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Chasing coffee: This little known museum is a ‘must-visit’ hotspot in Dubai

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Dubai Coffee Museum

By Saket Suman

Dubai, Sep 18: A popular beverage in most parts of the world, coffee is much more than just a drink in the Middle East. It is an integral part of the region’s heritage, a celebration of its culture and a dedicated coffee museum in Dubai — the first of its kind in the Middle East — stands as testimony to the region’s longstanding tryst with the drink.

Just like the traditional value that most Indians associate with “chai”, coffee is the customary drink served to visitors in most homes in the Middle East.

“It is a part of our heritage. The way we have been brought up, coffee has always occupied a vital space in our culture. So even the poor, those who cannot afford anything, will serve coffee to their guests and welcome them,” museum owner Khalid Al Mulla, a noted coffee trader and collector, told this visiting IANS correspondent.

But even before Mulla elaborated on the history of coffee and its particular significance in the Middle Eastern context, the museum was already a feast for our eyes. In a city of skyscrapers that revels in pomp and gaiety, this museum comes as some sort of relief to the souls of wanderers. It tells not only the regional but also the global history of coffee.

The museum’s shop is the first thing that catches the eye on entering this villa. Here one finds coffee mugs from several countries, personal hand grinders and other similar stuff to carry home.

Enter the museum and your are spellbound at the sight of a beautiful lady, dressed in traditional Egyptian attire serving traditional coffee and popcorn to visitors. Along with a cup of coffee prepared in authentic African style, she also told us a fable. “Marriages are not made by gods. They are made by coffee,” she proclaimed, before bursting into loud laughter.

She explained that in Turkey, marriages are often decided over coffee. When a proposal comes to the family, the girl approves it by preparing a good cup of coffee. But when she has to reject the proposal, she adds a pinch of salt.

Coffee Museum in Dubai

Coffee Museum in Dubai. Photo IANS

The ground floor includes a room for Western antiques, and another for Orientalism. A dedicated corner is designed to showcase various types of coffee. There is also an Egyptian corner, which shows the history of coffee since the days of the Ottoman Empire. One of the most rare treasures in the basement, which transports you to back into time, is the “Swedish roast” dating to 1840.

Then, there is the German grinder from the World War II era and many mills that were collected from Britain, dating as far back as 1860. The museum also contains ancient toasters and old paintings that tell the history of coffee and its methods of manufacture and preparation. There is also a literature room, which displays texts related to coffee, from the eighteenth century to the present day.

The upper floor lounge includes a small coffee shop, offering coffee and snacks to visitors. What strikes you is that even the sweets offered here have a distinctive coffee flavour.

As we stroll through the museum and its distinctive rooms, Mulla, who is a mobile information bank about the cultivation of coffee and the ways of transporting and making it, elaborated on the history of what is one of the most popular drinks in the world today.

He said that the origin of coffee can be traced to the Ethiopian highlands many centuries ago. As the Legend of Kaldi has it, he said, coffee was discovered accidentally when a goat ate some unknown berries from a tree and remained alert for the rest of the night.

A drink was prepared from these berries by worshippers in the local monasteries and it helped them stay awake during the long hours of prayers. The message spread rapidly until it reached the Arabian peninsula, from where the Arabs took this newly found drink to other parts of the world.

The Coffee Museum opened its doors to public in October 2014.

IANS

India

Delhi airport gets top honour at ASQ Awards 2017

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Indira Gandhi International Airport

New Delhi, Sep 17 : The national capital’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has bagged the title of Best Airport to handle over 40 million passengers per annum (MPPA) by the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards 2017.

The Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), a GMR-led consortium which operates and manages the IGIA, made the announcement on Monday.

Image result for indira gandhi international airport

“As we witness robust growth, we look forward to a strong collaboration and support of all airport stakeholders and our esteemed passengers. We are set to undertake the expansion works at Delhi airport in line with IGIA Master Plan-2016,” I. Prabhakara Rao, Executive Director, GMR Airports, was quoted as saying in a statement.

According to the statement, the Delhi airport is now the seventh busiest airports in Asia and among the top 20 busiest airports across the world.

