General Travel News
Watch the Parade - Downtown Dubai for UAE National Day
Celebrate the occasion of the 44th UAE National Day with a colourful spectacle that underlines the values of solidarity and brotherhood, and defines the UAE as ‘Home to the World.’
One of the most-awaited community events, The Parade – Downtown Dubai will be held on Saturday, November 28, 2015, and will be a compelling tribute to the nation, its leadership and the thriving city of Dubai, which is home to over 200 nationalities. The annual event will kick-off along Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard at 3pm.
Downtown Dubai, Emaar’s flagship mega-development, will come alive with an unprecedented lineup of balloons, floats and performances. In line with its theme, ‘Home to the World,’ The Parade – Downtown Dubai will highlight the landmarks, cultures and entertainment from around the world.
This year, over 4,000 participants, including government entities, corporate organisations, educational institutions, CSR groups and individuals from all walks of life, will take part in the celebration. They will salute the ‘Spirit of the Union,’ and celebrate their joy and pride of living in the UAE.
Kicking-off the celebration will be a spectacular showcase of the UAE, its heritage, cultural diversity and modern-day achievements. Several government entities will take part in this segment of the parade with school children adding pride to it by showcasing a large UAE National Flag. A key attraction will be a light metal globe emblazoned with the words, ‘Home to the World,’ taking centre-stage. The participants will be dressed in UAE National flag colours.
Floats and entertainment performances representing the main five continents of the world, namely Asia, Europe, America, Africa and Australasia will follow. Each continent will be depicted by an opening balloon with a representative theme, a closing balloon and a float that features its iconic monuments.
Highlighting the cultures and traditions of different countries, the parade will see an array of dancers and performers including Chinese dragon dancers, Irish tap-dancers, cowboy dancers, African drummers, stilt walkers and kangaroo mascots among others.
The Parade – Downtown Dubai, UAE National Day, is open to the public. Visitors will be able to park at the underground car parks on Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard or they can conveniently access the venue by Dubai Metro. An air-conditioned travellator links the Burj Khalifa/The Dubai Mall Station to Downtown Dubai. Emaar is working with all concerned government entities to ensure smooth vehicular traffic and effortless access for people.
What: The Parade – Downtown Dubai, UAE National Day
When: Saturday, November 28, at 3pm
Where: Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 November 2015 20:52
Meet all 6 James Bonds at Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds London revealed wax figures of all six James Bonds, with five completely new wax 007s joining the existing figure of Daniel Craig. To coincide with the release of SPECTRE, the line-up of Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig will only appear at the legendary London attraction up until (and including) the 30th of November. The figures will then be embarking on a tour of Madame Tussauds locations worldwide on December 1, 2015.
Each of these new wax figures are featured in a classic 007 dinner suit, designed by Oscar® winning costume designer, Lindy Hemming, based on the original costumes. Lazenby, Moore and Connery recreate different variations of a classic Bond pose - arms folded and pistol held aloft, whilst Craig, Brosnan and Dalton are shown in more relaxed poses. The six stand tall together against an impactful and iconic gun barrel backdrop, synonymous with the James Bond films.
The figures took a team of twenty artists, four months to complete at a cost of £150,000 each. Hundreds of layers of oil paint were used to build up accurate skin tones and each hair on all of the figures’ heads was inserted individually by hand over a six week period.
Only at Madame Tussauds London for a limited time only, so book your tickets online now.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 18:23
Sharjah Shopping Festival to be held from March 3 to 19, 2016
Sharjah is set to get a shopping festival. To be held at the Expo Centre Sharjah, the 17-day-long Sharjah Shopping Festival will be the first ever consumer event of its kind in the Emirate.
“The Sharjah Shopping Festival will be another accolade to the Emirate of Sharjah which is the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015. I am sure the event will go a long way in making Sharjah a key shopping and tourism destination of the region,” said Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah.
Expo Centre Sharjah will turn into a shoppers’ paradise from March 3 to 19, 2016, when the Sharjah Shopping Festival will unleash a world of attractive discounts, entertainment opportunities, theme pavilions, food courts, lucky draws and bumper prizes for residents and tourists alike.
Expo Centre Sharjah has entered into an agreement with SAS Events, a full-service event management & consulting company based in Sharjah, to organise the event.
