Travel Trade Weekly Issue 87

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Middle East and North Africa Edition

July 9, Issue 87

Qatar Airways has launched flights to Montreal, marking the airline’s first route to Canada. Dubai Duty Free: increaseD sales, retains top position Dubai Duty Free has recorded a remarkable increase in its half year sales operations and retained its number one position for the third consecutive year.

2 starwooD to open two Hotels in MeDina starwood Hotels & resorts worldwide is poised to consolidate its presence in saudi arabia with the opening of two new properties in Medina.

5 In This Issue Market Update Weekly News Accommodation News Air Travel News International Who’s Moved Travel Talk Agents’ Corner Travel Channels Rendezvous Events July 9, 2011

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Qatar Airways Breaks into Canadian Market

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TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Managing Editor Mary Kammitsi mary@traveltradeweekly.travel Journalists rita Kasziba Duncan Macrae Marianna Keen Design & Layout elina pericleous Sales & Marketing Dimitris Thomaidis Maria Demetriadou Directors andreas constantinides Mary Kammitsi Headquarters p.o. box 25255 nicosia 1308 cyprus tel: +35722820888 Fax: +35722318958 Website www.traveltradeweekly.travel Emails info@traveltradeweekly.travel editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel sales@traveltradeweekly.travel

Dubai Duty Free: Increased Sales, Retains Top Position Dubai Duty Free has recorded a remarkable increase in its half year sales operations and retained its number one position for the third consecutive year.

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he total sales in the first six months of the year accounted for aeD2.548 billion (usD698 million), representing a growth of 16.6 percent over the same

period in 2010. colm Mcloughlin, managing director, Dubai Duty Free, hailed the figures. “we are extremely pleased that 2011 has shaped up to be such a positive year for the operation. we have seen consumer spending increase across most categories with significant spikes in luxury sector products. we have also seen significant increase in sales across all three terminals for both departing and arriving passengers, all of which is encouraging for the year-end figures.” The most favoured categories making up the impressive results remain

perfumes, liquor and gold. perfume sales rose by 20 percent to total aeD 361 million (usD99 million) while gold sales increased by 24 percent to reach aeD290 million (usD79 million). sales of electronic goods grew 22 percent and accounted for aeD196 million (usD54 million) while watch sales recorded a solid 41 percent increase to aeD 172 million (usD47 million). in terms of duty free sales, terminal 2 proved to be the most profitable with a 31 percent increase, while terminals 1 and 3 recorded a growth of 15 percent and 16 percent respectively with the overall arrival sales shooting up by 16 percent. with a recorded aeD4.66 billion (usD1.27 billion) turnover in 2010, Dubai Duty Free has also retained its number one position as the largest single airport retail operation in the world, surpassing seoul incheon airport and london Heathrow.

Ancillary Revenue an Enduring Part of Airline Income

MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 7/7/2011 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 5.96 3.75 1,515 0.37 0.71 47.45 0.27 3.64 0.38 1.38 7.90 10,612 213.7 72.74 1.21

Ancillary revenue reported by airlines grew to usD21.46 billion in 2010, almost doubling 2008 figures, according to the amadeus review of ancillary revenue results. The report from ideaworks and sponsored by amadeus, reveals that united continental, Delta and american are top of the table, spurred by proceeds from baggage fees and co-branded credit cards. The analysis, released on June 26, is compiled from 104 airlines across the world and reveals that 47 carriers disclosed ancillary revenue growth of 96 percent in 2010 compared with 2008. The review found that airlines already engaged in ancillary revenue activities are bringing more products to market, through the introduction of new unbundled services and via the inclusion of distribution methods beyond the carrier’s website. Many of these airlines are gaining retail know-how. pricing models are refined, branding has been emphasised, and an increasing number of features are presented during the booking process. ian wheeler, vice president, marketing and distribution, amadeus, highlighted the increased interest the company has received for its ancillary services solution following the trends. “ancillary revenue has become an enduring part of airline income statements, as revealed by this study. true financial success for airlines is boosted when these services are available through online, travel agency, and corporate travel distribution channels. That’s why we are seeing growing momentum behind amadeus ancillary services solution, which helps carriers sell à la carte ancillary services on their website, call centre and via travel agencies.”


Bahrain Embarks on Airport Expansion Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) has formally launched its Bahrain International Airport (BIA) expansion project, which will set the capacity to increase by 50 percent.

