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Millions of Brits prepare for Jubilee holidays
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Millions of Brits prepare for Jubilee holidays
As many as four million Brits plan to make the most of the forthcoming double bank holiday weekend by taking at least one overnight stay in the UK, with 3.4 million people planning to take that trip in England.

That is according to VisitEngland’s Diamond Jubilee Trip Tracker, which predicts the trend will generate some £700million in tourism spend for the UK economy, just under £600million of which will be spent in England.

Around six million Brits are currently undecided about taking an overnight trip this weekend. Some prefer to make last-minute decisions, whilst others are waiting on the weather forecast.

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Abu Dhabi continues to see guest numbers rise
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Abu Dhabi continues to see guest numbers rise
Abu Dhabi is continuing to attract more hotel guests than ever, with figures just released by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority showing some 196,753 guests checked into the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments last month.

This is a seven per cent increase on April 2011, with the number of hotel guest nights also rising by three per cent month-on-comparative-month, to stand at 567,243. Total hotel revenue was up April-to-April by four per cent to AED397 million (US $ 108 million).

Hotel occupancy last month however dropped 11 per cent on April last year but still comes in at a relatively healthy 64 per cent. Average length of stay slipped three per cent on the comparative month and is now just under three nights.

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City Cruises prepares for Diamond Jubilee flotilla
Monday, May 28, 2012
City Cruises prepares for Diamond Jubilee flotilla
City Cruises is to play a prominent part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant on June 3rd with its full fleet of 15 boats taking part in the river procession.

In one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river Thames in London, City Cruises will be carrying approximately 2,000 passengers on boats that will both be moored and taking part in the historic sail down the Thames. This is the largest sailing in City Cruises history, and an excellent opportunity to showcase the newest addition to the fleet, the recently refurbished Millennium of London, which was christened by the Queen in 1996.

In addition to City Cruises current fleet, the tall ship HM Artemis has been contracted in to assist with the huge demand for riverside spot from which to observe the celebration of Her Majesty’s 60 years of service. Managing director, City Cruises, Kyle Haughton said: “2012 is an exciting time for London and this historic jubilee is something everyone wants to be involved in and City Cruises is proud to be flying the flag for river tourism with this sell out success.

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Jubilee fever: How cruise lines plan to celebrate
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Jubilee fever: How cruise lines plan to celebrate
The red, white and blue bunting will be out and the Champagne corks popping at sea as well as ashore over the weekend of June 2-5, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Cruise Critic explains how the cruise lines plan to mark the occasion.

Cunard will have all three of its ships in Southampton together, with the focus of events in the evening: a display by the Red Arrows and a massive fireworks send-off when the ships depart. But celebrations take place onboard all day as well, including talks from guest speakers with royal connections and a display of royal art, including pieces by HRH The Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Lord Snowdon, on all three ships. A rare vintage of Graham’s 1952 Diamond Jubilee Tawny Port, specially released for Cunard’s Jubilee cruises, will be on sale, while each ship will hold a Grand Ball on June 6 preceded by a Commemorative Dinner with a souvenir keepsake menu that sets out the 74-year association of Cunard with The Queen. All TV coverage of the June 5 royal procession through London will be screened onboard.

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Friday, May 25, 2012
Hilton London Metropole conference hotel, situated only 20 minutes from Heathrow Airport via the Heathrow Express at Paddington Station, has undergone a £2.3 million complete transformation of the bedrooms in its Conference Wing. The renovation is part of a three-year, $3 billion plan of significant property renovations currently underway across the global portfolio of Hilton Hotels & Resorts, the flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide.

A major renovation programme which offers a fully completed Conference Wing, with 354 of the largest ‘Double-Double’ rooms in London, providing the complete package for conference and event organisers.

Hilton London Metropole is the largest conference hotel in the U.K. and one of the largest in Europe, with two large conference rooms each with the capacity to hold 1,500 people. The conference facilities are also located in the conference wing, allowing for both the event and accommodation to be taken care of within the same location.

