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A DDP PUBLICATION

Pages: 24

ddppl.com

travtalkmiddleeast.com

Vol. X No. 5; May 2014

n An occasion to travel around India

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n Etihad connects Jaipur ........................................................................................10 n New Identity unveiled at ATM 2014........................................................................14

ATM 2014: Time to show competence Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is a dynamic event, where hotels, airlines, GDSs & Tourism Boards from six continents meet under one roof. It’s an event to update knowledge and maintain latest trends of the industry. In short, an event hard to miss! Middle East reports... S U S M I TA G H O S H TM organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions indicates that demand from new exhibitors has merited the addition of an extra hall bringing total event floor space to 23,500 square metres. In addition more than 100 new exhibitors will make their ATM debut.

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During ATM 2013, Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD) has announced several projects. It included an e-learning program on Ajman Tourism and a new hotel classification system, in addition to the statistics of the hospitality sector in Ajman in 2012. “This year, every project is moving forward as now we have already announced the statistics for 2013 and we will announce it twice every year. Ajman Tourism classification project was named two months before as the best Ajman Government project in 2013. This year, ATDD is taking part for the first time in the MENA Travel Awards 2014,

Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand.

in which it was nominated for two categories,” stated Faisal Al Nuaimi, General Manager, ATDD. “We announced, for the first time, the Ajman Tourism Award 2014 in five categories. The results of Ajman Award will be declared on May 7 on the sidelines of MENA Travel Awards 2014. The event will also witness the launch of the ATDD Customer Charter, ATDD Licensing and Standards Guide,” he added. This pre-ATM event hosted by The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Dubai and Middle East in 2013 had provided an ideal opportunity for the regions’ travel professionals to meet the delegation from all over Thailand, discover the attractions which the country can offer to the Middle East tourists. “This year, TAT Dubai and Middle East is hosting a pre-ATM Business Networking Luncheon on May 4. It will focus more on couples and partners looking for a per-

Faisal Al Nuaimi

Thawatchai Arunyik

Amine E Moukarzel

General Manager ATDD

Governor Tourism Authority of Thailand

President Golden Tulip Hotels

The Ajman Tourism classification project was named as the best Ajman Government project in 2013 recently

TAT will focus more on couples and partners looking for a perfect wedding and honeymoon destination

fect wedding and romantic honeymoon destinations. Thailand is becoming increas-

ingly popular among wedding couples and honeymooners and TAT will introduce

We are expecting more in ATM 2014, especially after adding 13 new countries to enter the UAE without pre-visa

major romantic attractions in northern and southern Thailand,” informed

During the last two years, the number of visitors from the Middle East to Thailand has grown considerably. While the UAE remains in top position bringing estimate of 176,000 visitors in 2013, other GCC countries are also emerging as potential expanding markets including Oman, KSA and Kuwait. Golden Tulip Hotel is participating ATM since late 90’s and Golden Tulip Al Barsha had been a pioneer sponsor for the event. “ATM-2013 had witnessed not only a growth factor over the previous years, but also a momentum of new opportunities in selling destinations and in identifying new destinations which have triggered better hospitality development. We are expecting more in ATM 2014, especially after adding 13 new nationalities to enter UAE without pre-visa,” asserted Contd. on page 6 u


NEWS

An occasion to travel around India India Tourism, Dubai is gearing up to attend Arabian Travel Market 2014 which will commence from May 5 – 8, 2014 in Dubai. The main attraction in India Tourism Pavilion, comprising of 28 co-exhibitors this year, will be Henna application, Kathakali dance and various other popular cultural programmes. “In ATM 2013 and previous years, we had organised ‘India Evenings’ where travel agents were invited to explore business opportunities. But we have come up with a different event this year; spending two ‘Happy Hours’ which will take place on the last day of the event. It will provide more opportunity for interaction,” informed IRV Rao, Assistant Director, India Tourism, Dubai.

T T B U R E AU ourism ties and the potential of tourism business between India, the Gulf and the Middle East region will be strengthened with the presence of tour operators and hotels from India at the ATM 2014. The independent booths around India pavilion, will include Indian Railways, Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), Air India and the state governments of Kerala, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir.

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IRV Rao Assistant Director India Tourism, Dubai

India has established itself as round-the-year destination, offering something for every traveller. This year, the tourist flow is expected to be more with the decision of extending Visa-on-Arrival for tourists of almost all nationalities

With the presence of local travel trade, India Tourism will organise a Medical Tourism seminar in Kuwait in June 2014, followed by Qatar and Oman. “It was emphasised that, India has established itself as round-the-year destination, offering something for every traveller. This year, the tourist flow is expected to be more with the decision of extending Visa-on-Arrival for tourists from 180 nations,” he added.

Based on the details from the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), and the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), New Delhi, the Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) during January to December 2013 were 68.48 lakh with a growth of 4.1 per cent, as compared to FTAs of 65.78 lakh with a growth of 4.3 per cent during January to December 2012.

Present@ATM 2014 N The independent booths

around India pavilion, will include IRCTC, ITDC, Air India and the state governments of Kerala, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir N Instead of an ‘India Evening’,

‘Happy Hours’ would be organised, which would facilitate business interaction between participants

Cathay and Qatar sign new code-share n Cathay Pacific Airways and Qatar Airways have announced the launch of a new code-share agreement between the two oneworld alliance airlines. Following the launch of the new twice-daily service between Hong Kong and Doha, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways have now announced an extensive code-share agreement between the two airlines. The agreement will offer both Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways passengers greater flexibility and a wider choice when travelling from Hong Kong to Europe, Africa and the Gulf or from Doha to Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Japan.


