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Emirates to give 96-hour visas

posted on 05/06/2002: 1009 views

The award-winning Emirates airline has obtained Dubai Government authority to issue 96-hour turnaround visas for visitors arriving on Emirates from most countries where visas are still needed. This is expected to result in thousands of additional tourists visiting Dubai just for a long weekend. Visitors still needing visas, including those from countries in Africa, the Far East, South America and some in East Europe, will be able to take a long weekend break.

In a new initiative to woo the fast-growing weekender market, Emirates has relaxed conditions of its Dubai Stopovers so they can be used by "out and back" visitors as well as people flying via Dubai to other countries. The pioneering move should increase stopovers sales by more than half their present total, to some 35,000 a year. The stopover packages offer rooms at a choice of 19 high-quality hotels, from self-catering to luxury 5-star. The range includes six additions to the programme and five beach hotels.

Stopovers are specially tailored by Arabian Adventures, the Emirates Group inbound tour operator, which pioneered inbound tourism to Dubai and can fix anything from a desert picnic for a couple to an incentive dinner for 9,000. Its range includes city tours, desert safaris, overland trips, special interest breaks, transfers, hotel reservations and car rentals. It is the preferred ground handler for the major worldwide tour operators featuring Dubai.

Packages start from US$24 per person, based on two sharing a room and include:

• The cost of the visa

• Meet and assist at Dubai International Airport by uniformed Arabian Adventures staff

• Chauffeur-driven limousine transfers between airport and hotel

• American or buffet breakfast

• An exclusive Arabian Adventures Privilege Card offering discounts at many shops

• Arabian Adventures' out-of-hours emergency assistance

• All taxes and service charges

"The government wants to attract 10-15 million people a year to Dubai by 2010. Dubai is firmly established as the quality leisure hub of the Middle East, and these innovative new weekend breaks will build up its lead. It is a perfect weekend destination with a huge number of potential customers only six or seven hours' flying time away," said Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates commercial operations director.

"Already Emirates is breaking records. We've just carried the largest number of customers on the largest number of flights in our 17-year history, Now we are highlighting the appeal of this 'safe and exotic' destination to the many new customers for long weekends here." Dubai had already eased visa rules so visitors from many countries can enter without obtaining a visa in advance. Instead a visit visa valid for 60 days is stamped directly in their passport on arrival. Emirates continues to offer a visa service for those visitors needing one, and trained staff at its worldwide offices complete the formalities directly with Dubai immigration authorities. (The Gulf News)


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