Abu Dhabi records 10.5% growth in hotel guests in August

ABU DHABI, 22nd September, 2018 — The number of hotel guests staying in Abu Dhabi during August rose by 10.5 percent compared to the same month in 2017, with double-digit growth in most key source markets underpinning the upward trend, latest figures released by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, DCT Abu Dhabi, for the emirate’s hospitality sector have revealed.

With the emirate’s popularity with visitors boosted by the annual Abu Dhabi Summer Season, August’s results show that the Department’s targets of improving upon 2017’s record-breaking numbers of guest arrivals, when close to five million people stayed in the emirate, are firmly on track.

In total 477,606 visitors enjoyed stays at one of Abu Dhabi’s 162 hotels and hotel apartments during August, an increase of more than 45,000 over August 2017. For the first eight months of the year, the figures show Abu Dhabi has recorded more than 3.31 million guests, a 5.8 percent boost in the total number of hotel guests to the emirate compared to last year.

Double-digit growth was recorded across most of Abu Dhabi’s top international visitor markets during August, with only the number of hotel guests from Germany declining during versus 2017.

The Chinese market recorded a strong improvement during this month, up by almost nine percent compared to August 2017 and on a year-to-date basis, China is still Abu Dhabi’s number one source market – up about 13 percent in total compared to 2017.

Significant growth was also recorded in the number of Indian hotel guests, with 22 percent growth during the month of August compared to the previous year. Saudi guests increased for a third consecutive month during August, recording a growth of about 24 percent compared to August 2017. This translates to 6.1 percent growth Year-To-Date.

In addition, the US market also continued to perform extremely well, with the number of American guests increasing by almost 35 percent in August. For the Year-To-Date, American hotel guests were up almost 26 percent compared to 2017.

The UK posted a more modest 3.6 percent increase for the month, but despite this, for the Year-To-Date, visitors from the UK are up by eight percent.

Saif Saeed Ghobash, Under-Secretary, DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “The latest report gives us confidence that we are on track for another record-breaking year. The performance for these first eight months of 2018 have been boosted by the enduring popularity of Abu Dhabi Summer Season, which ran from June into August. The hard work we are putting in to promote the emirate as a year-round destination in all our key markets is reaping dividends.”

“For the Year-To-Date, we are showing almost a 6 per cent growth compared to the same period in 2017. Our focus is still firmly fixed on the ultimate goal for 2018 – another record breaking set of numbers. With marquee events still to come – The Etihad Airways Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix , our annual art and food festivals, the end-of-year celebratory events – as well as the growing appeal of our latest attractions such as Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, we are in a strong position to achieve our targets,” headded.

All three regions of the emirate recorded a year-on-year increase in hotel guests for August, Abu Dhabi up 11.2 percent. Al Ain Region, up 2.8 percent and Al Dhafra Region up 22.5 percent, with Occupancy Rates also up in Al Ain and Al Dhafra, 5.6 percent and 8.4 percent respectively.

After the boost provided by the extensive entertainment and promotional event Abu Dhabi Summer Season represented, the emirate now moves towards the later part of the year, when the events calendar adds even more appeal to the emirate as a destination. The Etihad Airways Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the annual Abu Dhabi Art event, the gourmet-focused Abu Dhabi Food Festival are all marquee events expected to prove big draws

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Rabbi Amjad - December 18, 2019 at 3:23 pm

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Abu Dhabi reinforces its position as global tourism destination

ABU DHABI, 30th December, 2018 — The Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism has made many achievements, in light of the emergence of specialist tourism trends and its efforts to improve local tourism infrastructure and to inaugurate new attractions that combine originality, modernity and hospitality.

These achievements have positively affected the number of visitors to the emirate and its hotel occupancy rates. During the first eight months of 2018, hotels in Abu Dhabi received 1,323,239 visitors, an increase of 5.8 percent compared to last year. Also, the emirate’s 162 hotels, resorts and hotel apartments received 477,606 visitors in August, an increase of 45,000 compared to the same month last year.

The area of Al Hosn, which was launched at the start of December 2018, is an important addition to Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector. The site has a special historical importance, as it contains the oldest building in Abu Dhabi, which is a surveillance tower that was built from sea stone in about 1795.

