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Middle East and North Africa Edition

March 19, Issue 71

TravelporT SellS GTA BuSineSS Travelport, a provider of critical transaction processing for the global travel market, announced on March 7, the sale of its GTA wholesaler of ground content to Kuoni.

Wyndham Hotel Group announced the first Wyndham Grand property in the Middle East and will debut in Doha.

2 MArriott DeBuTS Three new hoTelS in DohA Marriott international is set to open three new properties in Doha in the second quarter of 2011.

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Market Update Weekly News Accommodation News Air Travel News International News Who’s Moved Travel Talk Agents’ Corner Travel Channels Rendezvous Events

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2 4 8 11 14 17 18 20 22 23 24 iSSue 71

Wyndham Debuts in Doha

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TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Managing Editor Mary Kammitsi Journalists rita Kasziba Duncan Macrae Marianna Keen Design & Layout elina pericleous Sales & Marketing Dimitris Thomaidis

Travelport Sells GTA Business for USD720 million On March 7, Travelport, a provider of critical transaction processing for the global travel market, announced the sale of its GTA wholesaler of ground content to Kuoni, one of the world’s leading leisure travel organisations, for USD720 million.

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he agreed sale corresponds with Travelport’s strategy to focus on maximising the potential of its core business, Headquarters including global distribution p.o. Box 25255 system (GDS) operations and airline iT nicosia 1308 Cyprus solutions. Tel: +35722820888 Jeff Clarke, Ceo of Travelport, commented on Fax: +35722318958 the transition. “our strategy is to focus our Website energies on maximising the potential of our core www.traveltradeweekly.travel proposition and, while GTA is a leader in its Emails field, with a strong proposition, this is a positive info@traveltradeweekly.travel editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel opportunity for us to accelerate our plans.” sales@traveltradeweekly.travel The net proceeds of the sale of GTA, which comprises of hotel accommodation and related ground travel services, will be used to pay off Travelport bank Directors Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi

debt. Majority approval by Travelport’s bank lenders, and a vote by shareholders of Kuoni in favour of a capital increase by Kuoni to finance the transaction, will be needed in order to proceed. The sale of GTA is scheduled for completion in May. using innovative technology, GTA markets and distributes global travel content through travel wholesalers in over 130 countries. other travel services include sightseeing attractions, private transfers and group travel. “Kuoni is a well known and long-term customer of Travelport and our aim will be to work in partnership with them to improve further the distribution and sale of the combined Kuoni/GTA inventory across the Travelport subscriber network,” added Clarke.

Jazeera Partners With Al-Futtaim MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 17/3/2011 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the uS Dollar COUNTRY uAe (AeD) egypt (eGp) Saudi Arabia (SAr) lebanon (lBp) Bahrain (BhD) Jordan ( JoD) Syria (SYp) Kuwait (KwD) Qatar (QAr) oman (oMr) Tunisia (TnD) Morocco (MAD) iran (irr) Yemen (Yer) Algeria (DZD) libya (lYD)

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CURRENCY Dirham pound riyal pound Dinar Dinar pound Dinar riyal rial Dinar Dirham riyal rial Dinar Dinar

1USD= 3.67 5.93 3.75 1503.5 0.37 0.71 46.60 0.28 3.64 0.38 1.40 8.06 10,374 215.00 72.43 1.22

Jazeera Airways has appointed Al-Futtaim Travel, a pronounced corporate and leisure travel management company, as its preferred sales agent in Dubai. Al-Futtaim group will assist the airline with various distribution and marketing channels across the uAe. william horsley, general manager of Al-Fattiam, commented on how delighted he is regarding the agreement. “we are extremely honoured to represent Jazeera Airways in the uAe. This agreement further endorses our market-leading position as a corporate and leisure travel management company. our team will give our full support and cooperation to grow the airlines business in the country. we are confident we can offer great value to our customers travelling to any of the 18 destinations flown by Jazeera Airways.” Jazeera Airways is to strengthen its position in the highly competitive market through new channels provided by its partner, rethah Al-Mousawi, regional manager, GCC, Yemen and indian Subcontinent. “we are excited about this new partnership and confident that Al-Futtaim Travel’s experience and its established network will help connect more people in Dubai to Jazeera Airways great product,” emphasised Al-Mousawi. The carrier, which operates one of the Gulf ’s youngest fleets, operates scheduled flights to Dubai since 2005. MArCh 19, 2011


DTCM Prepared for MITT The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), heads a team of 42 travel and tourism representatives from the emirates, at the Moscow International Travel and Tourism (MITT) 2011 exhibition.

