Recently, the Crew Report posted the below article online, in which Erwin Bamps, COO of Gulf Craft, was quoted on the amazing draw cards of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman as yachting and tourism destinations in the Gulf.
Gulf Craft as a tourism promoter – why not ? We have stopped selling mere products a long time ago. That’s the moment we have realized we are actually selling holidays everyday !
Alternatively read it online at http://www.thecrewreport.com/crewessentials.asp?id=17856
People and Culture
Just recently celebrating its 40th birthday, Dubai is a city and Emirate at the same time and part of the seven Emirates that form the United Arab Emirates. Dubai perfectly combines its charming Bedouin heritage with ultra-modern infrastructure, creating beautiful skylines. Dubai lies directly within the Arabian Desert and its culture mainly revolves around the religion of Islam and traditional Arab and Bedouin culture. Being a constitutional monarchy the current ruler is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and member of the Supreme Council of the Union. The official language is Arabic, although English, Hindi, Malayalam and Urdu are commonly spoken. KM
A trip to the desert is a must tackle the dunes in a 4×4 at impossible angles, enjoy a camel ride followed by an incredible desert sunset and Arabic dinner, during which you can learn how to belly dance and adorn yourself with the traditional henna tattoos. There are plenty of operators offering these type of trips, but my personal recommendation would be Arabian Adventures.
While in Dubai also check out the local Time Out Magazine for events and concerts. Dubai always brings a great line up of concerts to the city and tickets are usually still available last minute. Other great events in Dubai include the annual Jazz Festival, Dubai World Cup and the Rugby Sevens to name just a few. KM
Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world. Visit At the Top the viewing platform on the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa or alternatively treat yourself to afternoon tea or dinner at Atmosphere, which is located on the 122nd floor. Alternatively visit the waterpark at the Atlantis Hotel. Aquaventure offers great rides for young and old and has a special Dolphin bay, where you can play, swim and apparently now also dive with Dolphins. KM
For something more traditional visit the Gold and Spice Souk and take an abra over the Dubai Creek to the colourful textile souk and Bastakia district where you can step back in time to the days before electricity and air-conditioning, with traditional courtyard houses were cooled by wind towers.
If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands and still want to get a good overview of the city, hop on and off the Big Bus, which stops at various attractions around the city. KM
Hang out for drinks and snacks at Barasti Bar, which is very popular with the local expatriate crowd. If you are looking for something a bit more upmarket, check out the Jetty Lounge at the One&Only Royal Mirage. For al fresco dining the Festival Promenade in Dubai Festival City offers a range of restaurants overlooking the Dubai Creek and Dubai’s skyline. For a Las Vegas style experience, enjoy dinner at the foot of Burj Khalifa overlooking one of the largest fountain shows in the world. (Yes we do like superlatives in Dubai). My favourite spots for dinner are Zuma (also great for drinks only) or La Petite Maison in the Dubai Financial City, Pad Thai at the Madinat Jumeirah and for Italian cuisine Bice at the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah. KM
People and Culture
Dubai has undergone a breathless transformation in the 40 years of its existence, moving from a sleepy port city to a buzzing shopping, culinary and lifestyle destination and the Middle East’s most cosmopolitan city. The culture reflects a heady blend of traditional Islamic and Arab influences of the local Emirati population and the distilled highlights of the customs, food and languages of more than 200 different nationalities – expatriates account for more than 75 per cent of Dubai’s population. The Emirate has a reputation for envisioning and doing the impossible and the can-do attitude of its leaders is evident in the atmosphere and culture of this perennially exciting city-state. EB
Dubai has consistently been ranked among the world’s top shopping destinations and mega malls like the gargantuan Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Ibn Battuta offer complete entertainment destinations in their own right with everything from giant aquariums to indoor ski slopes. For those who prefer to see the city’s more traditional side, the Dubai Creek and surrounding Bastakiya area and old souks offer an atmospheric way to spend an afternoon. The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence and the Dubai Marina area present another side to the city and are a great place to dine or party the night away. EB
The city has a number of must-see attractions including The Palm Jumeirah – a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree and The World – a collection of man-made islands in the shape of the map of the world, which are best admired with a cruise along the waterfront or from a bird’s-eye vantage point via a seaplane or helicopter ride. EB
