08 October 2007

Sao Paulo flights to boost UAE-Brazil trade

Emirates' new Dubai-Sao Paulo service could increase trade flows between the UAE and Brazil by at least one-third, the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce has revealed.

"We forecast that passenger arrivals and departures and trade routes [between the two countries] will increase by 30%," said the chamber's secretary general and foreign trade director Michel A. Alaby speaking to Arabian Travel News at its Sao Paulo headquarters.

"We will also see more passenger and trade flows from the rest of the Arab World, China, Japan, and South East Asia, as a result of the Emirates flight between Dubai and Sao Paulo."

Alaby said the new six times weekly service, which started on October 1, would build on the progress the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce had already made in fostering trade links and act as a catalyst to establishing new ones.

Trade flows between Brazil and the Arab countries had grown consistently over the past four years, with the figure set to reach US $15 billion in 2007, up from $12,042 billion in 2006 and $10,520 billion in 2005, he added.

Sao Paulo, which is home to 12 million Arabs and 1.5 million Muslims, is widely known as the gateway to South America in terms of trade with its top five foreign investors listed as the US, the Netherlands, the Cayman Island, Switzerland and Spain respectively.

However, Arab investors have taken interest in Brazil in recent years; the Saudi Amiantit acquired the Brazilian piping company Amitech and recently invested $9 million to increase its production capacity, while Bahrain's Arab Banking Corporation has a Brazilian presence and the region's investors have also poured cash into Sabic Innovative Plastics and GAC Marine Logistics.

Brazilian presence in MENA is also strong with companies such as Arezzo (shoes), Randon (truck bodies), Friboi (meat), Cristalserv (sugar) and O Boticario and Franchel (cosmetics) setting up shop, to name but a few.

Alaby said there were definite opportunities for Arab Countries to invest in Brazil's tourism infrastructure, while many Brazilian nationals were being recruited to work at hotels and for airlines across the Gulf.

Emirates Airline alone employs 220 Brazilians and its recruitment team told ATN it was currently scouting for more talent in Brazil and its neighbouring countries such as Argentina and Paraguay.

The Dubai-based airline made history when EK261 took off from Dubai International Airport en-route to Sao Paulo on October 1 as it marked the first time a carrier has operated a non-stop flight between the Middle East and South America.

Brazil is the 60th country and Sao Paulo the 94th destination in the airline's rapidly expanding network.

Emirates is using its technically advanced Boeing 777-200LR to serve the route. The aircraft includes eight private suites in first class, 42 of its latest lie-flat seats in business class and accommodates 216 passengers in economy.

It is also fitted with the ice Digital Widescreen - Emirates' next generation in-flight entertainment system, offering more than 1,000 channels of movies, TV and games.

Passengers from more than 12 countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, India, Malaysia and Australia, joined the first flight to Sao Paulo after connecting through Dubai from other Emirates flights.

"Our services provide a perfect match for business people and leisure travellers from the whole Middle East region, Africa, Far East and Australia seeking a convenient route to South America," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates and the Emirates Group.

"The service will also offer Dubai as a new tourist and business destination to the relatively untapped market of South America."

The Sao Paulo service departs Dubai at 10:00 and arrives at Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport at 18:30 hrs on the same day.

The return flight, EK262, departs Sao Paulo at 01:25 and arrives in Dubai at 23:05 on the same day.

Emirates Holidays, the tour operating arm of Emirates is also offering holiday packages to Brazil encompassing Sao Paulo, the Brazilian vanguard and cultural centre; Rio de Janeiro, famous for its carnival celebrations, the beat of samba and its vibrant beaches; and trips to natural attractions such as Rio's Corcovado Mountain, the waterfalls of IguaƧu and the tropical rainforest of the Amazon.-(a.business)

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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

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Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.