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Crystal Lagoons inaugurates first resort in Jordan
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Crystal Lagoons inaugurates first resort in Jordan
Crystal Lagoons Corp, company that creates immense crystalline lagoons as Guinness world record-holding swimming pool San Alfonso del Mar, and real estate company Sama Jordan inaugurated the first resort that brings idyllic beach paradise to Jordan. “Dead Sea Lagoon” is located at 31 km of Amman and has an investment of US $160 million. It includes a 3 ha lagoon surrounded by white-sand private beaches, palm trees and 1,000 home units, and is the first of a real estate revolution that Crystal Lagoons is developing in Jordan, including more than 40 projects in the entire Middle East region.

“Dead Sea Lagoon” will give an unprecedented turn to local tourism that until now was only focused on the therapeutic benefits of the Dead Sea, which is 10 times more salty than any other ocean and doesn’t have the necessary conditions for developing beach life. Crystal Lagoons brings Idyllic beach paradise to the region thanks to its unique concept that allows to develop unlimited sized crystal clear water lagoons with cutting edge technology patented in 160 countries that provides the ideal conditions for bathing and practicing water sports, by ensuring the quality and clarity of large bodies of water at very low construction and maintenance costs.

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Olympic Torch begins UK tour
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Olympic Torch begins UK tour
The Olympic Flame has started its 70-day tour of the UK in the run-up to the London 2012 Games.

Three-times Olympic Gold medallist and Ben Ainslie CBE was the first Torchbearer for the Relay as crowds cheered from the sidelines.

Over 100 people are expected to bear the torch throughout the day.

The Olympic Flame will travel an estimated 8,000 miles around the UK giving thousands of communities and individuals their moment to shine as the Olympic Flame comes to a place near them.

The Olympic flame arrived in the UK on board a flight from Athens last night.

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Abu Dhabi moves into the spotlight
Friday, April 20, 2012
Abu Dhabi moves into the spotlight
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has confirmed it will hold its 13th Global Summit in Abu Dhabi in April 2013, with ADTA and Etihad Airways set to become official hosts of the biggest annual gathering of tourism leaders.

Handing over the symbolic ‘globe’ to Abu Dhabi’s tourism heads in the closing session of the WTTC Summit in Japan, David Scowsill, WTTC president, credited the destination for its Government’s ‘infectious enthusiasm’, its ‘increasing accessibility and standards of capability’ and its ‘impressive evidence of green tourism growth as a key development strategy’.

The WTTC Global Summit is the most influential in the annual tourism calendar, bringing together almost 1,000 industry leaders to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the industry.

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority’s director general, His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi explained that the entire Abu Dhabi tourism industry is fully behind the Summit.

Speaking about the significance of hosting the WTTC Summit he revealed: “It is a platform for us to come together, to engage with each other and strike up new ventures, initiatives and relationships.”

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Ryanair launches low cost hotel website
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Ryanair launches low cost hotel website
Budget carrier Ryanair has launched a low cost hotel comparison website which searches over 300,000 hotels across Europe for deals as well as providing guest reviews.

RyanairHotels.com, which was developed by Ryanair and hotel comparison engine Hotelscombined, offers access to properties ranging from small independent hotels to luxury five star hotels in a user friendly format.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary explains: “RyanairHotels.com searches more hotel prices than any other comparison site to ensure that RyanairHotels.com passengers get the lowest prices and the maximum availability from over 300,000 hotels.

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British Airways A380 begins construction
Friday, April 13, 2012
British Airways A380 begins construction
Construction has begun on British Airways’ first super jumbo, the Airbus A380, due for delivery next year.

British Airways has ordered 12 of the world’s roomiest aircraft, the A380, and 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which means it is on track to be first airline in the world to have both new aircraft types in its fleet.

Routes for the airline’s first A380 and B787 will be announced in due course.