GUEST COLUMN

Aviation in UAE started from Sharjah EDITORIAL

Expanded line-up boosts ATM attraction I t is a top-of-the-world feeling for the travel and tourism industry in the Middle East, with several factors pumping up the optimism. While the year 2013 saw more tourism inflow and new hotel openings in the UAE, 2014 is predicted to end on a higher note, thanks to the Expo 2020 boost. But the immediate reason for enthusiasm is the international travel and tourism mega event, the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2014. The organiser, Reed Travel Exhibitions, has indicated that the increasing demand from new exhibitors at the ATM 2014 has merited the addition of an extra hall, bringing total event floor space to 23,500 sq mtrs. It’s an increase of almost 7% on 2013. Last year, ATM welcomed over 21,000 visitors from 165 countries, covering 22,000 sq mtrs of floor space. In addition, more than 100 new exhibitors will make their ATM 2014 debut. Vertical sector growth has been repeated with travel tech companies’ presence up by 14% as technological innovation and online booking dominate strategic development. The Middle East and UAE exhibitors have increased by an 11%, with Asia exhibitors rising by 7% on 2013 attendance. The ‘Spotlight on Luxury’, will feature luxury-focussed seminar sessions and invite hosted buyers directly responsible for this segment.

We, at Sharjah International Airport, always look to increase people connectivity and enhance ease of travel through our world-class facilities and services. he beginning of aviation in the Middle East can be credited to Sharjah. The country’s first aircraft landing took place on Oct 5, 1932, in Sharjah. The country has not only witnessed, but has also played a significant role in the growth of the United Arab Emirates aviation market. In 2013, the World Economic Forum rated UAE’s air transport infrastructure as the world’s third best in its World Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report.

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Since its inception in 1932, Sharjah International Airport has been playing a pivotal role in the emirate’s economy. Rapidly emerging as one of the most modern aviation gateways in the UAE, the airport has become the catalyst for Sharjah’s cultural, tourist and commercial activities. The airport, serving traffic from many regional and international destinations, is considered an important cargo hub for many of the world’s reputed airlines, and is also a preferred favourite for arrival, departure and transit passengers across the region. Strategically located, Sharjah International Airport is in close proximity to Sharjah city and within 20 minutes’ driving distance to Dubai and the other Northern Emirates. Sharjah International Airport reported a significant increase in passenger traffic with a

The ATM-2014 calendar encompasses more than 30 wide-ranging seminar and tech-theatre sessions covering aviation, cruise tourism, mobile trends and the rising demand for wellness tourism. Hotels in Dubai reported the highest profit levels in the region in 2013 for the fourth consecutive year, according to TRI Hospitality Consulting. Gross Operating Profit per Available Room for 2013 increased 10.3 per cent to US$206, ARRs for the year were up by 6.5 per cent to US$324 and RevPAR was up by 7.6 per cent for the same period. It is not just the regular tourists, but even the corporate sector in different countries is taking note of Dubai's attractions.

Publisher Director Editor Assistant Editor (ME) Desk Editor Design Business Development Manager Manager Advertising Sales & Admin Assistant Circulation Manager Manager Production

: SanJeet : Sumeera Bahl : Deepa Sethi : Susmita Ghosh : Archana Sharma : Nityanand Misra : Crisna De Guzman : Geetika Pathak : Eric Gomez : Ashok Rana : Anil Kharbanda

on the other hand, has signed a contract with Serco, the international service company, for the provision of air navigation services at the Sharjah International Airport. Serco will also be responsible for training Emirati nationals to become qualified Air Traffic Controllers and Air Traffic Controllers Assistants.

13.15 per cent jump during 2013 in comparison with 2012. It registered 8.5 million passengers compared to 7.5 million passengers in 2012, an increase by one million passengers. The aircraft movements were up 0.41 per cent in 2013 to reach 66.244 compared to 65.975 in 2012. The freight handled for the same period of 2013 recorded 295.402 tons.

Sharjah International Airport’s convenient and efficient procedures make it an ideal choice for cargo operators.

To meet the growing demand, Bechtel has been selected by Sharjah Airport Authority to provide master planning services for the phased expansion of Sharjah International Airport in the UAE. The company will conduct short-term and long-term analyses of the airport’s future needs. Also, a new runway is under construction at an approximate cost of AED 500 million. This will be of 4060m length of CAT-II capability with the possibility and provision of upgrading to CAT-II B. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

Recently, Sharjah International Airport introduced an eClearance cargo portal further enhancing its cargo services, and in 2012, the airport installed new equipments worth over AED 3 million at its Freight Centre in order to meet the requirements of Sharjah’s broadranging and distinguished airfreight sector.

Sharjah Airport Authority has signed an agreement with Gama Aviation, the global aviation services company, which allows the company to manage private aviation services at Sharjah International Airport, including all procedures and processes, starting from issuing landing permissions to take care of passengers and crews. The Department of Civil Aviation

The Airport is participating in the celebrations surrounding the Sharjah Islamic Culture Capital in 2014 to highlight its contribution to

the cultural landscape filled with a range of diverse activities and events. Sharjah achieved this title as the capital of Islamic culture capital 2014 because of the initiatives and directives of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, which enhanced the prestige of Sharjah’s civilization and culture over the past years. Sharjah International Airport’s attractive design is one of the architectural masterpieces that form a part of the cultural fabric of Sharjah The reputation and high standing that Sharjah International Airport enjoys today is the best testimony to its hard work, commitment to excellence and its far-reaching vision.

H.E. Ali Salim Al Midfa Chairman Sharjah Airport Authority

Major runway upgrade at Dubai Airports n Dubai Airport is launching a comprehensive runway upgrade project from May 1, 2014, to boost safety, service and capacity levels. The upgrade work will last 80 days during which the runways will be closed alternatively – the southern runway from May 1st to May 31st, and the northern runway from May 31st to July 20th, 2014. The project involves the resurfacing of the entire 4,000-metre long

northern runway.