Al Hosn is located in the center of Abu Dhabi as the first planned urban square in the emirate, and is an urban memorial that reflects the city’s development from a region settled by tribes to one of the world’s most beautiful modern cities.

Al Hosn also offers a historic account of the history of Abu Dhabi, and the important dialogues that took place within its walls.

In 2018, the department launched the “Bait Al Gahwa” (House of Coffee), to preserve, promote and support local heritage and reintroduce traditional Arabian coffee culture. Bait Al Gahwa also conducts a training programme on traditional practices, which were documented and presented to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO. It also enables its participants to receive a license to manage a business in the area of culture and tourism that represent the UAE’s heritage.

During “UAE Innovation Month” in February 2018, the department launched “Abu Dhabi Culture,” which is a comprehensive digital platform that gathers historic and cultural information and the schedule of artistic and cultural activities and events in Abu Dhabi.

The department also aims to encourage visitors to explore authentic cultural heritage landmarks in Al Ain, including locations listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

In 2019, the department will intensify its efforts to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s stature as a leading international tourism and cultural destination, as well as an ideal destination for entertainment and family holidays, through the launch of “Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi,” and the anticipated opening of the entertainment project, “CLYMB.” Two major shopping centres will also open.

The department is also promoting business tourism and spreading awareness about tourism attractions and tours in Al Ain, Al Dhafra, and Abu Dhabi City. The Abu Dhabi Conferences Office, a branch of the department, is focussing on several specialised sectors.

The department is continuing to launch cultural and heritage infrastructure projects, to keep pace with the new requirements of visitors, including the current reconstruction and redevelopment of Al Ain Museum, which will continue until the final quarter of 2020

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UAE online travel sales projected to exceed AED17 bn in 2018

DUBAI, 31st December, 2018 — The value of the UAE’s online travel sales in 2018 is forecast to reach AED17.3 billion (US$1.98 billion), driven by a growing population, an increasing number of tourists, and UAE residents’ shift towards digital services, a new analysis from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has revealed.

The analysis, based on recent data from Euromonitor International, found that direct online sales in 2018 are expected to hit AED9 billion ($2.5 billion), supported by higher airline sales. Meanwhile, AED8.3 billion ($2.3 billion) worth of online sales from intermediary companies were accounted for during the same year.

Online travel sales through intermediary companies recorded a compound annual growth rate, CAGR, of 26.1 percent between 2013 and 2018, compared to 12.5 percent CAGR for direct travel online sales over the same period.

The analysis predicted faster growth for intermediate travel bookings companies over the next five years, as UAE travellers will increasingly turn to online platforms to research, book travel and accommodation, and take advantage of special deals.

In 2018, online mobile travel sales in the UAE are forecast to reach a record AED2.9 billion ($790 million), marking a 25 percent growth rate compared to the previous year. Over the 2013-2018 period, a 34.3 percent CAGR was seen for UAE mobile travel sales and this market is expected to continue its growth at a CAGR of around 16.4 percent over the next five years, thanks to the availability of high-quality mobile apps, many of which target the Arabic-speaking population.

Leisure tourism accounted for 52 percent of the intermediaries’ online travel sales in the UAE, with the value of transactions in this category are expected to reach AED4.3 billion ($1.17 billion) by the end of 2018. Air travel dominated sales in this category, claiming 54.7 percent of total sales transactions, followed by lodging (22 percent), holiday packages (19.5 percent) and other travel online services (3.8 percent).

On the other hand, 48 percent of UAE intermediaries’ travel online sales in 2018 fell into the category of business tourism, accounting for an estimated value of AED3.9 billion ($1 billion). Air travel made up 55.3 percent of business travel online sales, followed by lodging (44.2 percent), car rental (0.4 percent) and others (0.1 percent).

Online travel agencies (OTAs) have emerged as online alternatives to the traditional channels through which hotels and airline companies offer their products to customers. International OTAs, such as Booking.com and Expedia, account for the largest share of the UAE’s online travel market, thanks to their strong links to leading hoteliers and airline companies, strong digital marketing, a wide variety of booking options and easy-to-use websites.

