Thursday, May 15, 2014

Omniyat unveils Zaha Hadid-designed ‘ME by Melia’ hotel’s artist renderings for ‘The Opus’ interiors

Omniyat unveils Zaha Hadid-designed ‘ME by Melia’ hotel’s artist renderings for ‘The Opus’ interiors

The over AED 2.5 billion project is more than halfway complete, says Omniyat Chief

Dubai, UAE, 13 May 2014: Omniyat, a leading developer in the Middle East, unveiled today the artist renderings of the Middle East’s first ‘ME by Melia’ hotel, designed by renowned architect, Dame Zaha Hadid, in its flagship project The Opus.

Located in Burj Khalifa District, The Opus will feature signature limited edition furniture pieces designed by Hadid. Each individual piece is significant, but should be considered within the overall ensemble of Hadid’s architecture.

The renderings unveiled by Omniyat detail the unique interiors of the ME Hotel lobby, the vertical café, the lounges and the reception area.

“We are delighted to reveal today the interiors of the first ‘ME by Melia’ hotel in Asia,” said Mahdi Amjad, Omniyat Executive Chairman and CEO. “These images convey the remarkably inventive quality of Zaha’s work; expressing a sculptural sensibility that reinvents the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior.”

Hadid has designed a sequence of dramatic event spaces for the ME Hotel. Shaped by functional and programmatic considerations, yet dependent on the overriding formal language of the design, the interiors express Hadid’s investigations into the concepts of fluidity and of seamless spatial flow.

The ME by Melia hotel will feature Michelin star restaurants, lounges and cafes across an area of 250,000 square feet, with entertainment options selected from the best in the Middle East, New York, Miami, London and Las Vegas, according to Amjad.

The ME by Melia hotel is operated by Melia Hotels International, one of the world’s leading hotel companies that currently runs more than 350 hotels and 90,000 rooms in 39 countries in 4 continents.

This outstanding new project exemplifies the unique artistic vision of the award-winning architect. Combining innovative design concepts and engineering with materials of the highest quality, The Opus reflects Zaha Hadid’s enchanting world of design. The clarity of the architecture’s formal composition and bespoke interiors give The Opus a truly unique identity. Amjad added: “We expect the architectural quality and experience of The Opus in downtown Dubai to be a premier destination for visitors to the city, especially those who value originality, experience and design.”

Speaking on the progress of The Opus, Amjad announced that the over AED 2.5 billion project is more than halfway complete.

Gabriel Escarrer, Vice Chairman & CEO –Meliá Hotels International added: “You always expect to be surprised by Zaha Hadid’s designs, but the renderings for the Opus building and ME Dubai go beyond what we could ever have anticipated.  Alongside the unique Aura Service offered by the ME brand and the Michelin star restaurants and bars in the property, there’s no doubt that ME Dubai will raise the bar for Dubai’s hotel supply.”

Escarrer added: “We are proud to have this amazing project in our portfolio and to be working alongside Omniyat for the ME brand’s first hotel in the Middle East – an incredibly exciting step for our brand!”

Dame Zaha Hadid DBE is a visionary architect who in 2004 became the first woman recipient of the prestigious Pritzker Prize, often referred to as ‘the Nobel Prize of Architecture’. Hadid’s architectural projects include the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games and the MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome, while her fashion collaborations include Mobile Art for Chanel and unique designs for Louis Vuitton and Fendi.

ME by Melia is an international hospitality brand that spans the world’s global capitals of culture and cool, with its progressive mix of design-driven and experience-centric approaches.

Amjad added: “Today’s unveiling of Zaha Hadid’s artistic vision for the ME Hotel interiors demonstrates that Dubai is well on course to consolidate its position as the premier luxury destination in the Middle East and one of the world’s most dynamic cities.”

Monday, May 5, 2014

ATM 2014 opens with updated Tourism Vision 2020

ATM 2014 opens with updated Tourism Vision 2020
High profile panel lead discussions on state of play of year-old strategic framework ahead of Expo 2020 hosting; Dubai on track to meet goal of 20 million visitors and treble sector’s economic contribution by 2020 as industry partners embrace vision and regulatory initiatives drive development
Dubai’s goal of doubling the 10 million visitors welcomed in 2012 to 20 million by 2020 is the collective responsibility of all industry stakeholders, was the message shared at the launch session of the ATM 2014 seminar series, which opened today at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre.
The opportunities, challenges and early successes of the government initiative, one year on from its official launch, were addressed by four top tourism industry leaders at a session entitled ‘Delivering the Tourism Vision for 2020 and how Dubai is marketed to the world’.
Leading the panel discussion was HE Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO & Director General, Dubai World Trade Centre and Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM), who was joined by Ghaith al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai; Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates; and Neil Jones, Chief Sales & Marketing Office MEA, Marriott International.
Opening the session, HE Almarri said: “Dubai’s position in the world, with what we have to offer, is very promising. The Expo 2020 win offers a clear message that Dubai is seen as a tourism and business hub for the region. We’re very proud to have won the right to host the event, but Dubai won’t stop; it will continue evolving up to, and beyond, 2020.”