Passenger advisory During the 80-day period, Dubai Airports is urging passengers to double-check with their respective airlines’ websites to confirm their airport of departure or arrival. Dubai Airports’ website www.dubaiairports.ae can also be consulted. While all Emirates flights will continue to operate out of Dubai International, a total of 14

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TRAVTALK is a publication of Durga Das Publications Private Limited. All information in TRAVTALK is derived from sources, which we consider reliable and a sincere effort is made to report accurate information. It is passed on to our readers without any responsibility on our part. The publisher regret that he cannot accept liability for errors and omissions contained in this publication, however caused. Similarly, opinions/views expressed by third parties in abstract and/or in interviews are not necessarily shared by TRAVTALK. However, we wish to advice our readers that one or more recognised authorities may hold different views than those reported. Material used in this publication is intended for information purpose only. Readers are advised to seek specific

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flights at DWC during the 80-day period.

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6

AVIATION

TRAVTALK MAY 2014

All ready to make a difference@ATM u Contd. from page 1

Amine E Moukarzel, President, Golden Tulip Hotels. Qantas is focussed on leading the way when it comes to setting the standard for premium travel and enhancing the experience for our customers. “We have recently opened the new Qantas Hong Kong Lounge, offering customers a new standard of luxury when travelling through the city. We will begin the A-330 fleet upgrade by the end of this year, which will include Marc Newson-designed Business Suites and new Economy seats for international and domestic customers. Qantas is also working on two new lounges in Los Angeles”, explained Rohan Garnett, Qantas Regional General Manager Middle East and North Africa. Recently, Jetstar, part of the Qantas Group, announced an agreement which is set to open up new destinations for Emirates passengers across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.“Emirates’ code will now be placed on a number of routes operated by Jetstar Airways in Australia and New Zealand and Jetstar Asia, giving passengers access to 27 new routes and six new destinations like Bali in Indonesia, Byron Bay in Australia, Dunedin in New Zealand and Siem Reap in Cambodia,” he added.

Air India has been a strong participant of Arabian Travel Market since early days and will be participating ATM 2014 as well. The Expo 2020 would find relevance in the ATM this year and Air India too expects to gain from this interaction/forum. “Tourism destinations from the Middle East and across the world showcase a diverse range of accommodation options, new tourism attractions and new airline routes. As an airline of India and as the Indian national carrier, Air India gets an opportunity to represent and showcase the dynamic growth of aviation industry in India through ATM,” stated Seema Srivastava, Regional Manager- Gulf , Middle East and Africa, Air India, Dubai. With more Dreamliners scheduled for delivery in the coming months, plans are on to expand our international network to new destinations including Rome, Milan and Moscow from India. “Air India becomes the first Indian airline that is set to join the Star Alliance, an elite global alliance of 28 leading international airlines. A stronger International Network that connects to interior points of India is what we wish to focus on supported by a new generation fleet and world's largest airline alliance,” she added.

“We had one stand last year with DTCM and overall, it was a great result. We have decided to have 2 stands, one with DTCM and another stand-

Expo and it’s time to show the world what Dubai can do, it’s also the first time after Dubai is moving as a smart city. So ATM 2014 will be different and

Rohan Garnett

Seema Srivastava

Qantas Regional General Manager Middle East and North Africa

Regional Manager- Gulf, Middle East and Africa, Air India, Dubai

Air India gets a chance to showcase the growth of aviation industry in India through ATM

We have recently opened the Qantas Hong Kong Lounge, which offers a new standard of luxury

alone. The one with DTCM will promote our inbound and the other to promote our outgoing and travel agency,” expounded Mohamed Jassim Al Rais Deputy Managing Director for Al Rais Tours & Holidays. “This is the first ATM after Dubai won

more visitors are expected,” he further stated. Amadeus has announced its 13th consecutive annual participation at ATM-2014. Antoine Medawar, Vice President, Middle East

Mohamed Jassim Al Rais

Antoine Medawar

Deputy Managing Director for Al Rais Tours & Holidays

Vice President Middle East and North Africa, Amadeus

This is the first ATM after Dubai won the Expo and it’s time to show the world what Dubai can do and North Africa, Amadeus, elucidated, “To the next generation traveller, connectivity, personalisation and sustainability are paramount and as service providers in an end-user driven industry, we need to be geared to meet these demands. Amadeus has been working over the years to observe, understand and anticipate the changing end-user dynamics that directly impact travel trends.

ATM 2014 is ideal for Amadeus to showcase our portfolio of avant garde travel tech solutions “Our research has enabled us to design comprehensive solutions that equip the industry to serve their customers in a mutually satisfying and sustainable manner. ATM 2014 provides the ideal opportunity for Amadeus to showcase our portfolio of avant garde travel technology solutions that enable our customers to stay well ahead of the competition in an increasingly dynamic trade environment,” he added.

Qatar Airways starts Doha-Philadelphia flights n Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight to Philadelphia touched down at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) on April 2, marking the airline’s fifth gateway in the United States. With the launch of the daily service

between Philadelphia and Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, the city becomes destination number 137 in the airline’s expanding worldwide network. Qatar Airways now operates 35 passenger

flights a week between the United States and Doha – daily from New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia. Qatar Airways’ Doha to Philadelphia route is being operated with a Boeing 777-

300ER in a two-class configuration of up to 293 seats in Economy Class and up to 42 in Business. Qatar Airways is set to launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes during the coming months, including

Larnaca, Cyprus (April 29), Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Turkey (May 22), Edinburgh, Scotland (May 28), Miami, USA (June 10), Haneda, Japan (June 18), Dallas/Fort Worth, USA (July 1) and Djibouti (July 27).