Keith Williams, British Airways’ chief executive said: “We’re really excited that work has started on building the first of our 12 Airbus A380s.

“They represent a significant part of a huge investment by British Airways, of £5bn over the next five years in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground.

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Taj Palace Dubai to Showcase Wedding Facilities at Bride Show
Monday, April 9, 2012
Taj Palace Dubai to Showcase Wedding Facilities at Bride Show
Taj Palace Dubai will exhibit and promote its wedding facilities at the upcoming Bride Show Dubai 2012, scheduled to be held from April 4 to 7 at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre, Dubai.

“Now in its 15th year, Bride Show Dubai is the largest bridal and fashion exhibition in the Middle East. It is where you should be if you are planning a traditional wedding or looking for a more contemporary yet sophisticated style. We will be at Stand 2F46 and any couple that plans to marry will qualify for 10% discount if they book their wedding at our hotel for minimum of 100 guests during the show,” said Oukba Nafaim, F&B Director, Taj Palace Dubai.

“We are proud of the reputation we have built up as an exceptional wedding venue. Whether a one chooses a traditional ceremony or a themed extravaganza, our bespoke wedding package is designed to make the occasion an unforgettable moment in their life, with our team handling everything from the engagement to the joyous day to ensure a flawless event,” he added.

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CCRA Forecasts 2012 Spring Travel Trends
Monday, April 2, 2012
CCRA Forecasts 2012 Spring Travel Trends
According to the CCRAtravel.com statistics to-date, the following cities have received the highest number of hotel bookings from travel professionals for 2012 arrivals through May 2012:

The Top 5 U.S. Cities:

1. Las Vegas
2. Fort Lauderdale
3. Orlando
4. Miami
5. New Orleans

The Top 5 International Cities:

1. Rome
2. Barcelona
3. London
4. Paris
5. Toronto
These hotel booking trends suggest that consumers are planning warm-weather getaways in very popular spring break travel destinations in the U.S., and are predominantly seeking international travel to Europe this spring, CCRA reports.

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Mardan Palace leads the way with unique spa offering
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Mardan Palace leads the way with unique spa offering
The $1.4bn Mardan Palace, which opened its doors in Antalya in 2009, recently picked up two major awards for World’s Leading Spa Hotel and World’s Leading Luxury Resort at the World Travel Awards.
Built by Azerbaijan billionaire Telman Ismailov as an opulent palace for elite travellers, the stunning property is leading the way with its combined holistic and medical based spa treatments and is soon set to unveil a brand new Jack Nicklaus golf course.

Hailing a return to the opulent, golden age of the Ottoman Empire, the property is the vision of Telman Ismailov, chairman of Russia’s biggest property developers AST, who fell in love with the region.

Surrounded by the dramatic Taurus Mountain range, the 546 room-property, which includes two Royal Suites with private pools, was designed with Turkish heritage in mind.

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Anantara brings Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa to Abu Dhabi
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Anantara brings Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa to Abu Dhabi
Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas is set to launch its first city hotel in the Middle East, Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara, in June 2012.

Occupying a prime position along a 1.2 kilometre stretch of Abu Dhabi’s protected Eastern Mangroves District, the new luxury five-star hotel will be home to the UAE’s largest Hammam and VIP suite, The Royal Mangroves Residence.

Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara is situated just 15 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport and 10 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi.

Its current portfolio includes Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, located in the legendary Liwa Desert in the Empty Quarter and Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara on Sir Bani Yas Island.

The new property forms part of an integrated hotel, marina, retail and residential destination, providing a luxury haven away from the bustle of city life in central Abu Dhabi.

The hotel consists of 222 guest rooms and suites across five levels, three restaurants and bars including a Thai speciality restaurant and a rooftop lounge offering stunning views of the lush mangroves below, a luxury spa featuring a traditional Arabic Hammam, a ballroom and state-of-the-art conference facilities.

