– Advertisement – OlderRevelton Suites have once again won the World Travel Awards “On top of that, we are trying to make sure safeguards for residents and for visitors coming to the destination are being met. “There are frameworks from the World Travel & Tourism Council, called Safe Travels, as well as the Dubai Assured programme, both of which are being adhered to across the emirate. “All customer touchpoints, across hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls have seen the regulations enforced – all public spots.“Checks are carried out on a bi-weekly basis; we send inspectors in to make sure all necessary protocols are being implemented.”This was due to be a banner year for Dubai, with the emirate hoping to welcome 20 million international guests for the first time.While the figure will not now be achieved, a domestic boom has made up for some of the short-fall, with plans in place to ensure growth returns in 2021.Shayan explains: “We have seen a big domestic boom in tourism since we reopened in July. “We had around 750 hotels open in Dubai pre-pandemic, in February this year, and we currently have around 600 open. “There has been some international visitation, and we are looking at a positive feeling moving forward.“At this stage we are not able to put a figure on how many guests we will welcome this year, with hotels opening and closing, it has been a more complex situation than normal.“However, we hope to have some numbers out by the end of the year.”While the market looks likely to remain subdued in the short-term, investment has continued to flow into the emirate, suggesting confidence in a long-term return. Sofitel Dubai the Obelisk recently became the latest in a long line of hotels to open this year, while properties set to come onto the market in coming months will allow the emirate to reach previously untapped segments. Shayan continues: “There are new properties opening, which does show the strength of the industry here in Dubai. “We have the Sofitel Dubai the Obelisk which has recently opened, while there is also the Rove La Mer Beach. “The latter is an affordable hotel, aimed at families who want to be right next to the beach, but do not want to pay Palm Jumeirah prices – really for those in the know. “There is also the Riu Dubai, a four-star beach resort, the first of its type here in Dubai – with around 400-keys. “These are all very exciting openings and show our strength in the long term.”Of course, there would be little point opening new rooms if travellers were unable to get to the emirate. Flag-carrier Emirates has been instrumental in the success of Dubai as a tourism destination over the past three decades, and there has been no change this year.“Emirates remains one of our key strategic partners and they really have been since the emergence of Dubai on the world hospitality map,” says Shayan. “They have done a fantastic job throughout the pandemic, initially by providing insurance for travellers, which has now been extended until the end of the year.“They have also gone back to two thirds of their network, and they are now flying to over 90 destinations. “Emirates has also given residents who want to come back to Dubai a chance to do so, and this has been getting some very positive feedback.”The carrier most recently returned to a series of European cities, while it has also been at the forefront of Covid-19 testing. Over the summer months, when demand is traditionally low, even without a global pandemic raging, Dubai has also worked to develop new markets.New types of visa are now on offer, both to those looking to ‘work-from-home’ in Dubai, or considering somewhere to retire.Both are part of a wider plan to grow the emirate in new directions, explains Shayan: “As a destination we always need to look at how we can evolve, looking at different angles of how we can introduce different people to what is on offer here.“There is a big belief at Dubai Tourism that this is a city for all, and we try to showcase that through products we have, as well as through the initiatives we launch.”He adds: “The two new visas are an example of that. “The retirement visa is pretty straightforward, it is aimed at people who have been to Dubai before, who have spent some time here and are looking for a destination which has sun, sea and sand. “They know their retirement funds are doing well, there is no complicated paperwork, and it is an easy step forward. “Secondly, I think the work visa is one of most exciting things we have done during the pandemic. “In this new day-and-age, with people working from home, what better place to work from than by the pool here in Dubai?“We have the perfect eco-system to support this market, and we have had major success in terms of enquiries on this – people asking how they can make the move.