Dubai has gained a reputation as a sun and sea destination and it’s one that is well-deserved. The city has an incredible variety of waterfront resorts such as the luxurious One&Only Royal Mirage, Atlantis The Palm Dubai and the Al Qasr Hotel. The Jumeirah beachfront and lush city parks such as Safa Park and Zabeel Park are also great places to spend an afternoon in the sun. EB
People and Culture
Long seen as Dubai’s staid sister-city, Abu Dhabi has in the past few years galloped to the fore of international attention. Thanks to a series of high profile events such as the annual Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix and the announcement of iconic developments such as the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Le Louvre Abu Dhabi, which have allowed the city to cement its claim as the cultural capital of the UAE. The capital of the UAE has a laid-back, traditional vibe and its inhabitants are hospitable and welcoming. The city is however the economic powerhouse of the UAE and the meticulous approach it has taken to development is evident in its well-planned city centre and the gleaming buildings along the Corniche. EB
A trip to the Emirate’s leisure and entertainment destination Yas Island should be the first port of call for anyone visiting Abu Dhabi. From riding the world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi to watching race cars burn rubber at the spectacular waterfront Yas Marina Circuit and hitting a few rounds at the pristine Yas Links Golf Course, the island offers plenty of ways to keep visitors entertained. Those looking for more traditional leisure pursuits can head out to the notorious Liwa Desert or the Empty Quarter to take on the massive dunes or for an overnight camping trip in the midst of the desert. EB
The grand yet incredibly graceful Sheikh Zayed Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world and a wonderful place to experience Abu Dhabi’s traditional Islamic heritage. The massive space-frame, red-domed structure that houses Ferrari World Abu Dhabi on Yas Island as well as the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel with its glowing grid-like exterior that echoes a traditional fishing net are two other must-see landmarks in Abu Dhabi. EB
Walking along Abu Dhabi’s Corniche offers a great way to familiarise yourself with the lay of the city. The opulent Emirates Palace and other waterfront resorts such as the Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi and the Al Raha Beach Hotel offer great basking opportunities while a trip out to the Desert Islands Resort offers kayaking, mountain biking, desert safaris and a number of other exciting ways to explore the area’s rarely seen rugged beauty while soaking up the sun. EB
People and Culture
Omanis are a gentle and humble people. Their values are deeply rooted in family and they are known for their friendly and generous nature. Due to its geographical location, Oman is an eclectic mix of Arab, Indian and African influences, which is evident in every aspect of Omani life. Oman is the fabled home of Sinbad the Sailor. The maritime heritage of Oman plays a very important role in the industry and pastimes of Omanis. AL
Ras Al-Jinz is a small fishing town south of Muscat and is the nesting ground for hundreds of green back turtles which come to lay their eggs on the town’s beaches. It is an incredible thing to witness and at the right time of year you can also watch the baby turtles hatch and scramble to the sea.
Muttrah Souk in the Corniche is a fantastic place to browse around, sampling Oman’s many spices and fragrances. Frankincense comes from the south of Oman and its rich scent engulfs the whole souk. Be prepared to haggle for everything from traditional silver jewellery, pashminas and souvenirs. AL
Bander Khayran is a stunning array of bays set at the base of beautiful mountains. The secluded beaches make for perfect lazy days and snorkelling. It is not unusual to have a whole beach to yourself.
The nearby town of Amarat sits in the valley behind the Hajar mountains, the drive to the town brings you over the top of the mountain which offers the most amazing views of both Muscat and Amarat.
All around the city there are mosques of all shapes and sizes to be seen but the most beautiful is the Grand Mosque. The most impressive feature within the Mosque is the hand-made Persian carpet found in the main prayer hall. Consisting of 1,700 million knots, weighing 21 tonnes and made in a single piece measuring 70 by 60 metres, it took four years and 600 female weavers to complete. AL
The beach road in Shatti is the perfect spot to grab a casual bite to eat and watch the sun set over the Gulf Of Oman. Muscat has a very strong coffee culture with cafes dotted all around the city, Shatti Al Qurum is particularly popular for people watching and enjoying the warm evenings. AL
With thanks to Erwin Bamps, (EB) COO of Gulf Craft, Katrin Mueller, (KM) marketing manager, GSSG, Andrea Linehan (AL) marketing manager, special projects, The Wave Muscat.