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pre-fair meeting took place at the DTCM head office to finalise arrangements for Dubai’s participation at Mitt, March 16-19. Asma Mohammed Ali, head of region for east and west europe, DTCM, took the opportunity to brief the participants on the

details of the participation. More than 3,000 companies will participate from 185 destinations and the exhibition was described by DTCM as a key meeting place for the industry. in addition, it  offers participants the chance to  increase awareness of  their destination.

Wataniya Ceases Operations Kuwait-based airline wataniya Airways has ceased operations with its final flight touching down on the evening of March 16. The company’s board, which acknowledged that it was a sad time for its employees, shareholders, and loyal customers, has met to discuss the company’s financial condition and options for the business going forward. As a result, it was decided that a meeting

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of the company’s shareholders would be held as soon as possible to discuss the company’s future. A statement from the company cited the airline’s dire financial situation and political and security problems in the region for the termination of its operations. it also indicated that the situation also resulted from what it described as a lack of fair trade requirements in the local market.

UAE and India Connections RAK Airways has revealed it is looking into the possibility of increasing the frequency of its Jeddah flights in order to meet high passenger demand, particularly from Calicut, india. Travel agents representing 17 travel organisations from Calicut, recently visited raK as part of raK Airways plan to promote its new visa services package. The agents visited raK’s landmarks, and also met with omar Jahameh, Ceo, raK Airways and discussed the market demand for additional flights to Jeddah due to a surge in traffic between Calicut and Saudi Arabia’s business hub. “we currently operate four flights a week to Jeddah however we are looking to increase our service on this busy route,” indicated Jahameh. raK Airways offers five flights a week to Calicut departing from raK international Airport.

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New Mövenpick Hotel and Resort Addition in Africa The international hotel management company, Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, have announced plans to open a Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, Ghana, scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2011.

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he new hotel will be situated in the central business district, close to government ministries, major financial institutions, the Accra international Conference Centre, and only 7km from Kotoka international Airport. roger Kacou, senior vice president Mövenpick hotels and resorts Africa, commented on why the African city was chosen. “Accra is one of the leading economic hubs of the west African region and is strategically important to our expansion plan in Africa.”

Accra is one of the leading economic hubs of the West African region and is strategically important to our expansion plan in Africa

Increased Number of International Buyers Lift ITB Berlin Around 170,000 people visited the world’s biggest travel trade show, iTB Berlin, on March 9-13. The exhibition welcomed a significantly larger number of buyers from abroad compared to 2010, and its largest number of total exhibiting companies and organisations representing 11,163 from 188 countries. Christian Göke, Ceo, Messe Berlin, elaborates on how iTB Berlin continues to attract a growing number of international decision-makers. “nowadays, more than 40 percent of buyers come from abroad, as a result, iTB Berlin cannot only claim the most balanced and international range of exhibitors but it is also the industry’s most international event in terms of its trade visitors. These are the ideal prerequisites for business success, and we believe that exhibitors achieved a significantly larger volume of business than they did last year, with a value of over eur6 billion.” north African countries used this industry meeting place to re-stimulate its tourism sector. egypt also introduced a new advertising campaign that focuses on the peaceful democratisation process taking place in the country.

Mövenpick Ambassador hotel Accra will feature 260 rooms with standard facilities. executive meeting rooms with audio-visual equipment will be available, and leisure facilities include the largest swimming pool in Ghana, floodlit tennis courts, sauna and treatment rooms. The hotel will have an adjoining commercial centre, which includes 2,000m2 of retail space, accommodating 26 leading brand names, office space and parking bays. “with this addition, our African portfolio totals 16 hotels, resorts and nile cruisers, with further new projects in the pipeline,” added Kacou.

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- Accommodation

Wyndham Debuts in Doha Wyndham Hotel Group announced the first Wyndham Grand property in the Middle East and will debut in Doha.