The modern architecture of Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara blends unique elements of Arabic design such as archways, mushrabiyas, intricate mosaics and solid timber.

Largely subtle and elegant in design, touches of 18-carat gold are also used throughout the property, adding to the luxurious feel.

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Leading Tourism Bodies Call for UK to Utilise Cultural Heritage
Monday, March 19, 2012
Leading Tourism Bodies Call for UK to Utilise Cultural Heritage
Embracing our cultural heritage as a revenue stream in the Olympic year is crucial to our success as a tourism hub and economic power, say leading industry figures.

The National Trust, English Heritage, Historic Royal Palaces, The V&A, Tate, British Museum and National Gallery are among over 100 organisations that will come together to discuss how the sector can maximise opportunities presented by the London Olympics 2012.

From location filming to e-commerce and developing killer product ranges, the Association for Cultural Enterprises (ACE) 13th Annual Convention & Exhibition, will explore innovative ways in which the sector can engage and attract an estimated four million additional overseas Olympic visitors, during the recession and with no additional government funding.

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W Paris sees the light, W brand launches in France
Friday, March 9, 2012
W Paris sees the light, W brand launches in France
Starwood announces the debut of W Hotels Worldwide in France with the highly-anticipated opening of W Paris - Opéra.

Owned by Barcelona-based Meridia Capital, the hotel is set inside a historic 1870s Haussman-era heritage building near Opéra Garnier, Galeries Lafayette and Place Vendome in the eclectic, historic 9th Arrondissement in Paris. Through W Hotels’ unique and distinctive programming, which is inspired by the brand’s roots in New York where it was founded in 1998, W Paris - Opéra will set a new scene in the city for both guests and Parisians alike. The opening of W Paris - Opéra marks a significant milestone in the W brand’s global expansion as it gears to enter Singapore, Thailand and China later this year.

“Taking the W brand into Paris, a global fashion capital, marks a true milestone in W’s global expansion into the world’s most exciting and vibrant destinations”, says Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien. “Fashionable global jetsetters can now be on the runway with W from New York to London and Paris. Unique lifestyle programming within a cutting-edge, designed environment will bring a new, distinctive experience to Paris and the Parisians alike.”

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International tourism to reach one billion in 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
International tourist arrivals grew by over 4% in 2011 to 980 million and with growth expected to continue in 2012, at a somewhat slower rate, international tourist arrivals are on track to reach the milestone one billion mark later this year.

International tourist arrivals grew by 4.4% in 2011 to a total 980 million, up from 939 million in 2010, in a year characterised by a stalled global economic recovery, major political changes in the Middle East and North Africa and natural disasters in Japan.

By region, Europe (+6%) was the best performer, while by subregion South-America (+10%) topped the ranking. Contrary to previous years, growth was higher in advanced economies (+5.0%) than in emerging ones (+3.8%), due largely to the strong results in Europe, and the setbacks in the Middle East and North Africa.

“International tourism hit new records in 2011 despite the challenging conditions,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “For a sector directly responsible for 5% of the world’s GDP, 6% of total exports and employing one out of every 12 people in advanced and emerging economies alike these results are encouraging, coming as they do at a time in which we urgently need levers to stimulate growth and job creation,” he added.

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Best New Cruise Ships of 2012 By Heidi Sarna
Monday, March 5, 2012
Best New Cruise Ships of 2012 By Heidi Sarna
Carnival Breeze
Launch Date: June 2012


Numbers: 130,000 tons; 3,690 passenger capacity (double occupancy)
Itineraries: The Breeze will offer 12-night Europe cruises out of Barcelona for the summer before starting its year-around schedule of 6- and 8-night Caribbean cruises round-trip from Miami.