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HOTELS

TRAVTALK MAY 2014

New luxury hotel in RAK

Focussing on new markets

n Bin Majid Hotels and Resorts is scheduled to open its doors for the new Santorini on Marjan Island, the first man-made island project in Ras Al Khaimah, by the end of 2014.

In order to diversify international source markets, the Grand Millennium Dubai aims to strengthen the number of regional visitors to GCC with its participation at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2014.

The seven-story building comprises 410 stylish guest rooms as well as an array of facilities and amenities to enhance the luxury design hotel experience. This will be the fifth property Bin Majid owns in RAK, joining others such as Beach Resort, Beach Hotel, Acacia

Hotel and Mangrove Hotel. “We have developed a hospitality legacy through our current brands, and much of that legacy was built upon continuing to expand and building a strong brand presence in the Emirates. With the new properties and upcoming ones in the pipeline, we will soon be recognised as a leading hotel and leisure company in the UAE and the region,” said Dr. Ali Kasapbashi, the Chief Operating Officer of Bin Majid.

Best Airport Hotel in ME The Oryx Rotana Doha has been named as the Best Airport Hotel in the Middle East this year at the 2014 World Airport Awards held at the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Barcelona, Spain

T T B U R E AU t Arabian Travel Market, the hotel will promote new summer sales initiatives including tactical early bird offers for leisure and corporate visitors, longer-stay promotions with discounts for stays for four nights or more. It will also focus on the new refurbished apartment tower mainly for the GCC market.

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In addition, the hotel is planning to target stopover traffic with attractive packages like complimentary early check-in for those arriving on overnight flights like from Australia, introducing guaranteed room upgrade options as a sales incentive. According to the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM), nearly 3,000 hotel rooms are being added in 2013 in Dubai and 29,000 are in the pipeline between now and 2016.

Peter Mansourian General Manager Grand Millennium Dubai

Saudi Arabia, UK, USA, Russia, Germany, Oman and China were our top visitor generators in 2013

“Dubai’s number of visitors increased by 10.6 per cent in 2013 to reach around 11 million, well on the way to the target of 20 million by 2020. Hence, the hotels must be dynamic in both their marketing and services to sustain business levels in the coming years,” explained Peter Mansourian, General Manager, Grand Millennium Dubai. “The hotel has to develop to cater market needs, selling on product and experience and not just price to face increased competition,” he added. “Saudi Arabia, UK, USA, Russia, Germany, Oman and China were our top visitor generators in 2013. But we are looking beyond these traditional markets to tempt new countries with a taste of Dubai,” Mansourian added. The sales team of this 343-room five star hotel is con-

tinuously working on new market entries like Spain and Latin American countries for instance. It’s in the process of attending roadshow in Azerbaijan and hosting familiarisation trips for the travel trade and media from Argentina, Brazil and Columbia. In addition, Grand Millennium Dubai focusses on Indonesian and Malaysian markets to boost summer occupancies, working with more overseas tour operators as well to widen sales platform.

Upgrades N It

is planning to target stopover traffic with packages like complimentary early check-in for those arriving on overnight flights, guaranteed room upgrade options as a sales incentive and so on


10

AVIATION

TRAVTALK MAY 2014

Hosting Travel Agents from Slovakia

Etihad connects Jaipur Etihad Airways commenced daily operations between Jaipur and Abu Dhabi. A lamp-lighting ceremony greeted the disembarking passengers to celebrate the service and the airline’s 10th destination in India. T T B U R E AU raig Thomas, Etihad Airways’ Regional General Manager-Asia Pacific North and Indian Subcontinent, said,

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senger growth between India and the UAE.” “The new service will provide travellers from Jaipur with seamless connections to the Gulf region and Middle East, as well as Africa,

The Ramada Downtown Dubai played host to a group of 12 travel agents from Slovakia as part of a multivenue familiarisation trip to Dubai aimed at building awareness of the city in Central Europe. Enjoying the hotel’s convenient location near iconic attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountains and Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, the agents were also able to discover the features of the Ramada Downtown Dubai including spacious suites, unrivalled views and pool and gym facilities.

Dubai enters TripAdvisor’s ‘Best 25’ n Dubai has been named as one of the top 25 places go worldwide in the Traveller Choice Awards 2014 by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site. The entry highlighted 646 activities to try in Dubai including the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for

Cultural Understanding, The Dubai Fountain, Dubai Creek and various attractions and tours in the city, desert and along the coast. Travellers’ Choice Destinations honour top travel spots worldwide based on the millions of valuable reviews and opin-

ions from TripAdvisor travellers. Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, attractions and restaurants in destinations worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.

“The addition of the Jaipur service reinforces Etihad Airways’ commitment to the Indian Subcontinent. We are confident that the new flights will continue the strong pas-

Europe and North America, via our Abu Dhabi hub,” he added. Neerja Bhatia, General Manager – India, Etihad Airways, said, “Jaipur is a widely

recognised premium destination attracting leisure and business travellers from around the world. It is also known for hosting many international cultural events, including the renowned Jaipur Literature Festival. With the addition of the new Jaipur flights to our existing Delhi services, we now fly to two destinations in the world-renowned Golden Triangle, offering our guests more choice and convenient travel options.” Etihad Airways’ new daily service will be operated with an Airbus A320 aircraft in a two-class configuration, featuring 16 Pearl Business Class seats and 120 Coral Economy Class seats. With the addition of Jaipur, Etihad now serves total of 10 Indian cities including Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mumbai, New Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram.


TECHNOLOGY

MAY 2014

TRAVTALK

11

Strategic technology bonds Migrating to a better GDS Amadeus recently announced a strategic technology relationship with IHG. The initial phase will focus on planning and development. This will involve scoping out and creating a roadmap for potential technologies and solutions. ny that uses insight to anticipate consumer trends and behaviour. It has long track record of investing in relevant technologies to support brand promise and build a closer relationship with its guests. Partnering with Amadeus will help continue to do that.