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he property, owned by regency Group holding, is currently operating as the Grand regency hotel and will be re-launched as wyndham Grand regency Doha. Additionally, wyndam hotel Group and regency Group holding have also announced plans for the first planet hollywood hotel in the Middle east which will also be located in the Qatari capital. eric Danzinger, president and Ceo, wyndham hotel Group, reinforces how the 246-room wyndham property depicts the company’s intensifying presence in a highly potential market. “we are very proud to work with regency Group holding to open the Middle east’s

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first wyndham Grand property in Doha, an exciting market that is important to our company’s growth strategy in this region.” ibrahim Al Asmakh, president, regency Group, elaborated on how hotel is expected to welcome business travellers as well as holidaymakers. “we are delighted to align with wyndham hotel Group and to join its distinguished collection of wyndham Grand hotels to introduce the first ever wyndham Grand property in the region. The collaboration marks an exciting new beginning for the hotel which is certain to appeal to both business and leisure travellers alike.” wyndham has also announced its plans to manage the first planet hollywood hotel

in the Middle east, which is also owned by regency Group holding. planet hollywood hotel entertainment City will feature approximately 300 rooms, restaurant, café and a lounge. other amenities will include fitness centre, spa, pool and meeting facilities and is scheduled to open in 2014.

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- Accommodation

Marriott Debuts Three New Hotels in Doha Marriott International is set to open three new properties in Doha in the second quarter of 2011.

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s part of the development of Doha City Centre Mall, renaissance hotel, Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott executive Apartments Doha City Center, are scheduled to welcome their first guests in the second quarter of the year. The hotel complex is situated in west Bay across Qatar Financial Centre, in the vicinity of the new business hub of the capital city, 15 minutes away from Doha international Airport. The opening properties’ amenities cater to travellers seeking peerless facilities, claimed oliver Kahf, the recently appointed general manager of the properties. “we are excited to introduce a unique collection of Marriott international brands in Qatar, emphasising the growing importance of Doha as an emerging destination,” he said. “The renaissance, Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott executive Apartments Doha City Centre hotels are set to offer in excess of 500 rooms and unique food and beverage options that are sure to inspire travellers’ and diners’ sense of discovery. our unique vitality Zone will help guests stay in shape while the spa offers the traditional Middle eastern relaxation and beauty treatments.” renaissance Doha City Centre, featuring 257 rooms and suites, emerges with an innovative design, while the 204-room Courtyard by Marriott Exterior of Renaissance, Doha City Center Courtyard and MEA appeals to those seeking a refreshing atmosphere to stay connected during their business or leisure trips. Marriott executive Apartments Doha City Centre, comprising 123 serviced apartments, tempts to attract extended stay travellers. in addition, the podium area, in the heart of the three hotels, boasts several dining facilities, bars, gym, spa and a large meeting space.

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- Air Travel

Emirates Steps Up South African Services Emirates is to strengthen its presence in South Africa with the introduction of a second daily service to its Cape Town route, effective March 27.

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he airline is set to double capacity to the capital city, Cape Town and will fly non-stop twice daily and operated by an Airbus 340-500 aircraft. richard vaughan, divisional senior vice president of commercial operations worldwide, commented on the launch of the service. “South Africa and the uAe enjoy a thriving trade and investment relationship and the launch of our second daily service to Cape Town will help boost this further by supporting new business and tourism opportunities. we have seen very strong

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inbound and outbound demand for our South African services over the last year. This new frequency will bring one of South Africa’s leading tourist destinations within easier reach for visitors, as well as meet the needs of our South African customers for enhanced connections from Cape Town to europe, the Far east and a host of other

points across emirates’ extensive global network.” The carrier currently operates daily services to Cape Town, and this doubled frequency launch will increase the airline’s operations in South Africa to 42 services a week to its three destinations; Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

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- Air Travel

Etihad Joins Forces With Kazakhstani Airline Etihad Airways has signed a new codeshare agreement with Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan.

