For December 2016.
The travel industry ended the year on a high, with Dubai Airport releasing world class innovations to simplify your next trip, Chinese citizens now eligible for visa on arrival in the UAE and Al Maktoum Airport plans to become the world's largest airport.
All this and more in our wrap up of December's travel news.
Passengers enjoy free unlimited wifi at DXB and DWC airports
Coffee and wifi are the two life forces of any traveller, and now, you can get unlimited of the latter when travelling through Dubai International and Dubai World Central. Travellers can connect to the unlimited free Wi-fi with one simple click and enjoy one of the world's fastest internet speeds of an airport globally.
“As the world’s largest international hub we are the heart of many journeys across the world today. When our passengers arrive in Dubai after a long journey they now expect to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world. To enable this, Dubai Airports has invested heavily in developing a state of the art infrastructure to deliver industry leading Wi-Fi capability.” said Michael Ibbitson, Executive Vice President of Business Technology at Dubai Airports.
Al Maktoum International to become the world's largest airport
Dubai aims to spend $37.5 billion to develop DWC, a 140 square kilometre mixed-use development with Al Maktoum International airport at its centre. The entire development will include commercial offices, residences and a golf course, and will become the city's logistics hub. Upon completion, Al Maktoum International will become the world's largest airport with an ultimate capacity exceeding 220 million passengers and 16 million tons of cargo per year. The city's two airports, Dubai International and Al Maktoum International will serve 146 million passengers by 2025 and Dubai plans to move Emirates to Al Maktoum International by 2025.
Visa on arrival for Chinese citizens
While strictly not breaking news, since September 2016, Chinese visitors to the UAE, who were previously required to obtain a tourist visa, are now eligible for visas on arrival. As the UAE strengthens its ties with the worlds second-largest economy, over 450,000 Chinese travellers visited the Emirates in 2015, a figure that is continue to grow in 2016.
No need to register for e-gate with your Emirates ID
Leading the innovation race, Dubai Airports has just shortened the immigration process to 15 seconds for UAE residents at all three DXB terminals. By using your Emirates ID at the Smart Gates, you can bypass immigration queues and speed through to your gate. With 127 Smart Gates across all three terminals, and the whole process taking only 15 seconds, the process is seamless, and does not require registration of your Emirates ID.
Hilton new additions
Hilton Worldwide has added a number of properties to its global portfolio. New additions include the Hilton Brooklyn New York, The Hampton Inn by Hilton North Olmsted Cleveland Airport, Hampton Inn by Hilton El Centro, Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Augusta-Washington Road and Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Newport Cincinnati in the USA. Other additions include the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Grande Prairie Alberta in Canada, and the Hilton Garden Inn Puebla Angelopolis in Mexico.
UAE Traveller's at risk with no travel insurance
Recent research from Nexus Group shows that less than 1% of UAE holidaymakers are covered by a comprehensive travel insurance policy. "Many residents rely on travel insurance that banks offer as part of a membership or credit card package, or that which is required by the Schengen visa," explained Phil Ashkuri, Head of General Insurance at Nexus Group. "The problem is that such policies tend to offer very limited cover, and are often not sufficient when it comes to claiming incurred losses."
Travel leads Dubai business growth
At 55.2 in November, up from 53.2 in the previous month, the seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker Index signalled the strongest improvement in business conditions since August. Travel and tourism was the best performing area (57.5), followed by wholesale and retail (56.1), while construction companies reported only a modest upturn in overall business conditions (51.8).