Arab tourism sector still recovering from Arab Spring

May 31, 2013

arab spring

The Arab tourism sector has recorded a $ 15 billion loss as a result of the Arab Spring, in addition to the loss of around 10 million tourists, according to Bandar Al-Fuhaid, director of the Arab Tourism Organization (ATO).

“We expect that global expenditure on tourism will be around $ 570 billion and provide more than 450 million jobs. We also expect that there will be more than 1 billion international tourist arrivals worldwide by the end of the year,” he said.
“Many people have lost their jobs in the tourism sector as a result of the Arab Spring. This has prompted the ATO to hold conferences in an attempt to arrive at solutions to cut losses in the sector,” he said.

A number of activities were announced on the sidelines of the visit of Mamdouh Aquz, governor of Isparta in Turkey, to the city of Taif. These include an agreement between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to initiate training and educational exchange programs. In addition, Isparta will provide training in the production of rosewater.

“At the beginning, we will invite 10 investors to be trained in the latest technology for the production of rosewater. There are 5 million domestic tourists who visit Isparta every year and we hope that we can get the same number of international tourists,” he said.

“Cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Turkey will not be confined to the rosewater industry. There is also a project in aviation, with a budget of 30 million euros. Another project in the pipeline is to guarantee investments launched by the Islamic Development Bank to protect investor rights in case of political crisis,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia sees investment in Turkey as a strategic step,” he concluded.

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Tour de France, the biggest cycling race in the world

May 27, 2013

Tour de France
The Tour de France, the biggest cycling race in the world, crosses towns and countryside as well as plains and mountains, giving those who enthusiastically follow its route the opportunity to discover monuments fashioned by the hand and genius of man.
The Tour de France, more than one hundred years old, now gives millions of television viewers from 190 countries throughout the world the chance to discover these master-pieces and in particular those that the French State entrusts to the Centre des monuments Nationaux (national monuments centre).

It was therefore only natural that a partnership was founded between the Centre des Monuments Nationaux and Amaury Sport Organisation.
Whether erected on outcrops, enclosed by walls or moats, urban monuments, archaeological sites, Renaissance palaces, eighteenth century follies, writers’ or statesmen’s residences or national domains, eleven of these unchanging witnesses to history, including the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, the Château d’If castle, the city of Carcassonne, the towers and ramparts of Aigues-Mortes, magnified by the splendid images produced by France Télévisions, will serve as the majestic setting this year for the one hundredth Tour de France, up to the final stage around the Arc de Triomphe.

“It is a real honour for the Tour de France and a source of great pride for its organisers to seal a partnership with one of the most prestigious institutions in our country. This display of recognition and trust will leave a long-lasting mark on the celebrations of the one hundredth Tour de France that will finish in an exceptional sound and light show with the Arc de Triomphe as a backdrop,” declared Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France.

As regards Philippe Bélaval, President of the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, he said he was “overjoyed to see the partnership with the Tour de France strengthen the authentically popular dimension of French national heritage, with its roots in each region, open to all and offering, in the same way as sport, incomparable moments of shared thrills”.


Rwanda’s Festival of the Gorillas becomes annual tourist destination

May 23, 2013

Gorillas
By Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Correspondent, Africa

(eTN) – When the Rwanda Development Board’s (RDB) Tourism and Conservation Department holds their annual Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony on Saturday, June 22, at Kinigi, outside Volcano National Park, exactly a dozen newborn gorilla babies will be named this year. One of them was only born two days ago to the joy of the park staff and the conservation and tourism fraternity at large. It was Muganga of the Isabukuru group who has given birth to a baby of yet to be determined sex.

Namers selected by RDB to perform the actual naming during the high-profile ceremony are normally given a choice of two names, at times three, proposed by the rangers and wardens looking after the gorilla groups, and reflect often the circumstances of the birth, make reference to the location, or reflect the mood of the group at the time.

Kwita Izina has, over the years, developed into a week-long celebration, during which conferences and workshops dedicated to conservation take place, community projects benefiting the people living around the Volcano National Park are handed over or launched, and where sporting and society events are used to mark Rwanda’s unwavering commitment to looking after the gentle giants of the Virunga mountains.