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he agreement is etihad’s 30th such commercial partnership and will enable travellers coming from any of the airline’s destinations worldwide to fly to Kazakhstan through its Abu Dhabi hub. Air travellers in Kazakhstan, meanwhile, will benefit through greater and easier access to etihad’s global network. Air Astana operates 11 services per week to Abu Dhabi from Almaty and Astana. The daily services from Almaty and

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four services each week from Astana complement etihad’s own four services between Abu Dhabi and Kazakhstan. James hogan, Ceo, etihad Airways, commented in the new codeshare agreement. “Together, etihad and Air Astana now offer 15 weekly services between Kazakhstan and etihad’s hub in Abu Dhabi and seamless connectivity to more than 100 destinations worldwide. For our customers this means more choice and more convenience.”

Qatar Airways Revs Up Global Expansion Qatar Airways is set to add india, norway and Bulgaria to its rapidly expanding international route map during the second half of the year. The carrier will introduce its first scheduled daily flights to the eastern indian city of Kolkota on July 27, increasing the airline’s capacity in the country to 95 services a week. The airline also continues to build up its presence in europe with the launch of four flights a week to the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, from September 14, and five weekly services to norway’s capital city, oslo, effective october 5. Akbar Al Baker, Ceo, Qatar Airways, announced the airline’s latest destinations at iTB Berlin. “Yet again, we are demonstrating our strategic focus to serve key business and leisure cities around the world, as well as underserved markets with new direct flights and increased capacity,” pointed out Al Baker.

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- International

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Announces 50 New Openings From the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, on March 8, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. revealed it will open 50 hotels across the Middle East, Africa and Europe over the next three to five years.

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he development follows on from growth in demand for Starwood’s design-led and luxury brands. The company announced that it will unveil 12 of these hotels this year alone, and expects to open 70-80 hotels

throughout the world in 2011. Simon Turner, president of global development for Starwood, commented on the growth across the company’s portfolio. “we are targeting new-build and conversion opportunities across all nine of our worldclass brands.”

Significant openings in the proposed region include five new St. regis hotels in destinations including the uAe, Qatar, Mauritius and italy. Starwood will double its investment in russia by 2013 and expects a 60 percent growth in hotels under three of its brand names in Turkey.

Liberty Appointed as UAE Dealer Liberty Automobiles has been appointed by Turkey’s otokar as exclusive uAe dealer of its eco-friendly buses and coaches. Two fully electric buses have already been provided to otokar by liberty, and are in operation on Abu Dhabi’s Sir Ban Yas island.

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Duncan peat, managing director of liberty Automobiles, remarked on the uniqueness of the deal. “Based on our survey, there is nothing comparable in the uAe to these buses, in terms of quality and value for money.” The otokar buses have a capacity between

14 to 104 passengers and will be showcased at the liberty stand at the Commercial vehicles Middle east Show, Dubai international Convention Centre, March 14 to 16. They will also be displayed at liberty Automobiles showrooms in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

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- International

Hilton Worldwide to Open in Cape Town Hilton Worldwide is set to expand its South African portfolio with its first property in Cape Town, scheduled to open in April.

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he 137-room hotel, located in the Cape Town CBD, within close proximity to famous tourist attractions, will mark hilton’s entry to the capital city. Dave horton, global head, hilton hotels & resorts, announced his delight in the planned opening of the property. “it’s with great pleasure that we welcome the hilton Cape Town, our third hilton property in South Africa and our first in Cape Town, which is widely considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities.” until the planned opening in April, the existing property will undergo an intensive alteration process to be in accordance with the hilton hotels & resorts brand. hilton worldwide currently operates two hotels in South Africa, 26 in total across the continent, and plans to expand its African footprint with another 14 properties.

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Maldives Gets Third Anantara Hotel Anantara Hotels Resorts & Spas has opened its third resort in Maldives, Anantara Kihavah villas. The luxury hotel has 78 private pool sanctuaries, either over the water with ocean views or nestled along a stretch of private beach, and is just 35 minutes from Male by sea plane. Comprising 74 one-bedroom villas and four two-bedroom residences, each villa has dining pavilions, expansive wooden sundecks and large lounging areas complete with swinging daybeds, hammocks and sun loungers. All villas feature his and hers walk-in wardrobes, rain showers, outdoor showers and over-sized bathtubs big enough for two. Sunken glass bottom bathtubs in the over-water villas offer views of the ocean, both below and beyond the adjacent infinity-edge swimming pools.

