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

Abu Dhabi launches ‘Summer Like You Mean It’ tourism campaign
1 / 3
Abu Dhabi has launched a new destination campaign to attract travellers to the UAE’s capital during the summer. (WAM)
Abu Dhabi launches ‘Summer Like You Mean It’ tourism campaign
2 / 3
Abu Dhabi has launched a new destination campaign to attract travellers to the UAE’s capital during the summer. (WAM)
Abu Dhabi launches ‘Summer Like You Mean It’ tourism campaign
3 / 3
Abu Dhabi has launched a new destination campaign to attract travellers to the UAE’s capital during the summer. (WAM)
Short Url
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.”


Atlantis The Royal: An architectural masterpiece and new icon for Dubai

Atlantis The Royal: An architectural masterpiece and new icon for Dubai
Updated 24 January 2023

Atlantis The Royal: An architectural masterpiece and new icon for Dubai

Atlantis The Royal: An architectural masterpiece and new icon for Dubai
  • Beyonce was paid $24 million to perform at the mega structure's grand opening

DUBAI: Jetting up from the ground in what appear to be interlocking Lego blocks on Dubai’s renowned Palm Jumeirah Island is the city’s latest luxury endeavor and perhaps its grandest yet: the Atlantis The Royal. The hotel, 43 storeys high and spanning 406,000 square meters, opened with a star-studded private performance on Saturday night by Beyonce (Grammy’s most nominated artist, tied with her husband Jay-Z) who took to the stage for her first full-length concert since 2018.

Fourteen years in the making, the grand reveal of Atlantis The Royal reflects the mission of Dubai to once again challenge the boundaries of imagination and the definition of ultra-luxury travel. The mega structure that towers above its iconic sister property, Atlantis The Palm — which opened in November 2008 to similar fanfare, including a $5 million firework display and a performance by pop star Kylie Minogue — is 500-meters long and 178-meters tall. 

It was designed by Wimberly, Allison, Tong & Goo, also known as WATG, an international firm specializing in luxury hotel complexes. The design incorporates classical Arabian architecture and local Bedouin references through both the interiors and exteriors, laden with semi-precious stones, intricate fossilized shells, and 'fish' stones — a nod to historical Gulf building techniques.

Ahead of the resort’s grand weekend opening, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, toured the 795-room and 231-residence property and posted pictures of his tour on Twitter calling it an “architectural masterpiece that will boost the tourism sector.”

The hotel, which became an immediate icon for Dubai, supports the recently launched Dubai Economic Agenda D33’s goal to consolidate the city’s position as one of the world’s top three global cities for tourism and business. 

In a statement underlining the importance of the tourism sector to the UAE’s national economy, Sheikh Rashid said, “We have ambitious growth targets for the sector over the next ten years. The UAE and Dubai seek to build on their deep partnerships with the private sector to strengthen the country’s status as the world’s most popular destination for international tourists.”

“As part of our efforts to create a fertile ground for investors, we are keen to foster new growth opportunities in the tourism sector. Our steadfast commitment to building an exceptionally safe and stable environment and a world-class infrastructure over the last few decades has created the foundations for a remarkable future,” he added.

Atlantis The Royal features 795 rooms and 231 residences. (Supplied)

With its decadent design and long list of luxury and fashion brands, Atlantis The Royal, which is frequently being referred to simply now as “The Royal,” pushes the boundaries of modern luxury. The luxury amenities in their sheer quantity are nothing short of impressive: there are 92 pools, 17 top restaurants and bars from chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, José Andrés and Nobu Matsuhisa, brands such as Valentino and Louis Vuitton, and a host of other uber luxurious details and offerings.

Beyonce, the pinnacle of the resort’s grand reveal, was allegedly paid $24 million to play for one hour for 1,500 guests as part of the resort’s three-day opening celebration. She also performed “Brown Skin Girl” with her daughter, Blue Ivy, 11, which had won them both a Grammy Award in 2021. The evening featured several of Beyoncé’s classic hits, including “Crazy in Love”, “Flaws and All,” and “Be Alive” mixed with iconic songs by Lebanese icon Fayrouz and legendary Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum.

The evening culminated with a spectacular fireworks display that illuminated the Palm Jumeirah skyline alongside performances by global and regional DJs, musicians, and dancers.

Atlantis The Royal features 92 pools, 17 top restaurants and bars from chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, José Andrés and Nobu Matsuhisa. (Supplied)

The grand opening weekend also featured the star-studded grand opening events of Nobu and Ling Ling and the launch of Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila on the resort’s sky pool, Cloud 22. On Sunday, the resort hosted a fashion event to debut Beyoncé’s latest Ivy Park Collection.


