Archive for August, 2011

Tourism in Egypt drops 28% as turmoil drives visitors away

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Monday, Aug 29, 2011

Gulf News

Dubai: Tourism in Egypt dropped by 28 per cent from January to July following the revolution that swept the country at the beginning of this year, according to the latest figures from the Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA).

The number of UAE visitors to Egypt declined by 58 per cent to reach 55,000 from January to July, Samy Mahmoud, Head of International Tourism Sector at the ETA, told Gulf News. Vistors from from Kuwait dropped 52 per cent, Saudis by 48 per cent and Jordanians by 17 per cent from January to July, according to the ETA.

The number of Arab tourists visiting Egypt declined by 18.6 per cent in the same period. In July alone, their numbers fell by 28.5 per cent.

This drop was balanced by an increase in tourists from Libya following the uprising in the North African neighbour, and Palestine, after the opening of the Rafah crossing, and Sudan, Mahmoud said.

Egypt welcomed 5.7 million tourists from January to July compared to 8.2 million visitors during the same period last year.

Most of the inbound tourists came from Russia, UK, Germany, Italy and France.

The decline in Arab tourism to Egypt was due to the political unrest in Libya, Syria and Yemen, which limited the number of tourists from there to Egypt and the repercussions of the revoultion in Egypt.

“We passed through a revolution, a dictator stepped down, a new regime is coming… The first year is a transition period. The protests are especially concentrated in Tahrir Square where there are the six hotels preferred by Arabs,” said Dr Naderl El Biblawi, President of Gezira Travel, refering to the Intercontinental, Hilton Ramses and the Four Seasons.

Asked how he rated the performance of the tourism sector this summer, he said: “It was worse than expected. The tourism sector was most affected by the political unrest in Egypt. Sure, the real estate and stock market were all affected, but tourism was the most hit by the revolution in my opinion.”

Egypt Air saw a stable number of passengers from Dubai to Cairo and Alexandria this summer compared to the same time last year, according to Ashraf Osman, District Manager for Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

“The numbers did not drop to Cairo and Alexandria. Keep in mind, the summer season started late because schools finished at the end of June. The season is also shorter because of Ramadan in August. It leaves a small window for people to spend Eid and return in time for schools.”

Hotel occupancy at the Helnan International Hotels, one of the leading hotel brands in Egypt, reached 80 per cent from June to August and peaked to 98 per cent this month, according to Tamer Al Hossamy, General Manager of Helnan Marina Sharm Hotel.

“We saw a drop in revenue by 30 per cent but not in occupancy because of our discounts and promotional offers… This season there were more Gulf tourists than usual because its safer than Cairo.”

The tourism industry in Sharm Al Shaikh, Egypt’s tourism hotspot, breathed a sigh of relief when former President Hosni Mubarak was transported from a hospital there to Cairo for his trial hearing on August 3.

“The repercussions of Mubarak moving [out of Sharm Al Shaeikh] will be seen in October,” said Al Hossamy, hoping more tourists will come after Muabrak’s transfer.

The hotel is fully booked for Eid with 60 per cent of the visitors from Eastern Europe, 40 per cent from Egypt, Middle East and the Gulf, he said.

Al Biblawi expects tourism to bounce back by winter.

Those protesting in Tahrir Square are focusing on the demands and rights that are central to the country and for them, there are bigger things on the agenda than tourism at the moment, he said.

By Deena Kamel Yousef, Staff Reporter

© Gulf News 2011. All rights reserved.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 30, 2011 at 2:14 pm

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Global retailers bet big on Dubai’s soaring consumer confidence

DUBAI: Limited Brands and American Eagle Outfitters are among global retailers seeking a foothold in Dubai as consumer confidence in the emirate reaches a seven-year high.

Sales in Dubai are up about 10% this year, according to store companies such as Rivoli Group, which sells watches from brands including Tissot, Burberry, Gucci and Cartier. U.S. retailers, traditionally reluctant to enter the region, are coming to Dubai as sales in their domestic markets and other fashion capitals remain subdued.

“There are more people in the malls here in Dubai than anywhere else in the world,” said Sheeraz Hasan, founder ‘Millions of Milkshakes,’ which will open its first branch outside the U.S. this year. “We wanted to show the West that Dubai is the place to be.”

Consumer confidence in the United Arab Emirates, the second-biggest Arab economy, is the highest since 2004, according to MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence released Aug.

18. Confidence was 95.6, compared with 73.6 six months ago, exceeding markets such as China and India. The score is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic and 100 as most optimistic. Dubai is the second-most attractive emerging market for retailers after China, in part because high disposable income, according to management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

Retail accounts for 30% of gross domestic product in the emirate, home to about 40 shopping malls, Standard Chartered Bank Plc estimates. Dubai’s malls feature an indoor ski slope, an aquarium, ice rink, and a ‘dancing’ fountain, similar to the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Williams-Sonoma Inc., the 55-year-old housewares chain that owns Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids, opened the first stores outside of North America and Puerto Rico in the emirate last year. Bloomingdales, owned by Macy’s Inc., also opened its first store outside the U.S. in Dubai in 2010, while Victoria’s Secret and American Eagle Outfitters opened stores in the emirate earlier this year.

