. The workshop dealing with daily operation of the ATA Carnet, its financial aspects, benefits and the framework of the administration of the system, will be attended by the representatives of local and GCC Customs Authorities this November.

HE Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai ChamberDubai Chamber, informed that the UAE formally joining the Istanbul Convention will directly benefit the exhibition and events industry as it will allow hassle-free admission of goods for a year by the representatives of exporters, exhibitions and sports events organizers, entertainment and concert promoters, and representatives of logistics, tourism and transport, free zones and banks.

Said Buamim, “Dubai ChamberDubai Chamber in association with the International Chamber of Commerce’s World Chambers Federation has been toiling hard over the years for the introduction and implementation of the ATA Carnet system in the country. Our efforts have borne fruits as the system enhances the attractiveness of its member countries and is ideal for the UAE which has, over the past few years, seen a substantial growth in MICE and has firmly established itself as a reputed regional and international exhibition centre.

Buamim also praised the efforts of the Federal Customs AuthorityFederal Customs Authority in cooperating with Dubai ChamberDubai Chamber in promoting and implementing the ATA Carnet system in the country and thanked them for selecting Dubai ChamberDubai Chamber as the National Guaranteeing and Issuing Agency for ATA Carnet system in the UAE.

Buamim further stressed that the system will directly help in boosting the business environment as it will encourage UAE businesses to participate in foreign exhibitions while promoting Dubai as an international destination for business, sports, cultural and art events, trade fairs and exhibitions while helping in the economic growth of the country.

The ATA Carnet system is also known as the Merchandise Passport and is used by the business community wanting to admit goods across international borders, on a temporary basis, for a period of not more than a year and without having to pay the Customs duty while avoiding the trouble of normal Customs formalities. The system being currently used in 67 countries allows the temporary admission of merchandise and goods in the country through the use of a single document and saves time, money and facilitates most Customs formalities.

-Ends-

Established in 1965, the Dubai ChamberDubai Chamber of Commerce Industry is a non-profit public entity, whose mission is to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai by creating a favorable business environment, supporting the development of business, and by promoting Dubai as an international business hub.

© Press Release 2010

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 17, 2011 at 5:31 am

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DTCM, World Energy Forum
sign agreement

DUBAI – The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chairman of the World Energy Forum on Sunday to extend cooperation and support for the 2011 World Energy Forum to be held in Dubai.

Khalid A. Bin Sulayem, Director-General of the DTCM and Dr Harold H. S. Oh, Chairman, Executive Board of the World Energy Forum, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations.

The World Energy Forum will be held from November 14-17, 2011 at the Madinat Jumeirah. The global event is expected to over 1,000 delegates including government dignitaries, energy ministers, and executives from a variety of energy companies to discuss issues relating to energy, sustainability and climate change.

After signing the MoU, Bin Sulayem, thanked Dr Harold H. S. Oh, for choosing Dubai as a venue to host the global event. He hoped that the event will help Dubai to showcase its attractions to high-profile international visitors who will attend the event.

The DTCM will help coordinate and facilitate processes for smoothly running of the event. Bin Sulayem said, the DTCM will undertake all necessary steps to ensure the event’s success.

Following the signing of the MoU, Bin Sulayem accompanied Dr Harold H. S. Oh, to meet Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Supreme Council for Energy, at a meeting. Dr Harold H. S. Oh, Chairman, Executive Board of the World Energy Forum, said, “We invite energy professionals, policy makers, and concerned citizens from all United Nations Member States to join to create an energy-secure world that can benefit all nations and peoples, especially those who are energy impoverished, to facilitate the development and the advancement of human well-being across the globe.”

The world continues to struggle with complex issues of climate change as well as economic and financial challenges. Although some difficulties have been mitigated, an unprecedented level of understanding and cooperation between industry, academia, and governments is required to make the current fragile recovery sustainable, he said.

Dr Oh said: “More than ever before in human history, the need for access to affordable, clean energy is palpable everywhere in developing as well as advanced nations. National and international policies addressing energy security, climate change, and other sensitive environmental issues will affect choices of energy providers and consumers. Many companies are working on carbon capture and storage technologies necessary to make clean coal a reality, because coal will remain one of the predominant source of electricity for decades to come.” The event takes place at a time when the UAE and Dubai authorities are seeking to diversify their energy resources by adopting clean and green energy solutions.

business@khaleejtimes.com

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 16, 2011 at 5:22 am

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