Travelers from around the world are now regularly planning visits to Rwanda to coincide with the annual Festival of the Gorillas which is unique in the range countries where mountain gorillas are found. Visit http://www.rwandatourism.com for more information about the country’s tourism attractions, how to get there, and how best to travel across the “Land of a Thousand Hills.”


Holiday travel safety tips for Memorial Day Weekend

May 22, 2013

holiday Travel
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As tens of millions of Americans prepare to travel this Memorial Day Weekend, the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the worldwide association representing toll facility owners and operators and the businesses that serve them, offers holiday travel safety tips while traveling on America’s roadways, bridges and tunnels.

“For anyone who will be traveling this busy holiday weekend, safety has to be the number one priority,” said Patrick D. Jones, IBTTA Executive Director and CEO, who recorded a Memorial Weekend video message for travelers. “From driving safely to choosing the most effective and safest routes, drivers should plan ahead. We hope our safety tips help better prepare Americans to have a safe and fun holiday weekend.”

MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY TRAVEL SAFETY TIPS

Be prepared for a safe drive: Prevent a breakdown by making sure your car is in top working order. Check your tire pressure, and fill your tank before you head out on the highway.

Watch out for the other driver: Defensive driving is all about situational awareness. Pay attention to everything on the road. If you see another driver make a mistake, be ready to get out of the way and prevent an accident.

Choose the safer road: Toll roads are among the safest roads in America. Toll authorities know their customers expect a higher maintenance standard, and tolls give them the funds to deliver on that promise. Toll roads have safety cameras and teams that constantly monitor the roadway to respond quickly to any accident.

Choose the more direct, less congested route: Today’s electronic toll collection systems allow you to pay for your ride without slowing down or waiting in line. With All Electronic Toll collection (AET), stopping at a toll booth is a thing of the past – it’s now go, go, go.

Know the upcoming weather forecast: With so much severe weather developing across the country, know the expected weather in the locations you are traveling this holiday weekend so you can be better prepared for the best and safest routes.


Dubai aims to become top destination for health tourism in the Middle East

May 21, 2013

Medical tourism.1

Medical tourism has been brought to the fore with renewed optimism and a host of projects as announced by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) on Sunday.

The projects are part of the authority’s strategy for 2013-2025, which build on His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai’s long-term sustainable development vision to promote Dubai as a favoured destination for health tourism in the Middle East.

The line-up of projects will give Dubai an assured portion of the global healthcare market.

In this, the emirate is well placed with world-class healthcare and niche specialities. Furthermore it has a reputation as a politically stable, modern and developed city and provides for regulatory environment, capacity planning and the encouragement of Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the UAE healthcare market is expected to reach Dh43.7 billion in 2015.

The DHA strategy takes into account a market needed to serve people accompanying patients. The authority has plans of two five-star hotels towards this.

In an earlier interview, Eisa Al Maidour, director-general of the DHA, said that the medical tourism initiative will be implemented by hosting medical exhibitions, participating in overseas exhibitions, encouraging global healthcare providers to set up businesses and increasing government and private investment in healthcare.

He said that the authority looks into identifying gaps in services, building capacity and increasing investors.

“We expect a steady increase in healthcare requirements. Within the DHA network of health centres and hospitals, we have increased capacity by about 12 per cent. We are looking into different parameters to ensure sustainable growth,” he said.

The medical tourism initiative was announced in 2012 by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council. Since then, several measures have been taken to unify medical tourism procedures in collaboration with the DHA, General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) and the Department of Tourism and Commercial Marketing (DTCM), among others.

Source: albawaba.com

Ethiopia’s Booming Hotel Industry

May 18, 2013

Hotel-Ethiopia

VENTURES AFRICA – The Sheraton Hotel is doing another good day of business on a Monday morning. The hotel, run by Sheik Mohammed Ali Al-Amoud, is Ethiopia’s most recognized hotel. It fills with business travelers from London and diplomats from all over Africa. It also offers similar services and accommodations expected from any major hotel in America or Europe. And for those who find the prices of the bigger international brands too expensive, Jupiter International Hotels, run by a young Ethiopian expat Benyam Bisrat, offers a quality local alternative.

