In Brief


Formula 1 back on track

MANAMA: Formula One racing is back on track in Bahrain.

After initially turning down the proposal, parliament voted in favour of funding the $200 million (BD75.6m) Bahrain Racing Circuit.

The racing circuit is one of four projects in a $500 million (BD189 million) funding package which MPs approved, which includes $80 million for the Bander Al Seef resort.

SITA bags Istanbul contract

ISTANBUL: SITA has been awarded contracts to upgrade the check-in service and baggage system at the Istanbul's Atatürk Airport (IST).

The air-transport telecoms firm will upgrade the Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) check-in service and expand the baggage reconciliation system at the international terminal.

The project, valued at $810,000, was awarded by the Tepe-Akfen-VIE (TAV) consortium to manage the modernisation of the existing international terminal, which includes the installation of 77 additional check-in desks, five new gates and three new baggage carousels.

Dubai tops tourism list

DUBAI: Dubai topped the list of the most frequently visited destinations, having registered a 30 per cent rebound in international tourist arrival in 2002, according to a report published by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO).

Statistics for 2002 hotel establishments likewise showed that the hotel establishment total revenue in 2002 amounted to Dh3.8 billion, a 19.28 per cent increase from the Dh3.2 billion in 2001. Similarly, hotel revenue rose by 22.12 per cent, registering Dh3.4 billion in 2002 as compared to Dh2.8 billion in 2001.

Qatar development plans

DOHA: Qatar plans to develop the Banana Island off the Doha coast and the Wakrah beach as tourism projects.

Qatar Tourism Authority general manager David Tewelde said plans were on to classify local tour operators. He was speaking at a meeting to review this year's Qatar Summer Wonders festival.

While the QTA preferred a 45-day Summer Wonders, others said said the festival should be limited to a month.

Tewelde said the the atuhority would open offices at cities such as London, Paris, Munich, Milan and Dubai.

Local QTA offices will be opened at the City Center, Landmark, Hyatt Plaza and the airport, he said.

Wafi launches loyalty programme

DUBAI: Dubai's leading shopping, leisure and entertainment destination, Wafi City, will soon launch a pioneering loyalty programme. The programme brings advantage points to reward clients.

Wafi City's 'Advantage' discount card will evolve into a swipe card rewards programme. The Advantage swipe cards will get into full swing from June 1 and is free-of-charge to customers, a spokesman said.

The new-look card sports all the features that made the original Wafi Advantage card a hit. Besides the discounts in food and beverage outlets and selected shops, it also has the added advantage of rewards points.