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Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham JBR welcomes new executive chef

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Mohammed Sitab Alam takes on the role

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham JBR appoints Mohammed Sitab Alam as its new executive chef. He will be in-charge of the kitchen operations of all the hotel’s dining outlets.

Mohammed Sitab Alam has more than 15 years of culinary experience across different countries including India, Kuwait, Oman, and United Arab Emirates. Before joining the property, he worked as executive chef at Golden Tulip Media Hotel, and City Seasons Dubai. He also served as sous chef at Holiday Inn Barsha, and as junior sous chef at Ritz Carlton DIFC. His other previous affiliations include Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, Park Inn by Radisson Muscat, and Radisson Blu Dubai Media City. 

Binu Varghese, hotel manager, commented: “We gladly welcome Mohammed to our team. Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham JBR is in a highly competitive location and we are positive that his combined skills, passion for food, and years of experience will boost the hotel’s food and beverage offers.”

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DUBAI TOURISM RELEASES AED250 MILLION IN BANK GUARANTEES OF TOURISM COMPANIES TO BOOST INVESTMENT IN ECOSYSTEM

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  • As part of its deregulation focus, Dubai Tourism exempts over 2,000 travel and tour agencies from furnishing bank guarantees, injecting a quarter billion dirhams liquidity into Dubai’s tourism economy
  • Move part of efforts to support the government’s economic stimulus programme aimed at lowering cost of doing business and making the emirate more attractive to investors

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has initiated efforts to release approximately AED250 million in bank guarantees that have been furnished by tourism-related service providers, following the waiver of this prerequisite regulatory requirement to start a travel and tour business in the emirate. The new deregulatory measure allows for instant liquidity to be injected into Dubai’s economy, lowering the cost of doing business and supporting further investment in the sector ecosystem.

Strongly aligned with the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai to accelerate Dubai’s economy growth through relative strategic and regulatory initiatives, Dubai Tourism seeks to directly benefit over 2,000 travel and tour operators and agencies in Dubai.

Announcing the new measure, Director-General of Dubai Tourism, H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri, said: “As we head into 2019 with a commitment to significantly boost tourism arrivals in line with our 2022-2025 tourism strategy and vision to make Dubai the world’s most visited destination, relaxing regulations in support of the business community, especially supporting start-ups and SMEs, is fundamental for sustained sector growth. Tourism is a strong contributor to Dubai’s GDP and we intend to ensure that we sustainably enhance our economic value and aid the diversification agenda for the wider UAE.

“As such, this deregulatory measure that has been delivered with the support of the Department of Economic Development (DED), complements many of our other initiatives to provide much-needed impetus to the industry, based on the landmark economic stimulus initiative launched by the visionary leadership of Dubai earlier this year to make it easier to operate and grow a business in Dubai. Releasing of the bank guarantees generates an immediate cash injection of nearly a quarter billion dirhams for travel and tourism-related service providers to invest back into their businesses and truly drive future growth, in addition to being a very positive signal for prospect investors and new ventures to launch tourism projects by taking advantage of the quick and hassle-free processes in place.”

Previously, tourism companies including inbound and outbound tour operators were required to furnish a bank guarantee ranging from AED100,000 to AED600,000, depending on the type of business activity, to Dubai Tourism, as a precondition for DED to grant a trade license. Cancellation of this provision enables Dubai Tourism to refund the bank guarantees to the companies providing much-needed funds to reinvest in their business and grow their services. Similarly, going forward for all new ventures, investors and entrepreneurs will also no longer need to provide such bank guarantees to Dubai Tourism either to open a tourism establishment or to offer specific travel or tour-related services and activities in Dubai.

Dubai Tourism had earlier introduced three proposals to support the government’s economic stimulus programme, namely, to attract more transit passengers to visit Dubai, introduce the time share concept to woo more families to the emirate and to encourage more luxury yachts and boats to visit Dubai.

