EgyptAir ‘Green Service Flights’ to cut single-use plastics 

A new “Green Service Flight” logo will mark all sustainable flights and EgyptAir is offering a 40 percent discount on the Cairo to Paris flight. (Reuters/File Photo)
A new “Green Service Flight” logo will mark all sustainable flights and EgyptAir is offering a 40 percent discount on the Cairo to Paris flight. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 19 January 2022

EgyptAir ‘Green Service Flights’ to cut single-use plastics 

A new “Green Service Flight” logo will mark all sustainable flights and EgyptAir is offering a 40 percent discount on the Cairo to Paris flight. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • Saturday’s flight, from Cairo, Egypt to Paris, France, will be the first of its kind for an African airline

CAIRO: EgyptAir will operate a new environmentally friendly service on Saturday as part ‘Green Service Flights,’ a new program to combat climate change and pollution.

The new flight category aims to eliminate single-use plastics and pollution. Saturday’s flight, from Cairo, Egypt to Paris, France, will be the first of its kind for an African airline.

Mohamed Manar, Egyptian minister of civil aviation, said that the Egyptian aviation sector “attaches great importance to confronting the effects of climate change.”

Environmental sustainability will be achieved through an “integrated ecosystem” that applies international legalislation to domestic aviation standards, he added.

According to the minister, EgyptAir’s future plan aims to reduce single-use plastics on flights by 90 percent. The airline has identified 27 single-use plastic products, which have been replaced with sustainable alternatives.

A new “Green Service Flight” logo will mark all sustainable flights.

EgyptAir is offering a 40 percent discount on the Cairo to Paris flight.

International Air Transport Association data shows that a single passenger on a short or long-term flight produces about 1.43 kilograms of waste, much of it single-use plastics, which threatens human health and marine life.


Jeddah park’s carnival opening marks start of season of activities

One of Saudi artist Meead Anwar Abulata’s live paintings portrayed a lady in a dress with hues of blue. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)
One of Saudi artist Meead Anwar Abulata’s live paintings portrayed a lady in a dress with hues of blue. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)
Updated 14 May 2022

Jeddah park’s carnival opening marks start of season of activities

One of Saudi artist Meead Anwar Abulata’s live paintings portrayed a lady in a dress with hues of blue. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)
  • Covering an area of 140,000 square meters, the park, that cost nearly SR80 million ($21 million) to build, can accommodate 54,000 people

JEDDAH: A carnival-style parade on Wednesday marked the opening of a Jeddah park to visitors as part of the Red Sea port city’s annual festival of activities.

Entertainers in colorful costumes led a procession that included stilt walkers and unicyclists during an inauguration ceremony for Prince Majid Park attended by Jeddah Gov. Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi.

A host of artistic, cultural, and recreational events have been lined up to entertain Jeddah Season 2022 crowds.

Prince Majid Park in Al-Rabwah district is one of the city’s main attractions and will be welcoming visitors free of charge. Activities and entertainment will include live performances, diverse cultural folklore, recreational events for children, shopping booths, a carnival area for challenges and games, a horror house experience, and a cultural celebration week.

HIGHLIGHT

Prince Majid Park in Al-Rabwah district is one of the city’s main attractions and will be welcoming visitors free of charge. Activities and entertainment will include live performances, diverse cultural folklore, recreational events for children, shopping booths, a carnival area for challenges and games, a horror house experience, and a cultural celebration week.

Covering an area of 140,000 square meters, the park, that cost nearly SR80 million ($21 million) to build, can accommodate 54,000 people. Visitors are greeted by a 30-meter-high interactive fountain that dances and sways to the sound of music and there is also a 9,730-square-meter children’s play area.

The 900-meter-long pedestrian pathways and 1,800 meters of routes for cyclists and scooters are decorated with 918 trees and 382 palm trees as part of efforts to satisfy one of the Saudi Vision 2030 goals to increase the amount of green and recreational spaces.

Faisal Al-Shaalan, founder of the shop Gharsa, has set up an educational and agricultural booth in the park to introduce children to the concept of planting.

“I turned it into a cultural business project to spread the concept of the importance of agriculture and its impact on the internal and external environment,” he told Arab News.

“It is necessary to make the children harness their energies into something that benefits the environment and them. They need to make a physical and intellectual effort. Parents must find useful hobbies for them, including agriculture,” Al-Shaalan said.

On the character-building aspect of the hobby, he added: “What distinguishes planting is that it makes the child take responsibility to follow up and water the plants and take care of them, which develops the child’s sense of responsibility.”

The park has an open theater that accommodates more than 1,000 spectators, and an events area covering 5,624 square meters.

