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Middle East and North Africa Edition

April 30, Issue 77

The soon to open St. Regis Doha is set to be revealed at the Arabian Trade Market (ATM), held between May 2-5 in Dubai.

ritz-carlton to Debut in abu Dhabi ritz-carlton hotel company has entered into an agreement with abu Dhabi national hotels (aDnh) to operate the first ritz-carlton property in abu Dhabi, scheduled to open in late 2011.

Marriott Doubles MiDDle east anD africa Portfolio


Marriott international is poised to strengthen its presence in the Middle east and africa and extend its regional portfolio to 74 properties by 2016.

7 In This Issue Market Update Weekly News Accommodation News Air Travel News Who’s Moved Travel Talk Agents’ Corner Travel Channels Rendezvous Events aPril 30, 2011

2 3 5 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 issue 77

St. Regis Doha

Presented at ATM


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Managing Editor Mary Kammitsi Journalists rita Kasziba Duncan Macrae Marianna Keen Design & Layout elina Pericleous Sales & Marketing Dimitris Thomaidis Directors andreas constantinides Mary Kammitsi Headquarters P.o. box 25255 nicosia 1308 cyprus tel: +35722820888 fax: +35722318958 Website Emails

MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 28/4/2011 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)


CURRENCY Dirham Pound riyal Pound Dinar Dinar Pound Dinar riyal rial Dinar Dirham riyal rial Dinar Dinar

IHG to Develop 19 Hotels in India InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a joint venture partnership with Duet India Hotels Group (DIHL) to develop 19 new Holiday Inn Express hotels across India by 2016.


nder the terms of the agreement ihG will invest usD30 million through a 24 percent equity stake, to develop the upcoming properties which will add approximately 3,300 rooms. The joint venture with the hotel investment arm of global asset manager Dihl, is in line with ihG’s long term scheme. richard solomons, chief financial officer and head of commercial development, ihG, commented on the venture. “by investing a small amount of our own capital, we have established a strategic relationship with a fantastic partner who knows the market, securing a future fee stream and opening up a huge opportunity for us to develop the holiday inn express brand across india. With strong economic growth and an expanding middle class in india, we forecast strong future demand for mid-market and select service hotels, cementing holiday inn express’ position as one of the fastest growing brands in the hotel industry.” The locations of the new properties have been chosen in 1USD= 3.67 5.95 3.75 1,502.5 0.37 0.71 47.45 0.27 3.64 0.38 1.34 7.87 10,47 215.25 70.67 1.19--

major metros and key secondary cities of india, including new Delhi, Mumbai and bangalore. Jan smits, ceo, asia australia, elaborates on

We forecast strong future demand for mid-market and select service hotels, cementing Holiday Inn Express’ position as one of the fastest growing brands in the hotel industry how india holds enormous potential for ihG. “ihG is strongly positioned to build a significant india footprint with a growing presence in india’s key business and leisure hubs. overall, we are on track to have a 150hotel presence by 2020. across the region, over the course of 2010 we signed new holiday inn express deals in key locations including india, singapore and Thailand.” currently over 75 percent of ihG’s india pipeline represents the holiday inn family of brands.

US and Saudi Arabia Finalise Open Skies Agreement The US and the Kingdom of saudi arabia signed an open skies agreement on april 18, aimed at liberalising the bilateral aviation relationship. The us Department of state, elaborated on the significance of the move. “This agreement strengthens and expands our already strong trade and tourism links with saudi arabia and will benefit american and saudi arabian businesses and travellers. it will expand air service and encourage vigorous price competition by airlines, while safeguarding aviation safety and security.” open skies agreements have expanded international passenger and cargo flights to and from the us encouraging increased travel and trade, increasing productivity, and stimulating high quality job opportunities and economic growth. aPril 30, 2011

