Jumeirah Nanjing: “A remarkable destination” says Jumeirah CEO José Silva

Posted by - September 19, 2018

Renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in China, crammed with open green spaces, mountains and catalogue of buildings and shrines of historic importance, Nanjing is the tenth most visited Chinese city in 2017.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS) Nanjing aims to host 150 million domestic tourists and realize total tourism revenue of RMB 290 billion (USD 42.3 billion) by 2020, approximately 7.2% of the city’s total GDP.
Seeking to capitalise on the potential of Nanjing, Dubai based firm the Jumeirah Group has announced the launch of Jumeirah Nanjing, its new luxury accommodations on the 39-67th floors of the North Tower in the swanky confines of the International Youth Cultural Centre (IYCC) of the Hexi New District, designed by iconic British architect, Dame Zaha Hadid.

Comprised of 212 rooms and 49 suites, the hotel will boast six different restaurants, including but not limited to Lu Chao, serving Cantonese and Singaporean dishes; Cha Jie Tea Lounge; seafood bar Zhuo Xian – not to mention Chocolatini, a new chocolate and martini concept bar.
In facilities Jumeirah Nanjing features a Talise Spa with saunas, massage rooms, hot tubs plus a Jacuzzi and steam room; sky atrium pool plus a wellness centre and fully equipped gym replete with all the latest high-tech machines you could shake a stick at.

José Silva, Jumeirah Group chief executive officer, said: “Jumeirah Nanjing is a stunning addition to our portfolio and we are exceedingly proud to be selected as guardians of such a significant property.
The International Youth Cultural Centre is an architectural masterpiece and its iconic stature is truly impressive. Jumeirah Nanjing is a remarkable destination which will boost tourism to the city, and represents a significant milestone in achieving our global expansion strategy.”
Jumeirah Nanjing is the 23nd property in the Jumeirah inventory of global luxury hotels and resorts, made up of 15 sites in the Middle East, five in Europe and two in Asia. The group also another has another Chinese hotel, as well as Bali property in the pipeline – with another 18 currently under construction.

VFS’ Saudi visa centre: All your application needs “under one canopy”

Posted by - September 18, 2018

.Technology and visa service provider VFS Global unveiled a new visa application centre in the Saudi capital of Riyadh this week.
Conceived as a way to more efficiently and conveniently process visa applicants for travellers headed to the UK and Australia, the new centre has been designed with comfort at heart – incorporating increased seating capacity, large car park as well as travel services facilities within the premises for a seamless customer experience – close to the diplomatic centre of the city.
“We continually look for new and innovative ways to improve the visa service”
Officially opening the new visa application centre, H.E. Simon Collis, ambassador of the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia (main image, centre right) said: “Our customers in Saudi Arabia are extremely important to us, and we continually look for new and innovative ways to improve the visa service we offer, both to Saudi nationals and local residents.
We offer an excellent visa service for those who choose to apply for a UK visa. For Saudi nationals, the average processing time for non-settlement visas is less than 5 days. Whether speed, convenience or comfort is the priority, we hope that this new VAC – and indeed the visa services available across the whole of Saudi Arabia – provides our customers with a Great British welcome from the very start of their journey to the UK.”
“Visa processing and accessing necessary travel services under one canopy”
Vinay Malhotra, regional group COO for the Middle East, South Asia and China at VFS Global, said: “The new standalone centre has been designed with a view to provide a comprehensive experience to applicants in terms of visa processing and accessing necessary travel services under one canopy. The UK continues to remain a popular destination for tourism, business and student visitors from Saudi Arabia.”
Adding in, he said: “The latest visa figures show that over 130,000 Saudi nationals were issued a UK visa in the last year. We are confident that the new centre for the UK and Australia visa applicants will provide enhanced convenience and ensure customer delight.”