REGIONAL UNREST

Visitors from Gulf Arab nations and China are coming to the U.A.E. as political unrest in other Middle Eastern countries diverts tourism. Uprisings in the region this year have toppled governments in Egypt and Tunisia and sparked conflict in Libya, Syria and Yemen. In 2009, the U.A.E. and China signed an agreement to facilitate travel between the two countries which has helped boost Chinese tourist number to the Gulf nation.

The possibility of a “second dip” globally could hurt sales, said Daniel Starta, managing director of A.T. Kearney in the Middle East. However, “only catastrophic drops in oil price or truly fundamental stability issues that challenge both emerging and mature markets would likely have an impact on the regional retail sector,” he said.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm

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Malaysia, Dubai top Qatar tourists’ destinations

Manama: Malaysia has remained the favourite tourist spot for Qatar’s Eid holidaymakers while Dubai topped Middle East destinations, travel agency sources have said.

“Malaysia is the most favoured destination among Qataris this Eid,” PN Sathya Narayanan, manager of Mannai Holidays, said. “Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam are also attracting good numbers of Qatari nationals as well as expatriates tourists for the Eid holidays,” he told Qatar Tribune daily.

The Middle East unrest has boosted the movement of Qatar-based tourists towards Dubai this Eid, while their flow to traditionally popular destinations in the Middle East region such as Jordan and Egypt dropped sharply this year, he said.

“For example, not even 10 percent of tourists are travelling to Jordan this year compared with last year,” he said.

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Chetan G Punjani, the Director of Continental Travel, said that Malaysia was “an all-time favourite of Qataris as well as other Arabs.”

“Malaysia is popular thanks to its Islamic heritage, availability of halal food and knowledge of Arab expectations.” However, the ongoing crisis has affected tourism traffic to the Middle Eastern destinations, he said.

“However, I feel that it is also the right time to visit some of the countries of the region. For example, it is right time to visit Jordan as the crisis has subsided in that country and hotels are much cheaper,” he said.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm

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Dubai Airport sees near-10% rise in passengers in July

Dubai International Airport handled 4.7 million passengers in July, an increase of nearly 10 percent on the same month last year, and a new record for monthly traffic.

Year to date traffic reached 29,291,927, up nine percent compared to 26,870,440 in the corresponding period in 2010.

The fastest growing regions were the GCC (up 34 percent), North America (up 28.3 percent), Eastern Europe (up 24.3 percent) and South America (up 18.5 percent).

On a country level, the largest gains were seen on traffic to and from Saudi Arabia, the United State and Qatar, operator Dubai Airports said in a statement.


Aircraft movements during July totalled 27,166, up 4.2 percent compared to the same period last year, the statement added

Year to date aircraft movements numbered 317,664, a rise of 6.8 percent from 297,355 posted during the first seven months of 2010.

July air freight volumes dipped by 2.7 percent as Dubai International handled 192,538 tonnes compared to 197,845 tonnes during the same period in 2010.

Year to date, Dubai International has handled a total of 1,250,489 tonnes of cargo, compared to 1,252,505 tonnes during the same period last year, a contraction of 0.16 percent.

“This latest milestone further illustrates Dubai International’s emergence as a preeminent global hub,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

“Not only did we set a new record, we surpassed the previous high point by over 400,000 passengers…Combined with Dubai’s burgeoning attractiveness as a centre for business and tourism, this is sure to fuel future expansion.”

He added that Dubai International was hopeful of overtaking Hong Kong International as the world’s third busiest airport by the end of the year.

Dubai International connects over 220 destinations across six continents on more than 150 airlines.

Passenger numbers are projected to top 51 million by the end of 2011 and reach 98 million by 2020.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm

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Dubai hotels see 23% rebound in July occupancy rates

Hotels in Dubai, Jeddah and Abu Dhabi all saw double-digit occupancy rates in July, according to latest data released by STR Global.

Dubai also reported a near-23 percent increase in revenue per available room (revPAR) compared to the same month in 2010, the data showed.

STR Global said three markets in the Middle East posted significant occupancy increases, with Dubai leading the way with a 17.6 percent rise to 77.9 percent.

Hotels in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia saw occupancy rates soar by 16.1 percent to 78.3 percent and Abu Dhabi rose 14.5 percent to 59.3 percent.


Overall, the Middle East/Africa region reported decreases in all three key performance metrics during July, weighed by South African properties which were buoyed by the World Cup this time last year.

The region ended the month with a 1.2 percent decrease in occupancy to 60 percent, a one percent fall in average daily rate (ADR) to $139.89, and a 2.2 percent decline in revenue per available room to $83.98.

The tourism industry in Cairo, Egypt continued to struggle following the revolution, posting a 36.7 percent decline in occupancy rates to 40.9 percent.