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David Sharkey

Oliver Kahf

David Sharkey has been appointed as general manager of princeton Marriott hotel at Forrestal. he has been with Marriott hotels & resorts for 24 years and worked most recently as general manager of David Sharkey renaissance newark Airport hotel. prior to that, he held management positions at newark liberty international Airport Marriott, hanover Marriott, Bridgewater Marriott and new York world Trade Marriott. Sharkey has an MSc in business administration from Colorado State university, served as a captain in the uS Army national Guard. he is also a new Jersey Business Council leader and a board member of the newark regional Chamber of Commerce.

oliver Kahf has been appointed as multi-property general manager of the renaissance hotel, Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott executive Apartments Doha City Center. in his new role, Kahf will lead the pre-opening stage of the Oliver Kahf three properties, due to open in the second quarter of 2011. he will also oversee the opening and the operational phase. Kahf, who has previously led the expansion of the renaissance Mumbai Convention Center hotel and Marriott executive Apartments, brings more than 30 years of experience to the role. he began his career in Germany and Switzerland, before joining Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. in 1988, he took on a sales and marketing role and moved to Doha. later he held the general manager positions in Thailand, followed by a sabbatical from the industry. he rejoined the group in 2005 as general manager of Busan Marriott in South Korea, followed by roles in vietnam and india, before returning to Qatar.

Kevin Knight Kevin Knight has been appointed as chief strategy and planning officer for etihad Airways. Based in the airline’s head office in Abu Dhabi, he will be in charge for several key business areas, including pricing, capacity, revenue Kevin management, route and network Knight planning and aircraft acquisitions. he will be responsible to spearhead etihad Crystal Cargo. Knight, who has over 30 years of experience in the airline industry, joins etihad from united Airlines, where he worked for 17 years, as senior vice president planning. prior to that he held positions at northwest Airlines and republic Airlines. Knight holds an MBA degree from the university of utah and a Bsc in business administration from westminster College, utah.

Mohamed Azzam Al Bashir Mohamed Azzam Al Bashir has joined onyx, the Thai hotel management company as director sales for Middle east, north Africa and the Subcontinent. in his new role he has been tasked to spearhead the sales activities of the group’s four brands: Saffron, Amari, Shama and ozo. Al Bashirt takes on the role after working as regional director of sales and marketing for the Jumeirah Group. prior to that, Mohamed Azzam he held senior sales positions at Al Bashir Marriott international. MArCh 19, 2011

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Gary Moran

Adam Turner

General Manager Mövenpick Hotel & Resort Al Bida'a Kuwait The British Business Forum awarded a Certificate of excellence to Gary Moran in recognition of his contribution to the local community. “it was truly an honour for me and the hotel to be recognised with such award as it confirms our commitment to excellence. This tremendous recognition gives us lots of confidence to perform and serve our guests and the local community even better.

Director of Sales and Marketing The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai “The regional political situation has obviously prompted questions from the travelling public, however we have not seen any reduction in guests at our property because of it. in some instances we have actually seen an increase in bookings. This is due to the international reputation of Dubai as a stable Middle eastern destination which will ensure that, at this time anyway, it is seen as a safe alternative destination”.

It was truly an honour for me and the hotel to be recognised with such award

We have not seen any reduction in guests at our property

Travel Talk is your space – this is a casual forum for travel industry professionals to discuss current issues and share stories. We want to hear from you, so send your comments, questions, frustrations and observations to editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel

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Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and TUI in Major German Marketing Deal The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has formed a partnership with the european travel group, Tui AG, following signs of inbound recovery from the economic downturn in Germany. A three month B2C promotion throughout Germany was announced at this year’s iTB Berlin (9 – 13 March). windows of 220 Tui travel agencies throughout the country will, for two weeks in June, show running televised footage of Abu Dhabi and 12,500 travel agencies will feature posters endorsing the emirate. The campaign comes as inbound business from Germany show signs of recovery from the global crisis, and hotels in Abu Dhabi are adapting to growing leisure tourism to the emirate. Abu Dhabi stakeholders report strong interest in Abu Dhabi from around europe, with flights now reaching 149 per week, amounting to an 11 percent rise on 2010 figures.

