Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism hails transformative 31st edition of Arabian Travel Market

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) has celebrated a successful week at the 31st edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which took place from 6-9 May 2024 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). DET was joined on the Dubai stand by 129 key partners and stakeholders from the public and private sectors, who held business meetings with delegates from around the world, showcasing the emirate’s diverse and innovative tourism offering to thousands of industry leaders attending the global travel trade exhibition.

This year’s ATM was held under the forward-looking theme ‘Empowering Innovation – Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship’. During the four-day event, DET highlighted the pivotal role played by entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the city, and how Dubai’s travel and hospitality sectors have nurtured innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainability to create new pathways for growth beyond traditional tourism. This strategic approach is inspired by the ambitious goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, to further consolidate Dubai’s position as a leading global city for business and leisure.

ATM 2024 provided a platform to build and consolidate relationships across the travel industry, and DET signed several strategic partnership agreements, including one with Emirates which will see the two entities work together to intensify international efforts and bolster Dubai’s mindshare as a hub for trade, tourism and investment. During an action-packed show at DWTC, DET made a number of major announcements, including the launch of the inaugural ‘Dubai Sustainability Industry Report’. Contributing to the ATM Conference Programme, DET spokespeople also delivered keynote addresses and took part in a range of panel discussions, including ‘The Potential of Cruise: Creating Swell in the Middle East’ and ‘Educating Young Entrepreneurs: Building a Career in Travel’.

Dubai’s successful participation at ATM 2024 follows a record-breaking year for its tourism sector, after welcoming 17.15 million international overnight visitors in 2023. As announced by DET at the show, this momentum continued in the first quarter of 2024, with 5.18 million international overnight visitors from January to March, an 11% rise over the same period in 2023.

His Excellency Issam Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said: “The 31st edition of Arabian Travel Market was the most successful yet for Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, yielding strong outcomes as we connected with industry leaders to discuss the future of travel and the latest trends transforming our sector. Guided by the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the goals of the D33 Agenda, we have a clear objective to further advance tourism’s economic impact, including by leveraging innovation and entrepreneurship. At ATM we had the opportunity to develop a number of new partnerships, which are an important part of the strategy to make Dubai the best city to visit, live and work in. These partners, as well as all our travel and tourism stakeholders, play a critical role in achieving these goals, and we thank them for their support as we build on the knowledge shared at ATM.”

DET organised the largest ever ATM Hosted Buyers Programme, promoting Dubai’s unparalleled hospitality and offerings to a record participation of more than 540 buyers from 47 different markets and countries. With the support of stakeholders including DMCs, hotels, venues and attractions, the hosted buyers were able to enjoy a range of experiences and iconic locations in the city, including evenings hosted by Expo City Dubai, Real Madrid World, and Dubai Creek Harbour.

In addition to meeting DET and stakeholder representatives, visitors to the stand also had the opportunity to play ‘Dubai Pinball’, an interactive and engaging gaming experience that enhanced players’ familiarity with attractions and landmarks around the city, offering prizes for the highest scores.

Strengthening Dubai’s position as a global hub for business and MICE events, ATM 2024 was the biggest edition to date, welcoming over 46,000 attendees and more than 2,600 exhibitors from over 160 countries across four days at DWTC. Growth was recorded across all event verticals with exhibitor participation increasing by 26% YoY.

Source:  Hotel News

KQ resumes flights to Kinshasa after detained staffer released.

Kenya Airways Monday announced the resumption of flights to Kinshasa after an employee who had been detained there was released.

KQ Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka reiterated their staff are innocent in the saga that led to the suspension of flights to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We want to reiterate that our employees are innocent and were only carrying out their duties in strict adherence to the laid-out procedures. We stand by their innocence and will continue to support them.”

“With the necessary ground support in place, we are pleased to announce that Kenya Airways will resume flights to Kinshasa on 8 May 2024. We look forward to serving our valued customers once again,” he said.

The suspension of the flights to DRC had badly affected many operations in the country.