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pon completion, the airport is expected to welcome 13.5 million travellers compared to the current passenger volume of nine million. Dar al Handasah, one of the largest engineering and design practices in the world, has been chosen to lead the bHD4.4 million (usD11.67 million) design-phase of the project, which is expected to take nine months, and to supervise the construction. The work is slated for completion by 2015. Khalid al rumaihi, chairman, bac, commented on the expansion. “bahrain international airport is a vital component of bahrain’s economy, with its

strategic geographical location in the heart of the Gulf. The development will build on this historical position, transforming it into a vibrant platform for travellers and reinforcing the role it plays as a gateway to the world. we must ensure that bia fulfils the potential and mandate set by bahrain’s economic Vision 2030, connecting our nation to the world and contributing to its socio-economic progress.� The expansion will add another 40,000m2 to the airport’s footprint with more than 3,000m2 dedicated to retail facilities. The additional contract and remote gates and 40 check-in counters will further improve the airport, which is vital to the country’s development, noted al rumaihi. “The plans we are initiating for an

expanded international airport are essential to bahrain's continued development, not only in providing businesses in bahrain with the access they demand for the future, but also in bolstering the growing aviation and logistics industry in the Kingdom.� Gordon Dewar, ceo, bac, commented that the expansion marks a milestone in the airport’s operation. “we are working hard towards fulfilling our vision of running the best airport for bahrain, whether it means meeting capacity demands, providing excellent levels of professional service or adopting the best techniques and technologies. The completion of this development will go a long way towards meeting these goals and, in turn, boosting our profitability.�

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ADTA Figures Indicate Continued Upward Trajectory in Abu Dhabi Hotel Performance Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments continued their strong performance across the board in the first five months of the year, reports Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).

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ccording to the latest other established upscale destinations figures, released on July 4, including Dubai, paris, sydney, new york, the hospitality industry rome and tokyo.” in the uae capital saw an increase in guest numbers, guest nights, occupancy, revenue and length-of-stay. Hotel guest numbers in the five-month period climbed by 10 percent compared with the same period in 2010, rising to 866,501, while guest nights grew by 26 results indicate that the uK retained its percent and average length of stay rose by position as abu Dhabi’s prime guest 15 percent to just over three nights. source, contributing 62,022 visitors in the Meanwhile, occupancy increased by 10 five-month period – a 17 percent increase percent to 71 percent and revenue was from 2010 figures. other double-digit hiked up by six percent to reach aeD1.9 billion (usD513 million). Food and beverage continued to be a major revenue earner contributing 10 percent more than in the first five months of 2010. lawrence Franklin, strategy and policy director, aDta, commented on the factors that have helped to boost the hotel industry’s performance. “increased destination competitiveness with average room rates falling 15 percent year-on-year for high quality product has contributed to our appeal. Hotel stays in abu Dhabi are now more affordable than

Hotel stays in Abu Dhabi are now more affordable than other established upscale destinations

growth came from india (up 22 percent); Germany (up 15 percent); saudi arabia (up 39 percent); France (up 33 percent) and russia (up 46 percent). “The ongoing development of etihad’s essential abu Dhabi incentive stop-over programme is further enhancing our destination proposition. we also anticipate accrued benefits from increased air uplift such as the recent launch of cathay pacific’s four-times-weekly services from Hong Kong and etihad’s planned upscaling of its Manchester-abu Dhabi frequencies to twice daily from august,” added Franklin. Abu Dhabi

Dubai Hotel Construction Booms to Reach Top Ranking Dubai has ranked as the top city worldwide in terms of hotel development, with 97 upscale hotel projects and 35,154 guest rooms currently underway. tophotelprojects.com derived the figures from facts and data from over 4,300 hotel projects worldwide. second, third and fourth places went to abu Dhabi (66 projects), berlin (49 projects) and new 4

york (43 projects). Despite the global economic crisis, Dubai has headed many upscale developments, including the amazing ‘Dubailand’ project developed by tatweer/Dubai Holding, which will be realised with several large themed and event-oriented hotels. The ‘asia asia’ hotel, with nearly 6,500 new rooms, is also expected to be introduced to Dubai in the coming years.

Dubai expects its new international hub, which welcomes long-distance flights from throughout the world, will strongly increase the numbers of business travellers and leisure guests visiting the emirate. The new 828m landmark, burj Khalifa, famed as the highest tower on earth, along with numerous other attractions, are expected to continue raising Dubai’s profile. July 9, 2011


- Accommodation

Starwood to Open Two Hotels in Medina Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is poised to consolidate its presence in Saudi Arabia with the opening of two new properties in Medina.

