Page 1


Pages: 16

Vol. VIII No. 10; October 2012

First ‘check-in service’ ........................................................................................06 Middle East outshines in outbound ......................................................................08 n Lama expands to Abu Dhabi ................................................................................14 n n

‘Leisure’ at the helm of Dubai To stimulate economic and social development, Dubai continues its participation for the 20th year in a row in Moscow Tourism Fair ‘Leisure 2012’ held during September 19 - 22, 2012. S U S M I TA G H O S H eisure’ is the largest international autumn trade fair for tourism in Russia and CIS for sealing tourist deals. Since its inception, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has played a pivotal role, promoting Dubai and growing the economic


contribution of tourism to the emirate. The 400sqm DTCM pavilion has witnessed around 74 participants from tourism sector in the emirate, including hotel facilities and tour operators. The number of tourist companies featuring Dubai in Russia, the Baltic States and the Commonwealth of Independent States reached

1,080 in 2011 against 602 in 2010, with an increase of 79 per cent. Paying year-long attention to the Russian Market, DTCM has opened a representative office in Moscow, long back, to promote Dubai in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. “The number of Russian hotel guests in Dubai saw a signif-

icant rise in 2009, in fact 1,83,308 visitors. The number further grew in 2010 to 2,09,381, an increase of 14 per cent and rose again in 2011 to 2,55,746, a rise of 22 per cent, informed Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, Executive Director - Media Relation Division & Business Development, DTCM. Likewise, the number of hotel guests in Dubai from

Russia, the Baltic States and Commonwealth of Independent States hit 3,88,386 in 2009 as compared to 4,43,363 in 2010, a rise of 14 per cent. An increase of 15 per cent was further recorded in 2011 with 5,10,852. “Representing an increase of 27 per cent, the number of Russian Contd. on page 7 u

Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman Executive Director - Media Relation Division & Business Development, DTCM

Decade of aviation partnership The new partnership between Emirates and Qantas, will include code-sharing, integrated network with coordinated pricing. Qantas will also move its hub for European flights to Dubai. RA I N A M A N DA L rom April next year, the travel industry will witness the new global aviation partnership between Emirates and Qantas in action. This 10-year agreement will go beyond code-sharing and include integrated network collaboration with coordinated pricing, sales and scheduling and a benefit-sharing model.


Majid Al Mualla Senior Vice President Commercial Operations Gulf, Middle East & Iran, Emirates

gives you details about, this first and one-of-itskind initiative, in the history of global aviation industry. Through close codesharing arrangements the partnership will combine Emirates’ network of more than 60 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Qantas’ network of more than 50 domestic and regional destinations in

Australia with nearly 5,000 flights per week. The carriers will also cooperate on their respective trans-Tasman services between Australia and New Zealand. Neither of the airlines will take equity in the other. When asked about the factors that led Emirates to take such a huge decision,

Majid Al Mualla, Senior Vice President - Commercial Operations, Gulf, Middle East & Iran, Emirates said, “This long term partnership between two premium airlines was created to expand our global network, improved connectivity and provide greater choices for Qantas passengers from Australia and New Zealand to Europe, the Middle East

and Africa. It will also provide reciprocal enhanced connectivity for Emirates passengers to the Qantas Group’s domestic and other international services,” Regarding choosing Qantas as the preferred airline for this 10-year agreement, he explained, “Emirates is the largest Contd. on page 6 u

NEWS Foreign exchange

in Kuwait

DIRHAM VALUE (Subject to variation) Country


(As on 24-09-2012) CN Buy

CN Sell

USA ..........................USD ................3.653..............3.685 UK ............................GBP ..............5.8588............6.1074 Egypt ........................EGP ................0.605..............0.711

The India Tourism office in the Middle East is making great efforts to promote Incredible India as a destination by conducting roadshows across the region in 2012. explores further...

Euro ..........................EUR ..............4.6746............4.8816


Canada......................CAD ..............3.7053............3.8369 Bahrain ....................BHD ..............9.5739............9.9137 Oman ........................OMR................9.405............9.6512 Kuwait ......................KWD............12.8877..........13.3505 Saudi Arabia ............SAR ..............0.9625............0.9972 Qatar ........................QAR ..............0.9944............1.0209 Australia ..................AUD ..............3.7742............3.9018 Japan ........................JPY................0.0459............0.0484 Philippines ................PHP ..............0.0865............0.0898 Singapore..................SGD ..............2.9453............3.0791 India ........................INR................0.0670............0.0702 Pakistan ....................PKR ..............0.0380............0.0398 Bangladesh ..............BDT ..............0.0438............0.0456 Sri Lanka ..................LKR ..............0.0274............0.0284 Nepal ........................NPR ..................0.05..............0.056 Morocco ....................MAD................0.405..............0.525 Switzerland ..............CHF ..............3.8595............4.0324 South Africa ..............ZAR ................0.485..............0.553

deserts and traditional touch of Rajasthan, different culture of Goa altogether will be included in their luxury filled travel,” asserted Vikas Rustagi, Regional Director, India Tourism, Dubai.

fter successfully concluding the roadshows in Amman and Dubai in June, India Tourism is back in action with roadshows being held in Muscat and Turkey, both in mid October after which there will be a promotional event in Kuwait on October 31.


The Gulf and the Middle East is an important tourism generating market for India with over 250 thousand inbound travellers. From 6.3 million tourists that visited India in 2011, the majority of foreign tourists came from North America and Europe and rated Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan as the top five states. Kuwait is a very important tourism generating market with high spending tourists possessing highest per capita income in the

“We need to educate the counter staff and the product development managers how to package the India product. Vikas Rustagi Regional Director India Tourism Dubai

region. Hence, besides highlighting various unique aspects of India’s tourism, the luxury aspect of India is emphasised more for the Kuwait travellers. “We need to underline the air connectivity to South India, Mumbai and Gujarat from Kuwait to promote health spas, holidays in the mountains, wildlife and luxury trains. Hyderabad with its unique historical ties,

In fact, the idea is to connect tourism service providers of Kuwait with professional service providers of India, so that the India product can be best understood and promoted in the Kuwait market,” he further added. According to World Travel and Tourism Council, India will continue to be a

tourism hot spot till 2018 and has the highest 10-year growth potential. A growth of 2.5 per cent in August 2012 over August 2011 was observed as compared to a growth of 5.3 per cent registered in August 2011 over August 2010.

Showcasing India The Gulf and the Middle East is an important tourism generating market for India with over 2,50,000 inbound travellers Highlighting the various unique aspects of India’s tourism and the luxury aspect of the destination is being emphasised by the tourism board for the Kuwait travellers According to WTTC, India will continue to be a tourism hot spot till 2018 and has the highest 10-year growth potential

GUEST COLUMN EDITORIAL Gala Eid bonanza in the offing ummer is officially over and the Middle East tourism sector is gearing up for a vibrant Eid Al Adha season. Major airlines, hotels and other sectors have started unveiling attractive packages for tourists.


Interestingly, the Global Village will welcome visitors on October 21 to cover the period of the Eid Al Adha that falls around the last week of October, making this season the longest in its 17 year history. Emirates calls tourists looking for an idyllic retreat this Eid Al Adha to take advantage of Emirates Holidays’ exclusive offers. For travellers planning ahead for the Eid Al Adha holidays, Hertz has announced the return of the Hertz Global Sale, offering discounts of up to 33% on international car rental in 100 countries. The sale covers, car rental bookings made from September 3 to 30 for vehicles booked till this year end. On the cruise front, Dubai Cruise Terminal catered 3,96,500 cruise tourists in 2011 and this year Dubai is expected to see 4,20,000 cruise tourists to the emirate, according to DTCM. The Tourism Body has stated that the numbers are projected to go up to 4,50,000 passengers and 125 cruise ships in 2013; 4,75,000 passengers and 135 ships in 2014. IATA has declared that ME carriers were the strongest performers with demand growth of 18.2%, outstripping a capacity expansion of 13.4% with load factors at 78.6%. The Dubai International Airport has witnessed 27.9m passengers in the first half of 2012.

‘Pay As You Drive’ scheme Autorent, a Middle East based car rental and leasing company, has been in business for over 5 years, operating in UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia. It is the only car rental company in the region to introduce the ‘Pay As You Drive (PAYD)’ scheme, for weekly and monthly rentals. utorent framed a unique exclusive car rental scheme as PAYD for its customers in late 2011, wherein, the customer would be paying only for what he drives along with a base price, which saves 75 per cent of the mileage charges. The concept was simple ‘I drive only 100 kilometers per day, why should I pay the rental charges same as someone who drives more?’


We, at Autorent, are proud to announce that it is the only car rental company that has its base in Middle East. We are also participating in the World Travel Market 2012 in London this November. The objective of participating in WTM 2012 is to showcase the company brand in par to other competitors and building new partners. It also helps us in strengthening the retail segment across the globe. Being a transportation services company, we always felt, it is incomplete to be in the industry with just a Car Rental and Leasing company, hence, we decided to form Autorent Limousines Service LLC in May 2012 as a separate entity to service the luxury car segment. Besides, Autorent added the Infiniti G25 to its fleet, as the demand for renting and leasing the high-end vehicles increased.

