Posts Tagged ‘Dubai Tourism’

Spectrum of the Seas anchors into Port Rashid

Dubai recently welcomed the innovative cruise ship ‘Spectrum of the Seas’ into Port Rashid, marking its debut into the Arabian Gulf.

A traditional ‘Plaques and Keys Exchange’ ceremony was hosted on board in the presence of the ship’s captain and key industry stakeholders from Dubai Cruise Committee. Reaffirming Dubai’s position as the ‘cruise hub of the region’, Spectrum of the Seas arrived in port bringing almost 4,000 tourists to the emirate in a single day.

Weighing 168,666 gross tonnes, Royal Caribbean’s new Spectrum of the Seas will be the largest and most advanced cruise ship to port in Dubai. The cruise brand revealed several new innovations and features on board the ship, displaying ‘first-at-sea’ activities such as the Sky Pad, a virtual reality bungee trampoline, RipCord by iFly sky diving simulator and North Star observation pod that offers guests astonishing panoramic views more than 300 feet above sea level. In addition, the ship’s interiors offer a music hall and SeaPlex; the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex with bumper cars, roller skating and basketball.

Mohamed Abdul Aziz Al Mannai, CEO of P&O Marina and CEO of Port Rashid at DP World, said: “The cruise ship terminal at Port Rashid has recorded significant achievements over the past few years, including the development of marine, commercial and tourism infrastructure. This strengthens the emirate’s global position as a hub for trade and cruise tourism and supports the tourism sector in Dubai and its efforts to establish the emirate among the best cities in the world.”

Al Mannai also outlined that the shipyard at Port Rashid welcomes close to half a million visitors annually and expects 725,000 visitors during the 2018-2019 cruise season, as a result of Dubai’s ongoing efforts to attract tourists and investors to the emirate.

Jamal Alfalasi, director of Dubai Cruise Tourism, said: “It is with great honour that we welcome the guests of Spectrum of the Seas, one of the largest and most revolutionary ships to the emirate. This visit strengthens Dubai’s position as the established cruise hub of the region; a key component of our strategic development. Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing number of reputable cruise liners visiting the emirate and our ongoing partnership with key stakeholders is testament to delivering top-class cruise facilities and providing distinctive services to enhance the tourists’ experience, marking Dubai as a significant destination for cruise tourists worldwide.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 9, 2019 at 4:37 am

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Dubai Shopping Festival 2012 attracting record numbers

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Dubai’s hotel sector has been boosted by the Arab Spring, renewed corporate activity and record numbers of visitors to the Dubai Shopping Festival. The thriving Dubai hotel sector will receive a further boost from this year’s 17th Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), which is expected to attract record numbers of visitors.

Dubai, Dubai, UAE, Country., January 31, 2012 – (PressReleasePoint) – Dubai’s hotel sector has been boosted by the Arab Spring, renewed corporate activity and record numbers of visitors to the Dubai Shopping Festival. The thriving Dubai hotel sector will receive a further boost from this year’s 17th Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), which is expected to attract record numbers of visitors. Last year, around 3.5 million tourists flocked to Dubai for the festival, which generated $4.08 billion in revenue for the city. But a study by You.Gov predicts this year could be considerably bigger. The DSF, which runs for 32 days from January 20, 2011 to February 20, 2011 has been organised to coincide with school holidays, which will increase the number of families at the event.

Special offers for the Festival
One of the biggest beneficiaries will be the Dubai hotel sector. Hotels, travel agents and tour operators sell the DSF worldwide and run at peak levels during the event. Most Dubai hotels and apartments, including the world-famous Burj Al Arab, provide special offers on rooms during the festival. Emirates, and most other airlines flying out of Dubai, offer discounted airfares and excess baggage allowances during the festival. Emirates, for example, is offering a US$75 DSF hotel package.

The DSF, known in Arabic as ‘Layali Dubai’, was started in February 1996 by the Dubai Government as a retail event aimed at promoting trade. Since then it has become an annual shopping, entertainment, and cultural extravaganza that draws an international audience. It is basically a shoppers’ paradise. Over 2,300 retails outlets offer everything from gold and perfume, to haute couture, cars, electronics, handicrafts and textiles.

