Travel Industry News

Dubai to receive largest cruise ships in the world

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Costa Favalosa and Aida Blu will offer weekly regional itinerary with Dubai as home port

The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) organised a grand welcome ceremony at the Dubai Cruise Terminal to mark the maiden calls of   Costa Favalosa and Aida Blu cruise ships to Dubai.

The newly-inducted cruise ships will offer weekly regional itinerary with Dubai as the home port, it was announced at a ceremony attended by  senior officials of Dubai Customs, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), DP World and World Security at the terminal and DTCM Director-General, Khalid A bin Sulayem, among others.

Costa Favalosa is a new ship of Costa Crociere of Italy, inaugurated on July 2, 2011 in Trieste. The 114,500 tonnage ship has a carrying capacity of 3800 passengers and 1110 crew. Aida Blu is a new ship from Aida Cruises, a German cruise liner, with a capacity to carry 2050 passengers and 607 crew members.

Costa Favalosa and Aida Blu will operate weekly cruise itinerary in the Arabian Gulf with Dubai as their home port. Favalosa will bring more than 100,000 passengers in 19 calls to Dubai and Aida Blu will account for more than 50,000 cruise passengers to Dubai in 13 calls to Dubai in the 2011/12 cruise season.

Dubai will close this year by receiving 135 cruise ships with 375,000 tourists while 2012 is expected to bring in 150 cruise ships with about 425,000 passengers.

A tour of the ships was also organised for media representatives. Addressing a Press conference, Hamad bin Mejren, DTCM Executive Director for Business Tourism, said: “It has been over a decade since DTCM began to promote cruise tourism to Dubai. Our continued efforts in conjunction with our 18 overseas representative offices and the opening of the first state-of-the-art cruise terminal in Dubai in 2001 began to draw the attention of the cruise lines around the world when we received 17 ship calls and 6,900 passengers in the first year.”

He said DTCM was already in collaboration with its partners, DP World, to  build additional cruise terminal facilities to cater the anticipated growth of the business. We forecast 150 ship calls with a passenger turnaround of more than 600,000 passengers by 2015, he added. 

© Emirates 24|7 2011

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - December 19, 2011 at 10:58 pm

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Dubai to open famed liner QE2 for New Year’s bash

QE2 which had been standing in Dubai for last 3 years has been put up for use for this new year’s eve as a vanue for the  most exclussive xmas bash.

The event marks the first time the ship’s government owners are throwing down the gangplank for a large group of visitors since the vessel pulled into port in November 2008.

An Emirati event planning company said Wednesday it’s throwing a New Year’s Eve bash on the ship, complete with live music, fireworks and a laser light show.

The company, Global Event Management, said most revelers will be invited guests, though a limited number of tickets will also go on sale.

The event’s billing is quintessential Dubai. The black-tie evening is being described as “one of the most exclusive New Year celebrations in the world.” Stepping aboard the ship will be “royals, dignitaries, celebrities and VIPs,” the company said, though a spokeswoman wasn’t yet able to say who exactly would be coming.

Prices for tickets also haven’t been released.

Dubai’s state-run Istithmar World bought the QE2 from the Cunard cruise line for $100 million in 2007. It originally planned to turn the luxury liner into a floating hotel docked alongside one of the city-state’s manmade palm-shaped islands. Those plans were shelved when Dubai’s economy tumbled into crisis.

The ship’s fate has been the subject of intense speculation as it sat docked, unused, in the city’s downtown Officials have kept tightlipped about the ship, and reporters have been denied access.

Rob Lightbody, a QE2 enthusiast in Scotland and founder of a website devoted to the ship, is one of the few people who has been allowed onboard since its arrival in Dubai.

He said it has been frustrating to see the QE2 sit unused, so he is “extremely enthusiastic” about the party plans — even if he doesn’t expect to be invited.

“When I was on board the ship in April this year, she was in fabulous condition. But without any guests, parties, food and entertainment, she lacked the buzz that she had for 40 years on the seas,” he said. “This will all return for one fabulous night, by the sounds of it.”

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II herself launched the QE2 in 1967. Since it went into service in 1969, the QE2 has made at least 26 round-the-world voyages and weathered a 95-foot wave during an Atlantic hurricane.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - December 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm

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UAE set to grab region’s growing cruise tourism

Cruise tourism is gaining momentum in the UAE as 
Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah have been adopting drastic steps to attract big players of the industry, experts say.

All three emirates have been making significant investments in infrastructure to support cruise tourism facilities and services in the country. Abu Dhabi has erected a new tented cruise terminal at Mina Zayed, Dubai is reshaping Port Rashid and Sharjah is focusing on Khorfakkan to attract around 700,000 cruise visitors during this season.