Peru closes Machu Picchu as anti-government protests grow

Peru closes Machu Picchu as anti-government protests grow
Updated 22 January 2023

Peru closes Machu Picchu as anti-government protests grow

Peru closes Machu Picchu as anti-government protests grow
  • More than 55 people have died in the unrest that ensued after Peru's politicians ousted leftist president Pedro Castillo for trying to rule by decree

LIMA: Peru indefinitely shut the famed ancient ruins of Machu Picchu on Saturday in the latest sign that anti-government protests that began last month are increasingly engulfing the South American country.
The Culture Ministry said it had closed the country’s most famous tourist attraction as well as the Inca Trail leading up to the site “to protect the safety of tourists and the population in general.”
There were 417 visitors stuck at Machu Picchu and unable to get out, more than 300 of them foreigners, Tourism Minister Luis Fernando Helguero said at a news conference.
The closure of the Incan citadel that dates to the 15th century and is often referred to as one of the new seven wonders of the world comes as protesters have descended on Lima, many of them traveling to the capital from remote Andean regions, to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte.
Also Saturday, police raided Peru’s most important public university in Lima to evict protesters who were being housed at the campus while participating in big demonstrations. More than 100 people were detained, Interior Minister Vicente Romero said.
Until recently, the protests had been concentrated in the country’s south. They began last month after then-President Pedro Castillo, Peru’s first leader with a rural Andean background, was impeached and imprisoned for trying to dissolve Congress.
Demonstrators are demanding the resignation of Boluarte, the former vice president sworn into office Dec. 7 to replace Castillo. They also want Congress dissolved and new elections held. Castillo is currently detained on charges of rebellion.
More than 55 people have died in the ensuing unrest, most recently on Friday night when a protester was killed and at least nine others injured in clashes with police in Puno. A total of 21 protesters and one police officer have died in the southern region.
On Saturday morning, police used a small tank to burst into the National University of San Marcos in the morning.
Javier Cutipa, 39, who traveled by bus from Puno, had been sleeping on the floor there since Thursday but left for breakfast right before the police arrived. He described the police action as “practically an assault,” with helicopters, tear gas and small tanks.
“This outrages us. The only thing the government is doing with these detentions is worsen tensions,” Cutipa said. He added that “when the population finds out about this they’re going to react in a more radical fashion.”
Hundreds of protesters congregated outside the law enforcement offices where the detainees were being held Saturday evening chanting “Freedom” and “We’re students, not terrorists.” More congregated at other points of downtown Lima.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed “concern over the police incursion, eviction and massive detentions” at the university and urged the state to “guarantee the integrity and due process of all people.”
The university issued a news release saying the police raid took place after protesters “assaulted” security personnel.
Cusco, where Machu Picchu is located, has been the site of some of the most intense clashes, leading to significant loss of tourism revenue. The Cusco airport was briefly shut down this week after protesters tired to storm it.
Train service to Machu Picchu has been closed since Thursday due to damage to the tracks.
Some stranded tourists have chosen to leave by walking to Piscacucho, the nearest village, Helguero said, “but that involves a walk of six, seven hours or more and only a few people are able to do it.”
Tourists who had already bought tickets for Machu Picchu from Saturday until one month after whenever the protests end will be able to obtain a full refund, the Culture Ministry said.


Saudi Arabia’s Jazan: A promised land rich in culture and opportunity

Saudi Arabia’s Jazan: A promised land rich in culture and opportunity
Updated 03 January 2023

Saudi Arabia’s Jazan: A promised land rich in culture and opportunity

Saudi Arabia’s Jazan: A promised land rich in culture and opportunity
  • The Heritage Village, meanwhile, is an important tourist attraction. During a tour of the site by an Arab News team, the village’s Director Mohammed Ali said that it was popular due to its architectural style and its cultural heritage
  • A scenic region known for its heritage, culture and hospitality welcomes all

JAZAN: Jazan province this winter is a hotbed of tourists searching for relaxation, walks through beautiful scenery, the chance to sample the region’s famous coffee — and even scouting investment opportunities in an expanding leisure industry.

A plan to build the province’s tourism economy was approved by Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, who is in charge of the Tourism Development Council in the Jazan region. Since then, the Jazan City Track and the Farasan Islands Track were approved as tourist hiking routes.

The Heritage Village, which spans 7,000 acres, showcases the rich culture of Jazan. The traditional architecture and artifacts detail the region’s historical way of life. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)

The Heritage Village, meanwhile, is an important tourist attraction. During a tour of the site by an Arab News team, the village’s Director Mohammed Ali said that it was popular due to its architectural style and its cultural heritage.