But over the years, other events have sprung up to take advantage of the thousands of visitors. There are now international fashion shows, street-side performances, nightly fireworks, film festivals, and many other cultural events that reflect the emirate’s cosmopolitan character. The world’s richest horse race, the US$ 12 million Dubai World Cup, also coincides with the shopping festival.

First Central Hotel Apartment’s
If last year is anything to go by, hotel occupancy rates will soar during the DSF. In 2011, many hotels in the emirate reached 100% occupancy. Hotels which are well-situated for the festival will be especially in demand. One example is the Dubai-based British property developer The First Group’s First Central Hotel Apartments, which are right by the Dubai Metro’s Tecom station, and offer the height of luxury to tired shopaholics. The apartments are just a few minutes away from the Mall of the Emirates and a short ride from the Dubai Mall.

In fact, Dubai’s hoteliers have already reported occupancy levels up this January compared with January 2011. The rising trade has certainly been helped by the Arab Spring diverting tourists to the emirate, as their fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries find Dubai to be a natural substitute for places like Egypt and Morocco. But there are other factors which have helped hotel business, including consistently good weather and the general improvement in corporate activity in recent months. The emirate’s relative affordability compared with its pre-crisis peaks has also played a role. As has its increasing appeal to markets such as China, India and eastern European tourists.

Rises in 2011
The positive news in the early stages of 2012 continues trends in the Dubai hotel industry in 2011. STR Global reported that visitor levels had risen beyond eight million by the end of last year. Also, the revenue per available room, or RevPAR, recorded an average rise of 8-9% in 2011. During the month of October, Dubai’s hotels posted a 13.5% increase in RevPAR to $194.05, second only to Jeddah in the Middle East and Africa region (MENA).The majority of hotels in Dubai also recorded occupancy levels as high as 85% for the month of October. Clearly, events such as the DSF will build on these impressive figures.

Dubai is now the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world, worth about $7.8 billion in 2011. And the UAE has the largest number of hotel rooms, with a total of 40,176 available, or being built. The nearest contender in the MENA region was Saudi Arabia with 5,531 rooms. The increasing activity in the hotel sector is making property developers confident about their new investments. After years of insecurity, the market looks back on track with 2012 set to be another year of growth. New developments, such as The First Group’s Tecom hotel apartments, Metro Central and Grand Central, will add to the city’s diverse hotel supply.

Other Dubai developers have made bullish assertions about the market. Seven Tides, for example, claims it will be looking for new opportunities as the market improves. Seven Tides believes that interest in Dubai properties is rising back to pre-crisis levels and that there is particular interest in the Palm. This means mixed-use developments are becoming sought after once again. Seven Tides expects to open its Royal Amwaj resort on the Palm Jumeirah, and its Oceana hotel, also on the island, in the first quarter of next year. Other developers have been inspired by the upturn to restart work on projects which had been put on hold. For example, Al Habtoor is restarting work on its US$272.2 million hotel on the Palm.

Strong economic performance
The renewed vigour in the UAE’s hotel and tourism industries is reflected by the stronger performance of the UAE economy on international indexes. For instance, in the 2011 Human Development Report, an annual survey put out by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UAE was ranked number 30 worldwide among 187 nations. Countries ranking depends on their performance on three variable of the human development index (HDI) – life expectancy at birth, education and income.

The ranking of 30th was ahead of all Arab countries and many European countries. The second-placed Arab country was Qatar, which came 37th. The UAE economy also had a great year in 2011. According to a report by Standard Chartered Bank, the UAE enjoyed economic growth of 3.8%, allowing for inflation. The reasons cited for the growth were steady oil prices, strengthened oil production and the spillover effects of the Arab Spring. Inflation is also a non-existent threat, standing at around 1.6 per cent in 2011 and predicted to rise slightly to 2 per cent in 2012.

