The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has launched an agro-tourism page on the ecotourism UAE application page in a bid to boost agro-tourism and emirates position on the world tourism, ecotourism map.

According to Emirates news Agency (WAM), the page features information on 23 private farms across the country as well as lists of activities available in the area, types of products sold, terms and conditions for visitors, opening hours, location maps, pricing, and contact details.

With this addition, MOCCAE is attempting to connect people with nature, and educate them about sustainable practices, such as community farming.

The Ministry is also working on supporting the UAE’s agricultural sector through raising awareness of the country’s local food produce and quality, as well as highlight its efforts to re-introduce certain crops.

Source: HotelierMiddleEast.com

Current Miss Universe, Catriona Gray is scheduled to stay at the Grand Millennium Dubai on her first visit to the emirates city, Dubai.

From the 19th to the 21st of September 2019, Miss Gray will be in Dubai for three days to attend an award show. The event will also introduce an online platform and funds generated from there will go to ‘Smile Train’, a charitable organisation that provides corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates.

“Catriona Gray has set an example for women across the globe; especially within every Filipino community. Her presence in the UAE will make a huge impact on the community. We are very pleased for having being chosen for this opportunity,” Oussama Chalak, general manager of Grand Millennium Dubai said.

Source: HotelierMiddleEast.com

The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2020, will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 19 to 22, 2020, and the official show theme that will be adopted is “Events for Tourism Growth” according to the latest press release from the organisers.

According to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the Middle East’s GDP is predicted to rise by 4.2% per annum to US $133.6 billion by 2028 – driven in part by additional tourists to the region as a result of mega-events, major sporting and political events, cultural festivals, concerts and MICE events. 

Expo 2020 will be the largest event ever staged in the Arab World. Taking place from October 2020 to April 2021, 192 pavilions from countries around the world will be showcased, with over 25 million visitors – 145,000 visits for every one of the 173 days the site is open, expected.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Events of all kinds have become increasingly important drivers for international arrivals to the UAE, GCC and wider MENA region over recent years.

“With this in mind, ATM 2020’s spotlight theme will be launched as a platform to explore the impact events have on tourism growth in the region and to inspire the travel and hospitality industry about the next generation of events, while bringing together senior travel executives to meet and conduct business under one roof over four days.”

In the UAE alone, the major exhibition centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi experienced a 14% growth in footfall between 2016 and 2018, with Dubai World Trade Centre welcoming 3.4 million visitors in 2018 and Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, combined with Al Ain Exhibition Centre – welcoming over two million during the same period.

Expo 2020 will be the largest event ever staged in the Arab World. Taking place from October 2020 to April 2021, 192 pavilions from countries around the world will be showcased, with over 25 million visitors – 145,000 visits for every one of the 173 days the site is open, expected.

Organisers of the event are predicting 11 million visits by people living in the UAE and 14 million from overseas visitors – most of whom are expected to be tourists. According to consultancy firm EY, this will provide a US$33.4 billion (AED122.6 billion) boost to the local economy – supporting the equivalent of 49,700 full-time jobs a year.

In Saudi Arabia, Vision 2030 has set aside $64 billion to invest in culture, leisure and entertainment projects over the next decade, according to a recent report from real estate firm Savills.

This investment combined with more relaxed access to visas are predicted to significantly add to the attractiveness of the country with entertainment activities in the kingdom predicted to attract 25 million visitors by 2021.

Curtis said: “Looking at 2018 alone, exhibitions across Saudi Arabia witnessed a 103% increase in visitation with a total of 61 major events taking place over 349 days. Last year was also a milestone in terms of sporting events for the country, with events such as the King Salman Tennis Championship, WWE Crown Jewel and Formula E taking place in the Kingdom.”

ATM, considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed almost 40,000 people to its 2019 event with representation from 150 countries. With over 100 exhibitors making their debut, ATM 2019 showcased the largest ever exhibition from Asia.

The national airline of the UAE, Etihad Airways launched its September Global Sale, with discounted fares to destinations around the world on Friday Sept. 6, 2019.

With the opportunity to travel to more than 50 destinations, travellers can jet off from September 15 until June 30, 2020 for less, with fares from Abu Dhabi to London starting from AED2,313 in Economy, according to report in the Arabian Business.

Fares to Cairo are on offer from AED1,353, to Barcelona from AED2,531 or Seoul from AED3,193, the airline said in a statement, adding that Rome, Johannesburg and New York are also included in the sale.

It added that those wanting to head to London in Business can get there for AED11,409 or visit New York for AED16,909.

The sale extends across all of Etihad’s cabins, with return Business fares starting from AED4,279 out of Abu Dhabi to Amman.

Etihad’s sale fares are available until midnight on September 12 at etihad.com.

Source: HotelierMiddleEast.com

According to MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) 2019, Dubai continues to be the fourth most visited city in the world.

The emirate retained the position for the fifth time in the world and recorded 15.93 million international overnight visitors in 2018.

Commenting on Dubai’s ranking, Sanjive Khosla, chief commercial officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Dubai continues to flourish as a world-class destination for both leisure and business travellers.

“The visitor numbers are set to increase even further next year, as we welcome 192 nations for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration at Expo 2020 Dubai. With millions of visitors projected to come from outside the UAE, we anticipate that the region’s first ever World Expo will create short- and long-term benefits for Dubai’s tourism industry,” he added. 

The UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi, was ranked as the fastest growing city in the Middle East and Africa, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.7% between 2009 and 2018 in overnight arrivals.