There are several historic buildings made of stone and mud that detail the historical way of life.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Jazan City Track and the Farasan Islands Track have been approved as tourist hiking routes.

• Women of Jazan sell traditional and handmade products at the Heritage Village.

• Visitors can take a ferry to the Farasan Islands, whose reserve was included in UNESCO’s ‘Man and the Biosphere Program.’

“The Jazan region has established a name for itself globally in every sphere, be it business, development, or tourism. In the Al-Raith governorate of the Global Islands, for example, there is one of the biggest model gardens in the world,” Ali said.

The Heritage Village, which spans 7,000 acres, showcases the rich culture of Jazan. The traditional architecture and artifacts detail the region’s historical way of life. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)

“In the mountainous governorates, coffee is grown, which UNESCO has called one of the best products in the world.”

According to Ali, the village, which spans 7,000 acres, is where the customs and traditions of the mountains, Tihama, and maritime environments come together in one location.

In the village marketplace, local resident Hamouda Hussain is one of a number of women selling traditional products.

The first and foremost important factor that makes the Farasan group of islands unique is the presence of two important Mangrove populations, Avicennia marina and Rhizophora mucronata. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)

“I have loved sewing since I was a child, and I am here selling my products, which are popular traditional clothes,” she told Arab News. “I also make oud mixtures and incense for the body. I see many tourists who come from everywhere to the heritage village and buy my products.

“Tourists flock more in the winter, spring break, founding day, and national day,” she added.

After visiting the village, visitors can take a ferry to the Farasan Islands, whose reserve is known for its diverse ecosystems and rare wildlife was included in the “Man and the Biosphere Program,” a UNESCO initiative.

The ferry captain’s assistant, Yousef Al-Seeni, said that nothing makes him happier than seeing visitors from all over the world come to the islands.

“We have received many tourists from around the world, and they are pleased with us because the sailing time is only an hour,” Al-Seeni said. As a result, they enjoy us as well as the view of the island and dolphins, as well as the opportunity to indulge in their favorite pastimes like diving, fishing, and a variety of sports like hiking and tasting the delectable seafood.”

Jazan and Farasan are famous for the trade in fish and pearls that are sold and exported to countries around the world due to the abundance of coastal beaches, which are rich in fish, shellfish, and seashells.

 


Umm Qais in Jordan named among UNWTO’s best tourism villages of 2022

Umm Qais in Jordan named among UNWTO’s best tourism villages of 2022
Updated 21 December 2022

Umm Qais in Jordan named among UNWTO’s best tourism villages of 2022

Umm Qais in Jordan named among UNWTO’s best tourism villages of 2022
  • Festivals, art exhibitions and handicraft shows planned for the town
  • Listing will promote tourism and community jobs, says minister

AMMAN: Jordan’s northern town of Umm Qais has been named among the best tourism villages of 2022 by the UN World Tourism Organization.
Nayef Fayez, Jordan’s minister of tourism and antiquities, said that the listing will promote tourism in the country and increase job opportunities in local communities.
A national strategy has placed the tourism sector at the heart of Jordan’s economy and society, Fayez said on Wednesday, according to the Jordan News Agency.
To celebrate the achievement, festivals, art exhibitions, forums and showcases of industries and handicrafts will be held in the town.
Umm Qais was among 135 locations judged by UNWTO member states based on a range of criteria, including cultural and natural resources, promotion and conservation of cultural resources, and economic, social and environmental sustainability.
The initiative is part of a UNWTO program to promote tourism and rural development. It also focuses on improving connectivity, infrastructure, access to finance and investment, and enhancing education and skills.
Umm Qais is located in the northwestern corner of Jordan, on the hills above the Jordan Valley. It is known for its impressive colonnaded streets, vaulted terrace and the ruins of two ancient theaters.


Spectacular Samarkand: Ancient Uzbek city is a cultural treasure 

Spectacular Samarkand: Ancient Uzbek city is a cultural treasure 
Updated 08 December 2022

Spectacular Samarkand: Ancient Uzbek city is a cultural treasure 

Spectacular Samarkand: Ancient Uzbek city is a cultural treasure 

TORONTO: I had only ever heard of Samarkand — a 7th-century city on the Silk Road, the famous trade route running from China to the Mediterranean — in history class. And it was the allure of the ancient Silk Road that took me there. 

Present-day Samarkand in Uzbekistan still bears traces of its former status as part of the Soviet Union, and the city is influenced, both linguistically and ethnographically, by bordering nations. Tajik Persian, Russian, and Uzbek are the most widely-spoken languages. Regional tourism by way of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan is predominant; as are investments and trade relations with China and Russia. 