Absolute Hotel Services’ Eastin Residences to Debut in the Middle East

Medina

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pon opening in the fourth quarter of 2012, sheraton Medina Hotel and Four points by sheraton Medina will add more than 450 rooms to the historic city’s lodging offering. The brand’s debut in Medina will mark another milestone in the company’s regional expansion strategy, noted Guido de wilde, senior vice president, starwood Hotels & resorts, Middle east. “we are delighted to extend our longstanding relationship with our partner saudi brothers commercial as we introduce the sheraton and Four points brands to Medina. starwood’s continued expansion throughout the Kingdom of saudi arabia underlines our commitment to continued growth in this region. This beautiful city is rich in culture and history and we are confident that the facilities and services offered by our new hotels will be appreciated by the pilgrims visiting the holy city of Medina.” situated only 150m from the prophet’s Mosque, and within close proximity to the

Jannat al-baqi (Gardens of Heaven), one of the major attractions during the annual Hajj and umrah pilgrimage, both sheraton Medina and Four points by sheraton Medina will offer convenient location to religious travellers. sheikh Fahad al-nowaiser, ceo, saudi brothers commercial company, commented on the openings. “we are committed to expanding the tourism infrastructure in saudi arabia. For many years, our strategic alliance with starwood has been very successful in Jeddah and we are keen to expand this relationship through the development of the two new starwood properties in Medina.” sheraton Medina will feature 297 rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, a gym and a meeting room, while Four points by sheraton will comprise 178 rooms, a restaurant, a fitness centre and a business centre. The two properties will further expand starwood Hotels & resorts saudi arabian portfolio, which currently includes 10 hotels under the sheraton, westin and le Meridien brands.

This beautiful city is rich in culture and history and we are confident that the facilities and services offered by our new hotels will be appreciated by the pilgrims visiting the holy city of Medina July 9, 2011

Absolute Hotel Services Group has signed a management contract for eastin residences Muscat, oman, introducing the brand to the Middle east. The first eastin residences in the region, scheduled to open late this year, is situated on a sea road connecting alseeb and al athiba in the north of oman’s capital city. within close proximity to Muscat international airport, shopping outlets, the seeb corniche and beaches, the hotel is expected to attract both business and leisure guests in abundance. Jonathan wigley, ceo, absolute Hotel services Group, expressed his delight in debuting the residences brand in the region. “This annoucement of our further expansion to the Middle east is very exciting with our eastin residences brand and is the first of many soon to be announced. eastin residences Muscat offers full services and facilities that will provide value and flexibility to serve the needs of our customers for short and extended stays with personalised services, whether for business or pleasure, we promise to give our customers the best value for all occasions.”

Eastin Residences Muscat offers full services and facilities that will provide value and flexibility to serve the needs of our customers The property will include two meeting rooms with a large party hall and a rooftop featuring a swimming pool, fitness centre and open air multi cuisine restaurant overlooking the arabian sea. 5



- Air Travel

British Airways Boosts Saudi Arabia Flights British Airways is to further strengthen its presence in Saudi Arabia with increased frequency between Riyadh and London.

British Airways

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tarting at the end of october, corresponding with the launch of the winter schedule, the route will be upgraded with an additional flight that will bring the number of british airline’s services to the capital city of saudi arabia to six per week. The route will be operated by a boeing 777 with a choice of four cabins, including the award winningcclub world and the airline’s flagship cabin. with the upcoming frequency increase, and five weekly flights to Jeddah, british airways will offer a total of 11 weekly

flights from the Kingdom to london Heathrow. paolo De renzis, regional commercial manager, Middle east, british airways, elaborated on the route. “June marks two years since we resumed flights to the Kingdom, during which time we have enjoyed strong business in all cabins. The need for an additional service to riyadh is a clear indication that demand continues to grow and we are delighted to announce this additional service re-affirming our long term commitment to the market.”