“This is a nice alternative to people who might have travelled to Dubai, who can now spend some time here longer-term.” As attention turns to next year, and a possible Covid-19 vaccine brings hope to the global hospitality market, Dubai is well placed to return to growth. The rescheduled Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a focal point for the year, while there is optimism Covid-19 regulations might eventually be relaxed. Shayan continues: “Expo 2020 Dubai will now take place in October next year, running into March 2022. “There are a lot of fantastic people working on the project and they are looking into how best we can showcase the experience of an event of this kind in the post-pandemic world.“I think, with the expo itself, it is really meant to be an event for all.“A lot of people initially thought it was for a business market, but this is not the case – it is very much aimed at the public, offering a chance to come and learn. “The team, right now, are examining how they can come back stronger, to reassure everybody things are going to be managed well.”In closing, Shayan says Dubai is now once again very much open for business: “Dubai is really open for all, and with the different protocols and measures we have put in place we are very confident we are ready to welcome people safely. “The message is very much that we are ready.”More InformationDubai is considered the Middle East’s Leading Destination by voters at the World Travel Awards. Find out more about visiting on the official website. Combined, these measures have allowed the city to curtail the growth of the pandemic, and led to the return of something like normal life. As Shahab Shayan, senior manager for international operations at Dubai Tourism, tells Breaking Travel News: “We reopened on July 7th, and since then we have made sure there are strict guidelines and protocols in place, and that they are followed. “We have used the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, which are essentially to test, test and test – so far, we have carried out around 14 million tests here in the United Arab Emirates. – Advertisement – With an economy dependent on international tourism, it was no surprise to see Dubai reopen its doors to travellers in July. The commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates counts on the sector for over ten per cent of gross domestic product, or upward of US$30 billion, each year.- Advertisement – However, what was not inevitable, was the success the emirate has welcomed over the following months.A strict testing regime at Dubai International Airport sees all guests checked for Covid-19 on arrival, limiting imported cases.At the same time, comprehensive protocols govern the day-to-day actions of both residents and guests across the emirate.- Advertisement –
An unimpressive Flying Eagles side was well beaten by Team USA in Bielsko-Biala last night, meaning they must earn a result against table-toppers Ukraine on Thursday to be sure of a place in the Round of 16 of the Under-20 World Cup in Poland.Looking already good for the knockout stages following a commanding 4-0 win over Qatar in Tychy on Friday, the two-time runners-up were taken to the cleaners by a smooth-playing American side that was vastly superior in pace, technical hue, all-round play, awareness, guile and marksmanship.Having beaten Qatar easily, the Flying Eagles were expected to find their range against USA and get their two feet into the knockout rounds. But that looked a mountain to climb right from kick-off as the nifty Sebastian Soto, who scored both goals, combined well with Alex Mendez and Timothy Weah to rip through the Nigerian defence at will. Soto came close to getting the first goal after only nine minutes, but missed with goalkeeper Olawale Oremade beaten. In another nine minutes, he got it right, as he was strangely allowed a free header from a corner inside a box that had about eight Nigerian players.It would have been two-nil three minutes later but Oremade charged out Weah’s close-range shot. Nine minutes later, it should have been that exact scoreline but the ever-dangerous Soto was ruled offside after rifling into the net, as four Nigerian defenders made a complete hash of clearing the ball from a corner kick.In the closing stages of the first half, Aniekeme Okon’s fierce shot was palmed away by goalkeeper Brad Scott, but right from the recess, the threatening 2-0 score on the board became a reality as Soto, again, ran cleverly behind a stiff Nigerian rearguard to snap the ball past Oremade.Even as they improved in the second period, the Flying Eagles failed to show any attacking fluency or clinical efficiency, and it was rather the Americans who put on display excellent footwork and cohesion now and again to threaten at will.Nigeria must now earn a result against group leaders Ukraine – who pipped Qatar 1-0 earlier in the day – on Thursday to advance to the Round of 16.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