Dubai’s ADR rose 4.5 percent in ADR to $162.18, reporting the largest increase in that metric, followed by Jeddah with a 4.0 percent increase to $210.62, STR Global added.

The same two cities also posted the best performance for revPAR with increases of 22.8 percent to $126.41 and 20.8 percent to $164.95 respectively.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm

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Dubai Metro Green Line: Bridging the great divide

DUBAI: Come September – September 9 to be precise – and the journey between old and new Dubai will be just a few brisk steps away.

The Green Line starting that day will snake into the farthest nooks and crannies of Dubai, while linking most government buildings to the rest of Dubai.

During peak hours, 14 trains will run at six- to eight-minute intervals.

With the new line traversing Dubai’s residential, business, diplomatic, cultural and health centres, parking woes and narrow roads chock-a-block with traffic could be a thing of the past.

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Eight kilometres of the 23-km line are underground, a five-year engineering job seen to shore up Dubai’s status as a tourism, trading and service hub.

The Green Line thus brings to completion the ambitious Dh28-billion Dubai Metro project, which together will have 50 trains running at peak hours (28 trains at off-peak).

The highly successful Red Line, launched in September 2009 with up to 180,000 daily users, has already changed the city’s transport landscape. While the Red Line connects homes and high-rises to two airport terminals, the Green Line connects the two old quarters on either side of Dubai Creek, with Al Ras and Al Ghubaiba stations clad in traditional Emirati architecture dovetailing three modes of transportation — train, bus and Abra.

People from Sharjah and other emirates can opt to use the park-and-ride terminal that can hold 2,350 vehicles at etisalat station to explore the rest of the city.

XPRESS visited the 18 stations opening on the Green Line to give you the lowdown on the areas they serve and the prominent landmarks near each stop.

Happy travelling.

18 new stations, 18 areas to discover

Dubai Healthcare City Station

What’s around: Specialised clinics and medical centres of international repute offering western, ayurvedic and homeopathic practices and some malls.

Walking distance from station (in minutes): Dubai Healthcare City (2-10), City Hospital (2), Dewa headquarters (5), Wafi Mall (5), Grand Hyatt Hotel/Grand Cineplex (6), and Citibank (6), Canadian Specialist Clinic (14), American Hospital (15).

Oud Metha station

What’s around: A number of cultural and health centres. The neighbourhood encompasses sports clubs and borders a number of churches belonging to various denominations, mosques and private schools, Dubai TV and a number of residential districts.

Walking distance: Rashid Hospital (3) Al Nasr Sports Club (5), Pakistan Education Academy (5), Indian High School (5), cultural clubs – Iranian, Jordanian, Pakistani, Egyptian, Sudanese (6-12), Churches: St Marys/Orthodox/Holy Trinity (6-12), Norwegian Seamen’s Centre (8).

Khalid bin Al Waleed station

What’s around: Second intersection between Red and Green Lines. The station is close to commercial outlets and populated areas of Bur Dubai and Al Karama.

Walking distance: Consulates/embassies (Saudi, Libya, Kuwait, India, Pakistan, Oman, Sudan, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, UK, Canada, Holland, America – (3-12), BurJuman Mall (2), high-end shopping outlets, dining outlets (2-10).

Al Fahidi station

What’s around: Historical sites and hotels. This is where Khalid bin Al Waleed Street meets with Al Musalla Road. This is the heart of ‘Computer Street’, a.k.a. ‘Bank Street’, where numerous IT shops sit next to banks.

Walking distance: Musalla Tower (2), Al Ain Centre (3), Meena Bazaar (12), Al Bastakiya heritage village (9), Dubai Museum (10) and night spots and hotels in Bur Dubai (2-10).

Al Ghubaiba station

What’s around: A transit point between the Metro, bus and marine transport services, this station is located in one of the busiest districts of Bur Dubai near Al Bastakiya and Shindagha, Dubai’s key heritage sites. This is expected to be a crowd and tourist-puller, particularly during the Dubai Shopping Festival, a perfect venue for staging cultural events.

Walking distance: Golden Cinema (2), Shindagha Heritage and Diving Village (3), Carrefour (2), Al Ghubaiba Bus terminal (2) and Marine Station (4), Al Rifaa Police Station (5), Old Souq (5-7).

Al Ras station

What’s around: Wholesale and retail outlets, gold and carpet shops, historical buildings such as Al Ahmadiya School, the first school built in the emirate.

Walking distance: Gold Souq (3), Public Library (2), Gold Souq Bus Station (4), Spice Souq (5), Al Ahmadiya School (5).

The Palm Deira station

What’s around: The station’s proximity to the sea and the Old Souq makes it a big draw for tourists and residents looking to combine retail shopping with a stroll by the sea.

Walking distance: Deira Corniche (3), Hyatt Regency Hotel (3), Deira Old Souq (3), Fish Market (3).