DTCM has spent the last 12 months working closely with its partners in the tourism industry to implement the first phases of the detailed strategy, with Al Marri reporting that government departments and private sector companies have fully embraced the vision as the emirate fast tracks regulatory changes to facilitate further sector development in the remaining half of the decade.

Since ATM 2013, the Dubai government has already announced plans to create a fully integrated e-Permit and e-Ticketing system and shared details of an exciting incentivisation initiative that will enable hotel owners to bring forward construction timelines for three and four-star properties, with eligible developments granted a concession on the standard 10% Municipality Fee levied on the room rate for each night of occupancy.

At the start of 2014, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and UAE Vice President and Prime Minister issued a series of directives designed to enhance and streamline hotel investment and development in the emirate, supported by ongoing infrastructure expansion. At the same time, the newly established DTCM affiliate, the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) will focus on the international marketing and promotion of Dubai’s tourism and commerce credentials to a growing global audience.

Following the recent news that Dubai International Airport pipped London’s Heathrow as the busiest airport globally for international passengers in Q1 2014, and with the successful phase one launch of the emirate’s second international hub, Al Maktoum International, the role of Emirates and flydubai in bringing the world to Dubai was a key discussion point.

Commenting on the role of the emirate’s airline in driving inbound passenger numbers, Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, said: “Dubai’s vision is why we’ve been so successful. We set out to maintain the standard expected of Dubai, which sets us apart from typical low cost airlines because we’re innovative in introducing distinctive value added services.

“We now fly to 75 destinations, 48 not already served from Dubai and these are aligned to meet Dubai Expo 2020’s growth plans.”

“The challenge for 2020 is to meet the demand in services while developing the brand and have the best airlift in the world, and continue to accelerate in terms of quality,” added Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates.
The city has been named as a top destination to visit during 2014 by both the New York Times and the Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Awards, and the need to attract a broad visitor base, and position Dubai as a destination for budget as well as luxury travellers, was also addressed by the panelists.
“Dubai is a fantastic attractive city for tourists and business travellers and we believe Marriott can have 10,000 rooms in the city in 2020, up from 3,000 now. This is a unique destination with architecture and a rich cultural history, but we need help with partners such as airlines and cruise lines to build demand; but we’re bullish for the future,” said Neil Jones, Chief Sales & Marketing Office MEA, Marriott International.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, the show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world.
The 21st edition of Arabian Travel Market 2014 takes place at Dubai International Exhibition and runs through to Thursday 8 May.

Photo caption one: His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri CEO, DWTC and Director General, DTCM

Photo caption two: At ATM from left to right, Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates, Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO, DWTC and Director General, DTCM, Neil Jones, Chief Sales and Marketing Office, MEA, Marriot International

For more information on Arabian Travel Market 2014, please log on to

About Reed Travel Exhibitions
Arabian Travel Market is organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry. Its wide-ranging portfolio of events around the globe covers leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.  Reed Travel Exhibitions also organises Abu-Dhabi based global meetings and incentive exhibition, GIBTM which takes place annually in March. 
The RTE portfolio of 19 events are; World Travel Market (WTM), World Travel Market Latin America (WTM Latin America), Arabian Travel Market (ATM), International French Travel Market Top Resa (IFTM),  International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), International Ski Travel Market (ISTM), International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), International Luxury Travel Market Asia (ILTM Asia), International Luxury Travel Market Americas (ILTM Americas), International Luxury Travel Market Africa (ILTM Africa), International Luxury Travel Market Japan (ILTM Japan), International Luxury Travel Market Spa (ILTM Spa), Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) (owned by Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau), Global Exhibition for Incentive, Business Travel, and Meetings (EIBTM), Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (GIBTM), Americas Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (AIBTM), China Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (CIBTM), India Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (IBTM India) and Business Travel Market.
September 2013 will see the launch of IBTM India in Mumbai and another exciting launch in the ski travel sector, with International Ski Travel Market in March 2014 in Austria.
RTE is a business unit of Reed Exhibitions.

About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organizer, with over 500 events in 39 countries. In 2011 Reed brought together six million active event participants from around the world, generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organized by 33 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 44 industry sectors with trade and consumer events and is part of the Reed Elsevier Group plc, a world-leading publisher and information provider and a FTSE 100 company.
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