Archive for June, 2011

Dubai bonds posting best rally in Mideast as Bahrain trails

Dubai, which has $16bn of publicly held debt maturing later
this year, is posting the region’s best returns as investors turn to the
tourism and trade hub to avert political turmoil sweeping the Arab world.

Dubai’s dollar bonds due 2020 have returned 14.93 percent
this year, more than four times the regional average as measured by the HSBC
Middle East sovereign bond index. Bahrain is the worst performer among the
region’s dollar bonds with maturities of 10 years as a Saudi Arabian-led force
that ended protests three months ago has yet to restore investor confidence.

Amid uprisings that ousted long-time leaders in Tunisia and
Egypt and threaten others in Libya, Yemen and Syria, Dubai on June 15 sold $500m
in 10-year bonds at the lowest interest rate since it required a $20 billion
bailout from neighbouring Abu Dhabi in 2009 to pull it out of debt crisis.
Dubai is the second largest of seven sheikhdoms that make up the United Arab

Dubai looks good “relative to others where there are
concerns that are only growing,” Ann Wyman, London-based head of emerging
markets research at Nomura Holding Inc, said in a telephone interview. “There’s
an improving outlook for Dubai versus its peers and versus its own past.”

Yields on Dubai’s dollar bonds due 2020 have dropped to
6.937 percent midway through the year from 8.564 percent at the end of 2010.

Dubai sought financial help from Abu Dhabi, the capital of
the UAE, after shrinking credit dragged property prices down by more than half
from their 2008 peak. Abu Dhabi debt was the second-best performer, with total
returns of 5.21 percent as of 6:30 p.m. Dubai time on Tuesday. Yields on Abu
Dhabi’s April 2019 debt fell to 4.283 percent from 4.549 percent at the end of

The average return on bonds in the region was 4.44 percent,
according to the HSBC/NASDAQ Dubai GCC Conventional US Dollar Bond Index.

“Credit conditions improved considerably from March onwards,
and Dubai bonds were the biggest beneficiary,” said Nick Stadtmiller,
fixed-income analyst at Emirates NBD PJSC. “Abu Dhabi and Qatar bonds were
trading at much tighter levels, so yields have not had the space to come down
as far as yields on Dubai bonds have.”

Qatar’s debt maturing January 2020 returned 3.14 percent,
the third best. Qatar holds the world’s third-largest gas reserves.

The biggest loser in the region in the first half was
Bahrain, the majority Shiite Muslim island state ruled by King Hamad Bin Isa Al
Khalifa, a Sunni. The Al Khalifa family invited a Saudi-led force to help
restore order in March.

The protests in February and March left 20 people dead, hurt
tourism and spurred the central bank to cut its forecasts for economic growth
this year by two percentage points to 3 percent. Standard Poor’s and
Moody’s Investors Service reduced Bahrain’s credit ratings.

Investors in Bahrain lost 1.65 percent in the first half of
the year. Yields on Bahrain debt maturing March 2020 rose to 5.875 percent from
5.248 percent at the end of 2010.

Investor confidence in Egypt decreased over the period,
making the Arab world’s most-populous state the second-worst performer, with a
loss of 0.9 percent. The decline came even as US President Barack Obama offered
a guarantee on $1 billion of external borrowing and the International Monetary
Fund announced on June 5 that it agreed to a $3 billion loan for Egypt. The 12-
month loan was part of a broader international package for the country after
the uprising that resulted in the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak hurt
revenue from tourism and industry.

Egypt doesn’t need to borrow from the IMF and World Bank “at
the moment” after it cut its budget-deficit goal for the fiscal year starting
July 1, Finance Minister Samir Radwan said June 25.

 “Egypt has probably
priced in most of the good news,” said Nomura’s Wyman. “Fiscal data is probably
going to look worse, not better.”

To be sure, concerns about Dubai’s ability to service its
debt haven’t dissipated. Dubai this month stopped supplying gasoline to its
neighbors as subsidies on fuel prices squeeze its ability to service and repay

Emirates National Oil Co, a Dubai government-owned refiner
and operator of service stations, closed filling points in Sharjah and
restricted supplies to other northern emirates last week.

Dubai borrowed at least $129bn to turn itself into a
tourism, trade and financial services hub, according to Credit Suisse Group AG.