Bani Yas station

What’s around: Discount shops are a magnet for bargain hunters here. Close to the old business centre of Dubai and Abras plying the Creek. A shopping complex for Chinese goods is next to Naif Souq. Shops selling leather goods, mobile phones, car accessories, electronics, fabrics, souvenirs.

Walking distance: Baniyas Square (1), Choithrams (1), Deira Tower (1), Downtown Medical Polyclinic (2), Naif Souq (3)

Union Square Station

What’s around: The heart of old Dubai, with commercial outlets along Al Maktoum Street.

It’s the world’s largest underground Metro station at 25,000 square metres, linking the Red and Green Lines.

Walking distance: Dubai Municipality (2-3), Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry/Lands Department (5-7), Radisson Blu Hotel (3).

Salah Al Din station

What’s around: A central business district with a wide choice of gourmet outlets, hotel apartments and music stores. A prominent tourist destination, this unique location is expected to be popular for Metro commuters.

Walking distance: Al Reef Mall (2), Al Ghurair Centre (5), Fish Roundabout (5), Music stores (5-10).

Abu Bakr siddique station

What’s around: Surrounded by commercial areas, a residential neighbourhood, building material showrooms, an industrial area, auto repair shops, warehouses and hotels

Walking distance: Hamrain and Warba Centres (3), Al Muraqqabat Police Station (3), Caterpillar dealership (4), Traders Hotel (2), Movenpick Hotel (4-5).

Abu Hail station

What’s around: Offers integrated transit services with the nearby bus station fitted with a waiting area for passengers.

Walking distance: Abu Hail Centre (6), Sana Fashions (4), Ministry of Environment and Water (4), Canadian Specialist Hospital (5), Omar Bin Al Khattab Model School (5), Al Huda Kindergarten (7).

Al Qiyadah station

What’s around: Expected to be hugely popular with individuals, including visitors. Close to Dubai Police HQ. An air-conditioned walkway links it with the other side of Al Ittihad Road to serve passengers heading towards commercial centres in the area.

Walking distance: Dubai Police General HQ (2-3), Al Mamzar Centre (3), Atrium (2), Peugeot showroom (8).

Stadium station

What’s around: Housing complexes next to commercial and sports facilities

Walking distance: Lulu Center (2), Handicapped Club (2), Al Ahli Club (3), Dubai Club for Special Sports, (4) Al Mulla Plaza (5), DM Housing complex (5), Dubai Youth Hostel (5).

Al Nahda station

What’s around: Medium-rise residential area with shopping malls and community schools.

Walking distance: Al Bustan Center (2), Al Ghusais Mosque (3), Splash (3), Dubai National School (7), Emirates Driving Institute (10), Ministry of Labour/Ministry of Social Affairs Building (20-25).

Dubai Airport FreeZone station

What’s around: A highly populated residential area dotted by low-rise residential buildings with its share of shopping, hotels and restaurants.

Walking distance: Shop ‘n’ Save (2), Karachi Darbar (2), Zulekha Medical Centre (3), Al Twar Park (3), Falah Primary School (4), Union Coop (5), Al Twar Public Library (6), Dubai Airport Free Zone gate (18-20).

Al Ghusais Station

What’s around: Residential area and several key government buildings. The station is close to Beirut Street, which directly connects with industrial areas in Al Ghusais and Sharjah.

Walking distance: Ministry of Education (2), Ministry of Public Works (3), Dubai Civil Defence HQ (5), Al Ghusais Police Station (6), DM Customer Services Ctr. (4), Al Twar Center that houses Dubai Chamber, RTA, Department of Economic Development, Dubai Courts, Ministry of Labour office (2).

Etisalat Station

What’s around: The Green Line starts here, just off Emirates Road. The station is expected to attract users from nearby communities as well as Sharjah and other emirates. A multi-level park-and-ride complex for over 2,350 spaces is linked by air-conditioned footbridges to the Metro terminal and a bus station nearby.

Walking distance: Park-and-Ride Terminal (1-3), Al Twar 3 Park (8), Al Rahif Medical Clinic (4), Emirates Coop Society supermarket (5).

18 out of the 20 stations will open on Sept 9

Timings extended

RTA has extended the Dubai Metro operating hours from 11pm to midnight on weekdays (Saturday to Wednesday), and from midnight to 1 am on weekends (Thursday and Friday), starting September 3, 2011.

The Green Line will follow the same timetable from September 9.

Green line in numbers

  • 2,350: the number of park-and-ride slots at etisalat station
  • 4.10: Dirhams, the maximum fare on the Green Line per trip (as it passes two zones)
  • 5.8: Dirhams, the maximum fare if the Green Line is used in conjunction with a bus and three or more zones are crossed.

Dubai Creek Crossings

  • 1963: Maktoum bridge
  • 1975: Shindagha Tunnel
  • 1976: Old Garhoud Bridge
  • 2007: Floating Bridge
  • 2007: Business Bay Bridge
  • 2008: New Garhoud Bridge
  • 2009: Red Line2011: Green Line

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm

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ATM 2012 partners with Movenpick hotels in Dubai


Reed Travel Exhibitions selects Royal Amwaj Resort and Spa, Ibn Battuta Gate and Movenpick Hotel Deira to impress hosted buyers and international press.

Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of Arabian Travel Market, the Middle East’s premier travel and tourism showcase, has named three Movenpick properties as host hotels for its May 2012 event, the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, the Movenpick Hotel Deira, and the Royal Amwaj Resort Spa on Palm Jumeirah which is scheduled to open in 2012.

The three properties will officially accommodate the ‘Hosted Buyers’ programme, which includes top decision-makers from the leisure, golf, cruise, medical and meetings sector, as well as selected international press, attending ATM 2012.

Commenting on the announcement, Mark Walsh, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, said: “Arabian Travel Market is committed to the Middle East as a leading international travel and tourism destination and our partnership with these three hotels represents an ideal opportunity to align one of the region’s most progressive hospitality brands with our unique event platform.”

Ideally located at the gateway to ‘New Dubai’ close to Jebel Ali Freezone and with the dedicated Ibn Battuta Metro station minutes away, the five-star Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, which opened in October 2010, was recently named Best New Business Hotel at the Business Traveller Middle East Awards 2011.

The 396-room hotel is part of the distinctive Ibn Battuta Gate development, and draws on architectural, decor and culinary influences from the travels of the14th century explorer of the same name. The hotel boasts an opulent grand lobby, five themed restaurants, a Moroccan bar, as well as Diablo, an up-market night club.

“Due to our location, we are already carving a niche for ourselves through our distinctive architectural style as well as our ‘friendly’ business hotel approach. ATM presents an unrivalled opportunity to showcase our facilities and levels of service to a highly influential audience,” said Philippe Bonnot, General Manager, Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, managed by Movenpick Hotels Resorts.

The 293-room Royal Amwaj Resort Spa, which is due to open in 2012, is situated on the crescent of the Palm Jumeirah. This five-star Asian-themed retreat features individual water villas set around meandering lagoons and a private beach, and top class restaurants serving Thai, seafood and North American cuisine, an exclusive spa, water sports club and comprehensive banquet facilities.

“The resort will be the first luxury property in the UAE to offer guests a premium all-inclusive option. It’s all about enhancing the guest experience and giving customers the choice to individually tailor their stay,” added Bonnot.

The Movenpick Hotel Deira, is the latest five-star addition to Dubai’s ‘old town’ skyline. Situated close to Dubai Creek the 216 bedroom hotel which opened in January this year is perfectly located for corporate and leisure visitors alike, in Dubai’s original downtown.

“The combined offering of these three distinctive and very different hotels will allow our hosted buyers and international media guests to get a real sense of the diversity of the tourism product across the Middle East,” said Lucie James, Marketing Manager, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

“The mutual trade-off in attracting quality buyers and delivering a quality host hotel experience is crucial in driving interest and guaranteeing the attendance of key travel industry players,” added James.

Arabian Travel Market 2012 will be held at the Dubai International Convention Exhibition Centre from 30 April – 3 May 2012.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm

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Dubai tourism is too ‘one dimensional’ says hospitality expert

Phil Blizzard, Head of Broadcast
Tuesday, August 23 – 2011 at 13:05 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 Tue Aug 23 2011.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm

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UAE property companies shunned by investors

United Arab Emirates’ property developers and contractors
may struggle to tap the bond market until a glut of homes that’s weighing on
prices is sold off.

Arabtec Holding, the country’s biggest construction company,
Dubai-based mall-developer Majid Al Futtaim Group and Abu Dhabi’s Tourism
Development Investment Co were forced to delay plans to issue bonds. The
nation’s sheikhdoms and non- real-estate companies raised about $9bn from debt
sales as yields on Gulf bonds slid to a record 4.55 percent, the HSBC/NASDAQ
Dubai GCC Conventional US Dollar Bond Index shows.

The rate on Emaar Properties’s 7.5 percent bond due 2015
rose to 7.16 percent August 19, the highest since April.

“A lot of lenders to UAE property companies got badly burnt
in the past and they don’t have much appetite,” said Gus Chehayeb, a
Dubai-based associate director at investment bank Exotix. “Real-estate assets
on a lot of developers’ books also don’t seem attractive or liquid at this
point.”


Property markets in the UAE have been hurt more than other
parts of the Middle East by the global credit crisis. Since September 2008,
home values in Dubai slumped more than 60 percent and prices in neighbouring Abu
Dhabi dropped by half as banks curbed mortgage lending and speculators fled.

“The market is oversupplied and property transactions are
still down significantly from their peak levels,” Chehayeb said. “Prices
probably have more room to soften.”

House prices in the UAE may drop by an additional 25 percent
to 30 percent as population growth stagnates and more properties are built,
analyst Saud Masud at Dubai investment bank Rasmala predicted in March.

