British Airways: Keep calm and go on holiday

Posted by - August 27, 2018

Despite the gloom of frustration that hangs over the British Isles following the divisive nature of Brexit and the associated political and social issues arising because of it, British Airways (BA) has revealed the Great British Public are channelling one of the nation’s most long lasting memes by keeping calm and carrying on — going on holiday.
According to the airline 2018 has been one of the UK’s busiest summers for foreign travel, with BA recording over four million customers flying abroad in August alone.
Providing some insight into which are the most popular corners of the world for UK tourists in 2018, BA has revealed a list of its top selling locations. It has also seen a record number of the population choose a staycation for the main August bank holiday,
Puerto Banus, Marbella, Costa del Sol, MalagaOn the list are long-haul destinations such as New York, Los Angeles, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. But, what is worth noting is along with more traditional short-haul destinations such as balmy Malaga and Nice, as well as perennial getaway Amsterdam, flights to Scottish city’s Glasgow and Edinburgh have also been big hits in 2018. No doubt, heading north to escape the scorching temperatures which have been cooking much of the rest of the country in 2018.
Glasgow in ScotlandCustomers have also been getting in the summer holiday spirit, this year more than ever, with 212,000 bottles of wine consumed across all British Airways flights in July, up three per cent on last year.
Sean Doyle, BA’s director of network and alliances, said: “This year British Airways is offering its largest network schedule for 10 years, with flights to 211 destinations across more than 75 countries. Next year we’re confident new additions to the British Airways route map like Pittsburgh and Nashville, alongside Santiago, where we’ve recently increased the number of weekly flights, will be among our most popular destinations, as well as some of the traditional hotspots we’ve seen this year.”

Virtual reality bites: Lufthansa trial VR tech on flight LH630

Posted by - August 6, 2018

Lufthansa passengers to the UAE were in for a tech treat when the airline trialled its new in-flight VR prototype aboard flight LH630, from Frankfurt to Dubai last week.
Given access to the next generation of inflight entertainment, passengers were not only able to experience an interactive three dimensional model of the real life map unfurling below them but could, if they so wished, participate in “360° virtual excursions” too.
For example, as the carrier’s Airbus A330 passed over Vienna, fliers were able to “virtually” ride the city’s famous Prater Ferris Wheel.
“Inspire our passengers while they were in the sky”
Paul Schön, passenger experience designer for Lufthansa said: “VR is a growing trend for destination experiences and we wanted to help inspire our passengers while they were in the sky. The Frankfurt to Dubai flight was a first-time test for our new VR prototype, which was designed to further enhance the passenger experience. I’m pleased to say this virtual exploration trip was very positively received by the participating passengers.”
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The prototype was developed by Lufthansa in cooperation with 3spin, Lufthansa’s lead agency for virtual and augmented reality.
Prater Ferris Wheel“Gazing out of the window, I have often thought to myself: Where are we and what is going on down there. Our idea is based on that thought. In order to help passengers experience the world below we have developed the VR Moving Map in collaboration with the Lufthansa customer experience team.” said Thomas Hoger of 3spin.
Previously, this VR technology was offered to customers on the ground. By giving passengers on this flight the chance to enjoy 30 minutes of virtual reality content, the airline aims to understand passenger interest in this topic and gather their feedback on the trial.
“The airline will continue testing various possible applications of VR and AR with customers to evaluate together with relevant stakeholders which prototypes could be developed further.”

Expedia highlights hotelier opportunities as Dubai confirmed as ME’s top destination in 2018

Posted by - July 11, 2018

The Dubai skyline Fresh from informing UK hoteliers how best to prepare for influx of visitors during the recent Royal Wedding, Expedia Group has now put together a study which reveals which have been the world’s most popular destinations in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in 2018, so far.
Pulling together data from across its platform, Expedia discovered that London came out as top dog during Q1 of 2018, followed by Paris, with Dubai grabbing the bronze medal. The top five was rounded out by Rome and Amsterdam.
Dubai taking third place across the whole EMEA region of course means that the city is the Middle East’s prime location for travel and tourism. There are many reasons for the success of the city but Expedia has cited Dubai’s incredible shopping as the main pull, as well as the thriving live entertainment scene – which has witnessed Biffy Clyro, Liam Payne of One Direction and Steps all making appeaances in 2018.
Related Posts “This presents an opportunity to capitalise on this increased demand”
Paula de Keijzer, senior director market management in the Middle East, Indian Ocean, Africa, Greece and Turkey at Expedia Group, said:“Dubai’s location is just one of the many factors that make it a global hub for travel and tourism. We have seen a steady growth in the number of international visitors to the region and this number is likely to keep increasing as the economy grows, especially with the availability of flights and hotels, and the increase in number of tourist attractions in Dubai.
“For hoteliers, this presents an opportunity to capitalise on this increased demand for travel into the Emirate by looking into the travellers origin of country and catering specifically to their needs. For example, tailoring experiences based on language, or offering unique experiences that they might not get anywhere else.”

