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ATM Issue 2004

World Travel Awards 2004

Emirates: the Success Story

Nominations are announced See Special Supplement

Pages 2-3

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum speaks exclusively to BTN

Cyber Hotel

What are hotels doing to win the techno savvy customers? See page 22

Emirates Profits Rise to Best Ever T

he Emirates Group, one of the true success stories of the airline industry over the last ten years, has announced a record net profit of Dhs 1.75 billion (US $476 million) for the financial year 2003-04 ended on 31st March. The figures represent a 67 per cent improvement over last year’s net profit. Total revenue also reached an alltime high of Dhs 14 billion ($3.8 billion), which is up 35.5 per cent from last year. Whilst the wider industry continues to struggle for recovery, the Emirates Group’s new best-ever annual results stem from growing customer preference for the airline and the products and services of its associated travel-related companies. The ownership will be paid a dividend of Dhs 329 million ($90 million). The 2003-04 Report and Accounts of the Dubai-based Emirates Group, which comprises Emirates Airline, Dnata and associated companies, were disclosed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates, during a news conference in Dubai. In an announcement that will give a great boost to the success of the Arabian Travel Market 2004 Ahmed said: “The Emirates Group’s strong

performance once again in the last financial year confirms not just that we are on the right track but also that we are doing our part to help our government realise its aggressive master plan for Dubai’s development.” He added: “We have plans in place for 2004-05 to keep the momentum and continue to deliver the same kind of performance.”

INCREASE

Emirates Airline, the driving force behind the group’s continued success carried 10.4 million passengers during the financial year, an increase of almost two million passengers or 23 per cent more than the year before. The airline’s profit of Dhs 1.57 billion ($429 million) was 73.5 per cent better than last year’s. Dnata, Emirates’ air travel services provider showed a profit of Dhs 174 million ($47 million) that was 23 per cent better than last year, on turnover of Dhs 1.1 billion ($298 million), 14 per cent above the year before. Finally, the cash balance for Emirates stood at a robust Dhs 6.4 billion ($1.8 billion) at the year’s end, compared with Dhs 4.8 billion ($1.3 billion) the preceding year – and substantially more

than the internal benchmark of cash balances for at least six months’ worth of debt obligations and lease rentals. In outlining the reasons for the Group’s strong growth, Sheikh Ahmed reaffirmed the integral part Dubai plays in the success of the Emirates Group. This is a particularly significant reference for ATM 2004 and a boost for the region as a whole. In commenting on “the recipe for our continued success,” he singled out “the leveraging of Dubai’s location as a global hub and of the government’s ambitious development programme, our multibillion dollar investment in new equipment and, crucially, the skill and dedication of our team.” Success is built by pushing hard in all areas of tourism development. Sheikh Ahmed also noted: “We have not joined any alliances nor followed any ‘guru’s teachings’ and have simply knuckled down to winning more supporters by offering them quality products.” It sounds simple but there is clearly a great deal of determination required to drive significant progress in the region. And some pride in their achievements too. He added that the Emirates Group as a whole contributed

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed AlMaktoum

an estimated Dhs 13.6 billion ($3.7 billion) to the U.A.E. economy during the past financial year. Sheikh Ahmed noted the importance of the “the team” and the Emirates Group employed 22,500 people – an increase of 4,000 or 22 per cent over last year. This represented an average weekly hiring of 77 new employees – and a mere fraction of the staggering 5,000 job applications received weekly on average by the Group. The total of 265,000 applications received during the past financial year represented an increase of 29 per cent over the previous one. This is a great indicator of their success.

NEW AIRCRAFT

The Emirates Airline’s fleet expanded by 15 aircraft during the past financial year and had reached 61 by 31 March. It presently stands at 67 - including five freighters - serving 75 destinations in 53 countries. With 90 new aircraft in the pipeline, the

airline expects its fleet to continue to expand at the rate of at least one new aircraft per month for the rest of this decade, and is on course for a 130-plus fleet by 2012. It expects to hire its 1,000th pilot and 5,000th cabin crew within the next few weeks. Touching on the Group’s outlook for 2004-05, Sheikh Ahmed confidently concluded: “This financial year will see the airline increase its capacity by 26 per cent, while Dnata will continue its winning ways with new initiatives to boost services to customers.” With the successes of 2003-04 it would be foolish to question his predictions. www.emirates.com

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Arabian Travel Market 2004 is the biggest ever! Arabian Travel Market 2004, the Middle East’s premier travel and tourism event, has contracted well over 1,000 exhibitors – the largest number ever in the event’s 11-year history. The show is 25% bigger than last year and will feature exhibitors from 55 countries, including first time official participation from Iran and Abu Dhabi.

M

att Thompson, Group Exhibitions Director at Reed Travel Exhibitions, the company which organises Arabian Travel Market is jubilant. “This excellent response from both the local, regional and international industry is a key indicator of the bullish attitude the global trade is now adopting following last year’s crises of Iraq and SARS”. “What is even more pleasing is the widening of the exhibitor portfolio which this year includes extensive representation from hotels, airlines, adventure tour operators, well being clinics, spas, golf resorts, ferry companies and island

2 BREAKING TRAVEL NEWS

hideaways. Many companies are new to the market and the business opportunities on offer look like being more expansive than ever.” The Arabian Travel Market is now the fastest-growing show in RTE’s extensive portfolio and the company’s second largest event after the annual World Travel Market. They also organise C.I.S. Travel Market, EIBTM, and LACIME in Brazil, British Travel Trade Fair, the International Luxury Travel Market, La Cumbre, International Golf Travel Market, Mediterranean Travel Fair, Top Resa, AIME and ICCA Exhibitions in association with ICCA Congress.

GROWTH Thompson adds, “Growth for ATM is not just on the exhibitor side, visitor predictions look very healthy with pre-registrations up 31.8% on the same period last year. Again, a particularly heartening factor is that at least half the pre-registrations are coming from people planning to visit the show for the first time.” Arabian Travel Market 2004 has also benefited from the staging, just prior to the event, of the 4th Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Doha, organised by the World Travel & Tourism Council. The Summit was attended by Chairmen and CEO’s of

Matt Thompson

David Tarsh of WTTC

hundreds of top Travel & Tourism companies, dozens of the world’s leading travel and business journalists and numerous government officials. The two events entered a joint marketing agreement earlier in the year and as Matt Thompson put it then, “The synergy between these events is extensive. The Summit is the highest-level meeting in the international Travel & Tourism calendar and together with Arabian Travel Market, we will ensure the eyes of the global industry are firmly focussed on the Gulf in May.” David Tarsh of WTTC explained, “The joint promotion

with Arabian Travel Market means the Summit will reach the 40,000 travel trade delegates Reed Travel Exhibitions is targeting in the show's direct mail campaign. It will also feature in the ATM's extensive emarketing campaign and on its website. Conversely ATM will feature in WTTC's promotion and the cross-marketing should encourage more senior travel trade professionals than ever to make the trip to the Gulf this May.” With the widely accepted success of both these events Tarsh and Thompson seem to have been proved right.

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Arabian Travel Market 2004 FACTFILE Opening Hours

Thursday 6th May 2004

Tuesday 4th May

11:00 - 18:00

Meridian Club Members & Trade Visitors

Wednesday 5th May

10:00 - 18:00

Meridian Club Members & Trade Visitors

Thursday 6th May

10:00 - 20:00

Meridian Club Members & Trade Visitors

17:00 - 20:00

General Public

16:00 - 21:00

Meridian Club Members & Trade Visitors & General Public

Friday 7th May

Seminar Programme

A full programme of educational and informative seminars sponsored by TTN and TradeArabia.com will run alongside the exhibition. All seminars are free of charge to all ATM delegates. No booking is required and seats at each seminar are available on a first come first served basis. Seminars will take place in Ajman 6A above Hall 6, located on the mezzanine level.

Wednesday 5th May 2004 11:00 Organising World Class Events in the Gulf When Dubai hosted last year's annual World Bank/IMF meeting, it in effect announced to the world that it was ready to handle the needs of any major world event. At this seminar you'll hear the inside story of how this complex and challenging event was won, how Dubai surpassed the organisational requirements and what this means for the future of the meetings industry in this region. The World Bank/IMF meeting is notorious in the meetings world for the complexity of its arrangements as it combines formal delegation sessions and informal businessto-business wheeler dealing. To take on such an event successfully requires awesome organisational ability. If you are planning or considering an event of any size in the Gulf area, this seminar should be the first entry in your diaries and there is no better time to bring your delegates over to experience a world class event. Moderator: Mr. Medhat Nassar, Regional Business Development Manager - World of Events Panelists: Mr. Rashid Al Noori, Senior Vice President, Dnata Agencies Mr. Ahmed Al Banna, Deputy Director General, DCCI Ms. Patricia Soen, Membership Director, ICCA Location: Ajman 6A

14:00 Trends in Outbound Travel from Saudi Arabia - The Largest Source Market in the Gulf / Middle East Saudi Arabia represents the largest body of outbound travellers in the Middle East / Gulf region. Further, the Saudi traveller tends to be a long-stayer and a high-spender. These factors make it a source market of great importance, for all destinations seeking to increase their share from this region. This presentation will attempt to profile the Saudi outbound traveller, analyse trends in travel patterns and behaviour, and present an 'outlook for the future' based on these trends. Market Vision is a specialist tourism and hospitality research and consulting organisation, based in Dubai, with a focus on the Gulf / Middle East markets. Its clientsinclude the Madrid-based World Tourism Organisation,European Travel Commission, VisitBritain, Turespana Spanish Tourism Board, and Cyprus Tourism Organisation. Speaker: Mr.Gautam Sen Gupta, CEO & Director of Market Vision Research & Consulting Location: Ajman 6A 16:00 E-commerce Is Not The Future, It Is The Present Expedia is the largest Tour Operator dedicated to the online market and is the fastest growing travel agency - in 7 years of operations reaching a turnover of $8.2 billion dollars and 35 million room nights sold during 2003. Expedia allows customers to fully tailor make their travel experience and uses state-of-the-art online package technology. This seminar will show the evolution of e-commerce from booking the single elements, to the whole travel experience. E-commerce is not the future, it is the present and it is happening while you read these lines. Speaker: Mr Diego Lofeudo, Senior Sales Manager of Destination Services for Expedia, Inc Location: Ajman 6A

14:00 E-Umrah Made Easy The seminar will commence with a brief overview on Dar Al Manasek Tourism and Umrah and WaytoUmrah.com. Concentrating on the services and online reservation system - (DORS - Dar Al Manasek online Reservation System) that is available. The session will include area such as Umrah Packages (visa services, meet and assist, transportation, guide, accommodation according to the ministry of Hajj regulations), Hajj (Meet and Assist, Transportation, guide, accommodation) and Ramadan Packages. An Introduction, Hotels Guide, Key Benefits of the system, system requirements, payment types and usage will be provided for the this Reservation System. Followed by a Brief online Presentation on DORS - How to make bookings, How to amend /cancel bookings, Generating different kinds of Reports and How to Print Online Guest Voucher. WayToUmrah.com will give information on the overall Ministry of Hajj System, Applying for visas, Stages to pass on, and Interrelation between other Ministries, Approval of Visas and Obstacles. Going on to Key Elements of the System through to e-payment and future plans such as Expanding the Umrah System so that it will reach all Muslims all over the world. Speaker: Dar Al Manasek and waytoumrah.com Location: Ajman 6A 16:00 SMART PACKAGING: MEETINGS-2-GO Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art. Meetings2Go aims to make meetings great works of art - at a fraction of the cost. Sometimes, we appear to make meeting planning so unnecessarily complicated. Meetings2Go makes the process simple and elegant by making available ready to go turnkey meeting and incentive packages. Meetings2Go is part of a family of products that include Events2Go, Incentives2Go and Trainings2Go. The target audiences are part-time planners doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and others who do not consider themselves meeting planners but who actually plan meetings for their organisations. There are over 200,000 of them in the USA alone. Dr. Andrea Sigler, President and CEO of CIMPA will explain how suppliers and buyers alike can participate and how sellers can reach buyers they otherwise would not meet in

\trade shows and industry meetings. Speaker: Andrea Sigler PhD, President and CEO Connected International Meeting Professionals Association Location: Ajman 6A

Social Programme Monday 3 May 13:30 Nakheel Luncheon (By Invitation Only) TBC

Tuesday 4 May 10:00 Reed Travel Exhibitions Opening Ceremony Dubai World Trade Centre 16:00 SKAL Club Dubai 672 Drinks Party (By Invitation Only) Entre-nous Restaurant, Upper Section, Novotel Hotel 19:00 Reed Travel Exhibitions Official Exhibitor Welcome Party The New Arabian Ranches 20:00 Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa Reception (By Invitation Only) Le Royal Meridien Dubai

Wednesday 5 May 18:30 Fairmont Dubai Cocktail Reception (By Invitation Only) Fairmont Dubai

Thursday 6 May 16:00 Czech Republic Reception Stand 2505

Friday 7 May 08:30 Reed Travel Exhibitions Golf Tournament The New Arabian Ranches

Venue ATM 2004 returns to it's original home at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Site maps and full information on the Trade Centre including services offered, facilities and a full exhibition calendar can be found at www.dwtc.com

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BREAKING TRAVEL NEWS 3


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by Alex Lewis

Middle East makes MICE destination In a significant announcement for all tourism professionals in the region the International Congress and Convention Association, a leading industry body for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) professionals, says the Middle East is now a key emerging destination for the lucrative MICE sector.

T

he Netherlandsheadquartered ICCA says the region is now the fastest-growth area for membership and it is looking to set up a Middle East chapter. “The Middle East has already established itself as a leisure destination and is now growing as a business and meetings centre,” said ICCA Chief Executive, Martin Sirk. “The largest growth in membership in our organization worldwide has come from the region and over the past three years, the number of members we have in the meetings and conference industry in the Middle East has risen by 200 per cent.” With these facts in mind the ICCA has organised a seminar at ATM 2004 that will take place at 11am on May 5th and focus on ‘The Impact Of Hosting The World Bank/IMF – Why Dubai Is Now A Major Player In The World Of International Meetings.’ They are clearly taking Dubai

very seriously. For their part, Reed Travel Exhibitions have prioritized the MICE industry in the ATM’s Hosted Buyer programme for the past two years and this year will see 50 international MICE buyers attend the show. “These buyers come from some of the biggest multinationals in the world,” said Matt Thompson, Group Exhibitions Director at Reed. “The MICE focus has come about at the request of exhibitors, which is an indication of the potential the industry sees from this sector.”

SUMMIT The World Travel and Tourism Council's Fourth Global Travel and Tourism Summit, held in Doha from May 1-3 is another bonus for the promotion of the region’s MICE activity. Qatar Airways is hosting the event and as Mr Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer puts it, "The fact that the Word

newsbriefs ••••••• AFM Hospitality Name New CFO

AFM Hospitality Corporation announced the appointment of James D. Meier as Chief Financial Officer for this growing hospitality franchising, services, and consulting company.

