Archive for July, 2011

Dubai’s Emaar profits slip 52 per cent

Dubai-based real estate giant Emaar Properties on Tuesday said it posted 422 million dirhams ($A106 million) in net operating profits for the second quarter of 2011, down 52 per cent from the year before.

Net profits for the second quarter of 2010 were 896 million dirhams ($A225 million).

“Second-quarter results were supported by the continued delivery of residential units in Burj Khalifa and in its premium commercial project, Boulevard Plaza, located in downtown Dubai,” Emaar said in a statement on the Dubai stock exchange website.

But it handed over significantly fewer units than it had in the same period last year.

“The company handed over approximately 244 units during the quarter as compared to 270 units and 612 units during the first quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2010, respectively,” Emaar said.

It said that retail and hospitality subsidiaries contributed to its revenue stream.

“Emaar’s business subsidiaries contributed significantly to the company’s revenue stream with the shopping malls and retail business continuing with the strong growth trends as seen during the first quarter of the year,” Emaar said.

The glitzy Gulf business and tourism hub of Dubai was hard-hit by the global financial crisis, especially in its once-booming real estate sector.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 31, 2011 at 12:13 pm

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Dubai budget carrier now flies to Hyderabad

Flight FZ435, scheduled to fly three times a week, landed at the GMR Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport at 0145 hours on Sunday, June 12, following a 3-hour, 45-minute flight from Dubai’s Terminal 2.

The new route is FlyDubai’s second to India and expands FlyDubai’s network to 37 operational destinations across the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the fringes of Europe. FlyDubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “India is a key destination for FlyDubai, which was set up by the Dubai government to provide a good quality, low cost alternative for the millions of expats living in the UAE.

“Increasing the number of affordable, quality flights between Dubai and India, will increase the potential for trade and tourism, as well as ensuring the large Indian expat community in the UAE will be able to travel home to visit friends and family more often. We look forward to successfully serving Indian and other passengers travelling on this route for many years to come.”

UAE Ambassador to India Mohammed Sultan Al Owais said: “The UAE is a very significant trading partner for India and contributes substantially to the Indian economy. This trade has grown from having an annual value of USD 180 million in the 1970s to being worth USD 43.4 billion last year.

“The UAE has invested an estimated USD 6 billion in India and 1.8 million Indian expatriates make their livelihoods and careers here in the UAE. These figures show the strength of the relationship between our two nations and the addition of more direct, quality, affordable flights will help to enhance that relationship for the benefit of both countries.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 30, 2011 at 12:07 pm

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Dubai budget carrier now flies to Hyderabad

Flight FZ435, scheduled to fly three times a week, landed at the GMR Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport at 0145 hours on Sunday, June 12, following a 3-hour, 45-minute flight from Dubai’s Terminal 2.

The new route is FlyDubai’s second to India and expands FlyDubai’s network to 37 operational destinations across the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the fringes of Europe. FlyDubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “India is a key destination for FlyDubai, which was set up by the Dubai government to provide a good quality, low cost alternative for the millions of expats living in the UAE.

“Increasing the number of affordable, quality flights between Dubai and India, will increase the potential for trade and tourism, as well as ensuring the large Indian expat community in the UAE will be able to travel home to visit friends and family more often. We look forward to successfully serving Indian and other passengers travelling on this route for many years to come.”

UAE Ambassador to India Mohammed Sultan Al Owais said: “The UAE is a very significant trading partner for India and contributes substantially to the Indian economy. This trade has grown from having an annual value of USD 180 million in the 1970s to being worth USD 43.4 billion last year.

“The UAE has invested an estimated USD 6 billion in India and 1.8 million Indian expatriates make their livelihoods and careers here in the UAE. These figures show the strength of the relationship between our two nations and the addition of more direct, quality, affordable flights will help to enhance that relationship for the benefit of both countries.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 12:07 pm

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Witness: Mirza knew about RM888,000 Awana Dubai deal

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab Beg, accused of committing criminal breach of trust, knew about the RM888,000 payment meant for the setting up of a Malaysian restaurant in Dubai.