She explained: “It makes me feel so proud of myself because I can do what they can’t.”– Lifestyle choice –At the Running Cat gym in Shanghai, coach Xu Yun is helping people improve their technique.The 31-year-old agrees the sport has become “cool”, but also says growing numbers of young professionals want to sprint off the stresses of a hard day at the office.China’s communist government supports the craze because it encourages healthier lifestyles, said Thomas Loeffler, chief financial officer for greater China of Messe Muenchen Shanghai.Loeffler, whose German company organises sports trade shows, said it was more about lifestyle than health and not merely a fad.“China’s middle class is becoming bigger and bigger and people can afford certain hobbies,” he said.“Running is something that at the beginning was seen as a sport that can be done by everyone, but from studies we can see that people spend a lot of money on running shoes, clothes, bottles and wearable technology.”Sales in China of sports apparel are booming and Nielsen, the trend tracker, said last year that the average expenditure of Chinese runners is 3,601 yuan (more than $500).In China “a marathon is more like a fashion show”, Nielsen said, adding that 86 percent of marathon runners in the country are men, but women are increasingly participating.Runners in China tend to be well educated and often hold senior positions in the workplace, said Loeffler.And if they don’t, running might help: “Competition for jobs and universities is so high that people want to stand out of the crowd.“Being a runner you have a chance to be different, to standout and achieve something that not everybody can achieve.”RELATED VIDEO:Share on: WhatsApp A group of elderly Chinese joggers along a deserted motorway.Shanghai, China | AFP | A group of elderly Chinese joggers are pounding along a deserted motorway when suddenly a taxi ploughs into the back of them, knocking them over like skittles.At least one person was killed and the footage from the eastern province of Shandong went viral on Chinese social media.Thousands die in road accidents every year in China, making the often congested streets a far from ideal place for running.Add to that pollution and punishingly high temperatures at this time of year in many places, and even fanatics might be tempted to hang up their running shoes.But a growing number of young, educated, urban Chinese are shrugging off the hazards to keep fit this way and the number of marathons and running events is mushrooming.Shao Yanna is among a dozen men and women who as a group negotiate the busy streets of downtown Shanghai several evenings a week.“If I don’t run for a long time I don’t feel so good and I will feel down, my emotions will go down and I won’t feel so efficient in my work,” the 29-year-old said, hopping from one foot to the other as her adrenaline surged.Shao, a copywriter, shrugged off a recent Shanghai heatwave that saw temperatures reach a record 40.9 degrees Celsius (105 F).“It’s hot and I will sweat a lot, but it’s fun and not a bad thing. It makes me feel alive and so powerful,” she said, her face glistening with sweat.The air pollution that regularly chokes Chinese cities is another matter, and Shao consults a mobile phone app for a pollution reading before venturing out, training indoors if the measure surges too high.– Odd looks –In 2011 there was just 22 marathons, half-marathons or other running events held in China, according to the state Xinhua news agency.But there will be more than 400 this year, according to the Chinese Athletics Association, and projections are for 800 by 2020.Shao, who began running four years ago and has done more than 10 marathons in China and abroad, says she has witnessed a surge in the number of runners in China: “Running is kind of a fashion thing. If you run, you are fashionable.”Yet for many Chinese, particularly the older generation or those from cities less cosmopolitan than Shanghai, running remains a baffling hobby.Then there are the crowded streets and drivers unaccustomed to runners — as the elderly joggers in Shandong learned to their fate when they were mowed down last month by a preoccupied taxi driver.Shao, who says she gets curious looks when she is running on the streets, is defiant.