Dubai will take the lead in total cruise visitors as it is expected to welcome 475,000 passengers at Port Rashid during this season. The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, or DTCM, forecasts a steady growth for the next four years with 625,000 passengers by 2015, a 38 per cent increase over 2010 figures.

Realising the potential in cruise tourism, DP World is expanding Port Rashid cruise terminal facilities to continue its leading position as the largest cruise centre in the Middle East. It will expand the current facilities by the end of 2012 to cater for as many as five cruise ships at one time, against its current capacity of accommodating only two ships.

“Development of the cruise terminal facilities at Port Rashid supports Dubai’s long-term strategy to stimulate growth and development in the traditionally strong tourism sector,” DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem recently said in an e-mailed statement to Khaleej Times. He said the new facility will help Dubai tap into the rapidly-growing cruise sector and will continue to be a major destination for the finest cruise ships in the world.

Cruise tourism is a key growth segment which will bring great economic benefits to the region, increasing overall expenditure in the tourism sector and boosting the economy. According to DTCM, cruise tourism saw an annual income of Dh338 million in 2010 and is estimated to grow to Dh837 million in 2015. This will see a yield of Dh3.5 billion into Dubai’s economy over those years.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, or ADTA, in collaboration with industry stakeholders Abu Dhabi Ports Company, or ADPC, and Abu Dhabi Terminals, is also increasing investing in cruise terminal facilities. The ADTA has prioritised cruise tourism as one of its five 2011-2012 strategy pillars and likely to receive around 170,000 tourists before the season ends in April next year. In line with its long-term cruise ambitions, the ADTA is planning to replace the tented terminal with a purpose-built cruise terminala at Mina Zayed as the emirate realises its aim to become a regional cruise hub.

“Cruise shipping has enjoyed strong recession-proof growth for many years,” ADTA director-general Mubarak Al Muhairi told             Khaleej Times at the launch ceremony of new cruise terminal at Mina Zayed in October.

Capt Mohamed Al Shamisi, ADPC’s vice-president (operations) of ports unit, hoped the cruise business will continue to grow to 300 calls and 600,000 passengers by 2030.

“Ultimately, our capacity to build the cruise tourism business will rely on a combination of good planning, good infrastructure, strong marketing and industry co-operation,” Al Muhairi said.


Sharjah makes for an ideal destination for luxury cruise liners due to its strategic location, overlooking both the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Gulf Coast, as well as the natural splendour of the East Coast. The emirate’s picturesque East Coast is getting ready to welcome thousands of cruise passengers aboard some of the biggest and celebrated luxury cruise liners in the next few months. The third-largest emirate is expected to receive 67,000 cruise passengers during this season.

Sharjah, which has been attracting an extraordinary number of European tourists in recent years, is looking forward to receiving more international visitors as major cruise liners target the region. The first Costa Classica ship arrived at the Khorfakkan port last week with 1,700 passengers onboard, heralding the arrival of new season of luxury cruise liners and thousands of international tourists to Sharjah’s East Coast. Another large vessel, the Costa Favalosa, will make its maiden call at the Khorfakkan port on December 19 with 3,800 passengers.

“Between November and May 2012, two major cruise liner operators, Costa Cruises and Seabourn, will bring an estimate volume of nearly 67,000 international cruise passengers to Sharjah’s golden beaches, blue waters and breathtaking landscape,” according to a statement by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.

The cruise tourism sector in the Middle East is seeing a steady increase in passengers as the sector gains traction in the region. Countries in the region are increasingly investing to support cruise tourism facilities and services. The Gulf is also witnessing a rise in cruise ships, with Costa Cruises, the first major line to introduce Gulf itineraries, upping capacity by 16 per cent this winter season. Other major cruise lines such as Costa, Royal Caribbean and MSC also plan to expand thier operations in the days to come.

Worldwide, the cruise industry has had an annual passenger compound annual growth rate of 7.67 per cent from 1990-2011, according to Cruise Market Watch. Last year cruise industry recorded 15 million guests and this year it is expected to achieve 19 million cruise guests. The UAE, with increased investment in cruise terminals, is expected to grab a major slice of this market by attracting big players of the industry.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - December 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm

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The Italian charm awaits

TMCNet:  The Italian charm awaits

The Italian charm awaits

DUBAI, Dec 11, 2011 (Khaleej Times – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) —
Tour operators in the UAE and other GCC countries met with their Italian counterparts on Saturday at a workshop organised by the Italian State Tourist Board in collaboration with Dubai Government’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) to receive information on less-known destinations in Italy.