The payment was made to LCL Interior Group and this fact was known to Pempena Sdn Bhd board of directors, of which Mirza was a member.

Testifying in Mirza’s CBT trial yesterday, Pempena executive vice-chairman Akit Sebli said that the board of directors in a meeting on Feb 22, 2007, had given the green light for Pempena to take up a joint venture with LCL Interior Group to open Restoran Malaysia Dubai, better known as Awana Dubai.

The venture cost RM3.06mil.

Pempena was to be a 45% shareholder, investing some RM1.63mil, said Akit during his examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Azlina Rasdi.

Mirza, 52, and former Pempena Sdn Bhd chief operations officer Mohammad Rosly Md Selamat, 56, were jointly charged on Aug 16 last year with committing CBT when they paid RM888,000 to LCL Interior, although the project did not fulfil the necessary requirements.

They were said to have committed the offence at the Pempena office at the Putra World Trade Centre here on Feb 27, 2007.

Representing Mirza was lawyer Sashi Menon, while lawyer Rejinder Singh stood for Mohammad Rosly.

When cross-examined by Sashi, Akit agreed that the payment made was under “operational cost”, which came under the purview of the senior management of Pempena.

Akit was also grilled about his handing-over notes (prior to retiring from his position) to the incoming chief executive officer of Pempena.

The notes were dated Aug 31, 2007.

Sashi: Is there anywhere in this document where it is stated that there was fraud, cheating, or anything like that on Awana Dubai?

Akit: No.

Sashi: So you agree with me that it is merely a trade debt and there is nothing else apart from it? There was no unlawful appropriation of funds. Agree?

Akit: I disagree.

Hearing before Sessions court judge Che Mohammad Zulkifly Jusoh continues.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm

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Tourists vanish in visa scam

Hundreds of Chinese tourists have vanished in Dubai in what is thought to be a human trafficking con.

7DAYS has handed over a dossier of evidence to the UAE’s Committee to Combat Human Trafficking that shows seven tour operators have issued about 500 visit visas between them for Chinese nationals since January.

The visas were issued to two agents posing as representatives of an electrical company.

But the operators have been left facing potentially crippling fines because at least 200 of the visitors have absconded and the firm they were supposed to be visiting does not exist.

Passport copies of the absconders, visa numbers and copies of the fake documents used by the swindlers have been passed to the committee’s research team, which said the case bears all the hallmarks of trafficking and pledged to investigate.

The manager of Smart Tourism in Bur Dubai, Javed Khan, said in May and June his company alone issued 56 visas to
the two bogus agents – a Filipina and a Syrian man – and that dozens of the supposed tourists have since vanished in Dubai.

If they do not leave the UAE, he will be fined Dhs9,000 per person.

Khan said: “This is a big, big problem for our company and for others in Dubai.”

“This woman came to me and had what I thought were all the proper documents – passport copy, residency visa, company information.

She said she was organising for traders to come over for 15-20 days from China.

“They gave me a guarantee cheque for Dhs50,000 which is standard for issuing visit visas. But then it started to happen that these people did not leave.” Khan then tried to cash the cheque, which bounced. He called the police and found the company did not exist and all the docum­ents were forged.

He warned other operators and found six more in Dubai had fallen victim to a carbon copy of the con. Almost all of the visas issued were for young women and Khan suspects many may have ended up in the sex trade.

He said: “We have our sources who say these people are recruited in China and pay Dhs5,000 for what they are told is a two-year working visa. But there is no such thing. Maybe many of them knew they were coming to work illegally but I believe lots might not even be aware.”