RAK Airways Lands in Doha RAK Airways, uae-based carrier, has added another destination to its route map, after launching scheduled flights to Doha, Qatar. The sixth itinerary of the airline marks another step in its expansion strategy, noted omar Jahameh, ceo, RAK airways. “by adding a sixth destination to our network we are providing travellers a value offering to yet another exciting destination. The introduction of our July 9, 2011

Doha sector is in keeping with our strategic plan to add five new destinations to our growing route network before the end of the year.” The airline will operate four flights per week to the strategically chosen new destination. “RAK airways Doha flights will provide a value option to both business travellers, who can take advantage of the growing trade opportunities in Qatar, and leisure

Flydubai Opens Hyderabad Route Low-cost carrier flydubai has launched flights on its second major indian route, Hyderabad. There will be three flights per week on the route departing from Dubai’s terminal 2 and landing at GMr rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad international airport. The new dervice expands flydubai’s network to 37 operational destinations across the Middle east, asia, africa and the fringes of europe. Ghaith al Ghaith, ceo, flydubai, described india as a key destination for the airline. “increasing the number of affordable, quality flights between Dubai and india, will increase the potential for trade and tourism, as well as ensuring the large indian expat community in the uae will be able to travel home to visit friends and family more often. we look forward to successfully serving indian and other passengers travelling on this route for many years to come.”

Increasing the number of affordable, quality flights between Dubai and India, will increase the potential for trade and tourism RAK Airways

travellers who will be able to enjoy all that the country has to offer, especially in the lead up to the 2022 world cup,” added Jahameh. 7


- Air News

Qatar Airways Breaks into Canadian Market Qatar Airways has launched flights to Montreal, marking the airline’s first route to Canada.

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he thrice-weekly, nonstop scheduled flight from Doha to Montreal’s pierre elliott trudeau international airport

takes 13 hours. Montreal is the eighth of 15 route launched by Qatar airways this year and the move marks the airline’s fourth north american gateway, with new york, washington Dc and Houston already featuring in its burgeoning international route map.

Qatar Airways

akbar al baker, ceo, Qatar airways, hailed the newest route as a key moment in the airline’s expansion. “i have continuously been asked when we would spread our wings to canada, and i am delighted we have finally reached your shores to become the only Gulf carrier serving Montreal. Qatar is a global player in a number of industries, including oil and gas, a sector in which both my country and canada share a common bond. Qatar airways is a truly global airline, strategically well positioned to take business and leisure passengers between east and west seamlessly via our transit hub in Doha. travelling to far away destinations such as Delhi, Mumbai, the seychelles, bangkok, singapore, the Maldives, Dhaka or tehran has never been

easier for the canadian public to access, now that we have begun these new flights.”

We have finally reached your shores to become the only Gulf carrier serving Montreal Qatar airways currently flies to more than 100 business and leisure destinations worldwide and will soon further expand its global footprint by launching scheduled flights to seven destinations as follows: Medina (saudi arabia) on July 14, Kolkata (india) on July 27, sofia (bulgaria) on september 14, oslo (norway) on october 5, entebbe (uganda) on november 2, baku (azerbaijan) and tbilisi (Georgia) on november 30.

Elaf Group and Sudan Airways Sign GSA Deal Elaf Group and Sudan Airways signed a general sales agent (Gsa) agreement, which could see sudan airways increase its market share and generate more revenue from saudi arabia. The agreement was made under elaf aviation, the group’s Gsa division. sudan airways anticipates that the strong representation offered by elaf Group will allow it to gain further sway and revenues in the saudi market. elaf Group’s 30 years of experience in the travel industry, include four major airline Gsas – biman bangladesh airlines, Garuda indonesia for the western region of saudi arabia, royal brunei airlines and ariana afghan airlines – providing a strong platform from which the airline can profit. currently, sudan airways flies to 24 international destinations, including daily flights to Jeddah and three weekly flights to riyadh. Sudan Airways

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July 9, 2011



- International Hotel Schweizerhof Bern

Sheraton Baku Airport Hotel to Open this Fall

Qatari Diar Reopens Legendary Bern Hotel The Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company has re-launched Hotel Schweizerhof Bern after completing an extensive renovation on the iconic property.

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he legendary hotel boasts rich history that spans more than 150 years and includes on its illustrious guest list names such as elizabeth taylor, Grace Kelly and peter ustinov. Mohammed bin ali al-Hedfa, group ceo, Qatari Diar, elaborated on the grand opening. “Qatari Diar is proud to celebrate the reopening of this legendary hotel in the centre of the swiss capital. The newly renovated Hotel schweizerhof bern is a symbol of Qatari Diar’s commitment to luxury development that embraces local history and tradition while incorporating top international standards and design. we look forward to continuing our relationship with the city of bern for years to come.” prior to the reopening, the hotel, located in the swiss capital’s historical old city,

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had undergone an intensive, two year renovation process. Developed by the london-based MKV Design agency, the property now boasts a fusion of modern luxurious interior and classic design by incorporating symbolic restored furniture from bern’s golden years.