“The workshop was finalised to let operators promote Italy as a tourist destination for people in the UAE. The Alps mountains, for instance, is not much known as an Italian tourist destination. People know Switzerland and Austria but the other side of the Alps is in Italy which is very beautiful. Tour operators from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE have all gathered to meet travel agents, operators and hotels from Italy to discuss the wonders waiting there,” said Jessica Scopacasa, a representative from the Sharjah-based Italian State Tourist Board.

The morning saw a video presentation of various locations in Italy followed by business-to-business (B2B) meetings between specialists in the industry from the UAE, GCC countries and Italy. Top 10 Italian representatives from the sector were present to describe about the places of cultural and artistic value to attendees.

“I’ve met one hotel owner who explained about the hotel, location and facilities. He also mentioned falconry in Italy, which made the destination interesting to try and introduce it into our package. It sounds exciting,” said Mohammed Reda, a holiday consultant at Al Majid Travel and Tourism Agency.

Patrizia Cimberio, part of the ‘Lords of the Sky’ falconry project who presented a video about the sport in Italy, said that the country is an ideal place to practice and there are presently about 200 active falconers in the field.

“UAE operators have shown a great interest to meet with Italian ones. Italy’s an excellent tourist destination but still unknown to many in the UAE. It is also one of the leading destinations for winter sports,” Scopacasa concluded.
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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - December 11, 2011 at 9:43 pm

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Dubai Shopping Festival woos Saudi visitors

JEDDAH: The road show for promoting Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), described as the “biggest shopping and entertainment extravaganza in the Middle East” was launched, with Saudi Arabia as the first stop, on Sunday.

The road show tour will cover the rest of GCC, China and India.

While the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE), an agency under the Department of Economic Development (DED) and organizers of the DSF, showcased the highlights of the 2012 edition, Emirates airline followed suit with its special DSF 2012 packages for Dubai.

The 17th edition of DSF will run for 32 days from Jan. 5 to Feb. 5.

Ibrahim Saleh, festivals coordinator general and deputy CEO of DEPE, said the regional road show had begun with the Kingdom due to its importance as a strategic target market for Dubai’s tourism, with Saudis representing around 50 percent of all GCC tourists in the city for 2010.

“The 2010 figure demonstrated an increase of 25 percent (for DSF 2010 or the whole year) on the previous year, and we have witnessed a considerable increase in 2011 as well.”

He stressed that DEPE would market and promote the 17th edition of the shopping and entertainment extravaganza to media organizations, travel agents, and tour operators, familiarizing them with the attractions of DSF which is held annually, and this year under the slogan “Dubai at its Best.”

“More than 6,000 retail outlets and around 70 shopping malls will take part in DSF 2012, offering a host of discounts and sale prices of up to 75 percent on a wide range of goods and services. The 32-day event will additionally feature more than 150 activities taking place across the emirate,” he added.

Adil Al-Ghaith, Emirates vice president Saudi Arabia, said: “We are pleased to invite people across Saudi Arabia to visit Dubai during the period of DSF and take advantage of the attractive activities and great shopping deals offered during this important event. Traveling from Saudi Arabia to Dubai has now become easier with Emirates strengthening its services across the country through double daily flights from Riyadh and Jeddah, in addition to a daily flight from both Dammam and Madinah.

Al-Ghaith added: “Saudi Arabia is one of Emirates’ most important markets and we strive to ensure that we are offering the best service to our customers. The operation of our flagship Airbus A380 from Jeddah is yet another example of what we have done to provide our customers with an outstanding travel experience.”

Al-Ghaith also said DSF 2012 will offer a wide range of activities, including daily draws for Infiniti cars, an impressive collection of gold and jewelry, and millions of dirhams in cash prizes.

He said the 2012 show will witness exclusive events, kicking off with a world-class DSF launch ceremony, entertaining activities across main streets, souks and bazaars.

Al-Ghaith said children will love DSF and everything it stands for, with interactive shows, colorful kiosks, and hundreds of street performers and jugglers in a massive carnival during weekends.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - December 9, 2011 at 9:37 pm

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Dubai, Hamburg airports have excellent tourism potential

DUBAI – The Hamburg Airport’s chief executive officer Michael Eggenschwiler has said that Dubai and Hamburg airports have excellent tourism potential and Emirates airline played active role to help double Gulf tourists to Germany in the last five years.

Eggenschwiler at the third Dubai-Hamburg Business Forum talked to Khaleej Times about the importance of Dubai Airport and Emirates airline to their business. “For the next two to three years the focus is on stabilising the current capacity increase on Emirates’ Dubai-Hamburg route,” 
he said.

“Whether for Dubai-bound, or for transfer passengers, Dubai Airport is a world class facility, providing good connections into the Asia-Pacific region as well as Africa and the Middle East. Emirates airline is quality and its pricing scheme is very competitive, so business and leisure passengers from Hamburg benefit from this situation,” he said responding to a question on benefits to German passengers.