Gorilla trekking: Premier Holidays adds Uganda in 2019 itinerary

Posted by - September 18, 2018

National sales manager, Carly Charteris and sales and business development manager, Karen MilwardThe UK-based independent tour operator, Premier Holidays, has unveiled its latest itineraries on offer — gorilla trekking and Uganda wildlife tours.
Placing Africa adventures under the spotlight, Premier Holidays added Uganda and gorilla trekking in its 2019 Africa brochure. For 2019, travel agents can book a six-night Safari Tour in Uganda from GBP 3,349 (USD 4,400) and a three-night Gorilla Trekking escorted tour from GBP 2,349 (USD 3,088).
Mountain gorillas are considered one of Uganda’s main tourist attractions, making gorilla trekking a popular excursion. It’s a major economic driver for the country, contributing to employment, foreign exchange and its overall GDP.
Eight new tours and excursions, and six new game reserves have also been added including a four-night self-drive through the Kwazulu Natal region; a History of Humankind and Lesedi Cultural Tour, where clients visit the Cradle of Humankind Site and learn about African cultures; and four new lodges in the Kruger region.
Additionally, Premier Holidays has expanded into the White River region of Mpumalanga with the 4-star Oliver’s Lodge.
Mountain gorillas in a rainforest, UgandaTravel agents can book a range of special offers to South Africa including new experiences featured in the brochure, until 31 October 2018. The deals offer discounts of up to GBP 700 per couple and include a Kwazulu Natal Adventure self-drive from GBP 1,699, and a seven-night Cape Town and Kruger holiday from GBP 1,669. The packages are for travel in May and June 2019, based on twin-sharing.
Booking Incentives Travel agents can earn up to GBP 150 in shopping vouchers for every booking. Plus, Premier Holidays is also giving agents the chance to win an overnight stay at London’s Montague on the Gardens Hotel and six safari afternoon teas.
For a chance to avail of the programme, interested advisors may visit the official trade website and answer three questions about its Africa portfolio before 21 September 2018.

India’s ITDC goes global, inks MoU with Kingdom of Morocco

Posted by - September 18, 2018

Ravneet Kaur, CMD, ITDC and Imad Barrakad, CEO, SMIT along with tourism ministers from both the countriesIndia Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (ITDC) has signed an agreement with the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT) to strengthen cooperation in the tourism sector.
With the two countries sharing strong historical, economic and political ties, the signing of the MoU will further deepen their relationship, in recognition of the benefits of mutual cooperation in the areas of tourism infrastructure and promotion of tourism in India.
The MoU was signed in the presence of K.J. Alphons, the honourable minister of state for tourism, Government of India; Mohammed Sajid, the honourable minister of tourism, air transport, handicraft and social economy, Government of the Kingdom of Morocco; Ravneet Kaur, IAS, chairperson and managing director of India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC); Imad Barrakad, chairman and CEO, SMIT at The Ashok, a flagship property of ITDC; Rashmi Verma, secretary to Government of India, and other senior officials from both the organisations were also present during the bilateral meeting.

Under the signing of the MoU, both of the organisations will be able to share engineering and tourism products development including new trends and technology. Additionally, marketing and feasibility studies related to the needs and expectations of investors and tourists will be shared. Structuring projects in the infrastructure space, apart from the sharing of a database of potential Indian and Moroccan investors in the tourism sector, will also be part of the programme.
“An acknowledgement of the capabilities and core competency of ITDC”
Speaking on behalf of the occasion, Ravneet Kaur, IAS, chairperson and managing director, ITDC, said: “Signing of the MoU is an acknowledgement of the capabilities and core competency of ITDC and the important role it has played in the development of tourism and related infrastructure in the country.”
The organisations will also collaborate to promote tourism investment opportunities through participation in tourism investment events, economic missions and co-organisation of promotional investment events which are of mutual benefit.

Tivoli Hotels and Resorts expands to Qatar with waterfront property

Posted by - September 13, 2018

Situated on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, Souq Al Wakra Hotel Qatar by Tivoli has launched in the up-and-coming seaside district.
A prominent coastal settlement for pearl divers, sailors and fishermen, Al Wakra has flourished since the 17th century. In recent efforts to preserve and revive its heritage sites, the seaside district has received new investments including the development of Souq Al Wakra Hotel Qatar by Tivoli.
Located just a 20-minute drive south of Doha in Qatar, the resort blends Qatari tradition with contemporary design. It’s comprised of 101 guest rooms housed in two buildings—both being former heritage houses.

Each of the guest rooms and suites has been designed with motifs using the “blues of the sea and the sandy tones of the desert” inspired by Al Wakra’s history as a pearl diving and fishing village.
Open walkways and maze-like paths lead to courtyards where multiple guest rooms can be blocked off to create private areas for groups. For privacy, large parties can stay together in guest rooms grouped around authentic Qatari majlis, designed for celebrations or family gatherings.

