Expo 2020 may prove Dubai’s defining moment

November 23, 2013

Dubai -skyline

Will we? Won’t we? That’s the question that’s been on the lips of Dubai residents during the last few weeks. In the bid for the greatest trade show on earth, the issue of whether Dubai will win the Expo 2020 has dominated newspapers, water coolers, TV reports – and, of course, the business fraternity. Holding the world’s fair would be Dubai’s defining moment, marking the transformation of the emirate into a top global centre for tourism, trade and finance.
In the last 18 months, the emirate has hauled itself out of the economic crisis, looking at brighter times ahead.
Apartment prices have jumped over 20 per cent in the past 12 months and the stock market has grown by 79 per cent this year.
The emirate has already done a great job of souping up its collosal airports, building slick hotels and welcoming millions of visitors to its trade centre, but Dubai’s ever-shrewd government knows that the Expo would be the fillip that elevates the emirate to the big time.
With its enviable position at the heart of the world, Dubai is also blessed with the necessary infrastructure, creativity and drive to put on a spectacular show.

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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”.


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

11 million tourists visit UAE in 2012

May 7, 2013

Dubai-UAE

International arrivals to the UAE increased healthily in 2012, reaching an estimated 11 million tourists delegates heard today at the latest WTM Vision Conference – Dubai held at Reed Travel Exhibition’s event Arabian Travel Market.

Overall performance of inbound trips to the Middle East region were down 5% last year mainly due to the decline of arrivals to those countries hit by the Arab Spring, which took place in 2011 effecting countries such as Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syria.

However, the UAE witnessed a substantial increase with an estimated 11 million tourist arrivals visiting the Emirates; over 8 million visiting Dubai, 2 million to Abu Dhabi and the rest to the other 5 emirates. All states continuing to show the best hotel occupancy rates due their strong leisure appeal and strong MICE sector.

Of the 11 million arrivals to the UAE, neighboring country Saudi Arabia made up the top source market for inbound tourism, with 1,500,000 tourists coming from Saudi Arabia alone. Visitor numbers from the largest Arab state to the UAE are predicated to double over the next 5 years to more than 3,000,000 arrivals.

Speaking at the WTM Vision Conference – Dubai, Euromonitor International’s Senior Research Analyst Sana Toukan explained that the UAE offers a culturally similar but more relaxed tourist destination for Saudis and is particularly popular among the growing young population.

Toukan explained: “The UAE promotes itself as a luxury shoppers’ paradise, with elaborate destination malls, shopping festivals, no sales tax and lower prices than in many surrounding countries. Luxury brands are a huge focus for incoming tourists from all over the globe.”

Another Middle Eastern country to prosper since the 2011 Arab Spring was Egypt, recording a strong 18% growth in 2012, although arrival numbers are still far from the 14 million recorded in 2010.

Also, as highlighted in the World Travel Market 2012 Industry Report, Libya has vast tourism potential with its long Mediterranean coast and Roman antiquities, but it has yet to achieve much progress since the revolution finished in 2011.

WTM Vision Conferences were also held in Moscow, Beijing and Sao Paulo earlier this year, with Rimini Italy (October 17) also confirmed.

Reed Travel Exhibitions Director World Travel Market Simon Press said: “It is great to hear that recovery has been seen in a number of Middle Eastern and North African countries such as the UAE, Egypt and Tunisia. However the danger still remains with the unrest and on-going violence in Syria which could affect neighboring countries.

“The content delegates have heard today confirms the growing importance of the Middle Eastern market, particularly the UAE, taking into consideration the pressures and conflicts that countries have witnessed over the last few years.  I’m sure the research revealed to delegates at WTM Vision Conference – Dubai will enable them to get a head start of their competitors in maximizing their future potential.”

Source: wtmlondon.com

Seychelles capital named 3rd most romantic city in the world

December 7, 2012

Seychelles

CNN, one of the world’s leading news and information channels, has voted the Seychelles islands as the third most romantic city in the world after ranking New Orleans of the USA as the first one, followed by Moscow, Russia, in second place. The result of the most eight romantic cities was published on November 14, 2012, on the travel website of CNN America.

Others to have made it onto CNN’s list of the world’s eight most romantic cities are Buenos Aires, Argentina; Amsterdam, Holland; Havana, Cuba; Barcelona, Spain; and Paris, France.

Picking up on this good news is the Apple Daily News, the number one circulation in Hong Kong who reported on the eight cities to have as the most romantic in the world in its article, “New Orleans is the most romantic.”

“Paris does not rank 1st, instead New Orleans which has just been seriously destructed by Hurricane Katrina becomes the most romantic city,” remarked the article.

The article goes on to say that though Paris no longer ranks number one as the most romantic city it is, according to the research conducted by the World Tourism Organization the most popular tourism country.

As for Victoria, Seychelles, the article describes it as “a city with charming beaches, beautiful scenery, not densely populated, full of classical British architectural style, just like a paradise on Earth, average temperature is about 27c, all these make people become more passionate.”

The Seychelles Tourism Board received this news selection with great pride. Elsia Grandcourt, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, commented that this selection comes at an opportune time as great marketing efforts are being put on the Asian market visitors.

“Seychelles remains the idyllic destination, attractive not only for romance but an array of niche markets such as eco-tourism, sailing, wellness & spa, diving, snorkelling, and deep sea fishing to appeal to our visitors,” said Mrs. Elsia Grandcourt.