“As the most attractive destination in the Middle East and Africa region for international visitors, Dubai connects people from all over the world with a diverse range of offerings for leisure and business travellers alike,” said Girish Nanda, general manager, UAE & Oman, MasterCard.

Bangkok topped the list of most visited cities in the world, followed by Paris and London

Source: HotelierMiddleEast.com

An entry into Dubai’s holiday home market has been made by Emaar Hospitality with the launch of ‘Ease by Emaar’, a short-term rental concept that provides tourists with homes in integrated communities.

The first property to be listed on this platform is Emaar’s residential beachfront development – South Beach – comprising one, two and three-bedroom apartments. 

While the concept seems similar to Airbnb’s vacation-home rental business, officials have revealed that they will not be competing with booking platform.

The company said: “Emaar-owned Ease provides an end-to-end property management service, including property setup, reservations management, guest hosting, housekeeping, maintenance, government licensing, and distribution of the listing across Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, Agoda, and over 50 other channels.”

Guests are provided with housekeeping and amenities, and a digital mobile concierge. Other amenities include unlimited Wi-Fi, a welcome pack, and on-demand Google Smart Home devices such as Chromecasts for streaming entertainment channels and others.

In addition to that, guests can also get an ‘Ease Pass,’ which provides offers and deals to the city’s major attractions.

Investors in this development will have the option to let the venture manage their property at no additional cost for the first three years post-completion.

The company offers investors the opportunity to fill the market gap for short-term rentals.

Source: HotelierMiddleEast.com

The return of the Expo 2020 Dubai bus tours that recently took place in July and August 2019 has been announced. 

Earlier this year, ‘The World’s Greatest Show in the Making’ tour began on 20 July 2019 and concluded 31 August 2019. The initiative connected Expo 2020 with people across the emirates.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s chief community engagement officer, Manal Al Bayat said:  “We were delighted with the success of the sneak preview bus tours, which have highlighted just how excited the nation is to say ‘hayyakum’ to the world at Expo 2020. Next month (October 2019) will mark the ‘One Year to Go’ countdown to our once-in-a-lifetime celebration, and we’ll have further opportunities for everyone in the UAE to be part of the Expo story as we journey together towards the World’s Greatest Show.”

A post-tour survey revealed that, on average, visitors rated the likelihood of them coming to Expo 2020 as 9.7 out of 10.

Expo 2020 Dubai is set to welcome 192 participating countries and millions of visitors for the event taking place in Dubai South from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021.

Source: HotelierMiddleEast.com

A new corporate website has been launched by LEVA Hotels & Resorts showcasing the brand’s product facilities and offers, officials revealed.

The website also features intuitive site mapping with minimal scrolling and clicking requirements.

Speaking about the website, J.S. Anand, founder and chief executive officer of LEVA Hotels & Resorts, said: “Our new website stayleva.com is designed to offer both owners and guests comprehensive information about our group and brands while providing a personalised and user-friendly experience with a value proposition. The ultimate goal is to convert interested travellers into confirmed guests with structured, engaging, quick and interactive navigation.”

The ultimate goal is to convert interested travellers into confirmed guests with structured, engaging, quick and interactive navigation.

The hospitality group currently has a portfolio of four hotel brands in the upscale and midscale segments.

LEVA Hotels & Resorts was launched earlier this year in a partnership with Ahmed Bin Khalaf Al Otaiba, chairman of Trizac Holding Group, Siraj Finance.

Source: HotelMiddleEast.com

Hospitality groups have been urged by Dubai’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) to join the UAE Food Waste Pledge.

The ministry held an event in collaboration with food wastage technology Winnow to highlight the role of AI in tackling food waste.

UAE food waste pledge

Several government and private sector companies came together to sign the UAE food waste pledge this year.

The pledge that was launched by the ministry and Winnow in 2018 aims to reduce the wastage of two million meals in 2019, and three million meals in 2020.

Commenting on the partnership, Dr. Al Zeyoudi said, “I am pleased to reaffirm the UAE’s commitment to meeting the global target to cut food losses and waste by 50% by 2030 in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal, SDG, 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. To ensure that we can achieve the transformative change, I invite the entire hospitality sector in the UAE to join our pledge and commit to reducing food wastage now.”

“Hospitality sector in the UAE is leading the charge in the global fight against food waste. These pioneers have proved that it is possible to do the right thing for both their business bottom lines and the planet. However, we are just getting started, and we look forward to scaling our impact with our partners as we work to achieve an ambitious target,” said Marc Zornes, co-founder and CEO of Winnow.

During the event, Winnow also introduced their AI-enabled product — ‘Vision’ — that lets kitchens “automatically track food wastage by leveraging AI”.

‘Vision’ helps chefs identify what items are routinely wasted and adjust their purchasing lists and menus to cut down on costs, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

Source: HotelMiddleEast.com

Pre-flight staycation offers have recently been launched by Hilton for UAE residents at two of its properties.

The staycation package at Hampton by Hilton Dubai Airport, located four kilometres away from the airport feature free shuttles that run frequently between the hotel and terminals, access to the outdoor pool and fitness centre and a complimentary breakfast.

In addition, the hotel will offer ‘Park and Fly’ packages which will give guests the option of parking their car at the hotel while they travel.

The package at Hilton Garden Inn Al Jaddaf features evening room service, access to the MYST spa, the pool and the property’s 24-hour fitness centre.

Source: HotelierMiddleEast.com