Citing Emirates airline’s orders for 90 Airbus A380, he said it secures overall 13,000 jobs in Germany. Most of these jobs are located in Hamburg and Northern Germany, he added. 

Hamburg Airport is very much interested in keeping a close relationship with Emirates airline. The airline has transported nearly 1,250,000 passengers since taking up the Hamburg service in March 2006. The average growth per year on the Hamburg-Dubai route is a strong 15.6 per cent.

Regarding new markets for the Hamburg Airport, he hoped to see more frequencies and eventually four weekly non-stop flights between Shanghai and Hamburg. Furthermore, Hamburg is aiming to acquire non-stop services to Asian destinations such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore, he said, adding that in the United States further capacity to New York and new non-stop services to Chicago, Washington and Miami are also on the list.

“It is our objective to raise the general awareness of Hamburg’s touristic potential as well as being a flourishing business destination in the northern part of Germany,” he commented on the forum.

In the period, January to September 2005 Hamburg welcomed 4,768 travellers arriving from the Gulf region. In March the following year Emirates started to fly Dubai-Hamburg non-stop. In 2010, between January and September, Hamburg counted 10,778 arrivals.  “This means the number of travellers from the Gulf region arriving in Hamburg has more than doubled within five years,” he said. He mentioned that Emirates airline started a second daily frequency flight to Hamburg on September 1, 2011 and to promote this new service Hamburg Airport supports Emirates with marketing measures such as events for travel agencies, PR activities and advertising in the Hamburg market.

“For Hamburg Airport we forecast in total of 13.5 million passengers by the end of 2011,” he said, adding that the Emirates route between Hamburg and Dubai should see 255,000 passengers by the end of this year and next year around 350,000. Emirates is the sixth largest airline in Hamburg. “To secure this growth Hamburg Airport has excellent contacts with Emirates and supports their marketing activities,” he added.

© Khaleej Times 2011

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - December 7, 2011 at 9:34 pm

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Kanoo Travel gaining from ‘power of partnership’

Kanoo Travel announced recently that it is working closely with American Express to put together a strategy to overcome challenges and deliver product and service excellence in the Middle East region.

Kanoo Travel said it would invest further in technology and increase their collaboration with American Express by sharing global best practices and local expertise to offer customers only the best travel management solutions and services.

The announcement came at the partner conference in Dubai.

Kanoo Travel’s inaugural partner conference titled “The Power of Partnership”, a special initiative taken by Nabeel Kanoo, director of Kanoo Travel to bring together travel agencies and partners within the Kanoo and American Express partner network, was a huge success.

At the conference, Kanoo Travel was able to collect feedback from industry partners and put together solutions to further deliver world-class business travel service in the region.

Speaking on their plans, Nabeel Kanoo, director of Kanoo Travel, said: “Kanoo Travel’s value proposition has been to work closely with our partners to offer our customers only the best travel products and services. To stay competitive and consolidate our position as market leaders, we needed to re-evaluate our position and make decisions on what needed to be done differently. In order to collaborate with our partners and prepare for future growth, we recently held our first Partner conference in Dubai, which was a huge success with some interesting feedback from our partners.”

Kanoo added: “At the conference, we discussed the opportunity of shifting our focus from being a traditional travel agency to becoming a complete solutions provider with greater penetration of the online business, improved mobile solution offerings and increased footprint in strategic emerging markets. Going by the response we received at the conference, we look forward to making it an annual event, where Kanoo Travel and American Express can collectively improve services.”

The Middle East travel market is expanding at an impressive rate with the region recording an 18.1 percent increase in air passenger demand from 2007 to 2010, when the global average was just 7.4 percent.

With more international companies entering this market due to the infrastructure growth, there is a significant potential for the travel industry to grow further.

Over the last few months, Kanoo Travel and American Express have been working on a range of initiatives designed to build on the foundation created with strategic partners in the region.

Kanoo Travel is also working closely with its industry partners to offer innovative travel solutions, deliver premium value and provide a globally consistent high quality of service and advice to its regional customers.

The Kanoo family’s involvement in air travel goes back to 1937 when the company provided refueling facilities in Bahrain for Imperial Airways seaplanes on route to India and Australia.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - December 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm

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UAE National Day Celebrations – 2011

In a night full of surprises, the Government of Dubai Department of Tourism Commerce Marketing (DTCM) Australia New Zealand Representative Office and Emirates Airlines celebrated the 40th anniversary
of the UAE National Day with His Excellency, Al Nuaimi UAE Ambassador to Australia New Zealand.

The Shangri La Hotel last night attracted key industry personnel who were invited to participate in the
traditional Arabic stick dance with His Excellency.