“Should oil prices weaken substantially – though this is not
our base case view – concerns may rise about how much money from Abu Dhabi
could be made available to support Dubai,” Wyman said.

Abu Dhabi controls “95 percent of the country’s hydrocarbon
reserves and therefore enjoys abundant fiscal space relative to other
emirates,” according to an IMF paper by Serhan Cevik published this month.
“Though the sustainability of public debt is not an immediate issue for the UAE
as a whole, there are considerable differences at the sub-national level.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 30, 2011 at 10:02 am

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Dubai Q1 direct trade jumps by 34%

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 29, 2011 at 10:00 am

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After dusting itself off from property wreckage, Dubai is back building again

DUBAI. You know the story. It was the world’s biggest Ponzi property scheme.

When it collapsed during the credit crunch, building stopped, government debt ballooned and people fled, leaving a landscape dotted with hollow-eyed, half-completed skyscrapers: monuments to the ultimate boom and bust. At least, that was the story.

It turns out it’s not so easy for a bricks ‘n’ mortar junkie to go cold turkey. Dubai is building again.

It is just after dawn at al-Furjan, a dusty desert outpost next to one of the new motorways that carve black streaks across the desert. Asian construction workers step off lines of white buses and begin mixing cement, cutting steel and pouring concrete.

Al-Furjan, a development of hundreds of townhouses and villas, was put on hold after developer Nakheel ran out of cash.

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The firm has restructured its debts and resumed building. It’s the same story across the emirate.

More than 100 projects, including vast developments such as the pound stg. 20 billion ($30.6bn), 140sq km Al-Maktoum international airport, are back under way.

And it’s not just pre-planned, half-built developments being completed. Dubai’s leading private developer, Damac, has already completed 28 buildings, mostly skyscrapers, and intends to deliver eight more by the end of this year and at least another 35 by 2015.

Standing next to his newest tower, the 84-storey, curved-glass Ocean Heights in Dubai’s fashionable marina, Damac managing director Ziad El Chaar says: “We’re very bullish on Dubai property.”

With 30,000 new houses coming on the market in the next 12 months alone, another 20,000 due by 2015 and prices down 65 per cent, surely new real estate is the last thing Dubai needs.

Some developers have little choice but to start building again.

The slump in property values means many developments are now worth less than the buyers’ deposits, which are ring-fenced in escrow accounts. Under Dubai law, if a developer does not complete a building, it must return deposits to the buyers, so it is now cheaper for developers to finish projects than to walk away.

“Developers are caught between a rock and a hard place,” Credit Suisse senior property analyst in Dubai Ahmed Badr says.

But other developers are building again because they sense the property market has bottomed out and prices will soon begin to rise.

With construction costs down about 40 per cent on 2008, interest rates low, banks beginning to offer mortgages again after a two-year freeze and the population rising because of political unrest elsewhere in the Arab world (people are moving to Dubai from Bahrain), they believe now is the time to gear up.

“Property has hit the bottom,” El Chaar says.

“Prices are beginning to rise in good areas. We have a land bank and we intend to use it. It’s time to look forward.”

According to a report published last week by investment bank Nomura, prices for residential properties have begun to stabilise.

The rise in construction is one of a number of signs that after a wretched and humiliating two years, when critics sniggered at the spendthrift sheiks who got too big for their dishdashas, Dubai’s fall may finally be over, if only because things could not get any worse.

New figures for the key transport, tourism and trade sectors are encouraging.

Dubai’s best-known brand, airline Emirates, posted a 52 per cent surge in profits last month to $US1.5bn ($1.4bn) for the year to March 31, compared with $US964 million last year. Also last month, the airline successfully marketed a $US1bn bond.

Tourism, a mainstay of Dubai, is also on the up and, according to the emirate’s biggest hotel group, Jumeirah, occupancy and room rates are back to 2007 levels, as a result of 9 per cent growth in tourist numbers this year.

“Towards the end of 2010 . . . we saw a really strong resurgence, coming back almost to the levels that we enjoyed in 2007 and early 2008,” Jumeirah’s Irish-born executive chairman, Gerald Lawless, says.

“There were periods in the first quarter of this year where we actually exceeded our best average room rates of 2007.”

Arab world unrest has boosted the financial services sector, badly hit after the credit crunch.

Bahrain is Dubai’s closest financial services rival and many bankers have relocated from strife-torn Manama to Dubai.