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Dubai Tourism to launch B2B ‘Attractions Marketplace’

DUBAI, 19th December, 2018 — Dubai Tourism has introduced a new business to business, B2B, online platform that will deliver an enhanced technological backbone to the emirate’s attractions and experiences, offering integrated digital support and wider visibility to both domestic stakeholders and global markets.

Launching in January 2019, the B2B ‘Attractions Marketplace’ has been designed to create a seamless technological framework to further stimulate industry cohesion through the connectivity of the city’s attractions and experiences with the global industry’s network of B2B resellers.

As highlighted in the ;Skift Research Report: The State of Tours and Activities 2018′, 69 percent of global travellers prioritise their spending on tourist activities over their accommodation choices, making the attractions and experiences segment the third most prominent in the travel ecosystem. The Attractions Marketplace will raise the profiles of the city’s entertainment options among relevant partners, in turn helping to increase their sales and revenue potential.

The interactive platform will enable all B2B stakeholders including online travel agents, OTAs, hotels, tour operators, aggregators and destination management companies, DMCs, to discover Dubai’s full range of offerings, allowing stakeholders to create a more bespoke and customisable visitor experience for the needs of today’s global traveller.

Guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and the government’s 10X Initiative, the online marketplace will give the city’s diverse portfolio of attractions and experiences a higher level of digital maturity through robust technology, mobile transactions and timely bookings by industry resellers.

Attractions Marketplace has been developed by Dubai-based technology provider, PrioHub, an entity under the dnata group, in partnership with PrioTicket technology.

Helal Almarri, Director-General, Dubai Tourism, said, “The introduction of the Attractions Marketplace marks an important step towards providing the city’s attractions and experiences with the power to market themselves more effectively to a wider audience. There is a need for a hyper-connected business landscape to potentially revolutionize the tourism ecosystem in order to maintain global competitiveness. By bringing this powerful technology to Dubai’s varied leisure propositions, we continue to empower our industry partners, enabling them to create an immersive visitor experience for each customer, while addressing bottlenecks in bookings and occupancy management. The native, purpose-built platform aims to bring into focus the diversity and accessibility of the emirate’s wide range of attractions and experiences, with the online portal facilitating the interaction between all stakeholders to amplify Dubai’s reach globally. It will also create a repository of attractions with real-time availability and connectivity, making it an effective one-stop-shop for global resellers.”

The platform offers a white label reservation and ticketing solution for attractions and experiences to operate more efficiently, allowing for a better connection to their customers.

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Number of tourists in Abu Dhabi, Dubai increase by 1.6% in 8 months

ABU DHABI, 27th December, 2018 — The combined number of tourists visiting Abu Dhabi and Dubai increased by 1.6 per cent during the first eight months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, which confirms the capacity of the UAE’s tourism sector to attract international visitors.

In light of the sustainability of the country’s tourism sector, room occupancy and general occupancy rates increased by 4.2 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, from January to August 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, according to statistics from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) Dubai and the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism.

Due to the offers and discounts offered by hotels in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, their average daily room prices decreased by 5.3 percent and 5.5 percent respectively during the first eight months of the current year compared to the same period last year. Statistics on international visitors showed an increase in the number of tourists coming from Russia by 64.8 percent, which was supported by the loosening of entry visa requirements, despite a plunge in the value of the Russian currency against the dirham.

The number of tourists from China and Germany increased by 11.6 per cent and 14.7 per cent respectively from January to August 2018, in line with a surge in the value of their currencies compared to the dirham.

The number of tourists from India increased by 2.3 per cent, after a slight surge in the dirham against the Indian currency while the number of tourists from the United Kingdom and Egypt decreased, despite a surge in the value of their currencies as compared to the dirham.

The number of tourists from Pakistan and the Philippines decreased, which could be due to the increased value of the dirham as compared to their currencies.

Statistics from Dubai highlighted an increase in the number of foreign tourists by 6.7 percent from January to August 2018, compared to December 2017.

The total hotel occupancy nights and length of stay of hotel establishments in Dubai, from January to August, increased by 7.3 per cent and one per cent, respectively. The number of international visitors visiting Abu Dhabi increased during the first eight months of the current year by 6.7 per cent compared to December 2017.