The event celebrated the UAE National Day as it marks the UAE’s formal independence from the UK and
the unification of the seven cities that formed the United Arab Emirates in 1971.

Julie King of Dubai Tourism announced that visitor numbers from Australia have grown 35 percent in the
last quarter and 16 percent year to date.

The UAE National day is officially on the 2nd of December and reflects on the spirit that ties the people of the UAE together, the spirit that binds the cosmopolitan community of the UAE, connecting them under one banner, one flag, but with many voices. It is the Spirit of the Union that celebrates the culture and heritage, and yet shapes the future of the UAE.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - December 3, 2011 at 9:11 pm

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Dubai Airport Freezone-HRG DNATA travel fair a big success

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“We congratulate HRG, Emirates Airlines, Emirates Holidays and Marhaba Services for participating in this event and making it a big success…”- Nasser Al Madani, Assistant Director General, Dubai Airport Freezone

United Arab Emirates, Dubai: More than 500 professionals from Dubai Airport Freezone companies participated in a two-day travel fair Organized by HRG, DnataDnata Corporate Travel Division, in collaboration with Dubai Airport Freezone recently.

“We congratulate HRG, Emirates Airlines, Emirates Holidays and Marhaba Services for participating in this event and making it a big success. We continue to organize events such as these for the convenience of people having offices at the Freezone as a regular part of our service to them,” said Mr. Nasser Al Madani, Assistant Director General of Dubai Airport Freezone, “Only with the full cooperation of partners will such events be successful. This will not be the last of such events considering the success of this effort.”

The Travel Fair was organized for the benefit of Dubai Airport Freezone companies. In addition to receiving information on HRG and its various travel services and products, travelers were able to directly book their flights at discounted fares with the HRG travel consultants on site.

Also participating at the Fair were Emirates Airlines, Emirates Holidays and Marhaba Services, all presenting special offers created for this occasion. During the event, more than 300 dropped their business cards and entered a raffle draw where exciting prices could be won.


About Dubai Airport Freezone
Established in 1996 as a part of the Dubai Government’s strategic plan to be an investment driven economy, Dubai Airport Freezone is one of the fastest growing premium free zones in the region. The free zone is currently home to over 1450 companies from various industry sectors, including aviation, freight and logistics, IT and telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, engineering, food beverage, jewelry and cosmetics. Located strategically within the boundaries of Dubai International Airport, Dubai Airport Freezone offers a range of modern facilities with a state-of-the-art infrastructure. International investors can enjoy dynamic growth through Dubai Airport Freezone’s excellent incentive packages including 100% tax exemption, 100% foreign ownership and no currency restrictions. Situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, the Dubai Airport Freezone is a gateway providing access to over 2.5 billion consumers.

Dubai Airport Freezone’s commitment to quality is recognized by worldwide ISO certificates for Quality, Environment, Health Safety and Information Security Management System, as well as Complaints Handling System. In addition to various regional and international awards Dubai Airport Freezone has won the prestigious Dubai Quality Appreciation Programmed award in the service category in 2010.

For more information, please contact:
BIZ COM – For PRoactive Communications
P.O. Box 48889
Dubai – UAE
Tel: +971 4 332-0888
Fax: +971 4 332-0999

© Press Release 2010

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - December 1, 2011 at 9:05 pm

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Dubai steadies ship after debt crisis

DUBAI — Two years after its debt crisis rocked global markets, Dubai has emerged as a safe haven in a troubled region, reaping the benefits of building strong service and tourism sectors.

But the Gulf emirate, which has so far succeeded in restructuring its mountain of debt, could face tougher conditions if it seeks refinancing in a sickly international market, while a global drop in demand could harm its core sector, analysts say.

Before the global financial crisis struck in 2008, drying up its main source of funds, the economy of the desert city of skyscrapers had been growing at breakneck speed.

The emirate’s fortunes took a further blow in 2009 when it warned on November 25 that its largest government-related entity (GRE) Dubai World needed to freeze repayments on some $26 billions of debt, triggering fears of a sovereign debt default.

Its gross domestic product contracted 2.4 percent that year.

That statement raised the international focus on weak countries in the bond market, adding to the spotlights on Greece which was soon to become the first domino in what is now the eurozone debt crisis.

But in Dubai the sluggishness in the economy was followed by a recovery in 2010 as Dubai negotiated debt restructuring and began to quarantine problem assets.

Economic growth stood at a mere 0.5 percent last year, and is expected to be at least 3.0 percent this year thanks to expanding transit trade and flourishing tourism, although the property sector remains subdued after shedding more than half its value.

“Dubai has planned, and started, to address its debt issues through all possible channels: restructuring, refinancing, asset selling but also simply through GDP growth, which improves the debt ratio dynamic,” said Philippe Dauba-Pantanacce, a senior economist at Standard Chartered Bank.