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CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR AT ATLANTIS, THE PALM

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From the 28th January to the 28th February, Dubai residents are invited to welcome in the Chinese New Year 2019 at the world-renowned Atlantis, The Palm. Also known as the ‘Spring Festival’, it is the time to reunite with friends and family and bring forth good luck for the year to come. From special menu’s to exciting performances such as  lion dances, Atlantis, The Palm  is the place to be this Chinese New Year.

HAKKASAN

Guests are invited to celebrate the Chinese New Year at one of Dubai’s hottest and most exclusive Cantonese restaurants; Hakkasan. From 28th January to 24th February, Hakkasan’s team of expert chefs have crafted a special a la carte menu for dinner, giving guests the chance to sample an array of Chinese favourites including peking duck with crispy bean curd and mango, wok-fry lobster with Chinese chives and lily bulb, as well as roasted Jasmine chicken with sticky rice. This specially created Chinese New Year Menu is AED 498 per person including one Liáo Liáo welcome drink, which comprises of ketel one vodka, rosella, oloroso sherry, lemon, kumquat sherbet and plum bitters.  The menu will not be available on 14th February as it will be supplemented for the special Valentine’s Day menu.

Hakkasan will be celebrating Chinese New Year with their wishing tree tradition, inviting guests to write their wishes on red ribbons that will be hung around the dining areas. Themed music will be played throughout each evening, complimenting the vibrant journey; Hakkasan will also host a DJ performing from Tuesday to Saturday. For those looking to enjoy the regular Hakkasan menu, the a la carte menu will also be available to diners.

Saffron

Saffron is bringing the best contemporary Chinese New Year dinner to the city. Guests can choose from an array of Cantonese, Szechuan, Shandong and Anhui dishes, as well as steamed dim sum and the peking duck station.

The Chinese New Year offering at Saffron will be available every evening from 4th to 10th February, 6pm to 11:00pm. With entertainment including themed Chinese dinner music, and a lion dance at 7:30pm to 7:45pm on the 4th, 5th and 6th February, as well as a stunning fireworks display on 4th February. Guests can dine for AED 265 per person exclusive of beverages, children aged 4 to 11 can dine for AED 137.50 and little ones under the age of three dine for free.

Kaleidoscope

Over the Chinese New Year period, from 4th to 10th February, Kaleidoscope will be offering its international buffet to guests serving dishes from the Mediterranean, North Africa and Arabia, with a focus on the very best of Asian and Chinese cuisine. The buffet will feature dishes such as steamed dory fillets with ginger soya, peppered chicken with pak choi and char siu beef rib, as well as live stations including Asian noodle soup and a dim sum carousel. As well as fantastic entertainment such as a lion dance at 7:25pm  to 7:30pm on the 4th, 5th and 6th February.

Guests can dine for lunch for AED 195 per person from Sunday to Thursday and children aged 4 to 11 for AED 97.50. On the weekend, the offer is available for AED 230 including water and soft drinks, for children ages 4 to 11 AED 115, and little ones under the age of three dine for free.