Souq Al Wakra Hotel Qatar by Tivoli houses a variety of restaurants and lounges.
Jarnen offers Mediterranean all-day dining with fresh seafood sourced daily from the local market. Markhan, an Arabic fusion lounge, offers the ideal place to enjoy the sunset from the terrace overlooking the gulf. Emshoot provides Asian cuisine with dishes ranging from sushi to tandoori kebabs. For those looking for something lighter, guests can dine upstairs and embrace the sights and sounds of the nearby Souq from Mahaadeg, which serves a selection of international dishes.

To complement the waterfront location, Tivoli Spa has separate treatment rooms for men and women as well as a hydro pool, steam room, Vichy Shower and jacuzzi. It provides high-end spa products and a multifunctional gym in each building, available for all guests.
Located near Doha’s Hamad International Airport, the hotel is easily accessible for business meetings and leisure travellers. The hotel also has direct access to the adjacent Al Wakra public beach and promenade, suitable for running and walking.
The regeneration of the area also includes historical landmarks such as Al Wakra Fort, a short walk from the property, which will soon reopen after refurbishment.

Qatar Airways boosts Mombasa coverage to seven daily flights

Posted by - September 11, 2018

Qatar Airways has announced that it will begin operating to Mombasa, with a new service operating four times a week, as of 11 December this year.
The new service, between Doha and Mombasa (MBA), is the airline’s second to Kenya and will be serviced by carrier’s Airbus A320s — made up of 12 business class seats and 120 economy class seats — with a flight time of just over six hours. The additional route takes Qatar Airlines coverage of the country’s second city to seven daily flights.
His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways chief executive, said: “Qatar Airways sees Kenya as an important market for our passengers, so we are delighted to offer this new service to a second Kenyan destination. We are sure our new direct daily service to Mombasa will prove very popular with tourists interested in exploring Kenya’s beautiful tropical beaches and coastline, as well as immersing themselves in the city’s fascinating diverse cultural mix.
“Ongoing commitment to expand our reach with ambitious new routes”
“This second new route to Kenya, in addition to our existing three daily services to the capital Nairobi, will help make Qatar Airways the first choice for travellers wishing to explore this beautiful country.
It also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to expand our reach with ambitious new routes around the globe to offer our unrivalled five-star customer service wherever our customers want to fly.”

As a destination, Mombasa is well known for its tropical beaches with a particular appeal to dive fans who have come to value its coastal region and coral reefs, not to mention the city itself which is has become recognised for its rich heritage and multicultural influences.
Qatar Airways first started flying to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi in November 2005. As part of its continued expansion plans, Qatar Airways is expecting to open routes to Gothenburg Sweden; Da Nang, Vietnam; Tallinn, Estonia, Valletta and Malta in 2018/19.

Taiwan Tourism taps Musafir.com to attract travellers from the UAE

Posted by - September 11, 2018

UAE’s premium-experience travel website, Musafir.com, has announced an alliance with the Taiwan Tourism Board to raise awareness about Taiwan as a leisure destination for the Middle East.
In order to attract more travellers, the Taiwan Tourism Board announced a new partnership with the goal of ramping up the “Heart of Asia” as a premier tourist destination. The bureau, which has been active in promoting the country, selected Musafir.com as its latest partner.
The two parties will collaborate and conduct joint marketing campaigns in order to diversify the tourism culture in the UAE. Both Musafir.com and the Taiwan Tourism Board aim to position the island nation as the top destination among travellers out of the UAE as both countries increasingly appeal to the leisure and MICE sector.
The collaboration also comes at a key time for Musafir.com, as the company continues its rapid expansion in the UAE and the wider Middle East region.

To mark this significant new partnership, Musafir.com created a range of travel deals for Taiwan. The packages cater to all income markets and cover everything from short holidays and adventurous getaways to week-long breaks that give travellers the chance to experience Taiwanese culture.
“These packages we will be able to increase the volume of travel”
Dr Trust Lin, director of the Taiwan Tourism Board, said: “We are confident that with these packages we will be able to increase the volume of travel and number of passengers from the UAE in particular and the Middle East in general.”