We have a separate team to study and understand the growing needs of the customer and fulfill their requirements. We strongly believe, more the easy approach, more the business. With this strategy and the growing demands of

Autorent has been partnering with leading car rental, airlines, hotels, tour and travel agents worldwide. As an initiative, we had participated in the Arabian Travel Market 2011 and tied up with major car rental service providers.

The concept was simple ‘I drive only 100 kilometres per day, why should I pay the rental charges same as someone who drives more?’ Chandra Mouli Senior GM, Autorent Car Rental LLC customers, Autorent has expanded its branch presence in all the 3 countries, for the customers to reach, as well the company to approach towards the customers. This way of approach has significantly contributed to the company’s growth in terms of expansion, new customers, revenue and providing employment opportunities in the region. The company has plans to maximise its fleet size with wide range of vehicle models for the customer to choose from. To make this happen, it is already in the planning process to introduce new products in the car rental industry.

To establish Autorent as a global brand, it has some strategic plans to broaden its existing market segments and potentially enter into new markets. As the first step, we are working closely with our partners and providing world-class service to all the customers, visiting this region. To ease the partners with their online bookings, the company has built a dedicated partner portal providing iFrame access of the booking engine and XML API for the partners to integrate in their website. In the initial stages of partnering with the travel and tour operators, we learn

a lot of things. Now, we understand their needs both vis-à-vis business and technology. And, with all the experiences gained and with dedicated professionals working with us from the industry, the company is doing very well with partners by understanding the scope of business with their support. We are in the process of creating technology oriented travel platform and setting up in-house call-centre to facilitate and cater to the growing number of customers. Starting from the beginning of 2013, transportation services company will be well equipped to serve its customers both in the region and worldwide through its affiliated partners.

Chandra Mouli Senior General Manager Autorent Car Rental LLC

Showcasing India tourism in ‘INDEXPO’ India Tourism, Dubai showcased Medical and Wellness Tourism in a special trade show, ‘INDEXPO in Muscat held from September 4 to 6, 2012.

According to the Hot Stats Industry Report from TRI Hospitality, Dubai continues to be the star performer in the ME, registering a 10% rise in visitor numbers in 2011 and 23% increase in guest nights, with average occupancy reaching nearly 82%, figures that are expected to be repeated during 2012.

Publisher Director Editorial Director Editor Assistant Editor (ME) Desk Editor Sub Editor Design Manager Advertising Asst. Manager - Sales Circulation Manager Manager Production

: : : : : : : : : : : :

SanJeet Sumeera Bahl Rupali Narasimhan Deepa Sethi Susmita Ghosh Archana Sharma Raina Mandal Nityanand Misra Geetika Pathak Akassh Kapoor Ashok Rana Anil Kharbanda

Offices: TRAVTALK is published by SanJeet on behalf of

Durga Das Publications Private Limited Printed at System Graphics India Pvt. Ltd. A-1, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase-I, New Delhi - 28 India

DELHI: 72, Todarmal Road, New Delhi - 110 001 Ph.: +91-11-23710793, 23716318 Fax: +91-11-23351503 E-mail: MUMBAI: 504, Marine Chambers, 43, New Marine Lines, Opp. SNDT College, Mumbai - 400 020, India Ph.: +91-22-22070129; 22070130, Fax: +91-22-22070131, E-mail: UAE : P.O. Box 9348, Saif Zone, Sharjah, UAE Ph.: +971-6-5573508 Fax: +971-6-5573509 E-mail:

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

advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use, and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. Contents of this publication are copyright. No part of TRAVTALK or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publication in writing. The same rule applies when there is a copyright or the article is taken from another publication. An exemption is hereby granted for the extracts used for the purpose of fair review, provided two copies of the same publication are sent to us for our records. Publications reproducing material either in part or in whole, without permission could face legal action.

The publisher assumes no responsibility for returning any material solicited or unsolicited nor is he responsible for material lost or damaged. This publication is not meant to be an endorsement of any specific product or services offered. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw, amend or otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the Indian and International Advertisements Code. The publisher will not be liable for any damage or loss caused by delayed publication, error or failure of an advertisement to appear.


Expanding domestic services Rotana Jet, in its bid to reduce physical distances and travelling time between the Emirates, launched twice a day, domestic flights to Fujairah, Al Ain, Sharjah and RAK on September 9 with ADAC. T T B U R E AU he airline had launched its first domestic scheduled flight to Sir Bani Yas and Dalma Island in June 2012. The new flights to Fujairah, Al Ain, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah are not only expected to give a further boost to


“Air connectivity is a key component of any country’s development. At Rotana Jet, we are committed in developing a safe, reliable and efficient air transport connecting the various Emirates of UAE with the capital to improve easy accessibility both domestical-

We are committed to develop a safe and efficient air connectivity to the various Emirates of the UAE to provide easy accessibility both domestically and internationally Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan Chairman, Rotana Jet the tourism sector but also enable visitors and residents to fly to Abu Dhabi, which is fast emerging as the new international aviation hub, to catch their connecting flights to the rest of the world.

ly and internationally. This will facilitate greater and more equitable benefits for tourism growth as well,” explained Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan, Chairman, Rotana Jet.




Qatar, Wipro join hands Qatar Airways gets into a long-term strategic partnership with leading Indian IT Company Wipro. The partnership was signed by (L) Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways and (R) Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro. This agreement will bring together Qatar Airways’ expertise in aviation systems and Wipro’s experience of application development and project management to develop a new suite of IT software.

have changed rapidly. They are looking for comfortable and more efficient ways of reaching from one place to another without spending much time. We believe that Rotana Jet has a contributory role in facilitating this,” added Al Nahyan.

Ali Majed Al Mansoori Chairman ADAC

The launch of the new services would help provide high-end efficient services to its customers “In today’s world the consumers travel behaviour

According to Ali Majed Al Mansoori, Chairman, ADAC, “The launch of the new services would help provide high-end efficient services to its diverse customers and develop connectivity within the whole of UAE.” The twice daily flight connecting Abu Dhabi to Fujairah started operations on September 19, while Sharjah got connected with the national capital on September 26. Price not to punch any pocket as all inclusive one way fares to Fujairah, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah start from AED 200 and to Al Ain at AED 150.

From Dubai to Algeria n Emirates will begin daily flights to Algiers from March 1, 2013. “Algiers will be our 22nd destination in Africa, providing a wealth of new travel options for customers in Algeria, who will be able to fly non-stop to our industry leading hub in Dubai and conveniently connect to points across the Middle East, Asian Subcontinent, the Far East and Australasia. This move will mark the airline’s growth in the African market,” said

Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum Chairman and Chief Executive Emirates Airline and Group

Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.





RAK flying domestic

First ‘check-in service’

RAK Airways launches UAE’s first domestic flight connecting RAK and Abu Dhabi from October 3. The airline also signed a code-share agreement with Etihad Airways on five flight sectors including domestic flights.

Offering increased convenience for the passengers travelling from Dubai, Air Arabia opened its first ever ‘City Terminal Check-in service’ outside an airport on September 8 in Lamcy Plaza shopping mall in Dubai.

T T B U R E AU y launching UAE’s first domestic flight, connecting Ras Al Khaimah with Abu Dhabi, John Brayford, CEO, RAK Airways said,


“Initially, there will be four flights every week, After which we will increase the services with daily flights from December 12 and further to double daily from March 13, 2013.” Brayford informed that the carrier will start its domestic service to Abu Dhabi from October 3 with a fare of Dh410 for a return flight. A one-way travel will take about 45 minutes.

John Brayford CEO RAK Airways

The airline will get the delivery of its third aircraft in March and fourth in November 2013. The third aircraft delivery will help the airline to double its daily flights to Abu Dhabi and Calicut, new route of Dammam and increase frequency on other existing routes. The fourth aircraft will enable the airline to double the number of flights.

RAK Airways has already signed a code-share agreement with Etihad Airways, allowing the former to book passengers for London, Manchester, Dublin, Bangkok and Geneva. The first ever agreement between two UAE carriers will see Etihad Airways place its EY code on the RAK Airways flight between Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi. In return, RAK Airways will place its RT code on Etihad’s five agreed routes.

T T B U R E AU he facility allows the flyers to check-in for their flight in Dubai and is equipped to accept baggage from the passengers and sent straight to the Sharjah International Airport.


Group Chief Executive Officer Air Arabia

said, Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia.

Checked-in passengers, who can choose seats for their flight, will receive their boarding passes and claim tags

Passengers will be able to check-in their baggage 24hour prior before their flight till up to three hours before

Adel Ali

This new flight will only take 45 minutes on a one-way travel

“Our new City Check-in facility will be a great value addition for our passengers.