Khan said the agents disap­peared once the tourists overstayed in each case.

nichola.jones@7days.ae

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm

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Malaysia Set to Welcome Emirates’ A380 – e

Emirates to Operate First Ever Scheduled A380 Services to Malaysia

Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, continues to expand its list of Airbus A380 destinations, with Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, set to welcome the superjumbo on 1st December 2011.

Emirates’ partnership with Malaysia began in October 1996 when the airline launched its services to Kuala Lumpur via Dhaka. By 2006, the airline connected Dubai and Kuala Lumpur non-stop and operates 21 non-stop flights a week between these two important cities.

In what will be the first scheduled A380 service to Malaysia by any airline, Emirates’ flagship aircraft will operate as EK346 departing Dubai at 0405hrs and arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 1455hrs on the same day. The return leg, EK347, will depart Kuala Lumpur at 1930hrs arriving in Dubai at 2230hrs.

“The United Arab Emirates is a leading trading partner with Malaysia and over the last 15 years Emirates has played its part as the bridge between these two countries. Emirates has always been committed to Malaysia and the launch of the A380 on the route follows strong and increasing demand, not just from business travellers, but leisure travellers as well, boosting Malaysian tourism.” said Richard Jewsbury, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Far East Australasia. “I would like to express my gratitude to YB. Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha, Minister of Transport, YB. Dato’ Sri Dr.Ng Yen Yen, Minister of Tourism and Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad, Managing Director, Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), all of who have supported Emirates over the years and made this A380 launch possible.”

Trade between Malaysia and the UAE has expanded more than three-fold over the last decade from US$1.16 billion in 2000 to US$4.59 billion last year.

Emirates’ A380 service arrives in Dubai at a convenient time giving passengers the options of onward connections to any of Emirates’ expanding list of over 100 European, Middle Eastern, African or American destinations. Emirates also offers a number stopover packages, giving passengers the opportunity to break their journey and relax in Dubai.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 27, 2011 at 11:56 am

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World record hopes for Emirati women’s giant mat

Seven Emirati housewives worked to preserve UAE culture and heritage

Dubai: Seven Emirati housewives got together and made a giant traditional mat from date palm tree leaves, as part of their efforts to keep this symbol of the UAE’s culture alive.
The seven women, who are all members of the women committee of Dibba Al Fujairah’s Culture, Theatre and Arts Centre, said it took them around six months to complete the project as they worked on it whenever they got some spare time out of their busy daily routines.
The mat is made of date palm tree fronds and is 24m and 30cm long. Its width is 74cm.

The traditional mat, known in the UAE as a ‘Haseer’, was widely used to furnish floors of houses, mosques and roof tops in the past. They are still used today, but mostly for outings, especially in the desert. The giant mat will be on display at the first Liwa/Ajman Date Festival which begins tomorrow and will continue until Friday, July 29.

Saif Al Dahmani, Head of Al Nakheel Foundation for Heritage and Handcrafts, is the one who suggested the idea of making the giant mat and is now working on promoting it. He is even trying to find a sponsor for the project to help get the mat registered with the Guinness World Records (GWR).

“We already exhibited the mat at the Liwa Date Festival which ended last week and we got a good response from visitors who were amazed at seeing the mat and appreciated the hard work that went into it,” he told Gulf News.

Common people

Al Dahmani said he chose the traditional mat because it is part of the country’s heritage and something that was used widely in the past, especially by common people. “I am basically coordinating with the women committee, as I am exhibiting this mat at various exhibitions,” he said. “I also promote the handmade products by these women on various occasions,” he added.
Mariam Juma, the general supervisor, who oversaw the project, said she feels proud of the women who dedicated time out of their busy lives to this project. She said the seven women spent six months first, weaving and then sewing the mat. “When we suggested to them the idea, we did not set a timeframe because we knew it is difficult for them to dedicated certain hours to this because of their other commitments.
“This is the first time the women committee of Dibba Al Fujairah has taken up such a project and we are happy it has seen the light,” she said.