“Dubai’s amount of debt certainly did not vanish but it has not prevented the core assets of Dubai’s growth engine from registering a healthy acceleration this year,” he told AFP.

“All major sectors of Dubai’s traditional assets — trade, tourism, retail sales, infrastructure, and transports — have been strong contributors to the emirate’s growth this year.”

Tourist arrivals grew 14 percent in the first half of 2011, while hotel occupancy rates rose over 80 percent, according to regional investment bank EFG-Hermes.

It said that high occupancy was evident during the summer as many Gulf tourists avoided troubled traditional destinations like Egypt and Syria.

Dubai’s trading sector has also been growing.

Container traffic increased by 11 percent in the first half of the year, according to EFG-Hermes, which said ports could also be benefiting from diversions due to the regional uncertainties.

“Dubai stands out in the region as it is benefiting from its safe haven status, particularly in areas such as tourism, trade, and banking sector deposit inflows,” said the bank.

The financial crisis hit the bustling city at a time when it was building larger than life projects with a set of superlative aims, including the world’s tallest towers and the largest man-made islands — big plans for which it borrowed heavily.

Projects that were completed or nearly completed by the time the crisis hit escaped its paralysing effect, but many others — mostly now deemed unrealistic — stayed at the drawing-board stage.

“The mood has completely changed; the hyped hubris of the past has gone — people are much more realistic now,” said Simon Williams, chief economist for the region at HSBC.

He argued that the after effects of the “boom and bust cycle” are still around.

“Real estate is still weak, access to bank credit is still tough and Dubai’s international reputation has yet to be rehabilitated,” he pointed out.

But he highlighted the comparative advantages that put Dubai on the right track to achieve steady growth.

“The emirate has, by far, the best physical infrastructure, most tolerant social system in the Gulf, and most entrepreneurial risk taking private sector,” said Williams.

“Its stability during a period of widespread regional unrest has further enhanced its appeal,” he told AFP.

It has also become more affordable for companies and investors after years of high inflation.

“Before the crash, Dubai was tax-free but an expensive place to do business. It is still tax free, but with real estate down by half and wages flat, it is much more competitive than it was before and that’s key for its long term prospects,” he added.

Fears of narrowing access to international finance due to worsening global conditions could harm Dubai which has to refinance its obligations. The emirate’s GREs reportedly have nearly $14 billion of maturing debt next year.

“Dubai risks remain if there is a marked deterioration in access to foreign funding for a sustained period, given Dubai?s significant refinancing obligations,” EFG-Hermes said.

But the emirate should not face a problem meeting its short-term debt servicing obligations, putting them at $600 million in the fourth quarter of this year, it said, adding as restructuring continues, difficulties would likely be a result of “external shocks rather than domestic.”

A drop in global trade due to the escalating eurozone crisis, could also affect Dubai which has established itself as a transit hub for trade.

“A protraction of the eurozone turmoils could translate into a further erosion of global demand — dampened by market stress and collapsing consumer confidence,” said Dauba-Pantanacce.

“As the most open non oil economy in the region, Dubai would suffer from a dramatic fall in global trade as it did in 2008,” he warned.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.
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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm

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Dubai Cosmetic Surgery Clinic unveils its new hair transplant facility as medical tourism rises

The rise in hair transplant treatments follows the improved quality of the procedure, and the overall perceived social acceptability of a treatment that many celebrities have undergone. In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of hair transplant procedures in Dubai have increased substantially in the last three years.

“It is well known that hair loss is a common aesthetic problem in the UAE as well as the entire region. Previously, UAE residents had to make expensive trips abroad to undergo state-of-the-art hair treatments. Our aim was to offer a more cost-effective solution through Dubai Cosmetic Surgery Clinic’s in-house plastic surgeons, which are experts in the field and offer a wide range of cosmetic, minimally invasive and surgical procedures. Hair transplanting is highly technique dependent, which means that skill and experience are just as critical as the technology used. This is why Dubai Cosmetic Surgery Clinic has assembled a professional team with a cumulative experience of over 100 years of successful practice in hair consultancy and surgery,” Dr. Bokhari, Managing Director, Dubai Cosmetic Surgery Clinic.

“Hair transplant techniques have improved by leaps and bounds, and the sophisticated results possible today are far removed from the obvious and artificial results of years past,” said Dr. Allam, a UK and Australian Board Certified Cosmetic Surgeon and Hair Transplant Specialist at Dubai Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. “As the procedure becomes socially accepted as a norm, due in part to famous names who have undergone treatment, we are seeing a spike in demand for the procedure, both from residents and tourists.”