T T B U R E AU his fully supports the mission and strategy we have shared openly with our investor community, media and colleagues across the hotel and travel industry over the last year.

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Our stated mission is to build a community model for the hotel industry, a replica of our highly successful Amadeus Altéa community model for airlines,” explained Jeff Edwards, Head of Global Hotel Business, Amadeus IT Group. IHG has a wealth of subject matter expertise,

Jeff Edwards Head of Global Hotel Business Amadeus IT Group

renowned for offering the most efficient technological solutions at all stages of the guest’s journey (Dream, Plan, Book, Travel and Share) to enhance their guests’ experience. IHG has also sound ideas about what next-gen systems for the hotel industry should look like. According to InterContinental Hotels Group, it’s a consumer-driven compa-

“The marriage of InterContinental Hotels Group’s unique insight and guest care with Amadeus’ technology vision and infrastructure capabilities has the potential to deliver a great change in hotel solutions,” he said. “While a ‘community model’ is a new concept for the fragmented hotel industry, we see significant interest. As we progress with partners like IHG, we look ahead truly to shape the future of hotels,” Edwards further stated.

An important partnership was announced between Travelport and Eternity Travels. The new multi-year deal will see the latter migrate the majority stake of its business to Travelport’s GDS. T T B U R E AU s part of the agreement, Travelport, which is distributed in Kuwait by Travel Technology Systems Company, will also provide Eternity Travels with a range of its industry leading products including Travelport Smartpoint, the cutting edge point-of-sale solution and Travelport Rooms and More, the online hotel booking tool.

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“Kuwait remains one of our focus regions in the Middle East and signing this deal with Eternity Travels, who are a major industry player, will significantly boost Travelport’s presence in the country and further extend our service and content offering to travel agents and travellers across the region,” informed Jennifer D’Souza, Regional Commercial Director, Gulf,

Jennifer D’Souza Regional Commercial Director Gulf, Levant, Pakistan and Turkey, Travelport

Signing this deal will extend our service and content offering to travel agents and travellers across the region Levant, Pakistan and Turkey, Travelport. “We look forward to

work closely with our distributor Travel Technology Systems Company to support Eternity Travels and help them achieve their business goals for years to come.” Originally established in 2009, Eternity Travels, as wholesale and retail agency, has steadily grown to become one of the top 10 agencies in Kuwait with eight branches across Kuwait and India. According to them, the strong relationship with Travel Technology Systems Company made them a very strong business partner for Eternity Travels and the primary GDS.

New Ties N Eternity

Travels has steadily grown to become one of the top ten agencies in Kuwait with eight branches across Kuwait and India


12

CRUISE

TRAVTALK MAY 2014

Langham Hospitality forays into Middle East n Langham Hospitality Group announced an agreement with DAS Real Estate to manage The Langham resort in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Located on the crescent of Palm Jumeirah and scheduled to open in 2015, this 323room resort marks double landmark ‘firsts’ for the

grand hotels in Europe. Designed to become one of the city's social centres for dining, The Langham will offer guests a wide variety of innovative restaurants and bars, most of them with al fresco waterside dining. Headlining the culinary options will be Palm Court, an

We are very much looking forward to introducing The Langham's rich heritage and impeccable service values to Dubai Robert Warman CEO, Langham Hospitality Group

Hong Kong-based hotel company. It is the group's first foray into the Middle East and the first resort in its global collection. With the interiors designed by the Aedas Limited, The Langham, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, will showcase tasteful furnishings reflective of the brand's heritage as one of the premier

elegant lounge modelled after its namesake at The Langham, London - the first grand hotel to serve the traditional afternoon tea in 1865. "We are very much looking forward to introducing The Langham's rich heritage and impeccable service values to Dubai," said Robert Warman, CEO, Langham Hospitality Group.

When Queen Elizabeth sails in! The Queen Elizabeth is set to make its maiden call at Zayed Port, Abu Dhabi, in April 2014. This follows in the success of a similar maiden voyage made by the company’s flagship, Queen Mary 2 to Abu Dhabi last January. S U S M I TA G H O S H he Queen Elizabeth would spend a day in the port as part of its 2014 world cruise that set sail from Southampton in the UK in early January. In due course, it has taken aboard passengers from calls in San Francisco, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. The liner will return next April at the heels of The Queen Mary 2 as part of 2015 world cruise program commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Cunard Lines Foundation.

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Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director, Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, explained, “The Queen Elizabeth is considered the most high-profile arrival of what is set to be our busiest cruise season, and a sign that our promotion of Abu Dhabi in recent years as a

atre, a library, a spa and fitness centre, an outdoor pool and 1,046 staterooms and suites.

highly credible winter cruise destination is bearing fruit.” Furthermore, he elucidated “Long-term support from leading cruise liners like Cunard raises the emirate’s credibility within the cruise sector and allows us to demonstrate our extensive range of high-end differentiated passenger experiences. Developing awareness of Arabian Gulf cruising in partnership with other regional cruise destinations remains a priority. Abu Dhabi’s expanding cultural, historic and singular experiences are core component of our plans to enhance the emirate’s reputation and ability to deliver a world-class, shore excursion experience.” Passengers aboard the 294 mt, AED 2 billion ship will appreciate the selection of 12 restaurants and bars, an 832-seat Royal Court the-

Sultan Al Dhaheri Acting Executive Director, Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority

Developing awareness of Arabian Gulf cruising in partnership with other regional cruise destinations remains a priority

The 2014-15 cruise season is slated to be the largest ever with the arrival of almost 190,000 passengers from 75 calls generated by 14 ships in all. To meet such strenuous demand, Abu Dhabi is moving forward with its plans for a permanent cruise terminal at Zayed Port and a stopover ‘Desert Island’ beach experience in its Western Region both set to debut in the 2015-16 cruise season. The Cunard line, a British-American owned shipping company based at Carnival House in Southampton, England, was founded in 1840 and has been the leading operator of passenger ships in the Atlantic for over a century.


