|Tourism recovering fast in Abu Dhabi and Dubai
Signs of recovery in the tourism sectors of Dubai and Abu Dhabi are already visible and tourism in the country will be out of the recession-induced doldrums soon, said a senior official of the World Tourism Organization.
Speaking to Emirates Business on the sidelines of a meeting for the classification of hotels organized by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Amr Abdel Ghaffar, the organization's regional representative for the Middle East, said: "Tourism in Dubai and Abu Dhabi was impacted by the crisis, but it was a limited impact, which is disappearing noticeably. I expect the number of tourists to the country to rise remarkably next year, especially as it has all the components necessary for the industry to flourish.
"Tourism, both in the UAE and the world, is always affected the most by crises such as swine flu pandemic, tsunamis, recessions or wars. But what distinguishes the UAE's tourism sector is that it dealt with the crisis positively and was not much affected. Hotels were not closed and new units are continuing to be constructed. Federal and local governments have continued the implementation of tourism projects they had announced."
Ghaffar said: "Abu Dhabi is set to mainly develop cultural tourism to become an important competitor at the regional and global levels, and I think it will succeed in that.
"Abu Dhabi is following a strategic plan to enhance tourism in the next five years. The number of tourists is projected to rise to two million in 2012 and three million within five years. The emirate is due to consolidate entertainment tourism to form at least 50 percent of its sector.
"Figures show tourists flow to the Gulf countries, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Egypt will rise threefold by 2020 - from 54 million to an estimated 136 million. The Gulf currently receives 60 percent of tourists headed to the Middle East, as the people going on Haj and umrah are also taken into account in the classification."
|Singapore Hopes To Ride The Wave Of Growth In The Cruise Industry
Ground was broken today for Singapore's new International Cruise Terminal. The facility at Marina South, costing S$500 million, comes as global demand for the cruise market is estimated to hit 27 million passengers by 2020 - a two-fold growth within a decade.
The cruise industry is still sailing smoothly despite the economic downturn. Global cruise passengers are expected to number 13.5 million this year, according to the Cruise Lines International Association based in the US.
Asia Pacific accounts for 7 percent of the world's cruise market and Singapore wants to become a cruise hub.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) expects to welcome its one millionth cruise passenger by year-end - the highest in 10 years. In the first half of this year, passenger arrivals grew 20 percent on-year to 540,000.
At the groundbreaking of the International Cruise Terminal, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said: "Since the Singapore Cruise Centre at HarbourFront commenced operations in 1991, Singapore's cruise passenger throughput has been rising steadily as evidenced by the average annual growth rate of 12 percent in the last five years.
"In 2008, over 1,000 cruise ships called at Singapore, chalking up a passenger throughput of over 920,000."
By 2015, Singapore hopes the new terminal can host the world's largest Oasis-class cruise ships and attract 1.6 million cruise passengers. The terminal can handle 6,800 passengers at any one time and will double Singapore's berth capacity.
STB says greater efficiency and accessibility will allow passengers to disembark and depart from the terminal within 30 minutes.
The 28,000-square-meter terminal, equivalent to about three football fields, is one of the biggest in Asia. Reclamation work will start next month and when completed in 2011, it is expected to create 3,000 jobs in the tourism and related industries.
Observers said cruise passengers tend to spend about 30 percent more on average, which could boost Singapore's economy.
Remy Choo, STB's deputy director of cruise, said: "Typically, you talk about cruise of about 7 days on a normal cruise ship. We are talking about someone who is prepared to spend about S$2,000 per head, compared to a normal tourist from the region who spends perhaps S$300, S$400 a head. So you are looking at customers who are prepared to spend even more."
The tourism board, which owns the terminal, will appoint an operator for the facility by year-end. STB said the tender was put out a week ago and will close on November 4.
|Berlin Celebrates The Fall Of The Wall
After more than 28 years of German division, the Berlin Wall fell overnight November 8-9 1989, uniting millions when the border crossings between East and West Germany were opened.
Berlin is marking the anniversary with a grand Festival of Freedom centred on the Brandenburg Gate, and a domino rally symbolising the collapse of the infamous barrier.
Thousands of young people are designing oversized dominoes, which from November 7 will form a two kilometre gallery along the former course of the Berlin Wall between the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz.
On the evening of November 9, the dominoes will be sent tumbling down with the help of high-profile artists, politicians and representatives from the cultural community.
The Festival of Freedom will include an open-air concert with the Berlin State Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
Virginia Haddon, the German National Tourist Office’s sales and marketing representative in Australia, said, “The excitement is building in Berlin as the culmination of this year of celebrations draws near. It is a truly fascinating time to visit Germany.”
Other events taking place in Berlin to mark the anniversary include an open-air exhibition at Alexanderplatz, presented by the Robert Havemann Society to remember the peaceful revolution and the incidents of 1989/90 in Germany, and an exhibit of works at the Berlinische Galerie by internationally significant artists such as Tacita Dean, Alicja Kwade and Wolfgang Tillmans, illustrating the change that was initiated by the fall of the Wall.
A full list of events can be found on www.mauerfall09.de
Cathay sees premium traffic upturn
Cathay Pacific and Dragonair traffic figures for September 2009 show a decrease in passenger numbers compared with the same month last year.
Cathay Pacific and Dragonair carried a total of 1,840,082 passengers in September, down two percent against the same month in 2008 - while capacity for the month, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), was down by 9.7 percent.
The month's load factor was up 7.9 percentage points to 80.2 percent. For the first nine months of the year, the number of passengers carried has fallen by 3.8 percent compared to a capacity decline of 3.9 percent.
Cathay Pacific general manager revenue management Tom Owen said, "September saw a welcome seasonal upturn in demand for premium traffic with an improved share of the overall business, but at volumes and yields still well below previous years.
“Several special events including Indonesian Lebaran and the Japanese silver week holidays helped boost regional leisure demand for the month.
“Reduced capacity, especially on some long haul routes, provided the context for the higher load factors and improved efficiency levels on several routes compared to the recent past."