6 BREAKING TRAVEL NEWS

Hotel Show in Dubai has High Hopes When hotel owners, suppliers, operators and developers attend this year’s Hotel Show, 17-19 May at the Airport Expo Dubai, they will find a number of products and services making their Middle East

ICCA Chief Executive, Martin Sirk

Travel and Tourism Council selected Doha as the host of the Fourth Global Summit reflects the high quality conferencing, business and leisure facilities that Qatar offers.” To emphasise the point even further he adds, "The eyes of the world will be on Doha to see what future directions the world travel industry will take.” Clearly all the industry attention given to the Middle East in early May is very much welcomed. Specific hotels in the region have also caught onto the MICE potential. The Taj Palace, Dubai is a good example. Yannick Poupon, general manager of the hotel, envisions the hotel becoming a new choice for business travellers and meeting groups. “We are setting our sights toward building up our meetings and conference business,” he says. “The Taj Palace Dubai is gaining ground with meeting planners when our hotel was singled out as an option to host medium-size

business delegates.” Mr. Poupon is quick to acknowledge the part that regional marketing has played and adds, “The UAE has been aggressively promoted to the international market as a country with the fastest economic growth and with Dubai a growing regional hub in the Gulf region, business opportunities are flourishing year-on-year. The business generated from conduct of exhibitions, conferences and meetings are growing by leaps and bounds. We, at the Taj Palace Dubai, will try to tap our share of this market by providing meeting planners and MICE organisers more awareness of what unique offerings the Taj Palace Dubai can provide their delegates when they are in Dubai.” In an attempt to further their ‘business’ pitch, Mohd ElKahla, the Taj Palace Dubai Associate Director of Sales and Marketing adds, “annually there are

market debut. Dubai’s hospitality industry is constantly expanding, with plans to build at least 200 luxury hotels and resorts within the next five years.

management changes today. Ricci Obertelli, Chief Operations Officer since 1997 has been promoted to position of Global Development Director of the Group. Francois Delahaye, currently General Manager of The Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris will become the Group Operations Director, as well as retaining his role at The Plaza Athenee.

Dorchester Group Announces Changes at top

The Board of Directors of the London-based Dorchester Group announced major

exhibitions and events in Dubai where the hotel industry faces scarcity of supply due to the increasing demand each year. Taj Palace Dubai with its niche profile and strong unique selling points like its unmatched large and spacious rooms, videoconferencing, a digital congress system that allows simultaneous translation and state-of-the art audio video facilities, relaxing spa and recreation centers is well positioned to host medium size events tailored to the most discerning guests.” With the international significance of the tourism events taking place in the region during May and indeed some of the future prospects including the 15th Asian Games in Qatar in 2006 there is no reason to imagine that the Middle East won’t continue to out grow its rivals as a top MICE destination.

Shangri-La to Open in Xian

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, announced it will open its second five-star hotel in Xian in November 2006. This 400room hotel will complement the group's first hotel in Xian, the 423-room Shangri-La Golden Flower Hotel, Xian, which opened in 1993, and ShangriLa's current portfolio of 17 hotels in mainland China.

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The world has a new airline: Etihad by Ben Kilbey

A

s I drove through Piccadilly Circus on my way home only last week I peered through the top level of the Double Decker London bus and observed a rather minimal yet rather intriguing advertisement. Along the side of another bus read the slogan ‘The world has a new airline Etihad’. Nothing too dramatic there you would think, well hold on and think again. ‘The world has a new airline’?? Madness surly at a time when most other carriers are either shedding their loads, consolidating their presence or simply disappearing altogether. Obviously somebody knows a little more than the rest of us, or merely has money to burn? It could be either in the UAE! Etihad is touted as the UAE’s new national airline. It wants to offer something above and beyond the normal cabin service and a superior travel experience altogether. In a bid to do so the airline, chaired by Dr Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saif Nahyan, has collaborated with the Abu Dhabi Airport Catering and Duty Free to offer a unique style of service. In a bid to offer a varied and somewhat eclectic menu Etihad has commissioned some top flight chefs to prepare fusion cuisine for in-flight dining. “It’s just another distinction that will make Etihad a leader in

customer service”, said Dr. Hahyan. “As we service an international community, we have designed the menu accordingly with offerings including Oriental, Asian, European, and regional dishes,” he enthuses that, “its not just how they are served but it is what our guests are served that they will remember.” One of the main distinctions that Etihad offers over other airlines is their three zone seating system. Instead of listing seating in the traditional manner Etihad is broken down into three specific zones, Diamond, Pearl and Coral. Diamond, as the name may suggest is Etihad’s interpretation of First Class. In Diamond class guests can have five choices for their main meal, including a light meal option. Then there is pearl, here you have the choice of four meals and one vegetarian option. In both zones there are no trolleys with all meals being hand prepared in the galley and served on full sized plates. Passengers travelling in Coral zone do not miss out either, they have the choice of three meals and one vegetarian option. Sylvester Rodricks, Controller Product Development, On Board Catering says, “we are proud to offer an Etihad ‘signature-dish’ in every zone.

The cuisine quality will be consistent throughout the zones. We want all of our guests to savour our gourmet fusion fare.”

DESIGNER So the food sounds good, even back in the Coral Zone but what else is there to set Etihad apart from the rest. The uniform perhaps? If the press releases are to be believed then the designer of the onboard uniform is a man to do business with. His fashion clients include Europe’s Royal Families, Arabian princesses and A-list celebrities. His name is Ettore Bilotta, an Italian designer who is drawing his inspiration for the Etihad uniform from the diverse cultural integration of the region, along with the influence of the desert and the importance that Middle East women give to the style, quality and luxury of their clothing. “I travel a lot and always look with stylists eyes at how flight attendants are dressed,” he explains. “For Etihad, I had a competition with myself to come up with something really different – a unique design that would combine the best of Italian style and Arabic traditions.” “The new collection for the UAE will be very rich, unique and elegant’.

RICHARD PEARCE So, things are sounding good all round. Good food, good service and well dressed hosts. Breaking Travel News caught up with Richard Pearce a

spokesperson for the airline, to get a better understanding of what the airline intends achieve. Isn’t now a difficult climate in which to launch a new airline? Why now? While the global airline sector has levelled out following the effects of September 11, SARS and the invasion of Iraq, there has been significant buoyancy in the Middle East economy. The UAE is increasingly becoming a major transportation and distribution centre for products destined for both Europe and Asia. We believe we are well placed to capitalise on the growth in business, leisure and commercial traffic to the UAE and beyond to Asia. Abu Dhabi is an important centre of commerce, in particular for the oil, shipping and banking industries and in the continual quest for the leisure traveller to explore new and interesting destinations tourism to the region is on the increase. Who is backing Etihad Airways? Etihad Airways is the new national airline of the United Arab Emirates. Etihad was established in July 2003 by decree of the UAE Government and operates under the patronage of HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It has a capitalisation of AED

500 million, represented by 500m one dirham shares owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi. How do you plan to differentiate yourselves from the established competition within the region? (Emirates has established an enviable reputation, Gulf Air has been revitalised and Qatar Airways has ambitious expansion plans). What USP will you be offering? We firmly believe that there is space in the market for a fullservice airline of the calibre of Etihad that is determined to offer exceptional levels of personal service and comfort. It is inevitable that we will operate on some of the same routes as other carriers but we feel that the market is big enough for all players. Ultimately customers will decide which service they prefer.

Our aim is to provide a high level of personal - we do not refer to passengers we have guests and our cabins are divided into zones – Diamond, Pearl and Coral Our Pearl zone in particular is a value-added product, which

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we believe will be well received by both the corporate and leisure traveller. How do you see the mix between business and leisure traffic? The UAE is increasingly becoming a major transportation and distribution centre for products destined for both Europe and Asia. We believe we are well placed to capitalise on the growth in business, leisure and commercial traffic to the UAE and beyond to Asia. At a time when many airlines have opted for a two-class configuration and others are going for four, with a premium economy cabin, you are operating A330-200s with three classes. How confident are you there is still a market for first class? We do not have a first class--we operate aircraft with guest zones that are not directly

equivalent to the traditional airline breakdown of seats. We feel that there will always be a market for a good premium product, especially in the Middle East.

Two-for-one, companion tickets, free accommodation etc. We have introductory fares, which will be in place for travel commencing before the end of June 2004.

Corporate travel buyers are a hard-nosed lot. How do you plan to win their business? We will be targeting the business traveller in our marketing and media activities and we believe once we have got them to experience our service we will win their business! We will also be working with the business travel agencies to familiarise them with our product so they are able to promote and sell our services. We will be using all elements of the marketing mix to sell the product, including product value, advertising, and public relations activities.

Low-cost start-up carriers, in particular, have relied heavily on Internet sales. Will you be doing the same? Obviously we are not a low cost carrier but a full service, premium product. It will be possible to book via the internet but we will also be working closely with the travel trade and especially with the business travel management companies. Travel agents can book Etihad flights through all the major GDS systems. We plan to have a full online booking engine in place during the last quarter of 2004.

What special deals, if any, will you be offering in this initial introductory phase?

What routes are planned and do you see yourselves serving more

than one UK base? We see LHR as our UK hub for the foreseeable future, but are already exploring options for the future. Etihad currently fly to:• Amman (3 times a Week) • Bangkok (4 times a Week) • Beirut (3 times a Week) • Colombo (3 times a Week) • Damascus (3 times a Week) • London (5 times a Week) We aim to be flying to up to 16 destinations by the end of 2004. Possible new destinations include: • Cairo • Karachi • Mumbai – scheduled to begin by end of August • Dhaka • Lahore • New Delhi – scheduled to begin in December • Far East (Manila, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur) • Munich and Geneva – scheduled for the summer of 2004- and at least two other destinations in Europe.


SWISS says strong outlook for 2004 S wiss International Air Lines, the national carrier of Switzerland has declared better than expected results for its business in 2003. Felix Rodel, Area Manager for the Middle East, Pakistan and Iran commented: “An airline should be safe, reliable and comfortable. That’s the kind of product all carriers, SWISS included wish to offer. Meeting the challenge of our customer’s service expectation is an opportunity to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. The Chairman was saying that our people make the SWISS brand, and as a result, we have had a fantastic year, our seat load factors were strong, and this trend has been maintained in the first quarter of 2004.” At the company’s recent annual press conference, SWISS announced a stronger financial position going in to 2004. With

liquid assets amounting to CHF 503 million, the company announced an operating loss of CHF 498 million, compared with CHF 909 million loss in 2002. Rodel continued, “The global airline industry has been through a second year of recovery, however, the outlook at SWISS is very positive. We have completed 60 percent of our restructuring plan and expect to witness the positive impact of these measures in 2005. SWISS has recently launched its summer timetable, which sees the airline continue its services to the Middle East with 25 weekly flights. Toward the end of the year, passengers can look forward to the introduction of SWISS’ newly refurbished Airbus A330 fleet, which operates on the Middle East routes.

Royal Brunei Unveils Sky Dreamer Seats

Royal Brunei Airlines today unveiled its new flatbed Sky Dreamer seats in its business class cabin, now rebranded as Sky Executive Class. The Sky Dreamer seats offer maximum comfort as it can extend to 75 inches when fully reclined. The podded seat feature provides extra privacy. Each seat comes equipped with in-seat power connector and a 10.4-inch personal TV. New economy class seats featuring 8.4-inch personal TVs have also been installed. To complement the new seats, Royal Brunei has also installed the latest Thales i4000 series personal inflight entertainment system in the entire cabin. The new system branded as Sky Show, offers a new level of service with 17 video on-demand selections, 5 broadcast video channels, 10 games, 12 CD albums ondemand and 15 channels of continuous audio 10 B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S

entertainment in a variety of languages. "Royal Brunei Airlines is delighted to introduce its new flatbed Sky Dreamer business class seats. Together with Sky Show and the new Sky Lounge at Brunei International Airport, we are now in a position to offer our customers a truly superb travel experience," said Peter Foster, Royal Brunei's Chief Executive Officer. Sky Dreamer and Sky Show is currently only available on one of the airline's retrofitted Boeing 767 aircraft, and will gradually be implemented on four of its B767 aircraft by the middle of the year. This aircraft will initially serve the airline's Frankfurt route, eventually extending to London and Australia. Depending on operational requirements, it may also be utilised on some of the regional routes.

newsbriefs •••••• Emirates to go Double Daily to Sydney

Emirates Airline is to start offering double services four days a week between Dubai and Sydney from November 2004. The frequencies will become double daily a year from now. HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates said: "We are very grateful to the government of Australia for granting us the extra flights and appreciate the support of Mr. John Anderson, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport.”

Qatar Airways Launch New Destination in Pakistan

Qatar Airways have recently launched a new service to Islamabad — its fourth destination in Pakistan — as it continues to expand its route network around the world Regional Manager for the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan and Central Asia Mr Ali Al Rais commented, “Via our hub, Doha International Airport, we will be able to connect the people of

Islamabad to all of our 48 existing destinations. By the year 2005, we will be able to offer connections to 60 destinations.”

Air Arabia Brings Low-Cost to the Middle East

Air Arabia has unleashed a new concept of air travel to the region focused on online booking and value for money travelling. Adel Ali, Air Arabia CEO commented, "The aviation industry in the Arab world goes back 70 years, and is solely constituted of national country airlines. We wanted to be the first Arab airline to provide affordable travel to all the people of the region".

Emirates New Routes to Shanghai and Glasgow

Emirates has just launched its new non-stop services to both China and Scotland. The airline will initially fly three times a week between Dubai and Shanghai, on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. For the Scotland service, Emirates will fly daily to Glasgow.

Qatar Airways to fly to Melbourne

Qatar Airways is set to begin Melbourne services later this year. Mr Al-Baker, Qatar Airway’s Chief Executive Officer, welcomed Victorian Premier Steve Bracks to Doha by announcing Qatar Airways had decided to make Melbourne its first destination in Australia, with services commencing in late 2004. “While we are still finalising our schedule, commencing services to Melbourne is a key step in Qatar Airways’ plans to become a major international carrier between Australia, the Middle East and Europe,” Mr Al-Baker said.

America West Launches AgentFriendly Tool

America West Airlines has launched HPagentlink.com to give travel agents quick and convenient access to all America West fares through the airline's innovative Low Fare Finder technology, while allowing agents to keep their booking data private. Any agency is eligible to earn commissions through HPagentlink.com.

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Award_298x403_BTN

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Gulf and Saudi Arabian Sign Co-op Agreement

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n a significant move for both companies, Gulf Air’s Vice President Network, Mr Fareed Al Alawi and Dr Omar Abdulla Jefri, Vice President Marketing Planning at Saudi Arabian Airlines, have recently signed an agreement to strengthen operational co-operation between the two Gulf carriers. Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will expand their current agreement on operational cooperation to include the addition of all flights operated by both airlines between Bahrain and Abu Dhabi International airports, and Riyadh and Dammam airports, as well as Saudi Arabian Airlines flights between Bahrain International Airport and the Saudi Airlines Southern Terminal at King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah with effect from 9 June 2004. All flights

operated by the two carriers between the previously mentioned points will be operated jointly, thus facilitating sales and marketing activities and the transfer of nationals and residents between both carriers’ flights offering greater choice for passengers.