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HOTELS

TRAVTALK MAY 2014

Emirates Official Store lands at the Dubai Mall n The newest Emirates Official Store and the Emirates A380 Experience the Middle East’s first public A380 flight simulator - at the shopping destination was launched at The Village at The Dubai Mall by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group

Maktoum, the Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and the Chairman of Emirates Group. The Emirates A-380 Experience introduces its visitors to the flight deck of the world’s most spacious and modern aircraft, allowing the guests to experience the thrill of landing and taking off from 12 of the

world’s busiest airports in different weather conditions. Adding to the excitement, the guests will be scored on how well they navigate the aircraft, allowing them to compete against their family and friends. This is the Emirates Airlines’ second such project, having launched the Emirates Aviation Experience in London last year to a strong public reception. “Emirates is the largest operator of the A-380 with 47 in our fleet. We are delighted to present aviation enthusiasts with another unique perspective to the world’s largest passenger aircraft with the Emirates A-380 Experience. Based on our experience in the UK, we believe the Emirates A-380 Experience will be a very popular activity for mall visitors, as well as for team-building activities for corporate and incentive groups,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

New Identity unveiled at ATM 2014 Coral Hotels & Resorts will have a new corporate identity during the Arabian Travel Market 2014. Utilising print, digital and broadcast media, the new look will be introduced to consumers with a 360° campaign across the MENA region. T T B U R E AU

both necessary from a technological standpoint and as an opportunity to leverage Coral Hotels & Resorts for competitive advantage."

he pre-launch buzz has already begun. The rebranding will be executed across all Coral Hotels & Resorts shortly after the ATM 2014.

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"We operate in a highly competitive and dynamic environment. Having been 10 years in operation, we felt it was time to refresh the identity

Laurent A. Voivenel CEO HMH - Hospitality Management Holdings

As a part of our marketing and rebranding strategy, we are investing in new digital platforms to optimise the consumer experience of Coral Hotels & Resorts because of the challenges and opportunities we see as we expand,” announced Laurent A. Voivenel, CEO, HMH Hospitality Management

Holdings. “The overhaul was driven by an acknowledgement that provides a highly digital environment as guests wants to be simply more engaged. Hence, it was

Laurent stressed, "Digital and social engagement has moved brands outside of advertisements into incidental exposure. As a brand, we must serve customers who attend multiple media simultaneously. So, as a part of our marketing and rebranding strategy, we are investing in new digital platforms to optimise the consumer experience. Our primary objective is to engage and build strong relationships with our guests." Reviving Coral Hotels & Resorts has not been an easy exercise. Laurent stated, "Undoubtedly, it is a very significant step in the brand's history and has taken nearly 6 months of research and work, including the development of

the new logo as well as identifying the Coral brand's core purpose. The new identity offers a strong, consistent and focussed brand identity on all customer-facing fronts. We have kept it very simple." HMH – Hospitality Management Holdings is the first hotel chain in the Middle East to offer alcohol-free safe environment. The Hotel brands cater from budget to luxury. Its existing portfolio features 20 properties located in destinations across the MENA region with a pipeline of hotels under development.

Transformation N The process had taken

nearly six months of research, including the development of a new logo as well as the Coral brand's core purpose


AVIATION

MAY 2014

TRAVTALK

15

Air Arabia to open a hub at RAK

Investing in Aerospace

Starting May 6, 2014, Air Arabia offers direct services to eight routes from RAK International Airport. To announce the operational details of its soon-to-open hub at RAK Airport; Air Arabia, the newly-designated carrier of RAK joined the Emirate’s tourism and aviation authorities on April 15.

In line with Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, the development of Abu Dhabi aviation industry was led by Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad Airways.

T T B U R E AU

T T B U R E AU

n February 2014, Air Arabia and the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Civil Aviation entered into a long-term strategic partnership to increase the number of destinations accessible to the residents of RAK and bring more tourists within the reach of the emirate.

he summit brought together over 1,000 C-level executives, senior decisionmakers and government officials involved in the aero-

I

Besides increasing the accessibility of Ras Al Khaimah to international passengers, this partnership also anticipated a direct boost to the local economy through an increase in tourism flow and the job opportunities for Air Arabia employees who will be permanently based at RAK International Airport. Air Arabia will follow exactly the same value-for-money business model from RAK International Airport, as it does from its primary base in Sharjah.

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His Excellency Engr. Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Ras Al Khaimah, said, “This important collaboration will give a major boost to the economic development of RAK and strengthen the growing excitement about the Emirate as an investment destination.”

“With our hubs in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, Air Arabia is well positioned to cater to the travel needs of the Northern Emirates, a position we believe will deliver real value to our customers and shareholders,” expressed Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia. Two new Airbus A-

320 aircraft will initially be based at RAK International Airport to service regular routes to Jeddah in Saudi, Cairo in Egypt, Muscat in Oman, Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar in Pakistan, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Calicut in India, which will be added shortly after launch.

Tony Douglas CEO Abu Dhabi Airports

space, aviation, defence and space industries. The theme of the summit was ‘Forging Strategies for the Growth of our Industries.’ A series of industry-specific strategy

sessions, closed-door meetings, social networking opportunities and site visits ran along the Summit's main conference. Tony Douglas, CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “We are proud to be involved in this significant industry event for the second year since its inception. Abu Dhabi’s aviation industry is a vital pillar supporting the longterm objectives set out in Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. We are excited to discuss and learn more about the crucial issues the aerospace, aviation, defence and space industries are currently facing.” Etihad is focussing on product innovation as it continues to expand its operations, while Abu Dhabi Airports provides the necessary support of world-class airport infrastructure.