Ritz-Carlton to Debut in Abu Dhabi


itz-carlton hotel company has entered into an agreement with abu Dhabi national hotels (aDnh) to operate the first ritz-carlton property in abu Dhabi, scheduled to open in late 2011. The 220,000m2 ritz-carlton abu Dhabi, Grand canal, will consist of 10 buildings and will feature 447 rooms and suites as well as 85 villas. The new hotel, the brand’s third property in the uae, is expected to become a true landmark, commented herve humler, president and chief operations officer, ritz-carlton hotel company. “We are delighted to be bringing The ritz-carlton renowned levels of hospitality to the power capital of the uae. The ritz-carlton abu Dhabi, Grand canal hotel, will be a welcome landmark, and together with the owning company aDnh, we will create a prestigious luxury hotel that will be the highlight of the new waterfront development.” The luxurious property contributes to the emirate’s further development, highlighted h.e.salem Mohamed athaith al ameri, chairman, aDnh. “our partnership with a world class hospitality group such as ritz-carlton hotel company, solidifies our plans for aDnh’s growth and reinforces our concrete development strategy. We also believe that this progress is an additional foundation to build on and support the momentous programme initiated by the government of abu Dhabi to serve the tourism industry of the capital and the uae as a whole.”

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Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts Expand Presence Across Africa Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts announced development plans in east, north, and West africa, including new properties in Ghana, the red sea in egypt and tanzania. Mövenpick will open its new african property, the Mövenpick ambassador hotel accra in Ghana, in May. The Mövenpick resort abu soma, which stretches along the beautiful red sea coast in egypt, is also under construction and is scheduled to open early 2012. in east africa, Mövenpick plans to open the Mövenpick resort arusha, at the foot of Mount Meru on 100 acres of mature farmland in usa river. roger Kacou, senior vice president, Mövenpick hotels & resorts africa, remarked on the opportunities available across the continent. “africa is an important growth market for us, and we are keen to ensure our fair share. We are pursuing opportunities in several cities including south africa, Kenya, nigeria, sudan and cote d'ivoire.”


- Accommodation

St. Regis Doha Presented at ATM St. Regis Doha is to be revealed at the Arabian Trade Market (ATM) Dubai, held between May 2-5.


ne of the first st. regis hotels in the Middle east, scheduled to open by the end of the year, will be ‘the finest

address in Doha.’ tareq Derbas, general manager, st. regis Doha, elaborates on the property’s atM announcement. “our aim at this year’s atM, is to provide a stylish introduction to our philosophy of impeccable service and inspired living.

original features like our st. regis butler service ensure that our guests’ preferences are known and that each detail is finessed. We will provide an entirely bespoke service that will be unlike anything currently offered in Qatar.” The hotel, will feature 336 guest rooms

including 70 suites, and will offer 5,000m2 meeting and conference space, as well as various food and beverage outlets, a spa and direct beach access. representing st. regis’ century old traditions, the new hotel is expected to set a new level of luxurious accommodation in the region.

Doha To Get First Pullman Property Pullman Hotels and resorts is set to make its debut in Doha, Qatar, after a partnership was formed between accor Middle east and twin towers company. The hotel, which is being constructed in West bay, the upscale business district of Doha, is due to open in 2014. christophe landais, managing director, accor Middle east, explained that the company was honoured to be developing an international five star hotel in Qatar under the Pullman hotels and resorts brand with twin towers company. “Qatar’s growing importance as a leisure and business destination has established Doha as an international hub. a significant surge in the number of corporate and Mice travellers visiting Qatar has been observed over the last few years thanks to the development of world class infrastructure in Doha.” aPril 30, 2011


- Accommodation

Marriott Expands Portfolio Marriott International is to strengthen its presence in the Middle East and Africa and extend its portfolio to 74 properties by 2016.


he company plans to add six hotels to the allready 37 upcoming developments in its Middle east and africa pipeline. upon completion, the additional 43 properties, will take the number of the company’s lodging offerings to 74 hotels and resorts with more than 17,600 rooms within the next five years. ed fuller, president and managing director for international lodging, Marriott international, commented. “Despite recent economic and political uncertainties in the Middle east and the northern tier of africa, our development opportunities in the region remain strong.”