It will help in reducing the amount of time the travellers need to spend at the airport and make the process of flying a little more hassle-free,”

“We hope to add Germany and the US shortly and agreed not to compete with Etihad,” Brayford confirmed.

Only 45 minutes

for any checked-in luggage at Air Arabia base in Lamcy Plaza. Managed overall, they only need to reach the airport to proceed to their flight.

departure at a desk open from 9am to 10pm. Air Arabia shuttle service to Sharjah International Airport is presently available from Lamcy Plaza. The airline recently enhanced its Sharjah-Delhi services by increasing its frequency to twice daily. Air Arabia, the largest Middle Eastern airline to serve India, currently offers seven weekly flights to Delhi. Effective September 1, the carrier offers flights 14 times a week, departing Sharjah International Airport daily.

New Service Offers This new service will offer convenience for the passengers travelling from Dubai

Economy Class at its best Travellers spoilt for choice Contd. from page 1 u

Cathay Pacific will launch the new Business and Premium Economy Class from October 29 on the Dubai-Hong Kong flights. Presently all the flights operating to and from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, features the flatbed products. S U S M I TA G H O S H he airline plans to introduce these new products on all their services to and from UAE around January 2013.


Voted World’s Best Business Class in the Skytrax 2012 survey from more than 18 million passengers worldwide, Cathay Pacific has overall load factor averaged above 80 per cent in 2012 so far. Due to expatriates’ natured traffic, majorly corporates, Middle East is an important region for the airlines as it flies to 5 different destinations within the region. “Cathay Pacific in the Middle East offers the best

Cathay in UAE The airline offers 17 nonstop flights every week between Hong Kong and the UAE, the most direct flights between Dubai and Hong Kong and one and only direct operation to serve Hong Kong directly from Abu Dhabi

schedules for travellers to connect Hong Kong and beyond to greater Asia. A range of products and fares are launched within due intervals to satisfy the travellers need at the best possible value. We also work on a sound distribution channel so that travel trade are constantly updated about Cathay products in the market,” said Brian Yuen, Country Manager, UAE & Oman, Cathay Pacific Airways.

“The travel agents are our valuable partners, serving the important role in letting travellers know why Cathay Pacific is the best way to fly into Hong Kong and greater Asia,” he further elucidated. The airlines’ sales team stays abreast regularly with the travel trade to update them with every development and also get informed

Brian Yuen Country Manager UAE & Oman Cathay Pacific Airways

on their anticipation. Cathay Pacific has already started selling the new product and expects their trade partners to show prospect within a small span of time with better and more communication. The bulk of the airlines’ business pours in from their travel trade partners. Cathay Pacific presently offers 17 non-stop flights every week between Hong Kong and the UAE, the most direct flights between Dubai and Hong Kong and one and only direct operation to serve Hong Kong directly from Abu Dhabi.

international carrier with over 180 wide body aircraft and a network reach of over 125 destinations on six continents and Qantas is Australia’s largest carrier and has an extensive domestic, regional and trans-Tasman reach. By linking the two, customers will have a luxurious travel experience with premium service on a modern fleet including the largest A380 network in the world.” Qantas will move its hub for European flights from Singapore to Dubai giving greater access to a broader European base for Australians to more than 30 European destinations including many gateways which were previously, not on the Qantas network such as Rome and Munich. “The Emirates Qantas partnership brings together

Partnership in Action Through close codesharing arrangements the partnership will combine Emirates’ network of more than 60 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Qantas’ network of more than 50 domestic and regional destinations in Australia with nearly 5,000 flights per week

two of the world’s great aviation brands. By combining forces, both the airlines will benefit from cost savings and enhanced economic efficiencies, including economies of scale

Both the airlines will benefit from cost savings and enhanced economic efficiencies including economies of scale and joint purchasing and joint purchasing. This will contribute in optimising the operating performance of each organisation creating a commercial relationship, a first in the aviation history,” he further added. The airline is planning further, in regards to increasing its flights and adding new aircraft to the fleet, to cater to the growing market that will come with the new agreement, “Emirates will continue to stay on course with its expansion plans. We have already launched 10 new

destinations in 2012 which include Buenos Aires, Dublin, Lusaka, Harare, Dallas, Seattle, Ho Chi Minh City, Barcelona, Lisbon and Erbil. We are going to include Adelaide, Lyon, Phuket, Warsaw and Algiers for the period of 2012-13. The airline has no plans to deviate from our proven strategy of investing in our business, which is reinforced by this partnership,” he informed. Emirates has the largest fleet of A380s in the world with 23, which will increase to 32 by the end of 2012. Qantas has a fleet of 12 A380s which will enhance the offering of travel on this highly popular aircraft. In addition, Qantas will launch new daily A380 services on the Sydney-Dubai-London and Melbourne-Dubai-London routes. Emirates will code-share on these routes. Al Mualla concluded by saying, “In early 2013, Dubai International Airport will open Concourse A, the world’s only purpose-built A380 Concourse providing 20 contact gates, plus four remote stands for the aircraft. The facility will offer the world’s largest First Class and Business Class lounges and offer an ideal stop-over destination for global travellers.”


Chinese Visitor Summit in Dubai Grand Millennium Dubai participated in the first Chinese Visitor Summit held in Dubai on September 5-6, to familiarise themselves with the overseas operator locations, facilities and packages. T T B U R E AU round 76 highest producing travel agents and tour operators from China representing both leisure and MICE sectors were present at the event. The reaction of the delegation to Dubai’s attractions was highly positive. These visitors stayed for only few days but advantageously they were prepared to travel during off seasons and hence, observed potential for the corporate travel sector.


China is becoming one of the world’s top outbound travel markets and Dubai is keen to tap this market with its global appeal. Most of the Chinese visitors are keen in staying at a location in Dubai, which is within close proximity to all top touristic and shopping attractions. “We were happy with the response and interest we received at the summit,” commented Peter Mansourian, General Manager, Grand

Millennium Dubai. “This event has familiarised the major travel operators with the relevant facts and contacts.

We are ready to exert all the required efforts to accommodate specific needs of the Chinese traveller and tailor made packages to suite this market segment,” he added. The hotel had showcased its new packages specifically designed for the Russian traveller at Leisure 2012 in Moscow held in September to tap in to one of the key global outbound markets. The hotel’s sales team has targetted other markets

Delegates in the Chinese Visitor Summit

2012 expansion plans in ME Maintaining its position as the largest hotel brand in the Middle East, the Rotana Group will open eight new hotels in 2012 including its first properties in Bahrain, Jordan and Oman and its second hotel in Qatar. T T B U R E AU otana will expand its portfolio in the UAE with four additional hotels. This October, the Group will open two new hotels - Al Ghurair Arjaan Rotana hotel apartments and Al Ghurair Rayhaan Rotana hotel in Dubai. The expansion plans will see the hotel group managing 14,380 rooms by the end of 2012. The brand also expects a 6 per cent growth of occupancy in 2013 across its portfolio in the region when compared to 2011.

We have properties in Syria and Egypt, both affected by the unrest but we are hoping to settle down soon though,” commented Selim El Zyr, President and CEO, Rotana.


Abu Dhabi reported a surge in occupancy in

14,000 by 2012 end The Group will raise the number of Centro rooms to 1,464 and the total number of Rotana rooms to over 14,000 by 2012 end It has further plans to open 25 ‘Centro Hotels by Rotana’ properties across the Middle East and Africa by 2014

Selim El Zyr President and CEO Rotana

October while hotels in Dubai were as full as they were in 2007. Growing 9.7 percentage points to 82.8 per cent in October 2011, Abu Dhabi has seen an increase in occupancy in the region. It moved closer to Dubai, which saw an occupancy increase of 87.3 per cent during the month. “Despite the several challenging economic and political factors, 2011 has seen the hospitality industry in the Middle East and Africa registering positive growth.

“To keep evolving our products in line with travel trends and guest preferences, is the essential means of our growth.

Presently, addressing one of the key areas of growth is the mid-tier market, for which we developed the Centro Hotels by Rotana brand,” added El Zyr. The company presently meets the needs of business travellers seeking a convenient location within the heart of the city, ensuring ease while organising and attending conferences, meetings and events.

Peter Mansourian General Manager Grand Millennium Dubai

like Europe, GCC, South America and Russia while also emphasising on the events and meetings sector as well. Other sales activities for the fourth quarter include participation and presence of Grand Millennium Dubai at World Travel Market in London in November and at EIBTM in Barcelona in December 2012.




22% rise in Russian hotel guest Contd. from page 1 u

passengers travelling through the Dubai International Airport amounted to 5,27,524 in 2009 over 6,70,038 in 2010. The number shot up again in 2011 and witnessed 8,90,140 passengers with an increase of 33 per cent,” Rahman explained further. Moreover, DTCM has further expanded its promotion of Dubai’s tourism assets through a partnership with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). DTCM has announced Dubai as the official host of ASTA International Destination Expo (IDE) 2013 to be held in Dubai. ASTA estimates attendance in Dubai in 2013 to be around 500 and 700 travel agents.