A few facts you didn’t know about Chinese New Year

  1. The festival date changes every year. This is because it follows the lunar calendar, based on the movement of the moon. In 2019, Chinese New Year falls on February 5th.
  2. It is also called Spring Festival. The festival usually falls after the solar term in the beginning of Spring (Li Chun).
  3. Chinese New Year starts a new animal’s zodiac year. In China, each lunar cycle has 60 years and 12 years is regarded as a small cycle. Each of the 12 years is defined by an animal sign: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
  4. The celebration lasts for 15 days until the Lantern Festival. The peak time of the entire celebration is on Chinese New Year’s Eve and the first day of the lunar new year. The 15th day is called Lantern Festival, marking the end of the celebration.
  5. One sixth of the world’s people celebrate it. It is not only celebrated in Mainland China, but also observed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and some other Asian countries as well as Chinatowns around the world.
  6. It is the longest public holiday and the whole country is on the move. Most employees have 7-12 days off the work, and students have one month winter vacation. The 2019 Chinese New Year holiday is from February 5th to the 11th.
  7. No matter where they are, people try their best to return home for a family reunion, like westerners attempting to spend Christmas with their families. This makes the world’s largest annual migration, known as the Spring Festival Travel Rush. The total trips made by plane, train, bus and ship can reach nearly 3 billion.
  8. Reunion dinner is a ritual. The reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve is a big feast to commemorate the past year. This is the most important time to be with families.
  9. Then comes the annual largest usage of fireworks on the planet. Fireworksare an indispensable part of the celebration to liven up the air of Spring Festival. All families set off fireworks to celebrate the festival.
  10. “Guo Nian Hao” is one of the most used Chinese New Year greetings. This is like the westerners saying “Merry Christmas” to each other on Christmas Day. It means “Happy New Year”.

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Park Hyatt Dubai Announces the Launch of the Lagoon

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The iconic Park Hyatt Dubai announces the opening of a brand new extension to the property comprising a majestic 100 metre infinity lagoon leading into an impeccable private beach, with uninterrupted views of the Creek and the Dubai skyline. The Lagoon will be unveiled on Sunday, January 6th 2019.

A new distinctive haven of tranquility in Dubai Creek for beachside relaxation, the Lagoon will offer an escape from the bustling city, with glistening waters, pristine sands and picturesque views. The breathtaking architecture and idyllic resort surroundings are set to transport guests to the azure shores of a distant tropical retreat.

Boasting almost 2,000 square metres of immaculate Quartz sand and encircled in lush green landscaping, the Lagoon exudes the essence of a tranquil, hidden gem. Guests are afforded a variety of relaxation settings, from elegant sun lounges to stylish gazebos and private cabanas, where the only view is that of the serene lagoon waters, adjacent Creek and city skyline. A Mediterranean inspired culinary offering will complete this quintessential lagoon experience. A limited number of day-passes will be available, with prices starting from AED 360.

Federico Mantaoni, General Manager at Park Hyatt Dubai comments: “We are excited to announce the property’s newest addition, the Lagoon. The extension to the array of leisure amenities is set to amplify the luxury experience for both guests and residents, as is synonymous with the Park Hyatt brand. The opening of the Lagoon follows the complete renovation of the property’s F&B offerings, which saw the introduction of The Promenade to Dubai’s dining scene.”

Fact Box:

the Lagoon
Location: Park Hyatt Dubai
Opening Times: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

Contact: +971 4 602 1660 – dubai.park@hyatt.com

Rates: starting from AED 360.

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North Island: The Ultimate Retreat To Kickstart A Healthy 2019

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An escape to North Island, Seychelles, one of the world’s most exclusive islands, is the perfect way to make your physical, mental, and spiritual health a top priority in 2019. Nestled deep in the Indian Ocean, the eco-friendly retreat affords the perfect opportunity to connect with nature – and yourself. The number of people taking health and wellness trips in 2019 is expected to double, with integrated health, nutrition, meditation, and mindfulness becoming more important than ever.

More information on the same is provided in the attached press release. Please feel free to get in touch for any additional information.

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An escape to North Island, Seychelles, one of the world’s most exclusive islands, is the perfect way to make your physical, mental, and spiritual health a top priority in 2019.

Nestled deep in the Indian Ocean, the eco-friendly retreat affords the perfect opportunity to connect with nature – and yourself. 

The number of people taking health and wellness trips in 2019 is expected to double, with integrated health, nutrition, meditation, and mindfulness becoming more important than ever. At magical North Island, you can connect the dots to create a unique and personalized approach to self-care, while completely disconnecting from the frenetic outside world. 