Meanwhile, new banks from the Bric countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have begun to arrive and bank deposits have climbed to their highest level in more than two years.

Traffic through Dubai’s vast port terminals rose 14 per cent last year as operator DP World, which made its debut on the London stock exchange last month, pushed into emerging markets, notably Africa and South America.

The high oil price has boosted activity throughout the Gulf, with new figures showing Dubai’s economy recovered last year, growing 2.4 per cent.

It is projected to expand by 3-3.5 per cent this year.

Growth is so strong that economic index provider MSCI is examining whether to reclassify the United Arab Emirates from “frontier” to “emerging market” by the end of the year.

An upgrade would attract new liquidity to Dubai’s bourses and encourage investment.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 28, 2011 at 9:55 am

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Dubai creates corporation for government real estate

Dubai has established a commercial corporation to own and manage all properties registered in the name of the government, state-run news agency WAM said on Sunday.

Dubai Real Estate Corporation will have financial and administrative independence, WAM said, will be able to contract with third parties, and will be open to sue and be sued.

The entity will be responsible for all development, purchase, sale, lease and management of these properties, the agency said, citing a decree from Dubai ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.

“The Corporation aims to own and manage the properties… including the ownership, reconstruction, investment and the use and exploitation of land…” the agency said.

No details were given on the properties to be managed.

Dubai, the worst-hit property market in the Gulf, saw house prices more than halve in late-2008 as the financial crash wiped out project funding and brought a halt to its real estate boom.

Real estate sales have plummeted since the days of Dubai’s property bubble, when speculators frequently bought yet-to-be- built homes and sold them at a profit before a single brick was laid.

State-owned developer Nakheel, which is seeking to restructure $10.9bn in debt, is expected to be carved out of parent company Dubai World this month.

Dubai said earlier this month it had scrapped 217 real
estate projects in the emirate as of May 31, and expected a further 237
developments to be completed “in due course”.

The total value of property sale transactions plunged to
AED119.5bn at the end of last year from AED152.9bn a year earlier, it said.

Global analysts remain divided on the state of the trade and
tourism hub’s real estate market, with many suggesting house prices have
further to fall.  

Deutsche Bank said this month that Dubai property prices
continued to slide and that political instability in the Middle East had failed
to give the market an expected boost.

“Despite talks of renewed interest in real estate following
regional unrest, there is no visible sign of an improvement,” analysts wrote.

By contrast, London consultancy Knight Frank said last week
that Dubai’s real estate market had seen house prices rise 2.1 percent since
October, with a modest 0.6 percent increase in Q1.

“The Middle East provides an improving picture,” said Liam
Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank. “Dubai has seen price
growth regain positive territory in the last six months and the consensus is
that the market is stabilising following the volatility observed in 2008-2010.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 27, 2011 at 9:52 am

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Pinoy architect wins Dubai photography contest – ABS

DUBAI – Filipino architect Eric Olympia Fajut bagged the top prize in the 1st Dubai Municipality (DM) Photo Contest for World Migratory Birds Day in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Fajut’s winning photo stood out among the entries of the 40 other participants as it was the only one that captured flamingos in action on its natural habitat.

Fajut said that he patiently waited for the pair of birds to do something unusual.

“It was when the other flamingo spread its wings that I took the shot. It was a decisive moment,” he said.

Eric Fajut’s winning photograph. Courtesy of Rachel Salinel.

The photo competition aimed to encourage creativity and artistic talents among DM staff in support of environmental protection issues as well as to introduce them to the characteristics and advantages of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary (RAKWS).

RAKWS is located at the head of the 14km Dubai Creek that covers an area of 620 hectares. It features sabkhas saline flats, intertidal mudflats and magroves, with small lagoons and pools, as well as a few tiny islands lying between the Arabian Gulf and the Al Awir Desert.

The sanctuary supports more than 20,000 water birds of 67 species during winter and acts as a critical staging ground for wintering birds of the East Africa-West Asian Flyway. It also hosts more than 500 species of flora and fauna and is an important eco-tourism destination that receives increasing numbers of local and international visitors.

Fajut received the award on World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) in Dubai. It was a DM-themed event which highlights the threats faced by lands and degradation in the country such as drought and water scarcity.

It was not the first photography award for Fajut. One of his photos was also chosen as photo of the week by a Dubai newspaper last year. Moreover, his photos have been featured in international magazines.