The number of Russian hotel guests in Dubai saw a significant rise in 2011 to 2,55,746, a rise of 22 per cent With the USA now being the 4 th most productive source market for travel to Dubai, the travel trade is delighted to see Dubai as the site for their annual international meeting, IDE 2013. The ASTA agents are eager to become better informed and share the benefits of creating new tourism traffic for Dubai.

A baby boy named EK A baby boy born on-board an Emirates flight from Dubai to Manila has been named EK after the identification code used by Dubai-based airline.





Middle East outshines in outbound The ME region is one of the fastest growing tourist generating regions with a worldwide market share of 3.8% in 2010 (UNWTO 2011). The rapid pace of economic development has been a key factor for the growth of outbound tourism. to destinations within the ME region. The Americas and Africa have, by and large, maintained their share of ME tourist arrivals, although both destination regions have

T T B U R E AU hree-quarters of outbound tourist arrivals generated from the source markets of the ME region are


seen higher market shares in earlier years than achieved in2010. The statistics of destination-wise arrivals from the ME for 2009-2010 (as available),

compiled from UNWTO data, indicate that seven of the top ten destinations with the highest numbers of ME arrivals are intra-regional destinations. Importantly, two European

destinations feature in the top ten list: Turkey and France. The ME region generated some 36 million international tourist arrivals in 2010, having more than quadrupled from

8.2 million in 1990. According to data available, Saudi Arabia is the ME’s largest tourist generating country with over 7 million outbound tourist arrivals in 2010.

u Middle East Outbound Tourism, Trips Abroad, 2000-2010 (x1000) v Arrivals from Middle East at Worldwide Destinations, 2000-2010 COUNTRY Middle East

2000 13,991

2005 22,972

2006 24,419

2007 27,122

2008 31,869

2009 32,715

2010 36,000

4,403 3,689 2,173 2,018

2,000 4,427 2,529 2,248

4,126 5,047 2,649 2,285

4,087 5,350

6,032 5,063




Destinations Series

Number of arrivals (x 1000)






13,991 22,972




(arrivals reported by destinations)

Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates* Kuwait Oman Qatar Bahrain Lebanon Syria Jordan Egypt Libya Iraq Palestine Yemen


3,863 1,625 2,964

4,564 1,523 5,307

4,042 2,139 4,531

4,196 2,094

5,253 1,972

To world

5,215 2,054

6,259 2,917



32,715 36,000































































Europe Africa Asia and the Pacific Americas


Saudi Arabia

w Interregional Tourist Arrivals from Middle East, 1990-2010 (%) n n n n

Change %

2000 54


17 25

31 5







49 20










47 19 4







36.0 31.9 32.7

























1990 All Source: UNWTO













Interregional Tourist Arrivals from Middle East, 1990-2010 (%) 8.2




Multi-million $ building Al Raha Beach Hotel, Abu Dhabi opens the multi-million dollar new building with state-of-the-art technologies and amenities this October. The brand’s new wing will add an extra 144 rooms and suites to its existing portfolio. T T B U R E AU

Pan Asian Restaurant, will present, options of Asian cuisine from the island and peninsula of Asian Continent.

he new wing of the building with 144 rooms and suites will give a preview of the sandy beaches and Arabian Gulf that surrounds the property. It will offer 140+ acres of a Beach Hotel setting with gardens with an extension of a 900-metre private beach.


“The extension will enrich this already unique property making the most of its stunning location and expanding guest facilities. For both local and international visitors, it will exceed their expectation and strengthen its established reputation as an exclusive lifestyle destination,”

Kamal Zayati General Manager Al Raha Beach Hotel

expressed Kamal Zayati, General Manager, Al Raha Beach Hotel. By the 1st quarter of 2013, the hotel’s already excellent culinary offering will be enhanced by the opening of new outlets. It has been designed, to offer a full experience, with its 3 open kitchens, Sushi Bar, Pre and Post Dinner Bar and Lounge.

Even the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) lends its support with targetted marketing and promotional plans and helps the hotel industry at major international trade and consumer fairs with strong brand presence and conducts international and regional roadshows and workshops.

October Promotions F&B promotions in Sevilla Restaurant, Cafe Mozart, Wanasah, La Piscine, Pool Bar & Restaurant, Black Pearl and Azur The Body & Soul Spa has incredible offers in October 2012

Expansion plans in full swing Fraser Suites Dubai is catering to the MICE sector by opening a new conference centre, comprising 3 meeting rooms and 3 executive boardrooms, in November, that will accommodate up to 200 delegates. T T B U R E AU n terms of revenue, there is a 40 per cent increase so far and October seems to be a stronger month. Ideally serviced residence for business executives, families and leisure travellers, the hotel provides outstanding facilities on a short term or extended stay. Dedicated on


Frasers Hospitality has launched its new high-tech brand, Capri by Fraser, with the opening of its debut property in Singapore. It will be followed by the opening of two more Asian properties – Capri by Fraser at Bangsar Kuala Lumpur and Capri by Fraser at District 7 Ho Chi Minh City.

“With more than 85 per cent occupancy year round, we are in touch with multinational corporations and launched our Rewards programme known as ‘Fraser Rewards’, David Brown General Manager Fraser Suites Dubai

expansion graph, a new Mediterranean themed restaurant will also come up, with a capacity of 150 heads in November. Opening 2 properties in Riyadh soon, Frasers stands out from the crowd in this highly competitive market.

which is a ‘Thank You’ note from us. It’s an initiative to encourage them to be loyal to our brand. We also launched ‘Global Loyalty Program’ of Frasers World in April, as our company has a goal to act as a Solution Provider globally,” informed David Brown, General Manager, Fraser Suites Dubai.

While discussing the value of the travel trade network, Brown explained that the travel trade are more appropriately termed ‘influencers’, as they have the power and ability to recommend to their clients where they should choose to stay. The travel agents are communicated on a regular basis and product training are conducted to assist them understand the brand. Frasers believe nothing beats the concept of ‘touch and feel of the product’ and hence, the travel trade actively participates in familiarisation trips. “We are also active in major travel trade shows like WTM and ATM, which assists us in spelling out the unique concept that we offer,” Brown further informed.

New Launch Frasers Hospitality has launched its new high-tech brand, Capri by Fraser The group will open 2 new properties in Riyadh and 2 more in Asia







How many vessels does MSC Cruises operate on? What are the various destinations that the fleet sails to? We have 12 vessels under MSC fleet, Divina being the latest addition. MSC Preziosa will become the 13th addition to the MSC Cruises’ fleet by next year 2013. We cover Mediterranean (East & West), Northern Europe, Caribbean, South America, South Africa and Red Sea.

Q. What programmes/clubs are available for children travelling on MSC? A. There are 4 different Kids Club programmes available on-board MSC Cruises, each tailored to a specific age Mini Club, Junior Club, the Y-Team and the MSC Generation teen club. Q. A.

Q. A.

What all facilities can be pre-purchased from MSC Cruises? Clients can pre-book on-board facilities like shore excursions, beverage packages (available both for adults & kids) & spa packages. Besides, they can also prepurchase transfers to/from airport to port as well. What exclusive luxurious product does MSC offer to its cruise travellers? MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida, MSC Divina and MSC Preziosa introduce MSC Yacht Club - an exclusive ‘ship within a ship’ that offers luxury, privacy and personal service combined with an array of leisure facilities and entertainment onboard. It has its own Concierge Reception and Butler Service. Rashmi Shenoy Commercial Co-ordinator, MSC Cruise Division, Sharaf Travel LLC

‘Resort at sea’ by Star Cruises Star Cruises is investing US$ 50 million for the renovation and refurbishment of Norwegian Dream to a super luxury cruise SuperStar Gemini that promises to be the first of its kind resort at sea combined with a shopping haven. T T B U R E AU he new super luxury cruise will offer a wide variety of cruises China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. It will launch in the early months of 2013. Formerly known as Norwegian Dream, 50,764 tonnage, SuperStar Gemini will join Star Cruises SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Aquarius, SuperStar Libra and Star Pisces to offer incredible holiday experience to its guests.


Besides luxurious cabins, multi-cuisine restaurants, entertainment and recreational venues and body care outlets, the 1,532 passenger capacity vessel will house 766 guest cabins. The new luxury cruise is scheduled to have 4,000 square feet shopping area including a duty-free shop. “SuperStar Gemini is a testament to our ongoing effort to expand our footprint in the

calling at Vietnam ports amongst others.

region from our well-established key markets in Hong Kong, Penang, Sanya, Singapore and Taiwan.