With the pristine, organic environment setting the tone for a holistic holiday for the conscious traveller, at North Island peace and tranquillity pervades. With no time pressures or constraints guests can do whatever they want, whenever they want. Or simply do nothing at all. Relax on the powdery private white beaches, hike to the peak of Spa Hill, takes to the seas with an array of diving, snorkelling and kayaking experiences, or hop onto a bike to discover the island on two wheels – all at your own pace. Salute the sun with morning yoga, and then bid it farewell with a freshly-squeezed thirst-quencher at sunset. 

A focus on wellness is never complete without an emphasis on healthy eating. North Island has long been renowned for its fertility, for the richness of the fishing grounds and for its fruitful organic gardens. With its cuisine deeply connected to the spirit of the island, its food philosophy is rooted in fresh, seasonal, wholesome produce – food that not only tastes fantastic, but which also makes you feel great. 

Round off the day with a blissful spa treatment that will completely unwind you from head to toe, both inside and out. Guaranteed to put a spring in your step, a spa journey at North Island will help you to tackle the New Year with a renewed sense of joie de vivre. 

The epitome of luxury is uninterrupted time that allows us to reconnect with that which is bigger than ourselves. North Island gifts its guests just that in abundance.

Rate in 2019 for the Presidential Villas start at €6,127 per night and €9,644 per night for Villa North Island excluding tax. Children under the age of 17 sharing the second bedroom are free of charge. For young adults aged 17-19 sharing the second bedroom, the rate is €672 per night. 

For more information on North Island visit www.north-island.com.

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‘Unplug & Unwind’ This Winter In A Tropical Island Paradise At Mandarin Oriental, Canouan

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Mandarin Oriental, Canouan’s new Unplug & Unwind offer invites guests to begin 2019 in a more relaxed and rejuvenated state of body and mind with a visit to Canouan Island’s ‘decompression zone’ of white sand beaches and tranquil ocean breezes.

With the ease of travel on the resort’s private jet, unlimited golf on Canouan’s 18-hole championship course, tennis, water sports, and hypnotically relaxing treatments in The Spa, the Unplug & Unwind package promises to quickly dispel any signs of daily stressors or separation anxiety from digital devices.  Valid 7 January 2019 through 22 April 2019 at a starting rate of USD4,500 plus tax and service charges, Unplug & Unwind is based on double occupancy and includes:

  • Three nights accommodation in an ocean view suite
  • Round-trip Resort Jet transfers between Canouan and St. Vincent, Barbados, St. Lucia or Grenada
  • Two 90-minute Digital Wellness Escape treatments (targeting negative affects/stressors created by digital devices)
  • Unlimited golf (including club rentals)
  • Unlimited tennis (including equipment rental)
  • Unlimited non-motorized water sports
  • Daily breakfast in Lagoon Café or Asianne restaurants

This offer is subject to availability and cannot be combined with other offers.  Additional nights of stay and/or additional guests may be added at prevailing rates. Guests are encouraged to confirm the resort’s jet availability before booking their international flights. For reservations and more information, please visit www.mandarinoriental.com.

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Start the New Year with savings through My Emirates Pass

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My Emirates Pass is back, offering visitors exclusive membership discounts to more than 500 locations across the UAE

Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, has announced the return of My Emirates Pass, an exclusive seasonal pass that turns an Emirates boarding pass into an exclusive membership package, allowing customers to take advantage of fantastic discounts and benefits in over 500 locations across the UAE.  Emirates’ customers now have more reasons to start off the New Year and explore Dubai’s many attractions.

Emirates passengers travelling to and through Dubai from January 1 until March 31 2019 can benefit from My Emirates Pass privileges across participating retail and leisure outlets simply by presenting their boarding pass* and a valid form of identification.

