Dubai, the ultimate choice for a dream family vacation

Updated 18 February 2018

Dubai, the ultimate choice for a dream family vacation

Dubai is the ultimate destination for Saudis on the lookout for a memorable family extravaganza packed with a wide array of exciting lifestyle activities, attractions and child-friendly entertainment experiences.
Dubai has carved a reputation for itself as one of the world’s top tourist destinations owing to its beautiful beaches, architectural marvels such as the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al-Arab and Dubai Frame, as well as entertainment and lifestyle activities that appeal to visitors of all ages and nationalities.
Child-friendly attractions such as Dubai Safari and IMG Worlds of Adventure make the emirate the perfect venue for spending time with family. The newly opened Dubai Safari is a world-class wildlife park, home to over 2,500 animals representing 250 species.
The park appeals to kids as well as adults with its interactive edutainment activities and immersive wildlife experiences.
Families looking for an adrenaline rush can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as watersports, camping, cycling, skydiving, shark diving, hot air balloon rides, zip-lining and much more at top venues including XLine Dubai Marina, Skydive Dubai, Dubai Dolphinarium, Al-Qudra Lakes, Wild Wadi Waterpark and Aquaventure Waterpark.
One of the world’s foremost culinary capitals, the emirate is home to exquisite dining concepts created by the many Michelin-starred chefs that have set up restaurants in Dubai, including Marina Social, Indego by Vineet, Junoon, and Stay by Yannick Alléno, as well as a host of local eateries, casual cafés, and traditional and modern restaurants.
The Dubai Food Festival is an annual citywide food celebration showcasing the diversity and creativity of the city’s culinary offerings, including gourmet and avant-garde dining concepts, local delights and hidden gems. The festival begins on Feb. 22 and runs until March 10.
Tourists can look forward to visiting Global Village, one of the city’s most iconic entertainment and cultural attractions, featuring hundreds of shops, restaurants and cafés, and representing 75 different cultures through its 27 pavilions. Now in its 22nd edition, the attraction includes more than 12,000 cultural and entertainment shows that are housed within the 1.6-million-square-meter park.
Another attraction that should be part of every Dubai itinerary is Dubai Festival City, one of the UAE’s most exciting retail, dining and leisure destinations.
Saudi film buffs can also look forward to attending the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) 2018 to explore diverse films from all over the world.

Positive impact of Vision 2030 on hospitality: Report

Ascott has reported a decrease of 10 percent in expat families within the Kingdom.
Updated 16 December 2018

Positive impact of Vision 2030 on hospitality: Report

The Ascott Limited has drawn up a report into the changing dynamics of guest profiles in Saudi Arabia. 

As the government’s Vision 2030 economic diversification strategy proves to have a positive effect on the hospitality industry, Ascott is witnessing a notable change in its guests across the Kingdom. This has been influenced by the swift introduction of various initiatives from the removal of ban on women driving, to the introduction of cinemas, concerts with mixed-gender admission and major events such as the Formula E that was held last week in Riyadh.

“Our guest profiles are changing in line with the changing dynamics of the country. We have seen a spike in female guests of 7 percent from 2017, influenced by guests traveling for both work and leisure,” said Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s regional GM for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. 

Female guests have increased considerably this year, as properties across Jeddah averaged a 9 percent growth, while Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh experienced a growth rate of 5 percent. 

“It means there is an opportunity for the serviced residence industry to tap in to the growing number of female travelers and provide tailored services specifically for women,” explained Miccolis.

Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh has a women’s only leisure floor consisting of an outdoor pool, gymnasium, lounge, children’s playroom and day spa. The property is receiving positive feedback from female business travelers about the facilities.

Ascott has reported a decrease of 10 percent in expat families within the Kingdom, attributed to the introduction of expat levies on dependents. Family occupants taking two and three-bedroom apartments have moved to single occupants in a one-bedroom apartment. Miccolis said: “If the announcement made last week on Bloomberg regarding a review of the expat levies being restructured comes to fruition, it will provide a positive outcome for our industry.” 

International guests have maintained a consistent average over the last two years of 25 percent across the Kingdom, however Jeddah and Riyadh are on opposite scales. Fifty-five percent of Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh’s guests are international, which is a growth of 15 percent from 2017. While the four properties in Jeddah have 15 percent international guests, this is a decline of 10 percent from 2017.

“With these changing dynamics of our guests in the Kingdom, a key focus is customer service training, with the goal of exceeding guest expectations. 

This year posed a credible 92 percent customer satisfaction score, a testament to the staff in the region,” said Miccolis.