Dubai’s home prices are expected to decline further as
54,000 homes, or about 15 percent to 20 percent of the existing supply, comes
onto the market from 2011 to 2015, Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. estimates. Forty
percent of the city’s properties are already vacant.

About 50,000 homes in Abu Dhabi, 27 percent of the current
supply, will be completed by 2014, Jones Lang estimates. About 16,000 of those
will be ready this year.

Emaar, Dubai’s biggest real-estate developer, has been the
only major company in the industry to proceed with a debt sale this year,
raising $500m in Islamic bonds in January. The company constructed the world’s
tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, and the Dubai Mall, the world’s biggest
shopping center.

The rate on the developer’s 8.5 percent sukuk maturing
August 2016 jumped 39 basis points to 7.42 percent this month.

“Emaar has a
diversified portfolio in Egypt, Turkey and India and a lot of its revenue comes
from fully developed properties such as the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa,” said
Nick Stadtmiller, a fixed-income analyst at Emirates NBD. “The picture is quite
different when you start talking about contractors or developers, where a lot
of the assets are still in the pipeline.”

Arabtec, which doesn’t have a bond, in January announced a
plan to raise $150m by selling convertible debt and shares. Two months later,
the Dubai-based company delayed the transaction “until market conditions become
more favourable.” It’s yet to announce a new date.

Arabtec shares have tumbled 13 percent this year, compared
with an 11 percent decline in Dubai’s benchmark stock index.

“Lenders don’t view the credit profiles of these companies
as particularly attractive and borrowers have to realize that the appetite is
not there anymore,” Chehayeb said. “They have to set their expectations for
pricing appropriately and they can’t expect to get the attractive pricing” that
others in the region got.

The biggest corporate bond sale in the Middle East this year
was by International Petroleum Investment Co of Abu Dhabi, which raised $4.4bn.
Emirates airline sold a $1bn bond in June.

Arabtec reported an 80 percent slump in first-quarter
profit, followed by a decline of 74 percent in the second quarter. The
inability of developers and contractors to sell bonds can’t be blamed solely on
the industry’s gloomy outlook, Emirates NBD’s Stadtmiller said in a phone
interview.

“Companies had a narrow window of opportunity to issue this
year and by July, there was a sort of a general difficulty in the market,” he
said. “That didn’t have to do with any particular sector but had to do with
international conditions and with the problems in the Euro zone, there wasn’t
as much uptake in Europe and North America for these bonds.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm

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Dubai malls hike rents for top locations

Prime rents in Dubai’s most popular malls have continued to increase, retailers have said, bucking an emirate-wide decline in residential and commercial rates.

Electronics retailer Sharaf DG said it has seen rents in prime locations increase on average 10-15 percent every year but had been able to reduce rents in less popular malls.

“It’s just going up and up every year – I’m talking about the main malls. The other malls we can squeeze them a bit but the main malls no,” said Yasser Sharaf, managing director of Sharaf DG.

“I’ve signed documents and all of them have increased in rental, none of them have reduced rental, none of them capped the rent, all of them the rentals have increased.”


The emirate has spent billions of dollars establishing itself as a shopping destination and is home to one of the world’s largest shopping malls. Last year Dubai ranked 42nd alongside Lisbon in terms of cost of retail space globally, according to Cushman Wakefield.

Real estate analysts Cushman Wakefield said rates at Mall of the Emirates declined 13.8 percent in June compared to the previous year.

“Dubai’s prime retail rents have remained stable quarter on quarter in Q2, demonstrating some stability in the market in 2011.  Rental rates for the secondary retail and office sectors have shown a similar trend with the retail sector faring slightly better due to sustained levels of tourism and consumer spending,” said Hannah Jeffery, head of Cushman Wakefield Dubai.

While prices in prime locations are expected to remain stable prices could decline in secondary malls in the second half of the year, added Jeffery.

“Although Dubai remains attractive to both consumers and retailers, there is a demand-supply imbalance, particularly in secondary retail locations and we expect to some reduction in pricing over H2. Landlord’s, particularly in secondary malls, continue to offer further incentives to retain and attract tenants,” she said.

Cosmetic and perfume retailer Paris Gallery, who said many of its rent agreements are based on a basic rent plus a turnover rate, said retailers and mall operators needed to work more closely to increase footfall to offset rising costs.   

“Very rarely shopping management is aware and understands what the retailer is going through, especially when it comes to their prices or when it comes to a slow trend. Very rarely they understand, all they want is the rent,” said Mohammed Ar Al Fahim, Group CEO of Paris Gallery.

“[If am] a shopping mall operator I better help you to be successful. Why? Because if you are successful I make more money.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm

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Oman, Abu Dhabi, Dubai unite for tourism? – e

One road show, three different destinations, cultures and attractions, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Dubai are speculated to be teaming up to promote tourism into the region.

The united road show is expected to be on the road from September this year.

Click back onto e-Travel Blackboard later today for more information.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm

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Oman, Abu Dhabi, Dubai reveal united Arabian road show – e

As reported first by e-Travel Blackboard, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Sultanate of Oman Tourism have joined forced down under to promote tourism into the Arabian Peninsula.