Customers can take advantage of special offers across retail outlets and various leisure activities, including: up to 30 percent discount on spa treatments; up to 50 percent off on outdoor activities such as water sports and access to night golf courses; up to 50 percent discount on fine dining; and up to 30 percent off on popular shopping outlet stores. Customers can explore the many offerings available under My Emirates Pass by visiting emirates.com/myemiratespass.*

Mohammad Al Hashimi, Emirates’ Vice President, Commercial Products Dubai, said: “We are very pleased to announce the return of our signature Emirates Pass this winter, encouraging visitors to explore all corners of the UAE. Travellers coming into Dubai, whether for a short visit or a longer stay can now experience what this city has to offer for less, by taking advantage of special privileges across some of the best hotspots. With attractive discounts to over 500 locations – there’s something for everyone to splurge on this New Year.”

Dubai is an ideal holiday and stop-over destination, offering visitors world-class shopping, year-round sunshine and the finest restaurants. Visitors will be awed by the city’s eclectic, iconic landmarks, mesmerizing entertainment shows and adventurous outdoor parks.

Emirates connects its passengers to more than 150 destinations, in 85 countries, across 6 continents via a seamless stopover in Dubai. Passengers travelling in all classes can enjoy up to 4,000 entertainment channels on ice, up to 20MB complementary Wi-Fi and regionally inspired cuisine prepared by award winning chefs.

For more information on Emirates, including how to book flights and a complete list of terms and conditions, visit www.emirates.com, travel agent or through the local Emirates Sales Office.

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Enjoy and Relax this Winter with Marina Hotel Kuwait Special Offer!

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Marina Hotel Kuwait welcomes its guests with a special offer specially tailored to cater for everyone’s taste. All the guests are invited to spend a memorable time with their families in this beautiful weather.

The offer includes a one-night stay in one of the hotel’s spacious rooms or luxurious suites at special rates with a great complimentary breakfast buffet. The buffet will contain wide variety of quality foods for all tastes.

The offer will also avail 20% discount on lunch and dinner buffets. The hotel’s best chefs went above and beyond to prepare a large array of international dishes to serve at the extraordinary Atlantis restaurant which is the perfect place to dine overlooking a magnificent sea view.

Also, our guests will enjoy a free access to our state-of-the-art Health Club and its diverse range of activities which includes a well-equipped fitness area, outdoor heated pool and indoor courts for basketball and squash. The club is open daily from 06:00 – 22:30 so guests may fit it into their schedule when it is convenient for them

Apart from the wide-ranging hotel facilities, our guests can break the daily routine by visiting Marina Mall, which is among the best shopping malls in Kuwait and is only walking distance from the hotel. They can also visit Marina Crescent which is an ideal location for family leisure in this lovely weather.

Marina Hotel Kuwait offers the perfect venue for the winter under the twinkling lights and the cool breeze of the Arabian coast. The offer is valid for locals & residents during December 2018 until February 20, 2019 excluding December 31st, 2018.

For more information, please visit our website: www.marinahotel.com

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MALDIVES WELCOMES THE FIRST VISITOR OF 2019

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With the greetings and well wishes of New Year 2019, Maldives Welcomes its first tourist visitor of the year. The celebrated guest is Mr. Khalid Kareem of Saudi Arabia visiting Maldives with his family to celebrate the New Year & the couple’s wedding anniversary at Bandos Island Resort. They arrived on flight of Oman Air WY 381. The visitors were positively thrilled to find out that they were the first visitors.

“We feel extremely honored. This is the second time we are visiting the Maldives. First was in 2014. And the most amazing experience (of visiting the Maldives) is, the warmth of Maldivians. They are always smiling. It makes you feel so comfortable. Like you are home.” The couple said excitedly. Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporations and Maldives Airports Company Limited organized the celebration as a welcome tea at the VIP Lounge of Velana International Airport. The visitors were escorted to the VIP lounge by the staff of MMPRC where they were welcomed by the minister of Tourism Hon. Ali Waheed, Managing Director of MMPRC Mr. Thoyyib Mohamed and other senior officials of MMPRC, Ministry of Tourism, MACL, Maldives Immigration and MATATO. A special gift symbolizing the good will of Maldivians was presented to the visitor by the minister. An executive gift package from MMPRC was presented to the visitor by the Managing Director of MMPRC Mr. Thoyyib Mohamed. Gifts on behalf of MACL was presented to the visitor by the Acting Managing Director of MACL Mr. Moosa Solih. The visitor was also awarded a 7-day free holiday voucher by AaaVeee Nature’s Paradise resort and return air tickets to Maldives by Oman Air.