The 35-year-old senior landscape architect has been working in Dubai for 12 years. Photography started as his hobby, and then became a passion to express is creativity and artistic capabilities other than designing.

This hobby paved the way to the co-founding of a photography online group called MidEast Snipers whose members are hardcore photo enthusiasts from all nationalities in the Gulf Cooperating Countries and other countries.

“I consider being a photographer as a privilege to have the ability to cpature and freeze a moment of beauty of God’s creation and share it to others,” Fajut said. “I feel proud to be a Filipino and honored to win this contest.”

He dedicated the award to his family and fellow Filipino photo enthusiasts.

Fajut fully supports the DM’s cause as he believes that everyone needs to preserve the birds’ sanctuaries, “for these are vital for the survivial of migratory birds and will preserve the balance in the ecosystem.”

The WDCD event is organized to promote public awareness to international cooperation to combat desertification, implemeting the International Convention to Combat Desertification. It also targets to direct officials and policy makers in the country to search for solutions to the challenge of desertification and arid lands.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 26, 2011 at 9:50 am

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First ever UAE Ramadan Culture Experience Tour announced

Travel & Culture Services a tour operator offering tours to Dubai and UAE has announced to promote the first ever culture tour of UAE during the Ramadan 2011. According to the company the tour is focused on giving a learning experience to the tourists about the UAE culture with special emphasis on Ramada. The participating tourists will have lectures from famous scholars during the sightseeing tour and will also be able to keep fast and open fast with UAE local family.

The tour has been created for 6 days and will have 3 departures from London UK. It was always considered that Dubai is purely a hopping and luxury beach hotels destinations. This tour will mark a new beginning by introducing Dubai and UAE as a whole a culture destination where people can learn and interact with the local culture and customs and see the history archeology of the country.

The tour is originally deigned by Earth Cultures a UK based culture tour operator while travel & culture Services will be offering reservation for its clients from its web site more details of the tour can be found ay

Travel & Culture Services also offers a daily culture tour of Dubai for residents and tourists which also gives the tourists an opportunity to learn the Culture of UAE and Islam in general. Details can be had at

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm

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Rezidor opens the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Downtown

The Rezidor Hotel Group has announced that its 7th property in the UAE, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Downtown, is now open.

Located on the upper floors of a mixed used building, the new first class- and full service hotel is walking distance from the Dubai Mall and just 10 kilometres from the international airport. Besides 220 contemporary rooms and 22 suites the hotel also features ample meeting facilities including 6 conference rooms, 2 board rooms, and a business centre. For leisure seekers the property has a swimming pool and a gym.

“The opening of this property is a further sign for the positive and optimistic atmosphere within our industry which we also felt during AHIC and ATM. The markets are bouncing back and we see RevPAR increasing – fuelled by both occupancy and rate“, said Kurt Ritter, president CEO of Rezidor.

Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Downtown offers a range of food and beverage outlets. Lemon Pepper restaurant specializes in international cuisine and local delicacies, serving up a varied menu throughout the day. Infiniti Bar Terrace provide a cosy spot for relaxing, while the outdoor terrace bar is great for catching some sun and enjoying views of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

Dubai Downtown is the new hub of Dubai hosting top attractions including the tallest tower in the world, the world’s largest mall, Dubai Mall, the waterfall promenade and Souk Al Bahar. The hotel also borders Business Bay, a mega project covering an area of 6 million square meters, which is designed to be the new centre of Dubai commerce. Key destinations close by include Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai International and Exhibition Centre, and Dubai International Financial Centre (the world’s fastest growing international financial centre), just a few minutes’ drive from the hotel’s site.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 9:43 am

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Emirates Launches Dubai Stopover Program in Canada

TORONTO, Canada – Emirates Airline has launched a new travel program in Canada, “The Emirates Dubai Stopover Program”, this will be a an exceptional hotel and sightseeing package offered as a way to introduce Emirates passengers to Dubai; a world-class tourist destination with something for every type of traveler.

This will be an ideal program for those Canadians travelling to Middle east of to other destinations in Asia using Emirates now they can take a stopover in Dubai and explore one of the world’s great cities before their holidays even begin,” said Don McWilliam Manager Canada, Emirates Airline. McWilliam notes that Canadians traveling to Dubai with Emirates do so aboard the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft. “The Emirates A380 offers passengers an unparalleled in-flight experience and degree of luxury. We wanted to extend this world-class service to our Canadian customers beyond our aircraft, and the Dubai Stopover Program allows us to do just that,” he remarked.