ASQ is a worldwide programme to survey passengers at the airport on their day of travel. Every year the programme delivers some 600,000 individual surveys in 41 languages in 84 countries.

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Business

GTC Egypt Business Convention to address needs of 3 distinct verticals

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GTC Business Convention

The Global Tourism Council (GTC) is now focussing on tourism Conclave ,Investment Summit and Film Industry Connect – at the inaugural Egypt-India Business Convention. Set to be organised by GTC in association with Egypt Tourism.

The Convention will be held from September 16-19, 2018, at the Marriott Cairo & Omar Khayyam Casino.

Around 300 delegates from different business segments of India are expected to participate in the 4 day-long event, where they will interact with their Egyptian counterparts over B2B meetings.

As part of the Tourism Conclave, the Convention will offer an opportunity for delegates to explore the possibility of developing and promoting the Biblical Tourism Circuit – Jordan, Israel and Egypt. For corporate houses, the Investment Summit will facilitate opportunities for investment in sectors like agriculture, pharma, hospitality, infrastructure, energy, etc. Film-makers and production houses attending the Convention will be able to meet with their counterparts in Egypt and undertake recee of locations for shooting and explore discussions on co-productions.

“GTC is the first council in the tourism sector of India and we have the best of brains from segments like tourism, pharma, investment, hospitality, etc. The objective of the Convention is to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries,” said M Iqbal Mulla, Chief Council, GTC. According to Mulla, “The response from the industry for this is quite encouraging. Even NTOs of six countries have already approached us,” he said.

Talking on this, Ismail Amer, Egyptian Tourism Counselor, said the theme of the convention ‘Innovate & Invest’ is brilliant and will offer immense benefits in myriad sectors of both the countries. “The three sectors i.e. tourism, investment and film are very much connected with each other and Egypt’s USP in all the segments is very strong. Hence, this convention will immensely benefit Egypt,” said Amer.

According to Amer, “Experts from different segments are associated with GTC, secondly there is a difference between council and association and people associated with council are always serious in business. Apart from this, the convention will highlight the strength of Egypt in the three segments.”

Citing an example, he said that new administrative capital which is coming up has thrown up huge opportunity for investment. “Our new administrative capital (will have a name later) is as big as Singapore and 7 times bigger than Washington D.C. Currently, lot of construction work is going on for shipping, logistics industries, etc. The length of new development corridor by the Suez Canal is 40 km,” pointed out Amer.

The Council will also strongly suggest for developing a Holy Land Circuit among Jordan, Israel and Egypt which will increase in pilgrimage tourism manifolds from what it is now. “We have already discussed it in our committee and will put it in conclave for implementation,” said Mulla.

The film industry is another priority sector for the Council and the Convention will discuss the issue thoroughly so that the film sectors of both the countries are benefitted. Throwing light on possible outcome, Manoj Gursahani, Member Governing Council, GTC, said, “The film industry will benefit
in very unusual way. The Egyptian film industry can look at cross collaboration opportunities with the Indian film industry. Similarly, Indian film industry and can look at opportunities of exploring and doing television serials, movies and web series which are sold on Netflix and other platforms can be captured on Egypt and look at Egypt talent and combine do a hybrid model. I strongly believe that these are largely the areas where the film and media entertainment sectors want to grow with each other and collaborate with each other.” He also said that the response so far is phenomenal. “All the big brands have already shown their interest but I can’t tell the name at this juncture,” said Gursahani.

“It helps empower local community groups, strengthening their voice.” – Neha Dhupia

Global Tourism Council aims to be the world’s biggest non-government organisation recognised by the Government of India Charitable Trust. It is the brain child of the reputed professionals from India and across the world who are committed to the advancement of the global trade and tourism industry.

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Cities

1,000 AC buses to join DTC fleet

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DTC AC Bus

New Delhi, Aug 28 : The Delhi Transport Corp (DTC) Board on Tuesday approved a proposal to engage 1,000 low floor AC buses to improve public transportation in the national capital, Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot said.

“DTC Board approves engagement of 1,000 Low Floor AC buses,” he tweeted. The approval of the Cabinet will be sought to finalize the proposal.

The DTC, with only 5,500 buses in its fleet, wants to buy 10,000 buses by the year end.

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