Saudi Arabia market has been a rapidly growing market to Maldives over the recent months. The arrivals from Saudi Arabia show a positive growth of 16% from January to November when compared to the same period in 2017. Saudi Arabia also remains the top country from the Middle East market in terms of arrivals. During this period in 2017 a total of 21,475 Saudi Arabian tourists are recorded to have arrived in Maldives. With the 1st visitor being a Saudi Arabian, this is a great opportunity to promote the destination in the Middle Eastern market.

Every year, the travel and tourism industry businesses collaborate with the MMPRC, the corporation mandated with the promotion of Maldives as a tourist destination, to celebrate the first visitor as well as other milestone arrivals such as the 500k, 750k and the one millionth visitor. A total of 1,333,456 tourists arrived to Maldives from January to November 2018. It is a 7% growth when compared with the same period of 2017.

MMPRC wishes the first visitor and all the visitors on this day a very Happy New Year.

 

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DUBAI TOURISM TO EMBED END-TO-END “ONLY IN DUBAI” EXPERIENCES INTO VISITOR JOURNEYS

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Key pillar of Dubai’s Tourism Strategy 2022-2025 to help sustain city’s world-class propositions

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism)  is rolling out a set of initiatives to deliver end-to-end “Only in Dubai” experiences to ensure tourists get to enjoy an unforgettable stay in the emirate, and encourage repeat visitation, as part of efforts to further strengthen and sustain the city’s world-class propositions.

One of the key pillars of Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2022-2025, the “Only in Dubai” set of initiatives will deliver authentic and world-class end-to-end destination experiences across travel touchpoints that are tailored to relevant segments of tourists.

The tourism strategy announced by Dubai’s visionary leadership aims to make Dubai the most visited city in the world, targeting 25 million visitors annually by 2025, and the unparalleled “Only in Dubai’ experiences will offer regular unexpected delight moments and active reduction of detractor moments or pain points that will positively impact guest happiness to inspire the millions of tourists to re-visit Dubai.

Measuring visitor recommendation and satisfaction is being done through Tourism’s Happiness Index, which was launched under His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. This index, measures not only Dubai’s ability to exceed service expectations, but also helps ensure that every visitor to Dubai becomes a passionate loyalist and a firm advocate of the city.

Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said: “While our world-class propositions and experiences showcase the diversity of the destination offerings and provide segment-based preferences for tourists, we are working closely with our partners and stakeholders to curate, create and deliver personalised end-to-end experiences. This means that visitors will be able to enjoy memorable moments at every step of their journey, which starts from the time they start planning their trip to Dubai and even after they leave Dubai. By providing “Only in Dubai” experiences, tourists are bound to leave the city in a happy frame of mind, carrying with them many memorable moments that will only make them want to come back or spread the word about Dubai’s delightful offerings among families and friends.”

Dubai Tourism will develop end-to-end “Only in Dubai” experiences with the help of the emirate’s agile and responsive ecosystem, featuring collaborations with partners and stakeholders in creating various specialised programmes, activations and authentic one-of-a-kind experiences.

Dubai Tourism has already laid a solid groundwork for the elevation of customer service through the Dubai Way programme run by its Dubai College of Tourism (DCT). The Dubai Way programme is targeted at government and private sector staff engaged in tourist-facing roles in a range of sectors from hospitality to retail to the domestic transportation service, with the aim of imparting standardised information and instructions and ensuring excellent guest relations and customer service at tourist touchpoints across the emirate.

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