With the strengthened fleet, we are well-positioned to further develop the Asia-Pacific cruise market by introducing world-class cruising experience as a holiday option to the growing North Asia holidaymakers,” said Najeeb Mithvani, Second Assistant Vice President, Sales, Star Cruises. Star Cruises have announced to parade its new acquisition through a series of cruises between January 2 and

SuperStar Gemini promises to offer onboard facilities including culinary pleasure and recreational fun, including restaurants of Chinese, Asian and international cuisines, open deck barbecue, show lounge, karaoke, spa and health club, beauty salon, children’s playroom and swimming pool. Najeeb Mithvani Second Assistant Vice President Sales, Star Cruises

March 31, 2013 covering various countries and tourist hotspots including Krabi, Phuket, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Hong Kong, Sanya, Danang, Halong Bay before commencing her summer deployment several other tourist attractions between April and October 2013. After the Shanghai deployment, SuperStar Gemini will be homeported in Sanya in the winter season from mid-October 2013,

Star Cruises, together with Norwegian Cruise Line, owns a combined fleet of 18 ships which visit over 200 destinations across the world including Asia-Pacific, North and South America, Hawaii, Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Mediterranean and Bermuda.

‘Resort at Sea’ offers The 1,532 passenger capacity vessel will house 766 guest cabins and will have 4,000 sq ft of shopping erea

‘Sustainable Cruise’ project MSC Opera enroute SA Costa Cruises is the first cruise company in the world to carry out a ‘Sustainable Cruise’ project. It will provide stimulus for the implementation of the EU Directive on the three waste streams on-board the Costa Pacifica. T T B U R E AU he 3 waste streams are Packaging, biodegradable waste and paper that are being treated so that they can


waste, which on a ship like Costa Pacifica carrying up to almost 5,000 guests and crew, accounts for about 22 per cent of total waste. The third category involved in the project is paper, which accounts for about 16 per cent of the total waste generated by a ship like the Costa Pacifica. ‘Sustainable Cruise’ has already analysed the waste flow (supply, storage, use and disposal) of paper on-board the vessel.

Fabian Fernandes General Manager, Alpha Holidays PSA for Costa Cruises, UAE, Bahrain Oman Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

be reduced, recycled and reused as by-products. Costa has a policy of 100 per cent separation of solid waste on-board, with separate storage and disposal of the streams like glass, plastic, metal, food, paper, ceramics and aluminum. Another area of the project concerns wet waste, food and other organic

The Costa Pacifica was chosen to pilot this, the

A landmark experiment The 3 waste streams are Packaging, biodegradable waste and paper that are being treated so that they can be reduced, recycled and reused as by-products ‘Sustainable Cruise’ also aims to set up a new voluntary certification scheme for shipboard waste treatment

world’s first ever shipboard experimental project involving the use of innovative techniques and methods.

“We are very proud to be managing this highly innovative project on-board the Costa Pacifica, which will be the pilot ship for new models of management of certain types of solid waste,” commented Fabian Fernandes, General Manager, Alpha Holidays, PSA for Costa Cruises, UAE, Bahrain, Oman Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. ‘Sustainable Cruise’ also aims to set up a new voluntary certification scheme for shipboard waste treatment. In terms of CO2 reduction, its’ effects possibly pave the way for the introduction of specific EU environmental legislation for shipping.

Introducing additional voyages for the region’s 2012-2013 summer season, MSC Cruises sends MSC Opera to join her sister ship, MSC Sinfonia in South Africa. It will replace MSC Melody and take over the cruises departing from Cape Town. T T B U R E AU

For the first time ever, MSC Sinfonia will offer a 12-day/11-night roundtrip cruise to Walvis Bay,” further informed Shenoy.

or her first season in the region, MSC Opera will operate out of Durban. New ports of call during the season have also been added and guests can now enjoy the wildlife, shores and unparalleled scenic beauty of Hermanus, South Africa, Anakao, Madagascar and Luderitz, Namibia.


Rashmi Shenoy

“These itineraries are perfect to discover from MSC Opera or MSC Sinfonia, two ‘Lirica Class’ ships, with their rich entertainment and wellness options,” explained Rashmi Shenoy, Commercial Co-ordinator, MSC Cruise Division, Sharaf Travel. On November 1 MSC Opera will depart from Venice, Italy for a 20day/19-night southbound cruise and will arrive in Cape Town, South Africa for the first time ever on November 20. Following two ocean cruises from Cape Town to Durban and from Durban to Cape Town, MSC Opera will then operate out of Durban from November

Commercial Co-ordinator MSC Cruise Division Sharaf Travel

26, 2012 until February 21, 2013. Durban will say goodbye to MSC Opera on February 17, 2013 when she will make her way to Cape Town on a five-day/ four-night cruise, with a scheduled call in Port Elizabeth. On November 9, 2012 MSC Sinfonia will depart from Genoa, Italy, for a 20-day/19-night southbound cruise. “MSC Sinfonia will also offer cruises to Mossel Bay and Hermanus, South Africa, Luderitz, Namibia, Maputo, Mozambique and

South Africa will say goodbye to MSC Sinfonia on April 15, 2013, when she starts her 19-day/18-night return cruise from Cape Town, South Africa to Genoa, Italy.

quick read Bahrain hosted over 2,30,000 tourists in one week between august 16-22 during eid celebrations, acc. to the Ministry of interior. More than 1,90,000 tourists entered Bahrain via the king Fahd causeway while nearly 40,000 landed at the Bahrain airport.





Austrian Airlines Award Night Austrian Airlines hosted its Annual Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony on September 13, 2012. Each year, the airline in collaboration with Vienna International Airport celebrates the support, hard work and achievement of its valuable travel partners. The awards were given by Christina Debbah, Vice President for Global Sales and Distribution and Karim El Sanadily, General Manager for Gulf, Lebanon and Pakistan.





Finally a win-win deal

‘Fixing’ hotel rates

Sabre Travel Network has signed a multi-year full-content agreement with Air France-KLM. Now, the airline’s seat and ancillary products will be available to travel agents connected to the Sabre global distribution system (GDS).

Travelport cited an external research from Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) Group that up to 25 per cent of the hotel negotiated rates are incorrectly uploaded or not loaded at all.

T T B U R E AU s part of the renewed agreement Air FranceKLM will make its Economy Comfort seats available to the travel agents by using industry standards developed by ATP Co and IATA.


Sabre will also use its latest shopping technology to provide Sabre connected travel agents with even better access to the best possible availability on the airline’s flights. Air France will implement Sabre group-booking technology, which will make it easier and more efficient for the travel agents to manage Air France group reservations. Selling products through travel agents is a vital element of the overall distribution strategy. The ability to market and sell the Economy Comfort seat will enrich the


content, available to the Sabre community and will undoubtedly play a part in the future growth of the airline.

ravelport’s holistic approach is an industry’s first while no other GDS has made concrete progress in efforts to tackle this challenge to date.


“Having access to full content and real-time availability is what travel agents expect.

The decision to use industry standards to sell ancillary products is another major step in the evolution of how airlines sell their products,”

Daniel Naoumovitch CEO, Sabre Middle East and North Africa

increasingly recognise, the benefit of selling extras through the GDS,” added Naoumovitch.

explained Daniel Naoumovitch, CEO, Sabre, Middle East and North Africa. “The transparent shopping environment that we provide our travel agency customers will continue to grow and flourish, as carriers

Air France-KLM is the latest of a large number of airlines, including Emirates, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Qatar Airways and Egypt Air to have committed to Sabre and chosen to sell products through the travel agency channel.

According to CWT, this is due to a number of factors including the hotels’ failure to load the data into the Property Management System (PMS) or Central Reservation System (CRS). The rate is not being set up correctly or missing code information due to inaccurate code information being entered as many codes are outdated and duplicated. There are multiple processes for uploading data as well. In an effort to solve this problem, Travelport said it is working with hotels to streamline and simplify rate loading processes. According

STR Global Report

MEA results for August 2012 The Middle East-Africa region reported positive performance results in August 2012 when reported in U.S. dollars, according to the data compiled by STR Global. T T B U R E AU he region’s occupancy increased 11.9 per cent to 53.8 per cent during August, its average daily rate


compared to August 2011 and performance metrics were positively impacted because of it, showing a 19.6 per cent RevPAR

August 2012 include (year-over-year comparisons, all currency in U.S. dollars): R

Ramadan ended earlier this year that showcased a 19.6% RevPAR increase across the Middle East Elizabeth Randall Winkle MD, STR Global


increased 3.0 per cent to US$ 154.93m and its revenue per available room grew by 15.3 per cent to US$ 83.37m.

increase across the Middle East,” said Elizabeth Randall Winkle, Managing Director, STR Global.

“Ramadan earlier this

Highlights among the region’s key markets for

ended August


Cairo, Egypt, reported the largest occupancy increase, rising 69.7 per cent to 37.9 per cent, followed by Amman, Jordan, with a 52.9-per cent increase to 43.2 per cent. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, fell 8.5 per cent in occupancy to 31.0 per cent, reporting the largest decrease in that metric.

the largest increase in that metric, followed by Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (+18.1 per cent to US$ 255.99) and Amman (+17.8 per cent to US$160.00). R


Six markets achieved RevPAR increases of more than 25 per cent: Amman (+80.1 per cent to US$ 69.10); Cairo (+66.4 per cent to US$ 39.81); Dubai (+59.9 per cent to US$ 109.29); Jeddah (+40.6 per cent to US$ 202.75); Muscat, Oman (+36.1 per cent to US$ 61.27) and Manama, Bahrain (+25.8 per cent to US$ 67.08).