The event will aim to take advantage of the rising spending by both residents and tourists in the country, which is up by 10% in the first three quarters of 2015, compared to the same period last year, according to a report on consumer spends by payment solutions provider Network International.
“Rising tourist arrivals and increases in population and income levels all augur well for an event like the Sharjah Shopping Festival, which will be a perfect opportunity for manufacturers and traders to meet tens of thousands of high-spending consumers,” said Mr. Midfa.
For local businesses, the festival will offer a unique platform to promote their products and services and increase their brand value through exhibits and sponsorships.
“It is probably for the first time that local businesses will be getting such a big platform to showcase their products to a wider audience. They will also get a chance to offer discounts and other deals in order to drive up sales during the show,” added Mr. Midfa.
The event will be promoted across the country and the region as well as other international markets and is expected to attract more than 60,000 visitors during its 17-day run.
Leading manufacturers and dealers have already booked their space and visitors can expect to see a wide range of products under a single roof.
Last Updated on Monday, 23 November 2015 16:27
Qatar Tourism launches new brand image
Qatar Tourism Authority unveiled the Qatar Destination Brand earlier this month during the travel industry show - World Travel Market in London. The new brand is aimed at enhancing and accelerating efforts to promote the Qatar abroad.
“The unveiling of Qatar’s first destination brand marks the beginning of a new phase in our journey towards achieving the vision for Qatar: a world class hub with deep cultural roots,” said His Excellency Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority.
Comprising bespoke designed typography, rich colour palettes, a distinct visual language, signature photography and well-crafted videography, the brand provides a striking and highly distinctive visual identity that captivates audiences and strengthens Qatar’s position as a premium tourist destination.
The Arabic word mark was designed by renowned Qatari calligrapher Ali Hassan, who sought to express his love for Qatar’s history and traditions juxtaposed with its dynamic vision and speed of development.
In order to gain international traction, Qatar Tourism will need to spend heavily in marketing the brand but it can fast-track its popularity by partnering with Qatar Airways and sharing the new font with the national airline and piggyback on the marketing efforts of the airline.
Last Updated on Saturday, 14 November 2015 16:37
Birthplace of the President of the UAE to open doors as museum
As a symbol of Abu Dhabi’s heritage and a component of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Ain, Qasr Al Muwaiji, birthplace of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the U.A.E., will open this month as a museum and exhibition celebrating his leadership and as a monument to the progress of the Nation.
Through a comprehensive conservation programme started in the late 1970s and extended in 2009 to include archaeological excavations, preservation measures and restoration interventions, Qasr al Muwaiji has been carefully rehabilitated to emphasise its original architectural features while adapting its original function as a Fort to become a world-class museum.
A permanent exhibition dedicated to the President of the Nation, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will narrate significant moments of his early childhood, leadership and vast national achievements. This exhibition will also highlight the chronology of the members of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family associated with Qasr al Muwaiji, and the history and progression of the Al Nahyan family.
The museum’s permanent exhibition will also tell the story of the fort, from the earliest archaeological traces of life at the oasis, through to present day. Over its history, two distinct themes emerge - that of leadership, and that of traditional Emirati values, which have distinguished the people of the oasis for centuries and characterised their leaders. The exhibition showcases the history of the Al Nahyan family and that of the fort and its functions as a place of rule, a focus for the community, a verdant oasis on the fringes of the desert, and a family home.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 November 2015 15:15
Top 8 places to see in Bahrain
Bahrain is an archipelago made up of 33 islands located off the coast of Saudi Arabia. It has been one of the Gulf’s most important commercial crossroads for over 4,000 years. With a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-denominational society, Bahrain is an attractive destination for expat families. Here’s a list of the top 8 places to see if you find yourself in Bahrain.
1) Bahrain National Museum
The Bahrain National Museum is the crowning achievement of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s ongoing efforts to preserve the nation’s heritage and history - efforts which began in 1957 when the first exhibition of the artefacts discovered by the Danish archaeological expedition was held at Al-Hidaya Al-Khalifiya in Muharraq.
