The Shifting Sands and Seas of DubaiA colleague who has fallen in love with Dubai recently said that a half hour in Dubai is like two years in any other place, meaning things change by the moment, by the hour. So even a photo of Dubai could be suspect unless transmitted instantly to your computer. However, some developments have taken time to put into place, below is a summary of industry news that affects agents booking Dubai for their clients. Additionally, the region is one of the latest development hotspots on the globe.
On the Ground
FIT wholesaler Travel Bound (TB) recently announced it would dip its toe into the Middle East market starting with Dubai. “A trip to Dubai will dazzle even your most well-traveled independent travel clients who think they’ve seen everything,” said Nico Zenner, TB’s general manager. “The startling contrast between atmospheric Arab markets and Bedouin culture on the one hand, and 21st century over-the-top architecture with unique attractions like sand skiing on the other, makes it one of the most memorable destinations you can recommend.”
TB has added 10 newly built five-star hotels and 12 new sightseeing tours in Dubai, one of the hottest new destinations for independent travelers, with its spectacular new architecture, wide range of sports and adventure travel attractions, and shopping in traditional Arab souks or multi-story shopping malls.
Among the properties TB will be employing in Dubai City are Le Meridien, Grand Millennium, InterContinental, Shangri-La and Raffles; while in Jumeirah Beach, the properties include Tamani Marina, Westin, Atlantis the Palm, and the The Harbour.
Rates at Travel Bound’s 20 five-star properties in Dubai are as low as $91 per person per night, and seven hotels have limited time “bonus night” offers. Dubai hotels and sightseeing tours may be booked on www.booktravelbound.com
As if Dubai’s hotel inventory needed more luxury and splash, the Dubai-based international hotel management group known as the Jumeirah Group encompasses the world renowned Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel, the multi-award winning Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Madinat Jumeirah and Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa in Dubai, the Jumeirah Carlton Tower and Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel in London and the Jumeirah Essex House in N.Y.
Within the region, several properties are being developed, namely the Jumeirah Al Salam Resort in Bahrain and Jumeirah Al Salam Yiti Resort in Oman, which are scheduled to open in 2010. Jumeirah Al Salam Resort in Southern Bahrain will consist of a 293-room hotel, seven hotel villas (divisible into 56 guest rooms and 21 suites), 33 spa suites and a large convention center. The prestigious resort is located on 300 meters of private beach and will also offer one indoor and three outdoor swimming pools, eight restaurants and bars and extensive business and spa facilities. Jumeirah Al Salam Yiti Resort is located just south of Muscat and will comprise of a 202-room hotel and 148 chalets. The well-appointed resort will also feature five restaurants and bars, banqueting and conference facilities, swimming pool, fitness center, tennis courts and Talise Wellness spa. Visit www.jumeirah.com
On the Seas
More and more cruise lines are calling at Dubai’s Cruise Terminal, another wonder on the tourism map as it sprawls about 9,900 square feet right on the southern coast of the Arabian Gulf. Straddling two berths in Port Rashid, the terminal’s facilities can handle two ships simultaneously. Its deep basin gives cruise lines the option of bringing in larger ships and in winters, the waters around Port Rashid are quiet and calm.
Dubai’s homeport represents the final resting place for the Queen Elizabeth 2. Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 made her final departure from her homeport of Southampton last month to her new home in Dubai where she will become a first-class hotel and entertainment center.
QE2 has traveled nearly six million nautical miles, more than any ship ever; has carried 2.5 million guests; has completed 25 World Cruises; and has crossed the Atlantic 804 times. Call 800-7-CUNARD; www.cunard.com
Royal Caribbean International recently announced a seven-night roundtrip itinerary for its inaugural season from its homeport of Dubai. Vacationers can choose among 13 sailings, from January through April 2010, aboard Brilliance of the Seas to some of the most exciting and vibrant destinations in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman. Royal Caribbean’s Dubai cruises are now open for booking.