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Marriott will debut in sub-saharan africa in accra and Kigali in 2012. other developments in the continent include courtyard by Marriott cairo Mirage city, expected to open in 2012, the ritzcarlton rabat, scheduled to welcome its first guest in 2013, while algeria will unveil two properties in 2014, namely the courtyard by Marriott algiers and the residence inn by Marriott algiers. the other newly announced forthcoming hotels are the ritz-carlton riyadh, opening later this year, and the residence inn by Marriott Juffair in suburban Manama, bahrain, which will mark the brand’s entry into the Middle east.

Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Continued Growth Hilton Hotels and Resorts announced the opening of its 16th hotel in egypt, situated on zamalek island. hilton zamalek residence cairo, is located between downtown cairo and Giza, overlooking the nile. it caters to both business and leisure guests, featuring five restaurants, three meeting rooms, a business centre, a health club and spa. rudi Jagersbacher, area president, Middle east and africa, hilton Worldwide, commented on the hotel chain’s future aspirations. “We have had a long and successful history in egypt and the opening of this hotel is the next chapter. Within another few years we anticipate growing to twenty properties across the country, and this underpins our confidence in the long-term resilience of the egyptian tourism market.” hilton Worldwide has 49 hotels in total across the Middle east and africa with 28 more due to open in the next three to four years.


- Air News

Jazeera Airways and Travelport Tighten Jazeera Airways and Travelport have signed a full content agreement to provide Galileo-connected travel agents in Kuwait extensive and exclusive access to fares.


n terms of the extended pact, built on the existing participation agreement between the carrier and the global distribution system (GDs) provider, travelport users in Kuwait will gain access to additional content, not available through any other GDs channel, including last-minute web fares. The expanded partnership will intensify the Kuwait-based airline’s distribution capabilities, emphasised stefan Pichler, ceo, Jazeera airways. “With its extensive global network of travel agency subscribers, travelport will help Jazeera airways build a stronger partnership with travel agents who will now have direct access to the airline’s value fares. We believe that this expanded agreement will help us compete even more effectively with other regional carriers and pave the way for a new level of growth in corporate travel bookings.”


flydubai Africa Expansion Highlights Escalating Trade and Tourism flydubai announced on april 23 the inauguration of its seventh route to africa, scheduled to fly to ethiopia’s capital, addis ababa, three times a week. The launch of the new route is part of the low cost carrier’s plan to increase connectivity between the uae and africa in light of expanding trade and tourism between the regions. Ghaith al Ghaith, ceo, flydubai, highlighted the significance of the development. “The sky is the limit for africa - it has emerged into a dynamic global force over the past decade and the increase in the number of our routes is testament to the trade, cultural and political links that exist between the Middle east and africa. as one of the gateway cities into the rest of the continent, addis ababa, is representative of the industry, energy and ambition that characterises the region and we look forward to supporting the african tourism industry and larger economy with our new route.” flydubai first ventured into africa was in september 2009, with flights to Djibouti. The low-cost carrier has since added alexandria, sohag, luxor, Port sudan and Khartoum to its network.

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- Air News

Oman Air Awarded Four Stars Skytrax has awarded Oman Air an official four-star quality and service ranking and named the airline’s business class as one of the top three in the world.


he revised ranking follows a recent skytrax airline Quality audit that recognised a period of significant growth and development for oman air, which has seen the introduction of a new airbus a330 aircraft and the launch of new routes across europe, Middle east, east africa and south east asia. Peter hill, ceo, oman air, commented that the new ranking signifies that the airline has achieved a good standard of product across all travel categories, with good standards of staff service delivery in both the onboard and airport environments. “our commitment to ensuring that the sultanate of oman’s national carrier offers passengers the very best in air travel is absolute and the four-star ranking that has resulted from the skytrax airline Quality audit is recognition of the remarkable progress we have made. furthermore, oman air’s inclusion within the top three of skytrax’s list of the best business class airline seats in the world is a clear demonstration of our emergence as a world-class airline of the very highest quality.”