Mark Glatt8815181217%$679,282 ZETCHER EYES DERBY PRIZE WITH FIRING LINEMany components drive racing, among the most important, the owners, who seldomreceive as much recognition as the horses, jockeys and trainers, but nevertheless, are an integral part of the game.After all, they pay the freight.Arnold Zetcher has enjoyed a good run as an owner and breeder, but like others in that category, still has designs on the game’s grandest prize, the Kentucky Derby. He hopes to fill that void come May 2 when his Firing Line goes in the 141st Run for the Roses.Trained by Simon Callaghan and ridden by three-time Derby winner Gary Stevens, Firing Line worked five furlongs at Santa Anita last Saturday in 59.20. Callaghan plans to work the colt again tomorrow and ship him to Kentucky on April 26.“He looked real good,” Zetcher said of the front-running winner of the Sunland Derby by 14 ¼ lengths. “He did it easy, he went in 59 and change and galloped out (six furlongs) in 1:12. It was exactly the time we were hoping for. Gary liked the way he did it, too.“We’ve run two horses in the Derby, Midnight Interlude, after he won the (2011) Santa Anita Derby; he didn’t do well, and then Liaison, who came in sixth (in 2012). I think Firing Line could be our best opportunity.“He had six weeks between the Robert Lewis (Feb. 7) and the Sunland Derby (March 22) and he’ll have six weeks until the Derby. That was the plan all along.“We thought the timing was right. There are good 3-year-olds this year. Dortmund and American Pharoah from here, and Carpe Diem and Frosted from back east.“The competition is stiff, but it’s exciting.” FRENCH ALIVE AND WELL AFTER SEVEN-MONTH ABSENCE Neil French has been at death’s door and is alive to tell the tale.The 62-year-old trainer suffered a fractured left hip in a spill at his barn last September, had surgery on it, then in an unrelated procedure, had non-cancerous colon surgery. He was on life support for seven days at Arcadia Methodist Hospital, which at one point called his mother, Loretta, asking her permission to take him off.She said no.For four months, French was never out of bed once.On Friday, French was back at Santa Anita, feeling fresh, fit and friendly even though he was getting around on a top of the line medical scooter that seemed to have everything on it but white wall tires.“I’m feeling great and doing a lot of therapy,” said French, a trainer since 1976 who won the 1992 Wells Fargo California Cup Classic with June’s Reward. “I can walk some with a walker and I’ve lost about 70 pounds. I weighed around 265, 270 before the accident, but now I’m at 200.“I’m down to one horse, but I feel good about the future. I’m lucky to be alive.”Trainer Alfredo Marquez is but one member of the race track community who has come to French’s aid.“They got rid of all his equipment, and I gave him some webbing and a stall for his horse,” Marquez said. “We met at Caliente when we were 10 or 12 years old, so we’ve known each other 50 years. I’m so happy to see him back.“He was supposed to be dead by now.” Mike Puype11215171513%$658,346 J. Eric Kruljac6287913%$379,140 Ron Ellis651551023%$605,440 Flavien Prat16318192111%$1,010,914 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS (Current Through Thursday, April 16) Richard Baltas851716720%$760,585 Steven Miyadi46106622%$338,670 Jerry Hollendorfer17832222718%$3,380,538 FINISH LINES: Corey Nakatani has been given the green light by Dr. James Tibone and will resume riding at Santa Anita next Friday, according to his agent, Tony Matos. Nakatani, 44, nominated to the Hall of Fame this year, suffered a fractured left collar bone when his mount clipped heals in a race on March 15 . . . The race for leading trainer could go down to the wire. With three days remaining in the Winter Meet, Jerry Hollendorfer holds a 32-31 lead over Peter Miller. Hollendorfer has had 178 starters, Miller 170, and each is winning at an 18 percent clip . . . Bolo, bound for the Kentucky Derby, worked five furlongs for Carla Gaines Friday morning in 1:00.20, while Santa Anita Oaks winner Stellar Wind, ticketed for the Kentucky Oaks on May 1, went five furlongs for John Sadler in 1:01 under regular rider Victor Espinoza. Gaines was pleased with the work and said Bolo would leave Santa Anita for Kentucky on April 26 . . . Espinoza’s agent, Brian Beach, will be Tom Quigley‘s guest handicapper Saturday in the East Paddock Gardens, while TVG host/analyst Mike Joyce will do the honors Sunday, each day at 11:20 a.m. . . . Payoff bonanza? Santa Anita will offer mandatory payouts for the Pick 5 and the Pick 6 on Sunday, closing day of the Winter Meet . . . The dates for two monthly meetings of the California Horse Racing Board have been changed. The meeting scheduled May 14 has been changed to May 21 at Santa Anita. The meeting scheduled June 18 has been changed to June 25 at Los Alamitos Race Course. Felipe Valdez10514121613%$448,317 Mike Smith11522221719%$2,547,221 Elvis Trujillo24527362611%$1,580,598 JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%Money Won Santiago Gonzalez15120182113%$906,504 Brice Blanc6673611%$354,268 Martin Pedroza18618272610%$793,244 Corey Nakatani11419111617%$933,348 TALAMO, SWEET SWAP SEEK SAN SIMEON REPEAT SUNDAYJoe Talamo and Sweet Swap will be out for back-to-back wins in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon Stakes for older horses at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.They led virtually throughout to win last year by a half-length as the 9-5 favorite for John Sadler and Hronis racing LLC.