Packages start from as little as $39 CAD per person per night with passengers choosing from a full range of hotels and apartments in the city or on the beach, self-catered to six-star luxury. Hotels include Dubai’s famous desert conservation reserve, the Al Maha Resort Spa; the incredible aquatic wonder, Atlantis The Palm; and Raffles Dubai, a stunning and lavish pyramid-shaped hotel located in the heart of the city, to name just a few. The Dubai Stopover package includes specialized UAE visa service via Emirates Airline’s fulfilment centre, personalized meet-and-assist in Dubai, including quick and efficient VIP escort through Dubai airport stations upon arrival, hotel transfers, buffet breakfast, taxes and service charges.

Kompas Express has been appointed by Emirates as the dedicated provider of the Dubai Stopover Package for Canada and is proud to now offer customers this great product.

Kompas Express President, Robert Zuzek is thrilled to partner with Emirates in this unique new offering. “We are delighted to be working with Emirates to make Dubai a more accessible travel destination for Canadians. It is truly a fascinating and dynamic city that deserves to be showcased,”said Zuzek.

Dubai Stopover customers receive a free Welcome Pack upon arrival, which includes a Dubai Mall privilege discount booklet, offering discounts at retail and entertainment outlets in one of the world’s largest malls, 24-hour contact numbers, postcards and much more.

The Dubai Stopover offer is available to all Emirates passengers and combinable with all fares. It is not restricted to any specific class of travel.

Passengers on Emirates may take advantage of a stopover package on both the inbound or outbound leg of their journey, offering two opportunities to experience the hospitality and vibrancy of Dubai, the proud home of Emirates Airline.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 24, 2011 at 9:40 am

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Dubai exports, re-exports hit three-year high in May

Dubai exports and re-exports hit a three-year high of AED22bn ($5.9bn) in May, a senior business leader said on Wednesday.

Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said latest data showed that the performance was 26 percent higher than in the same month last year.

The value of Chamber members’ export and re-exports for the first five months of 2011 reached AED100bn, he added.

This is a 17.6 percent increase compared to AED85bn registered for the same period in 2010.

“This is extremely positive news for Dubai’s economy,” said Al Ghurair while presiding over a Chamber organised seminar.

“Overall, these figures are a strong indication that Dubai is on track to attain its forecast economic growth of 3.5 to 5 percent for this year,” added Al Ghurair.

He further said that the city’s business environment continued to thrive “with lower rents, a recovery in the banking sector and continued reform measures” helping to boost investor confidence.

Al Ghurair maintained that the first half of this year had seen sustainable growth across Dubai’s trade, tourism and logistics sectors.

His comments came a day after Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Fiscal Committee, said key sectors of Dubai’s economy grew in the first half of the year.

The emirate’s trade and business hub is recovering from last year’s $25bn debt restructuring in its flagship company, Dubai World, after its 2009 standstill sent global markets reeling.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 23, 2011 at 9:34 am

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Dubai Outlet Mall announces new promotions for Dubai Summer Surprises 2011

“As a strategic partner of DEPE, Dubai Outlet Mall will be a part of DSS 2011. DSS is an important event in Dubai calendar and we look forward for a very successful and an entertaining period,” said Vishal Mahajan, Director of Dubai Outlet Mall.

1st to 31st July 2011, Outlet Mall will run a “Amazing Thailand” festival showcasing Thailand’s unique attractions. The mall is decorated with DSS theme combined with Thai style beautiful and vivid ornaments and lanterns and visitors will get to experience Thai culture, entertainment, cuisine and handicrafts with lots of exhibitors offering unique stuff to purchase. There is a wonderful entertainment lined up including Thai dance and performance, craft demonstrations, Thai massages, the Pink Garden show, Roaming stilt fashion shows, Garden Gnomes and lots more to amuse everyone.

Spend win promotion

With major discounts and attractive bargains customers can participate in a spend and win promotion during the one month festival at Outlet Mall. Buying from any retailer outlet at Dubai Outlet Mall will give customers a chance to win daily shopping vouchers worth thousands of Dirhams plus a chance to win an exclusive trip for 4 – family or friends – to Bangkok every weekend. Shoppers can double their chances by spending with their Emirates NBD credit or debit cards.