The First Group is an award winning international property developer, specialising in emerging markets and is currently pioneering iconic projects in the UAE and Africa. The group has a proud history of over 20 years’ experience and success, and continues to produce and develop bespoke property investments in some of the world’s most desirable locations.

For more information, please contact:
Cain Masters
Citrus Designs

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Citrus Designs
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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - February 2, 2012 at 2:46 am

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Dubai Cruise Terminal welcomes four mega ships simultaneously

DUBAI – For the first time in its history, DP World’s Dubai Cruise Terminal has welcomed four mega cruise ships at the same time, underlining its ability to cater to the rapid growth of cruise tourism in the city.

The four vessels, which can carry more than 9,000 passengers, called at Port Rashid over a 24-hour period and were berthed simultaneously.

Cruise tourism has been growing swiftly in Dubai. The award-winning Dubai Cruise Terminal experienced a 30 per cent growth in tourist traffic between 2009 and 2010, from 100 ships and 260,000 passengers to 120 ships and more than 390,000 passengers. The pattern continued in 2011, with 135 cruise vessel calls and 375,000 passengers visiting, according to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, or DTCM. In light of the growing demand, DP World is expanding the existing terminal facilities to serve as many as five cruise ships at one time and plans to eventually expand the terminal to be able to serve as many as seven cruise vessels simultaneously.

Mohammed Al Muallem, senior vice-president and managing director of DP World, UAE Region, said: “Dubai Cruise Terminal’s success in handling four mega passenger vessels at one time confirms Port Rashid’s ability to embrace the growth in cruise tourism in Dubai. This event demonstrates the cruise terminal’s capacity and the readiness of its infrastructure to cater to multiple large cruise vessels at once. DP World is committed to investing long term in the transformation of Port Rashid into the region’s cruise destination of choice with the support and close cooperation of DTCM, our strategic partner in promoting cruise tourism in Dubai.”

Mohammed Al Mannaei, director of Port Rashid at DP World, UAE Region, said: “Accommodating four cruise vessels and handling many thousands of passengers simultaneously was a challenge we were ready for at the port and we succeeded in ensuring smooth anchorage for the large vessels. I would like to thank all those involved for their commitment and cooperation in carrying out this operation.”

Just two weeks ago Dubai Cruise Terminal was voted, for the fifth time, the World’s Leading Cruise Port at the prestigious World Travel Awards 2011, competing against 17 regional winners for the honour.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 31, 2012 at 2:30 am

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UAE hotels cashing in on demand from Saudi families


DUBAI: The UAE attracted a huge number of Saudi nationals this week as several people left the Kingdom to spend a short school midterm holiday in the UAE.

Hotel and tourism specialists said the number of visitors might cross 200,000.

Government officials, however, could not confirm this figure immediately.

In fact, holidays in Saudi Arabia and Oman, combined with the Dubai Shopping Festival, have created a huge shortage for hotel rooms in the UAE.

The hotel occupancy has been high for the last one week and rooms were not available even in small hotels in Sharjah and Ajman.

Hussam Al-Jaffar, a Saudi National from Dammam, said he was enjoying his stay in Dubai and most of his hotel mates are Saudi nationals.

“Every year, I visit Dubai with my family. I prefer to spend my vacation in the UAE because it is close to Saudi Arabia and it has modern shopping facilities like European countries,” he added.

“Of course, I visit tourist attractions in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi too,” he said.

Thomas Kurian, director of sales and marketing at Flora Group of Hotels in Dubai, said Saudi nationals occupied 50 percent of their rooms during the past week.

“We have about 700 rooms and 50 percent of our guests for this period have been from Saudi Arabia. Since our property is non-alcoholic, the demand from Saudi Arabia is always high,” he added.

Salem Abdullah, a visitor from Saudi Arabia who was staying at a hotel in Ajman, said he could not find a room in Dubai because of high demand.

“The demand is high and hotels have increased the tariff also. Even in Ajman, I am paying more than AED600 per night per room. It was AED250 before,” said Salem, who is a regular visitor to the UAE.

