08 May 2013


More than 25 ministers took part in the second annual UNWTO& Ministerial Forum at the Arabian Travel Market with delegates sharing their views on how to work together towards long-term aviation and tourism sector growth.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the event, entitled “Tourism & Aviation: Building a common agenda for growth”, was opened by UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai and Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of ATM.

Addressing the issue of tourism and aviation Mr. Rifai highlighted that tourism and aviation need to move out of working in silos. “Tourism and aviation are siblings, and have been working together in parallel lines. We cannot see them separate from one another; with 52% of world travellers reaching their destination by air, their growth is intrinsically linked,” he added.

The UNWTO address set the scene for the ensuing discussion, which was dominated by the challenges and opportunities facing the aviation sector in the region, with Mr. Rifai touching on the related twin issues of taxation and visa facilitation.“There are visa regimes still belonging to a century that has past. Despite the fact that the UAE and Dubai are leading the way in opening up in terms of visa accessibility, the Middle East is still lagging behind as 70% of people still need visas to enter the region,” he said.

HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, launched the debate by reaffirming the region’s geographical relevance to the tourism sector.

“The Arabian Peninsula has always been a crossroads for different civilisations. These days those roads are in the sky rather than on the ground, and the same role that Arabia has played in the past is now similarly happening with airline networks,” he said, adding: “The alliance between tourism and air transportation is very much a non-separable alliance, and it is very important focus on aligning these two sectors to make places more accessible and affordable.

Highlighting the potential of regional cooperation, HE Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee on International Expo Dubai 2020, said: “For mega events, we have to build synergies and expand the traveller experience.  Expo 2020 is not just about Dubai, the region will benefit with visitors going on to explore Muscat or Petra, for example.  We are promoting the region as a whole, expanding the picture, becoming more attractive and appealing - both to visitors but also to other airlines.”

HE Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing of Dubai, used the Middle East as a prime example of how tourism and aviation can work together, and what the rest of the world can learn from the region. First and foremost, to foster tourism and look to the future, countries and cities should look at adopting open skies policies. The development of airport, attractions and hotels are all important but the key is to allow airlines to fly without restrictions,” he commented.

Participants stressed the need to identify the links between tourism and aviation and set structures where tourism, civil aviation and airlines can work together. Other issues highlighted were the need to extend the principle of liberalization to more and more countries, the opportunities existing for regional cooperation in the Middle East, particularly in view of attracting long haul markets and the importance of aligning tourism objectives with airlines profitability.

Participating in the Ministerial Forum were the Ministers of Tourism of Bahamas, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Lebanon, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, the Director General of the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities of the UAE, the Vice-Minister of Tourism of Azerbaijan, the Director General of the Jordan Tourist Board and the CEO of the Mozambique Tourism Authority. Representing the aviation industry were the Vice President International & Public Affairs of Etihad Airways, the CEO of Dubai Airports and the Senior Vice President, Revenue Optimisation and Distribution, of Emirates Airlines.

Concluding Mr Rifai highlighted the importance of moving this agenda forward. “We have started a debate that has to go on and on. We will carry on at World Travel Market in London in co-operation with Reed Travel Exhibitions after setting a framework today and keep the conversation going”.

“The theme of Dubai’s Expo candidacy – connecting minds, creating the future - can become that which unites us together – so let’s connect our minds, put our thoughts together, and declare that we are on target to handle the issues of the time, and lead the way for the international community.”

The four-day tourism and travel show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, event runs until Thursday 9 May 2013.



DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, May 7th, 2013 – The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., the leader in luxury hospitality, has announced at Arabian Travel Market, the brand’s latest property in its growing North Africa portfolio.  The Ritz-Carlton Marrakech is owned by Jnan Amar Company, a subsidiary of Al Amal Investment Company (SIAMA) part of Azmi Abdelhadi Group of Saudi Arabia.

The resort will be developed around the Jenan Amar Polo Fields, which is part of an upscale community on the Takerkoust Road, 20 kilometres from the city centre of Marrakech and 12 kilometres from the Lalla Takerkoust lake and nature reserve. The stunning fortress style resort will feature 60 hotel suites and 20 hotel villas of two, three and five bedrooms, bars and restaurants, a luxury spa and related leisure facilities. Jnan Amar Polo Resort development is envisaged as a powerful growth driver for tourism in the Marrakech region of Morocco, and the varied luxury components of the project coupled with its world-class polo fields will create a new lifestyle dynamic to the region.