Vishal Mahajan said, “This DSS in order to add more value to customers’ visit, we are not only offering them the best shopping experience with our signature value offerings, amazing bargains on variety of big brands with great prices and everyday prizes but we also present them with a unique opportunity to experience Thailand in Dubai and enjoy both destinations at the same time.”

He added, “We believe that this festival, held during Dubai Summer Surprises celebrations, with the offerings of extravaganza of promotions, bargains and entertainment, all of which contribute to Dubai being one of the most sought after cities for tourists and shoppers, will be a great success.”

Dubai Outlet Mall is the ultimate value shopping destination of choice for tourists, visitors and residents of Dubai which offers world premium brands such as Burberry, Massimo Dutti, Sacoor Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Missoni, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Cesare Paciotti, Cole Haan and many more at incredible prices with upto 90% discount every day. Customers will get amazing offers on over 1,200 brands in fashion, accessories, furniture, homewares, leather goods and jewellery in 240 stores at Outlet Mall.

The ‘Amazing Thailand Festival 2011’ will be held at the Dubai Outlet Mall daily throughout the month of July between the times of 10:00 to 22:00 Sundays to Wednesday, and from 10:00 to 24:00 Thrusday to Saturday.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

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Emirates boosts Manila-European flights

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino business and leisure travellers and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) now have access to Northern Europe with the start of Emirates Airline’s new extra services to Austria and Germany.

Four extra flights have been added to the Dubai-based carrier’s daily service to Vienna on March 27. The additional Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday flights is served by an Airbus A340-500, offering 12 First Class Private Suites, 42 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 204 seats in Economy.

From September 1, the multi-awarded airline’s daily flight to Hamburg becomes double daily. The extra frequencies are supported by a Boeing 777-200, also in a three-class configuration.

Emirates is strengthening its operations in Northern Europe by adding more flights to Austria and Germany on the back of new route announcements into Switzerland and Denmark.

“By providing these extra flights, we are responding to strong demand for additional capacity on the Vienna and Hamburg routes,” said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe Russian Federation. “The strengthened services will foster new business and tourism to two of our key European destinations and provide even more convenient connections to onward travel through our international hub of Dubai.”

“These additional services from Emirates Airline will provide Filipino travellers better access not only to Austria and Germany, but also to Northern Europe as well,” said Gigie Baroa, Emirates’ Philippines Country Manager. “The extra flights will further improve passenger traffic between Manila, Vienna, Hamburg, and Dubai – all key destinations for business and tourism.”

Baroa said that the introduction of additional flights to Vienna and Hamburg is a major development for air travel all over the world because these new services are expected to increase the population of Filipino travellers in Austria and Germany.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 21, 2011 at 9:18 am

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Dubai tempts once again but danger still lurks

But now, Dubai’s flagship airline has successfully marketed a $1 billion bond, hotels have attracted thousands more guests and unrest across the Middle East has persuaded some businesses to move some their offices to the more stable emirate.

“At one point I had investors tell me they didn’t want Dubai at all in their portfolios,” said a banker. But the success of Emirates bond this month, attracting orders of over $6 billion, is one of the clearest signs yet of returning confidence and served to show the airline’s importance to Dubai’s economy and international image. “Being able to get any airline debt away in a world with $100 plus crude oil prices, the biggest component of an airline’s costs, is impressive,” said Daniel Broby, chief investment officer of UK based asset manager Silk Invest. “The fact that it was a Dubai-based airline is even more impressive.”

Appetite for Dubai debt has been rising in recent months, and CDS levels have sunk back to pre-2009 crisis levels. Not only is the Dubai government planning to issue new bonds this week after a London investor road show, but it recently announced an extension of its bond program to $5 billion. The pick-up in sentiment is a far cry from November 2009, when Dubai World’s plan to restructure about $25 billion in debt sent investors fleeing practically overnight and translated into negative growth for the once high-flying economy.