AGREEMENT As part of their new agreement the joint flights will be linked with both carriers’ networks and will be supported by a preferential prices between them to allow for an easy transfer between the flights of both airlines. Other areas of co-operation include the use of First and Business Class lounges owned by the two carriers in operating airports and co-ordinating flight schedules to offer the best travel services to their

customers. The current co-operation agreement between Gulf Air and Saudi Arabian Airlines includes code sharing services between Dammam and Katmandu via Abu Dhabi Airport, as well as code share services between Abu Dhabi and Muscat on the one hand and Dammam and Riyadh on the other hand . Dr Omar Abdulla Jefri thanked Dr Khalid Bin Abdulla Bin Baker, Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines, and James Hogan, President and Chief Executive of Gulf Air, for their support in driving co-operation between the two airlines in accordance with the government directives of cooperation with the brotherly nations . He said: “In view of current developments in the global airline industry, it has become

essential to work together. A partnership will benefit both our airlines and promote development in the region and I am happy with the outcome of cooperation between our two airlines.” Fareed Al Alawi said: “By working together we can strengthen and expand on our network and leveraging economies of scale we can offer travel solutions to destinations not served on our individual networks. This means more choice and better services for

our customers.” “Our co-operation will extend to include all aspects agreed upon in the memorandum of understanding which was signed between the two airlines last year. Work is currently in progress for the addition of other projects that will support the operations and integration of the two carriers with the aim of enhancing the capabilities and position of both carriers on both regional and global levels,” he added.

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Emirates Chairman speaks on airport expansion plans in Dubai

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates Group and President of Dubai Department Civil Aviation, told BTN: “We aim to be among the top airports in the world, providing the highest standards of service and facilities to all our customer. Our expansion plans will give Dubai International Airport the capacity to handle up to 70 million passengers a year. “The US $ 540m expansion was the first phase and was completed in 2000 when the Sheikh Rashid Terminal opened. We are now working on the second phase, costing US $ 4.1 billion. This includes the construction of Terminal 3, Concourses 2 and 3, Cargo Mega Terminal, major upgrades to Terminal 2 and Terminal 1 and Dubai Flower Centre. “We have already started implementing wireless technology or 'hot spots', in the existing Sheikh Rashid Terminal”.

Why not fly to Europe at its best? Consider Zurich Airport. Smack in the middle of Europe, at the foot of Switzerland’s magnificent mountains, it is the crucial hub of a flight network serving more than 120 destinations all over the world. Downtown Zurich is practically within hailing distance and the major tourist and industrial centers of Switzerland, Germany and Austria are conveniently close by. The reason ? From Zurich Airport you enjoy direct access to what is arguably the world’s best road and rail network. www.zurich-airport.com

Dubai International Airport Quick Facts Airport Capacity 22 million

Number of lounges 14

Number of scheduled carriers 105

Wireless Facilities Introducing hot spots

Countries served 140 destinations served

Children’s facilities One play area

Banking facilities Numerous banks, ATMS, currency exchanges Number of restaurants and cafes 25

Number if on-site hotels One five star hotel

Distance to closest city 2 kms

Number of shops Numerous

Passenger projections for 2004 Over 20 million

Passenger projections for 2010 60 million

Number of car parks 2

Number of terminals 2

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B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S 13


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54 destinations in Brazil, 51 abroad and 680 destinations in partnership with Star Alliance™ Network. VARIG. The largest airline network in Brazil.


City Centre Rotana Hotel

Key Hotel announcements at ATM

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he hotel industry has chosen the Arabian Travel Market 2004 as the time and place for a number of important announcements. The Dubai companies involved include The Ramee Group, the Al Bustan Residence – Hotel Apartments, Novotel and Ibis Hotels at the World Trade Centre. They are all set to announce their latest plans. The Qatar Tourism Authority is also set to announce a raft of new hotel and infrastructure projects. The Ramee Group is launching two new properties it has acquired in the UAE, said General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Animesh Ghatak. “Business and leisure tourism are poised for huge growth with the Middle East probably the fastest expanding tourist market in the world.” He commented, “We are looking forward to acquiring more hotels and apartment hotels in the region to take advantage of this.” Moussa El Hayek, General Manager of Al Bustan

Residence – Apartment Hotels, added: “We increased sales in the GCC market in the summer and winter season and we are expecting continued growth, especially from intra regional travel. We also expect new markets to continue to discover the region.” Ignace Bauwens, General Manager at Novotel and Ibis has said he will be launching an Ibis business economy hotel during the ATM. In an even more significant move the Qatar Tourism Authority is announcing projects costing more than $2.5 billion during ATM 2004. This latest expansion in the country's tourism industry comes on the back of the announcement that Qatar is building a new $5 billion airport at Doha which should be completed by 2015. The authority's International PR Manager, Bassem Al Terkawi, said: "Our main focus is to build our travel and tourism infrastructure. Last year our hotels had occupancy rates of

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between 80 per cent and 85 per cent so we need to open more hotels and upgrade existing hotels to accommodate demand. Our aim is to promote Qatar as a leading leisure, business, sport and education tourism destination in the Middle East." Qatar has almost doubled the space it takes at ATM, up from 120 square metres last year to 200 square metres, and is hosting more than 13 hotel and tour operators. There as been a great deal of activity in the Middle Eastern hotel industry already this year. For example, back in March, Rotana Hotels announced the signing of new management agreements including one for the tallest hotel in the world known as the Rose Rotana Suites. Expected to open in 2006 the property will be 333 metres high and will consist of 72 floors. They are also signed up for the Al Murooj Rotana Hotel and Towers, located off Sheikh Zayed Road, the Queen

Center Rotana Suites in Damascus, the Al Manshar Rotana Hotel and Suites in Kuwait, the Raouche Rotana Suites in Lebanon and the City Centre Rotana Hotel in Doha. In Dubai alone, Rotana will have 10 hotels with over 2500 rooms. Commenting on these announcements Daniel Hajjar Vice President Sales & marketing Rotana Hotels,

remarked: “We are very proud to have been selected to operate these fantastic and unique properties. We are committed to meet their respective owners’ expectations and to bring to the UAE new levels of benchmarking.” Like so many aspects of Gulf tourism the hotel industry appears to be booming.

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Kempinski’s Unique Landing at Mall of the Emirates K by Alex Lewis

empinski Hotels & Resorts has been awarded the management contract for a truly unique hotel at Majid Al Futaim Investments’ ‘Mall of the Emirates’ on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is a very significant development for the company as this is Kempinski’s first hotel in Dubai. It is scheduled to open in September 2005, at the same time as the Mall of the Emirates itself. The five-star Kempinski Resort Mall of the Emirates will feature over 400 deluxe rooms, including 24 prestigious duplex

ski chalets offering unprecedented views over the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort, featuring one of the world’s longest indoor ski slopes and a play area where children can experience winter with real snow. This unmatched ‘Alpine’ experience is set to make the hotel one of the most sought after in the region and a tourist destination in itself. The 48,000 metre squared hotel will take pride of place at the forefront of the Mall with views over the Arabian Gulf. In addition to being linked to one of the largest and most exciting retail developments in the Arab

Ulrich Eckhardt, Vice President Middle East of Kempinski Hotels & Resorts

world, the hotel will offer guests a complete leisure experience with a state-of-the-art health club including Ayurveda wellness centre, swimming pool and tennis courts. Guests will be able to go skiing or simply soak up the ‘winter’ atmosphere in one of the fully licensed fine dining restaurants, all of which overlook the ski slope. It’s clearly an attractive leisure destination but Kempinski are keen to emphasise that for the business traveller and corporate guest the hotel will provide fully-fledged conference facilities, including 12 interconnecting meeting rooms with state of the art audio-visual digital facilities, while private meeting rooms will also be available on the Executive Floor.

DELIGHTED The scale of the project is enormous as the Mall of the Emirates will include over 2.4 million sq. ft. of shopping, leisure and entertainment space, the largest single-level Carrefour hypermarket in the Middle East, two major department stores, a 14-screen multi-plex cinema with VIP facilities and numerous food and beverage outlets. Amazingly, when it opens in September 2005 it will be the third biggest mall outside North America. “We are delighted to be the hotel group of choice managing this prestigious resort at the

16 B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S

Mall of the Emirates,” commented Ulrich Eckhardt, Vice President Middle East of Kempinski Hotels & Resorts. “This Mall will become a central attraction in Dubai, offering international tourists and local visitors a unique blend of shopping, entertainment and sporting facilities. This vision fits very well with Kempinski’s philosophy.” Peter Walichnowski is the CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Investments, the company behind the Mall of Emirates project. Peter led the development of Bluewater in London – Europe's largest and most successful shopping centre – prior to joining Majid Al Futtaim. “We are delighted to be able to announce that we are beginning construction on one of the most ambitious retail and leisure projects anywhere in the world,' he commented recently. 'Majid Al Futtaim turned the shopping and entertainment landscape in the UAE on its head in the 90s with the opening of Deira City Centre and Mall of the Emirates places Dubai on a truly global stage,' he added. 'The project will include several 'firsts' for the Middle East including the world's biggest indoor ski resort using real snow - the first time many people in this region will have ever seen snow.' 'Mall of the Emirates is of such a grand scale, and offering such a unique total experience, that Middle East and international

residents will now choose Dubai instead of traditional destinations, such as Europe and America, for their special shopping and leisure needs,' added Walichnowski. 'It will be an experience like no other.'

DRAMATIC The development combines dramatic contemporary design with traditional Arabic architecture with every section having a distinctive style and a unique atmosphere. 'The interior will be a myriad of arcades, which culminate in a spectacular galleria at the heart of the development, marked with a spectacular domed skylight 12 storeys in height, allowing light to flood into the Galleria,' he added. 'Lighting will be used to dramatic effect, accentuating the architecture and complementing the mood of each themed area,' he added. 'It will be infinitely intriguing, with a diverse mix of contrasting atmospheres from bustling street cafes to tranquil areas of quiet contemplation. It will be like nothing else in the world.' Kempinski appear to have landed a truly unique entry onto the Dubai landscape and will no doubt be overjoyed to have added such a thoroughly modern concept to their “oldest collection of luxury hotels in the world”.

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Eurostar: the future’s bright, the future’s wi-fi

us that customers love the flexibility of dynamic packaging and we are delighted to enhance the service by adding eurostar into the product mix. Paris is one of our top shortbreak destinations and we anticipate the eurostar + hotel option will be popular with our users.” For the business travellers using the rail network and in a bid to follow the lead set by other operators such as GNER and Virgin Trains, which are already experimenting with wifi, Eurostar has unveiled plans to trial a wireless internet service on its cross-channel trains later in the year. According to ZD Net UK, a satellite broadband service similar to the one being trialled by GNER will be used. Eurostar explained the installation of the service is part of a wider refurbishment programme, which is hoped will attract customers away from rival no-frills short-haul airlines. However, the firm admitted there would be no wi-fi service while trains are travelling under the Channel.

Train operator Eurostar earlier this year released figures indicating that business is picking up for the cross channel transport service. The high-speed train service that carries passengers between London, Paris and Brussels, saw record first quarter passenger numbers as travellers continued to switch from airlines.

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n the first three months of 2004, Eurostar carried just over 1.6 million passengers through the Channel Tunnel, an increase of 19% on the same period last year, when 1.35 million passengers travelled. Improved punctuality and roundtrip fares starting at $90 in standard class, and $190 in first class, contributed to Eurostar's popularity among North American travellers. Eurostar's market share of passengers who travelled also rose substantially. On the London-Paris route, Eurostar had a February market share of 66%, against 58% for the same period last year. On the London-Brussels route, Eurostar achieved a market

Paul Charles, Director of Communications, Eurostar

18 B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S

share in February of 52%, versus 38% for the same period in 2003. Ryanair, Air France and EasyJet all continued to lose market share, along with BA, which saw an 11% loss of market share on the London-Brussels route. The loss of airline share comes at the same time as Eurostar's airline competitors continue to cut services. The Belgian airline VLM is the latest to reduce the number of flights operated between Brussels and London. Six months after the opening of the UK high-speed line, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Eurostar's punctuality continues to improve. Over 8,500 trains have now run on the high-

speed line, with an impressive 89% of trains arriving on time or early during the first quarter. This compares with 73% in the same period last year. Punctuality among airlines operating on the Paris and Brussels routes is under 70% according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority.

PREFERRED Paul Charles, Director of Communications, Eurostar said: “Comfortable high-speed rail is a much less stressful way to travel between London, Paris and Brussels - flying is now only for the birds it seems. Our record first quarter passenger carryings demonstrate that Eurostar is the preferred way to travel for North American visitors to Northern Europe.” Mr. Charles continued to add his views on predictions for the sector in 2004. “Judging by the start to 2004, we are upbeat about the outlook for this year. We have seen a 20% increase in passenger numbers year-onyear and are expecting that trend to continue. With European economies picking up growth, it seems that business travellers are choosing to travel more often again. They realise that they may miss out on important contracts if they don't sit face-to-face with

SOME FACTS ABOUT EUROSTAR

potential clients. “On the leisure side, the biggest growth area seems to be in shortbreaks and daytrips because high-speed rail has made European inter-city travel so convenient. Travellers are choosing eurostar above the airline competition because the city-centre to city-centre journey time is far quicker and the fares are often lower. So, we expect this year to be a record year for us, carrying in excess of 7 million people.” I order to accommodate this increase in leisure travellers Eurostar has created a deal with lastminute.com. Travellers can utilise lastminute.com to search for travel options between London and Paris or Brussels by using the he website's ‘flights’ and ‘flight + hotel’ sections to search for eurostar's city centre to city centre high speed rail services. lastminute.com believes this gives its customers an even more comprehensive service for all their travel needs. lastminute.com is able to include eurostar seats in searches as it now has a direct link to eurostar's sales inventory, enabling it to search instantly ticket availability and pricing. Nicky Denvir, lastminute.com's Head of Dynamic Packaging, said: “Customer feedback tells

Eurostar is the fast train service linking London, Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Avignon, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris and the French Alps. Eurostar services are up to 40 minutes faster for return journeys, as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link enables trains to run at speeds of up to 186mph (300 kmh). Eurostar was named ‘World's Leading Rail Service’ in the 2003 World Travel Awards; ‘Best Rail Network’ at the Business Travel World Awards 2004 and ‘Best Rail Operator’ at the Travel Weekly Globe Awards 2004. Eurostar can now be sold on its own plates (814) on Apollo, Sabre, Worldspan and Amadeus under the code 9F in the US, with normal ARC stock tickets on airline screens. QQW is the code for London Waterloo, XPG is the code for Paris Gare du Nord and ZYR is the code for Brussels Midi.