Along with Dubai, the total hotel occupancy nights and length of stay of hotel establishments in Abu Dhabi increased by 6.7 per cent and one per cent, respectively, from January to August 2018.

Regarding the countries that provide the highest number of incoming tourism to Dubai, official figures highlight an increase in the number of tourists coming from Russia by 64.4 per cent since the start of the current year, followed by Germany with 14.6 per cent and China with 10.7 per cent. Tourists coming to Dubai from Gulf Cooperation Council countries represent 29 percent of the total, and those from the Middle East represent 19 percent, and 10 per cent for North Africa while tourists from Western Europe and North America represent 21 percent and six per cent, respectively. Tourists from South Asia account for 11 per cent.

With regards to Abu Dhabi, most leading countries that provide tourists recorded an increase in numbers except the Philippines, which recorded a slight decrease, probably due to the fall of their currency against the dirham.

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Abu Dhabi reinforces its position as global tourism destination

ABU DHABI, 30th December, 2018 — The Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism has made many achievements, in light of the emergence of specialist tourism trends and its efforts to improve local tourism infrastructure and to inaugurate new attractions that combine originality, modernity and hospitality.

These achievements have positively affected the number of visitors to the emirate and its hotel occupancy rates. During the first eight months of 2018, hotels in Abu Dhabi received 1,323,239 visitors, an increase of 5.8 percent compared to last year. Also, the emirate’s 162 hotels, resorts and hotel apartments received 477,606 visitors in August, an increase of 45,000 compared to the same month last year.

The area of Al Hosn, which was launched at the start of December 2018, is an important addition to Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector. The site has a special historical importance, as it contains the oldest building in Abu Dhabi, which is a surveillance tower that was built from sea stone in about 1795.

Al Hosn is located in the center of Abu Dhabi as the first planned urban square in the emirate, and is an urban memorial that reflects the city’s development from a region settled by tribes to one of the world’s most beautiful modern cities.

Al Hosn also offers a historic account of the history of Abu Dhabi, and the important dialogues that took place within its walls.

In 2018, the department launched the “Bait Al Gahwa” (House of Coffee), to preserve, promote and support local heritage and reintroduce traditional Arabian coffee culture. Bait Al Gahwa also conducts a training programme on traditional practices, which were documented and presented to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO. It also enables its participants to receive a license to manage a business in the area of culture and tourism that represent the UAE’s heritage.

During “UAE Innovation Month” in February 2018, the department launched “Abu Dhabi Culture,” which is a comprehensive digital platform that gathers historic and cultural information and the schedule of artistic and cultural activities and events in Abu Dhabi.

The department also aims to encourage visitors to explore authentic cultural heritage landmarks in Al Ain, including locations listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

In 2019, the department will intensify its efforts to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s stature as a leading international tourism and cultural destination, as well as an ideal destination for entertainment and family holidays, through the launch of “Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi,” and the anticipated opening of the entertainment project, “CLYMB.” Two major shopping centres will also open.

The department is also promoting business tourism and spreading awareness about tourism attractions and tours in Al Ain, Al Dhafra, and Abu Dhabi City. The Abu Dhabi Conferences Office, a branch of the department, is focussing on several specialised sectors.

The department is continuing to launch cultural and heritage infrastructure projects, to keep pace with the new requirements of visitors, including the current reconstruction and redevelopment of Al Ain Museum, which will continue until the final quarter of 2020

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Fujairah tourism numbers increased in 2018

FUJAIRAH, 14th January, 2019 — The number of tourists visiting Fujairah rose in 2018, due to various tourism initiatives and programmes and the international participation of the Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority.

Tourism in the emirate during 2018 witnessed noticeable development and demand from visitors, who occupied 36 hotel establishments. Their number reached over 800,000, according to hotel reservations.

Saeed Al Samahi, Director-General of the Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority, said that the authority aims to advance the emirate’s tourism sector, as per the directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, and the monitoring of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah.

He added that 2018 witnessed the launch of new hotels in the emirate, including the 379-room Blue Diamond Alsalam Resort, which is located near the Fujairah International Marine Club and was launched in January 2019, and the 119-room Mirage Bab Al Bahr Hotel in Dibba. Work is also underway on new hotels.

