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General Travel News

"Give something back to Berlin" wins UN award

The United Nations and BMW sponsored Intercultural Innovation Award was presented to the "Give Something Back to Berlin" community initiative that was launched by Annamaria Olsson, the Swedish journalist who now calls Berlin her home.

"Give Something Back to Berlin" was a spontaneous idea that developed into a project platform and network which mobilizes and enables Berlin’s newcomers from all over the world to channel their time, energy and expertise in social projects and neighborhood work. The goal is to create meeting points for communities that would normally not engage with each other.

GSBTB supports and realizes numerous projects with Berlin’s refugee communities, thereby making a significant contribution towards sustainable integration and intercultural understanding. Those who have fled their countries are not only beneficiaries, but also become an integral part of the Give Something Back to Berlin community.

The Berlin initiative emerged as the winner amongst almost 1,000 applicants from 120 countries. The award was presented during the 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 12:02

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Emirates wins Best Airline Worldwide Award

Emirates won the coveted ‘Best Airline Worldwide’ title, the Airline with the Best Economy Class, and Airline with the Best Cabin Staff awards at the Business Traveller Middle East Awards 2016 which were presented at a gala dinner attended by travel industry professionals, and were chosen through a voting process open to the readers of the Business Traveller magazine.

Representing the airline at the Business Traveller ME awards, Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Customers have always been at the heart of whatever we do. That is why ‎we continually invest in developing high quality products on board, and our cosmopolitan cabin crew put in every effort to deliver exceptional service. We are honored to be recognized for our efforts by Business Traveller Middle East’s discerning readers, and we will work hard to keep raising the bar to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.”

These awards show Emirates’ commitment to providing excellent service and innovation in an environment where many airlines are upgrading their offerings to compete globally.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 April 2016 20:25

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GCC travel industry confident of growth - Arabian Travel Market starts on April 25 2016

The largest travel industry event in the Middle East – Arabian Travel Market (ATM) – will start tomorrow, April 25 2016. At the inaugural press conference held today at The Address Hotel, Dubai Mail, the organizers of the event expressed their confidence in the region’s tourism sector.

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Tourism, said that the opening of new theme parks in Dubai and the focus on mid-market visitors will help diversify what Dubai has to offer and help in achieving the 2020 target of attracting 20 million visitors to Dubai.

Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Emirates Airline spoke about the partnership between Dubai and Emirates which is encouraging visitors to come to Dubai. He also said that despite global economic concerns, the airline is on track to add Taipei and Prague to the list of 38 destinations serviced by their flagship A380 aircraft.

Chris Newman, Corporate Director of Operations at Emaar Hospitality said that the hospitailty segment of Emaar is contributing about 16% to total profits for the group and the hotels are experiencing 86% occupancy rates – 10% above the industry average.

Nadege Noblet-Segers, Exhibition Manager of ATM and Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director ATM and WTM, spoke about the growth in ATM with 100 additional exhibitors and the likelihood that last year’s visitor numbers of 26,000 will be surpassed this year.

Dr Ali Abu Monassar, Chairman of The Vision, a destination management company, highlighted the dynamic changes that are taking place in Dubai and the importance of ATM as a meeting place for the region's travel and tourism industry.

The Irhal team will be covering the Arabian Travel Market over the next four days and we will be highlighting some of the new and interesting destinations and offers that will be unveiled for GCC tourists.


Last Updated on Sunday, 24 April 2016 17:16

Hits: 46

Germany gaining in popularity among GCC tourists

With more than 2 million overnight stays by GCC tourists in Germany in 2015 and a growth of 18% over the previous year, German cities are becoming popular tourist destinations for GCC tourists. And Maria Amaral, Director of the Marketing & Sales Office of the German National Tourist Office in the Gulf region is busy promoting Germany’s natural beauty, its lakes and forests , its horse riding trails as well as its family friendly theme parks and luxury shopping facilities.

GCC tourists can find many Halal restaurants in Germany. Besides, many large hotels are familiar with the dietary requirements of Muslim travelers and prepare special Halal dishes for their GCC visitors.

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 April 2016 02:04

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Largest man-made safari in the world opens


The world’s largest man-made safari park has opened its doors today in Al Ain, giving visitors a chance to closely observe more than 250 animals in their natural habitat.


The Al Ain Safari at Al Ain Zoo extends over 217 hectares – the size of 304 football pitches. Looking out the windows of the tour vehicle, seeing only wild animals among grass and sand, with mountains in the distance, it is easy to forget that this is in the heart of a modern city.


“Al Ain Safari has been masterfully crafted out of the desert environment to incorporate its pristine surrounds," Al Ain Zoo director general Ghanim Al Hajeri said. “The experience will be unique, being driven entirely by Emirati tour guides. This will emphasise local traditions and warm hospitality, drawing on an unrivalled passion for the UAE’s proud heritage."


The safari is not just home to Arabian and African animals, such as the scimitar oryx, springbok, eland, blesbok, giraffe, zebra and lion, but also to 38 native and African plants. Many more species will be introduced, including crocodiles and hippos, housed in an enclosure that makes it possible to view them both above and under the water, said Al Ain Zoo safari manager Luke Brown, from Zimbabwe.


Tickets for the safari experience cost Dh200 for a seat on a truck that allows great views of the animals. Each truck seats 22 people. Alternatively, Nissan Patrol 4x4s, seating six passengers, can be rented for private trips at a cost of Dh1,000 per vehicle. A full circuit of the safari area will take between 45 minutes and an hour.


Opening hours: 10am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 4pm.

No children under the age of 5 are allowed on the Truck Tour, and under 3’s are not allowed inside the Private SUV tours.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 April 2016 13:46

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Even Lincoln couldn't save our knees

In the US Senate a vote on regulating minimum airline seat width and pitch was rejected as the majority of lawmakers felt that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should not be responsible for setting minimum size limits on seats and leg room.


Senator Chuck Schumer who was pleading the case for regulation could not muster enough support despite a valiant "Leggysburg" address. "The great Abraham Lincoln was asked how long a man's legs should be, and he famously answered, 'Long enough to reach from the body to the ground.' If you asked a major airline today how long should a man's legs be, they'd say, 'Short enough to miss the tray table.' That's not a way to fly," said the senator.


The opposition which voted 54-42 against the amendment expressed the opinion that regulating seat width and leg space was "too much government" and it's not the FAA's responsibility to define comfort. Such controls would result in increased fares.


Meanwhile, those of us who have to squeeze ourselves into seats at the back of the bus have to continue to dream of getting upgraded on our next flight.


Last Updated on Sunday, 10 April 2016 02:21

Hits: 152

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