Agent’s Insight Name: Marcella Loucaidou-Pericleous Position: Managing Director Company: Travel Pass Location: Cyprus Who are you? i studied travel and tourism management and i began my career at Aspro holidays in Cardiff, followed my various positions with tour operators in Cyprus. Most recently i held the position of the head of operations at holiday Tours, before establishing my new company with a team of associates in February.

What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? Challenge! The fact that things move extremely fast, the freedom to use your imagination, the magic of sitting behind a desk without doing the same things every day, the opportunities to travel around the world and then transfer the experience to potential customers by designing their own holidays. i am not quite sure if i can choose just one of the above, but i believe that these all together make the work in the travel industry just amazing.

When is the best time to visit Cyprus? Cyprus is the place to be all year round. i personally love the island in every season; however, spring definitely makes the difference as nature is at its best.

Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? Cuba has stuck in my mind for the last couple of years.

Why should people come to you for travel advice? our company is small and personal, instead of promoting ‘ready’ tours, we offer tailor-made holidays according to our customers’ needs.

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Revenue Solutions Provider Offers London Hoteliers Top Tips IDeaS Revenue Solutions, a provider of revenue management software, services and consulting, has released a revenue management strategy report aimed at helping hotel owners in 2012.

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he report, compiled by iDeaS hospitality Consulting, will help guide london hoteliers towards successfully optimised revenues during the olympic period. As london’s capital prepares for the major sporting event, london hoteliers are trying to work out how to best take advantage of the expected increase in demand through the use of optimal revenue management and pricing strategies. iDeaS revenue Solutions believe there is an element of uncertainty surrounding which strategies will be most effective in managing the increased demand.

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The company’s report highlights the importance of balancing the demand from the olympic Games’ attendees willing to pay high rates, against the need to please and maintain an existing customer base at potentially much lower rates. The report also suggests focusing on prepaying options to help reduce the impact of costly last-minute cancellations, as well as the implementation of minimum length of stay requirements during the period. iDeaS revenue Solutions feels that the implementation of these recommended strategies, combined with careful and detailed observation of the levels of demand, will allow london hoteliers to

Olympic stadium

achieve the correct balance between price and demand and be best prepared for the olympic Games.

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Q&A with Nick Bauer With over 10 years of experience in Thai hospitality, Nick Bauer took on the role of general manager at Dusit Princess City Centre Dubai, the Asian hotel group’s flagship hotel in the Middle East. The hotelier speaks about the challenges of enhancing the brand’s reputation in the highly competitive region. Travel Trade Weekly: The property is the first of the Dusit Princess Hotel Group to open outside of Thailand. What challenges did the hotel face while introducing this brand to the MENA region? Nick Bauer: The Dusit princess City Centre Dubai, being part of the Dusit princess hotels & resorts group, one of the five lodging groups of Thailand’s leading hotel chain Dusit international, was a newcomer to the MenA region as it opened its doors early 2010. Brand awareness obviously took time to set in but was undoubtedly facilitated by the presence of the already well established luxurious Dusit Thani Dubai. into our second year of operation, we can clearly see the fruits of our dedication as business has grown significantly and we are rapidy becoming well recognised as a leader in our segment of trendy first class properties.

Travel Trade Weekly: As the recently appointed general manager, what plans do you have to bring some of the Thai or Asian    influence to the property? Nick Bauer: The delivery of services with Thai flair and graciousness, instrumental to the success of Dusit international worldwide, has been in place ever since the property commenced operations. My role is to ensure that this is maintained through, for instance, the way we attire our associates, greet our guests with the traditional wai, create authentic Thai dishes in our outlets and celebrate the country’s most beautiful festivals such as Songkran and loy Krathong. looking at the multitude of nationalities MArCh 19, 2011

shaping our service team, you will discover that, apart from our Thai associates, we are proud to include citizens from all over Asia amongst our ranks, may they hail from india, indonesia, vietnam, the philippines and more, in addition to our friends from the Gulf region. This way we maintain a fine blend of Asian-Arabic charm.

Nick Bauer

Travel Trade Weekly: Having the  corporate traveller as the main market for the hotel, do you see this changing or increasing? Has the mix changed in recent weeks? Nick Bauer: Finances around the globe have increased steadily over the last couple of months resulting in a substantial increase of this much coveted segment for which our property was conceptualised. Saying this, we however also need to stress that we still do attract quite a large amount of leisure guests who flock to Dubai and our property to fulfill their shopping desires for the latest fashion or gadgets or to simply marvel at the contrast of old heritage versus hi-tech which renders Dubai so exciting.