Highlights: The third of Carnival's Dream-class ships, the Breeze will have a top-deck theme-park-style water park with thrilling slides, plus the Serenity adults-only deck and lounge area. The new SportSquare is an open-air recreation complex with a ropes course, mini-golf, and outdoor fitness area. The Lanai features a wraparound promenade with whirlpools extending over the ship's sides. Enjoy a giant poolside LED screen for movies and videos, a huge gym and spa, and extensive kids' programming. Check out the three main restaurants, plus a steakhouse, Italian venue, sushi bar, deck grille, and a pub with a private beer label. Entertainment options include a comedy club, piano bar, and multiple nightclubs.


Oceania Riviera
Launch Date: April 2012


Numbers: 66,084 tons; 1,250 passenger capacity (double occupancy)


Itineraries: Riviera will do mostly 10- and 12-night Europe cruises between ports including Barcelona, Piraeus/Athens, Civitavecchia/Rome, Lisbon, Venice, and Istanbul. Next winter, it'll move to the Caribbean for mostly 10-night cruises through the islands.


Highlights: Sister ship to this year's Marina, the midsize Riviera is just as elegant with a boutique-hotel feel. There is a Lalique Grand Staircase, and the Owner's Suites are furnished in Ralph Lauren Home. With a focus on fine dining, this Oceania ship has 10 venues (six of which are open-seating gourmet restaurants with no surcharge, including Jacques, the namesake restaurant of world-renowned Chef Jacques Pépin). The spa is operated by Canyon Ranch. Activities include art classes and hands-on cooking classes.

Disney Fantasy
Launch Date: March 2012

 
Numbers: 128,000 tons; 2,500 passenger capacity (double occupancy)


Itineraries: Disney Fantasy will sail 7-night Caribbean cruises round-trip from Port Canaveral, Florida.


Highlights: She'll be decked out in 1930s-era glamour. For instance, the three-deck atrium lobby is reminiscent of grand ocean liners with Art Nouveau-inspired details, such as a chandelier made with stained glass and crystal beads. The 14-deck-high ship offers new water features (like the "Aqualab"for water experiments) and new stage shows, including a Muppet-themed "interactive adventure quest around the ship."There's even a new "princesses and pirates" boutique. A ramped-up version of the Animator's Palate restaurant -- way more interactive than on the line's older ships -- features an "Animation Magic"dinner show. Rounding out the family-friendly features are three pools: one for kids, one for families, and one for adults.




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Doha, Qatar and the Build up to the 2022 World Cup
Friday, March 2, 2012
Doha, Qatar and the Build up to the 2022 World Cup
"It may be ten years away – but the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is already leading to a series of monumental improvements as the Arabian nation steps up to host the world’s biggest sporting event.

Despite its compact size (less than the combined mass of the Falkland Islands), Qatar is ploughing $25 billion into its tourism infrastructure in preparation for the world’s biggest sporting event. Yet unlike its neighbour Dubai, the independent nation is taking a more measured approach to expansion, with a focus on culture and low-volume tourism. Highlights include the incredible Museum of Islamic Art, worth a visit alone to stroll through the grand halls and courtyards of its cubist take on the Muslim minaret. Also attend a symphony played by the Qatari Philharmonic on the waterfront in a pitch perfect concert hall. It forms part of the Katara Cultural Village, a beachside complex that also includes restaurants, galleries, cinemas and a 1,000-seat amphitheatre. If you’re here for a week then head to the desert. The dunes along the coast are mountainous slabs of sand as high as 200 metres. Also visit Khor al-Adaid, an inland sea surrounded by crescent-shaped sand dunes, where local tour operators organise overnight camps and day trips."


Source: www.bestintravelmagazine.com

 
       
Saltours International Opens New office in Singapore
Friday, March 2, 2012
Saltours International Opens New office in Singapore
Saltours International has opened its 24th office in Singapore. After strong demand from asia pacific, Saltours is capitalising on its exceptional service to the travel trade to distribute new products in the Southeast Asian market.
 