Al Samahi explained that the authority participated in 38 events in 2018 with various local government institutions, with the aim of promoting community participation and achieving its role in highlighting the emirate’s tourism and historic potential, which will benefit the entire community.

He also noted that the authority is focussing, in 2019, on initiatives related to tolerance, in light of Fujairah’s hospitality to tourists from different cultures while highlighting the country’s role in promoting coexistence and tolerance and launching competitions for school and university students and the visitors to the authority’s centres.

Al Samahi stressed the importance of preserving antiquities, through reconstructing forts and castles and researching archaeological sites, as well as the excavation work conducted last year in various sites in the emirate, which aim to preserve antiquities and showcase them to the emirate’s visitors and future generations. The authority hosted many delegations and showed them the emirate’s ancient history, which is full of buildings and artefacts that date back to before the birth of Jesus Christ, he further added.

The reconstruction of Habhab Fort will be completed this year, as well as the redevelopment of the Fujairah Museum, he said in conclusion.

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Abu Dhabi welcomes over 10 million international visitors in 2018

ABU DHABI, 27th February, 2019 — Abu Dhabi has welcomed 10.27 million international visitors in 2018, with the emirate also posting figures showing incredible growth over the last three years, powered by the addition of a host of world-class events and enhancements to all of its specialised tourism sectors, massive improvements to its infrastructure, and significant development of its cultural assets.

The UAE capital, which has witnessed an increase in hotel guests to the emirate of 13.62 percent since the beginning of 2016, has worked hard to reinforce its position as a destination with remarkable global appeal and as a place destined to become a key cultural city of the future.

Abu Dhabi has seen huge advances across all areas of tourism sectors, including the cultural, business, family-focused and medical sectors, with the cruise sector providing more than 350,000 visitors to the emirate in 2018. The emirate’s world-class cultural assets also attracted more than 2,672,732 people to the emirate; further booting visitation metrics.

The UAE capital has also witnessed the addition of a number of cultural institutions, such as the spectacular Louvre Abu Dhabi and the reopening of the iconic Qasr Al Hosn site, as well as the launch of several high profile events and initiatives which have added to its global reputation.

Figures released by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, DCT Abu Dhabi, have shown more than 10 million visitors came to experience the UAE capital last year, made up of both day-trippers and overnight guests, with these hotel guests increasing by 3.94 percent compared to 2017 at one of the emirate’s 168 hotels or hotel apartments. In the last three years, Abu Dhabi has posted record numbers of hotel guests every year, regularly exceeding DCT Abu Dhabi’s annual targets.

The key markets of India, the US and China have all posted double-digit growth for hotel guests in 2018, underpinning the impressive surge in visitor numbers to the emirate. India and China remain the two top markets for overseas visitors, with the UK – the top European source market – rounding out the top three markets for overseas visitors.

“We are incredibly pleased to see these positive metrics, as year on year we have exceeded the already ambitious targets set for Abu Dhabi’s growth,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman at DCT Abu Dhabi.

“DCT– Abu Dhabi has made extraordinary strides since its very inception, and a snapshot of the last three years gives an even clearer indication of the strength of the emirate’s growth and standing on the global stage. We are now firmly established as a world-class cultural destination,” he added.

Other entertainment options, he said, have also proved popular with our overseas visitors. In the last three years our infrastructure has been boosted with many new additions, including Warner Bros World, which has added a new dimension to the entertainment offerings on Yas Island, which is in itself a massive success story for the emirate.

“On the business side of our mandate, we have also had considerable success, with our Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau continuing to secure high-profile conferences and events for the emirate, further establishing us on the global business world’s radar. Since 2009 we have welcomed thousands of delegates from overseas to our conferences, meetings and exhibitions, which have included such notable successes as the World Skills event, which took place in 2017 and attracted more than 100,000 visitors to Abu Dhabi from a multitude of overseas schools and universities.

DCT – Abu Dhabi is also looking forward in 2019 to hosting the biggest humanitarian event in history, the Special Olympics to Abu Dhabi.

Several sectors have significantly contributed to Abu Dhabi’s growing appeal to international travellers, with cultural tourism perhaps the most prominent; a highlight of which was the addition of Louvre Abu Dhabi to the emirate’s portfolio, garnering global attention upon its launch in 2017.

