Smiling House and Gallery Suites to promote UAE-Israel tourism

Dubai / Israel / Switzerland: Swiss-based property management company Smiling House Luxury is collaborating with United Arab Emirates [UAE]-based holiday home rental agency Gallery Suites, a subsidiary of the IBC Group, on an initiative to promote cross-border tourism between the UAE and Israel.

The partnership coincides with an historic peace agreement that was signed on Tuesday between Israel and the UAE [and Bahrain], which will normalise relations between the nations in a move that is set to unlock bilateral trade and billion dollar investment between each of them.

Gallery Suites operates a portfolio of more than 5000 curated luxury vacation homes, including suites, apartments, penthouses, villas and hotel apartments in some of Dubai’s most desired locations, such as Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Palm Jumeirah, Downtown and Business Bay.

Speaking to TradeArabia News, chairman of the IBC Group, Khurram Shroff, expressed his delight at the peace agreement and his hopes for the future ahead: “The historic peace accord, between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, is a new dawn in regional amity and cooperation. There’s already great excitement around the possibilities opening up, and the huge potential for mutual growth.

“As is apparent from the extent we go to curate the stay of our guests, at Gallery Suites we have always considered tourism about being much more than recreation. People-to-people contact, and experiencing each other’s cultures, will form the basis of a truly integrated Middle East,” he added.

Shroff will also be providing special facilities and amenities for Orthodox Jews to enable them to travel over to Dubai from Israel, including Kosher food services.

He said: “We are especially keen to showcase the UAE’s renowned hospitality, by offering holiday homes that are strictly compliant with Kosher guidelines, for those of our guests that request such facilities. But of course, all while adhering to strict Covid safety guidelines to safeguard everyone.”

Meanwhile, Smiling House Luxury, which was founded by Ira and Moriya Rockman in the Gstaad Valley in Switzerland, has grown out its international presence since 2014, expanding into 26 different countries with over 2500 properties in high-end destinations in Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Mexico, the Caribbean, Thailand, Bali, Sri Lanka, and notably, Israel.

The alliance between the two companies will extend their collective global reach, including promoting tourism this time for Emirati travellers to visit major Israeli city destinations such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The initiative is aimed at travellers that are used to high-end luxury accommodations as it seeks to connect hosts and guests between the countries and help them to get to know each other better.

Moriya Rockman said: “The vacation rental aspect is an amazing opportunity. Living in a kind of free world, the idea that someone cannot travel somewhere is a weird thought. People grow up with ideas and these types of conceptions but they also want to travel and explore, and do so in a safe, private place.

“Travelling to Israel from countries like the UAE will be a unique opportunity to open minds and connect hosts and guests that no one thought before would be possible,” she added.

As more and more Middle Eastern travellers venture across continents on their trips, Shroff envisages the peace accord between Israel and the UAE being an ideal opportunity to strengthen Middle Eastern tourism bonds between the two countries.

He told TradeNews Arabia: “There is a strong economic incentive to travel between the UAE and Israel, particularly given the post-pandemic reopening of business activities. As the region looks to develop resilience against any future global crisis, we anticipate a growth in engagement and collaboration, hence the number of business travellers within the region.

“Gallery Suites plans to host an Israeli delegation in Dubai, as well as taking a trip to meet potential partners and collaborators in Israel. The Middle East has a storied and ancient tale to tell. It has been the cradle of civilisation and the birthplace of some of the world’s most devoutly adhered to religious traditions.

“We at Gallery Suites view facilitating our guests, in their journey to discover common ground within our variations, as a truly exciting and gratifying opportunity,” he added.

Similarly, Moriya Rockman believes that the luxury vacation rental segment is flourishing, either in spite of or due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “We are currently very busy opening new destinations around the world and see that the luxury segment is really flourishing in these times. We are so happy to be doing it during these difficult moments, and we believe it will continue to grow as people opt for quality, privacy, local destinations and being close to nature.

“The historic peace agreement signed this week will open so many opportunities. Smiling House is looking forward to extending its luxury collection to the Emirates,” she added.