Guests aboard Brilliance of the Seas’ cruises from Dubai will have ample time to explore the famed city with overnight stays at the beginning and conclusion of the voyage. The port-intensive itinerary will also include a call at Oman’s capital of Muscat, and maiden ports of call at Mina Sulman, Bahrain; and Fujairah and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Vacationers also can choose among two repositioning cruises, both 14-night itineraries, between Barcelona and Dubai via the Suez Canal. The January 4, 2010 sailing from Barcelona will call at Aqaba, Jordan and three Egyptian ports: Alexandria, Safaga, and Sharm El Sheikh. The April 19 return voyage will call at Safaga, Sharm El Sheikh, Alexandria and Muscat. Agents can call 800-327-2056; www.cruisingpower.com
For more information, contact the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, www.dubaitourism.ae
February 2007 Feature
Hot on the Business of Dubai
Dubai, one of the seven Emirates states, is buzzing with news regarding its mystery as a destination and its relatively recent discovery by leisure travelers new to the Middle East.
With enormous construction and development in various industries, Dubai has attracted worldwide attention through innovative real estate projects, sports events, conferences and consumer potential. The increased attention, coinciding with its emergence as a world business hub, has also highlighted its potential as a destination suited to leisure travel as well. Archaeological digs suggest evidence that what is now known as Dubai was originally settled by fisherman some 4,000 years ago, but it was not until the 1830's that a major settlement was established. Today, Dubai is a fascinating city where glistening modern high-rise buildings contrast with traditional dhows plying the Creek that forms the historical focal point of the city. Visitors can experience the expanse of the desert lying just outside the city along with the hustle and bustle of the spice and gold souks. An abra (water taxi) ride along the Creek provides a spectacular panorama of this city of merchants.
Tour operators have lost no time in positioning Dubai as one of the “Where to go Next” places. Following are a few of the current products on the market and a word on upcoming hotel growth.
The United Travel Group, once known mainly as an African tour operator, features nine programs that either focus or include Dubai. Prices include internal flights and ground operations and perhaps most important, all departures are guaranteed with a minimum of two passengers. Products to the region range from the nine-day Arabian Escapade that visits Dubai exclusively priced from $2,995 per person to the 16-day Australia Coast Fly-Drive that includes Sydney and Brisbane among other Australian destinations priced from $4,250 per person. Call 800-223-6486; www.unitedtravelgroup.com
Canada-based Indus Travels combines one of its strongest destinations, India with glamorous Dubai in a 19-day package that visits Delhi, Agra, Jaipu, Pushkar, Osian, Rohet, Deogarh, Udaipur, Mumbai and finally, Dubai. A single departure is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2007 for about $2,820 per person double. Call 866-978-2997; www.industours.net
Goway’s Dubai offerings start with a three-day stopover with prices starting from $300 per person sharing, (airfare additional) which includes accommodation, sightseeing and transfers. The package allows extra nights and sightseeing options such as a Dhow cruise with dinner, a day to Abu Dhabi, a dune dinner safari, camel riding and sand-skiing safari and a desert driving course. Shopping in Dubai is abundant. Call 800-387-8850 e-mail email@example.com; www.goway.com
Latest Hotel Developments
Currently there are 22 hotel projects underway in Dubai. InterContinental Hotels Group arrived in the region more than 40 years ago with InterContinental Phoenicia in Lebanon. The Group’s latest development is well underway in Festival City, Dubai and is expected to open this summer.
Located on Dubai Creek with stunning views in every direction, the InterContinental Dubai Festival City boasts 501 rooms, including 120 suites, three Presidential Suites and one Royal Suite. The hotel will feature a wide selection of dining options including a a unique outlet under the direction of a yet-to-be-revealed Michelin star chef. Also located at Dubai Festival City: The 316-room Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City; InterContinental Residence Suites Dubai Festival City includes 212 high-rise apartments. Altogether the group will offer more than 1,000 rooms within Dubai Festival City Visit www.intercontinental.com
Tiger’s First Baby
No promising destination worth its salt or sand as in this case could possibly go forward without a world-class golf course. U.S. golf great Tiger Woods has teamed up with Tatweer, a Dubai-based firm to create Al Ruwaya. “I have a vision -- from the layout of each hole to the Mediterranean architecture to the gym equipment in the clubhouse,” Woods said, “...and I want to realize this vision in Dubai.’ The course will be the centerpiece of “The Tiger Woods - Dubai,” an exclusive golf community with a golf academy; and an 80-suite boutique hotel; 300 luxury villas and 20 private homes; and a retail area.
More than 91 airlines stop in Dubai; the following offer service from the U.S.: United Air Emirates (www.emirates.com), Etihad Airways (www.etihadairways.com); and Qatar (www.qatarairways. com).
For more information, visit www.dubaitourism.ae