There is also an unavoidable sense of optimism. In 2010, Dubai’s GDP per capita was just under $42,000, one of the highest in the world. Driven by trade, financial services and tourism, Dubai’s economy recovered in 2010 with 2.4 percent growth and is projected to expand by another 3 to 3.5 percent this year. In contrast, the World Bank expects 1.9 percent growth in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. Cranes are purring back to life and tourists are flocking back to Dubai’s delights such as a ski slope in the desert, one of the world’s largest shopping malls and its tallest tower. Businesses and capital inflows into Dubai — though hard to quantify accurately — have also increased largely because of political uncertainty in Bahrain, a well established financial hub in the region, money managers and bank executives say. Many companies have shifted offices or staff to the city, while UAE bank deposits climbed to their highest level in at least more than two years in April. “Companies are physically moving to Dubai — for some, the regional unrest is an opportunity to have a reasonably large presence in Dubai,” said Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone Global Associates and senior analyst at Political Capital.

But Dubai has been accused of storing up its troubles by postponing debt payments rather than resolving them. Dubai World’s 2010 debt deal delays repayment to after five and eight years, and no Dubai asset sales have yet been announced. The emirate faces about $30 billion in redemptions over the coming two years and refinancing risk remains one of the biggest investor concerns. Issues of creditors taking over assets and enforceability are extremely politically sensitive. “A lot of debt restructuring was for five years or seven to eight years,” said Monica Malik, chief economist at EFG-Hermes. “While this gave a sort of breathing space in the shorter term, you still have the issue to try to reduce these debts in the medium term.”

Despite a recovery in global trade and more stability in the banking and property sectors, Dubai’s economic expansion is far behind growth rates seen during the oil and property-fuelled boom years before the global credit crunch struck in 2008. The size of the emirate’s economy shrunk by 14 percent in 2009, and the overall debt load of Dubai and its companies is estimated at $115 billion or 140 percent of its economic output, not far below 143 percent for debt-troubled Greece. UAE private sector credit growth has been anaemic, at a mere 2.0 percent in February, compared with annual rates of well over 50 percent in 2008, when a construction frenzy peaked. Increased deposits have so far failed to kick-start lending. But Dubai’s saving grace — once again — may prove to be the widely-help assumption that neighbouring Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest of the seven emirates, will be ready to shoulder the burden if, and when, required.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 20, 2011 at 9:17 am

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Dubai shopping fiesta from June 22

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Dubai Events and Promotions EstablishmentDubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPEDEPE) has unveiled a full calendar of summer events and activities in Dubai. “Dubai is considered a unique trade and tourism destination and features some of the best-known shopping malls, restaurants and hotels,” said Ibrahim Saleh, festivals coordinator general and deputy CEO of DEPEDEPE, during a press conference.

Saleh said that the number of Omanis who had stayed in Dubai hotels in the first half of 2010 reached more than 81,000, which was nine per cent more compared to the corresponding period of 2009.

“Dubai has always been a popular shopping destination and a great summer base for many Omani families and the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) is the region’s most keenly awaited summer entertainment and shopping fiesta,” he said.

Starting June 22, shoppers in Dubai can expect discounts up to 70 per cent at more than 50 shopping malls during the 40-day DSS festival. Apart from that, there will be raffles organised with instant rewards and a BMW car will be given away to a lucky winner every week. DSS will also be a great opportunity for tourists to explore Emirati folklore and heritage thanks to its exhibitions and activities.

Taking into consideration young tourists, DEPEDEPE has prepared international cartoon stage shows with Bob the Builder, Power Puff Girls and many others, sport activities and a kids’ fashion week. Along with the DSS, kids will be able to enjoy summer at the Modhesh World, an indoor edutainment venue.

As a part of DEPEDEPE‘s ‘Ramadan in Dubai’ event in August, Modhesh World will turn into an Iftar and Suhoor tent. There will be entertainment for kids and charitable events and auctions to raise awareness for children in need. Throughout Ramadan, special seminars and lectures will be delivered by senior religious speakers and other family activities organised reflecting the spirit of the holy month.

Moreover, the ‘Eid in Dubai’ event which is going to be organised to mark the end of Ramadan will witness several new attractions this year. Concerts by famous Arab singers, folklore and heritage performances and many other attractions are expected to wow visitors.

The main sponsor of the events, Emirates Airlines, also announced special discounts for visitors from Oman who plan to visit Dubai during summers. “To help ensure smooth travel of those visiting Dubai for the DSS festival, the airlines’ Oman office will help in visa facilitation process,” said Sadiq Shukoor, Emirates sales manager in Oman.

© Muscat Daily 2011

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 19, 2011 at 9:12 am

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Kids cruise for free!