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NEWS

TRAVTALK MAY 2014

SATA’s Abu Dhabi branch launched n As part of its expansion plans in the region, Sharjah Airport Travel Agency (SATA), an IATA

Arshad Munir General Manager SATA

accredited travel agency, recently opened its Abu Dhabi branch. The new office will serve travel needs of its increasing customers and offer a complete range of travel services like worldwide airline reservation and ticketing, hotel reservation, holiday packages, cruise packages, rent a car, conferences, air charters, MICE and more. The opening ceremony was inaugurated by H.E. Ali Salim Abdelrahman Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah

Airport Authority and attended by H.E. Sheikh Khalid Isam Saqer Al Qassimi, Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation, Arshad Munir, General Manager, SATA, other government officials, airline and trade partners. Munir informed at the launch, “Opening our first branch in Abu Dhabi is a milestone achievement for SATA. We are now seeing the realisation of our goal which is to spread our wings and open several branches all over the UAE.” Primarily to cater to the needs of passengers travelling through Sharjah International Airport, solely owned by the Airport Authority, SATA had decided to change its strategy by positioning itself as a professional agency. SATA moved its head office to Sharjah to spread its wings firstly within the Emirate of Sharjah and then later on all over the UAE with offices in Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and plans to open in Fujairah.

Addition and overhaul underway The National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels (NCT&H) group has added and renovated several properties in its portfolio. In 2014, it is launching Danat Residence, a premium residential complex with 189 apartments. S U S M I TA G H O S H he Dhafra Beach Hotel is to receive 100 extra suites, with the existing 100 being renovated. Similarly, the Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort is to gain 24 new chalets, in addition to 3 new restaurants and a health club facility. As for new attractions opening within their properties, the ‘Modern Irish Experience’ pub McGettigans is slated to open in Al Raha Beach Hotel. It will offer the very best of Irish fare in a modern, yet warm environment. The Danat Al Ain Resort’s all day dining restaurant ‘The Arabesque’ has recently finished being renovated. Sands Hotel has started the renovation of three floors. In addition, the Tilal Liwa, the group’s desert-themed property, located at the edge of the Rub Al Khali desert has recently opened a new attraction. The Al Dhafra Oasis is intended to be an ideal

venue for gathering of various sizes and descriptions.

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The hotel group is also looking to capitalise on the onset of Ramadan and summer with promotional campaigns and events for both to go into effect.

Walid Nicolas Harouni Hotels Division Director Danat Hotels & Resorts

We will be exhibiting to bring more properties under Danat Hotels and Resorts brand in both domestic and foreign locations

Walid Nicolas Harouni, Hotels Division Director Danat Hotels & Resorts – A Division of NCT&H, highlights the group’s plans for the upcoming ATM (Arabian Travel Market) 2014. “We will be exhibiting to bring more properties under Danat Hotels and Resorts brand in both domestic and foreign locations,” he stated. Harouni also informed, “Our hotels occupancy has witnessed a growth in 2013 at lower ADR due to the increase in competition in Abu Dhabi. The guests are looking for special deals to book rooms.

Despite this, the group is anticipating an increase in the domestic tourism and from leisure segment from abroad and the GCC market.” Danat Hotels & Resorts is the Hotels Management Division of National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels. It manages a portfolio of four- and five- star properties in Abu Dhabi - Danat Al Ain Resort, Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort, Al Raha Beach Hotel, Tilal Liwa Hotel, Sands Hotel and Dhafra Beach Hotel.

Expanding Portfolio N The pub McGettigans is

slated to open in Al Raha Beach Hotel. N The Danat Al Ain Resort’s restaurant ‘The Arabesque’ has recently finished being renovated.


HOTELS

UAE: A key ‘green destination’ Tilal Liwa Hotel, a leisure resort in Abu Dhabi, has announced its participation in UAE Green Festival. The festival, organised from March 16 to April 16, 2014, was designed to educate people about the property. T T B U R E AU

for launching the UAE Green Festival. Our Green Packages have ensured to provide residents and visitors a better quality of life by protecting and preserving our Mother Earth!”

dopting various eco-friendly elements including Green Menus to Green Tours, Green Services, Green Amenities and many more, Tilal Liwa Hotel is recognised as ‘Green Stay’ with the team and their guests.

A

All the guests stayed at the property throughout the festival, were offered impressive Green Packages. They have received discount of 15 per cent on Best Available Room Rate and 20 per cent discount on massage and beauty treatments offered at the Body & Soul Health Club. They took part in the hotel’s planting activity and were advised on water and energy conservation. Ayman Ashor, General Manager, Tilal Liwa Hotel, expressed, “We have commended the UAE government

Ayman Ashor General Manager Tilal Liwa Hotel

Our Green Packages have ensured to provide residents and visitors a better quality of life by protecting and preserving our Mother Earth!

Portrayed as an ideal destination for short holidays or weekend escape, Tilal Liwa Hotel recorded a growth in 2013, with 36 per cent increase on overall revenue compared to 2012. The hotel occupancy increased by 6 per cent and the guest level surged by 91 per cent. The Arabian Travel Market is a much-awaited event for Tilal Liwa Hotel as it is attended by key decisionmakers in the travel and hospitality industry, and hence, receives immediate feedback. “Our meeting with our partners will focus on strengthening the relations and update them about our growth this

year and the plans throughout the season. We will be presenting to them our unique and customised packages during summer that will include hotel stay, activities, transfers and other fantastic offers,” he added. The Danat Summer Promotion will also be unveiled with fun-filled activities. For the next season, the hotel has organised more activities like star-gazing, desert football, volleyball and desert walk to amazing dunes, tours to the Liwa Oasis, Moreeb Dune, forts, date plantation and other kids’ activities.