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B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S 19


OPINION:

Dubai Internet City Accelerating the Region’s Knowledge Economy

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ubai’s development in the past few decades has been characterized by its great economic transformations inspired by its visionary leaders. The foresight and energy of the late Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, provided the impetus for transforming Dubai from a small trading outpost into one of the world’s busiest trade centers. His Highness Sheikh Rashid’s business-friendly policies and strategic investments in an ultramodern infrastructure created a high

One of the lynchpins of this visionary strategy is a cluster initiative aimed at accelerating the development of the ICT industry in the region – Dubai Internet City, (DIC). Dubai Internet City was conceived by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister and announced in October 1999. DIC’s mission is to create an infrastructure, environment and attitude that will enable knowledge economy enterprises to operate

By Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, CEO, Dubai Internet City

quality business environment that made Dubai the center of the Middle East economy. Today, Dubai and the UAE are on the threshold of yet another remarkable change. His Highness Sheikh Rashid’s son His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister has envisioned an ambitious strategy to transform the region’s society into a knowledge society. 20 B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S

locally, regionally and globally from Dubai with significant competitive advantage. DIC is part of the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone, which also includes Dubai Media City, a similar hub for media companies and Knowledge Village a cluster for knowledge-focused companies including education and training companies. All three entities synergise each other and contribute to each other’s development.

DIC provides an advanced infrastructure and support services that can reduce the operational hassles for ICT companies and help them move their core business forward. It has established Free-Zone specific corporate laws that empower the companies in the community and help them grow. Being located in a free trade zone, Dubai Internet City provides complete exemption from taxes on sales, company earnings and private income. Companies can also have 100 per cent ownership of their companies.

GROWTH Since its launch more than three years ago, DIC has grown tremendously. In 2002, Dubai Internet City grew by over 110 per cent and experienced similar levels of growth in 2003. In three years, DIC has developed into an ICT community of over 600 companies. More than 10,000 knowledge workers work here today. Today, DIC is the only managed entity in the world that has all the leading global ICT brands under one roof. Global companies in Dubai Internet City include Microsoft, Oracle, HP, IBM, Compaq, Dell, Siemens, Canon, Logica, Sony Ericsson and Cisco. DIC has developed into the technology hub of the region. This status brings with it several responsibilities. DIC is keen to plug the gaps for ICT infrastructure services in the region. In 2002, DIC identified a gap for world class hosting and IT security services in

the region. DIC started providing services that helped companies to outsource the management of their hosting and security requirements through a subsidiary company called eHosting DataFort. In fact, DIC offers its clients a range of cost-effective and state-of-the-art IT services and infrastructure. This enables companies to focus on their core business and reduce their operational hassles. DIC offers support for ICT companies evaluating business opportunities in the regional market. FirstSteps, a facility located in DIC, provides a temporary base for ICT companies from around the world who are looking to expand their operations to the regional market. FirstSteps provides them with costeffective office space and business support services to evaluate a vast market that extends from the Middle East to the Indian sub-continent and the CIS to South Africa.

INCORPORATION DIC offers many services that go beyond simply providing office space. In fact it provides a onestop-shop of business services. One of the key services is incorporation, which allows companies to secure legal protection and tax exemptions. DIC offers a highly simplified and inexpensive incorporation process. Companies can also benefit from a visa service and a simplified immigration process for knowledge workers. DIC’s Hospitality Department assists companies with a range of services like making travel and accommodation arrangements, golf or restaurant

reservations, conducting press conferences, exhibitions, product launches and seminars. DIC actively supports the growth and welfare of companies in the DIC community. It has a Partner Relations Department that assists companies in exploring business opportunities, expanding their operations and setting up new businesses in the region. DIC also supports the marketing activities of companies in the regional market. For example, DIC invites companies to participate in regional and global exhibitions on a Dubai Internet City platform. The DIC Community Zone at Gitex 2003 where 22 DIC companies participated with DIC is an example of this. DIC has established ‘strategic partnerships’ with ICT organizations and trade bodies of developed and developing economies to assist companies in these countries explore opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We are helping national ICT organizations to set up a presence in Dubai Internet City. They can act as a gateway for ICT companies in their country to enter the local and regional market. We have signed strategic MoUs with national ICT industry bodies like Nasscom of India, Malaysian Super Corridor, EUs biggest forum – BITKOM, and those in Iran and Turkey. Going forward, DIC is looking at new initiatives that will drive value for companies in high-growth ICT sectors. Over the next few months, some of these new initiatives will be announced.

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The Cyber-Hotel Experience By Anna Gouldman As technology permeates all areas of our lives - at home, in the office, and even on the road - travellers want to be as productive in their hotel rooms as they can be in the office and have come to expect more choices and channels from their hotel in-room communication and entertainment systems.

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n-room entertainment amenities still vary by segment, chain, property and room type. While their primary purpose is for guest entertainment, these elaborate systems also have added value as customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Hotels can use them as a platform to communicate with their guests and provide made-toorder programming for a more personalised stay. The latest hi-tech add-ons to hit hotels include electronic check-in kiosks, guest-room high speed internet access (even wireless internet access), console-style video games, interactive television systems and video-on-demand, to be viewed, of course, on the very latest plasma TV screens. A Hyatt International spokesperson told BTN: “These services are imperative to remain competitive in today's marketplace.” Technology has created a wide choice of entertainment and business options for hotel guests, who now come to expect all the latest electronic and communication facilities upon demand within the comfort of their hotel room. With these applications in place, guests can benefit from services ranging from instant access to email, local attractions, weather updates and much more. Vineet Gupta, Vice President of Technology, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, commented: “Today, modern technology services are demanded by the majority of business travellers and are as essential as having a telephone in the guestroom! One great example of this is the Internet, as most savvy travelers view connectivity as a necessity and expect the same level of online access that they have at their homes or in their offices. The Internet is so tightly integrated into today's society, that without access, many of our guests would feel disconnected or cut-off from the outside world." A recent survey of business professionals, carried out by broadband provider, Liberty 22 B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S

Europe, found increasing demand for wireless internet access. Wireless Internet connectivity has been introduced globally in many hotels. Over the last 2 years, many of the large hotel chains including Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt International, Marriott International, and Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts have rolled out wireless access in common areas such as lobbies, restaurants, swimming pools and meeting spaces. Although by no means generally available in guest-rooms as yet, those hotels that do provide inroom wireless connectivity view the service as a competitive advantage. These services can enable hotels to develop new income streams and to optimize the existing guest room revenue.

SURVEY BTN has carried out a survey on behalf of its readers and has ascertained that of the hotels which have these services installed, a reported average of approximately 12% of guests (depending on the hotel location) use their wireless services. Those hotels located closer to the city centres are more likely to see a higher usage. In all probability these percentages could reach 30 to 35% within 2 years. Denis Johnson, Vice President Sales and Marketing, InterContinental Hotels Group, Middle East and Africa says that offering these services to guests is a must. He comments: “InterContinental is finding the demand for these services comes from business travellers, but interestingly, we are finding an increasing demand from leisure travellers for connectivity as people are needing to stay in touch with home and office when on holiday”. New hotels are ready equipped with state-of-the art systems. Samir Abi Frem, Director of Information Technology for Rotana Hotels, reveals plans for the new Fujairah Rotana Hotel, which is set to open in 2006:

“We are planning to introduce to our new properties premier digital entertainment and communications systems, which will enhance our guest experience and provide them with a place to work, rest and play. “The guest-rooms will offer WiFi Internet access, high speed internet access, Digital Pay Movie on Demand, Digital Audio on demand, Interactive TV features for guests and new telephone based services”. A consequence of this development is the recent trend away from the business centre, which, it would seem, are likely to become a thing of the past. For the time being, however, although guests apparently now make less use of them, hotels still offer the services as an option and the business- centres are often handy for administrative purposes, such as printing, photocopying and faxing. Denis Johnson disclosed: “We believe in giving our guests the option to choose where they carry out their business. Many will want to work from their own room, while others will prefer to reserve their room for relaxation, and use the business centre and the services of our business centre staff. Whatever they decide, they are extremely well catered for”. Prices for these services vary from one hotel to another. There are still those hotels that charge for internet connectivity, but increasingly hotels are bundling internet rates within their roomrate.

TECHNOLOGY Commenting on the Rotana Hotels, Samir Abi Frem revealed: “We are still at a stage where we can charge, but I’m sure very shortly when these services will exist in every hotel we will need to make it free in order to be competitive”. The latest technology on the hotel scene is the electronic check-in kiosk, offering guests' the ability to receive messages, additional room keys and upgrades, change room

type, and view, print and email personal folios, in addition to check-in and check-out. Hyatt informs BTN that they are about to begin beta testing electronic check-ins at some of their properties this summer. Sprint, a provider of network solutions to the hospitality industry feels that the demand for in-room technology services is growing. A spokesperson told BTN: “These services are moving from being a luxury amenity to a required service. We are seeing this increased demand across all geographical areas and market segments. Especially with the increase in travel, occupancy and room rates, hotels are becoming more willing to purchase solutions they may not have had money for

two years ago. “With the rise of Internet booking engines and with consumers looking for the best room rates, it has tended to commoditise the hotel room market. Hotels realise they need something to stand out. And as hotels seek to differentiate themselves, they are looking at technology as a differentiating factor”. To offer guests the ultimate hitech experience will give hotels the competitive edge that they need in this aggressive marketplace. With technology changing at such a rapid rate, hoteliers must make continual improvements and keep pace with guest expectations.

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newsbriefs ••••••• Travelocity Offering Special Deals with Avis and Hertz

Travelocity Business is offering companies special deals with leading business car rental companies Avis and Hertz. The deals are part of a broad Travelocity Business initiative to secure travel options designed specifically to meet the unique needs of business travelers.

Wayport Brings High-Speed Internet Access to Nine Coast Hotels

Wayport will provide highspeed Internet access nine hotels franchised by Coast Hotels & Resorts, one of Western North America's largest regional chain of hotels and resorts. The agreement

includes the Roosevelt Hotel as well as other individual properties that welcome both business and leisure travelers. Guests will be able to connect to Wayport's high-speed Internet service in guestrooms, meeting rooms and common areas - such as lobbies, lounges and restaurants - of all nine properties.

Emirates Airlines Adopts Worldspan Rapid Reprice

Emirates Airlines has become the first airline in the Middle East to adopt Worldspan’s Rapid Reprice solution, a fully automated solution that streamlines the airline ticket repricing process when itineraries change. This agreement follows Emirates’ adoption of Worldspan Fares and Pricing in early 2003, and reflects Emirates’ continued

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investment in the technologies that best support their rapid expansion, focus on service quality and improve overall profitability.

Galileo in New Fare Agreement with Qantas

Galileo International has signed a three-year agreement with Qantas ensuring its participating travel agent subscribers in Australia book the broadest possible range of Qantas fares including Red eDeals directly through the Galileo system. Galileo is the first GDS in Australia to offer access to full Qantas inventory as well as access to Jetstar and Virgin Blue.

Sheraton Speed Check

Sheraton Speed Check made its debut at the newly renovated Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers in midtown Manhattan, and will roll out over the next several months

to more than two dozen U.S. properties and ultimately nationwide.

Korean Air Selects Connexion by Boeing for In-Flight Connectivity

Korean Air has selected Connexion by Boeing as its service provider of high-speed Internet-based communications. The agreement calls for the first installation of the Connexion by BoeingSM mobile connectivity service on the carrier’s long-haul fleet of 747400s and 777ERs in early 2005, with service beginning shortly after that. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

with new and expanded features, including enhanced site navigation, streaming video, personalised content tailored to each visitor, and more 360-degree “virtual tours” of the “Fun Ship” fleet. The new carnival.com was developed by Carnival’s inhouse Web architects and Razorfish.

BA Launches E-tickets in Singapore

British Airways has announced the launch of e-tickets in Singapore. Customers booking tickets with British Airways and Qantas in Singapore are now able to use e-tickets for the first time.

Carnival Cruise Unveils Dynamic New Website

Carnival Cruise Lines has relaunched www.carnival.com ,

B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S 23


Beating the Queues with Electronic Check-Ins

by Anna Gouldman

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elf-service Check-in is a fast and convenient way for customers to check-in for flights. Last year, Emirates became the first airline to introduced self check-in kiosks in the Economy and First and Business check-in areas at Dubai International Airport. At present, the service can be used for Skywards members only but, eventually, all passengers with hang baggage only will be able to use them. The Self-service Kiosks are also located in the airport’s main departures hall for Skywards members travelling in Economy Class. Members of Skywards, the frequent flyer programme of Emirates and SriLankan Airlines, who are carrying just hand baggage, can check themselves in for a flight using their membership card. The facility is also available to customers who are members of Skywards’ partner airlines – British Airways, Continental Airlines, Delta, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and United Airlines. In order to check-in electronically the customer needs

an e-ticket or an ATB ticket (cardboard ticket with a magnetic strip on the back). It is also possible to change your seat if availability allows, Customers insert their membership card and their booking is displayed on the kiosk screen, following verification of the card’s number which is given at the time of booking the flight. Flight details are confirmed and the boarding card printed. Staff are available for assistance. It takes approximately one minute to check-in for a single flight (three minutes for a return journey). This speed reduces queues and checking in baggage is also faster using the Fast Bag Drop facility. The kiosks will soon accept larger baggage that can be checked into the aircrafts hold. Customers travelling in First, Business or Economy Class can also use their e-cards to pass through the electronicallycontrolled gates (e-gates) at Immigration. Six e-gates have so far been installed at the airport; two for Arrivals, two for Economy Class Departures and two for First and Business Class Departures,

allowing customers to bypass manual Immigration checks. Ghaith Al Ghaith, Executive Vice-President Commercial Operations Worldwide, Emirates Airlines commented: "The introduction of e-check-in at Dubai airport, is part of our move towards seamless air travel for our passengers. We are committed to enable our passengers to use e-ticketing, echeck-in and Dubai Immigration's e-gate smart card to save our passengers hours of time. We foresee the day when our passengers will simply stroll through airport procedures to catch their flights." These developments are a major step towards seamless air travel for Emirates passengers, enabling them to save time and avoid hassle by taking advantage of electronic processes. Dubai International Airport is the first in the Middle East and only the third in the world (after Singapore and Kuala Lumpur) to install the e-gates for arrival and departure. They provide a hi-tech passenger clearance system that screens passengers via a smart card containing all their details.

international wifi hotspot directory The complete hotspot directory. All the hotspots you want when you want them. Latest Hotspots, Nearby Hotspots, Add and Search for Hotspots and much much more. Part of Broadband Holdings Group Broadband Holdings Group Limited, Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6BD, UK Tel +44 (0)20 7925 0000 Fax +44 (0)20 7925 2552 Email enquiry@broadband-holdings.com

24 B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S

www.hotspotting.org www.breakingtravelnews.com


13 - 14 December 2004 Barbados

What

Why should you attend

Past Speakers

Why you should Sponsor

The world travel awards are involved in a variety of initiatives which are influenced by many varying aspects including technological, social and economic. The awards are a means of promoting industry standards and highlighting the best of the best. In addition to the current Awards Gala Ceremony taking place in Barbados on Saturday 11th December, the World Travel Awards has initiated the World Travel Internet Conference in order to introduce issues on the prospective direction of the internet and how it affects all of us. This year’s Internet Conference will take place over two days in Barbados with the highest callibre of speakers from all areas of the World Travel Tourism Industry who bring with them their knowledge and expertise.

Find out what your competition and others are doing and determine which technologies you need to focus on and how to implement them. Stay informed and stay ahead of the game. The Industry Panel will discuss Internet perspectives and trends. In addition, the World Travel Internet Conference program will open up various topics to the floor for debate in ‘Up For Discussion Forums’. ‘Q & A Sessions’ will tackle some of the key questions most businesses ask including: who is making money on the Internet today? Who will be making money on the Internet tomorrow and what major changes in technology will occur in the next 5 years?