Aisha Hamdan, one of the seven women who worked on the mat, told Gulf News they all took part in the project because they wanted to do something that represented the culture and heritage of the UAE as a country.
“This mat does not only represent us women from Fujairah, but the entire UAE,” she said.
Sindiyah Al Rahma, a 50-year-old housewife and mother of nine, said she spent her time working on the mat whenever she was free from her house responsibilities.
“I used to spend around one to two hours whenever I had some time on hand because I also take care of my house and children,” she said.
Fatima Hassan, a mother of six, said weaving and sewing has always been her passion.
“I learned it when I was a child and still love doing it. So the idea of making a giant mat putting our experience into it was very exciting to me,” she said.
Art of weaving
Halima Ali, another 50-year-old housewife and mother of nine, said she learned the art of weaving and sewing from her grandmother and mother and she still does it. She is also now passing on the skills she learned to her daughters.
“We have to pass on the experience of making these traditional handcrafts to the younger generations because they are part of our identity and we have to preserve it in a way or the other,” she said.

At a glance

Work on the giant mat started on December 1, 2010 and was completed on May 27, 2011.
The giant mat will be on display at the first Liwa/Ajman Date Festival, which starts tomorrow and runs until Friday, at Ajman Festival City, near Ajman City Centre.
For details on the festival contact: 050-3006888

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 26, 2011 at 12:51 am

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Dubai Open Chess Championship an Intellectual Diversion

Slick, exciting and glamorous, Dubai is the Middle Eastern capital of splendor. Everything about the emirate is outrageously over-sized, from the monolithic skyscrapers to the shopping discounts. The very cosmopolitan city offers an exotic blend of traditional and western lifestyles that hooks tourists from the outset. The city has a vibrant nightlife, with plenty of night spots to choose from, and plenty of opportunities for adventure with activities ranging from sand skiing to dune bashing. There are a multitude of tourist attractions, shopping malls and local landmarks to see, and as many things to do.

There is always something going on in Dubai. During the month of April it is the Dubai Open Chess Championship. The game of chess has a long standing reputation as the sport of intellectuals. To foster such minds the Dubai Chess and Culture Club was established. As typical of anything in Dubai, the club happens to be the largest dedicated chess club in the world, and the Dubai Open Chess Championship is one of the biggest chess events on the planet. Fans of the game are sure to enjoy the tense atmosphere that permeates the hall as two grandmasters face each other.

In 2011, the 13th edition of the event saw around 170 participants from about 33 countries. Close to 50 grandmasters took part in the tournament, with Sasikaran the top seeded grandmaster winning the championship. Those who missed the event this time around can always catch next year’s tournament, which promises more action and excitement. The Dubai Chess and Culture Club’s main objective is to cater to the mind, and its large library services both members as well as visitors. Also open to visitors are the clubs billiards and snooker room and cafeteria.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 25, 2011 at 11:48 am

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Jeddah, Dubai hotel occupancy rates soar in June

Hotels in Jeddah and Dubai reported double-digit increases in occupancy rates in June compared to the same month last year, according to the latest data released by STR Global.

The Saudi Arabian city registered a 12.8 percent rise to 78.2 percent occupancy while Dubai saw occupancy rates climb 12 percent to 70 percent, STR Global said in a statement.

Jeddah also reported the largest increases in average daily rates (ADR) as hotels posted a 12 percent increase to $214.83.

The Saudi city also posted the best performance for revenues per available room (RevPAR) with a 26.4 percent rise to $168.06, the data for June showed.

 

Tourism in Saudi Arabia as a whole also showed strong performance in June with occupancy rates up more than eight percent at 62.1 percent.

In the UAE, occupancy rates were up by just over 10 percent to 65 percent.

Overall, the Middle East/Africa region reported decreases in all three key performance metrics during June, weighed by South African declines.

The region ended the month with a 9.7 percent decrease in occupancy to 54.1 percent, average daily rate fell 4.3 percent to $141.10, and revenue per available room ended the month with a 13.6 percent decrease to $76.32.