Royal Jordanian Partners With Middle East Payment Services Royal Jordanian (rJ) has entered into a partnership agreement with Middle east Payment services (MePs) to facilitate the payment methods of passengers. The agreement provides all rJ sales offices in Jordan, as well as many abroad with the latest electronic payment devices that enable passengers to pay their tickets conveniently by using Mastercard. The new initiative comes in line with rJ’s endeavour to simplify the work flow and automate travel arrangements, which ensure proper and immediate services to customers. The partnership builds on a successful cooperation between the two parties and guarantees simplified procedures along the highest security standards.

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Samir Baidas

Hasan Barakat

samir baidas has been promoted to senior vice president, development Middle east, Marriott international. based in Dubai, he will be in charge of implementing the company’s development strategy for the region. he has over 20 years of international experience and deep knowledge of the Gcc countries. baidas, who holds a degree in hotel management from holtelconsult in switzerland, first joined Marriott as sales manager in 1991, at riyadh Marriott, before moving to amman Marriott.

hasan barakat has been appointed as director of front office at Park rotana abu Dhabi. having worked for over 10 years in the hospitality industry, barakat brings a wealth of expertise to his new role. he began his career at four seasons amman and has held various front office and sales positions since then. Most recently he served Jumeirah in Dubai before taking on his current role, where he will be in charge for the front office operations.

Samir Baidas

Giovanni Angelini Giovanni angelini has been appointed as vice chairman of Dusit overseas, hong Kong. in his new role he will spearhead Dusit international’s development in the Greater china region along with the implementation of the company’s international expansion plan and strategy. following his first job in italy, he Giovanni expanded his knowledge in switzerland, bermuda, Grand Angelini cayman island, canada and the us. he served at Westin hotels and resorts for over 14 years, where he was promoted to senior vice president. With shangri-la hotels and resorts he worked for the group for over 16 years, first as vice president operations, and later as ceo and managing director as well as being a member of the board of directors.

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Hasan Barakat


Janet Abrahams

Jeff Cerefice

Area director sales and marketing, Levant Region, Kempinski Hotels & Resorts

Senior vice president, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group

“We are seeing a significant growth in requests from uK, Western europe, russia and from Gcc markets. We are attending atM in Dubai as the region's premier showcase for luxury leisure and we anticipate a high interest from our travel partners. We will be attending with Jtb ( Jordan tourism board) and with their support and royal Jordanian airways, we are planning to launch key promotions best suited to our guests’ profile.”

We are attending ATM in Dubai as the region's premier showcase for luxury leisure

“Dollar Thrifty automotive Group has had a phenomenal year, and for us, it's full speed ahead. The Mena region is extremely important to the company, which significantly contributes to our overall revenue. We have some big deals in the pipeline to expand our business, and will be speaking with our supporting partners, potential buyers, corporate customers and travel agents in order to ensure the continued success in the region.”

The MENA region is extremely important to the company, which significantly contributes to our overall revenue

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


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Agent’s Insight Name: Lotfi Hammad Position: Deputy chairman Company: Fly Well Travel Location: Egypt Who are you? My name is lotfi hammad, and i am the deputy chairman of fly Well travel, one of the most reliable destination management companies. since the company was established in 1985, it has provided quality travel services to customers from all around the world. fly Well is a member of the egyptian travel agent association and affiliated to several international organisations such as iata, site, Jata and asta. We are distinguished in the market due to our high quality, tailor-made travel services and by our strong focus on security and

traditional values. We work with a team of qualified professionals  who have a wide range of tourism experience. our extensive knowledge of the region allows us to offer journeys to the most beautiful landscapes, while providing a fascinating cultural and historical experience, as well as exciting adventures.

What is your favorite thing about working in the travel industry? i enjoy working with our customers, partners and my team, and i like the variety of this profession, which ensures that the job never gets boring.

When is the best time to visit Egypt? fall, especially october and november, and spring between april and May. however, any other months also offer a range of activities. Winter is the perfect time for nile cruises and sightseeing in the southern part of the country, while summer is ideal for joy at the beaches

and water sports.

Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? to las Vegas to see the luxor hotel, one of the biggest pyramids outside of egypt, which was built using the Great Pyramid of cheops as a model.