Get your message to the right audience and generate valuable business leads.

When

Meet the speakers and delegates and surround yourself with the people that can make a difference in this buzzy environment. Everyone at this event wants to talk business!

Amex Visa International Utell International Air Jamaica Delta Airlines Kuoni AT&T Cable & Wireless British Telecommunications MCI IBM DELL Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Holiday Autos Sandals Resorts International Amsterdam Schipol Airport BAA Plc Miami International Airport Reeds Exhibition Companies Shamwari Game Reserve Yahoo Excite HotBot Nasdaq PATA WorldRes.com Varig IPIX Travelnow.com Air Jamaica Ministry of Tourism – Jamaica St. Lucia Tourist Board The Body Holiday University of London Cable & Wireless Ministry of Education St. Lucia Governor General St. Lucia Sabre Worldspan Accor Hotels

On December 13 &14 December 2004, influential travel professionals will gather to discuss the latest trends and innovations in online travel. Where Sherbourne Conference Centre Two Mile Hill, St. Michael Barbados Tel: +1 (246) 434 3000 www.sherbournecentre.com

Networking Opportunities

Speaking opportunities Speakers must be well established in the industry with specialist knowledge of their chosen field. Who’s behind the World Travel Internet Conference Internet Travel News Hotspot for Travel News www.internettravelnews.com To participate Contact us at conference@interenttravelnews.com More details A complete list of keynote speakers and a timetable of events will be published on www.worldtravelawards.com and www.internettravelnews.com


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he Assawan Spa & Health Club at the Burj Al Arab has derived its name from this magnificent stone and promises an experience that will indulge the senses, revitalise the body and refresh the mind. Inspired by the magnificent ruins of ancient Arabia, the environment is one of exquisite luxury, combining the best of Arabian hospitality with worldclass treatments and services. Whether it’s pampering, weight loss, stress reduction or relaxation, at the Assawan Spa & Health Club, your every need is anticipated and satisfied. And with separate facilities set aside exclusively for ladies, you are assured a private and exclusive experience. The Spa Experience From plunge pools and hydrotherapy baths to facial treatments and massages, the Assawan Spa offers a wide range of facilities and services. To unwind after a tiring day you can soak in Assawan jacuzzis or relax in the sauna and steam rooms. With 18 treatment rooms to choose from, you should emerge totally refreshed and revived, while our oriental massage facilities will leave you feeling pampered and rejuvenated. You can also choose from a select range of exclusive products with benefits that include beauty enhancement and anti-ageing.

Unwind at the Assawan Spa and Health Club

Assawan Spa Treatments The Assawan Spa philosophy is based on total holistic treatment and emphasises a personalised approach to any problem. To begin with each individual’s specific needs are assessed, and only after a thorough consultation will the team of experts recommend tailormade treatments as suitable solutions. All treatments are administered in the exclusive, luxurious ambience of separate male and female treatment rooms. The nine female treatment rooms, most of which offer spectacular sea views, derive their names from exotic feminine perfumes such as Yasmyna, Meska and Allaylac. Masculine fragrances of sandalwood, aloe and saffron are the inspiration behind the nine male treatment rooms, which include Assandal, Aludah and Zaefreran.

Pure and powerful, Assawan granite has long been renowned for its magical properties. Through the ages, doctors, healers and medicine men have used it to cure the sick, soothe the injured and invigorate all those seeking youthful radiance and vitality.

Treatments Include: PRODUCT RANGE E’SPA E’SPA is an unusual combination of products that harness the best of aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy and phytotherapy. Every E’SPA treatment is a unique experience and the ultimate in luxury. By taking a holistic approach, the treatments are as much for the inner-self and mind as they are for face and body. Using blends of products tailored to individual needs and advanced therapy techniques, E’SPA has become a name that is synonymous with quality and outstanding results LA PRAIRIE La Prairie beauty products offer a range of cellular treatments based on the exclusive La Prairie Cellular Complex. The aim of La Prairie beauty programmes is to prolong the youthful appearance of even the most delicate skin. Each product helps deal with the problems of premature aging, environmental hazards and the stress of modern life.

by Anna Gouldman

E’SPA FACIAL TREATMENTS FOR MEN AND WOMEN HOLISTIC AROMATHERAPY BACK, FACE AND SCALP An all-embracing treatment incorporating a full aromatherapy E’SPA facial, with acupressure, back, face and scalp massage. This facial has powerful relaxing benefits for both the mind and body. REBALANCING FACIAL Skin problems can appear unexpectedly and are often caused by stress, diet or an ineffective skin care regime. A harsh polluted environment may also cause the skin to become sensitised. Specific massage techniques and aromatherapy products are combined with a warm marine mud mask to cleanse and decongest the skin leaving it clear and rebalanced. LA PRAIRIE FACIAL TREATMENTS FOR MEN AND WOMEN CELLULAR WHITENING TREATMENT (For Women) This programme was designed

26 B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S

to erase pigmentation and discolouration caused by UV light, producing translucent, beautiful skin. Spectacular results are achieved using this exclusive treatment. SKIN MANAGEMENT TREATMENT (For Men) If skin appears oily, tired or dull, it is due to build-up of toxins. This detoxifying treatment will provide new energy and restore youthful radiance and a natural glow. E’SPA BODY TREATMENTS FOR MEN AND WOMEN OSHADI ENVELOPMENT Oshadi, giver of life, is the ayurvedic term for plants and herbs used in traditional healing practices and therapies. After a sea salt and aromatherapy oil exfoliation, plants and spices are infused to form a nourishing mask, which warms and hydrates the skin and helps to relieve aching muscles and joints. A gift of nature to restore perfect equilibrium. PRE-NATAL TREATMENT (for women) This total body treatment has been carefully designed for pregnant and nursing mothers and aids in relaxing and toning their skin during this very special time. The treatment avoids the use of essential oils as advised by the Aromatherapy Organisation Council and

instead combines a calendula infused oil, various muds and creams and advanced massage techniques to safe areas. It is a luxurious treat that leaves the skin toned and the client totally relaxed. LA PRAIRIE BODY TREATMENTS FOR MEN AND WOMEN CAVIAR BODY TREATMENT This extravagant treatment has an immediate and long term firming action. The whole body will experience an in-depth workout, which renews the vitality and energy of slackened devitalised skin. CELLULAR LIPO-SCULPTING BODY TREATMENT This luxurious treatment concentrates on remodelling and detoxifying the whole body. This specialised sculpting massage will assist in firming and eliminating spongy, dimpled skin along with helping the skin resist the visible signs of aging. HYDROTHERAPHY TREATMENTS Aromatherapy is a natural way to care for the body and mind using essential oils found in aromatic plants. These oils have powerful effects both psychologically and physically. E’SPA Hydrotherapy water treatments uses aromatherapy and massage jets to increase blood circulation, stimulate

muscle tone and relieve tension. BODY MASSAGE Not only is a massage delightfully relaxing, it is also a means to ease away tension and prevent the building-up of stress. This selection of relaxing treatments, are specially formulated to ensure physical vitality and emotional wellbeing. E’SPA FACE AND BODY TREATMENTS HOT STONE THERAPY TOTAL HOLISTIC BODY CARE This all-encompassing treatment commences with full body skin brushing and exfoliation, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. This is followed by a deep body, face and scalp massage using hot and cold stones on vital energy points and a blend of essential oils chosen to suit individual requirements. This truly holistic experience will bring harmony to both mind and body. PURIFYING HERBAL LINEN WRAP Natural linens are heated in an infusion of E’SPA tridoshic detoxifying herbs. The entire body is cocooned to stimulate and increase body temperature and encourage the elimination of toxins.

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B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S 27


It’s the adults turn to go to the C-side

newsbriefs ••••• Aqua Massage Launch at the Dubai’s Expo Hotel Show

This year’s Hotel Show, will see some diverse products and services, but one they wont forget is the Aqua Massage making its Middle East market debut at the show May 17-19. Aqua Massage offers a revolutionary way to experience a traditional massage with thirty-six pulsating water jets providing a relaxed 20 minute massage which is the equivalent to a 60 minute traditional massage. A bit bashful? No need to worry, clients remain fully clothed and dry throughout the treatment.

AVEDA Opens its First Destination Spa Resort in Ireland

The Aghadoe Heights Hotel in Ireland announced that AVEDA is the chosen product and treatment range for their new Concept Destination Spa Resort, opening in July 2004. It is fitting that their company vision ‘Connecting beauty, environment and well-being’ synergies with the hotels plan for their world class Concept Destination Spa – ‘Bringing the natural beauty of outside in’. Aghadoe will hold the position of AVEDA’s 15th Concept Destination Spa Resort in the world, and boasts such

renowned members as Strawberry Hills in Jamaica, Cable Beach in Australia and Ancient Cedars in Canada.

New ‘Cloud Nine’ Spa Therapy at Hilton Kuwait Resort Hilton Kuwait Resort, one of 47 Hilton Worldwide Resorts, offers a wonderful array of spa therapies in beautiful surroundings. The resort’s thalassatherapy spa has been described as “a Mediterranean oasis, with an ambience of reassurance, peace and tranquillity.” The spa offers a host of special treatments and packages. Items can be selected from the “menu” and enjoyed either individually or as part of a custom day at the spa.

La Sultana in Marrakech Open

Escape to your very own Sultan’s Palace! The exclusive 18-room La Sultana hotel in the heart of the Marrakech medina is now open. Rooms are named after African animals such as camel and crocodile, and the hotel also offers an outdoor swimming pool, extensive outdoor terraces with views over the city’s rooftops and a superb restaurant serving French and Moroccan cuisine. A spa and hammam will open early this summer.

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erhaps you wouldn’t necessarily perceive Cowley (near Cheltenham Gloucestershire), as a beach front destination but if you truly want to go to the C-side (C-Side being the name of the spa and a play on words of sea-side), then this spa retreat (Cowley Manor), is the place to be seen. A contemporary resort nestled in 55 acres of splendid gardens comprising of four lakes. The hotel is made up of some thirty rooms and the spa has four treatment rooms. There is a modern air and chic feel. Fiona Hamilton Andrew, the Manors director of sales describes the upmarket retreat as: “truly unique, made up of four treatment rooms, a gymnasium, Jacuzzi sauna and two amazing pools, one inside and one out.” The pools are heated all year round so that visitors can enjoy the gardens whilst also enjoying the pool. Cowley Manor is truly one-of-a-kind spa. Not only are all the treatments personally designed and used exclusively at the retreat but so too are the products. And who is the person behind this? She goes by the name of Michelle Roqueso’neil. This truly amazing individual is the lady behind such engaging and therapeutic treatments as ‘Cloud-9’. “Cloud-9 is our signature treatment and

it is mind blowing,” enthuses Andrew’s, “It is the ultimate all over body massage, a deeply relaxing and rebalancing treatment. The treatment combines aromatherapy and qi energy balance reflexology and acupressure. It is certainly my personal favourite and one that many of our guests really enjoy.” Fiona explained how she has witnessed more and more men coming to spas over the last year.

TREATMENTS “Once, or if, the guy can get over the macho element they will realise just how great these treatments are. I have certainly seen more and more men arriving at the spa over the last year.” Fiona has been with Cowley Manor since June 2003 and the Hotel has been open since July 2002. The Spa manager is Emma Whitelaw. The spa itself was designed by De Matos Storey Ryan. At present the Manor is running a good business at present with a week day occupancy rate of 50 percent and a weekend rate of 95 percent. For more information on the Cowley Manor and the treatments on offer visit www.cowleymanor.com

Very Best Spas Magazine This years’ stylish and exclusive VeryBest Spas Magazine, will take you on a journey of sheer pleasure – where you can discover luxurious world-class spa destinations to rebalance the body, calm the mind and soothe the soul. VeryBest Spas is an informative guide to the world’s most exquisite and unique spa resorts in the world. Each spa destination included, receives a written feature with a full overview of the resort, accompanied by the most breathtaking photography - proving each location is as individually distinctive and luxurious as the next. In addition to the spa resorts, you will find inspirational ideas on spa design, treatments, products, trends and interviews by leading spa professionals. 28

The Verybest Spas magazine, published twice a year, is distributed to leading travel professionals at all of the major travel shows and throughout the featured hotels and resorts. It is also available at selected day spas and private members clubs worldwide. For more information and inclusion in the next edition of the Verybest Spas magazine, please contact: Nicola Brookes Publisher of the Verybest Spas magazine nicola@theverybestmagazine.com 00 44 1733 234848 00 44 7949 779646 For editorial contact, please email: Jaime@theverybestspasmagazine.com www.breakingtravelnews.com


a series of wellbeing and pampering retreats commence at world famous resort

Sandy Lane introduces Thai massage to list of treatments

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he world famous Sandy Lane resort in Barbados constantly striving to further improve it’s amenities and its level of service. In a recent newsletter GM Colm Hannon has indicated that the spa is no different. He notes that, “many of our highly trained therapists have completed advanced training

in Dr Hauschka treatments. A new therapist specialising in Thai massage has recently joined us, bringing a wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge of the therapeutic practices of the Far East to the Spa.” This summer a series of wellbeing and pampering retreats will commence.

Spring is always an extremely popular time at Sandy Lane when the Sandy Lane Gold Cup Festival takes place as well as this year’s cricket test series, England v West Indies an event which is always exciting. Hannon went on, “The refurbishment of the Grantley Adams International Airport is

progressing very well and the new departure lounge is already open. The baggage handling, Customs, and Immigration facilities are scheduled for completion by the end of the year, which will greatly improve our guests’ experience on arrival, and streamline the whole process of entry into Barbados. The

the verybest destination directories at your fingertips

www.theverybestmagazine.com Want to know the best place to visit? Best airline to fly with? Best hotel, Resort or spa to stay at? Who's the best car rental company? All the answers are uncovered in the all new consumer title - the verybest Magazine - the best of the travel industry The verybest magazine is the magazine of the World Travel Awards. Showcasing the winners & nominees of the World Travel Awards as well as the very best travel suppliers from around the globe. It's simply the best

Green Monkey Golf Course, even though not officially open, has a limited number of Tee times available to residents of the Hotel. These are between the hours of 08.30 to 09.30.”


EXCLUSIVE: Row Hill Grange the place to be pampered by Ben Kilbey

Nowadays no great retreat or indulgence is complete without a spa treatment of some description or another. Everybody loves to be pampered and as our lives become even more complicated and stressful it is essential to relax and unwind, why not in the hands of a trained professional? One such place that can offer you all the pampering that you so desire is Row Hill Grange located Conveniently just off the M25 and M20 in Kent, which many used to refer to as ‘England’s Garden,’ Row Hill is set amidst decadent grounds and furnished to the highest standards. A perfect getaway for those whose lives have simply become too much!