The Kenya Airways employee who had been detained by the Democratic Republic of Congo Military Intelligence Unit was finally freed on Monday after a two-week detention.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing’oei made the announcement Monday evening after negotiations.

According to the PS, Lydia Mbotela, a KQ manager working in the DRC, was released after negotiations facilitated by Kenya’s Military Attaché and Charge d’affaires.

“Deeply grateful to inform that Lydia Mbotela, KQ Manager in DRC, has just been released by the authorities in Kinshasa,” Sing’oei wrote on social platform X on Monday.

“I commend the team at our Mission: our Military Attaché, the FRO and the Charge d’affaires, for this incredible work of negotiating our compatriot’s release.”

Kilavuka said the two were apprehended by the Military Intelligence Unit in Kinshasa for “missing customs documentation on valuable cargo.”

Kilavuka, on the other hand, faulted Kinshasa authorities for arresting the duo, claiming that they were being held in violation of a court order and that the cargo in question had not been uplifted or accepted by KQ.

As the situation deteriorated, KQ suspended its flights to Kinshasha, stating in a statement that it was unable to provide its services effectively without its employees.

The KQ boss thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff led by Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi for the release.

It has emerged the borne of contention was about USD8 million that was to be flown to Kenya from DRC, according to investigators.

The money belonged to a bank.

But the money allegedly went missing from the airport before it could be admitted into the airline as cargo and before the military officials arrived.

This prompted the move to detain the two workers.

Kinshasa gave in to the demands to release the workers before the flights were resumed even as the investigations into the claims went on.

The security officials there suspected the money was being used to fund resurgence there.

SourceThe Star.   

DET to bring together Dubai’s tourism ecosystem at Arabian Travel Market 2024

Dubai [UAE], May 1(ANI/WAM): Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) will showcase the emirate’s innovative and diverse destination offering by bringing together 129 key partners and stakeholders to demonstrate the city’s collaborative spirit at the 31st edition of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), taking place from 6-9 May 2024 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

With this year’s ATM taking place under the forward-looking theme of ‘Empowering Innovation Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship’, DET will highlight how Dubai’s tourism industry has cultivated innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainability to create new pathways for growth beyond traditional tourism.

This strategic approach is inspired by the ambitious goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to further consolidate Dubai’s position as one of the top three global cities for business and leisure, and the best city to visit, live and work in.

At the event, DET will be joined on the Dubai stand by partners and representatives from government entities, hotels, destination management companies and tour operators. Key partners include the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai), Dubai Culture, Dubai Holding, Dubai Health Authority, and more.

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said: “As a longstanding destination partner of the Arabian Travel Market, Dubai is privileged to host the 31st edition of one of global tourism’s most anticipated events.

The industry gathering is a testament to our city’s position as a world-leading travel destination, achieved under the visionary leadership of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, through innovative strategies and robust public-private partnerships.

In keeping with the transformative theme of this year’s show, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism and our partners will highlight the pivotal role that entrepreneurship and innovation have played in driving tourism growth, aligned seamlessly with our D33 Agenda, the city’s 10-year roadmap for economic development.

“As we showcase the diverse and compelling destination proposition of Dubai at ATM, we eagerly anticipate the opportunity to engage with top industry experts and executives to share our blueprint for success, as well as explore the emerging themes and trends that will contribute towards industry sustainability.

We remain committed to navigating the future of tourism with foresight and collaboration with our stakeholders and the international travel community, ensuring Dubai remains a beacon of innovation and excellence in the global tourism landscape.”

Dubai welcomed a record 17.15 million international overnight visitors in 2023 a 19.4 per cent YoY growth over the 14.36 million tourist arrivals in 2022 and continues to build on this momentum, with 3.67 million international tourists having already visited the city in January and February this year.

The stellar performance further validates Dubai’s recognition as the No.1 global destination for an unprecedented third successive year in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, the first city to achieve this.

