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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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.

 


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 is the place for honeymoons – just ask Prince William and Kate

May 2, 2013

Honemoons

Chi, the known people’s magazine from Italy, has come out with a feature on honeymoons in what can be considered the nicest destination on Earth, the Seychelles. The magazine speaks about special or secret honeymoons, and this is exactly what the Seychelles has become known and respected for because of their ability to keep press photographers away and allow the new brides and grooms the freedom to be alone. Seychelles has the added advantage in being blessed with 115 secluded islands and many managed as private sanctuaries to newlyweds.

The island’s tourism authorities did not want to comment on the long list of stars flying to Seychelles for their honeymoon. The most famous who made news right across the world was Prince William and Kate Middleton of the UK, but from the Seychelles itself their visitors’ privacy has always been their guiding rule.

Seychelles does provide what can be considered equal to none as the dream holiday destination.  This also true of Seychelles as a honeymoon destination for these islands promote themselves as having a style of tourism they call personalized tourism. This is away from charter business and from mass tourism.

Seychelles offers the best in turquoise blue seas that remains clean and clear. Seychelles prides itself with its clean and white sandy beaches that are lapped 365 days of the year with warm and pleasing seas. With conservation remaining top of the island’s Government agenda, over 50% of the total land area of Seychelles is today protected as natural reserves.

Source: Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture

Hilton Worldwide hits key milestone in Asia Pacific with opening of 100th property

April 30, 2013

Addis Ababa Hilton

SINGAPORE and McLean, VA – Hilton Worldwide celebrated a key milestone today in Asia Pacific with the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, its 100th property in the region. It also has more than 170 hotels with more than 50,000 rooms in its pipeline and expects to triple its current portfolio in the next five years.

“Asia Pacific is a high-priority market for Hilton Worldwide, and the opening of our 100th property and our extensive pipeline are clear signs of our strong commitment to this area,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide. “Our history in Asia Pacific has deep roots and dates back more than a half century. Together with the local expertise of our hotel owners and team members, Hilton Worldwide uniquely understands the distinct heritages and cultures of our many locations in this diverse region.”

In 2012, Hilton Worldwide signed a total of 55 new properties in key Asia Pacific markets including Greater China, Australia, Japan, Korea, India, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. With these new signings, over 14,600 rooms will be included into the company’s portfolio across six brands – Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton.

“Asia Pacific is a major growth engine in the world, and our powerful portfolio of brands allows us to serve a wide range of guests across this dynamic and exciting region,” said Martin Rinck, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide. “Our in-depth knowledge of each of the 19 countries where we operate enables us to identify the greatest growth opportunities while working closely with and supporting the local communities and delivering the best experiences for our guests.”

In the first quarter of 2013, Hilton Worldwide announced a key signing of the first internationally-branded hotel in Yangon, Myanmar. The 300-room Hilton Yangon is scheduled to open in 2014. It also announced the introduction of its luxury brand Conrad Hotels & Resorts in the Philippines with the signing of the 350-room Conrad Manila, scheduled to open in 2015. Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi, the award-winning, mid-market brand’s first property in Southeast Asia also opened its doors on April 2, 2013 in Vietnam.

In India, the company opened the unique leisure property Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa, in the serene and unspoiled landscape of the Sahyadri mountain range in the Western Ghats, and Hilton Garden Inn Gurgaon Baani Square, the second Hilton Garden Inn-branded hotel in the country. With that opening, Hilton Worldwide now manages seven hotels in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) alone.

Come May 1, 2013, Hilton Worldwide will also debut its fastest growing full-service brand, DoubleTree by Hilton in Australia, with the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin, DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin, DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs, along with Hilton Darwin in the country’s Northern Territory.

Other key milestones for the company in the Asia Pacific region this year include commemorating its 50th anniversary of operations in Japan as well as its 25th anniversary of operations in China.

 


Swiss school to build hotel training facility in Rwanda

April 24, 2013

Roches
By Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome,

(eTN) – A regular source from Kigali has sent information that Rwanda’s Workplace Development Authority (WDA) has apparently entered into an agreement with Swiss-based Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, one of the world’s best-reputed hospitality training institutions, to create a training facility, and an attached application hotel, in Kigali. Jerome Gasana, Director General of the WDA, reportedly last week told the media in Kigali that they were planning to establish a campus of Les Roches in Kigali, where Rwandan hospitality students could get a top-quality education before joining the workforce.

According to the source, the project cost was given at around US$20 million, which would include a 60+ bedroom application hotel attached to the campus, though it was not made clear if both partners would share the financial burden or if Les Roches would only come onboard to operate the facility, which would extend their presence to Africa for the first time. The project implementation was given as 24 months, once all permits and licenses have been secured, which would put a potential opening of the hotel school into the mid- to late-2015 timeframe.

Hospitality training has been prioritized by Rwanda, and the Rwanda Development Board’s Tourism and Conservation Department has over the past two years, undertaken a series of initiatives to train hospitality staff and support programs aimed at improving service quality in the tourism and hospitality sector.

A number of regional tertiary training institutions have in the past scouted Rwanda with the view of opening either a campus or else recruiting Rwandan students for their institutions, a sign that the fast growth of the tourism industry in Rwanda is being backed up by measures to train young Rwandans in the field before starting their careers in the workplace. The opening later this year of the region’s first Marriott Hotel in Kigali has also seen a number of staff taken to sister hotels of the group in the Gulf region, where they are trained to become the backbone of personnel.

Tourism, besides agriculture and increasingly mining, is one of Rwanda’s key economic activities and has over the past years recorded annual double-digit growth, providing foreign investment opportunities, earning the country foreign exchange, opening job opportunities, and improving the image of the country abroad through excellent visitor experience.


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