Hitting the road from 5 September, the road show will travel through six Australian cities and regional towns and present the beauties and diversity of the region to local agents.

DTCM director Julie King explained that despite possessing “individual appeal and attractions” the three destinations “packed together” offer “a truly unique and diverse holiday proposition”.

“Most people do not realise that Dubai is just a short hour drive from the capital Abu Dhabi,” Sultanate of Oman Tourism Australia and New Zealand manager Mona Tannous said.

“To travel to the border of Oman is a further one and a half hours from Dubai, or four hours to Muscat.

“Separated by a diverse landscape that includes rolling sand dunes, spectacular mountain ranges and beautiful wadi’s (waterholes), even the journey between the three destinations is something to enjoy.”

Kicking off in Geelong on 5 September this year, the road show will follow through to Canberra, Adelaide, Mackay, Gold Coast and Coffs Harbour.

“To ensure that travellers enjoy a unique and authentic experience, we are working closely with Dubai and Oman Tourism to promote the Arabian Peninsula as a holiday destination in its own right,” Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority Australia country manager Vera Huntink concluded.

A DTCM spokesperson told e-Travel Blackboard that the three destinations are working together to target regional cities but DTCM would prepare an individual road show for major cities next year.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 19, 2011 at 1:32 pm

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Cultural extravaganza to welcome Eid in Dubai

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm

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Dubai Link Tours and Leaders Charter Services forge alliance

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Main agent in Dubai and the Middle East


Dubai, UAE – Dubai Link Tours, a tourism and travel company specialized in providing total travel solution packages, has announced a new alliance with Leaders Charter Services, a leading provider of charter services, to act as the company’s main agent in Dubai and the Middle East.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dubai Link Tours will be the exclusive agent for Leaders Charter Services and will handle all sales, bookings and reservations for the company.

Mr. Haytham Al Haj Ali, CEO, Dubai Link Tours, said: “We are delighted to announce the formation of a joint venture with a leading provider of charter services in Dubai and the Middle East such as Leaders Charter Services which is known for its dedication to perfection and in providing the very best in flight service to its selected clientele of VIPs, royalty, heads of state and business executives. We are happy to be forming this alliance with them and trust that through our common vision and shared values this partnership will result in providing our customers with world class service whether it is sealing a business deal, visiting relatives or for personal matters.”

Since its inception to the market, Dubai Link Tours has built its reputation on the personalized service and is specialized in offering total solution packages that meet travel needs of customers from the Middle East region. Managed by knowledgeable and reputable professionals from tourism and service industry, the company aims to serve as the leading provider of tourism experiences for individuals, families and groups.  A comprehensive range of services offered by Dubai Link Tours provides relaxation and recreation activities to visitors such as hotel accommodation, transport, excursions and car rentals for both inbound and outbound guests.

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About Dubai Link Tours:
Dubai Link Tours was founded in 1994 with an objective to promote tourism in the Middle East region. The company has grown rapidly over the past decade and at present Dubai Link Tours enjoys an extensive international network of Tour Operators and Suppliers. Since its inception to the market, Dubai Link Tours has built its reputation on the personalized service and is specialized in offering total solution packages that meet travel needs of customers from the Middle East region.

Mr. Haytham Al Haj Ali, one of the founders of Dubai Link Tours, manages the entire business of the organization and is well supported by a team of dynamic, industry experienced and multilingual tour consultants driven by excellence and passion to perform. The team of travel experts is well trained and updated on the latest trends, concepts and Customer Relationship Management techniques to deliver quality services that match with the highest standards of the industry. Professionalism, creativity and attention to details contribute together to the success of Dubai Link Tours as a global brand which constantly seeks innovative methods to enhance and upgrade products and services.

Along the path, Dubai Link Tours has been the recipient of numerous awards and citations including the Service Excellence Award from Dubai Economic Department and hotel awards for outstanding performance. Though these recognitions are the rewards to professionalism, the smile followed by “Thank You” from the customers constantly motivate the team of Dubai Link Tours to excel in their service.

For more information please contact:
The Idea Agency PR Department
Tel: 04-3434424
Fax: 04-3434305
e-mail: pr2@tia.ae

© Press Release 2011

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 17, 2011 at 1:27 pm

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Executive Council of Dubai Launches Dubai Public-Private Partnership Agenda

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The First Session of the Dialogue Platform for Industry Specific Recommendations Dedicated to Tourism
Dubai, 29 September 2010 – Under the patronage and support of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and the Chairman of the Executive Council, the first session of Dubai Partnership Agenda (DPA) was held today to produce policy recommendations to further the sustainable growth of Dubai tourism sector. DPA is lead and facilitated by the General Secretariat of the Executive CouncilGeneral Secretariat of the Executive Council.