The milestone is also a testament to the emirate’s vibrant and diverse offerings, supported by world-class infrastructure, exceptional service at all touchpoints, and continuous collaboration between the government and private sectors. Dubai is expanding its range of experiences for visitors, captivating them with its unparalleled blend of modernity and culture including heritage sites and immersive attractions that highlight the city’s history and vibrant culture.

Committed to investing in human capital and developing a skilled workforce to support the growth of the city’s tourism and hospitality sectors, the Dubai College of Tourism, part of DET, will use ATM as an opportunity to drive awareness of its full-time programmes and ‘Dubai Way’, an innovative training and engagement platform for government and private sector staff engaged in tourist-facing roles.

Dubai also recognises the importance of prioritising sustainability initiatives to preserve its natural resources and further improve the overall visitor experience. With the UAE’s Year of Sustainability extending into 2024, DET will release the inaugural ‘Dubai Sustainability Report’ during ATM, and highlight the city’s ongoing initiatives such as the Dubai Sustainable Tourism Stamp, and the citywide Dubai Can movement, which has contributed to the reduction of over 18 million 500ml single-use plastic water bottles in just two years since the launch of its ‘Refill for Life’ campaign.

A new Dubai Can initiative, Dubai Reef, was inaugurated in April with the launch of pilot reef modules for the world’s largest marine reef development project. Dubai’s position as the cruise hub of the region will also be showcased following the recent formalisation of the Cruise Arabia alliance – a strategic regional partnership that promotes the Arabian Gulf as a cruise ship destination globally.

This year, DET will again organise the ATM Hosted Buyers Programme across Expo City Dubai, Real Madrid World, and Dubai Creek Harbour, promoting Dubai’s unparalleled hospitality and offerings to 600 buyers from 46 different markets and countries.

Among the attractions for visitors at the Dubai stand will be ‘Dubai Pinball’, an interactive and engaging gaming experience promoting Dubai’s iconic landmarks, where players can win prizes and contests to get their names on the leaderboard.

DET will also put the spotlight on the city’s diverse gastronomy scene and its year-round calendar of events, including the ongoing Dubai Food Festival held alongside ATM, which will continue until 12 May, as well as the family summer extravaganza, Dubai Summer Surprises, which is set to launch in June. (ANI/WAM)

Source:The Print

Arabian Travel Market to kick off on May 6 in Dubai

According to data from Deloitte, Dubai is leading the regional hospitality markets with a strong outlook for 2024.

The upcoming edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), a premier global event in travel and tourism, will serve as a pivotal gathering for hospitality stakeholders from 6th to 9th May at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

According to data from Deloitte, Dubai is leading the regional hospitality markets with a strong outlook for 2024. The city now offers more hotel rooms than major capitals such as London, New York City and Bangkok, and as of this month, Dubai has a hotel room capacity of over 150,000.

Data from the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) showed that the city welcomed 17.15 million overnight visitors during 2023, with the average length of stay also increasing. According to Deloitte, occupancy peaked at 88% in February.

“As the hospitality landscape in the GCC region continues to evolve, the data paints a compelling picture of growth and opportunity. ATM 2024 will feature a wide range of hospitality brands from around the world, and we are pleased to report that there has been a 21% increase in exhibition space dedicated to hotel brands this year, demonstrating strong interest and demand,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market.

Source: Zawya

Dubai airport: Full schedule resumes after flooding chaos

Dubai’s major airlines say they have resumed a full flight schedule after torrential rain hit the United Arab Emirates and neighbouring countries causing chaos at Dubai airport.

Emirates and flydubai said operations were back to normal on Saturday but a passenger backlog remained.

The boss of Emirates said the airline’s response was not perfect.

The storm battered the UAE on Tuesday, causing flash floods and bringing travel through the airport to a halt.

Priority will be given to passengers whose travel plans had been disrupted.

A flooded taxiway meant planes were unable to reach the runway to take off and passengers were left stranded in the terminal building,at Dubai International Airport.