“As South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup in June and July 2010, the results for June this year consequently are showing declines against last year”, said Elizabeth Randall, managing director of STR Global.

“The Middle East (excluding Egypt) continued to report occupancy improvements with stable ADR results highlighting the strengthening of recovery across the region.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 24, 2011 at 11:45 am

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Dubai’s Aquaventure named top 10 global waterpark

Aquaventure at Dubai’s Atlantis resort has beaten rival attraction Wild Wadi to be crowned the most popular waterpark in Dubai and one of the best worldwide, a report found.

Both Dubai attractions ranked among the world’s top 20 waterparks, according to a list compiled by the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM.

[Click here for world’s top 10 waterparks.]

Aquaventure took the No.9 spot in the list, beating more established global rivals. The Palm Jumeirah park attracted 1.04 million visitors in 2010, a rise of 6.1 percent year-on-year, the report said.


Wild Wadi was ranked at No.17, with 690,000 visitors in 2010 and a rise in attendance of 2.2 percent on the year earlier period.

David Camp, vice president for economics at AECOM in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, said waterparks were a natural fit for the Middle East’s climate.   

“Theme park development in the Middle East is largely dormant. Waterparks are a different story; they’re a natural leisure solution for a region with baking hot weather,” he said.

“Aquaventure and Wild Wadi… both made the top 20 worldwide waterparks list this year.”

Both Dubai attractions have some way to go to rival the world’s top-ranked waterparks, which are dominated by Disney developments.

Top-ranked park, the Typhoon Lagoon in Disneyland Florida, saw more than two million visitors in 2010. Blizzard Beach in the same development attracted 1.8 million visitors, and was named the second most popular waterpark.

A sister ranking of theme parks was also dominated by Disney, with Disneyland developments around the world commanding the top four rankings.

The UAE plans to attract 15 million tourists by 2020 under efforts to diversify its petrodollar-driven economy. Abu Dhabi is spending billions on visitor attractions such as the Yas Island development, which is scheduled to open a $165m waterpark in early 2013.

Dubai’s planned $91bn Dubailand theme park was put on hold in late 2008 after the onset of the financial crisis, but had boasted tie-ups with Universal Studios, US theme park giant Six Flags and Legoland.

Mohi-Din BinHendi, president of UAE conglomerate BinHendi Enterprises, said in May Dubai needed a Disney-style theme park attraction if it was going to compete with global tourism hubs.

Walt Disney Company said in May it had no immediate plans to set up in Dubai.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

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Dubai becomes educational tourism hub

Dubai becomes educational tourism hub

As the summer months sink in, Dubai sees an influx of young tourists pursuing their growing interest in Arabic language and culture.

Students from other parts of the world have been flocking to the region for a variety of reasons. For many, Dubai proves to be the ideal destination for language immersion.

Learning Arabic allows students to pursue careers in international relations and consular diplomacy in the Middle East. Knowledge of the language also offers a peek into the region’s rich history, steeped in art and culture.

“Dubai is the perfect mix of the modern and the traditional. Staying here has allowed me access into regional cultural artefacts, from Syrian art to Omani folklore, without having to travel to these places,” Jannike Thiesen, a 22-year-old Art History student from Norway, told Khaleej Times. She spent the last three weeks in Dubai as part of research for her thesis on Islamic Art in modern cities, and has also enrolled herself in a two-week summer Arabic language programme.

Then there are students, such as Leslie Malouf, who opt for an extended stop-over in Dubai to learn the language of their forefathers. “Two of my friends (of Arab ancestry) came with me on this trip. We decided on Dubai because it’s largely bilingual which is a safety net for us, knowing that even if our spoken Arabic is weak, people can understand us,” the third generation Lebanese American student said.

