In brief


Abu Dhabi visitors reach 1.34m
INTERNATIONAL tourist arrivals into Abu Dhabi grew 12 per cent to 1.34 million last year as compared to 1.21 million in 2005, according to the latest Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) data.

Hotel guest nights recorded an 11 per cent growth reaching 3.9 million last year compared to 3.5 million in 2005. The 2006 tourism figures reflect a 17 per cent year-on-year growth of Abu Dhabi's tourism industry during the last ten years – between 1997 and 2006, rising from 344,385 tourists in 1997. Among the visitors, British nationals top the list with 35 per cent followed by Germany with 31 per cent of all visitors. The US ranks third representing seven per cent of the tourists.

More Brits head to El Gouna
EL Gouna, the Red Sea’s premier leisure destination, has seen the UK emerge as its third largest source market, according to 2006 numbers put out by the tourism authority. The highest ranking source country for the last eight years has been Germany, followed by Belgium. The resort’s popularity with the British holidaymaker is also demonstrated by the arrival of new tour operators featuring it for 2007, including Cadogan Holidays and First Choice, who join those such as Longwood Holidays, Thomas Cook, Libra and Olympic Holidays.

Dnata launches luxury brochure
TRAVELLERS seeking an exclusive luxury getaway at the world's finest hotels will find tailormade holidays in the exclusive new 2007 holiday brochure launched by Dnata Holidays. Nick Sheppard (right), manager, Dnata Holidays said the brochure’s product range reflects Dnata Holidays’ new focus: luxury holidays featuring premier resorts and hotels across 25 popular destinations. For a greater variety of holiday options, travellers can visit or call +971-8008118.

Mezoon Travel opens Sohar branch
MEZOON Travel, a part of the Omar Zawawi Group of Companies and one of the oldest travel companies in Oman, has opened a new branch in Sohar. With the new office, Mezoon will be able to offer passenger and cargo services not only the corporate houses based in Sohar but clients in the cash market as well. It will also bring Sri Lankan Holidays and the newly launched ‘Assist Card’ to this market.

ADNH, Travco in JV
SUNSHINE Tours, a division of Abu Dhabi National Hotels, has expanded an MoU into a joint venture partnership with Egyptian travel group Travco. Under the name ADNH Travco, the new venture will develop new travel, tourism and hospitality related projects in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, and expand into other regions. The new company will also organise tours in the UAE and the Middle East.

Hertz UAE in 30GB iPod offer
LEASING a car from Hertz UAE seems better than ever these days, with the Al Futtaim Group company giving away free 30GB iPods to customers leasing a Honda Civic, Honda Accord or Honda CR-V for between one and four years. Hassle-free four-year leasing deals range from Dh1,695 per month for the Honda Civic, Dh2,039 per month for the Honda Accord and Dh2,565 per month for the Honda CR-V. Prices for shorter term leases are available on request.

$1bn super hero park
MARVEL’S Super Heroes – Spiderman, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four and others – are to come to a theme park in Dubai. The UAE’s Al Ahli Group (AAG) and US-based Marvel Entertainment announced a partnership that will bring Marvel’s full library of super heroes to the new theme park, developed by AAG.
The project will open in 2011 with a direct investment of over $1 billion. The creative team, which consists of some of the most spectacular creative minds from around the globe, will be based in Hollywood, Orlando and Dubai during the four-year development process. New technology and unparalleled visitor experiences will be the hallmark of the theme park, creating a new standard for theme parks around the world.
AAG and Marvel are also in discussions on further projects for the region.

Focus on Kuwait with KWTE
THE Kuwait World Travel Expo (KWTE 2007) is set to take place this month, from April 9 to 12 at the Kuwait International Fairground in Kuwait City.
A spark of new changes has occurred at the event. “Under one roof we had global exhibitors promoting their goods and seeking new products, supplies, hotels and accommodation, airlines, destinations and land investments,” says a spokesperson.
Among the exhibitors are tourism ministries and authorities, international airlines, travel and tourism sector companies, tourism educational and training firms, car rental companies, travel insurance firms, hotels and club reservations and trade publications.
The event targets business travel and retail agents, exhibiting personnel, hotel groups, and transport companies, with a fair component of hosted buyers.
Seminars will be running concurrently with the exhibition.

Morocco conference date change
THE Ministry of Tourism of the Kingdom of Morocco will hold the 7th International Tourism Conference on April 28 and 29 in Fez. The aim of this annual conference is to showcase to the various players of the tourism sector, both private and public, national and international, the significant advances made to date and the tourism projects planned for the future. The emphasis this year is to be on the business opportunities ensuing from the Kingdom of Morocco’s ‘Vision 2010’ tourism strategy.

Jordan rolls back special women’s visa
JORDAN has rolled back a controversial new regulation intended to limit the entry of single women of certain nationalities into the country, following an outcry from local tour operators. Operators had been told early last month that women aged 17 to 40 and travelling alone to Jordan from several eastern European and North African countries would be required to obtain special entry visas, but the decision was rolled back after protests that tourist incomes would be reduced and tourists discouraged from entering the country. Jordan’s tourism industry relies heavily on visitors from these destinations, especially from Russia, Bulgaria and Romania.