“Since it is vacation time for schools in Saudi Arabia, we have seen an amazing turnout of families in Dubai. All our hotels are fully booked and have up to 60 percent of their guests from the Kingdom. Dubai Shopping Festival has once again proved to be a major attraction for families from the neighboring GCC countries, particularly Saudi Arabia,” Sadiq Iqbal, director of sales and revenue management, Coral Hotels Resorts, said.

“We are doing well at the Grand Millennium Dubai with the hotel enjoying 100 percent occupancy. Since we had secured our business in advance, we could only accommodate 10 percent guests from KSA. We have seen a high demand from Saudi Arabia recently,” Peter Mansourian, general manager of Grand Millennium Dubai told Arab News.

“The Holiday Inn Dubai in Al-Barsha is fully booked with 20 percent of guests from Saudi Arabia. There has been a high turnout of travelers from the Kingdom owing to the school holidays in the country,” said Gilles Nicolas, director of operations, Holiday Inn Dubai.

“We have had a terrific response from Saudi Arabia. We are running at 100 percent occupancy with nearly 30 percent of our guests from Saudi Arabia. We have both leisure and corporate clients owing to two major events happening in Dubai — DSF and Arab Health,” Hassan Al-Jawhari, director of sales and marketing, Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel in Dubai, told Arab News.

“Saudi Arabia is one of our key feeder markets and we have, at the moment, nearly 30 percent of our guests from the Kingdom,” said Aamir Pervez, general manager, Corp. Executive Hotel Apartments.

Hotel and apartment rooms are not available in Ajman, says Dinesh, manager of Hamilton Hotel in Ajman. Currently 50 percent of my guests are from Saudi Arabia and Oman.

“It was an unexpected turn-out from Saudi Arabia, we couldn’t accommodate many guests. I diverted a number of guests to hotels in Umm Al-Quwain and Ras Al-Khaimah,” Dinesh added.

He agreed that hotel rates have shot up.

“Rooms are not even available at furnished apartments, so, naturally the rates will go up,” he said.

“We used to go to Egypt and Lebanon. However, since last year we visit Dubai and it is a calm place with attractions” said Khaled Omar, a visitor from Jeddah.

Abdul Rahman A. M. Al-Khateeri, a school student who came with his parents by road from Riyadh, shared similar sentiments. “For me, the most interesting place is Sharjah’s Islamic Museum, because I learned many things from there,” Abdul Rahman said.

Dinesh Chaddah, general manager of Sharjah-based Citymax Hotels, said he is sad as he could not accommodate many guests from Saudi Arabia.

“We were overbooked due to DSF and Arab Health Exhibition in Dubai. In general, most of our guests, are from Saudi Arabia and Oman only,” he said.

Dubai tourism officials said the visitor figures will be ready by next month.

A top executive at Sharjah tourism office said that they are unable to provide the number of visitors at this time as the data were still being processed.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 27, 2012 at 1:38 am

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Shoppers may be more cautious at Dubai festival

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 25, 2012 at 1:30 am

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Dubai: The New Normal Comes with Fries

Brokers choose sandwiches over stocks as trade volume sinks

Zahra Hankir

Photograph by Newsha Tavakolian for Bloomberg Businessweek

Nabil Rantisi

Nabil Rantisi

Photograph by Newsha Tavakolian for Bloomberg Businessweek

A year ago, Nabil Rantisi spent his days trading stocks at a Dubai brokerage. Today he fills orders of a different kind. The gourmet deli he opened in September serves roast beef in a Yorkshire pudding wrap and other lunchtime fare to crowds that include his former clients. “Business was getting too slow, and at some point you have to decide where time would be spent in a more valuable way,” says Rantisi, who quit his job as brokerage director at Rasmala Investment Bank in June.

Three years after the collapse of a real estate bubble, Dubai’s financial industry is still in decline and shows little signs of recovery. Of the 98 brokerages active in 2008, 41 have suspended operations. The market value of shares in Dubai’s benchmark DFM General Index stood at $27.4 billion on Jan. 17, compared with $123.9 billion at the end of 2007.

