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   UAE wins Best Country Brand for Resort/Lodgings Options in Index 2007

The UAE has been hailed as one of the ?rising stars? among the world's top tourist destinations by an independent global study, after winning the coveted Best Country Brand in the Resort/Lodging Options category for the first time. According to the 2007 Country Brand Index (CBI), which was released ahead of this week's World Travel Market in London, the UAE is one of the world's top two shopping havens, and is among the top three countries with the highest potential to become a major tourist destination in the next five years.

Country Brand Index, now in its third year, is a comprehensive study of more than 2,600 international travellers conducted by FutureBrand, a leading global brand consultancy; in conjunction with public relations firm Weber Shandwick's Global Travel & Lifestyle Practice. The Index examines how countries are branded and ranked according to key criteria, with this year's index also including trends on travel motivations, as well as challenges and opportunities within the divisions of travel, tourism and country branding.

Winning the Best Country Brand for the Resort/Lodgings Options category, the UAE was recognised for its unrivalled reputation as the world's leading resort and lodging destination. Mega projects such as the Palms and other distinct resort developments propelled the country to the highest position on the scale, narrowly beating the Maldives and Australia.

The UAE also placed second in the Best Country Brand for the Shopping category, just behind the top-ranking United States, while ahead of countries including Singapore, Italy and Japan. The UAE?s huge investments to build up its MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) facilities have also paid off, after the country placed within the top five in the category Best Country Brand for Conferences.

The UAE was also recognised for its trend-setting initiatives in travel and tourism, which aim to extend the brand experience in everyday life. For instance, world-renowned fashion labels such as Armani and Versace were the first to infuse their signature aesthetics among hotels in Dubai. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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