Who leads the procession of the Middle East’s $4.5bn destination wedding industry?

Posted by - May 30, 2018

Weddings are big business, you could even call them the big business of big days. No matter which country you are from, the celebration of a couple’s romantic love is a central part of the community.
Look at how excited the people of Britain became just last week when the ‘spare to the heir’ got hitched to Meghan Markle. There were street parties and bunting galore as people put aside their differences, (if only temporarily) over divisive issues like Brexit, to cheer on the happy couple.
Nowadays, however, the public sharing of wedding vows is not limited to your immediate community. Indeed it has expanded, much like stag nights, as a huge event that can be happen anywhere in the world – and the destination wedding industry is getting bigger all the time.
Related Posts The Middle East in particular is making clear and steady gains on this front and is presently worth around USD 4.5 billion, with the UAE emerging as the top destination for weddings in the region. These are among the findings of a survey conducted by Dubai-based event organizer QnA International at the fifth annual Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress, which took place recently in Los Cabos, Mexico.
According to the survey – which was conducted among wedding planners across all geographic regions – the Middle East accounts for 5% of the global destination wedding industry which is valued at USD 90 billion, with the UAE ranking among the top five destinations for couples in Asia, Africa and the Middle East to further cement its position as a hotspot for destination weddings.
Sidh N.C. at the DWP Conference Sidh NC, director of QnA International (above), said: “As the only global study on the destination wedding industry, this survey provides a rare window into the trends and forces influencing the wedding tourism market in different geographic regions.
“The results have been very interesting, and it’s encouraging to see the UAE make further progress in establishing itself as a hotspot for destination wedding. We believe that tapping into the massive potential of wedding tourism can help the country move closer towards achieving the ambitious tourism goals laid out in its ‘UAE Vision 2021’ initiative.”

Is it a plane, is it a train? No, it’s Dubai’s Hyperloop

Posted by - May 1, 2018

DUBAI is gearing up to show passengers what the future of travel looks like.
Virgin Hyperloop One and the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) have been working together on a full-scale, immersive prototype pod which will demonstrate to passengers how the proposed Hyperloop will work.
Overseen by British tycoon Richard Branson, the Hyperloop is aiming to connect Dubai and Abu Dhabi in just 12 minutes.
These Asian airports are becoming destinations in their own right But how? A hyperloop, also known as a vactrain, is a shuttle system inside a sealed tube, propelled along using electromagnetics.
All the air is vacuumed out so the hyperloop vehicle can travel freely and at high speeds with no friction or wind resistance.
Hyperloop, explained.
— Virgin Hyperloop One (@HyperloopOne) August 2, 2017
Traveling at speeds of up to 1,080 kilometers per hour, a hyperloop train could transport passengers 93 kilometers in just over 10 minutes.
But the high-tech design doesn’t only exist on the outside.
Changing the style of transport: Passengers will be expected to remain seated for the Hyperloop journey. Source: Virgin Hyperloop One
Stepping inside the hyperloop reveals a comfortable, yet fittingly-futuristic interior, designed by BMW’s subsidiary, Designworks.
While you may expect the design to resemble the inside of a G-force simulator, passengers in first class will be met with adjustable leather seats and individual touchscreens.
Passengers will also be able to adjust the lighting surrounding their seat from shades of blue to pink and control the temperature of the chair.
In keeping with Dubai’s rich culture, Designworks also took inspiration from Arabic patterns while maintaining a contemporary, technologically progressive aesthetic.
These Asian airports are becoming destinations in their own right The future of Dubai’s Hyperloop: Virgin Hyperloop One seems set on opening the first passenger vactrain in Dubai and Branson doesn’t think it’s going to be long until passengers can whizz between cities in minutes.
Richard Branson wants 'ridiculously exciting' hyperloop up and running within 3 years
— CNBC (@CNBC) April 29, 2018
“We’re talking about two to three years away, not many years away,” he told CNBC last weekend.
“My children and grandchildren are going to want the same things as I’m going to want — they’re going to want to get to places quicker.”
As of yet, no ticket prices have been revealed as there are still extensive safety tests to be carried out, including how to safely create emergency evacuations and combat inevitable travel sickness.
Nobody wants to see someone’s lunch flying through the cabin at 1,000 kilometers per hour.
The post Is it a plane, is it a train? No, it’s Dubai’s Hyperloop appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Dubai Tourism Vision 2020: Meraas launches the Hala China initiative