The panel which assembled the Emirate’s key public and private stakeholders in the tourism industry discussed the legislative and regulatory environment and the current state of the sector, with a view to boost demand and identify challenges restraining development. The first session was attended by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Chairman of the Economic Development Committee; Abdulla Al Shaibani, the Secretary General of the Executive Council; Gerald Lawless, the Executive Chairman of the Jumeirah Group; Hans Haensel, the Divisional Senior Vice President of Emirates Airlines Destination and Leisure Management; Majid Saif Al Ghurair, the Chairman of Shopping Malls Group; Peter Payet, the Vice President of Arabian Adventure; Dr. BelEid Ratab, the Head of Economic Studies and Sustainable Development Business of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Khalid Bin Sulayem, the Director General, of Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing; Matar Al Tayer, the Chairman and Director General of Roads and Transport Authority; Sami Al Qamzi, the Director General of Department of Economic Development and Major General Mohamed Al Marri, the Director, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs. The discussion was moderated by the Tarik Yousef, the Dean of Dubai School of Government. A summary report that would include discussion’s insights and specific recommendations of the panelists will be written according to Chatham House rules within one week and presented to the Executive Council.

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and the Chairman of the Executive Council, commenting on the initiative, stated that the Government of Dubai welcomed consultative policy recommendations that would support the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 and the UAE Vision 2021, and open dialogue between public and private sectors would support the sustainable growth and increase the competitiveness of the nation and Dubai. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “Dubai Partnership Agenda DPA is a national creative initiative supported by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and the Ruler of Dubai. With his encouragement, we are proud to launch this interaction platform and we have complete trust in the capability of public and private sectors to have open and constructive dialogue tor the develeopment of different sectors. We are looking forward to the first outcomes of DPA on tourism industry. We will review and initiate action on appropriate recommendations.”

The Dubai Partnership Agenda is a strategic government initiative to facilitate collaboration and increase synergy between public and private sectors. It aims to provide a structured channel to support formulation and implementation of public policy by producing innovative recommendations for the review of the Dubai leadership. It is carried out through regular series of round table discussions each of which is dedicated to a specific sector and to which the top executives of the leading sector relevant private and public entities are invited. Following each round table, a post report on the discussion topic insights and recommendations is developed and presented to the Executive Council for review and direction as seen appropriate. The discussion sessions are organized by the General Secretariat of the Executive CouncilGeneral Secretariat of the Executive Council, under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and the Chairman of the Executive Council.

The General Secretariat of the Executive CouncilThe General Secretariat of the Executive Council which leads and facilitates DPA, will oversee that the approved recommendations are implemented by concerned government entities. Abdulla Al Shaibani, the Secretary General of the General Secretariat, stated in his opening remarks that the mission of the General Secretariat was to provide strategic support to the Executive Council in policy development, public administration improvement, and performance management. He emphasized that DPA will prove to be a valuable initiative that would not only contribute to the growth of the sectors that Dubai wanted to have competitive advantage, but would also play an important role for the General Secretariat in fulfilling its mission. Abdulla Al Shaibani said: “We are proud to organize the first session of DPA under the patronage of our visionary leaders. Private sector is our key stakeholder; we work together with shared ambitions and towards shared goals. DPA will foster collaborative interaction, encourage out-of-the-box thinking, and build consensus by exchange of knowledge and expertise. As such, DPA is not just a discussion exercise between public and private sectors; it is a results-oriented program that would generate concrete recommendations for our leadership to review and facilitate action.”

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About Dubai Government Partnership Agenda:
Organized by the General Secretariat of the Executive CouncilGeneral Secretariat of the Executive Council, and under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and the Chairman of the Executive Council and Crown Prince of Dubai, the Dubai Partnership Agenda (DPA) is a strategic government initiative meant to facilitate collaboration and increase synergy between the public and private sectors. It is an open dialogue and an interactive platform whose purpose is to ultimately produce policy recommendations that can support the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015.

About the Executive Council:
The Executive Council of the Government of Dubai, formed by Law # 3 in 2003, is the supreme decision-making body that directs and ensures the implementation of the Emirate’s policies as set out in the Dubai Strategic Plan (DSP) and for all other major policy decisions. The Council, chaired by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, consists of the Director Generals and the CEOs of government authorities and agencies. The Council drafts and submits public policies, laws and decrees, and oversees the implementation of local and federal laws. It advices the establishment of local government entities and reviews projects. It supervises the performance of the entities and leads the ongoing process of improvement to effectively transform government entities into accountable, high-performing, audience-focused organizations.

About the General Secretariat of Executive Council:
The General Secretariat (TEC) of the Executive Council provides professional strategic support to the Council through reviews and recommendations in public policy development, public administration improvement, government’s organizational structure, and performance management. It also facilitates and coordinates the activities of Council and Sector Committees.

For images please refer to: http://www.tec.gov.ae/DPA/

For further inquiries:
Ms. Budoor Ali
Budoor.Ali@tec.gov.ae
+971 4 4399 323
Government Communications
The Executive Council

© Press Release 2010

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm

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