The newly renovated Hotel Schweizerhof Bern is a symbol of Qatari Diar’s commitment to luxury development that embraces local history and tradition besides 99 rooms and suites, the fivestar property features a spacious conference and business centre, ballroom and, from the end if the year onwards, a wellness zone. The fully renovated Hotel schweizerhof bern, along with bürgenstock resort in lucerne and royal-savoy in lausanne, compose part of Qatari Diar’s portfolio of redevelopment projects across switzerland.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and silk way airlines have signed an agreement to open a sheraton hotel in baku, azerbaijan, this fall. The upcoming launch of the airport hotel will mark starwood’s foray into the country and yet another significant step in the company’s strategic expansion plan to open more than 60 sheraton hotels across the globe within the next three years. roeland Vos, president, starwood Hotels & resorts, europe, africa and Middle east, commented on the latest addition to the brand’s growing portfolio. “reaching out to new frontiers is a focus of our expansion strategy, so we are delighted to partner with silk way airlines as we debut the first starwood hotel in azerbaijan. baku is the main economic hub of the country and one of the most important tourist destinations in the region. sheraton’s strong reputation will assist in further positioning baku as a destination for the international traveller.” The property will be the only branded accommodation option within close proximity to the capital city’s main Heydar aliyev international airport. sheraton baku airport Hotel will feature 207 rooms, including 14 suites, and extensive dining, conference and leisure facilities. Jaouad Dbila, vice chairman, silk way Holding, elaborated on the opening. “as the country continues to grow economically, Heydar aliyev international airport has become more of a focus because it provides travellers with their very first impression of the country. we believe that our partnership with a globally recognised company such as starwood Hotels & resorts will have a great impact on the development of hospitality in azerbaijan going forward.” July 9, 2011


Heiner Werdeling

Fathey Atwa

Heiner werdeling has been appointed as general manager of yas Hotel, abu Dhabi. werdeling brings in-depth knowledge to his new role after working for 30 years in the hotel industry, of which he spent Heiner Werdeling seven years in the Middle east. prior to moving to abu Dhabi five years ago, he held leadership positions across 13 countries, including general manager and senior executive roles at Hayman island resort in australia, sheraton imperial luxury collection in Kuala lumpur and intercontinental in abu Dhabi. Most recently, he set up and managed his own hotel consultancy company. werdeling has solid expertise in developing people and paying attention to the details. at yas Hotel, he will focus on strengthening the hotel’s reputation for excellent service, design and innovative guest experience.

Fathey atwa has been appointed as general manager of the new corp executive Hotel Doha suites. prior to joining Hospitality Management Holdings, the hotelier spent four years in saudi arabia, having moved there from egypt where he worked his way up to the general manager position of Fathey Atwa coral cosmopolitan Hotel cairo. He began his career with hospitality training at Hotel institute in alexandria and also worked for two years as a teacher at Hotel institute luxor, where he later returned as head of the food and beverage department. after gaining experience as food and beverage executive at Marriott Hotel cairo, he worked in airline catering and was boat manager aboard a nile cruiser. in the Qatari capital, he will be in charge of the successful launch of corp executive Hotel Doha suites, which aims to position itself as a value accommodation option.

James Britchford

James Britchford

James britchford has been appointed as director of sales, Middle east and africa, at intercontinental Hotels Group (iHG). based in Dubai, britchford will be responsible for the company’s continued growth through sales and partnership agreements. He joined iHG in 2005 and most recently he held the position of senior account director of the business travel sales team, in charge of europe, Middle east and africa, where he built strong records.

Mohamed Karara Mohamed Karara has been appointed as director of sales and marketing of rosewood corniche Jeddah. Having worked previously at a number of properties in amman, Jordan, and cairo and sharm el sheikh, egypt, Karara brings vast experience to the Mohamed Karara position. He has managed departments in nearly every facet of the industry and has a proven track record in increasing sales and brand awareness. in his new role he will be responsible for growing the hotel’s market share of the increasing levels of discerning business and leisure travellers to saudi arabia. July 9, 2011

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Michel Taride

Peter Hill

President, Hertz International and Executive Vice President, Hertz Corporation.