The first component of the ambitious Saadiyat Cultural District, the first universal museum in the region attracted more than 1 million visitors in its first year and put Abu Dhabi on the world’s ‘cultural map’.

DCT Abu Dhabi’s Convention Bureau has achieved notable success in this time period, successfully bidding for globally recognized events such as the aforementioned Special Olympics, which will be held in Abu Dhabi this year, as well as beating off competitive bids from both Rio de Janeiro and St Petersburg to host the 2019 World Energy Congress (WEC), one of the world’s most important energy forums.

The cruise sector has also seen vast leaps forward in the last three years, with the new Abu Dhabi cruise terminal opening – a first of its kind in the region, offering state-of-the-art port facilities and features, as well as the Sir Bani Yas Beach development. Both have increased Abu Dhabi’s appeal as an attractive port of call and homeport destination which has translated into an increase of 27.82 percent in cruise passengers to Abu Dhabi.

279,704 cruise passengers visited Abu Dhabi in 2016, compared with 354,015 in 2018. Also, during this time from 2016-18, some 963,257 cruise ship passengers disembarked at Abu Dhabi.

The healthcare sector value proposition has also been a focus for the emirate, as medical tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of global tourism.

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Dubai Airports readies for ban on single-use plastics

DUBAI, 9th December, 2019 — Change is coming to the world of air travel as the self-imposed deadline looms for a ban on all single-use plastics at the world’s busiest international airport, Dubai International, DXB. Announced by operator, Dubai Airports, earlier this year, Dubai’s two airports – DXB and DWC – will soon be free of single-use plastics in a bid to manage environmental impact.

Since the pledge was announced in June 2019, Dubai Airports has been working closely with more than 250 of its concession and hospitality partners to fulfill the promise by the beginning of the new year. With 90 million passengers passing through Dubai’s two airports – DXB and DWC – every year, consuming tens of thousands of plastic items from straws to water bottles to coffee lids daily, the plastic-free initiative has presented some serious challenges for those involved.

Eugene Barry, EVP Commercial at Dubai Airports, said, “This pledge is another step on a long journey to becoming a more environmentally responsible airport. Along with our partners, including global brands such as McDonald, Costa Coffee and Starbucks, we are committed to not only removing single-use plastics but in their place providing appropriate and importantly sustainable alternatives.”

The phased approach will see plastic cutlery, drinking straws, take-away food packaging and polythene bags removed from cafés, restaurants and shops at the airport from 1st January, 2020. During the next twelve months additional products will be replaced both in customer spaces and behind the scenes.

“Among the challenges faced, the biggest is sourcing alternatives for plastic bottles, one of the most frequently used and discarded pieces of single-use plastics. As we work to reduce and ultimately eliminate plastics from our airports, we are increasing our recycling facilities in the customer spaces and a new partnership that will allow us to properly dispose of thousands of tonnes of single-use plastic, each year,” Barry continued.

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New 40-minute residency service launched

DUBAI, 9th December, 2019 — Smart Dubai has launched UAE ‘Residency’ application services in partnership with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai via its Dubai Now application and e-services platform, which allows the emirate’s residents to conduct city transactions from the convenience of their smartphones.

The ‘Residency’ service facilitates the transactions and procedures required to issue residency visas for members of the community. Flexible and efficient, the process takes less than 40 minutes, saving time and effort for all applicants. Users need only 10 minutes to complete their application, which then takes 30 minutes to two working days to be approved.

Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai, explained: “Developing the bundle of government services offered through the Dubai Now app is in line with the Dubai Paperless Strategy 2021, through which Dubai government is looking to digitise all internal and external government transactions, establishing itself as a fully paperless administration by December 2021 and saving more than one billion pieces of paper consumed by Dubai Government entities every year.”

“The cluster of ‘Residency’ services on the Dubai Now application will, without a doubt, serve a significant segment of the community, making their lives easier,” Dr Aisha added. “It is a notable new addition to the bundle of services we offer through the app, where our objective has always been to positively affect people’s lives in the emirate. This overarching purpose drives our endeavours to offer a single platform for all city services, saving people’s time and effort, and ensuring their happiness.”

Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, noted: “So far, all residency services were only available through our smart channels and ‘Amer’ service centres located around the Emirate of Dubai. The services include issuance, renewal, amendment, and cancellation of residencies, in addition to amendment of status and transfer of sponsorship.”

“All these services are now available on the Dubai Now application,” Maj. Gen. Al Marri continued. “In collaboration with Smart Dubai, the Directorate is introducing its services on the app in successive stages, the first of which will be transferring the ‘Visa Status’ service to Dubai Now, allowing users (individuals or organisations) to determine whether or not their residency is valid, as well as the ‘Residency Management’ service, where users can renew their residencies or those of their spouses, children, and parents. Phase one will also include a service allowing users to obtain entry permits for their spouses, children, or parents.”

Al Marri noted that visa applications have been made easy and can now be submitted via the smart application and completed in minutes, provided all requirements are met.

As many as 350 people have used the Dubai Now application to issue or renew residency visas for their dependants since the service was announced last month. Furthermore, the ‘Residency’ section allows users to undertake a host of actions, such as issuing, renewing, and cancelling residency visas, as well as managing dependants, in addition to offering detailed information about these services. It points users to the steps they need to go through, which include medical tests and extracting IDs, among others, in addition to sending push notifications to alert users when their residencies are approaching their expiry dates.

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Chilean Air Force says Antarctica-bound plane missing with 38 on board

SANTIAGO, Chile, 10th December, 2019 — The Chilean Air Force reported on Monday the disappearance of one of its cargo planes that was headed to a base in Antarctica with 38 people on board.

The Hercules C130 aircraft took off at 4:55 pm (19:55 GMT) from the southern city of Punta Arenas and operators lost contact with it shortly after 6:00 pm.

“On board the C130 Hercules are 38 people, of which 17 are crew members of the aircraft and 21 are passengers,” Reuters quoted the Air Force as saying in a statement.

A state of alert was declared after communication with plane was lost, and a search and rescue team was activated.

The aircraft was travelling to perform logistical support tasks for the maintenance of Chilean facilities at the Antarctic base.

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flydubai to offer daily flights to Krabi, Thailand

DUBAI, 12th December, 2019 — flydubai’s inaugural flight has touched down in Krabi in Thailand, becoming the first UAE-based airline to offer flights to the popular holiday destination. The daily flights are operated via a short stop in Yangon, Myanmar and are codeshared with Emirates.

flydubai has become the first carrier in the UAE to operate flights to Krabi and with the new daily service from the UAE, the GCC and those connecting from Europe and the USA on the Emirates network now have more options to explore Asia and the Far East. Passengers from Thailand have more opportunities to benefit from direct flights to Dubai and beyond.

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Intention to form new low-cost airline in Abu Dhabi announced

ABU DHABI, 12th December, 2019 — Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company, ADDH, announced today that it has reached an agreement in principle for the establishment of a local airline in Abu Dhabi in partnership with Wizz Air Holdings Plc. The new airline will be Wizz Air’s first airline established outside of Europe.

It is intended that the low-cost airline will be formed via a joint venture with Wizz Air, and operations are expected to launch in the second half of 2020. The airline will focus on establishing routes to markets in which Wizz Air has existing, high growth operations, namely Central and Eastern and Western Europe, as well as the Indian subcontinent, Middle East and Africa, over the long run.

Commenting on the announcement, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “As Abu Dhabi International Airport continues its growth as a major gateway to the UAE and the wider region, we welcome contribution airlines, such as this new airline, and the impact this partnership will make to our continued national economic development. We look forward to building a highly successful partnership with them in the years to come.”

With a fleet comprising Airbus A321neo aircraft, the world’s most efficient narrow body aircraft, the new airline will gain access to markets with a total of five billion customers across Europe and beyond.

For his part, Mohamed Hassan Al Suwaidi, CEO of ADDH, said, “As a trusted government partner with a clear mandate to boost key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy, we are proud to partner with Wizz Air, an airline with strong market presence and brand recognition in key European source markets. Through our partnership with Wizz Air, we aim to capitalise on the growing demand for budget travel and support the continued growth of Abu Dhabi as a world-class cultural and tourist destination.”