Built on a central location between Manama and Muharraq, Bahrain National Museum houses 9 main halls, and classifies the accumulated heritage of the Kingdom of Bahrain into 6 different sections. Visitors to the museum will be taken on a 4,000 year journey through time as they pass through its halls, from the traditional handicrafts hall, to the customs and traditions hall, burial mounds hall, ancient documents and manuscripts hall, Tylos hall, and Islamic period hall.
Visiting hours: Daily from 8am-8pm
2) Bait Al Quran
Housed in a spectacular Arabic script engraved building, this distinguished museum showcases a significant collection of Quranic manuscripts and scriptures dating back to the 7th century. Many copies of the Quran you will see are works of art in themselves. Some miniature copies can fit in the palm of the hand and Quranic verses have been inscribed on a grain of rice. In addition to its important historical collection, Bait Al Quran exhibition space often hosts varied art exhibitions while housing a small mosque, distinguished library and learning environment for Islamic teaching.
Visiting hours: Sat-Wed, 9am to 12pm, 4pm to 6pm.
3) Bu Maher Fort Visitor Center
Bu Maher Fort is located in the south of the city of Muharraq, and was first built during the Portuguese occupation of Bahrain. The Bu Maher Fort visitor centre aims to introduce the public to the architectural character that went hand in hand with the traditional pearling trade, as well as highlighting its surrounding environment both within Bahrain and beyond, and building an understanding of the social components of that era.
The Bu Maher Fort Visitor Center can be accessed via the sea aboard boats which depart from the National Museum harbor.
Visiting hours: Daily, 10am - 6pm.
4) Bab Al Bahrain
Bab Al Bahrain is located at the entrance to the Manama Souq in Bahrain’s capital city Manama. Built in 1949, it once housed the government’s administrative offices and overlooked the sea. Bab Al Bahrain has undergone many big changes over the years but the Ministry of Culture undertook a project to preserve it as a cultural landmark and thus restored it to its former glory and eventually moved its tourism sector offices and visitor’s center into the building.
Behind Bab Al Bahrain is the old Manama Souq. The souq is a vibrant collection of shops offering a wide range of goods from textiles, spices, incense, perfumes, handicrafts and souvenirs, as well as more modern products from all over the world. There are also a number of traditional coffee shops.
Visiting hours: Sat - Thur, 9am-12:30pm, 4pm - 8pm.
5) Old Houses of Muharraq
Muharraq, the former capital of Bahrain, is known for its cultural contributions through the many restored traditional Bahraini houses that can be found amidst the narrow lanes. The Sheikh Isa bin Ali House is Bahrain’s most impressive example of Gulf Islamic architecture featuring four courtyards, beautifully carved wooden doors, and perforated gypsum panels.
The collection of houses include the Sheikh Ebrahim Lecture Hall, Iqra Children’s Library, Heraf al Diyar, Nukhida House (the first house to be restored along the Pearling Path), Kurar House, Abdullah al Zayed House, Bin Matar House, Bu Zaboon House, Mohammed bin Faris House that all showcase different aspects of Bahrain’s rich heritage.
6) Al Fateh Grand Mosque
The grand Al Fateh Mosque is both Bahrain’s largest place of worship and among one of the largest mosques in the world. It was built under the patronage of the late Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa in 1987 and was named after Ahmed Al Fateh. The mosque accommodates up to 7000 worshippers and is crowned with the largest fiberglass dome in the world. The walls of the mosque are beautifully ornamented with Kufic calligraphy.
7) Al Khamis Mosque
Built around 692 AD, Al Khamis Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the Arab world. The identical twin minarets on this ancient Islamic monument make it easily recognizable. The foundation dates back to the 11th century and has been rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries. During this reconstruction the twin minarets were added.
8) Bahrain National Theatre
Bahrain National Theatre opened in November 2012 under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Built on an area of about 12,000 m2 overlooking the sea, the 1,001-seat theatre is located next to the Bahrain National Museum. Its unique architectural design and wood-covered interior walls draw inspiration from the tales of 1,001 Arabian Nights. The Bahrain National Theatre is one of the largest theatres in the Arab world, and is the third largest opera house in the Arab world after the Cairo Opera House in Egypt and the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman.
Visit the Bahrain Tourism and Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities website for more.
Last Updated on Monday, 02 November 2015 11:56
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