Posted by - April 24, 2018

Dubai-based investment company Meraas, along with Dubai Holding and DXB Entertainments, released details of their new collaboration Hala China, this week. The initiative has been created to showcase Dubai and the UAE to Chinese tourists, as well as being a key component in strengthening bilateral relations between the countries.
Hala China will feature a selection of seven different tourism packages, designed to cater directly to Chinese interests, including stay, shop, eat, play, explore, wellness and concierge.
The year-long pipeline of events includes a mix of activities from food festivals and fashion shows, sporting events to music festivals and Chinese cultural pageants.The various sectors that are expected to witness a positive impact from this initiative include luxury fashion, retail, hospitality, dining, education, sports, photography and weddings.
“We have a unique opportunity to share the story of our city with an increasingly mobile Chinese audience”
His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai (above), group chairman at Meraas, said: “In supporting the development of tourism and trade relations between Dubai and China, we continue to align our commercial objectives with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai reflected through Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020.
“Leveraging the phenomenal success of Dubai’s first-ever Chinese New Year celebrations at City Walk, where Meraas welcomed 22,000 Chinese visitors across its destinations, the Hala China initiative will enable Meraas to build on the tremendous progress that has been already made towards this end.
“In doing so, we have a unique opportunity to share the story of our city with an increasingly mobile Chinese audience, while extending an invitation to come and explore the possibilities we are creating for a whole new generation of entrepreneurs, business travellers, holidaymakers and communities.”

The news comes following another team-up between Meraas and the Consulate General of China in February this year, when the two organisations played host to Dubai’s maiden Chinese New Year celebrations at City Walk (main picture), which kicked off with a colourful cultural parade and concluded with an exclusive fashion show presented by China Kids Moda.
Meraas is a committed, long-term cheerleader of Dubai’s tourism action-plan, Dubai Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to bring 20 million visitors to the emirates nation by 2020.

Leading Indian DMC moves to capitalize on growing Dubai MICE

Posted by - April 19, 2018

Indian DMC leader Tamarind Global has made its first international MICE move, opening operations in Dubai. It already has a strong Dubai and GCC footprint with their tours business and bringing their MICE capabilities to Dubai make sense.
Dubai is a huge inbound market for Indian company corporate events as well as weddings. Its position as a global hub — within a few hours reach of India — has also served to drive the growth of Indian multinationals using the city as a primary MICE destination. It is also the top MICE destination for the fast GCC countries.
Tamarind Global will offer the full suite of MICE solutions including weddings, events and corporate services. It is best known for their delivery of bespoke events as well as in the comprehensive delivery of event elements. It will be critical for the company to maintain both its ‘bespoke’ positioning, as well as its ability to handle all event elements in Dubai (scouting locations, securing permits, staffing special events, talent recruitment etc).
Dubai is hot as a MICE destination and this will intensify approaching the 2020 World Expo.
We are both optimistic and confident in Tamarind’s prospects with thier Dubai operation. It already has experience executing events internationally. Making the commitment to build out a locally based team in one of the fastest growing global MICE markets will pay dividends. Dubai is hot as a MICE destination and this will intensify approaching the 2020 World Expo.
Thay have an impressive list of global customers including Fiat, HCL, HSBC, Knight Frank, McDonald’s, Monash University, Mitsubishi, Reliance, and Walt Disney.
This launch is already in motion and the company has appointed vice president, Kunal Rai (above) to lead the Dubai vertical who said: “With the progressive growth of the Middle East as a popular destination as well as a growing source market for the business, Dubai is the best choice to set up a regional HQ. It will act as a start point that will drive maximum output to penetrate primarily the UAE and Middle East market.
The biggest advantage is the inbound and outbound connectivity around the globe with an approximate flight time of 3 hours from India. There is an abundant availability of resources to successfully execute the events.
In addition, Dubai Tourism’s support towards like-minded event planners to have a full-fledged SME also played a crucial role in settling on this choice. Dubai is expected to generate revenue and cliental from a broader spectrum, which will add a substantial year-over-year growth and also increase the brand profile globally.”