From hiking in the Yangmingshan National Park and experiencing Taiwan’s famous hot springs to visiting lost cities like Jiufen and white water rafting—travellers can look forward to exploring Taiwan at budget-friendly prices.
Dubbing Taiwan as a travel gem, Musafir.com is now offering holiday packages that start from AED 3,899 (USD 1,061). The packages include city tours, shopping for souvenirs, temple excursions, nature trips, accommodation, and flights including airport transfers.

Crystal Cruises 26th world cruise: “A truly comprehensive odyssey on a grand scale”

Posted by - September 10, 2018

Crystal Cruises has announced it is all set for the its 26th annual World Cruise – this year the wide ranging voyage, dubbed “Ancient Dynasties & World Wonders”, will take in up to 17 cities on a sea route across five continents.

Lined up to cover the 139-night voyage is Crystal Serenity, a 68,870 tonne,1,070-passenger leviathan, built by French shipwrights STX France Cruise SA (formerly Chantiers de l’Atlantique) in 2003.
“A truly comprehensive odyssey on a grand scale”
Discussing the new trip Carmen Roig, Crystal Cruises’ senior vice president of marketing and sales, said: “The 2021 World Cruise is a truly comprehensive odyssey on a grand scale, showcasing the ever-evolving lands and diverse cultures across the globe.
Our guests know that a Crystal World Cruise is always rich with extraordinary experiences on board and ashore, and the ‘Ancient Dynasties & World Wonders’ voyage embodies this spirit of discovery, offering travellers a larger-than-life journey with Crystal’s celebrated luxury and increased flexibility.”
Offered in nine focused segments of 12 to 21 nights, the sailing will explore not only iconic “bucket-list” worthy sites but also less travelled locations boasting photo ops to capture wild shorelines and landscapes, remote villages and untouched natural beauty in the Caribbean, Hawaiian Islands, South Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, the Far East, India, the UAE and the Mediterranean.
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Highlights include a spring journey through Japan, visits to the Valley of Kings in Egypt, exploration of the Great Barrier Reef as well as journeys across the Bay of Bengal and along the gulfs of Oman and Aden.
The 2021 World Cruise offers alternate embarkation and disembarkation port and date options, giving guests considerable flexibility while still receiving the full World Cruise benefits.
Guests can choose to sail the complete itinerary from Miami to Dover (5 January to 24 May, 139 nights); from Los Angeles to Dover (21 January to 24 May, 123 nights); Miami to Rome (5 January to 12 May, 127 nights); or Los Angeles to Rome (21 January to 12 May, 111 nights).

Coming soon: World’s largest indoor ski and snow park in China

Posted by - September 7, 2018

Artist’s impression of Wintastar ShanghaiMajid Al Futtaim, a leisure and entertainment group in the Middle East has announced the development of Wintastar Shanghai—a 90,000 sqm ski and snow park.
As per the announcement, Majid Al Futtaim will provide design and development consultancy services for the world’s largest indoor snow and ski resort, Wintastar Shanghai.
The development will be led by Singapore’s luxury lifestyle, real estate and hospitality company, KOP Limited. The project, which will be managed by Majid Al Futtaim’s Leisure & Entertainment business arm, marks the company’s debut in the international market outside of the MENA region.
“The beginning of an extensive international footprint”
Ahmed Galal Ismail, CEO at Majid Al Futtaim – Ventures, said: “We are delighted to work with KOP Limited and provide our expertise in developing what will be one of the greatest indoor snow entertainment facilities in the world.
“This partnership underscores Majid Al Futtaim’s extensive knowledge and experience in designing, developing and operating indoor snow entertainment facilities that speak to changing customer and lifestyle preferences. We are confident this represents the beginning of an extensive international footprint when it comes to indoor snow entertainment facilities.”
Ski DubaiMajid Al Futtaim’s is the company which created Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski and snow attraction in the Middle East. Ski Dubai was named the World’s Best Indoor Ski Resort in 2016 and 2017 by the World Ski Awards and attracts a million guests annually.
Furthermore, Majid Al Futtaim launched the first indoor ski resort in Africa with Ski Egypt (shown in the video below) in 2017 and is currently developing Ski Saudi, a snow park in Oman. The company will also operate a snow park in Abu Dhabi’s upcoming Reem Mall, making it one of the largest developers and operators of indoor snow entertainment facilities in the world.
Majid Al Futtaim’s Leisure & Entertainment business currently has 127,000 sqm of operational and upcoming snow entertainment facilities in its portfolio.
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Wintastar Shanghai will feature three ski slopes of varying gradients, including a slope of Olympic standard for training. For non-skiers, Wintastar Shanghai will feature 25 snow play attractions.
Ong Chih Ching, the executive chairman and executive director of KOPL, added: “Majid Al Futtaim’s impeccable track record will help bolster Wintastar Shanghai’s vision to bring world-class, hi-tech and safe indoor skiing and snow play into China.
“As a Singaporean company familiar with the Chinese culture, combined with our international track record and reputation in developing new-to-market concepts, we hope to work with Majid Al Futtaim and other foreign partners to deliver new experiences to Chinese consumers.”