Saudi artist Meead Anwar Abulata, said: “I’m glad to be participating in Jeddah Season alongside other Saudi painters to offer the park’s visitors a captivating live art show.”

One of Abulata’s live paintings portrayed a lady in a dress with hues of blue. “In the painting, I mimic the shades of deep blue waters on the ballerina’s dress to convey the relationship between the deep sea and the depth and fluidity of women’s emotions.

“It also expresses that the sea is deep and contains secrets and surprises, like the endless potential and ambition of women and what they provide in today’s Saudi Arabia,” she added.

The park will also be hosting an international bazaar featuring accessories and products reflecting the cultures of various countries, in addition to service areas, restaurants, and cafes.

Jeddah Season is part of the Saudi Seasons initiative, launched to enrich the lives of people in the Kingdom and promote the country as an important world tourist destination.

The annual festival aims to highlight the city’s rich heritage and culture through a total of 2,800 activities in nine zones over the event period.

Being held under the title, Our Lovely Days, the second Jeddah Season follows on from the success of Riyadh Season that recorded more than 15 million visits over five months.

Jeddah Season offers 70 interactive experiences, more than 60 recreational activities, seven Arab and two international plays, marine events, a circus, four international exhibitions, and a host of other services for families.

Its nine zones will hold events related to their historical and cultural aspect of their location and function. Tickets are available at https://jeddahseason.sa/index.html.

 


Saadiyat Island plans to attract 19m tourists, raise AED4.2bn by 2025

Saadiyat Island plans to attract 19m tourists, raise AED4.2bn by 2025
Updated 12 May 2022

Saadiyat Island plans to attract 19m tourists, raise AED4.2bn by 2025

Saadiyat Island plans to attract 19m tourists, raise AED4.2bn by 2025

DUBAI: The urge for a weekend getaway has never been stronger since pandemic restrictions have finally begun to ease across the region. But the question remains: Where exactly should you go?

You can’t go wrong with the laidback charms of Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island. The postcard-worthy destination, now under the management of Miral, the real estate development company responsible for Yas Island, has recently announced a new vision and strategy to bolster the emirate’s tourism sector.

Saleh Mohamed Al-Geziry, director general of tourism at Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture, and Mohamed Abdalla Al-Zaabi, chief executive officer of Miral, announced the news alongside a new campaign video for Saadiyat Island with the slogan “One Island. Many Journeys” during the 2022 Arabian Travel Market, which kicked off at the Dubai World Trade Center on May 9.

“Saadiyat Island is undoubtedly one of Abu Dhabi’s finest treasures. We look forward to elevating awareness of Saadiyat’s enriching experiences as part of Abu Dhabi’s wider offering. From culture and entertainment to amazing landmarks and natural landscapes — all within close proximity to one another — Abu Dhabi is a must-visit destination,” said Al-Geziry during a press conference at ATM.

“We are honored and excited to be spearheading Saadiyat Island’s new strategy to position (it) as the destination of choice, providing visitors with enriching luxury experiences,” said Al-Zaabi. “With such a unique offering, from diverse cultural institutions including the iconic Louvre Museum, to pristine white beaches and undisturbed wildlife, Saadiyat Island is well-positioned to boost Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector,” he added.

It’s not uncommon to see a gazelle grazing outside your beach villa. Supplied

In addition to a number of luxury hotels and resorts, pristine white sand beaches, high-end restaurants, retail outlets and natural wildlife — it’s not uncommon to see a gazelle grazing outside your beach villa — the natural island is establishing itself as one of the world’s leading cultural centers.

The idyllic island is already home to the first international outpost of the iconic Louvre Museum and there are plenty of cultural hotspots set to cut the ribbon in Saadiyat within the next few years, including the hotly anticipated Guggenheim Museum, which is being designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. Set to be one of the largest Guggenheim museums in the world, the venue is anticipated to open its doors in 2026.

Abu Dhabi has also unveiled plans for the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, which will feature some of the rarest wonders of natural history ever found. Currently under construction in the emirate’s Saadiyat Cultural District, the museum is also set to open in 2025.

The idyllic island is home to the first international outpost of the iconic Louvre Museum. Supplied

There’s also the Abrahamic Family House, designed by architect Sir David Adjaye, which plans to open later this year. The project, which was first unveiled during a global gathering in New York in 2019, coinciding with the UAE’s “Year of Tolerance,” aims to capture the values shared between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, through three main buildings, including a mosque, church and synagogue.

Cultural institutions aside, the natural island, which is a short plane ride away from Saudi Arabia or within driving distance of the city if you’re from Dubai, is rapidly shaping up to be the ideal escape for those seeking ultimate relaxation, luxury and comfort.