The president of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark said: “Passengers previously stranded in the airport transit area have been rebooked and are en route to their destinations.”

The open letter posted on the airlines’ website on Saturday, announced that regular flight schedules had been restored, but it would take them “some days” to clear the backlog of rebooked passengers. A taskforce has also been established to sort and deliver the around 30,000 pieces of luggage left behind.

“We ask for our customers’ patience and understanding,” Sir Tim said. Apologising to their customers, he acknowledged that their response was not “perfect”, citing a lack of information and confusion in the terminals.

Earlier this week, air passengers stuck at the airport told the BBC of the “pure chaos” they saw.

Sarah Jane Cahill from Dublin, had planned to board her connecting flight from Sydney to Dublin on Thursday afternoon, but was still at the airport on Friday night.

She said that “thousands are stranded” and that the airport was “a sea of bodies on every surface”.

“There were people in chairs, couches, on the floor outside bathrooms, sleeping on cardboard,” she told the Press Association.

Over the past three days, the airline has cancelled nearly 400 flights and delayed many more.

Some inbound flights resumed on Thursday, while outbound flights continued to be delayed. They later announced that check-in was open at Terminal 3 for Emirates and flydubai flights.

Flydubai’s travel update on Saturday said they had returned to operating its full flight schedule from Terminal 2 and 3, with priority over the next few days to be given to their “passengers whose travel plans have been impacted.”

Similarly, Emirates said their focus was on those who have faced travel disruptions.

Sir Tim added they had suspended check-in for departing passengers, embargoed ticket sales and stopped connecting passengers from arriving to make sure the focus was on affected customers.

With flights running on their regular schedules, Paul Griffiths, the head of Dubai airports, said departure flow is “improving”.

Dubai International Airport is the world’s second busiest airport, serving more than 80 million passengers in 2023. This year, nearly 90 million are expected to pass through the hub, which is a major connecting point between Europe and Asia.

Source: BBC

UN Tourism ranks East Africa among most open regions for travelers.

East Africa has been ranked among the most open sub-regions in the world in terms visa openness as global travel recovers to pre-pandemic levels, a new report by UN Tourism shows.

The United Nation’s tourism agency in its Visa Openness Report 2023 said East Africa stands out as the most welcoming subregion globally particularly due to its visa-on-arrival policy, which allows 46 per cent of the travellers of the world to obtain a visa upon entry, and its eVisa system, which is available to 36 per cent of international tourists.

“Visa-on-arrival policies are comparatively common in East Africa (46 per cent), South Asia (38 per cent), South-East Asia (36 per cent) and West Africa (32 per cent). eVisa programmes are prevalent in West and East Africa (36 per cent) and South Asia (31 per cent), while North Africa, Central America, Northern and Western Europe do not offer eVisas,” UN Tourism said in the report.

Kenya and Rwanda last year removed Visa requirements for all African travels, decisions that were lauded as a step towards opening African borders. Kenya has also launched a new eVisa platform for travellers from elsewhere.

As part of a new visa regime, travellers from countries that require the document to enter Kenya are now required to have an electronic visa (e-visa) before boarding a plane.

Overall, the lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions have seen improvement in destinations’ openness.

“Destinations’ openness to international travel has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels following the lifting of COVID-19 related travel restrictions. As a consequence of the pandemic, new forms of travel facilitation, such as “nomadic visas”, also appeared,” the report said.

Ease of accessing visa is important to promoting tourism growth. According to the report, fewer people worldwide now require a traditional visa to travel, falling from 77 per cent in 2008 to 59 per cent in 2018, and then to 47 per cent in 2023.

At the same time, 21 per cent of the world population do not need any form of visa, an increase from 17 per cent in 2008 and 20 per cent in 2018 while 14 per cent of the world population can apply for visa on arrival, an increase from 6 per cent in 2008 and 15 per cent in 2018.

About 18 per cent of the world population can apply for eVisas, an increase from 3 per cent in 2013 and 7 per cent in 2018.