Finances around the globe have increased steadily over the last couple of months resulting in a substantial increase of this much coveted segment Travel Trade Weekly: From the beginning of the year, average occupancies in Dubai have been at

high levels. What are your feelings on this for the near future and also for the rest of the year? Nick Bauer: Dubai as a destination has experienced budget breaking occupancy levels in January flowing right into February. we expect the momentum to last up to June though at a slower pace. A historic decrease during the summer months during ramadan is expected followed by a staggered recovery September onwards. we shall however have to see how the turmoil in the neighbouring regions develops but remain nevertheless with an optimistic outlook for the year ahead. 23


Sir Steven Redgrave Meets ADNEC Officials in Abu Dhabi to Discuss London 2012 Sir Steven Redgrave, the five-time olympic gold medal winning rower from the uK, met with h.e Ali Saeed Bin harmal Al Dhaheri, managing director, Abu Dhabi national exhibitions Company (ADneC), in his recent visit to Abu Dhabi. Discussions focused on preparations for the london 2012 olympic Games, which will be held at the ADneC-owned exCel london. Also present at the meeting were Simon horgan, ADneC Group Ceo, Mohammed Al Jeaidi, ADneC’s deputy director of foreign affairs, and Christian Margettes, political attaché at the uK embassy in Abu Dhabi. exCel london will host seven olympic and six paralympic events for london 2012. Medals for boxing, fencing, judo, table

tennis, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling as well as paralympic medals will be awarded at the 100 acre state of the art exhibition venue. redgrave, who was visiting the uAe capital in his role as ‘See Britain ambassador’, expressed his appreciation for expansion and improvements being made at exCel london for the 2012 olympic Games. ADneC has made sizeable investments in the exhibition venue since its acquisition in 2008. in June 2010, it opened exCel london phase two, costing GBp165 million (uSD265.6 million), with facilities including a 5,000-seat auditorium, a breakout area for 2,500 delegates, a 3,000 seat capacity banquet hall and an addition of exhibition space. The exCel london is now one of europe’s

largest exhibition centres at 97,500m2. prior to the olympic Games, ADneC will also build a 252-room Aloft hotel at exCel. Al Dhaheri commented on ADneC’s contribution to the venue. “Since acquiring exCel london, ADneC has been unwavering in its commitment to support the 2012 olympic and paralympic Games. our strategic development of the exCel site has enabled the venue to play a vital role in the games’ success; indeed more olympic medals will be awarded at exCel than at any other olympic venue. Sir Steve redgrave is the epitome of the modern day olympian and it is an honour to welcome him to Abu Dhabi on behalf of his excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al nahyan, chairman of ADTA and ADneC .”

Events Ukraine Travel & Tourism 17th International Exhibition Kiev, Ukraine, 23-25 March, 2011 (www.uitt-kiev.com) international travel industry professionals looking to promote their services and increase their presence in the ukrainian market.

Bahrain International Travel Expo Manama, Bahrain, May 12-14, 2011 (www.meembahrain.com) Travel expo for travel professionals in Bahrain and the Middle east.

GIBTM Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 28-30, 2011 (www.gibtm.com) international event for the business travel and meetings industry in the Gulf and Middle east region.

Indaba Durban, South Africa, May 7-10, 2011 (www.indaba-southafrica.co.za) Showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa's best tourism products.

China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market Beijing, China, April 13-15, 2011 (www.cottm.com) Dedicated business to business event targeting the growing market for outbound travel from China.

International Pow Wow 2011 San Francisco, USA, May 21-25, 2011 (www.ustravel.org/events/international-pow-wow) u.S. Travel Association’s international pow wow is an international marketplace and the largest generator of visit uSA.

Arabian Travel Market Dubai, UAE, May 2-5, 2011 (www.arabiantravelmarket.com) The Middle east’s largest travel and tourism exhibition.

IMEX Frankfurt, Germany, May 24-26, 2011 (www.imex-frankfurt.com) worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings & events.

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Travel Trade Weekly Issue 71