As you would expect from a city that’s been around for 1,400 years, Samarkand is steeped in culture and history, and contains some breathtaking architecture. (Natalia Dumko and Eternal City Pictures, supplied by Silk Road Samarkkand)

Samarkand might not be a major tourist draw, but there are plenty of great accommodation options, including five- and four-star hotels like the Samarkand Regency Amir Timur or the Savitsky Plaza, named after Igor Savitsky and featuring some of his avant-garde artwork. There are also some attractive boutique options, including Sangzor Hotel in Registan Square. 

As you would expect from a city that’s been around for 1,400 years, Samarkand is steeped in culture and history, and contains some breathtaking architecture. 

The Shah-i-Zinda necropolis. (Natalia Dumko and Eternal City Pictures, supplied by Silk Road Samarkkand)

The Gur-e-Amir, or mausoleum of Amir Temur, is where the Turco-Mongolian conqueror and Uzbekistan’s national hero, Amir Temur lies, along with his sons and grandsons. The entrance to the courtyard features an elaborate muqarnas, the honeycomb-style design common across the Islamic world. The inner chamber was once made of gold, jade, and onyx, but after centuries of plundering has been refurbished with cheaper materials. Nonetheless, it remains a work of art.  

Perhaps the greatest reminder of the Timurid Renaissance — when Samarkand witnessed a revival of arts and sciences, and the construction of mosques and madrasahs — is Registan Square. A short distance from Gur-e-Amir, the square houses three madrasahs, and it is here that some of the greatest minds of the 14th and 15th centuries — including Amir Temur’s grandson, the renowned astronomer Ulugh Beg — pursued Islamic studies, astronomy, and sciences.  

All three structures are fine examples of Islamic architecture: a grand entranceway with geometric patterns laid out in blue and turquoise tiles patterns leads into a courtyard. Kufic calligraphy is inscribed on the minarets and domes, in the same exquisite glazed tile work. And although souvenir shops now occupy the dormitories and hallways of the madrasahs, the buildings maintain a solemn air.  

The national dish — plov, made with plump raisins and caramelized sweet carrots — is known colloquially in Saudi Arabia as ‘Bukhara rice.’  (Natalia Dumko and Eternal City Pictures, supplied by Silk Road Samarkkand)

The Sher-e-Dor madrasah on the right, notably, features a mosaic of a tiger and man, symbolizing man’s quest for knowledge.  

With its intricate window arches, lattices, and expansive gardens, the square is reminiscent of Humayun’s Tomb and the Taj Mahal in India. This is no surprise. After all, it was another one of Amir Temur’s grandsons’ Babur who conquered the Delhi Sultanate and founded the Mughal Empire in the 15th century.  

Further out, the Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis is a three-level complex housing mausoleums of Amir Temur’s relatives, close accomplices, and religious scholars. The most prominent among them is Kusam (Qutham) ibn Abbas, the cousin of Prophet Muhammad. Shah-i-Zinda’s brilliance — its resplendent sapphire domes and tiled entranceways against the contrasting taupe of the structure — can only truly be taken in as you walk up its stairs and look back at each level. It also contains several vantage points affording a fine view of the city and the local cemetery next door. 

The Gur-e-Amir, or mausoleum of Amir Temur, is where the Turco-Mongolian conqueror and Uzbekistan’s national hero, Amir Temur lies. (Natalia Dumko and Eternal City Pictures, supplied by Silk Road Samarkkand)

Some 20 minutes away from the center of Samarkand is the Eternal City, a recreation of ancient Uzbek cities with artisan shops and local cafés. It’s popular with locals for a family day out and although the buildings may not be authentic, its cultural experiences are. For example, you can watch how samsa (akin to samosa) is made over a tandyr here.  

In terms of food, the Uzbek diet is notoriously meat-heavy (to the point that it’s a major health concern). The national dish — plov, made with plump raisins and caramelized sweet carrots — is known colloquially in Saudi Arabia as ‘Bukhara rice’ and is commonly eaten for both breakfast and lunch.  

Other specialties include lagman — hand-pulled noodles simmered in a meat and dill broth that is said to originate from the Uyghur region — and Uzbek manti (dumplings stuffed with meat and potato). 

If you want to see some of the city’s lesser-known sites, a two-hour “Invisible Samarkand” walking tour starting at the Bibi-Khanum Mosque takes you through its diverse neighborhoods, including an ancient hammam and the quarters built for refugees coming from other parts of the Soviet Union in the 1960s.  

Samarkand’s allure lies in its rich history and diverse cultural background. It might be a name you recognize only from textbooks, but it’s well worth seeing in person.