Source: Standard Media  

Qatar Airways Announces the Launch of Flights to Democratic Republic of Congo

Qatar Airways announces the latest expansion of its network to include Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), enabling greater frequencies and increased capacity to Luanda, Angola.

This latest network expansion  provides passengers with greater travel choices within a key region of Africa,  opening up a new entry point for international travel from Africa to China, Europe and the India Subcontinent using Doha, Qatar, as a gateway. The addition of Kinshasa increases the number of destinations in Africa served by the award-winning airline to twenty-nine.

Starting from the first of June 2024, Luanda will see a frequency increase from one weekly flight to four weekly flights with a combined service to Kinshasa which Qatar Airways will serve for the first time. For a world-class experience, the new route will be served by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, equipped with 22 Business Class seats and 232 Economy Class seats.

Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Thierry Antinori, said: “We have seen significant milestones in our 2024 network expansion and this latest addition is particularly special, as it continues our strategic goal of increasing our footprint in Africa.”

“The inclusion of Kinshasa in our network is the latest manifestation of our efforts to improve connectivity to Africa. Qatar Airways has showcased its commitment to the region by providing passengers in Africa with greater choice to explore different corners of the world through our network and our hub in Doha, Hamad International Airport.”

Source: Airspace-Africa.

CS Mutua Kick Starts Activities to Rejuvenate Tourism Sector.

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua has launched activities that could revive the tourism industry to contribute immensely to the national economy.

Dr Mutua is spearheading a countrywide campaign dubbed “Utalii Fresh,” a strategic roadmap that seeks to uncover Kenya’s hidden tourism treasures and move the sector to the next level.

Speaking in Kwale County, the CS says his ministry is collaborating with the 47 devolved governments in the development of their rich tourism destinations and potentials.

Dr Mutua says his ministry is determined to revitalise the country’s tourism industry by investing in critical infrastructure like access roads, installing solar lighting along the beaches and strategic marketing to attract high spending tourists.

He says the campaign seeks to turn the tourism potentials in the counties into reality and promote tourism as a major foreign exchange earner and create jobs.

The CS was in Kwale County for his #UtaliiFresh county tours and announced that his visits will explore potential collaborations and partnerships to ensure that counties benefit from tourism opportunities.

He noted that Kenya has a strong comparative advantage in the hospitality and tourism sector because of its diverse cultural heritage.

CS Mutua termed the #UtaliiFresh campaign as a recipe for reviving sustainable and responsible tourism and repositioning it as a key sector in the national economy.

He says his vision is to unlock the untapped tourism potential of every corner of the country and take development to the grassroots.

“All around the world tourism plays an important role in the preservation and promotion of culture and heritage,” he said, adding that efforts would be made to ensure heritage sites and monuments throughout the country are preserved.

The CS accompanied by Governor Fatuma Achani visited a number of sites that the county intends to develop into attractive tourists’ sites in Diani.

Diani beach is the preferred holiday destination for both domestic and foreign tourists and each year it receives a record number of holidaymakers arriving to savour its beautiful scenery.

The resort town of Diani with its clear blue water and white sandy beaches have seen the South Coast town voted the best destination beach in Africa for six years in a row by the World Travel Awards.

The minister also held talks with tourism stakeholders and investors who presented their views on the challenges and opportunities in the tour, travel and hospitality sector.

Dr Mutua is asking the county governments to develop cultural experiences that would not only attract tourists but also benefit local economies and empower communities.

The Tourism CS says he has agreed with the Kwale County leadership on several initiatives aimed at enhancing the coastal county’s tourism sector.

“Key commitments include supporting the rehabilitation of the Diani tourist market and the construction of the Kwale Heritage and Convention Centre,” he said.

He also announced the establishment of a modern recreation facility along the historic Kongo beach blending preservation of the area’s history with contemporary amenities.