Dubai steps up travel tech game to improve tourism

Posted by - April 11, 2018

DUBAI is certainly not shy about adapting to change and embracing new technologies.
The desert city is considerably audacious with its rows of concrete, glass and steel structures which have created some of the world’s tallest buildings. Dubai is also home the world’s largest indoor ski center – yep, in the middle of the desert.
While tradition and culture can be seen in cuisines, attires, and customs around the city-state, technology is fast becoming a way of life.
Are you a broke millennial? Here’s where you should live In the megamalls, you can ask robots for directions and be guarded by security robots. Hailing a taxi here has also just become more fun as you can now get a drone-driven volocopter to your destination.
On a less techy, but way more helpful front, Dubai is also listening to the needs and demands of travelers and delivering results.
Pay by the hour A post shared by ALPHA SPOTTING DUBAI (@alphaspotting) on Mar 26, 2018 at 9:38am PDT
For example, a new app allowing hotel guests to pay by the hour has just been launched in Dubai.
Founder of the app, Christian Rodriguez told Time Out Dubai the app idea was conceived form his own personal experience and frustrations.
The new app will slash the price of your bill in over 65 Dubai hotels, meaning a layover or short stay won’t be the costly nuisance it once was.
“Most hotel chains are willing to adapt to the necessities of their guests in terms of needs, tastes, and lifestyle, but they were inflexible with regards to the hours where you can check in and check out; especially when your flight is first thing in the morning,” added Rodriguez.
Passport control A post shared by Etisalat Yellow Pages (@etisalatyp) on Nov 11, 2017 at 9:49pm PST
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai has announced it will soon be launching the “Smart Gate” across Emirates’ airports as it recognizes archaic systems of manually checking passports and difficult to navigate e-gates are outdated.
Major General Mohammed Ahmad Al Marri said at the Dubai International Government Achievements Exhibition this week the Smart Gate “enables each passenger to pass through immigration without assistance or travel document or ID and within only 10 seconds”.
The Smart Gate is seven seconds faster than the older e-gate and will accelerate passengers through border control and customs.
These Asian airports were some of the world’s busiest last year Onboard WIFI A post shared by Mondo Travel NZ (@mondotravelnz) on Oct 9, 2017 at 1:09am PDT
Perhaps not an entirely new fleet of technology, but Emirates airlines have just set a record with over one million onboard WiFi connections made in March.
Airplanes used to offer a few hours of digital detox but this changed when onboard WiFi provider GoGo introduced a 3Mbps connection to passengers on a Virgin America plane back in 2008. Since then, it has massively improved
Emirates is notorious for continually investing in the improvement of its onboard bandwidth, meaning all passengers can stay connected to the world 40,000 feet below them.
According to Emirates, 94 percent of WiFi users connected via a smartphone, and the most connected route is EK215 from Dubai to Los Angeles.
Emirates was also the first airline to relax rules around using mobile phones onboard aircraft in 2008 and pioneered the installation of headrest entertainment options on all its aircraft.
The post Dubai steps up travel tech game to improve tourism appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Dubai wants to make your river ride comfy

Posted by - April 3, 2018

DUBAI’S abras (water taxis) are essential for ferrying people around the city’s waterways. But sometimes the slow sea breeze that flows over passengers on the boats isn’t enough to cool them down in the sweltering heat.
Temperatures in Dubai can soar to an overwhelming 50 degrees Celsius, which is why newly air-conditioned abras are being introduced to the waterways, and not a moment too soon.
Remembering Zaha Hadid: Her most incredible masterpieces in Asia The new arbas will still have the traditional look of the original ferry boats but the glass windows are set to offer panoramic views of the surroundings and act as a barrier from the outside heat.
The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that a number of these boats will be replacing old clunky ferries, as the abras are “more convenient to riders and have better operational efficiency”.
A post shared by Allen Danguilan (@allenlujah) on Mar 24, 2018 at 10:27am PDT
The ferry runs across Dubai Creek which was an epicenter of trade for Dubai way before oil was discovered in the desert lands.
The creek served as a fishing area, a pearling site and a gateway for international traders to offload their cargo.
The area now serves as a must-see for tourists as it is steeped in culture and history.
If you’re visiting Dubai, whether for work or leisure, jump on one of the new abras and head across the water to Bur Dubai which homes the historical district.
A post shared by Visit Dubai ( on Mar 5, 2018 at 6:26am PST
Here, you can experience Dubai’s oldest buildings and their incredible architecture. Barter in vibrant souks and pick up a fantastic souvenir at one of the bazaars.
Taste flavors of the world at Global Village or pick up an authentic bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and stalls in the area.
A post shared by Sabeer Ahammed (@sabeer_ahammed) on Sep 19, 2017 at 5:47am PDT
Then look forward to a cool sightseeing ferry taxi service back to the other side of the creek.
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