Turning a dream into a reality - GulfToday

Turning a dream into a reality

Photo used for illustrative purpose only.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah and Chairman of Ras Al Khaimah Executive Council, affirmed that the UAE Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai embodies the exceptional journey of a country that made a dream into a reality, and dazzled the world with a unique, progressive developmental model.

Sheikh Mohammed added that the pavilion is founded on the values of coexistence and tolerance, noting that it offers visitors a dazzling creative experience while narrating the story of dreams and achievements.

This came during the Crown Prince’s visit to the UAE Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, during which he was accompanied by Sheikh Arhama bin Saud bin Khalid Al Qasimi, Director of the Media Department of the Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah’s Office, and was received by Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and Commissioner-General of the UAE Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed was briefed on the features and activities of the pavilion, located in the Opportunity District.

In the UAE, we take pride in our values and authentic culture, noting that the UAE Pavilion’s success is underpinned by the achievements of Emirati dreamers who have carried on the developmental mission of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

During his visit, the Crown Prince met with Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, and praised the outstanding efforts made by the Expo 2020 Dubai teams to ensure an exceptional visitor experience and provide all forms of support to the different Expo 2020 Dubai pavilions.

Arts and culture experts from Russia confirmed that Expo 2020 Dubai promotes cultural convergence, especially since arts and culture have the unique ability to unite people in a world that has seen major shifts recently in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They made this statement during an event, entitled “Russia: culture”, organised by the Russia Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Fatima Mukhomedzhan, Deputy Director of the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation, said that culture has played a pivotal role in connecting people and promoting intercultural dialogue, noting how it makes our lives easier and more open. Culture undoubtedly helps people feel a higher sense of freedom, she added.

Katerina Novikova, Press Secretary of the Bolshoi Theatre, pointed out that culture brings people together, and international events, such as the Expo 2020 Dubai, enable people to learn about each other’s culture and meet in person.

“I am overjoyed at the fact that such events are taking place, and I hope by the end of this major global event, there would be statistics on the number of people who visited Expo 2020 Dubai from different countries and enjoyed this outstanding experience,” she said.

The Russian event hosted a wide variety of Russian culture, arts, media and tech professionals, including Azari Plisetski, dancer, choreographer and ballet teacher, and brother of Russian ballet legend Maya Plisetskaya, as well as David Mansfield, Director of Dubai Opera, and Sergey Chuban, the Russian-German architect who designed the Russia Pavilion.

Cleopas Dlamini, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini, expressed his delight at Eswatini’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, stressing that their participation provides an important opportunity to introduce the world to their country.

In a press conference held on Tuesday at the Expo 2020 Dubai site, the Prime Minister said that Eswatini is looking forward to advancing trade and economic cooperation and exchange with the UAE, while focusing on vital sectors, such as renewable energy. He added that his country welcomes all investors across all sectors, highlighting Eswatini’s prosperous economy and richness in resources.

Malaysia tourism: Malaysia is easing up controls to revive its tourism industry. With its borders targeted to re-open mid-November this year, first to welcome back the fully COVID19-vaccinated from around the world is the Langkawi District in Kedah State.

Back in 2020, only businessmen who must first submit to authorities their itinerary they must strictly adhere to and who were negative in their polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were allowed entry to the Southeast Asian nation.

Of its current 32.9 million inhabitants, 21.4 million in Malaysia had been fully vaccinated with a total of 45.8 million doses administered, according to a COVID19 vaccination profile updated on Oct. 10 (Sunday). This boosted the confidence of Malaysia to re-open to international visitors who, except for the young children, must be fully vaccinated with any of the World Health Organisation-approved vaccines.  

Langkawi is made up of 99 islands on the Malacca Strait. It is popular to domestic and international tourists for its tropical rainforests and pristine aquamarine beaches where cliffs jut out. Another tourist attraction is its Global Geopark consisting of the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park, Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park, and the Kubang Badak BioGeo Trail, recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, as a world heritage site. Nearest neighbour to Langkawi is the southern Thailand island of Tarutao.

Details of the easing up of travel restrictions were discussed in a virtual 30-minute press briefing on Tuesday. The panelists were Tourism Malaysia-Asia & Africa Unit head Noor Azman Samsudin from Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi Development Authority chief executive officer Nasaruddin Bin Abdul Muttalib from Kuah. The press briefing is  part of the Oct. 12 to 14 Gulf Travel Show, on the sidelines of the Expo2020Dubai wherein from the Malaysia Pavilion,  Tourism Malaysia officials from the UAE are also entertaining enquiries.

Samsudin said West Asians were among the top foreign visitors to pre-COVID19 Malaysia primarily because of family-friendly destinations that observe the Muslim way of life: “West Asia and the Middle East are a priority of Tourism Malaysia. (These were a) strong market before the pandemic with more than 21 flights per week from the UAE, particularly from Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Iran and Oman are (also huge markets alongside) Qatar.”

To a Gulf Today question, Muttalib said Langkawi had been selected to be the first to receive international guests because by it being only accessible by “flight (air) and by ferry (sea), we can control the entry points and easily (carry out the necessary precautionary measures such as the conduct of the) PCR test within 48 hours upon arrival.” All must present a negative PCR test result, the administering of it should be done 72 hours before their flight. Upon arrival, they are whisked to their chosen hotels where they undergo PCR test within 48 hours.

“We want to decongest the airport so we are doing the PCR tests at the hotels. Those who test positive shall be taken to a quarantine hotel for medical treatment,” said Muttalib.

In his opening statement, Muttalib said Langkawi has been open to inter-state or domestic tourists from Sept. 16 as a “tourism bubble.” No trace of COVID19 transmission between and among the visitors and the Langkawinians—over 90 per cent of whom are fully vaccinated—has been recorded.

Samsudin and Muttalib said Malaysia still enforces all COVID19 health and safety protocols. Tourism establishments and allied services are continually monitored and checked as each is given the seal or certification to operate in accordance to WHO and world tourism guidelines.

In 2019, Malaysia registered 26.1 million tourist arrivals from across the globe with a total tourism receipt of 1.4 billion Malaysian Ringgits or Dhs12,345,412,888.20. Before the global lockdown in 2020, 4.33 million tourists visited the country.

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