The four-day tourism and travel show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, event runs until Thursday 9 May 2013.


Royal Caribbean completes 20 years in the Middle East

Dubai.  07 May 2013: Royal Caribbean Arabia presented six awards to senior travel industry partners from the Middle East at a special ceremony held at the Emirates Towers, Dubai. The event was attended by travel trade, media and VIPs.

The much sought  after “WOW Performer” Awards were given to travel agents whose performance in 2012 went above and beyond expectations, supporting Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in its mission to provide an unmatched level of service to all those that sail.

“We started promoting and selling our cruises to the Middle Eastern guests in 1993 and are sailing strong for the last 20 years. We attribute the increased interest in the region in cruising to our travel partners, without whom our consistent growth over 20 years would not have been possible,” said Lakshmi Durai, Executive Director Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises Middle East. “By honouring those who go the extra mile, who deliver “WOW” service to their customers, we can only begin to convey our gratitude for their commitment and belief in our ships, which feature more activities and amenities than ever.”

Winners were judged against an extensive list of criteria which includes guest volume, gross sales, year on year growth percentage, the consistent support over many years, knowledge and understanding of the product and the use of booking system.

The four-day tourism and travel show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, event runs until Thursday 9 May 2013.

Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar accounted for over 53% of passengers travelling from the Middle East in 2012: Amadeus air traffic analysis

Dubai-United Arab Emirates, 07 May, 2013: Released at a press conference at Arabian Travel Market (ATM 2013) today, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have emerged as the leading countries in the Middle East in terms of air traffic volume while Qatar demonstrated the strongest growth. The three countries together represented over 53 per cent or 52.8 million of the total 99 million passengers whose point of departure originated from the Middle East in 2012, according to Amadeus, a leading technology partner to the global travel industry.

Data indicates that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar enjoyed an average growth rate of 10 per cent in air traffic volume in 2012 as compared to the previous year, thus outpacing, by a large margin, the 2 per cent growth experienced in the Middle East as a whole.

The four-day tourism and travel show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, event runs until Thursday 9 May 2013.



Big Bus Tours, the largest operator of open-top sightseeing in the world, reveals its new global brand identity at the Arabian Travel Market 2013

In 2011 two highly successful businesses, Big Bus Tours and Les Car Rouges, merged under the Big Bus Tours name to become the dominant force in open top sightseeing across the globe.

Until now the organisation has been operating with three distinct brands – Big Bus Tours, Open Top Sightseeing and Les Car Rouges. However, the company has been working for some time to create a single brand to reflect their unified global identity.

This announcement and the unveiling of their new company logo coincide with the region’s largest annual tourism event – Arabian Travel Market 2013 (6th-9th May)

The new logo features a striking “B” that incorporates an iconic landmark from each destination in its centre. The colour of the double-decker buses remains burgundy, cream and gold; maintaining a balance between traditional and modern design.

The four-day tourism and travel show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, event runs until Thursday 9 May 2013.


Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 7 May 2012 – The Ascott Limited (Ascott), the world’s largest international serviced residence owner-operator has appointed Sym K. Lee as Head of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for The Ascott Limited. In addition to Sym K. Lee, Ascott has also appointed a new Residence Manager, Jabier Cid, for Ascott Park Place Dubai, its flagship property in United Arab Emirates.

Lee will be responsible for developing growth strategies and overseeing Ascott’s business in the Middle East. Lee is also concurrently the Senior Vice President for Asset Management and Business Development for Ascott in Europe.

Lee said: “I look forward to working with the team in the Gulf to enhance our presence. There are several positive signs from the region’s travel and hospitality industry and there is tremendous potential for Ascott to expand its presence here.”

The four-day tourism and travel show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, event runs until Thursday 9 May 2013.



New corporate identity and two new properties revealed at Arabian Travel Market

Dubai, UAE (May 7, 2013) – Bin Majid Hotels & Resorts, a growing chain of hotels in the Gulf region, today announces in a press conference at Arabian Travel Market a Dhs150 million expansion plan covering the new corporate identity, a newly-opened hotel in Abu Dhabi and two upcoming hotels – a hotel apartment in Abu Dhabi and one in Ras Al Khaimah.

Dalal Saadeddine, CEO, Bin Majid Hotels & Resorts, said: “It is with great honour and pride to share with you another milestone in the history of Bin Majid Group and there’s no better platform to announce this but here at ATM. We have embarked on a Dhs150 million expansion plan to support the growing tourism industry. There’s a big potential in this industry and we are seeing a tremendous increase in the number of visitors choosing the UAE as their preferred tourism destination. With the new properties and upcoming ones in the pipeline, we will soon be recognised as a leading hotel and leisure company in the UAE and the region.”