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ecently appointed at the helm of the Spa is one David Booton, a man with a background in physical recreation, as a personal trainer. David was appointed to the position of Spa and leisure club manager roughly three months ago at the nineteen treatment room Utopia complex. As the name suggests the resort aims to transport guests to another level. “Our mission is for our guests to have a completely relaxing time, to enjoy the ultimate in indulgence and feel totally at ease in their surroundings” commented Booton. At David’s side is the highly talented Gemma Watling who is the Beauty Manager. The pair work in unison to supply the guest with the ultimate in spa experience. “We have a membership of some 600 guests at the club and it is our responsibility to ensure and maintain their enjoyment of all that Row Hill has to offer” added Watling. Utopia offers a very diverse and varied selection of treatments ranging from the: Luxury Spa Peel This mini luxurious massage and peel is relaxing and invigorating. It leaves the skin silky smooth and the body relaxed and refreshed. This treatment is recommended as a single treatment or as an add on with any other treatment. To the more interesting Hydradermie Bust Treatment An intensive treatment designed to tone and firm the 30 B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S

elastic tissues which support the bust. At Row Hill there is an emphasis on treatments rather then beauty. As Booton explains; “We do not want to make the male clientele feel excluded or put of by traditionally feminine terms. We tend to use the word treatment as opposed to beauty, this allows all our members and guests to feel relaxed and thus enjoy themselves.” So what is on offer for us men? There is a selection of four treatments; a Detox Facial, Tres Hommes Hydradermie, Express Purifying Men's Facial and a Relaxing Massage designed especially for Men. All sounds rather indulgent and not at all to girlie. And the word beauty not mentioned once, glorious! Speaking of the treatments David said: “Unfortunately I have not had time to sample any of these super treatments yet, but I have had facials in the past and they are great. Also, owing to my sports background I often have to have a massage, in fact I massage myself occasionally, I certainly recommend this. Its great for the muscle’s especially after a work out. Most men don’t fully realise the potential of spa treatments. Percentage wise our attendance by men is far lower then that of females.” Booton believes that this could change over the next few years.

So what is it that sets the Utopia spa and Row Hill apart from any other spa? “It would have to be our unique and exclusive Japanese Therapy Pool,” said Watling. “This is the only one of its kind in the entire country and offers our guests something special and different. The pool consists of many fountains and relaxation beds, it truly is quite magnificent.” As part of the Japanese Pool there comes one of Row Hills signature treatments (there are two in total). This is the Japanese Hot Oil Massage and the guest receives: Warmed oil is gently massaged into the body, followed by heated towels and a thermal wrap. The oils are an ancient folk medicine, which has powerful, healing forces, which directly travel to the lymph and blood systems allowing detoxification, regeneration and stimulation. This treatment leaves you totally relaxed but your skin alive with energy. Choose from the following oils: peppermint, lavender or citrus. www.breakingtravelnews.com


Hilton Abu Dhabi Announces Opening of New Health Club & Spa by Jaime Cooke The second of the spas signature treatments is the Utopia Face and Body Revitalisation Treatment. As the website suggests: This revitalizing complete face and body treatment includes an invigorating body scrub, using essential oil of lavender or citrus fruits. A deep drainage pressure point massage follows focusing on the hands, feet and scalp. The treatment concludes with a relaxing mini facial. At present Row Hill is experience a booming business with some 20 - 30 visitors per day. Booton puts this down to the level of service on offer. “Our staff are all very well trained and very professional. As I mentioned earlier it is our mission for our clients to enjoy their treatments to the highest possible standard. It’s not just about the fantastic setting but the service also.” So it would appear that Row Hill Grange has it all to offer, from fantastic rooms to glamorous décor. From a unique Japanese pool to world class service. It’s hardly surprising then that the spa has been nominated for a World Travel Award this year. “It’s great that we have been nominated for an award this year. This is a clear indication that we are fulfilling are mission criteria in providing the ultimate spa experience. Let’s cross our fingers and hope the votes go our way in Barbados this December” commented Watling. As well as a spa Row Hill also offers a fully equipped gym, a four star hotel and an award winning restaurant, Truffles. Recognised by both the RAC and AA, Truffles Restaurant offers the very best of fine dining but with a relaxing and unimposing atmosphere. There is also the more relaxed Brasserie, or you could always make the most of the hotel's idyllic setting and dine out on the terrace. The choice is yours, just don’t be too spoilt by it. For more information on Row Hill visit the website: www.alexanderhotels.co.uk/ rowhill_grange/

www.breakingtravelnews.com

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ilton Abu Dhabi recently opened the new Hiltonia Health Club & Spa, located next to the existing Hiltonia Beach Club. The new luxurious 1600m Health Club includes a state-ofthe-art Gymnasium, equipped with the latest Cardio Theatre TVs, a private fitness assessment room, group exercise studio and squash court. Spa facilities include five treatment rooms, two relaxation rooms, with most rooms featuring panoramic private views across the Arabian Gulf. Separate changing areas for ladies and gentlemen have a sauna, steam room and large Jacuzzi. Additionally, the Health Club offers a Kids Club and ladies and men’s hairdressers. The Spa team aims to provide a complete spa experience, offering a wide choice of treatments ranging from the most modern Western therapies to traditional treatments of the Orient. Relax in the hands of highly trained and qualified therapists and immerse yourself in a paradise of pampering massages, body scrubs, wraps and polishes, or choose a deeply relaxing aromatic herbal steam, floral or herbal bath. Hiltonia Health Club & Spa has been carefully designed to enhance the enjoyment of all guests. For business people and health conscious individuals who appreciate that lifestyle management, regular exercise and quality relaxation is vital to counteract the negative effects of working under pressure - Hiltonia Health Club & Spa is definitely the way a better lifestyle. The adjacent Hiltonia Beach Club has 350 m of waterline, making it the largest beach in Abu Dhabi. Facilities include: temperature-controlled swimming and leisure

pools, separate children and toddler’s pool, patio and indoor restaurants and bars, children’s slide and playground, large function garden, lush greens, and professionally landscaped lagoon. Water-sports activities such as: water-skiing, windsurfing, banana rides, fishing sightseeing and snorkeling trips are also available. Hilton Abu Dhabi is located on the picturesque Corniche in the heart of the UAE’s capital city. This modern 388 room hotel is ‘Hilton Meetings’ accredited and offers extensive meeting and conference facilities for up to 800. Award-winning restaurants and the superb new Health Club & Spa make Hilton Abu Dhabi the ideal choice for both business and leisure travelers.

60 second interview with Regina Santos, Taj Palace Hotel Dubai

Top Spa in the Middle East 1. What type of spa is it? (ie. resort) City hotel spa

Contemporary Indian style designed by Juma Al Majid Contracting Company

2. Where is it located? Taj Spa is located on the 12th floor of the five star Taj Palace Hotel Dubai. We are in the centre of the city in Deira. 10 minutes away from the Dubai International Airport. 3. Who goes there? (ie. couples, families) We have clienteles and guests comprising of tourists, executives, expatriates and local Arabs. 4. Description of the Spa. We are the only five star spa that specialises on Ayurvedic massages and also offers popular Far Eastern and European spa treatments and massages. 5. What facilities does it include? Sauna and steam rooms and an all exclusive areas for both male and female. Spa guests

may have access to use our rooftop pools 6. What is your Signature Treatment? Shiro Dara and Abhyanga 7. Products Used in the spa? Repechage, Tisserand, Esens and Bindi 8. Who designed the spa, and in what style?

9. What makes the spa unique? Taj Spa is the only 5 star spa offering the best Ayurvedic treatments. Only Taj Spa serves an individualised spa cuisine meal tailor-made by our Chefs based on a person’s specific dosha body constitution.

11.On a more personal note, tell us about your best Spa Experience. My best spa experience was the one I had in Thailand, in a beautiful spa with exotic treatment and of course with a very good therapist plus I was having it together with my husband (Regina Santos, Spa Manager)

10.What type of experience can your visitors expect? Taj Spa has a serene surrounding where guest feels like they have entered a unique and special relaxing sanctuary where everyone is concerned about their wellbeing. B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S 31


WorldSpaGroup www.spas-weekly.com www.theverybestmagazine.com www.virtually-spas.com

Tel: +44 (0)20 7925 0000 Fax: +44 (0)20 7925 2552 Email: publisher@theverybestmagazine.com editor@theverybestmagazine.com

32 B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S

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The Ultimate Dubai spa experience

visit the One&Only Royal Mirage and Givenchy Spa The Gulf is booming. Tourist arrivals are gaining momentum and there is even a new national carrier, Etihad. The gulf caters for a high end clientele and the region epitomises luxury and exurbs wealth. One resort that truly reflects what the gulf is all about is the One&Only Royal Mirage.

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he Royal Mirage boasts of being considered one of ‘Dubai’s most stylish beach resort, where genuine care and hospitality, blend with fantasy and tradition, creating an ambiance of Arabian influenced refinement and majesty.’ So what do the rich and the famous do in the Dubai when they are not shopping tax free or eating in some international acclaimed restaurants? A world class holiday is not correct if not accompanied by a world class spa service, and that is exactly what the Royal Mirage offers. The Royal Mirage is the first hotel in the region to bring the house of Givenchy to its guest with the introduction of the ground breaking Givenchy Spa. So be it the house of Givenchy, renowned throughout the world as a leader in beauty, fashion and perfume has added to their collection the management of the new and exclusive Royal Mirage Givenchy Spa. Separated for Ladies and Gentlemen’s treatments, both physically and by the operating hours, the Givenchy Spa offers an exclusive harbour in which relaxation of the body and mind is the predominant indulgence. Perfect for those of us wishing to be transported to a different realm in the quest for the ultimate in relaxation, it can all be found here. “Our quest for a superb Spa has united us with Givenchy and

we are proud to be associated to Givenchy to work together on this unprecedented venture in the Middle East”, says Olivier Louis, General Manager, Royal Mirage. “The Health & Beauty Institute blends fantasy and tradition and gives our local and international guests an experience that is not only, highly pleasurable, but also inspirational. The mosaic of Arabian hospitality coupled with the elegance and luxury of Givenchy provides the resort with the foundations to deliver truly world class care in an environment, which until now people only dreamed of” he added.

PLEASURE On the lower level of the precisely designed spa is a private reception along side an Oriental Hammam, with a traditional heated marble massage table. For the pleasure of the guests there are two steam rooms, two Jacuzzis, two private massage rooms plunge shower and a whirlpool in the resting area. On the upper levels there is a Health & Beauty Institute offering a Ladies and Gentleman’s Hair Salon and a Fitness Centre, with both indoor and outdoor exercise zones. “Givenchy’s aim is to develop a limited and exclusive collection of SPAS around the world and we are pleased that Royal Mirage in Dubai has joined our

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family. Especially since the Givenchy Spa at the resorts sister hotel, Le Saint-Géran in Mauritius was voted as “Best Spa in the World” by Conde Nast Traveller in 2001, and the Givenchy Spa at One&Only Le Touessrok opened in December 2002”, said Alain Crevet, President & C.E.O. Givenchy Parfums, Paris. At the spa there are twelve private treatment rooms including one exclusive suite for private consultations and a serene resting area with an organic juice bar and a Givenchy boutique. The treatments on offer at the Givenchy spa are broken into three groups, Facials, Massages and Body Treatment. Some treatments available at the spa include: Intensive firming care (Facial) Cleansing and misting are followed by the application of the Swisscare lifting double sequence and a high frequency treatment, plus a face acupressure points massage and, to help relaxation, hand and feet massages. There is an immediate smoothing and firming effect that leaves the skin looking youthful and restored. This treatment is ideal for stressed, lax or tired skin. Non Surgical facial Described as ‘Beauty without Surgery, this new facial

treatment is inspired from leading medical techniques used in plastic surgery. Combining the 3 exclusive products of the "No Surgetics" range, the fine lines fade away and relaxes the features. From the massage range; Lomi-Lomi Massage ‘Lomi-Lomi’, the ‘Loving Touch’ in Hawaiian, is a link between heart, hands and spirit. Created exclusively by Givenchy and inspired from the traditional Hawaiian practice, this treatment provides muscular relaxation to harmonise the blood circulation and rebalance the breathing system. And from the Body Treatments series; Exclusively Givenchy The ultimate in body pampering,

three treatments combined to exfoliate, regenerate and hydrate your body, leaving your skin replenished and renewed while reviving body and soul. 1. Body scrub to exfoliate and regenerate. 2. Bathing with specific Givenchy Bath oils. 3. Hydrating body wrap. So if you are wanting to relax unwind and try not to be too thoroughly worn out by this year ATM why not find some time to unwind and distress at one of Dubai’s most exclusive spa hotels. Just imagine after a hard day networking there can be nothing better then sneaking off to the Givenchy spa and escaping the pressures of business. More information on the Royal Mirage can be found at: www.oneandonlyresorts.com B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S 33


Raffles Canouan A new level of luxury in the heart of the Caribbean

by Ben Kilbey

The Caribbean is home to some of the worlds most exclusive resorts. Some of the worlds most luxurious and exclusive getaways are located in the region. Shortly, a new level of luxury is to make its mark; Raffles is opening on the island of Canouan.