Beirut, Lebanon, fell 4.9 per cent in RevPAR to US$ 68.41, posting the largest decrease in that metric.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, increased 23.7 per cent in ADR to US$ 184.23, posting

Performances of key countries in August 2012 (all monetary units in local currency) Country














Saudi Arabia



SAR 1,290.90


SAR 723.69


South Africa



ZAR 825.13


ZAR 471.93


United Arab Emirates



AED 585.92


AED 332.51


* percentages are increases/decreases for August 2012 vs August 2011

Sandton, South Africa and its surrounding areas experienced the largest decrease in ADR, falling 11.6 per cent to US$ 118.45.

to the company, this includes conducting rate audits with hotels, designing and implementing new processes and removing the availability of outdated & duplicated codes and streamlining the process for hotels to upload their negotiated rates.

local properties and increasing the frequency of updates in the Travelport GDS channel. As a result, agents using Travelport will gain confidence in serving their customers as per their negotiated contracts, compared with other channels and GDSs.”

We have asked the hotel chains to put service level agreements in place with local properties Keith Harrison Global Head - Hospitality Suppliers, Travelport Keith Harrison, Global Head - Hospitality Suppliers, Travelport said, “Some of the positive changes we’ve introduced include building a feedback process, asking hotel chains to put service level agreements in place with

Travelport has already noted supplier compliance rise from less than 80 per cent to more than 97 per cent. The scheme, which kicked off in the US and Canada, will be rolled out globally later in the year.

Fiji in Etihad Towers n Etihad Towers Abu Dhabi announced the opening of the UAE Embassy of the Republic of Fiji in its commercial tower. The Embassy will be the pacific island nation’s first official representation in the Middle East region. Commenting on the opening of a second Embassy at Etihad Towers, Richard Foulds, Property Manager, Etihad Towers said, “It is a great honour to welcome the Embassy of The Republic of Fiji to our

commercial tower at Etihad Towers, particularly given that it will be Fiji’s first occupational representation in the Middle East region; a significant moment for both Fiji and the UAE. They are another highly prestigious addition to our ever-growing commercial profile and to now have two Embassies within our development is a testament to our premier commercial and residential offering and our close proximity to the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

Hertz on Turkish radar n The Hertz Corporation has entered into a new partnership with Turkish Airlines to provide members of the carrier’s Miles&Smiles frequent flyer programme with preferential rates on car rentals worldwide and Bonus Miles with every booking. The three-year agreement means Miles&Smiles members around the world can immediately start taking advantage of best available rates on Hertz car rentals while earning 500 Bonus Miles for each booking. The partnership between Hertz and Turkey’s dynamic national carrier

means that Miles&Smiles members can enjoy best rates and discounts on Hertz car rentals across a growing global network of more than 8,500 locations in more than 150 countries. This will be equally attractive for those travelling on business and in need of their own transport for meetings and sightseeing and for those using their Hertz renta-car to embark on holiday road trips. In either cases, the car rental is made easy by the presence of a helpful Hertz location on arrival at many airports and cities linked in the Turkish Airlines network.





Joining hands for MICE Tourism revenues mounted As part of reforming Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) plans to bring together Doha Exhibition Centre (DEC) and Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). T T B U R E AU

International Motor Show and Doha Trade Fair and Exhibition, amongst others.

he Tourism Authority considers steps to take in respect to the activities of DEC how they can be coordinated with QNCC, in addition to the coordination with the hotels hosting guests.


“Qatar has established itself as a unique tourism destination with strength in business and sports tourism. The hotel sector shows how it is maturing ahead of the challenges we face in the next decade,” informed Ahmed Al Nuaimi, Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority. Business tourism constituted 72 per cent of the

Ahmed Al Nuaimi Chairman Qatar Tourism Authority

number of visitors received by Qatar in 2011. Doha Exhibition Centre has hosted more than 34 exhibitions and conferences including 10 shows held for the first time. It has contributed to the local tourism industry by hosting some major exhibitions like Doha International Jewellery and Watches Exhibition and Qatar

Exhibitions and conferences are important contributors to the development of business tourism and other sectors. Hence, the exhibition industry is of particular interest to the tourism industry, especially in light of the reports which confirms that Qatar has become a major host for MICE.

Business tourism constituted 72% of the number of visitors received by Qatar in 2011 DEC has hosted more than 34 exhibitions and conferences including 10 shows held for the first time

Tourism Ireland observes savings for tourists as reduced Value Added Tax (VAT) makes travel to Ireland better value than ever. The temporary reduction in VAT is in place since July 2011 till December 2013. ublin buzzes with festivals in autumn like Dublin Theatre Festival from September 27 to October 14. Ireland’s most celebrated food festival and the world’s longest running, not-to-be-missed Oyster festival has continued from September 28-30.


Ireland’s most iconic venue, Croke Park Stadium visualises spectacular panoramic views of Dublin. At 44 meters above ground, five viewing platforms along a walkway offer a unique perspective of Dublin’s most popular and celebrated landmarks. “The number of visitors from the GCC region has risen steadily thanks to the introduction of the Visa waiver scheme, allowing holders of a valid UK Visa, entry to the Republic of Ireland along with the excellent airline access to Dublin from the UAE,” expressed Amanda Burns, General Manager Middle East and Asia, Tourism Ireland.

“The island of Ireland attracts tourists who enjoy high profile events and activities. This summer the island was abuzz with the

the water is the warmest, the Atlantic is at full throttle and the crowd is stoked. Besides, Bundoran is well-known for its welcoming accommoda-

The number of visitors from the GCC region has risen steadily thanks to the introduction of the Visa waiver scheme Amanda Burns GM - Middle East and Asia, Tourism Ireland excitement of the Irish Open, the Dubai Duty Free Races and the Volvo Ocean Race, all of which have a strong resonance with the Middle East market and the UAE through a shared love of golf, horse racing and sailing,” further informed Burns. Globally recognised as a surfing town, Bundoran is the best place to start any surfing adventure to explore the rugged northwest corner of Ireland’s Atlantic coastline. In September and October,

T T B U R E AU oreover according to CBJ the revenue generated from tourism rose by 38.5 per cent in August 2012 compared to August 2011.


tion, friendly locals, lively nightlife and good food. In Donegal, a landbased adventure around this region’s scenery offers thrills beyond surfing, including the sea cliffs at Slieve League, among the highest and most spectacular in Ireland.

VAT Reduction It applies services to tourism and hospitality sectors along with number of tourist attractions

revenue has taken place. These developments have recovered the tourism sector, which is one of the main sources of foreign currency pouring into the Kingdom.

cent in Lebanon and Egypt. Currently Egypt is considering to lower its sales tax to 5 per cent and 8 per cent in Turkey and 0 per cent in Israel.

Nayef Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan informed,

Jordan continues to offer complete MICE product due to its strategic location in the Middle East, professional DMC, high-end facilities and infrastructure, historical sites and most importantly an oasis of peace and stability.

“The number of overnight visitors had also increased by 7.4 per cent in the first eight months to reach 2.9 million.”

MICE in Doha

Lower VAT boosts Tourism T T B U R E AU

According to Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ ), Jordan’s tourism revenues scaled up to JD 1.7 billion from JD 1.4 billion in the first eight months of 2012 over same period in 2011 witnessing a rise of 19.2 per cent.

Nayef Fayez Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Jordan

With the increase in non-resident tourists visiting Jordan from Iraq, Libya and non-Arab foreigners like Americans, the growth in

Fayez also noted that compared to neighbouring countries, tour packages in Jordan are among the most expensive, which affects the competitiveness of the sector. Jordan’s 16 per cent sales tax, is the highest in the region, compared to 10 per

MICE unit is being created at the Jordan Tourism Board aiming at understanding the needs of MICE organisers and working with the tourism sector to upgrade and promote services offered by local providers. The Tourism Board continues to attend major MICE events taking place regionally and internationally.

‘Chill’ time for agents in Seychelles To continue increasing awareness of the Seychelles and the islands’ uniqueness to the Middle Eastern clientele, the Seychelles Tourism Board Middle East Office and Etihad Airways/ Air Seychelles organised a second Fam Trip to Seychelles with five travel agents from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai & Sharjah, UAE. During their four-day visit, the group were given the opportunity to experience and explore different islands. A series of FAM trips will be implemented over the next 12 months to increase the number of agents experiencing the Islands.