CEO, Oman Air

“we are delighted to renew for another five years this dynamic and historic partnership between euro Disney and Hertz. as companies with a shared vision for superior quality and a great family experience, we have common goals of delivering excellent service aimed at satisfying the needs of extended families across europe.”

Michel Taride

We are delighted to renew for another five years this dynamic and historic partnership

“we are delighted that oman air has been named as winner in the best business class seat category of the world airline awards, which are the most prestigious accolades available within the global airline industry. our business class seat is regularly mistaken for first class. oman air offers unbeatable luxury, hospitality and value for all our customers. we are continuously seeking new ways to surprise and delight passengers and we look forward to announcing fantastic new products and services, which will offer even greater ‘passenger choice.” Peter Hill

We are continuously seeking new ways to surprise and delight passengers

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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July 9, 2011


Agent’s Insight

Seychelles

Emirates Holidays to Boost Seychelles Tours Emirates Holidays and seychelles tourism board (stb) have jointly launched a travel agent incentive programme in a bid to promote the islands in specific markets. The ‘be smart, be carnaval’ campaign challenges travel agents from the uae, saudi arabia, Kuwait, oman, Qatar, bahrain, lebanon, Jordan, russia, cyprus, Greece and turkey to boost bookings to the island until the programme’s official end on January 31, 2012. The top four performing agents, two from the Gcc/Middle east region and two from the european region, will be rewarded for their work and will have the privilege of enjoying the ‘seychelles carnaval international de Victoria’ in 2012 during a four-night tour on the island. Frederic bardin, senior vice president, emirates Holidays, commented that the project will motivate agents and reward the best ones. “This agents’ incentive programme is in line with our commitment to promote the seychelles across our network. Various tactical offers will be launched to support the programme with the aim of attracting more tourists into the destination. The countries which have been selected constitute new markets with high potential for the archipelago. we will sustain our efforts in these markets and we are confident that we will be able to obtain the desired results in the short and medium terms.” emirates Holidays and stb’s co-operation dates back a number of years. underscoring the islands great importance in its network, emirates participated in the ‘seychelles carnaval international de Victoria 2011’ and supported the event by raising awareness around it in new markets, including the czech republic, spain, brazil, russia, the Middle east, india, Korea, china, Japan and many others. in addition, the airline is to increase frequency between Dubai and the seychelles to 14 flights a week by the end of the year. July 9, 2011

Name: Ibrahim Mohamed Position: Managing Director Company: Perfect Tours Location: Egypt Who are you?

Ibrahim Mohamed

My name is ibrahim Mohamed. i am 60 years old and have been married since 1973. i have a daughter and two sons and i currently work as managing director and partner of perfect tours. The agency, which was established in 1976, earned itself ‘a’ category positioning among the egyptian tourism companies. our activities include air ticketing, inbound and outbound tourism worldwide, religious tours, nile cruises, conferences and festival tours.

What is your favouite thing about working in the travel industry? First of all the chance to travel the world. Many will feel that a career such as accounting or working in a bank is simply not for them, while talking about travel for a living is interesting and fun. i reckon that talking about trips to egypt or to the bahamas beats talking about overdrafts. Furthermore, depending very much on what position within the industry you hold, you might find that you are not stuck in an office all day and have the chance to walk around an amusement park throughout the day, or perhaps spend time out on a boat or walk on a beach while doing promotion. Many people who work in tourism tend to seem as though they are having more fun.

When is the best time to visit Egypt? if you are planning a trip to the red sea, diving or going on safari, you can travel to Hurghada, sharm el sheikh or ein el sokhna, preferably in summer. However, if you are interested in a nile cruise between luxor and aswan, visiting monuments, temples and museums, you should come in winter as these places are located in upper egypt where the climate is too hot. enjoy hospitality and watch 5,000 years of history unfold before you on an unforgettable journey through ancient egypt.

Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? i am already appointed to accompany an egyptian group, visiting turkey on July 17 to 22. Then, as soon as i return, i will meet an american group and will spend 10 days with them by the red sea and sharm el sheikh.

Why should people come to you for travel advice? Due to the company’s good reputation, vast experience, professional staff, reasonable prices and prompt response to any kind of requests, perfect tours is the ideal choice for any traveller. 13


Increasing Demand, Remaining Risks The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has recorded impressive growth in passenger traffic in May, but warns about the impact unsteadiness in the Middle East and Europe is likely to have.