Dr Mutua says Kongo Beach is renowned for its potential in Halal (Shariah compliant) Tourism development and noted that the government sees a potential market of foreign Muslim travelers, especially from the Middle East.

He says the national government has set its eyes on the Arabian travel markets as an important growth area for the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu tourism sector.

Mutua said the government will take steps to get a slice of the growing Muslim tourism market by participating in the Arabian Travel Markets.

He said Muslim customers from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Iran and Turkey specifically look for tour packages that can guarantee them to perform prayer five times a day during travel.

Mutua also noted that in terms of food, they demand products that only use halal materials and are processed in compliance with Islamic rules.

Governor Achani says the devolved unit will set up a state-of-the-art conference facility in Diani and has already allocated Sh 40 million for the development of the necessary public services and utilities.

“Our discussions focused on strategies on possible partnership areas between the Kwale County government and the ministry of tourism to grow and bolster the tourism numbers in our county,” she said.

She says the national government needs to partner with devolved governments and other stakeholders if the tourism industry is to be properly harnessed.

The coastal county boss says Kwale will reposition itself as a top Halal friendly destination as the hospitality industry already has outstanding halal tourism infrastructure to cater for the Muslim travelers.

“As a Muslim it’s important to ensure that your travel arrangements including food and accommodation are Halal especially if you intend on travelling during the Muslim holiday seasons,” she said.

She urged stakeholders to offer tour packages with extended services such as allocating times for praying in the itinerary of Muslim tourists and offering halal food.

Source: Kenya News

Dubai sees 18 percent rise in overnight visitors to 3.67 million in first two months of 2024.

The latest figures from the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) revealed an annual increase of 18 percent in the number of visitors in the first two months of 2024. During January and February, Dubai received 3.67 million visitors, with 1.77 million visitors in January and 1.9 million visitors in February.

Origin of visitors

Western Europe was at the forefront of visitors to Dubai in the two months. Tourists from Western Europe constituted 21 percent of the total number of visitors to Dubai, or about 773,000 tourists. South Asia followed with 604,000 visitors, constituting 17 percent of the total number of tourists. Then came the Gulf Cooperation Council countries with 549,000 visitors, constituting 15 percent of the total.

Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe ranked fourth, with 530,000 visitors, constituting 14 percent of the total number of tourists in Dubai. In fifth place, visitors from the Middle East and North Africa reached 448,000, constituting 12 percent of the total. Meanwhile, visitors from North and Southeast Asia recorded a share of 9 percent or about 340,000 visitors in Dubai.

The number of tourists arriving to Dubai from the Americas reached 240,000, making up 7 percent of the total. Meanwhile, the number of visitors from Africa reached 138,000, or about 4 percent of the total. Moreover, 53,000 visitors from Australia came to Dubai in January and February, making up about 1 percent of the total.

Hospitality sector surges

By the end of February, the number of hotel rooms in Dubai reached 151,269 in 826 establishments, compared to 148,450 rooms in 813 establishments by the end of February 2023. The average hotel occupancy in Dubai reached 87.1 percent, compared to 84.4 percent during the first two months of 2023. Meanwhile, the number of rooms booked exceeded 7.78 million, compared to about 7.28 million rooms during the first two months of 2023. Besides, the average length of stays reached 3.8 hotel nights during January and February 2024.

Notably, the number of 5-star hotel rooms in Dubai reached 52,118 in 161 establishments, accounting for 35 percent of the total number of hotel rooms. Meanwhile, the number of 4-star rooms reached 43,792 in 197 establishments, and the number of one- and three-star hotel rooms reached 29,037 in 275 establishments. The number of luxury hotel apartment rooms reached 13,764, and the number of medium-level hotel apartment rooms reached 12,558.

During the first two months of 2024, the average daily price of a hotel room in Dubai reached AED664, a 9 percent increase compared to AED609 during the corresponding period of 2023. Meanwhile, the average revenue from available rooms reached AED578, a 12 percent increase compared to AED514 in the first two months of 2023.

Source: Economy Middle East.