Green Growth N Tilal Liwa Hotel recorded a

growth in 2013, with 36 per cent increase on overall revenue compared to 2012.

MAY 2014

TRAVTALK

17

More flights from Abu Dhabi to Athens, Larnaca n Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, announced it will boost frequency and capacity to Athens and Larnaca, adding depth to its expanding network, while enhancing connectivity over its Abu Dhabi hub. Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Airways said, “These increases

of three new flights, which will provide passengers travelling to and from Athens with more choice and greater flexibility. The new flights will enable Etihad Airways to place its flight code on Aegeanoperated flights beyond Athens to Barcelona, subject to regulatory approval.

in frequency and capacity demonstrate our commitment to build a global, connected network. In the case of Athens, our new flights will offer guests the choice of two different departure times to and from Abu Dhabi, and in the case of Larnaca, the additional flights will provide more choice and flexibility, as well as better connectivity over Abu Dhabi.”

In addition, between 1 June and 30 September, Etihad Airways’ daily EY090/EY091 flights will be upgraded from the current 174-seat Airbus A321 operation to a 254-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The airline will increase its base frequency on the Abu Dhabi-Larnaca route from three to five flights per week. Etihad Airways will also operate Larnaca as a daily service during the peak summer period from July 1 to September 30, 2014.

From July 2 2014, Etihad Airways will increase frequency on the Abu Dhabi-Athens route from seven to ten flights per week with the introduction


18

AGENTS

TRAVTALK MAY 2014

Kyoto City Tourism enters UAE n Kyoto City has opened a promotional office in Dubai to encourage Gulf nationals and residents to visit Japan’s ancient capital for holidays and leisure. Yoshikazu Kuki, Director of Kyoto City Tourism & MICE Office, said, “We say with great pride and enthusiasm that we are the first Japanese tourism authority to open a permanent promotional office in the Middle East. While Kyoto is an

To make Kyoto even more hospitable for Muslim travellers, Kyoto City has been working closely with its local tourism and hotel industry to ensure cultural and religious needs are well taken care of. Local seminars have been held regularly to educate the travel industry on the importance of providing Halal and Muslimfriendly cuisine and other services and amenities that would be appreciated by guests from

We welcome visitors from the Middle East to experience our culture, shopping, cuisine, as well as our ‘omotenashi’ hospitality. Yoshikazu Kuki Director, Kyoto City Tourism & MICE Office ancient city, our outlook is extremely modern. We warmly welcome visitors from the Middle East to experience our unique culture, shopping, sites, activities and cuisine, as well as our internationally renowned ‘omotenashi’ hospitality.”

the region. In 2013, a select group of leading UAE travel agents were invited to Kyoto to experience what the city has to offer as well as speak to the local tour operators and hoteliers to provide their expertise and advice on how to cater for Middle Eastern guests.

New achievements on the move A new website, an enhanced B2B online reservation system and a new partnership are some of the major successes of Planet Travels & Tours in 2013, a travel management company in the UAE. S U S M I TA G H O S H

latest travel trends including information on how the companies are working towards Expo 2020. We, at Planet Group, will be sharing the successes and developments that we have achieved since ATM 2013.”

he company will launch its redesigned corporate website which is more user-friendly, with comprehensive features to help travellers access and navigate the site faster and easier.

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Planet Travels & Tours will also announce the enhancement of the B2B online reservation system with new features like secure payment gateway for payments by credit card. The site’s customer XML is already working smoothly and the group is planning to launch the supplier intranet to increase last minute availability for its customers. Georges M. Moussa, Chairman, Planet Group, informed, “We are pleased to announce our participation in this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM). We are also excited to hear and learn the

Georges M. Moussa Chairman Planet Group

We are proud to unveil our new website, our partnership with EC Air from the Congolese Republic and enhanced B2B online reservation system

“We are proud to unveil our new website with more information, our partnership with EC Air from the Congolese Republic and the enhancement of our B2B online reservation system,” added he. Besides Uzbekistan Airways, Planet Travel & Tours has been appointed by Equatorial Congolese Airlines (EC Air) as its general sales agent in the UAE to provide full sales and marketing services and customer support, ticketing and administrative facilities. A signing ceremony was held February 2014, attended by top officials of the airlines and the government of the

Congolese Republic. Commercials flights between Brazzaville and Dubai started since March 31, 2014. The company is currently working on integrating with several international wholesale travel companies to offer a comprehensive global product. This interface will go live before ATM 2014 and will make a variety of attractive online booking services.

On The Way N It will also announce its

enhanced B2B online reservation system with features like secure payment gateway for credit cards. N The group is planning to launch the supplier intranet to increase last minute availability for its customers


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TRAVTALK MAY 2014

FAMILY ALBUM

When Global and local expertise merge Web In Travel (WIT) Middle East, the local edition of WIT Conference witnessed leading personalities of the online travel world in the region, relevant stakeholders and global players who want to get engaged with one of the world’s fastest growing travel market. Dubai was served as its launching hub in the ME and similar events have been planned in Saudi Arabia and Turkey subsequently.


FAMILY ALBUM

MAY 2014

TRAVTALK

21

Air India celebrates ‘Awards Nite’ Air India conducted its ‘Annual Agency Awards Nite 2014’ and felicitation function. The function was well-attended by the who’s who of travel trade fraternity from UAE, covering seven Emirates.


22

TRAVTALK MAY 2014

FAMILY ALBUM

GIBTM 2014 kicked off with 300 exhibitors The show, which is gaining fame, had 74 new exhibitors, making their debut. Over 250 regional and international buyers from 36 countries attended GIBTM 2014 in Abu Dhabi, which counted over 300 exhibitors. The event was inaugurated by Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.


TTME May 1st 2014  

TTME May 1st 2014