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ccording to iata’s report, passenger traffic increased by 6.8 percent compared with May 2010, indicating four percent growth from the beginning of this year. while freight traffic dropped four percent against May 2010, the recent months’ results have still shown a renewed upward trend with a two percent increase over the start of the year. The sound figures ease the harsh effects experienced due to other factors in the industry, noted Giovanni bisignani, director general and ceo, iata. “we saw positive developments for the air transport volumes in May. international passenger load factors rebounded by 0.8 percentage points to 75.8 percent. Freight volumes improved by 1.2 percent over april and passenger volumes were up by 1.8 percent. These will help to alleviate

some of the pressure on profits from continued high fuel price.” in terms of regions, Middle east airlines recorded 7.8 percent growth in international traffic over May 2010, slightly below a 9.6 percent capacity expansion that saw load factors slip to 70.8 percent. while the ongoing turmoil in some countries of the region resulted in a dramatic tumble in smaller markets, the impact on the dominant carriers has been limited. Despite the increasing volumes, feelings of insecurity still remain, warned bisignani. “There are risks associated with political unrest in the Middle east and the european currency crisis. we still expect the industry to make usD4 billion this year. That is a pathetic 0.7 percent margin and another shock could alter the industry’s fortunes dramatically. it’s another tough year for a very fragile industry.”

Oman Takes Steps to Grow Tourism Oman’s Ministry of Tourism has formed a committee to help enhance the sultanate’s tourism strategy and prepare an effective plan to maintain and grow the country’s tourism sector. The committee, made up of airline, hotel, tour operator and tourism investment representatives, will work with the ministry to create coordinated communications with key international markets that highlight the nation’s tourism potential. The world travel and tourism council (wTTc) expects oman’s tourism industry to grow from 1.5 percent of total GDp in 2010 to 2.4 percent of GDp by 2020. salem al Mamari, director general of tourism promotions, Ministry of tourism, commented that an enhanced marketing strategy for oman’s tourism sector will ensure that tourist arrivals in the country remain high over the coming months. “This should be done on two levels; the delivery to international markets and media of an accurate, clear and effective message about oman remaining as safe and welcoming to tourists as ever, and drawing attention to a number of completed or ongoing projects and activities which bring the experience of natural beauty and indigenous culture in the sultanate to new heights.”

We need an accurate, clear and effective message about Oman remaining as safe and welcoming to tourists as ever 14

July 9, 2011


Q & A with Khaled Yamak The rapidly evolving Saudi Arabian tourism industry, with rising demand for pilgrimages, increasing business travel and a revived domestic tourism scene, has led to the introduction of countless hotels and the need for more competitive action. Khaled Yamak, group director of communications and business development, Fairmont, explains the unique workings of the market and the hotel chain’s strategy. Travel Trade Weekly: Tell us about your properties in Saudi Arabia and your target markets? Khaled Yamak: we communicate with our target, mainly marketing to Gcc nationals. They can come anytime and we offer a good place in which they can feel at home. They require good service and good food. Makkah raffles is a homely hotel; it has a business centre and everything you would need if you were at home, and extra i would say. The Fairmont is a much bigger hotel. it has a variety of restaurants, 12 in total, so you have a different experience everyday in terms of food. we noticed that people who previously visited for a day or two are coming back with their families and are staying for longer. They are doing their religious duties and the family can live a normal life.

do. There were many in the market bringing these facilities and this variety of services, and in fact we have forced the competition to catch up with us. Go to Mecca today and you will see that most of the hotels had done nothing for the past 10 years; now they are. now they are adding more outlets and they are starting to catch up with this new concept. so, in the end, the pilgrims and the visitors are really the ones benefiting as they are starting to get what they deserve and to get what they pay for. we’re looking forward to opening swissôtel Makkah; the third property. a couple of months ago, we signed a Fairmont, which is going well. For the next five years our business plan is to sign another five hotels. we will reach eight to 10 hotels in the next 10 years in saudi.