Endowed with less than 10 percent of the United Arab Emirates’ oil reserves, Dubai has charted an economic course heavy on trade, tourism, and finance. The U.A.E.’s largest metropolis set its sights on becoming a regional finance hub. To attract global banks, asset managers and insurers seeking to capitalize on the region’s rising oil wealth, the city’s rulers set up a tax-free business park, the Dubai International Financial Centre, in 2004.

Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley were among those that opened offices there. By early 2008, Dubai’s main stock index had risen almost sixfold from its level five years earlier.

Then came the crash, caused largely by real estate speculation that left the government and state-owned companies saddled with about $110 billion in debt. Dubai, home to the world’s tallest skyscraper and palm-tree-shaped manmade islands, received a $20 billion bailout led by its wealthier neighbor, Abu Dhabi.

While the economy is on the mend—growth in the U.A.E. accelerated to 3.3 percent last year—foreign interest in Dubai has been dampened by Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. International investors bought shares worth $762 million in the third quarter, down 83 percent from the same period in 2009.

Banks including Credit Suisse Group and Nomura Holdings have trimmed their equities or equity research divisions in Dubai as trading volume has plunged. Al Futtain HC Securities, a leading Dubai-based broker, said on Jan. 4 it would end operations in the U.A.E.

Vyas Jayabhanu, the manager of Al Dhafra Financial Broker, has found a new line of business while he waits for the market to turn around. The 35-year-old broker is moonlighting as a hotel and nightclub developer. “In tourism, there’s something for everybody,” says Jayabhanu over coffee at Boutique 7 Hotel Suites, a four-star Dubai hotel he helped get off the ground. “Encouraging clients to trade in this market is not ethical.”

“The smart brokers who manage to stick around will capitalize big time when volumes come back,” says Rantisi. The owner of the 1762 deli—named for the year the Earl of Sandwich supposedly asked for his meat to be served between two pieces of bread—is not holding his breath. He and his partners are gearing up to open a second branch of their establishment in another Dubai business district next month. Says Rantisi: “Business has exceeded expectations.”

The bottom line: A prolonged slump has Dubai’s brokers looking for other lines of work. The market is down 84 percent from its high in 2005.

Hankir is a reporter for Bloomberg News in Dubai.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 21, 2012 at 1:13 am

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Dubai Brokers Choose Sandwiches Over Stocks as Volume Sinks

January 15, 2012, 1:16 AM EST

By Zahra Hankir

(Updates with market drop in seventh paragraph.)

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) — Nabil Rantisi, who sold stocks during the United Arab Emirates’ boom, now oversees orders of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding wraps from crowds including former clients.

“Business was getting too slow, and at some point you have to decide where time would be spent in a more valuable way,” said Rantisi, who quit his job as the director of brokerage at Rasmala Investment Bank Ltd. in Dubai in June to help start a deli named 1762. The 34-year-old now works a few hundred meters from where he used to fulfill share orders.

Three years after the Dubai bubble burst, its financial industry is still in decline and shows little sign of recovery. While the emirate successfully restructured debt and invested in transport and tourism, 41 of the 98 local brokerages active in 2008 suspended operations.

Banks including Credit Suisse Group AG and Nomura Holdings Inc. have trimmed their equities or equity research devisions as trading volume on the Dubai Financial Market plunged 77 percent after 2009. Al Futtaim HC Securities LLC, a Dubai-based broker ranked first by value traded in July according to the Dubai Financial Market website, said Jan. 4 it would end operations in the U.A.E. The number of employees in the Dubai International Financial Centre slipped to 11,331 in July of last year from 11,436 in 2009.

Market Crash

The crash followed real-estate speculation as government and state-owned companies amassed about $110 billion in debt. Dubai is home to the world’s tallest skyscraper and palm-tree shaped islands off its coast. By early 2008, the benchmark DFM General Index had risen almost six-fold in five years.

The market value of shares in the U.A.E. is now $97 billion, less than half the $206 billion at the end of 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Foreign investors have reduced holdings of Dubai stocks amid Europe’s debt crisis and political uprisings that ousted leaders in Egypt and Libya. They bought shares worth 2.8 billion dirhams ($762 million) in the third quarter, down 83 percent from the same period in 2009, according to the Dubai Financial Market website.