“I decided to take up Arabic in my first year of college. I’ve always felt detached from my culture and heritage because I grew up speaking only English.” After two years of learning Arabic, Leslie decided to sign up for a language immersion programme in which students live in a town where the main language of communication is in the language they are learning. “It improves fluency and is the best way to practice the language,” she added. Leslie dreams of going to Beirut and reconnecting with her many distant relatives her grandparents remember fondly. Supplementing the influx of students eager to learn Arabic are students wanting to improve their English with summer classes in the UAE. Mehmet Uygur came to Dubai in early May for a 12-week language course before starting his first term at University of Nottingham in September. “In Turkey, even those who attend the best English-medium schools have a mental block against speaking English. Most of us look for any reason to practice the language, but it’s not easy to speak fluently for us since everything in Ankara is written in Turkish. It’s very hard to compete with native speakers,” he said. For Mehmet, Dubai offers the perfect summer opportunity to work on his English while brushing up on his second language, Arabic.

More than 150 students have enrolled in English language classes at various institutions across the city this summer — from Eton Institute that offers intensive short-term language courses, to the International House, Dubai with its accredited English programme. According to Eton Institute’s Marketing Manager, Moaz Khan, the educational tourism sector in Dubai is mushrooming due to the cost-effectiveness of courses, as well as a higher level of training standards.

Most students enrolled in English classes hail from countries in the region, particularly from Saudi Arabia. “English is a very important language for business. If you want to make a name for yourself in the world, you need to think globally, and in English,” Saeed Al Qasim, a 37-year-old entrepreneur based in Riyadh, said. “The UAE has so many opportunities the rest of the Gulf can learn from. I want to be able to be good enough in English to start spoken English courses in Saudi someday. I think education is one sector our region should invest in, and language education is a growing aspect we should encourage,” he said.

With the popularity of the established hospitality sector and the burgeoning fashion industry, short-term summer courses in these fields by accredited Universities could further?boost the city’s capacity as an educational tourist hub.

Summer Courses

Institute: International House, Dubai (Language)Course: Two-week ‘semi-intensive’ courses in English and Arabic. They also offer Business English and Conversational English as separate modules. The syllabus involves practical activities such as drama, computer work, blogging, arts and crafts, and music as a way of better grasping the languages.Total hours: 30 hours over two weeksCost: Dh 1,200 – Dh 1,600

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Institute: Eton Institute (Language)Course: Arabic, English, Spanish, French, German and Italian summer intensive classes. Four hours of practical learning daily, from Sunday to Thursday.Total Hours: 60 hours over three weeksCost: Dh2,250 for 2 levels

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Institute: Esmod Dubai (Fashion)Course: Summer Fashion, New Couture Masterclass, Perfume Discovery, Fashion Journalism, Textile workshop, Photoshop and Illustrator, Professional Fashion Make Up, Corset and Bustier MasterclassTotal hours: Courses vary from two week intensives to month-long programmesCost: Varies depending on course and intensity.

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Institute: Preston University Ajman (Interior Design)Course: Three-month long Interior Design courses covering modules like digital design, sketching, fabric painting, and a nine-month certification programmeTotal Hours: Three hours per week per classCost: Dh1,500 to Dh2,300 per month.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 22, 2011 at 11:32 am

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Improve services to boost tourism’


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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 21, 2011 at 11:27 am

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Retail sales see increase in first half of Dubai Summer Surprises

Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Malls Group, said: “The ‘Summer in Dubai’ initiative has energised the retail and tourism sector of Dubai with all participating malls of Emaar Malls Group recording robust visitor footfall. The bargain offers on retail and the family entertainment activities serve as huge draws for visitors, both Dubai residents as well as tourists. Having recorded an impressive 30% growth in visitor footfall during DSS 2010, we expect the total visitor numbers to be even more significant this year.”

Mercato, the shopping centre located in Jumeirah, has seen a sales increase of 10% since the start of DSS as compared to last year. Rana Jaser, PR and Communications Manager at Mercato and Town Centre Jumeirah, said: “These results are very encouraging and were made possible by the efforts of Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment, the organizers of Dubai Summer Surprises. The summer extravaganza provides events and attractions for everyone- tourists, residents, families, and individual travellers.”