Why should people come to you for travel advice? our main target is high quality, ensuring customer satisfaction first time and every time. We continuously search for new discoveries in egypt, plan every single detail thoroughly in order to satisfy any specific travel needs of our clients. With our long experience and care, we ensure to our visitors the most enjoyable and memorable trip of their lifetime. choosing fly Well travel egypt, is our clients assurance to enjoy and receive quality services while they are travelling within their budget.

Malta – the gateway to your dream Mediterranean cruise. Set sail from an island with 7,000 years of history!

Truly Mediterranean aPril 30, 2011


Singapore Lures Big Spenders Asia is set to dominate global tourism, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), especially as India and China are strengthening their position as a driving force.


ingapore, believes it is in a strong position to lead the predicted growth in international tourism to asia this year, and affluent visitors top its list of target travellers. The singapore tourism board (stb) is forecasting 12 to 13 million visitor arrivals for this year and up to usD19.1 billion in tourism receipts. singapore aims to attract more discerning visitors from around the globe including the Middle east, with a pipeline of exciting tourism projects. s. iswaran, senior minister of state for trade, industry and education, singapore, noted that these include a new 101 hectare gardens by the bay, asia’s first river safari,


a new international cruise terminal and a new national art gallery. “from a macro perspective, asia is set to become a strong growth engine for global tourism.” according to the unWto, asia was the strongest growing region in 2010.

From a macro perspective, Asia is set to become a strong growth engine for global tourism “for 2011, the number of international tourist arrivals in asia and the Pacific region is expected to grow by seven to nine percent. singapore is well-placed to tap this growth. We need to continually push for

product and process innovation to meet the rising expectations of sophisticated and affluent travellers,” added iswaran. The country has already begun developing the types of services that could attract high net-worth individuals, such as concierge and personalised shopping services. Millions of dollars have also been spent on upgrading the Jewel cable car ride, giving it larger cars with panoramic views and enhanced accessibility. There is even a ViP jewelled cabin adorned with swarovski crystals. integration of tourism services and increased productivity within the industry are also key to meeting stb’s visitor arrival and tourism revenue forecasts for this year.

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Q & A with Tarek Elsherif V Five Continents Hospitality Management, is poised to enhance its Middle Eastern portfolio with new properties. Tarek Elsherif, managing director, V Five Continents Hospitality Management, talks about the group’s dry-hotel concept and further expansion plans. Travel Trade Weekly: How many hotels do you expect to operate by 2015? What proportion of these hotels do you expect to belong to the Palazzo brand? Tarek Elsherif: We are targeting to have

Travel Trade Weekly: Will you focus hotels in specific areas of the MENA region? Do you believe this will procure more domestic or international clientele? Tarek Elsherif: for the time being we

10 hotels operational in the Mena region by 2015, out of which we anticipate three properties to be branded as Palazzo.

are focusing on expanding in the Mena region which is an immediate market for us, however, we are keeping an eye on future expansion plans in destinations across asia, such as Malaysia and indonesia and some other counties.

Tarek Elsherif

Travel Trade Weekly: Do you believe that the dry-theme hotel model of V Continents will continue increasing in popularity? If so, what markets do Travel Trade Weekly: Where are you think this will attract the most? future boutique hotels planned? Tarek Elsherif: our dry-theme hotel Tarek Elsherif: We are focusing on model represents operating hotels with no alcohol. We strongly believe that there is increase in popularity in these type of hotels as they serve and satisfy the needs of a large market niche, not only by belief but also for those who are seeking a healthy and family friendly hotel. We see that the largest market is the Gcc and Middle east, especially families. We are also seeing an increase in business from europe, specifically the uK and france, where there is a large community that seek halal food and dry hotels. We are also seeing a growing market from the asian countries like Malaysia and indonesia.