The Madinat Souk with the Burj-al-Arab in the background

Join Discount Cruises for a fantastic cruise off the coast of Oman and the United Arab Emirates this December and the kids can cruise for free.

Priced from R5660 per adult sharing enjoy this seven night cruise onboard the Brilliance of the Seas. This package includes port charges, taxes, gratuities, onboard entertainment, all meals, 24-hour room service, entertainment and activities onboard. And children under the age of 11, sharing a cabin with two full paying adults, will sail for free only paying for port charges, taxes and gratuities.

Cruise departs 5 December 2011. Your cruise departs from Dubai and takes in the ports of Fujairah, Muscat (Oman), Abu Dhabi and returns to Dubai on the 11th of December. Flights are excluded but ex-Johannesburg to Dubai fares start from R5900 per person.

And seeing as though you’re going to be in Dubai why not extend your stay? This magnificent city has arisen out of the desert and provides a plethora of incredible family entertainment.

From the timeless tranquillity of the desert to lively bustle of a Souk, Dubai offers a kaleidoscope of attractions for visitors. And it also offers an incredible range of activities and entertainment for children through Ski Dubai, Kidzania, Wild Wadi Water Park and Aquaventure to name but a few.

Ski Dubai – the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East – 6000 tons of snow and open seven days a week, all year round, between 10am and midnight. The change in temperature from 45 degrees Celsius to minus 5 is quite extreme, but also very welcome. At Ski Dubai guests can enjoy tobogganing, snowboarding, snow ball fights and proper skiing under the guidance of a ski professional. Boots, pants, jackets and disposable socks are provided, while beanies and gloves can be purchased at the Ski Shop.

Theme parks are the pride of Dubai and Kidzania, in the Dubai Mall, is one of the best. This safe and interactive edutainment centre shows children how to lead independent lives and to understand the world of grown-ups better. At Kidzania children can learn how to fly an aeroplane, get their ‘drivers’ licence, be part of the fire brigade and star in their own theatrical production.

Aquaventure at Atlantis, The Palms is the largest water park in the Middle East. With thrilling rivers, rapids, speed slides and master blasters set in tropical landscape Aquaventure is a great day out for the whole family.

Or you can visit the Wild Wadi Water Park located at Jumeirah Beach. This beautiful water park features waterfalls, cliffs, swimming holes, a tidal pool and loads of waterslides. Look out for the Jumeirah Sceirah – a 33 metre high slide designed to propel riders up to 80km per hour downward or the Breakers Bay – a wave machine creating 1.5 metre waves.

Contact Discount Cruises on 0860 600 787 or visit for more information.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

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Mohammed calls for focus on tourism

Mohammed calls for focus on tourism

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday called for greater focus on developing the country’s tourism sector.

Shaikh Mohammed called on the federal and local tourism-related entities to intensify their efforts and mobilise all resources at their disposal to develop tourism into a thriving industry in the UAE, particularly Dubai.

During a tour of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) Exhibition at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Shaikh Mohammed highlighted the country’s unrivalled assets and superb infrastructure that provide a solid foundation for a vibrant tourist industry.

Among the myriad attractions that make the UAE a top-notch holiday destination, he cited the country’s magnificent beaches, enchanting deserts, warm climate, world-class tourism and hospitality facilities and Arabian hospitality.

Shaikh Mohammed said the growing global appeal and the quantitative and qualitative growth of the ATM underscored the increasing prospects of a thriving tourism industry in the UAE and the region at large. He said he was happy with the increasing significance and popularity of the show, which has lined up 2,200 exhibitors from 69 countries.

Complementing Shaikh Mohammed’s upbeat outlook of the tourism industry, a research unveiled on Tuesday said the UAE will experience some of the world’s strongest inbound tourism growth over the next five years. The UAE will see an annual increase in arrivals during the forecast period (2010-2015) of 6.9 per cent, resulting in 3.6 million new arrivals to become the 14th country in terms of absolute arrivals growth, said the survey released by Euromonitor International Travel and Tourism Industry Nadejda Popova at the ATM.

At the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities pavilion, Shaikh Mohammed praised the maiden national campaign for promotion of heritage tourism. The Council’s Director-General Mohammed Al Muhairi presented Shaikh Mohammed a book on Archeology in UAE, which was issued by the Council as part of the campaign.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 17, 2011 at 9:00 am

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