Lama expands to Abu Dhabi Identifying Abu Dhabi as a ‘significant and welcoming destination with high-end accommodation’, Lama Tours & Holidays has opened an office in the capital. The move targets its inbound operations on FITs, MICE, Wedding and Bollywood. T T B U R E AU o leverage the emirate’s growing stature as a ‘stand-alone’ destination, the opening of the office, is the first step, of a long-term development plan of Lama Group for the UAE capital. Lama currently accounts for over 1,50,000 Indian visitors annually to the UAE and is also marketing F1 packages to Indian visitors.


Presently four carriers fly from India to Abu Dhabi Airport. Etihad Airways is planning to launch flights from Ahmedabad in November 2012, its ninth Indian destination.

“India is now Abu Dhabi’s second largest overseas source market for hotel guests.

The expanding air access between the destinations and the close proximity of flying time is such that we now have the country firmly in our sights for our overseas promotional office network expansion,”

“We have received major support from TCA Abu Dhabi for this move. It has helped us, sell the emirate to the MICE segment, particularly out of India, for the growing Indian wedding market which is keen on the UAE; for the FIT sector, which is again eager on unearthing new destinations and on the digital media sector, in particular for locations for Bollywood movie

Kulwant Singh Managing Director Lama Group

shooting and premieres,” said Singh. Lama, headquartered in Dubai, presently handles Indian inbound traffic in between 60- 70 per cent into the UAE, with a high potential to market Dubai and Abu Dhabi as a two centre UAE stay. “The digital media sector could prove a rich vein for Abu Dhabi which has the diversity of locations that would appeal,” added Singh.

Expanding its presence Besides existing offices in Ajman and RAK, Sharjah Airport Travel Agency (SATA) plans to extend its presence throughout UAE by opening office in Dubai and Abu Dhabi by the end of this year. and exhibitions, SATA gets vibrant exposure and Sharjah Tourism plays a vital role in this venture.

S U S M I TA G H O S H ecognised for its various promotional offers, the travel agency company also offers holiday packages for Sri Lanka, Turkey and India during Eid Al Adha in October.


“Our business has flourished by 12 per cent in Q3 2012 over Q3 2011 and expects 15 to 16 per cent increase by the year end. We have lots of promotions in progress like we provide a discount voucher of AED 150 against a purchase of AED 300 in all Sharjah Cooperative Societies and many others are in the pipeline,” expressed Arshad Munir, General Manager, SATA. With aggressive marketing strategies, the travel company has taken initiative

Arshad Munir General Manager SATA

to reach every customer with their innovative proposals. “We have been providing tourist visas to all travellers since the last seven years. With reference, we don’t charge any guarantee deposit for family members, besides, refundable deposits that are needed for friends or relatives where the visa charge includes medical insurance as well,” he further said. By participating in various roadshows, events

The Emirate of Sharjah culminated on an upbeat note by winning the ‘Most Active Destination’ award at the Leisure Moscow 2012 travel and tourism fair in the Russian capital, held from September 19 to 22. The Sharjah pavilion attracted considerable attention of the tourism industry where several dignitaries, business leaders and representatives of international media visited the emirate’s pavilion and were briefed about the emirate and its tourism projects.

With the newly opened Abu Dhabi office, Lama has planned to market it along with its stakeholders, a four-city road show in India to convey what the emirate has to offer.

expressed Kulwant Singh, Managing Director, Lama Group.

According to Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), it will be a major boost for hotel guest tally from India, which is growing every month since the last 18 months.

‘Most Active Destination’

Working majorly and closely with the labour market, online appearance doesn’t affect SATA a lot. There is a big market share from the corporates as they are always contented with the traditional travel agents. Short break holidays are preferred nowadays while trends drifted towards new generation. “We have introduced ‘Edu-Trip’ with the school children on education tour and travelled to UK and France in 2011 with an overwhelming response,” Munir further informed.

October Offerings The travel agency company offers holiday packages for Sri Lanka, Turkey and India during Eid Al Adha in October

In the first six months of 2012 around 65,519 Indian nationals stayed in Abu Dhabi's hotels and hotel apartments, 31 per cent rise on the same period in 2011. Around 234,043 guest nights with 15 per cent increase on the first six months of 2012 over 2011.

1st Crowne Plaza Resort InterContinental Hotels Group has signed an agreement with Kuwaiti-owned Almadina Real Estate Development to open a 442-room Crowne Plaza Resort in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. The hotel is currently under development on the manmade Marjan Island.

Lama & India Connect Lama currently accounts for over 1,50,000 Indian visitors annually to the UAE and is also marketing F1 packages to Indian visitors They presently handle Indian inbound traffic in between 60- 70% with a high potential to market Dubai and Abu Dhabi

18th World Routes in Abu Dhabi n The 18th World Routes The World Route Development Forum is being held in Abu Dhabi from September 30 till October 3, 2012. This event witnesses the largest gathering of airlines, airports and tourism authorities in the world. Hosted by Abu Dhabi Airports Company, supported by Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, ROUTES 2012 event has attracted over 2,750 delegates from more than 80 countries. This largest global annual airline and airport networking event has marked the return to Abu Dhabi after the setting of one of the first World Routes events in 1996.

addressing a press conference, during early 2012 informed, “Route development holds the most vital role for any airport, airline and related industries. Abu Dhabi International, being one of the fastest growing aviation hubs in the world, today, is very happy to be selected to host the world’s leading air transport forum and event in 2012.”

Khalifa Al Mazrouei, Chairman, ADAC while

It also provides an opportunity to showcase the

“The winning bid is a collective achievement not only just for the aviation sector but for Abu Dhabi as a whole.

Khalifa Al Mazrouei Chairman ADAC

UAE’s capital city and the wider emirate to the world,” he further said. This year’s World Route Development Strategy Summit has brought together all aviation, tourism and cargo stakeholders and decision makers under one roof to participate in discussions and debates and set commercial and political agenda for the industry.

Art at its best Jumeirah Creekside Hotel features more than 480 unique artwork pieces from 52 artists originating from 11 countries in the Middle East. While, the hotels, Cuban-themed rooftop bar and lounge - Cu-ba has refrigerated floors so that one won’t burn their feet while relaxing by the pool.





Emaar Hospitality Group Dubai

Cathay Pacific Airways Dubai

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Dubai

Josef Kufer has been appointed as the new Chief Operating Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group. In this profile, he will be responsible for the overall operations of the organisation. Spearheading projects within the Emaar Hospitality’s subsidiaries, he will also work closely on expanding its five-star premium brand, The Address Hotels + Resorts. Kufer brings with him invaluable insights on the global hospitality landscape.

Brian Yuen is the new Country Manager - UAE & Oman for

Adrian Hearn is appointed as the Regional Director

Cathay Pacific Airways. In his present profile, he will be responsible for leading and managing the overall business and operational developments of the airline in the UAE and Oman. Yuen joined the airline as a Management Trainee and has accumulated diverse experience and held a variety of managerial positions within the airline, including marketing, revenue management and cargo sales.

of Sales – Middle East for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. He will be based at the Group’s Regional Sales Offices in Dubai and will head up the Group’s sales strategy and efforts in the Middle East. He brings over 20 years of hotel industry experience to the role. Hearn is a British national and has spent the past nine years in the region and brings specialist knowledge and excellent client connectivity in the GCC market.

Rocco Forte Hotels Abu Dhabi

Radisson Blu and Park Inn Hotels Sharm El Sheikh


Nader Hamarna is the new Regional Director – Sales,

Denis Dernault has been appointed as the General Manager

Middle East for Rocco Forte Hotels. Hamarna is specifically tasked to manage and grow the outbound leisure business from the Middle East to Rocco Forte’s European hotels, as well as maintain and develop corporate individual, meetings and incentives across the region. He brings over eight years of dedicated Middle Eastern hotels sales experience to the job, having. Most recently he was the director of business travel for The Ritz Carlton, Dubai.

for both the Radisson Blu and Park Inn Hotels, Sharm el Sheikh. Dernault has extensive knowledge in the hospitality industry, par ticularly within resor t proper ties, with over 30 years experience to his name. He started his career in 1980. Over the next 20 years he went on to develop considerable skills holding various food and beverage related positions around the world.

The Pullman Hotel Deira City Centre

Travelport Jeddah

Crowne Plaza Dubai Deira Dubai

Jean- Phillippe Bittencourt joins the soon-to-relaunch Pullman Hotel, Deira City Centre as the new General Manager. Bittencourt brings 30 years of experience from the hospitality industry. In his previous experience, he has worked in various places such as France, Morocco, Argentina, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates. Born and educated in Rio de Janeiro, he holds a Bachelor Degree in Economics and Social Sciences apart from others.

Ghulam Al Balooshi is appointed as the interim General

Raffi Torikian is the new Area Director of Sales and

Manager for Travelport’s Galileo operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). A seasoned GDS and airline veteran, Al Balooshi joined Travelport in 2010 with more than 35 years of experience within the travel industry. In his present profile, he will be responsible for all Galileo-related commercial activity in the Kingdom. He began his career with Gulf Air and has held senior-level commercial positions at both Sabre and Amadeus Gulf.