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affles Resort Canouan Island is located on Canouan Island in the heart of the Grenadines in the south-eastern Caribbean. The resort is set on 300 acres of a 1,200 acre private estate featuring three secluded white sand beaches, all surrounded by one of the world’s largest coral reefs. The new Raffles Resort is set in an amphitheatre style around the protected bay with each of the 156 accommodations offering breathtaking views. Canouan Island is truly in the heart of The Grenadines, a region known for its unsurpassed sailing, marine life and Caribbean charm. Located just 110 miles west of Barbados, Canouan is a short flight away from the other Grenadine Islands of Mustique, Bequia, Petit St. Vincent, and the Tobago keys. With this St. Vincent and the Grenadines is set to re-establish itself on the Caribbean map. The island nations are set to boom in the high end market. Caribbean Travel News caught up with Hon. Rene Baptiste, the islands at this years ITB Berlin to discuss developments, the future and the safety that the Caribbean offers to travellers. 34 B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S

Everybody is Trumps up. As the Caribbean evolves into another year predictions are indicative of a positive year for the region in terms of tourism, do you also perceive this as being the case? The region is definitely expecting a positive year due to the fact that: The visitors are looking for security and stability and that is what the long-haul destinations such at the Caribbean has to offer, secondly, our longer staying visitors from the European Countries will find that we are no longer an expensive destination because of the following exchange rate of the US dollar to which the EC dollar tied. With the opening of one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious resorts, Raffles on Canouan, what prospects does this hold for your island nation? Is this an exciting project for you and what do you envisage this development in bringing to your destination? (How important is the development to you personally?) Prospects Raffles, a Singaporean Company manages

a collection of the world’s finest properties, in Asia, Europe and North America. This is Raffles first venture in the Caribbean. It is a company with one hundred and sixteen year experience as a luxury hotel and resort operator. The Raffles philosophy of a successful hotel is a place where you are treated so well that you want to come back. It goes beyond its location, its decor and its amenities. B. Development will bring - It is certainly an exciting project for me. I am happy that all of this development is happening during my first term as Minister of Tourism and Culture. The government is moving rapidly on the issue of providing a jet port for Canouan which is expected to cost some twenty-five million US dollars (US25 000 000.00.) The golf course designed by world renown Jim Fazio who redesigned the present course to a full 18 hole championship course which experts agreed would give the finest views from a golf course anywhere in the world. The Trump Organization – renowned property developers will certainly take the Canouan Real Estate project to new heights with a programme of private villas on and around the

golf course with starting prices of US$1,000,000.00. For the high rollers, Trump Casinos will run the gaming of the Trump “Club Privee” at the Villa Monte Carlo. The Moorings operation on Canouan is just over one year old and is now second only to Tortola in advanced booking requests. Last but not least the development will provide employment for nationals, thereby generating income and much needed foreign exchange and growth in the economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. As the war of the cruise sector rages on – should there be additional tax should there not? What are your views on the sector and how important is this sector to your tourism arrivals? Do you feel that additional taxation should be implemented? The development of the Cruise industry is expected to create opportunities for ground tour operators, taxi drivers and tour guides to benefit from cruise tourism. It is also expected to facilitate a greater spread of the tourist dollar, particularly on “mainland” St. Vincent The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is cognizant that

cruise tourism has the potential to be an important sub-sector in the overall tourism industry of the country and it is for this reason that the head tax in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been reduced The cruise passenger is seen as a potential stay over passenger. As we evolve into a more internet savvy civilization and society, more and more people are utilizing the internet to book holidays and choose destinations. It is estimated that there are some 47 million subscribers to the internet in the US alone. For this reason, do you foresee the “net” as being your best tool in obtaining business globally? How much of your budget at present goes towards internet marketing? Will this increase as the years evolve? Without a doubt the internet is an excellent vehicle to present our country to millions of potential visitors. At present a substantial sum of our budget for Marketing is going towards internet marketing. This will increase as the years evolve to facilitate the enhancement of the site. Making it even more

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attractive, more user friendly and interactive. How important is the dive market in drawing business from the European market? Explain a little about its difference from other sites across the globe – and more aptly other Caribbean competitors? Diving is one of our niche markets in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This country continues to receive numerous awards for best diving destination of the world. Each dive site on St. Vincent has its own unique subset of the area’s marine life and offers divers unspoiled reef and an incredible diversity of marine life. SVG was recently named Top diving Destination by Caribbean World Magazine. Diving enthusiasts boast that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has some of the most pristine reefs they have encountered in the Eastern Caribbean. This is because we are the relatively unknown. This trend has however been changing, due to our participation in the largest Scuba Dive Show in the world (DEMA), and in ads and articles

published in the leading dive magazine such as Rodales Scuba Dive Magazine, Sport Diver Magazine and Skin Diver Magazine. The dive shops are reporting growing number of divers expressing interest via the internet, many of which result in bookings. In July/August 2003 – Reefnet’s Galleries reported that they photo shoot – “Species new to science”, some are the first even taken of known species, and others are yet to be identified. How important is the European market to you and what strategies will you employ to increase the market share of European visitors in 2004/05? The European market is the largest market for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The visitors spend a longer visit than the Americans and Canadians and spend much more money. The Ministry has just contracted a Public Relations company Westminster Communication

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Group in the U.K., which will connect to the media networks, and give major exposure through key newspapers, TV and travelrelated trade magazines. We will also continue to participate the major Trade Shows in Europe such as ITB and WTM along with other trade shows, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines London Tourist office will step up on promotional activities such as road shows, travel agents seminars and fam tours to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. What sets you apart from Caribbean neighbours? We are an archipelago of 32 islands and cays (the only one in the Southern Caribbean) we offer a colourful mix of ecotourism and resort tourism here. Everything from dense primeval rainforest, and waterfalls to stretches of coral sand beaches and sparkling blue waters. There are unrivalled dive experiences,

the excitement of hopping from island to island, heritage tourism and bird watching, festivals and regattas. How important is eco tourism to St. Vincent and the Grenadines? The island is blessed to be a multi island destination which offers a diverse product, where as the Grenadines offers a resort type of product along with sun, sea, sand, sailing and diving. The main island offers nature or Eco tourism, waterfall, botanic gardens (the oldest in the western hemisphere), bird watching, mountain climbing, nature trails and dolphin & whale watching. What is St. Vincent and the Grenadines stance on Sustainable tourism? Please elaborate. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is strongly in favour of sustainable tourism – ecotourism allows people to explore and enjoy nature without disturbing the eco-balance of the environment, be it land,

forestry, marine life, historical sites, architecture or cultural folklore. It also provides the opportunity for local residents to gain economic benefits from natural and cultural resources while protecting them. It points local residents to a way that forgoes destructive practices like the cultivation of banana above the water catchments area in favour of more environmentally – friendly best practices. The Vermont Nature Trail and parrot reserve is a good example of an eco-tourism project that practices and encourage conservation and at the same time provides the opportunity for local residents to benefit. In keeping with the reality that Canouan is small island with its own culture and people, the Government last year commissioned world – class company Ed Stone and Associates to develop a sustainable development plan which was presented and very well received by the local population.

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Multi-lingual ECommerce Initiatives Prove to be a Success for InterContinental

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nterContinental Hotels Group has announced that revenue streams from direct bookings of its Asia Pacific hotels on the Group's websites achieved a significant 158 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2004 as compared to the same quarter in 2003. The company reported that the market that has experienced the biggest impact from e-commerce initiatives was Australia, with more than 200 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2004 compared to the previous year and similarly for year on year growth while New Zealand recorded a 108 per cent year-on-year growth in direct web bookings. Mr A. Patrick Imbardelli, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, InterContinental Hotels Group, commented: "Our focus on e-commerce has proven right as evidenced by our strong first quarter results. This focus has not only led to improved revenue for our hotels but has also once again demonstrated our leadership in e-commerce. Leveraging

on this success, we will continue to roll out new E-commerce initiatives, benefiting the hotels as well as our customers who book our hotels at our websites." Some of the recent key e-commerce initiatives in 2003 included the launch of the world's first fully integrated Holiday Inn Chinese-language website that facilitated reservations without the use of credit cards. The website not only offers real time content and booking facilities in simplified Chinese, but allows Chinese customers around the world to make online reservations with added ease and convenience as they do not need to use a credit card to secure a guaranteed room reservation. Another initiative for the group is the development of localised websites. The Group was among the first in China to roll out its first Chinese language website that allows booking of 3,500 hotels around the world. Subsequently localised websites for Australia and New Zealand were also developed. The

Japanese website is in the pipeline, and is expected to be rolled out in the next few months. The importance of multilingual facilities is becoming rapidly recognised in the online arena. Hotels as well as airlines and destination sites could be losing important market share by not offering these facilities. This is a global industry and as more countries get online, there is a pressing need to deliver multi-lingual services. Sandals recently announced the launch of their compelling new multi-lingual websites. The sites are offered in Italian, Spanish, German and French and will to compliment www.sandals.com. The new

Mr A. Patrick Imbardelli, Managing Director, Asia Pacific

sites will have a new, cleaner look and will be much more interactive for the user. There will also be a version of the site deployed for the Beaches properties. Radisson Hotels & Resorts recently relaunched its web site to support multiple languages. In addition to English, the site now offers six languages which include German, French, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish. and Spanish.

Hilton Worldwide Resorts Offers Dynamic Virtual Tours Online Hilton Worldwide Resorts today launched new features on its website, www.hilton.com/worldwideresorts, making it the first upscale hotel chain website to offer seamless 360 degree virtual walks to customers wishing to view resorts before booking a holiday. Visitors to the website also now benefit from several new features including three and seven night special packages available at 45 resorts, 'Our Best Rates. Guaranteed.', new mini resort brochures and pre-arrival welcome packs to download, a new video of Hilton Worldwide Resorts and a new on-line brochure ordering facility. Philippa Gould, Director of Product Development, Hilton International, comments: "Buying a luxury resort holiday is a big commitment for our guests. We are delighted to extend our total resort experience to the holiday selection stage by enabling customers to take a virtual walk around the many of our resorts before they decide to book. With these virtual walks, the new special packages, 'Our Best Rates. Guaranteed.', and new mini brochures and video features, we have made choosing a Hilton resort holiday even easier. They all combine to provide customers with easy access to a wonderful choice of holidays, to a great selection of information and to the best available rates." Previously customers could view up to ten panoramic 36 B R E A K I N G T R A V E L N E W S

images of the resorts. Now visitors with high-speed Internet access "arrive" at the resort with a click of the mouse and can take a virtual walk to their room, stop to visit the spa, check out the dive centre, the restaurants and bar or even take a quick stroll along the beach. More than 20 of the 45 Hilton Worldwide Resorts featured on the website offer virtual tours and the screen size is around four times larger than an average web cam for a much more detailed view of the resort. Hilton Worldwide Resorts expects more of its resorts to offer this service before the end of the year. With the phenomenal growth of broadband technology (currently available in approximately 10% of UK households), online virtual tours are a must have for the hospitality industry. Hilton Hotels Worldwide has seen the benefit of offering these services to its guests. Booking a holiday can be an expensive business so it is reasonable that consumers should want to see where they are going before they get there. With these capabilities in place, more hotels are beginning to adopt virtual tours in order to offer new customers the best service possible and remain competitive in the market place. Broadband Holdings Group is a virtual imaging

service provider that delivers interactive solutions for a wide variety of applications in the travel and tourism sector. These include 360 degree virtual tours as well as video tours of destinations around world. Their portal www.virtually-theworld.com offers some unique tours of hotels and destinations. They are the producers of virtually-bahamas.com promoting Hilton Bahamas. The cross promotion of virtual tour images on their network of sites, such as virtuallyhotelsandresorts.com, has proven to be a traffic booster for its advertisers. The recent introduction of broadband-travel.co.uk site has taken the virtual tour concept a step further. This product brings the chosen destination to life with streaming videos as well as 360 degree virtual tours. The idea focuses on the holiday plannersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; emotional and aspirational experience, rather than following functional processes; a unique and priceless marketing tool. Broadband Holdings Group are at the forefront of this new technology, having recently developed Broadband St Andrews for Old Course hotel www.broadbandstandrews.com and Broadband-Barbados (www.broadband-barbados.co.uk) developed for Kuoni. Other websites launching soon are www.broadbandcountry.com and www.broadband-city.com. www.breakingtravelnews.com


bringing travel to life This dynamic travel website brings the chosen destination to life with streaming videos and virtual tours, focusing on the holiday planner's emotional and aspirational experiences rather than simply following a functional process.

www.broadband-city.com Part of Broadband Holdings Group Broadband Holdings Group Limited, Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6BD, UK Tel +44 (0)20 7925 0000 Fax +44 (0)20 7925 2552 Email enquiry@broadband-holdings.com


Sandy Lane BARBADOS

Caribbeanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Leading Golf Resort 2003


Lifestyles of the rich and the famous an exclusive interview with Sandy Lane GM, Colm Hannon

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andy Lane is a hotel world renowned for its style, sophistication and worldclass service. The haunt of celebrities and royalty alike Sandy Lane goes that little way further to give you so much more. What is it that makes the resort so special? Is it the world-class golf? The luxurious rooms? Or perhaps the international five star cuisine? As GM Colm Hannon likes to point out, “Sandy Lane is a complete resort yet what makes it the success it is the people, the service – we have a fabulous physical side but it is the human side that makes Sandy Lane so special.” With its recognition at the World Travel Awards (Caribbean’s leading Golf Resort), Sandy Lane is basking in the light of greatness and is constantly striving to achieve and offer more then any other resort. At the helm of this success story is Colm Hannon, an Irishman impassioned by the resort and the wonders that it offers. Hannon has vast experience of the region having previously worked in Bermuda (Cambridge Beaches), for six years. Colm

has much to say about his beloved Sandy Lane. How is Business? 2003 was a great year. We are running at an 80 percent occupancy, which is fantastic, and arrivals from the US are up by 5 percent to around 40 percent. In fact the US market was the most responsive last year. We are famed in the UK and the majority of clients arrive from there, but lately we have been moving to market the US more proactively. It makes sense; it is a market on our doorstep. With the increased flights from hubs such as Newark and Washington traffic is increasing. Let us congratulate you on your award, how important are awards such as this for you? Very important – in my view these awards are a clear stamp of quality. It’s not just about the physical attributes but the personal ones too, by this I mean the quality of service. We have also achieved the AAA 5 Diamond award, which is outstanding, a true reflection of

what we are about and the levels that we offer. Only 1 percent of hotels globally have this stamp of quality.

not to say that locals are not playing, again it’s hard to say. I know that it is becoming more popular and accessible.

How important is the golf market to you? The golf market is a very important one – with the courses we have we create the ultimate resort, guests have everything at their fingertips. That is what we here at Sandy Lane want to create, something that has everything or one complete resort. Golf is a major attraction, and the standards here are world leading – of an international standard.

With regards to your spa, what sets it apart from other spas? Well, we offer 47, 000 square feet of sheer indulgence operated by some of the best spa assistants in the world. Really it’s the over all magnitude of the spa that hits you and sets it apart. There are 14 treatment rooms – its absolute luxury designed to offer space and tranquillity. We offer a range of treatments utilising our natural resources. Banana Wraps, Jet Blitz, which is wonderful, Hydrotherapy you name it! One of the more signature treatments is the Chakra, a wet treatment and series of body wraps. Pure indulgence! I guess our true signature though is the Bajan Sync Body Massage – two professional masseurs synchronized, offering the ultimate massage experience, it’s quite unique.

Who designed your golf course? Tom Fazio, the man is a genius. We have two 18-hole courses, one quarry course and one sloping, rolling hills course leading down to the ocean. The quarry course is called the Green Monkey and is for the more advance golfer whilst the Country Club is great for the less experienced or novice player. The best of both worlds. What do you play off? Around a 17 handicap, not too bad but nothing special! How much business does the golf bring to Sandy Lane? Around 20 percent of the guests play golf – hard to say how many come solely for the golf itself. Do many local people play golf? There are 5 courses on the island and the majority of participants are holidaymakers, that’s

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What spa products do you use? We use only the best products from across the globe. We have two main suppliers ESPA, and Doctor Hauschka – a very exclusive German range. Our spas editor has informed me that men’s treatments are very much the vogue at the moment – have you witnessed an increase in demand? Do you have a personal favourite? At present the split is roughly 70 percent female to 30 percent male. The male volume is up by roughly 10 percent. The spa is a major attraction – I do not know if people come solely for the spa however – it difficult to correlate. As I said before Sandy Lane is a total resort. As for my

personal favourite treatment it would have to be the Golfers Tonic (Website description - Tee off with a relaxing back massage to ease muscle tension, followed by a holistic foot and nail treatment which includes exfoliation, deep massage with an appropriate aromatherapy oil, and an envelopment of warm paraffin wax. All designed to relieve the aches and pains of feet that may be feeling below par), as a keen golfer it’s great for loosening up muscles and increasing flexibility, ready for a round of golf. What do you see as being your biggest growth area next year? I would say, golf, romance and family markets. Are there any developments in the pipeline? Well, we are opening another international level restaurant. It will be a Japanese restaurant specialising in world-class sushi. Something a little different. Also the official opening of the Green Monkey golf course is set for the end of this month. Barbados is booming at the moment – winning best host destination at the World Travel Awards and then becoming the first in Kuoni’s Broadband-travel.com website Series! Are these the golden years? Very much so. The whole island is pushing in the direction of improving facilities and service. Properties are upgrading and increasing accessibility. We are certainly leading the way in these alterations and improvements; we compete at a truly international level. No one else, without meaning to sound boastful, has the range that we have.