“With over three weeks left for DSS to conclude, we expect to see increased footfall and sales,” she added.

Al Ghurair Centre is expecting a 25% increase in retail sales this summer, according to Joe Abi Khalil, Marketing Director at Al Ghurair Center. “DSS plays a vital role in the increase of sales and is effective in promoting shopping offers in the mall. By combining DSS events, activities, shopping offers, and raffles, Al Ghurair Centre is expecting a sales increase of 25%.”

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Retail LLC, said: “With Dubai having established itself as the global shopping and entertainment destination, the world-class leisure and entertainment attractions of Emaar Retail LLC are perfectly aligned with the ‘Summer in Dubai’ campaign to boost tourism and drive the retail sector. A strong draw for our visitors, Emaar Retail’s leisure attractions are witnessing robust visitor turnout and community engagement, offering an unprecedented retail experience, strengthening footfall and encouraging sales.”

Vishal Mahajan, Director of Dubai Outlet Mall, said that the mall was expecting a sales increase of between 25 and 30 per cent during DSS when compared to the months preceding it.

Bernice Boshoff, General Manager, Festival Centre Dubai Festival City, said: “We are delighted to announce that the total count of promotion coupons for the first half of DSS 2011 increased by more than 100% compared to the same period last year. This outcome reflects the success of our promotions and free calendar of kids events, and is obviously stimulated by the rise of inbound tourists. As a strategic partner, we are supporting the initiative of Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment by expanding the shopping mall working hours to cater to the increased footfall and ensure the positioning of Dubai as a destination for distinctive festivals”.

Gold has also witnessed an increase this summer. Buoyed by purchases made by travelling expatriates and local demand, gold and jewellery sales saw an increase of 20% between 22 June and 11 July when compared to the same period last year.

Anan Fakhreddin, Chairman of Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group attributed the positive figures to the wide spectrum of promotions and discounts that retailers are offering for DSS Shoppers. “Dubai witnesses an increased inflow of tourists during the big events and festivals such as DSS and our retailers capitalize on these events by creating attractive promotions that draw tourists and shoppers from all nationalities, thus further enhancing the position of Dubai as the retail hub of the region.”

“DSS sales have been fairly positive and we’ve seen a sales increase of close to 10% during this period. The main reasons for this have been the fact that we’ve seen increased footfall from local residents making pre-vacation purchases, and purchases from tourists especially from the GCC. Smartphones, digital cameras and tablets have been the most popular products so far. In the next couple of weeks, we also anticipate the sales of major domestic appliances to increase as a lot of pre-Ramadan shopping is expected to commence,” said Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Electronics.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 20, 2011 at 11:22 am

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DIFC grows to account for 3.6% of Dubai’s GDP

DUBAI – Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) continues its contribution to Dubai’s GDP that accounted for 3.6 per cent in 2010 and one per cent in the country’s economy last year.

The tax-free park on Monday issued its fourth annual Economic Activity Survey Report, updating the market on the growth, sectorial contribution and level of economic performance of the DIFC sub-economy during 2010 and its contribution to Dubai’s GDP.

The survey, places the total GDP of the centre’s sub-economy at $2.92 billion, up 5.2 per cent from $2.77 billion in 2009. This puts DIFC’s contribution to the whole Dubai GDP ($81.96 billion) at approximately 3.6 per cent and its contribution to the UAE economy at 0.97 per cent.

“With the growing role and confidence in Dubai as a safe haven, the Emirate has confirmed its position as the financial, logistic, tourism and business hub of the Middle East, with DIFC as the central component of the banking financial sector,” DIFC Authority Chief Executive Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar said.