Dubai’s benchmark index slumped 17 percent in 2011 compared with a 20 percent drop in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. Abu Dhabi’s measure retreated 12 percent. The value of shares traded in Dubai tumbled to about $5 million on Nov. 16, the lowest since 2004. The DFM General Index slipped 0.5 percent to 1,327.54 at the 2 p.m. close today, down 84 percent from a high in 2005.

Drop in Volume

Trading volume in Dubai plummeted to a six-year low even after state-owned holding company Dubai World reached a restructuring agreement with creditors in March. The company roiled global financial markets in 2009 when it sought to halt repayments on about $25 billion of debt.

The U.A.E. will have to wait until at least June to be upgraded to emerging market from frontier status in MSCI Inc. indexes, which determine the stocks that tracking funds buy.

With little to trade, ex-stockbrokers are running restaurants, nightclubs and luxury hotels, waiting for a catalyst to reignite markets. Vyas Jayabhanu, the manager of Al Dhafra Financial Broker LLC, has spent the past year developing Boutique 7 Hotel and Suites, a four-star Dubai hotel complete with a bar, a café and soon a nightclub.

Moving Investment

Business has been good, Jayabhanu, 35, said in an interview over coffee at the hotel’s Garden of Eden café. “If you’re bankrupt, you drink more,” he said. “It’s a win-win situation.” The café sports tables made of wood imported from Scotland, surrounded by trees and bushes, and offers shisha, the water-pipe smoked in the Middle East.

“During the boom you saw everyone investing more to capture market share,” said Rantisi of 1762, a reference to the year the Earl of Sandwich supposedly asked for his meat between two pieces of bread so he could stay at the gambling table. “It was overdone, and that was the first signal that the cycle was coming to an end,” he said. “Today is the opposite. People are getting out of the business or moving to other investments as the market dries up.”

Dubai, which has less than 10 percent of the U.A.E.’s oil reserves, set up the DIFC, a tax-free business park, in 2004 to attract global banks, asset managers and insurers to help diversify its economy. Banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc. added staff in the region as rising oil wealth increased demand for financial advice.

Expanded Too Quickly

Dubai expanded too quickly, said Akram Annous, former Middle East and North Africa strategist at Al Mal Capital PSC who left the company in November. “For now, I’m working on enhancing my personal brand,” the 33-year-old former banker said. “Maybe I’ll bring a franchise to Dubai, such as a shisha- based bowling alley, a fusion enterprise of some sort. Or maybe I’ll start a twitter feed.”

Rantisi’s former company, Rasmala, which has a research venture with Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, has moved away from retail brokerage services, as have HSBC and Shuaa Capital PSC. Shuaa, the U.A.E.’s largest investment bank, scaled back its research department to two employees as it cut costs, two bankers familiar with the matter said Jan. 10.

“We are simply not making any money through brokerage,” said Jayabhanu of Al Dhafra. “There’s a vicious fight to make use of small volume. In tourism, there’s something for everybody,” said the broker, who spends much of his time on the hotel project. “Encouraging clients to trade in this market condition is not ethical.”

Banks Also Suffer

Regional lenders have also suffered after the global credit crisis weakened lending, crimped investment banking and spurred loan defaults. Fees earned by banks in the region fell 42 percent to $320 million in the first nine months of 2011 from $551 million during the same period the year earlier, according to New York-based research firm Freeman Co.

Bond markets have recovered, with the average yield on debt in the U.A.E. slumping about 200 basis points since the end of 2009 to 5.36 percent on Jan. 10, according to the HSBC/Nasdaq Dubai UAE US Dollar Bond Index.

Al Dhafra still operates with four brokers in Abu Dhabi, the U.A.E. capital that led the $20 billion bailout of Dubai, Jayabhanu said. The brokerage was ranked 30th by value traded in December on the Dubai Financial Market.

