Vol. V No. 21 - Saturday May 20, - May 26, 2006
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TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Emirates Airline announces FIFA partnership deal until 2014

Two kingdoms ink open-skies pact

China set to become world’s second biggest tourist nation

World’s largest cruise ship sets sail

Emirates Airline announces FIFA partnership deal until 2014

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive Emirates Airline and Group, left and Joseph (Sepp) Blatter, FIFA President, hold aloft the FIFA World Cup trophy, while flanked by Emirates’ cabin crew members.

Emirates Airline last month signed a USS195 million or THB 7.38 billion deal to become a FIFA Partner from 2007 to 2014 - by which time the airline will be approximately twice its current size.
The landmark sponsorship deal, by far the largest the Dubai-based airline has ever been involved with was signed by Emirates Chairman, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum and FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter, at Park Hyatt Dubai.
Commenting on the deal Sheikh Ahmed said: “As an Official Partner of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Emirates wanted to strengthen our association with international football, the most widely supported sport in the world. It is part of Emirates plan to become a global brand and household name and association with the most high-profile sporting event in the world is one part of Emirates’ strategy to achieve that aim.
“We believe sport is an ideal vehicle to communicate with our passengers and football is a perfect platform for us to share and enjoy their passion and commitment. This Partnership will enable us to achieve global awareness of our brand at football events all around the world as well as in our home territory of Dubai.”
“It is our intention for the United Arab Emirates to host a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup during the rights period, which would be the first event of its kind to be held in the Arab world. Emirates becoming a FIFA Partner is good for Emirates, good for Dubai and good for the UAE.”
In addition to hosting a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, Emirates can also choose to host a second official FIFA tournament in the UAE, further enhancing the country’s position as a centre of sporting excellence.
Hosting world-class sporting events is something the UAE excels at and these two FIFA events will bring travelers from all over the world to Dubai where the emirate can showcase its capabilities and infrastructure for hosting world class events, as well as its luxury hotels, beaches, leisure facilities and great weather.
As part of its Partnership status with FIFA, Emirates will have exclusive rights to broadcast matches of the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups either live or delayed on its in-flight entertainment systems.


Two kingdoms ink open-skies pact

Thailand and Bahrain have signed an open-skies agreement that permits designated airlines to operate an unlimited number of flights between the two countries. Both countries have actively pursued open-skies agreements to strengthen their aviation hub status and boost tourism.
Air traffic between Thailand and Bahrain has increased 15 per cent annually over the past five years, according to authorities. Gulf Air expects to carry around 140,000 passengers to Thailand this year, while it is believed Thai Airways International is considering resuming its Bahrain service. (TTG)


China set to become world’s second biggest tourist nation

China is set to become the second largest tourism economy in the world in ten years, according to a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
China’s consumption and investment in the tourism industry will grow by 14 percent year on year to 2.77 trillion yuan (346.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2006. With a projected annual growth of 8.7 percent from 2007 to 2016, China is expected to boast the second highest growth in tourism demand in the world, says the report.
The China National Tourism Administration figures show China received 120 million inbound visitors last year. The number is expected to grow by eight percent in the next five years and the country is expected to receive some 137 million visitors by 2019 to become the world’s biggest inbound tourism nation.
Safety was considered one of the most important reasons for China’s attraction to foreign tourists, said Wei Xiaoan, a researcher with the Tourism Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The tragedy of September 11 was a reminder that safety should be considered in appraising a tourism environment, said Wei.
China has also become one of the largest tourism sources for the international industry. Chinese nationals made 31 million trips abroad last year and the figure is expected to grow by 10 percent this year.
Many countries have instituted preferential policies to attract Chinese tourists. Russia began offering visa-free entry to Chinese tourists in April whilst Italy is offering Chinese services at many of its most popular destinations. (TNA)


World’s largest cruise ship sets sail

Royal Caribbean International (RCI) on April 25 took delivery of the world’s largest cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas, as the vessel got set for its’ inaugural cruise out of Southhampton, bound for New York.
Featuring industry-first attractions such as a shipboard surf park and cantilevered whirlpools suspended 112 feet above the ocean, the vessel is the first in RCI’s Freedom-class of ships. Other jaw-dropping amenities include a full-sized boxing ring and a 14-person family suite.
With a width of 185 feet, and standing at 208 feet tall when measured from the waterline to the top of the funnel, the ship has been designed to attract a broad consumer base. Its Royal Promenade is a 445-foot-long shopping, dining and entertainment boulevard that spans the length of an entire football field.
At 160,000 gross rated tonnes and holding 3,634 guests double-occupancy, Freedom of the Seas is four-times larger than the Titanic. It will sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami calling in at Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Hispaniola.
The Finnish-built vessel supplants rival cruise line Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 as the world’s largest passenger ship although its’ time at the top may only be short lived. Royal Caribbean has ordered an even bigger ship (nicknamed project Genesis), which is expected to gross 220,000 tonnes and be capable of carrying up to 6,400 passengers for delivery in 2009.



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