József Váradi, Chief Executive Officer of Wizz Air Holdings, stated, “We are proud that our first airline to be established outside of Europe is in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. ADDH’s deep rooted knowledge of the local market, support and navigation in a new market for WIZZ is invaluable and will boost the successful development of this low-cost airline.”

The airline’s customer proposition will align directly to that of Wizz Air with a singular focus on offering superior value-based quality on air travel built with the foundation of one of the world’s greenest aircraft fleets. Wizz Air’s carbon-dioxide emissions were the lowest among European airlines in November 2019 (57.2 gr/km/passenger).

“This is a new path of growth for Wizz Air, built on our successful ultra-low cost business model, bringing affordable travel to even more customers. I would like to express my greatest gratitude to Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan and Mohamed Hassan Al Suwaidi for their dedication and support, without which this unique partnership would not have been realized,” he added.

Bryan Thompson, CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports Company, said, “The launch of the new airline is further testament to the Emirate’s robust aviation infrastructure. In addition to a strong transfer passenger program, Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) has also seen an increase in origin and destination traffic this year remaining one of the fastest-growing airport hubs in the region. New travel offerings continue to inspire visitors from around the world to come to Abu Dhabi. We welcome the world to Abu Dhabi, and look forward to providing an exceptional passenger experience to even more travellers through this venture.”

The establishment of the new airline is subject to, amongst other things, agreement and entry into of definitive documentation with ADDH, the receipt of all necessary internal and external approvals and consents, and the airline satisfying all regulatory requirements of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, GCAA, to obtain the Air Operator’s Certificate, AOC.

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Emaar joins hands with Beijing New Aeropolis Holdings to develop Aero-Economic Area of Beijing Daxing Airport

DUBAI, 30th May, 2019 — At a ceremony held at the China National International Convention Centre, Dubai-based global developer Emaar on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding, MoU, with Beijing New Aeropolis Holdings,BNA, to jointly develop a Business and Tourism Complex, integrating retail, entertainment, office, hotel hospitality, convention, sport, art and lifestyle functions in a one-stop solution within the Aero-Economic Area of Beijing Daxing International Airport, which is set to be the largest airport in the world.

Emaar and BNA will work closely to drive diversified collaboration and actively accelerate the share of resources to boost the establishment of the important Aero-Economic Area.

Emaar is a leading global property developer and provider of premium lifestyles based in Dubai, UAE, and is present in 13 countries. Emaar develops master-planned communities and lifestyle destinations in several high-growth markets globally. The group has a land bank of 1.6 billion square feet in the UAE and key international markets.

In addition to Downtown Dubai – home to Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall, which are among the worldˊs most popular attractions; Dubai Marina, one of the Middle East regionˊs largest waterfront developments; and Emaarˊs new ground-breaking development, Dubai Creek Harbour, Emaar has strong income-generating assets, with over 915,000 square meters of rental income assets and 19 hotels and resorts, under its different businesses – Emaar Development, Emaar Malls, Emaar Hospitality Group and Emaar Entertainment.

Emaar has built many landmark projects in the Middle East, North Africa, the United States, Europe and South Asia, which deliver ideal lifestyles. The group also plays an important role in driving China-UAE strategic partnership, and is actively exploring the Chinese market as part of the Belt Road Initiative

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Emaar Hospitality Group to open 5 new hotels in Dubai this year

DUBAI, 24th April, 2019 — Emaar Hospitality Group today announced that it will open five new hotels in Dubai under its premium Address Hotels and Resorts and Vida Hotels and Resorts, this year.

Further, Rove Hotels – the joint venture of Emaar Properties and Meraas – will open a new hotel.

Two hotels will open under Address Hotels and Resorts – both in Downtown Dubai: Address Fountain Views and Address Sky View. The new hotels to open under Vida Hotels and Resorts are; Vida The Hills and Vida Harbour Point.

The new Rove Hotels property to welcome guests this year is Rove At The Park. All the hotels have commenced online booking.

Chris Newman, Chief Operating Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group, said, “The five new hotel openings this year further cement our credentials and competencies as the leading homegrown hospitality provider, welcoming visitors from around the world with a diverse portfolio of hotels that meet their lifestyle aspirations.”

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