Dubai Cosmetic Surgery Clinic uses the latest, state of the art method for hair transplant, the FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) method. FEU is the most reliable technique for treatment of hair-loss, and is also effective in restoring thinning eyelashes, eyebrows, beard hair and chest hair, and to fill in scars caused by accidents as well as previous unsatisfactory hair transplant procedures. The FUE technique is suitable for both men and women, and has the benefit of practically zero recovery time. Because the technique is so precise, it allows for greater flexibility, allowing patients to plan their hair restoration around their time and budget.

Dubai Cosmetic Surgery Clinic provides consultancy services that help patients easily understand the process of hair loss and hair restoration, thus helping them make an informed decision about the most suitable method of hair transplantation as well as other cosmetic procedures. The clinic has been providing premium aesthetic and cosmetic services for over 15 years, and offers head-to-toe aesthetic solutions for all individual needs. The clinic consists of a team of fully qualified and trained medical professionals whose aim is not to meet the standards of safety and quality but to surpass them.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm

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Dubai hotels see tourism pick-up amid Arab Spring

Hotels in Dubai reported strong RevPAR and profit growth during the month of September, according to the latest data published by TRI Hospitality Consulting.

Since the beginning of 2011, Dubai’s tourism and hotel sector has witnessed strong signs of recovery as the Arab Spring diverted both international and regional tourists to safer locations such as Dubai, the data showed.

Both occupancy and average rates in the emirate improved in September as the city emerged out of the low demand summer and Ramadan seasons, TRI Hospitality added.

Its data said occupancy rates at Dubai hotels hit 78.6 percent in September compared to 71.8 percent in the same month last year.

The increase in tourists prompted hoteliers to increase rates by 10.9 percent in September, resulting in a 21.5 percent growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR), TRI Hospitality said in a statement.

It added that gross operating profit per available room (GOP PAR) rose 24.6 percent compared to September 2010.

Dubai hotels’ year-to-date GOP PAR of $110.10 is 30.9 percent higher than its neighbouring city of Abu Dhabi and second only to Riyadh among the six cities covered in this survey.

Riyadh and Jeddah emerged as leaders for both rate (ARR) and profit (GOP PAR) in the Middle East.

The two cities achieved ARR of $245.70 and ARR $212.70 respectively in September, and managed to post GOPPAR well above the other four cities covered in the survey.

Riyadh’s occupancy rates grew by 18.7 percent, while RevPAR rose by 52.6 percent and GOP PAR surged by 91 percent compared to the same month in 2010.

Jeddah posted a 10.4 percent growth in RevPAR and 11.8 percent growth in GOP PAR for the month.

Peter Goddard, managing director of TRI Hospitality Consulting in Dubai, said: “Dubai hotels have clearly benefited from the Arabic Spring and such trend is unlikely to change until there is greater stability in the hot spot areas of Egypt and Syria.

“However, with the uncertainty related to the ongoing economic problems in the Euro region, there is a downside risk that the European tourist inflow into Dubai may decline, which might slightly dampen the year-end figures.”

He added: “Hotels in Riyadh and Jeddah have seen a surge in demand in September due to a combination of reasons. The exit of Ramadan out of September and into August this year and the spill over of Eid holidays into September have favoured the month’s figures.

“More importantly on a macro level, the ongoing security issues in the Levant and the government’s efforts to promote domestic tourism have resulted in an increasing number of Saudi travellers now spending more time holidaying in the Kingdom, which also benefited hotels in Riyadh and Jeddah.”

In Abu Dhabi, TRI Hospitality data suggested room rates (ARR) fell in September by seven percent compared to the same month last year, although occupancy levels improved by a similar margin as Dubai.

During the 12 months to September, Abu Dhabi posted a 20.9 percent decline compared to the same period in 2010.

According to Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, the number of hotel guests rose 14% in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year.

“Regardless of the growth in demand, the continued growth in supply, albeit at reduced levels compared to the last couple of years, is likely to maintain the pressure on rates and increase the risk of oversupply in Abu Dhabi in the short to medium term,” said Goddard.

TRI Hospitality said Cairo saw its hotel occupancy drop by 22.8 percent while Sharm El Sheikh registered a decline of 15.9 percent in September compared to last year.

“Hotel performance levels in Cairo are not likely to improve until the protests subside, the security situation improves and international travellers put Egypt back on their travel itinerary,” said Goddard.

“In the short term, performance is likely to remain subdued under the threat of possible violence associated with the proposed general election planned in November and presidential election planned in early 2012.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm

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Middle East travel retail sales soar

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Wednesday, Nov 23, 2011

Gulf News

Dubai This year’s Middle East Duty Free Association (MEDFA) Conference, which ended yesterday, strongly focused on the vibrancy of the Middle East’s travel retail market which continued its strong performance despite political instability in the region.

