Summer cheer for ME travellers

With the holy month of Ramadan behind us, time is opportune for travellers in the Middle East to plan for outbound holidays. TravTalk finds out from some of the important National Tourist Offices about the promising and upcoming tourist destinations, special summer discounts on offer by elite hotels and airlines, besides incentives for travel trade for selling these destinations among Middle Eastern holidaymakers.

Chalermsak Suranant
Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand – Dubai and Middle East Office
One of our innovative marketing strategies is the LINK that focuses on integration among the Thai tourism stakeholders. LINK stands for L – Local Experiences, I – Innovation, N – Networking and K – Keeping Character. It introduces the visitors to the unexplored exotic experiences of Thailand. For the Middle East, we would like to introduce the Samut Songkhram province, which is just 65 kilometres from Bangkok. Here, our guests from the Middle East can experience the local way of Thai life and rejuvenate themselves. They can experience the vivacity of Thai floating markets, which will give them options to enjoy shopping from morning till night. This year, we would like to emphasise on the enormous potential of celebrating weddings and honeymoons in Thailand. Thailand has extensive experience to cater to this highly specialised niche market, with many award-winning wedding planners, hotels and suppliers ready to organise events according to various themes and concepts. Honeymooners can choose from a range of luxury hotels nationwide.

Salih Ozer
Culture and Information Attaché of Turkey to the UAE

Turkey has always been a favoured destination for Middle East holidaymakers. Culture, nature and proximity are the main elements that attract the travellers. From big bustling cities full of ancient history and contemporary art to beautiful beaches and amazing natural heritage, Turkey has something to offer for everyone. From January to December 2016, a total of 822,849 holiday makers from the GCC visited Turkey’s many destinations. UAE residents and nationals travelling to Turkey in 2016 reached around 300,000 tourists, which was a 27 per cent increase. Turkey’s summers are warm and wonderful. Especially beautiful this time of the year is the far west city of Bursa city which features many great natural attractions: the Uludağ mountains, the magnificent waterfalls that form from melting snow and the spring water. The coastal area of Black Sea (Karadeniz) is impressive in the summer with its lush green surroundings and subtropical climate, historical sites and picturesque cities.

Katsuhisa Ishizaki
Manager Europe, Americas and Oceania Section
Inbound Promotion Department
Japan National Tourist Organisation

The government of Japan will be relaxing the visa process for UAE nationals from July 1, as a result of which they will be able to make the necessary preparations within a shorter period. Most ME travellers are first-time visitors to Japan, so we would suggest the Golden Route that links the must-see destinations such as Tokyo, Mt. Fuji/Hakone, bullet train, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. Japan is interested in the affluent ME market and would like to boost tourism to and from the region. In 2016, approximately 20,000 visitors from the six GCC countries visited Japan. In addition to the classic destinations above, for the ME travellers, there will be the option to stay at exotic mountain resorts built in the lap of nature in the Japanese Alps and visit the national parks, and shup at world-class shopping destinations.

Ed Fuller
CEO and Chairman
Orange County Visitors Association

Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA), California, has launched its latest lifestyle tourism campaign centred on the celebration of Classic and Vintage Cars, coupled with exciting shopping experiences to entice visitors from the Middle East to visit the OC this summer. Titled ‘The OClassic’, this holiday package’s highlights are one-day classic or vintage car hire, complimentary entry into one of the OC’s many classic and vintage car fairs, complimentary VIP shopping experiences and exclusive discounts worth over $2,000 at the OC’s leading retail destinations of Fashion Island, Irvine Spectrum and South Coast Plaza. Participating hotel partners are also providing attractive deals to coincide with the campaign. This is the first time for Orange County to offer such a package in any market around the world, and we are extremely excited to promote it here in the Middle East. We believe many in the Middle East have a great affection and appreciation for classic and vintage cars, just like we do, and what better way to enjoy them but interacting with like-minded people at our many dedicated classic and vintage car fairs.

Maja Pak
Slovenia Tourist Board

Family fun activities are popular amongst the Middle East travellers. In Slovenia, there are hundreds of ways to enjoy the destination with the family. The GCC is an emerging market for us, one which we see having significant potential for growth. GCC nationals as well as many others are always looking for new destinations where they will feel invigorated — a destination that has healthy lifestyle and green environment and is a true winter wonderland. Slovenia is the perfect choice for such a destination. It stands out also due to its quality and value-for-money experiences. Slovenia Tourist Board (STO), in collaboration with travel partners from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, held in April 2017 a ‘Kids Ski Free’ campaign to promote Slovenia as an ideal winter holiday destination for families seeking ski packages, snow adventures and fun experiences. There is also three full-day ski passes for two adults; winter activities such as water aerobics; guided walks including Nordic walking basics, etc.

Caroline Melly
PR & Media Relations Manager
Overseas Countries, Geneva Tourism & Conventions Foundation

Geneva is an all-in-one destination, the third greenest city in the world, situated in the heart of Europe, offering summer activities for the entire family. Its unique shopping experiences, cruise itineraries and variety of restaurants, including halal, make it an attractive destination for the Middle East travellers. Geneva has been the number one Swiss destination for travellers from GCC for a long time, and our products and services have evolved based on their needs. Geneva offers a full range of summer and outdoor activities and events, which are attractive to our visitors from ME. One such event is The Geneva Festival, which is going to be held from August 3-13, 2017, including a captivating firework display on the lake on August 12.

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