Qatar Airways to fly direct to Da Nang, Vietnam

Posted by - September 6, 2018

Qatar Airways announced the launch of direct flights to Da Nang, Vietnam, starting 19 December 2018. The beautiful coastal city will be the third Vietnamese destination on the award-winning airline’s rapidly expanding global network.
The four-times weekly flights will be served with a Boeing 787-8 aircraft, featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class.
“Far East, a highly-important market for Qatar Airways”
Qatar Airways Group chief executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of our newest gateway to Vietnam, the beautiful city of Da Nang. This new direct route demonstrates our commitment to expanding our presence in the Far East, a highly-important market for Qatar Airways.
“Our existing services to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are already incredibly popular. Every day, thousands of passengers experience a seamless connection between flights through our state-of-the-art Doha hub at Hamad International Airport, and now we have made it even easier for travellers to reach these increasingly popular Asian destinations.
“We look forward to enabling our passengers to experience the beautiful coastal scenery of Da Nang, and will continue to explore opportunities to expand further in the Far East.”
Qatar Airways began direct services to Ho Chi Minh City in 2007, and launched its Hanoi service in 2010. Currently, the airline provides twice-daily direct flights to Vietnam’s capital city and 10 times weekly flights to Ho Chi Minh City. In October 2017, Qatar Airways announced its interline partnership with Vietnam-based Vietjet Air, allowing Qatar Airways’ passengers to travel to and from points in Vietnam not served directly by Qatar Airways using a single reservation across both airlines’ networks.
“Transform Da Nang into an outstanding global destination”
Director of Da Nang Tourism Department, Ngo Quang Vinh, said: “Da Nang is becoming increasingly popular among tourists, and has experienced extraordinary development since 2008. As of June 2018, Da Nang has welcomed the presence of 24 international airlines, operating 15 frequent direct flights to and from overseas destinations. We are delighted to welcome Qatar Airways, the award-winning airline playing a crucial role in strengthening the connection of Da Nang to the world. We are looking forward to welcoming more tourists to Da Nang, and we will continue our efforts to transform Da Nang into an outstanding global destination.”
Da Nang, one of the largest cities in Vietnam, is known for its sandy beaches and remarkable history as a French colonial port. This charming city offers magnificent views of Da Nang Bay and its beautiful Marble Mountains, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing summer vacation. Da Nang has also seen a tremendous increase in its number of visitors, with a record-breaking 6.6 million tourists in 2017, doubling the figure in 2013. In 2015, the New York Times also listed Da Nang among the top 52 places to visit.
As part of its continued expansion plans, Qatar Airways plans a host of exciting new destinations throughout 2018, including Gothenburg, Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia and Valletta, Malta, just to name a few.
Inaugural flight schedule for 19 December 2018:
Doha-Da Nang: Departs Doha 02:30hrs, Arrives Da Nang 13:20hrs
Da Nang-Doha: Departs Da Nang 19:15hrs, Arrives Doha 23:45hrs
Regular Flight schedule:
Doha-Da Nang
Mondays and Saturdays: Departs Doha 07:15hrs, Arrives Da Nang 18:05hrs
Tuesdays and Thursdays: Departs Doha 20:10hrs, Arrives Da Nang 07:01hrs (+1)
Da Nang-Doha
Mondays and Saturdays: Departs Da Nang 19:35hrs, Arrives Doha 00:05hrs (+1)
Wednesdays and Fridays: Departs Da Nang 08:30hrs, Arrives Doha 13:00hrs