The economic survey, undertaken by the DIFC Economics department, is based on international best practices in national accounting, and measures output, intermediate consumption and ultimately the gross value added produced within the DIFC district by entities registered in the Centre. DIFC had 477 respondents for the survey which represents nearly 62 per cent of its client base.

Dr Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist and Head of External Relations, DIFC Authority, said: “The year 2010, coming out of the Great Recession of 2009, was a better-performing year globally and regionally, which was reflected in the performance of the DIFC sub-economy. With more companies joining DIFC, particularly from the emerging economies which made up around 45 per cent of our client base in 2010, it is no surprise that DIFC’s GDP reached $2.92 billion in 2010.”

The breakdown of DIFC’s GDP by sector shows that the financial activities accounted for 72 per cent of the total, while business services accounted for 26.5 per cent, with the rest attributed to public administration. This sectorial share was similar to what DIFC saw in 2009.

This year’s data also included the results of a detailed labour force survey, to track not only employment growth in DIFC but also the quality, distribution and average pay for the diverse workforce. In 2010, DIFC had about 11,331 full time employees, of which men represented 65.5 per cent (7,427), with an international, diverse and highly skilled workforce of whom 86 per cent where university graduates and post-graduates. The percentage of UAE nationals working in the DIFC was 2.2 per cent.

The third survey of Economic Activity at the DIFC for the year 2009, conducted by the DIFC Economics Unit, had placed the total value added of the DIFC sub-economy at $2.77 billion or approximately 1.1 per cent of the UAE GDP (Dh914 billion) and approximately 3.8 per cent of Dubai’s estimated 2009 GDP.

 abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 19, 2011 at 11:17 am

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Dubai’s core business in ‘excellent shape’ – Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed

Key sectors of the Dubai’s economy have shown growth in the first half of the year, top officials said on Tuesday.

Dubai, one of the seven United Arab Emirates, the OPEC producer’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.

“The core business of Dubai is doing very well,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Fiscal Committee, told a news conference held to announce an upcoming financial forum.

He declined to say whether the emirate planned to inject more money into the Dubai Financial Support Fund, which was set up to support state-linked firms.

Dubai, which lacks the oil wealth of neighbouring Abu Dhabi, said in its updated government debt issuance programme earlier this month that $1.55 billion was left in the support fund.

The emirate, which is facing around $30bn in debt repayments over the next two years, said in May it could extend loans to more firms.

Sheikh Ahmed is also chairman of airline Emirates and debt-laden conglomerate Dubai World , and an uncle of Dubai’s ruler.

Dubai, whose debt pile is estimated at $113bn or 138 percent of its economic output, has been recovering this year helped by a pickup in trade flows and as investors flocked in amid social unrest in neighbouring countries.

“All the economic indicators are good,” Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer, another Supreme Fiscal Committee member and Chairman of Dubai International Financial Centre, told reporters.

“The sectors of trade, tourism, air transport, services, all have seen growth in 2009, 2010 and the first half of this year,” he said.

Dubai’s airport saw an 8.8 percent annual jump in passenger numbers to 3.97 million in May, its operator said on Tuesday. Hotel occupancy was up 8.7 percent at 81 percent in April, media have reported.

The emirate’s trade and property-focused economy expanded by 2.4 percent in 2010, when it was hit by Dubai World’s restructuring, after the same contraction in the previous year.

Despite recovery, banks still remain hesitant to lend across the UAE, the world’s No. 3 oil exporter, and the once-booming property sector is still weak in Dubai, known for ambitious projects such as the world’s tallest tower.

“They still have a major overhang, which is the real estate sector as well as growth of credit to the private sector,” said Mahdi Mattar, chief economist at CAPM Investment.

In May, the emirate, which accounts for 28 percent of the UAE economy, took control of Islamic lender Dubai Bank, owned by the private holding company of the Dubai ruler, to prevent the bank’s collapse.

“The real estate, of course, I mean there is no quick solution. It will take time,” Tayer said.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 18, 2011 at 11:14 am

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