Having attracted a record audience of 486 delegates, the event saw industry experts discussing the future challenges and strategy of the duty free industry in the region.

In his keynote address, Gary Chapman, President Group Services and Dnata, Emirates Group, highlighted the aggressive growth being experienced by the fast-paced airports and airlines in the Middle East.

“If you are focused on this region it’s good news,” he said, adding that with Emirates set to receive an aircraft a month on average for the next few years, the region was set to grow tremendously. And this ambition is being mirrored by other Gulf carriers such as Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, he added.

“They all have one thing in common and that is growth. We will continue to see growth well in excess of international norms, and that will create phenomenal opportunities,” said Chapman. He added that going by the long-term view, the Middle East would continue to grow strongly.

On target

This has been proven by Dubai Duty Free’s performance in the recent years. The airport retailer’s sales grew 16 per cent as of the end of October, with sales reaching Dh4.2 billion. Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman of Dubai Duty Free, said DDF was on track to achieve a year-end target of Dh5.3 billion.

Duty free sales at Dubai International Airport represent nearly half of the total duty free sales in the Middle East and North Africa, which last year reached $2.4 billion.

Meanwhile, global duty free and travel retail sales grew 13 per cent to $39 billion last year, according to Generation Research, with airports accounting for $23.30 billion.

By Shweta Jain?Senior Reporter

© Gulf News 2011. All rights reserved.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm

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Maradona leaves UAE for Argentina to attend mother’s funeral

Nov 20, 2011, 13:15 GMT

Maradona had a terrible night after his wife informed him on Saturday that his 80-year-old mother had slipped into a coma, sources close to him in Dubai told dpa.

‘He asked the administration of Al-Wasl (a Dubai-based team he coaches) to allow him to travel to be beside his mother,’ added the sources.

They said that he had learnt about his mother’s death after he boarded the plane early Sunday.

‘The club was shocked by the sad news,’ said Ahmed Khalifa, the media spokesman for Al-Wasl.

He added that Al-Wasl was not in a hurry for Maradona’s return for a local game next week.

‘Al-Wasl deeply understands the difficult circumstances he is experiencing,’ said Khalifa.

Maradona liked to talk about his mother at his press conferences in Dubai.

Maradona has been coaching the club since May and has signed a two-year contract.


Dubai- Argentine football legend Diego Maradona on Sunday left the United Arab Emirates to travel to his homeland for his mother’s funeral.

Maradona had a terrible night after his wife informed him on Saturday that his 80-year-old mother had slipped into a coma, sources close to him in Dubai told dpa.

‘He asked the administration of Al-Wasl (a Dubai-based team he coaches) to allow him to travel to be beside his mother,’ added the sources.

They said that he had learnt about his mother’s death after he boarded the plane early Sunday.

‘The club was shocked by the sad news,’ said Ahmed Khalifa, the media spokesman for Al-Wasl.

He added that Al-Wasl was not in a hurry for Maradona’s return for a local game next week.

‘Al-Wasl deeply understands the difficult circumstances he is experiencing,’ said Khalifa.

Maradona liked to talk about his mother at his press conferences in Dubai.

Maradona has been coaching the club since May and has signed a two-year contract.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm

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Abu Dhabi delays opening dates for Louvre, Guggenheim museums

Abu Dhabi government-owned Tourism Development and Investment Co (TDIC) said on Saturday it was postponing the opening of three museums, in a fresh delay for one of the largest cultural projects in the Middle East.

The company gave no new date for opening the Abu Dhabi branches of the Guggenheim and the Louvre museums and the Zayed National Museum, originally scheduled between 2013 and 2014.

The announcement came less than a week after the company said it had canceled a tender related to the construction of the 450,000 sq foot Guggenheim museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry and expected to be the largest in the world.

“Due to the immense magnitude of the work associated with the development of such consequential projects, the company has decided to extend the delivery dates,” the company said in a statement.

“This will ensure that quality is not compromised, and allow each establishment the time needed to create its own identity on the local and international cultural stage,” it added.

TDIC said the move would only have “a moderate impact on the delivery timeline of the museums,” adding that significant progress has been made, including the finalization of architectural designs.

“The company is currently working closely with its valued partners on the creation of the new delivery timeline and looks forward to announcing this in due course,” it said.

In March, competing firms submitted bids for the 400 million dirhams ($109 million) Guggenheim contract, the London-based Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) said, including UAE’s Al Habtoor-Leighton Group, Dubai builder Arabtec , Saudi Oger, Egypt’s Orascom Construction and South Korea’s Samsung CT.

The Guggenheim and Louvre museums are planned for the Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, which is a $27 billion art and culture project.

(Reporting by Sami Aboudi, editing by Rosalind Russell)

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 19, 2011 at 8:27 pm

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