The central parts—Kazanchis and Bole—of Addis Ababa resemble a construction site. New malls and hotels are being erected throughout these areas. These new constructions are mostly locally funded. Jupiter Hotels, as one of those locally funded constructions, has only been running for 5 years. In that time, the company has boosted occupancy rates above 80 percent to match international brands in the market.

Until recently, schmoozing with businessmen of all stripes and African diplomats involved sitting by the bar in the Hilton or lingering around the Sheraton lounge area. During the last African Union meeting, the lobby of the Jupiter Hotel in Kazanchis jammed softly with local Ethiopian jazz crowded out by Africa’s numerous local languages and the usual assortment of romance languages spoken on the continent.

This type of growth is usually the result of growing demand and stalled supply. But the supply of hotel beds in Addis has tripled in the last three years to around 6,000 hotel beds. Competition in this market could potentially push the number over 10,000 hotel beds in the next few years. Jupiter International Hotels will actively expand during this time to more than 1,000 hotel beds to capture approximately ten percent of the market, says Mr. Bisrat, who is also vice president of the Hotel Association of Ethiopia. International brands, including the Marriot, will also help the local hotel industry to reach that number.

Hotel groups are expanding in this capital because the amount of diplomats and corporate clients are growing. Yearly tourism, at approximately 500,000 tourists in Ethiopia, still has a ways to go before it matches other emerging African economies. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has stated its aspirations to make Ethiopia a top five tourist destination in Africa by 2020.

During this rapid growth phase, quality service-oriented business will win out at the end of the day, say Mr. Bisrat, or customers will walk out. He believes Jupiter International Hotels is positioned as top competitor in this space, especially as it plans to develop a value hotel chain. A hot shower, good mattress, and strong internet goes a long way to make a quality value hotel. But Jupiter International Hotels plans to also add a yoga studio, art gallery, and technological add-ons, including iPod docking stations and quality data and voice streaming capabilities in the rooms.

So many foreigners are coming now and more and more are not Ethiopian Diaspora, says Dawit, a local Ethiopian tourist operator. A sense of change has descended upon the country. Gone are filmmakers for aid videos on famine. Rather conference facilities and lobbies bustle with the growing presence of investors and government officials. Hotel groups, says Mr. Bisrat, still have a long way to go to meet the needs of a growing business and diplomatic hub. As Ethiopian Airlines expands its routes to meet the geographically diversifying clientele of the Ethiopia, expect the hotel industry to do the same.

 


LUX Ile de La Reunion takes Leading Island Hotel award at WTA

May 15, 2013

ADDIS LAX Hotel

LUX Ile de La Reunion won the Leading Island Hotel award tonight at the World Travel Awards (WTA) being held in the Maldives. The award was accepted at the WTA Indian Ocean gala dinner this evening.

Located on the lush volcanic island of Reunion, LUX Ile de La Reunion presents a glistening beach by day and the shimmering Saint-Gilles lagoon by night. Gardens scattered with charming Creole villas, coconut palms, and filao trees provide the perfect setting for this unique beach hotel in Reunion, with exclusive views of the coral-sheltered lagoon at L’Hermitage. The only 5-star hotel on Reunion Island, this stunning property balances a unique fusion of Creole energy and colonial elegance.

The hotel offers tennis and volleyball courts in the gardens, a spacious swimming pool, yoga in the gardens, and private in-room spa treatments. Fresh, locally-sourced seafood is on offer at the beach resort’s various restaurants and bars.

On the island of Reunion, the World Heritage sites of the Pitons, Cirques, and Ramparts, showcase the island’s rugged beauty, dramatic volcanic peaks, and tumbling waterfalls.

For more information about LUX Ile de la Reunion, visit: http://www.luxresorts.com/en/reunion-island/lux-ile-de-la-reunion/welcom…


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