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Emirates: The Success Story Breaking Travel News Special Report by Anna Gouldman

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is Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum (SA), Chairman of Emirates Group and President of Dubai Department Civil Aviation, recently named one of the 20 leading figures in the German travel industry by Focus magazine, granted Breaking Travel News (BTN) an exclusive interview in which he shared his ambitious plans and luminous vision for Emirates Airline.

Q: Your Highness. As the chairman of Emirates Group, can you tell me something of the history of the airline? A: We launched Emirates on 25th October 1985, to support the development of Dubai, the Gulf's most dynamic trade and tourism hub. From two leased aircraft, the airline has grown apace into a global travel and tourism group with 63 jets serving 76 destinations. Our vision has always remained the same - to offer consistently high-quality value-for-money service and to be the best airline on every route we fly. We have one of the world's most modern, reliable and punctual fleets, offering top class comfort, catering and inflight entertainment. This is our recipe for success. Q: Emirates has won awards across a wide spectrum, setting standards for other airlines to aspire to. What is the key to your success and in which areas do you mainly focus, to ensure such high standards? A: With our modern fleet, comprehensive network, convenient schedules and associated businesses for cargo, IT, destination management, leisure, and inhouse ground handling, we have enjoyed dramatic growth while keeping tight control of customer service and costs. We believe our success is due in part to receiving no Government protection or free fuel, and paying the same prices for services as any other airline.

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We operate in Dubai's totally Open Skies, where any airline can fly without restriction. As a result, more than 100 airlines now serve Dubai. We support this free-for-all for it is healthy, beneficial for the customer, and has made us strong and competitive. The most important factor is untiring and dedicated commitment by our people. They come from more than 100 countries, and this variety of nationalities and backgrounds is a vital asset. Our reputation is also very strong, helping us to attract more than 240,000 applications to join the group last year so we can select only the best. Q: How important is the Emirates brand? A: Emirates is one of the world's most awarded airlines, possibly THE most, earning some 250 international awards since it was founded in 1985. Superior customer service is seen as a trademark, and Dubai's rapid growth as a tourist and business destination has also helped. Emirates and Dubai have contributed to each other's momentum. Dubai is one of the world's fastestgrowing cities with a dynamic economy that has seen double-digit growth for more than a decade. Q: How important is your relationship with travel agents? A: Travel agents sell most of our tickets and services, and we work closely with them to make our partnership as

productive and cost-effective as possible, for example by using the power of the Internet. We also sell through travel shops and airport ticket offices. Q: What is your response to the recent launch of ETIHAD? A: When we first took off in 1985, a total of 65 airlines served Dubai. Today more than 100 do so, and our strong results show we can cope with competition - in fact, we thrive on it. With passenger numbers in the region rising by 20 per cent a year, the cake is large enough for all to share. Of course, new airlines compete with us, but after investing so much money in our airline, service, and brand, we will do our best to surpass them in a spirit of friendly rivalry. Q: According to a recent survey by BTI Canada, the average cost of airline tickets fell in 2003 by 5.4% as more business travellers choose to travel no-frills. Low- Cost carriers put enormous pressure on many airlines in Europe and the U.S. Is there a market in the Middle East for Low-Cost carriers and how will Emirates compete? A: The appearance of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;low cost carriersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in the region is in line with changes in what is traditionally an extremely dynamic industry. Emirates has flourished in it from the very start, without needing financial assistance, favouritism or subsidies from the government and acquiring planes by

using its own resources, borrowing money on international markets or leasing aircraft. We continue to deal with changes ranging from the Dubai International Airport redevelopment to the impact of Sars and the Iraq war. We are quietly confident that we can face the challenge of low-cost airlines too, and as always by giving our customers what they require at prices they are ready to pay. Q: How effective has the internet proved to be as a distribution channel for Emirates? A: The impact of the Internet is already huge in the US and Europe and getting bigger every year. Our site went live two years ago, and growth so far is promising. We will promote further expansion with a series of campaigns to the mutual benefit of the industry. Q: Your in-flight service and entertainment is highly rated. In January you announced a partnership with Tenzing Communications to offer the world's first regular, airborne wireless laptop service. How will this service enhance the customer experience and how do you think that inflight wireless technology will evolve in the next few years? A: We invest millions of dollars a year in information technology. Our new $8 million ice (information, communication & entertainment) system is proving a hit

with customers on our ultra-longhaul Airbus A340s serving Australia and Japan. From 1st June, they will launch operations between Dubai and North America. We are the first airline to show BBC World news updates in flight, and first to give travellers the ability to send and receive emails and SMS from any seat, for just $1 a time. They can also phone anyone anywhere for US $5 a minute, and this service, subsidised from our own funds, has helped make ours the most widely-used inflight telephony system in the world. We see 'being connected' as something our customers now expect as a right, as they place so high a priority on staying in touch with home or office. Q: Congratulations on being named one of the 20 leading figures in the German travel industry for the second year by Focus magazine. How much business do you do in Germany A: Germany is our second biggest European market, after the UK, and German customers are rightly choosy when they have the choice of so many high quality airlines. To serve them better, we offer convenient schedules, modern aircraft and unbeatable cabin crew. Thanks in large part to this, passenger numbers on German routes to and from Frankfurt, Munich and Dusseldorf have boomed in recent years, and so we have added extra services to keep pace with demand. We are keenly

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aware that we cannot be complacent in a market where efficiency, quality and commercial astuteness are so highly prized. Q: What did you have to achieve to become an official sponsor of the 2006 Fifa World Cup? A: When we were offered the opportunity to become an official sponsor of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, we were delighted as it fits our plans to become a global brand. Q: Having built a substantial presence in the European Market, you are about to expand into North America, with Emirates' first nonstop service from New York to Dubai scheduled to start on June 1st. How significant has this venture been to your overall strategy? A: The route will link America's largest city and top destination with Dubai, one of the world's fastest-growing commercial hubs. We will offer unprecedented in-flight comfort and greatly improve connections for all travellers from North America to the Gulf, Africa, Indian sub-continent and Asia Pacific. People from the U.S. will connect to the world via Dubai and cut travelling time, in some cases dramatically. And the route is just the first step in our plans to serve the Americas, as we will serve many other gateways in the US, Canada and South

America. The number of Americans on our flights has risen every year since 1992, when we opened a New York office. In the year to February 2004, numbers rose by 61 per cent in First, 47 per cent in Business and 31 per cent in Economy. Q: Your business has progressed regardless of world difficulties that have drastically affected the travel industry and other airlines. How have you achieved this? A: Travel is the world's largest industry, and people will always want to travel for many reasons, despite short-term

problems. Statistics from IATA, the International Air Transport Association, show a global rise of five per cent a year. Worldwide, that's a very large number of people. We just aim to meet their needs - it's not rocket science. Q: You recently announced that Emirates debut Eurobond issue is being launched at US$500 million, the largest ever unrated Eurobond issue by an airline and the largest unsecured issue by a corporation within GCC region of countries. A month later, what has been your investors' response? What are you

with events like the Shopping Festival, Dubai Summer Surprises, Dubai World Cup and Dubai Desert Classic. The Dubai Airport Free Zone has led manufacturers to base operations here, and being the major airline makes it easy for us to get involved in transporting freight to and from other countries.

planning to do with the money? A: There has been an excellent response to our new bond, which closed on March 24 with a margin of 0.80 per cent over six months USD Libor. Interest in it was so strong that we have raised the target from USD 400 to USD 500 million. We have a wide geographical spread of investors, with more than a quarter of the investment coming from Europe /Asia and more than half from outside the UAE. The bond gives us a new source of funding as two thirds will come from new investors, and its success underlines investor confidence in our financial performance. The funds raised are not for specific expenditure, but general corporate finance purposes.

Q: How important are your relationships with other airlines? Would Emirates consider any future alliance or merger with any international airline? A: We prefer not to join airline alliances, but instead like to retain our independence. Some airlines claim that sharing resources and exchanging passengers will bring economies of scale, lower unit costs and prices, and public benefits. But for airlines above a certain fairly modest size, economies of scale go into reverse, unit costs go up, and so do prices. Q: What are your goals for the immediate future and in the long term for Emirates? A: Quite simply, to be the best in every venture we undertake; to meet our customers' expectations profitably, to contribute to the success of Dubai Inc., and to make the city the new global aviation hub for the 21st century.

Q: Emirates has significantly contributed to the economic success of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates? Can you comment specifically on your contributions? A: People here say "if it's good for Emirates, it's good for Dubai". A lot of the growth is driven by tourism, backed by the government, particularly HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. We are deeply involved

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BREAKING TRAVEL NEWS 3


LAST MINUTE NEWS Le Méridien & Skywards Launch Miles for Meals

Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BD UK TEL +44 (0)20 7925 0000 FAX +44 (0)20 7925 2552 Publisher Graham E. Cooke Group Editorial Director Manon Han Airline / Hotel Editor Alexander Lewis Caribbean Editor Ben Kilbey Internet Editor Anna Gouldman Spa Editor Jaime Cooke Photographer Benjamin Roberts Editorial Assistant Elizabeth Lee-Richards Joanna Garvey Sales Director James A. Khan Nicola Brookes David Falcon Sales Executive George Cooke Production Manager Siddharth Thaker Graphic Design Nomad Graphique Printed by Masterspeed

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ith a view towards consolidating its leading brand position in the UAE, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, have announced the launch of a unique customer promotion with Skywards, the award winning frequent flyer programme of Emirates and SriLankan Airlines. Skywards’ members in the UAE will earn frequent flyer miles when dining in more than 50 Food & Beverage outlets across seven leading Le Méridien properties in the country. More specifically, from May 1st, 2004, Skywards’ members, dining at selected outlets in

participating Le Méridien hotels, and spending a minimum of AED 100, will be rewarded with 100 Skywards Miles on every AED 100 spent. Furthermore, Skywards members can enjoy using their Emirates-Citibank Credit Cards and earning one Mile for every US dollar spent at one of the participating Le Méridien Hotel in the UAE.

LOYALTY Speaking about the joint promotion on behalf of Le Méridien, Mr. Sami Zoghbi, Managing Director, Middle East and West Asia (MEWA), said: “Customer loyalty has increasingly

Low-Cost Airline Celebrates 6 Months

O

n 28 October 2003, Air Arabia, the first low-cost airline of its kind in the Middle East & North Africa region – launched itself into the market. They were introducing a unique concept of travel to the region - Air Arabia’s aim is to provide safe, efficient and cost-effective air travel. Six months in and they are still at it. “It has been an exciting 6 months for Air Arabia – with our value proposition of enabling people who have not been able to afford air travel in the past to start travelling and encouraging those that travel already to do so more often – we have carried over 160,000 passengers to countries within the region and neighbouring countries,” said Adel Ali, Air Arabia’s CEO. It was a brave decision to bring the low-cost model to this particular market. Many thought it wouldn’t work. Adel Ali adds: “We introduced a new model to the region - a new product into any market takes time to find its niche, but Air Arabia has found its niche in all types of travellers – whether it is for business or leisure – without sacrificing on service and safety standards.” Starting operations with 5 destinations – Beirut, Bahrain, Damascus, Kuwait and Muscat and 16 flights a week – Air Arabia now operates 56 flights a week to 13 destinations in 10 countries within the Middle East and Sub-continent. In line with other low-cost carriers in different regions Air Arabia aims to make air travel more convenient and frequent through internet booking and offering the lowest fares in the market. The introduction of new services such as their exclusive coach service from Dubai and Al Ain to Sharjah International Airport, in-flight duty free purchases and soon a complimentary in-flight entertainment system, not only compliment this unique airline, but offer their customers added value over and above guaranteed 20-50% lower fares. Ali added: “The next few months will see Air Arabia offering increased destinations as well as an additional aircraft before the end of the year – expanding our fleet to four Airbus A320 aircraft. The preferred choice in the single-aisle market, the A320 is known for its wide seats, aisles and increased cabin storage, as well as its technological innovation that brings enhanced performance and reliability; Air Arabia’s customers ultimately benefit from these returns with unmatched cabin comfort and economics.” It seems that Air Arabia can already start to look forward to their first anniversary.

become a key contributing factor for a hotel’s continued success with the intensely competitive hospitality sector in the UAE. “Le Méridien are excited to partner with Skywards in this promotion as it aims to recognise and reward loyal customers by offering them added value at their popular restaurants across the UAE. Our association with Emirates Airline goes back a long way, and we have together launched several customer-driven programmes that have been very popular among our guests and patrons”. Skywards is one of the most rewarding frequent

flyer programmes, offering members a host of unique benefits. Skywards Miles can be redeemed for free flights to hundreds of destinations, upgrades, hotel accommodations, leisure activities and lifestyle products. Brian La Belle, Skywards Vice President, said: “Our decision to partner with a world-renowned hotel chain such as Le Méridien, with its reputation for innovative and varied offerings and superior customer service, gives us an ideal opportunity to reward our members for their valued support of Emirates and SriLankan Airlines.”

Sailing Industry Rides the Crest of a Wave The Middle East’s sailing industry is booming as more people are taking to the water and marinas are planning 5,000 new berths to meet demand. This is the message from regional operators. Middle East water enthusiasts are also being courted by overseas operators who are hoping to entice regional tourists to their lakes and oceans. And now a flurry of new waterborne products are being unveiled at ATM 2004. Deborah Kirkwood, whose yacht charter business, Dusail, was launched in November, will be telling ATM 2004 visitors that she is already planning to add a second boat to her business. She said: “The development of Palm Island and the World project is encouraging more people to take to the water to see these islands. We launched in November with our 50 ft luxury yacht Andorra which caters for the VIP market and carries up to 18 guests. We are now planning to add a 50 ft open catamaran in September that can carry 50 passengers to appeal to the corporate day charter business.” She added: “Locally tourism and trade is developing rapidly in the Middle East partly because of the professional and aggressive marketing and promotional ideas from Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and that is boosting demand from people who want to get out on the water.” Yachting will also be on the agenda at IFA Hotels & Resorts’ stand at the Dubai Pavilion at ATM with its Yacht Ownership Club. The company offers timeshares on its 22 metre luxury Maiora yacht. “Sold on a weekly basis per year for a five year period, timeshare ownership provides a carefree yachting experience. This is a flexible programme that means if owners don’t wish to use their week they can enter into an exchange programme with IFA Yacht Ownership Club or have the yacht chartered out on their behalf,” said James Wilson, President and COO of IFA Hotels & Resorts. The IFA Yacht Ownership Club will be associated with the exclusive five-star Palm Beach Club on Palm Island Jumeirah. There’s plenty more at ATM 2004 including an offer to sail on Lake Geneva, in the shadow of Mont Blanc in a yacht once owned by Baron Edmond de Rothschild. With opportunities like that it’s not hard to see why sailing is becoming ever more popular.

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BTN ATM 2004  

The Breaking News team were in Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in 2004. We were the only company to produce an English language daily newspaper...

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