The island boasts five luxurious waterfront hotels including regional pioneers Rotana, Jumeirah and Rixos, in addition to global leaders Park Hyatt and St. Regis.

For city dwellers seeking a unique hideaway, a boutique villa retreat located on Nurai Island can be reached in 15 minutes by speedboat from a private pier on Saadiyat Island. Dubbed the “Maldives of Abu Dhabi,” the idyllic sanctuary boasts 32 beach villas, all equipped with private infinity pools, an around-the-clock butler, and four high-end restaurants to pick and choose from, proving to be an ideal hideaway for city dwellers seeking relaxation. The properties are nestled right within the dunes and at night, you can hear the waves crash.

“There’s so much coming up in Saadiyat Island that’s just going to add on to what tourists and residents can enjoy,” said Al-Geziry. “We are really looking forward to working closely with Miral to make sure the numbers grow exponentially in both Saadiyat and Abu Dhabi as an overall tourist destination,” he added.

Under the new management, Saadiyat Island is expected to attract 19 million visitors and contribute AED4.2 billion in direct tourism revenue by 2025.


Abu Dhabi launches ‘Summer Like You Mean It’ tourism campaign

Abu Dhabi launches ‘Summer Like You Mean It’ tourism campaign
Updated 08 May 2022

Abu Dhabi launches ‘Summer Like You Mean It’ tourism campaign

Abu Dhabi launches ‘Summer Like You Mean It’ tourism campaign
  • New offers including the Abu Dhabi summer pass will be rolled out with promotions
  • Prices at top hotels across Abu Dhabi in summer will be 30 percent less than during high season

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi has launched a new destination campaign to attract travellers to the UAE's capital during the summer.

The new campaign showcases unique and memorable experiences that visitors to Abu Dhabi can experience during the summer, Emirates News Agency reported.

There is something for everyone and activities vary from swimming with tiger sharks at the National Aquarium to taking a ride on the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and stargazing in the desert at night.

Those interested in culture and history can visit the Qasr Al-Hosn and Qasr Al-Watan palaces, whilst those wanting to channel their inner peace can participate in yoga sessions at sunrise in the iconic surroundings of Louvre Abu Dhabi.

New offers including the Abu Dhabi summer pass will be rolled out with promotions across experiences, cultural sites, and family entertainment attractions.

The pass will give visitors access to three leading theme parks (Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi), all cultural sites including Louvre Abu Dhabi, Qasr Al-Watan presidential palace, Qasr Al-Hosn, and free transportation via Yas Express and Abu Dhabi bus systems.

Specific details will be unveiled in the coming weeks as the pass is rolled out.

Prices at top hotels across the city in summer will also be 30 percent less than during high season.

“Global travellers have their eyes on the Middle East, so now is the perfect time to be sharing Abu Dhabi with the world, shining a light on just how many unique and diverse experiences are waiting to be explored affordably in and around the UAE’s capital,” the Director General of Tourism at Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism, Saleh Mohamed Al-Geziry, said.

“This summer, we want travellers to experience the known and unknown of Abu Dhabi, uncovering the hidden gems of our destination – at their own pace, whether it’s the thrills of our world class indoor theme parks or the race of the Yas Marina Circuit, to the rich depth of culture and activities that ensure the whole family is inspired and entertained,” Al-Geziry added.

“The UAE capital has something for everyone. We want to make those precious memories more accessible by providing competitive and compelling offers throughout the season so travellers can experience summer exactly as it can and should be enjoyed.”


Egypt seeks to attract Finnish, Estonian tourists

Egypt seeks to attract Finnish, Estonian tourists
Updated 26 April 2022

Egypt seeks to attract Finnish, Estonian tourists

Egypt seeks to attract Finnish, Estonian tourists
  • Egypt’s deputy tourism minister discussed with representatives from Finland and Estonia the possibility of increasing tourist inflows from those countries
  • Egypt’s tourism sector has been greatly affected by the Russia-Ukraine conflict as tourists from those two countries represented about 40% of beach tourism in Egypt

CAIRO: Ghada Shalaby, Egypt’s deputy tourism minister, discussed with representatives from Finland and Estonia the possibility of increasing tourist inflows from those countries. 

Egypt’s tourism sector has been greatly affected by the Russia-Ukraine conflict as tourists from those two countries represented about 40 percent of beach tourism in Egypt, prompting the Arab state to search for new markets, particularly from Europe and Asia.

Shalaby reviewed measures taken by Egypt to resume tourist inflows, such as facilitating entry by allowing 78 nationalities to obtain an emergency tourist visa upon arrival or electronically.

She said Egyptian hotels are being re-evaluated according to new classification criteria to ensure the suitability of their classification for the service they provide.