Khaled Yamak

Travel Trade Weekly: This justifies your decision to follow up with other exhibitions and trade shows, despite the fact that traditionally properties from Saudi Arabia do not usually go out and promote themselves? Khaled Yamak: Most of the time they do, just for the past two years for some

Travel Trade Weekly: You mentioned reason they didn’t; maybe because they felt Travel Trade Weekly: Do these you are opening hotels away from the they already had sufficient activities. main tourism area of Saudi Arabia. However, because we’re new we have to do properties pose any challenges? Khaled Yamak: of course, we always Do you anticipate that the lifting of it and we’ll keep on doing it for the coming have challenges – challenges to keep up the tourist visa will offer significant few years until we see how things are going. the standards, to put a smile on success to these properties? It’s our duty to inform employees’ faces, and to make the stay of Khaled Yamak: starting from Mecca, our guests’ one to remember.

we are very good, we love what we have achieved there and in Dubai. However, keep in mind that riyadh and Jeddah are business destinations for many companies and organisations and that’s why we are opening in those cities.

Travel Trade Weekly: Do you consider the properties around the area competition in peak season? Do they force you to extend the barriers of your capabilities and differentiate your offering, or is the area sufficiently Travel Trade Weekly: You have packed during peak season that you exhibited at ITB and also ATM, can you elaborate as to why? all do the same thing? Khaled Yamak: before we came to Khaled Yamak: i think it’s our duty to Mecca, we found that people were not getting value for their money. Hotels were taking pilgrims for granted. There was a choice and you have to do what you have to July 9, 2011

inform the trade and the public that a product like this exists and is available in Mecca. it’s a first and i think the market is in desperate need of such a product.

the trade and the public that a product like this exists Travel Trade Weekly: What do you think is going to happen during your upcoming peak season? What numbers do you forecast? Khaled Yamak: we’re almost sold out. ramadan for Mecca is finished; peak season was never an issue. The challenge for peak season is keeping the standards and quality of work, not getting people in, as people will come. it’s the off season where we have to do a little bit of extra work. 15


South Africa and Middle East Can Share Tourism Knowledge The Middle East can learn valuable lessons from south africa as their tourism industries are facing similar challenges. Jennifer seif, executive director, Fair trade in tourism south africa (FTTsa), commented that high resource consumption and competition over natural resources are common challenges to the Middle east’s and south africa’s tourism sectors. an equally important issue for both in the development of sustainable tourism is the need to find workable models for community-based tourism and effective

partnerships between the public, private and civil society sectors. “south africa can learn from best practice in the Middle east, and vice versa. south africa’s successful hosting of the FiFa 2010 world cup may provide inspiration to Qatar 2022 and to the hosting of other future mega events in both the Middle east and africa.” seif will spotlight lessons learnt in south africa when she addresses the second world Green tourism conference at the abu Dhabi national exhibition centre (aDnec) on December 5-7.

FTTsa has pioneered the world’s first tourism Fair trade labelling initiative to give consumers environmentally and socially responsible travel options. it certifies tourist accommodation, activities and attractions in south africa against a standard comprised of labour, socio-economic, management and environmental criteria. “i will present Fair trade travel as a tool for destination management and marketing and show how Fair trade labelling can contribute to tourism competitiveness at both firm and destination level,” seif added.

Events Sports and Events Tourism Exchange Cape Town, South Africa, July 27-29, 2011 (www.sportsandevents.co.za) an event that focuses on south africa’s facilities and services for all top level international events and the exchange between sports tourism and the events industry.

Cityscape Dubai Dubai, UAE, September 26-29, 2011 (www.cityscape.ae) a b2b networking exhibition and conference for emerging real estate markets globally.

Kazakhstan International Tourism Exhibition China Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition Astana, Kazakhstan, September 27-29, 2011 Beijing, China, August 30-September 1, 2011 www.leisure.kz (www.cibtm.com) The eighth Kazakhstan international tourism exhibition in a leading event for the meetings, incentives, business travel astana, which caters for both the b2b and b2c markets and and events industry in china and asia. features a vibrant mix of inbound and outbound destinations. PATA Travel Mart New Delhi, India, September 6-9, 2011 (www.pata.org) asia pacific’s premier travel trade show with networking and contracting opportunities.

CIS Travel Market St. Petersburg, Russia, October 12-14, 2011 (www.restec.ru) an event focusing on cis countries, attended by airlines, tour operators, travel agencies, accommodation providers and tourist associations.

Top Resa, International French Travel Market Paris, France, September 20-23, 2011 (www.iftm.fr) an international travel and tourism trade fair for networking, doing business, innovating and keeping abreast of market developments.

ITB Asia Suntec, Singapore, October 19-21, 2011 (www.itb-asia.com) an event where international exhibitors, asia pacific’s leading companies and emerging enterprises meet top buyers.

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