The four-day tourism and travel show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, event runs until Thursday 9 May 2013.




BlueBay Group, a company constantly innovating and in the process of international expansion, has presented today its new brand Armada BlueBay. The event was attended by various political authorities of Dubai, Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Among guests from Spain, the presence of José Eugenio Salarich, Ambassador of Spain in Dubai deserves a mention, and Spanish government representatives, including the President of the Council of Malaga and the Mayoress of Marbella, as well as business personalities and members of the Chamber of Commerce.

Armada BlueBay is a magnificent 4 star resort located in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, the most exclusive area of Dubai. The resort consists of 3 spectacular last-generation towers, located right by Jumeirah Lakes, opposite the luxurious Emirates Hills residential estate, The Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina, close to the business and financial district. The opening of the first Armada BlueBay hotel is scheduled for summer 2013. Armada BlueCity and Armada BelleVue apartment complexes, located in the second and third tower, will open in 2014.

The four-day tourism and travel show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, event runs until Thursday 9 May 2013.




May 8, 2013, Dubai, UAE: The Berlin-based e-travel platform McSa has announced at Arabian Travel Market 2013 plans to boost business links between Europe and the Arabian Gulf and launched a top-notch travel portal dedicated for the Gulf.

From its base in the heart of Europe, McSa offers consulting, online marketing and PR services for international travel, tourism and hospitality business.

It Works on B2B as a peer to contracted companies, thorough understanding their strategic and commercial objectives thus devising results-driven marketing programs.

‘This year, McSa is extending links to the Arab Gulf to provide businesses with quality services and advice to market products effectively and efficiently’ said Yassin Al Tayyan, Managing Director, McSa.

The four-day tourism and travel show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, event runs until Thursday 9 May 2013.



Dubai’s dnata has released its summer programme to the travel trade at Arabian Travel Market, offering a combination of family deals, regional and international destinations and value-added offers including free travel and accommodation for kids.

Bookings must be made by June 30, and all holidays feature transparent pricing inclusive of taxes and service charges.

Among the special deals in the region are daily rates at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City for AED 495, including free accommodation for children, upgrade to an executive Creek view room and breakfast, while deluxe desert pool villas are on offer at the Banyan Tree Al Wadi, Ras Al Khaimah for AED590 per person per night, both valid until August 31.

Other offers include three nights at a four-star hotel in Disneyland Paris from AED3.030 per person, or AED6,525 including airfare, valid until July 7, while packages in the Indian Ocean range from AED3,895 for five nights at the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, which includes two nights free, to five nights at the Maritim Hotel Mauritius from AED4,760 per person, with free breakfast and dinner daily.

The four-day tourism and travel show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, event runs until Thursday 9 May 2013.


Offering the opportunity to reap rental rewards from luxury resort investment, the new Anantara Residences on the Palm Jumeirah have received a positive response at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, according to developer Seven Tides.

CEO Abdulla Bin Sulayem said the unique twinning of high-end resort facilities with premium residential accommodation offers both flexibility for the investor and additional inventory for the resort operator which can take in apartment and penthouse units at times when they are not in use by the owners.

“A luxury lifestyle is on offer with exceptional interior design where residents also have access to the  extensive facilities at the adjacent 293-room Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa –opening September – which features 33,000 sq ft of lagoon pools, six dining and entertainment venues, the Anantara Spa and more,” he said.

“At the request of the owners, management of their properties can be handed to Anantara, a unique opportunity that gives the perfect combination of return on investment combined with accommodation on one of the world’s premium resort locations.”

The residence/resort option is available at many destinations worldwide, but Seven Tides and Anantara are among the pioneers in the Middle East, and Bin Sulayem predicted that it was a viable funding vehicle for mixed-use developments that could grow in popularity.

“The injection of additional inventory to a resort can be beneficial to the operator at peak times, and with apartment and penthouse accommodation, the latter with private pools and terraces, it is particularly relevant for regional markets.”

The four-day tourism and travel show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, event runs until Thursday 9 May 2013.

For more information, visit


We use cookies to operate this website and to improve its usability. Full details of what cookies are, why we use them and how you can manage them can be found by reading our Privacy & Cookies page. Please note that by using this site you are consenting to the use of cookies.