Saudi Arabia readies for influx of cultural tourists

Tourists enjoy strolling in old Jeddah’s historical Al Balad alleys, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is more lively and vibrant during Ramadan with festivals, food stalls and cultural activities. (Supplied)
Tourists enjoy strolling in old Jeddah’s historical Al Balad alleys, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is more lively and vibrant during Ramadan with festivals, food stalls and cultural activities. (Supplied)
Updated 23 April 2022

Saudi Arabia readies for influx of cultural tourists

Tourists enjoy strolling in old Jeddah’s historical Al Balad alleys, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is more lively and vibrant during Ramadan with festivals, food stalls and cultural activities. (Supplied)
  • Ramadan’s sights and sounds a prelude to major influx of travelers, says guide
  • Saudi government has set up industry bodies in all regions to coordinate programs

JEDDAH: For the first time in two years, Ramadan’s sights and sounds are providing foreign tourists glimpses of the rich culture of the Kingdom, a fitting prelude to an expected influx of travelers seeking to experience the country’s widening array of attractions.

To support the cultural tourism sector, a tourist visa was launched in September 2019 for citizens of over 50 countries. However, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 ended all international travel.

This Ramadan has now become an opportunity to welcome travelers using the tourist visa. Although the holy month sees businesses operate at reduced or altered hours, the Kingdom has organized several events for foreign tourists to experience Muslim-Saudi culture.

Arab News recently interviewed Abdullah Asiri, a tour guide in Jeddah’s old historic district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, who had been taking Spanish tourists through the Al-Balad alleyways.

“Saudi Arabia is very rich in historical and natural attractions and unique adventures. The ease of traveling from one domestic airport to another is impressive, (so) tourists can visit more than one region while they are in the Kingdom,” Asiri said.

Saudi Arabia is very rich in historical and natural attractions and unique adventures. The ease of traveling from one domestic airport to another is impressive, (so) tourists can visit more than one region while they are in the Kingdom.

Abdullah Asiri, Tour guide

There are several sites around the country open to tourists including Diriyah in Riyadh and Rijal Alma in Asir. Sightseers can also visit the deserts of Neom, fishing spots in Jazan, the mountains of Abha, and the ancient city of AlUla in Madinah.

The concept of cultural tourism relies heavily on people moving about. This allows them to make contact with people and their stories, eat local food, and experience various types of art, including dancing.

Asiri, who is also a flight attendant with Saudi Airlines, said he decided to operate as a tour guide because his travels around the world made him realize how passionate some people are to experience new cultures.

HIGHLIGHT

Speaking of cultural tourism during the holy month, Abdullah Asiri explained how Ramadan nights, Al-Balad attractions, and the celebratory iftar and sahoor meals that include an array of traditional Saudi dishes are ‘worth it’ according to foreign tourists.

He said that there has been a significant influx of tourists in Al-Balad in the wake of the Kingdom lifting its travel ban and making it easier to get a visa.

“Many of the tourists I met after (the ban was lifted) told me about how excited they were to visit many of the Kingdom’s sites that we locals would never think of (doing).”

Speaking of cultural tourism during the holy Month, Asiri explained how Ramadan nights, Al-Balad attractions, and the celebratory iftar and sahoor meals that include an array of traditional Saudi dishes are “worth it” according to foreign tourists.

“One of the members in the group expressed how worried she was about visiting the Kingdom during Ramadan since most of the activities begin at night. However, once she saw the amazing Ramadan nights, tents, and local food booths she changed her mind and was impressed by everything she experienced and explored during the night shift tour,” he said.

Asiri advises foreign tourists to experience the sunset at the Jeddah Corniche and visit museums in the afternoon so they can enjoy Al-Balad in the evening after 8 p.m.

Another worthwhile place to visit is AlUla, touted as one of the world’s largest open museums, with a 200,000-year history of human habitation. It has now become a crossroads for culture, art and heritage, in addition to daytime outdoor activities for health and wellness enthusiasts, from April 2 to May 7.

The official account for AlUla festivals and events @AlUlaMoments tweeted on April 20:

“Whether fasting or relaxing this #RamadanInAlUla, experience the breathtaking #UNESCO site of #Hegra. Adventure on bicycles or cruise in a vintage Land Rover; check out the Handcraft Pavilion & explore this heritage site at your own pace.”

Tourists can celebrate the holy month among the city’s ancient landscapes and natural beauties, and enjoy an iftar and sahoor in AlUla’s newest restaurants.

Earlier this month, the Saudi Council of Ministers agreed to launch chapters of the Tourism Development Council in all the regions, which seeks to coordinate the actions of government agencies.

The tourism council’s aim is to fulfil the objectives of the national tourism strategy, develop destinations, upgrade hospitality facilities, and attract investment.