“He’s run a bunch down the hill (12 times with five wins), so you’ve got to love that,” Talamo said. “He drew well, all the way on the outside, which is great down the hill. I know he’s got speed, but he’s a horse that can sit right off the pace, too.”A 6-year-old Candy Ride horse, Sweet Swap has seven wins from 17 career starts with earnings of $390,529.The San Simeon: Get Happy Mister, Tyler Baze, 8-1 Home Run Kitten, Gary Stevens, 5-2; Joes Blazing Aaron, Edwin Maldonado, 20-1; Outside Nashville, Drayden Van Dyke, 15-1; supplemental nominee Holy Lute, Mike Smith, 3-1; Pure Tactics, Kent Desormeaux, 7-2; U S Citizen, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; and Sweet Swap, Joe Talamo, 3-1. Michael Pender5589615%$222,200 TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%Money Won Gary Stevens10618151917%$1,615,048 John Sadler14523201916%$1,536,950 Tiago Pereira13418111513%$526,612 Kent Desormeaux21534392816%$2,110,700 Rafael Bejarano30974494324%$3,667,608 Tyler Baze34154443616%$2,886,038 Richard Mandella7317101323%$1,031,476 Joseph Talamo25627274311%$1,876,778 James Cassidy771081313%$444,620 Peter Eurton9315131616%$886,956 Mario Gutierrez1181116129%$595,782 Victor Espinoza19337352919%$2,541,346 OWNER ZETCHER HOPES TO HAVE HIS DAY IN DERBY SUNNEW ZEALANDER SEEKS FIRST U.S. WIN IN SANTA BARBARATRAINER NEIL FRENCH IS BACK AND ‘LUCKY TO BE ALIVE’HOT-RIDING TYLER BAZE ON A ROLL AS MEET NEARS END Peter Miller17031292218%$1,520,886 ‘EVERYTHING’S JUST CLICKING’ FOR TYLER BAZE It’s mathematically impossible for Tyler Baze to catch Rafael Bejarano for the riding title, but that hasn’t stopped Baze from trying.With three racing days left in Santa Anita’s 68-day Winter Meet, the 32-year-old Seattle native had 54 wins, 20 behind Bejarano, but had won on 15 of his last 34 mounts, including four yesterday and four last Saturday, not to mention three on Sunday. Since last Thursday, Baze has won 14 races in five days.“It feels great,” Baze said. “Craig’s doing great, we’re working hard together, we’re working a lot of horses, and everything’s just clicking.” Baze was referring to his agent, Craig O’Bryan, who also represents Gary Stevens.“My confidence is strong now,” Baze said. “When horses are running for you and you’re winning races, I think you ride with a lot more confidence. I thought I could win five yesterday; I won four. It’s been an unbelievable week.“About a week and a half ago, I told Craig, ‘This is going to be our week,’ and it really was. I won one race last Thursday, two Friday, four Saturday, three Sunday and four yesterday.”And it hasn’t been for lack of effort. With 341, Baze led all riders in mounts through Thursday, 32 more than runner-up Bejarano. Philip D’Amato8621131524%$982,450 William Spawr5486815%$250,220 Thomas Proctor5987414%$589,888 Aaron Gryder9471287%$460,270 HABIBI PRIMED FOR FIRST U.S. VICTORY IN SANTA BARBARAHabibi, a winner of six of nine starts in her native New Zealand, seeks her first U.S. victory from three starts in Saturday’s Grade III Santa Barbara Handicap for older fillies and mares at 1 ¼ miles on turf.She was third going a mile on grass March 22, her first race in nine months.“She’s going well, she’s had her prep race, finished third going a mile, and by her form, it looks like she’d appreciate the mile and a quarter,” said Richard Mandella, who conditions the 6-year-old daughter of Ekraar owned by George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable.The field for the Santa Barbara: Three Hearts, Tyler Baze, 7-2; Tangelo, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1; Fanticola, Joe Talamo, 4-1; Queen of the Sand, Drayden Van Dyke, 9-2; Walk Close, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Diversy Harbor, Gary Stevens, 3-1; Industrial Policy, Brice Blanc, 8-1; Habibi, Flavien Prat, 6-1; and Arethusa, Kent Desormeaux, 12-1. Mark Casse66107915%$824,206 Edwin Maldonado13618151513%$641,194 Gonzalo Nicolas1017657%$220,956 Doug O’Neill19525182613%$1,185,002 Jeff Bonde38102426%$381,976 Martin Garcia15530201719%$2,766,884 Fernando Perez2171825278%$894,918 Drayden Van Dyke23023282610%$1,511,663 Bob Baffert11426191523%$2,961,772