Marketing for Crowne Plaza Dubai Deira. In this new role, he will be overseeing and supporting the sales and marketing teams at the Holiday Inn Sharjah, the Holiday Inn Dubai Downtown and the Holiday Inn Dubai Embassy District. Torikian began his career with IHG in 2001at the InterContinental Le Vendome Beirut, Lebanon and since then, he has steadily progressed through various roles within the IHG group.

Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza Egypt

Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel Dubai Dubai

Luis Soares takes over as the Associate Director of Sales for Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi. Previously, he held the position of Sales Manager at Hyatt Regency London - The Churchill. A graduate in Tourism Management – Marketing from the University of Algarve (Faro, Portugal), Soares brings seven years of experience in the hotel industry and has held a number of positions in five-star hotels in Europe. Besides sales, he also has a marketing background and he was positioned as the brand manager at Vila Sol Spa & Golf Resort.

Yasmine El Gawhary acquires the new position of Director

Hussein Saad Hassan Sarhan is appointed as the new Reservations and Revenue Manager at Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel Dubai. Sarhan is an Egyptian national and prior to this profile; he was the Revenue Manager of Royal International Hotel, Abu Dhabi. In his present profile, he will be responsible for executing revenue strategies. He moved to Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort in 2007 and became the reservations supervisor the following year at Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel in the capital.

of Rooms for Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, Egypt. In her new role, El Gawhary will lead a team of 285 staff and oversee the activities of key guest-facing departments. She has served at the Cairo property for close to eight years and was also a part of the task force involved in training the Front Office staff at the much anticipated Four Seasons property in Beirut.

Aiman Roujouleh has been appointed as the Regional Director of Sales – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Roujouleh brings a wealth of experience from the luxury hospitality industry to his new role. He joins Mandarin Oriental after nine years with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts in Saudi Arabia where he most recently held the position as Associate Regional Director of Sales.





‘Making room’ for MICE & corporates Ramada Hotel & Suites, Ajman, the black hotel, became a landmark with a bunch of three 15-storey towers. The hotel not only promotes the property but also Ajman as a destination. Opening the door of its Tower 2, upgraded with fully refurbishment and the two executive floors on October 9, 2012, the hotel expects selling more than 1,00,000 room nights in 2012. S U S M I TA G H O S H ifficult to miss during the day, but hard to find at night, this unique hotel has only a big red neon sign at a corner that gives away the property’s uniqueness.


With the present 340 rooms, the hotel property receives more than 90 per cent occupancy and the newly added 60 keys will make the total inventory to 400 keys. With the additional rooms, the hotel expects to cater to the corporate and MICE segments. Iftikhar Hamdani, General Manger, Ramada Ajman said, “We are excited to open the newly refurbished wing by offering quality rooms to our corporate and leisure segment in the coming winter season.” Hamdani personally believes that keeping the staff happy is the only approach for more guest arrivals. He says that the staffs are the actual guests (in the property) who can get more external guests and repeat customers as well through their dedicated skills. Implementing a transparent

relation with the staff, the General Manager organises a lot of sports activities to enhance team-building spirit along with providing regular increments and annual bonuses to them. Ramada Ajman believes in following sustainable measures and takes up Corporate Social Responsibility by involving in environmental support. They engage themselves with many activities round the year. Beach cleaning, regular blood donations camp at the hotel, Earth Hour celebration, education to the guest for the environment support, visits to the elderly home Ajman and special need children at Sharjah are few among the many initiatives taken by the hotel. To convey their concern and responsibility, Ramada Ajman has planned to organise a Fashion Show for the members of Ajman Club of Physically Challenged on November 3, 2012, with a gala dinner for around 400 people. For the betterment of the organisation, the hotel

1,00,000 visitors in Q1

has also taken an initiative to collect and present AED 50,000 on the same evening. To make the ‘Go Green’ campaign successful which is going to be held on January 2013, the hotel is underway to educate school children, hotel staff and the guests. The front office is also well aware of the concept and helps in creating a buzz, by informing all the guests who are checking-in and checking-out. “We have reached out to the victims of the recent flooding in the Philippines this September by sending cash donations through Human Appeal International UAE. Besides, we were into donation campaign for Somalia and Pakistan during their recent calamity,” he added. The Zero Landfill Project initiated by Ramada Ajman was launched in Q1 2012, making it the first amongst the hotels in the UAE. It has achieved 90 per cent waste diversion from the landfill and further aims to bring it to 95 per cent, through the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle approach in waste management.

Iftikhar Hamdani General Manger Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman

We are excited to open the newly refurbished wing by offering quality rooms to our corporate and leisure segment in the coming winter season

The property has generated positive feedback and reinforcement from key entities in the emirate including Ajman Municipality Environment Department and Ajman Chamber of Commerce. Besides the waste management, the property is also motivated to put its efforts on water conservation and energy conservation. Ramada Ajman reaches out to the needy through clothes donation drive, across the world through Human Appeal International UAE. “We want to take a stand against poverty by donating unwanted clothes which can be of good use to others. We will continue with our altruism throughout all occasions as helping others is truly a pleasurable and noble deed,” Hamdani expressed. Focussing on the CIS, GCC and Indian market, the hotel majorly deals with local tour operators and various other travel agents mainly for tapping the leisure segment. With the support of local DMCs, the arrival of Russian tourists in

the property has also increased by 100 per cent, while the German market stays steady. The travel agents, mostly from the countries of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan also toured the property’s facilities recently. The trip was organised by Royal Park and Al Fanar Tourism. Located at the heart of Ajman City, with proximity to Ajman Beach Road, the city’s major commercial areas and main airports in the UAE, this 4-star luxury property guarantees unparalleled Arabian hospitality, first-rate amenities and superb dining experience. The new Bar-be-que outlet is scheduled to open by mid October 2012 in its private beach and also an Indian cuisine restaurant. The hotel also opened spas in August both in the property and in its private beach which is fetching excellent business. The hotel participates in various events every year like ITB, ATM, Leisure Moscow, WTM among others.

Numbers go up for Rail Europe

Sales 21%, Passengers 23% Compared to S1 2011, Rail Europe witnessed a growth of 21 per cent in sales and 23 per cent in passenger numbers for the first semester of 2012. T T B U R E AU

n The number of visitors to Al Majaz Waterfront, one of the premier tourist destinations in Sharjah and the UAE, has passed the one million mark during the first half of 2012. Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Chief Operating Officer, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), expressed his pride in reaching this result and attributed the large number of visitors – which is made up of different nationalities and cuts across all age groups – to the renewal of and diversification in activities and service facilities. According to Al Qaseer, the number of visitors totaled 11,51,433 by the end of June 2012 and included 3,48,000 visitors to

restaurants and cafes and more than 8,00,000 visitors to other attractions such as play areas, sport facilities and picnic areas, among others. He added that the increasing interest in Al Majaz Waterfront can be attributed to its strategic location in the heart of Sharjah and its beautiful natural surroundings, family atmosphere and the wide array of leisure options and activities that cater to the needs of all age groups and social segments. He stated that a number of recently launched activities also played an important role in attracting visitors, thus contributing to the destination’s steady growth rate.

ll in all, Rail Europe accumulated sales at the end of July reached 133M€ and should exceed 200M€ by the end of the year.


to same period in 2011. As a result of an aggressive expansion of Rail Europe sales network across the

tives that boosted the sales, particularly the ‘Rail Europe’s 17th Birthday’ activities and the ‘Summer promotions’. To

ME shows a growth of 26% by August 2012 compared to the same period in 2011 and is expected to show 30% growth by December 2012

“After the all-time highs recorded in 2010 and 2011, this performance demonstrates Rail Europe’s structural capacity to develop its sales, despite a difficult global economic environment,” said Pierre-Stephane Austi, CEO, Rail Europe. “Our business model, based on innovation and the excellence of our global distribution, is our best asset to keep on the excellent trend of this first half of 2012,” he added.

region; the growth of sales is expected to overcome 30 per cent by the end of 2012,” said Waleed Ahmed, Regional Manager, Rail Europe Middle East Office, Dubai.

“Middle East shows an increment of 26 per cent by the end of August comparing

The company’s good results benefit from the numerous promotional initia-

Waleed Ahmed, Regional Manager Rail Europe - Middle East Office, Dubai capitalise on these successes, the company will launch a similar promotional programme in November, with numerous discounts and specials, to entice more travellers to discover Europe by train. Above all, the second half of 2012 will be marked by

two major developments: the launch of direct connections to some of the most important European railways, Deustche Bahn and Trenitalia. With these direct connections, Rail Europe customers and travel agents will be able to access the same offer as in Germany or Italy, with real time access to all trains, fares (including the most discounted ones), and promotions, as well as to advanced functionalities like e-ticketing. In a context of economic slowdown and deregulation in the European railways industry, Rail Europe reaffirms its leadership, dynamism and commitment to always offer to its customers and carrier partners the best platform to book train tickets and rail passes, to Europe and beyond.

TravTalk Middleeast  

TravTalk Middleeast Magazine