On a similar note, reporting on the voting results on the CNN travel website, journalist Jordan Burchette has described Victoria of Seychelles, saying: “There’s nothing more romantic than being as far from other people as possible, and no capital city offers this kind of isolation with this kind of beachfront.”

“Plus, the architecture of this former British colony often mimics that of its former empire. It’s like they put England somewhere good. The transcendence of its pristine beaches, the prehistoric beauty of Vallee de Mai (the reputed original Garden of Eden), the eroticism of moutya dancing, which increases as the rhythm quickens,” added Jordan Burchette.

Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism & Culture, said that CNN’s assessment of Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles, reflected what our visitors say, “’A city with charming beaches, beautiful scenery, not densely populated,  full of classical British architectural style, just like a paradise on Earth, average temperature is about 27c, all these make people become more passionate,’ is a fair description of Victoria,” Minister St.Ange said.

Seychelles prides itself to be safe and clean and said the Minister, “We are a year-round tourism destination, because we have no winter – so our clean and white sandy beaches will offer unrivaled swimming in our clear and clean turquoise blue seas 365 days of the year.”

Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP).

Source: Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture
Source: Global Travel News

Belgium: Small Size. Big Fun. Every Day of the Year

June 21, 2012

There’s just something about Belgium. Maybe it’s the friendly & welcoming people. Maybe it’s the stunning architecture lining the cobblestone streets, or perhaps the choice of over 650 types of beer or the smell of chocolate. No matter what your interests, Belgium has something for everyone: romance, adventure, shopping for antiques as well as the latest trends. Energetic and carefree, the overall mood in Belgium is infectious, summoning visitors to take in the views of the Grand Place in Brussels as their worries fall by the wayside.

Located just 85 minutes from Paris and less than 2 hours from London and Amsterdam by train, the Belgian capital of Brussels encompasses all that Europe has to offer. Belgium is multicultural and multilingual, with English being widely spoken among locals. Visitors can easily hop on a one-hour train ride to take a walk through Liege or stroll through the romantic city of Namur hand-in-hand with a loved one.

The historical city of Brussels is one of the world’s greatest cosmopolitan capitals, and offers 80 museums, seasonal markets, jazz festivals and a bustling night life. This year, as part of the Year of Gastronomy in 2012, Brussels is a food lover’s paradise with its Brusselicious food themed festivities. Visitors to Brussels in 2012 can book a trip on the Tram Experience, 2-hour tram ride through Brussels while enjoying a 3-course meal, or enjoy a Dinner in the Sky at one of four special and historic locations in Brussels. For those who prefer a stationary meal, consider one of eight Themed Dinners ranging from the 150th Anniversary of Les Miserable, written in Brussels, to the Ommegang Pageant. Any way you slice it, you can’t go wrong!

Beyond Brussels is a world of castles, stone-built villages and affordable restaurants that can be visited by coach, train or renting a car. The Year of Gastronomy continues in French-speaking Belgium with food events and behind the scenes visits to local farms, food markets and producers of beer, cheese and meats. Adventurous travelers can explore the countryside as they make their way to the relaxing town of Spa. History buffs should be sure to visit Bastogne and the World War II memorial commemorating the Battle of the Bulge. Wherever your travels may lead, there is sure to be a something for every taste, style and need imaginable. For more info visit www.visitbelgium.com


1000 Places To See Before You Die – Why Britain’s best made the book

February 4, 2012

 

1000 Places To See Before You Die

 

By Getachew Teklu

The international travel bestseller is back nearly a decade after it first hit the bookshelves, 1000 Places to See before You Die is being  released with over 200 entries for Britain. “Every trip to Britain guarantees surprises at every turn. England promises a remarkable variety of things to see, from world wonders to small and unsung gems – both man-made and places of natural beauty. Scotland is empty and majestic, Wales a plethora of castles, and Belfast born again with an irresistible high-energy scene. And with everything within a relative small area, a visit to Great Britain is manageable and a delight – a veritable see-before-you-die experience”. Patricia Schultz, author.

Britain has no shortage of entries in the book with 53 destinations and over 200 places getting a mention. From Lands End in Cornwall, where the Olympic torch will make its entry to Britain, to Balfour Castle in the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland, with plenty of places in between. Britain has some magnificent cathedrals – all of them offering something unique to see. Visit the grave of Jane Austen or see Antony Gormley’s famous sculpture Sound II at Winchester Cathedral or try Canterbury Cathedral to see for yourself what inspired Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The oldest surviving original clock face of its kind in the world can be seen in Wells and the view from the top of the tower at Salisbury, Britain’s tallest spire at 225 feet above the ground is breathtaking.

If you love nothing more than seeing how the Lords and Ladies of past and present live then the wealth of stately homes and houses in Britain must be on your list of places to visit. Britain has a huge variety of festivals that take place every year that are attended by visitors from all over the world. In the world of opera, Glyndebourne is unique. The opera house stands next to the country home of John Christie, who founded it in 1934. So whether you start with North Wales, home to some of Europe’s finest surviving examples of medieval castle construction, The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland, The Lochs and their legends in Scotland or The Lake District in England make sure you get there before you die and see why some of our most loved destinations made the book


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