       
Hong Kong Retains Positive Tourism Outlook
Monday, February 27, 2012
Hong Kong Retains Positive Tourism Outlook
"DESPITE the grim economic outlook in certain source markets, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is targeting 44.2 million visitors this year, a 5.5 per cent jump over 2011. Shorthaul inbound traffic is forecasted to grow by 3.1 per cent, making up for the expected 1.9 per cent dip in longhaul numbers.

According to its 2012/2013 workplan, HKTB will continue to leverage on the Hong Kong – Asia’s World City branding, and has requested a marketing budget of HK$349.8 million (US$45 million), versus HK$351.8 million in 2011/2012.

The bureau is also seeking HK$56.2 million to fund the expansion of its Signature Events calendar, and is planning to advertise a list of potential event additions/upgrades in local newspapers to invite sponsorship from corporations. The three-year Mega Events Fund established in 2009 will also be extended for five years and receive a HK$150-million cash injection.

HKTB senior manager for event & product development, Mason Hung, said: “New elements mooted (for the events calendar) include a fishing boat parade on Victoria Harbour during the Birthday of Tin Hau Festival in May, as well as introducing a fire dragon in Victoria Park during the Mid-Autumn Festival.”

Despite being confident of realising an 11-per cent growth in MICE business, HKTB chairman James Tien said limited growth is expected for the meetings and incentive travel segments.

“Most of the MICE events for 2012 are booked well in advance. Key source markets will be mainland China, India and other shorthaul markets,” he said. “Mainland China is a big potential feeder market, and our four offices there are each staffed with a MICE representative to tap the traffic.”

Other initiatives in the works for HKTB include a revamp of its DiscoverHongKong and PartnerNet websites. Upgraded versions are set to roll out in mid-2012, with added features such as a B2B transaction platform for the trade partner portal."

Source: TTG ASIA
 
       
Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition Attracts Biggest Crowds Yet
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition Attracts Biggest Crowds Yet
"Organized by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), an average of 15,000 local and international visitors attended the event each day this year and is now the fifth biggest jewellery and watch exhibition in the world. The exhibition saw more than 300 international and local exhibitors showcasing the finest jewellery and watches in the region, with the total amount on display toping $US1 billion.

Highlights of the 2012 events included a diamond encrusted Barcelona Football Club jersey, bearing the Qatar Foundation sponsorship logo, created by Bagues-Masiera and displayed by Al Fardan Jewellery in their pavilion. Another highlight was a US$6.8 million Snow White Princess Diamond women’s watch made by Swiss watchmaker Mouawad. Also on display was a US$5 million diamond studded clock made by Swiss-based Parmigiani and shown in the Al Majed pavilion.

Senior figures in the trade also attended the show, including the heads of Jacob & Co and Chopard. Major collectors were also in attendance, showing the exhibition had become a “must attend” event for the industry.

The seven-day exhibition was spread over 15,000 square metres at the Doha Exhibition Centre. Exhibition is billed as the region's leading exhibitions of its kinds and yet again brought to Doha some of the world's finest jewellery and watch collections.
QTA Chairman Mr. Ahmed Al Nuaimi said it was a great honor to bring the finest and most exclusive international jewellers and watchmakers to Qatar for the event as well as highlighting high-end local-based brands.

Among the significant Qatari exhibitors were Ali Bin Ali Watches & Jewelry, Fifty One East, Amiri Gems, Alfardan Jewellery, Blue Salon, Al Majed Jewellery, Al Muftah Jewellery, Makki Jewellery, Marzook Al Shamlan, Paris Gallery, and Al-Zain. High profile international brands featured in the show will include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Audemers Piguet, Richard Mille and Montblanc, Chopard, Chanel, Vacheron Constantin and Piaget, Zenith, Damiani, Maurice Lacroix and Ladoire, Palmiero, Jacob & Co, Concord and Franc Vila, Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Century, Ebel and Giovanni Ferraris."

Source: http://www.qatartourism.gov.qa/press/index/1/198