Dubai and abu Dhabi and there are a couple of hotels under negotiation in Doha and Damascus.

concept. a hotel near to shopping malls and family attractions would certainly attract more leisure travellers, while a city centre hotel would appeal more to business travellers.

a big project that includes a number of hotels and units for sale. We are now ready to open phase one which will contain 36 chalets ideally located on the beach of the north coast of egypt. This will be part of

We are targeting to have 10 hotels operational in the MENA region by 2015, out of which we anticipate three properties to be branded as Palazzo

the Kanaria hotel that is due to be completed in 2012, with an additional 120 room four-star hotel.

Travel Trade Weekly: Do you believe that innovative hospitability parameters, such as yours, focusing on the special relationship between the Arabian land and its great culture and history, will attract more tourists to the Travel Trade Weekly: Is phase one fascinating region and prevent them Travel Trade Weekly: What ratio of for the Emirates Heights Hotel and from being scared off by turmoil in leisure and business tourism do your Resorts in Egypt on schedule to some areas? dry-theme hotels attract? start in May. Has a completion date Tarek Elsherif: We at V five continents believe in being a team players and we Tarek Elsherif: it depends on the hotel been set? location and facilities and not on the dry- Tarek Elsherif: The emirates heights is support all efforts done by local tourism

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authorities in the respective destinations where we operate. This will enrich the destinations by offering different hotel types which at the end of the day compete to satisfy the needs of all guests. 15

Don’t Mess with Nature in Jordan

Taiwan Rolls Out New Brand

As part of the ‘Don’t Mess with nature’ initiative, the Jordan inbound tour operators association ( Jitoa) have implemented yet another activity to raise environmental awareness, this time in the Jerash archeological site. organised on april 23, amid the earth Day celebrations, a massive group of committed volunteers teamed up to install recycling trash bins across the historical area. ‘together let’s protect Jerash’ marked another important phase of the comprehensive Jerash adoption Program 2010-2011, which aims to draw attention to the weight of recycling and protecting the kingdom’s treasures. With a series of environmental activities underway and sustainable practices being developed, the renowned area is poised to become the first eco-friendly tourist site of Jordan. Meanwhile, Jitoa aims to promote environmental consciousness across Jordan by introducing up-to-date waste management procedures and recycling practices, as well as inspiring local communities to produce eco-friendly goods and handicrafts. The program is widely supported by both governmental organisations and the private sector.

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau has launched a new brand ‘taiwan – The heart of asia’, ushering a new era in the island’s tourism. for a decade, the island promoted itself under the slogan ‘taiwan, touch Your heart’, referring to the people’s friendliness and hospitability. The new brand was inspired by the government and organisation’s pledge to turn the country into one of the world’s top tourism destinations and this becoming a major driver to the country’s socioeconomic growth by raising the level of professionalism in the industry and implementing further developments. in conjunction with a new promotional song, ‘time for taiwan’, and a short video, the bureau intends to encourage the industry and reach out to a wider scope of international travellers. The brand and its comprehensive campaign reflect the unique diversity of taiwan as well as the country’s determination and dedication to become a popular destination in the heart of asia.

Events Indaba Durban, South Africa, May 7-10, 2011 ( The event showcases the widest variety of southern africa's best tourism products. German Travel Market Cologne/Bonn, Germany, May 8-10, 2011 ( an event and workshop for incoming tourism to Germany.

IMEX Frankfurt, Germany, May 24-26, 2011 ( a worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events. Asia Luxury Travel Market Shanghai, China, June 13-16, 2011 ( an event showcasing the world's most sought after destinations and travel experiences to travel buyers from across the asia Pacific.

The Hotel Show CITY FAIR The European Cities Travel Workshop Dubai, UAE, May 17-19, 2011 London, UK, June 20, 2011 ( a hospitality event for the Mena, Gcc and emerging markets. ( a one day event of pre-scheduled appointments dedicated to the sector of city tourism. International Pow Wow San Francisco, US, May 21-25, 2011 AIBTM ( an international marketplace and the largest generator of Baltimore, US, June 21-23, 2011 ( Visit usa. a us event for the business travel and meetings industry.


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Travel Trade Weekly Issue 77  

Travel Trade Weekly is a leading news provider for travel industry professionals in the Middle East and North Africa, delivered every Saturd...