“One thing that could boost volumes would be the inclusion of the U.A.E. in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index,” Georges Elhedery, head of global markets for the Middle East and North Africa at HSBC, said by e-mail Jan. 4. “Inclusion would have the effect of allowing international Emerging Markets funds to access this important market.”

Key Designation

MSCI indexes are tracked by funds that oversee about $3 trillion in assets, so getting promoted to emerging market from frontier can increase investment. MSCI cited investor’s questions about the effectiveness of a new settlement system as a reason why it kept the country under review.

The U.A.E. and Qatar, which is also up for review from frontier market status in June, “deserve an upgrade on the basis of their financial strength and economic and political stability,” Paul Cooper, the Dubai-based managing director at Sarasin-Alpen Partners Ltd., which oversees more than $500 million in the Middle East, said by e-mail Dec. 21. “The difficult global economic environment could work in the region’s favor as its financial strength could justify an overweight stance here.”

The Securities Commodities Authority, the U.A.E. market regulator, plans to issue rules on liquidity providers, short selling and security lending and borrowing in the first half, Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Al Turaifi said in November.

“The smart brokers who manage to stick around will capitalize big time when volumes come back,” Rantisi said. Meanwhile, the former broker and his partners plan to open a branch of 1762 as soon as this month in Jebel Ali, another Dubai business district.

“We haven’t hit a wall in sales figures yet,” Rantisi said. “And business has exceeded expectations.”

–With assistance from Shaji Mathew and Dana El Baltaji in Dubai. Editors: Philip Revzin, Claudia Maedler, Riad Hamade

To contact the reporter on this story: Zahra Hankir in Dubai at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 17, 2012 at 1:00 am

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Dubai flights are just the business Extra daily trip to and from Glasgow will help whisky, engineering, tourism

A NEW daily flight between Glasgow Airport and Dubai will benefit everyone from whisky makers to tourists, according to business experts.

Emirates Airline will give a boost of more than £200million to the city’s economy with a second daily flight starting from June 1, as reported in later editions of yesterday’s Evening Times.

About 400 extra passengers will fly in and out of the airport every day as a result and tourism bosses and politicians hailed it as fantastic news for Glasgow’s economy.

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber Of Commerce, said: “We welcome this investment decision by Emirates as a clear vote of confidence in Glasgow’s continuing economic success.

“This expansion of Emirates’ service to the international hub at Dubai is vital to growing Glasgow-based engineering companies such as Aggreko, Weir Group and Clyde Blowers – all of whom are operating beyond Europe and into Far East markets.

“It is also important to the whisky and tourism industries.

“This great news is yet more vindication of BAA’s decision to retain Glasgow Airport.

“The management team there is doing an excellent job in exploiting the airport’s assets and in attracting new flights during what remain tough times.”

The link to Dubai allows Scottish travellers to catch connecting flights to destinations around the world, including Australasia and Africa.

It was first introduced in 2004, since when the single daily flight between Glasgow and Dubai has carried more than 1.7m passengers and over 46m kilos of cargo to and from the Middle East and beyond.

The new flight will create up to 12 direct jobs and generate millions of pounds in visitor revenue.

The additional flight, coupled with an aircraft upgrade on the existing service, will increase Emirates’ capacity to and from Glasgow by 47%, an extra 398 seats per day – 199 each way.

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson said the new flight would be a significant boost to the city’s economy and competitiveness.

He said: “It is estimated the twice daily service will deliver local economic benefits of £33m, with almost 140,000 inbound passengers this year alone.

“Over the next five years, the route will be worth more than £200m.”

It will also see the introduction of a first class cabin in both daily services, the first time this has been offered by a commercial airline from Scotland.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, said: “This announcement of the new expanded service underlines Emirates’ confidence in the Scottish market’s ability to sustain and grow.”



Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 13, 2012 at 12:47 am

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Dnata buys UK’s Travel Republic

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 5, 2012 at 12:24 am

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Las Vegas – Dubai: Comparing two world-famous tourist destinations



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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - December 23, 2011 at 11:19 pm

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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.
___ (c)2011 the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) Visit the Khaleej
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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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