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Middle East and North Africa Edition

August 20, Issue 93

Qatar Airways will extend its presence in China with the launch of flights to the western city of Chongqing from November 28.

BaHrain Boat sHoW in noveMBer The Bahrain Boat show international 2011, originally planned to take place in april, has been rescheduled and will be held between november 23-26 at the Kingdom’s amwaj islands.

4 Hilton WorldWide to Manage First CHad ProPerty Hilton Worldwide has signed a management agreement with salim group for the 195-room Hilton n’djamena.

In This Issue

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

aUgUst 20 2011

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Qatar Airways to Fly to Fifth City in China: Chongqing


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Managing Editor Mary Kammitsi Journalists rita Kasziba duncan Macrae Marianna Keen Design & Layout elina Pericleous Sales & Marketing Maria demetriadou Brighite ess dominique tennant Directors andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi Headquarters t.t.W. travel trade Weekly ltd. P.o. Box 25255 nicosia 1308 Cyprus tel: +35722820888 Fax: +35722318958 Website Emails

Jazeera Airways: Record Performance Jazeera Airways had recorded its fourth consecutive profitable quarter and the best second quarter (Q2) since inception.


he Kuwaiti airline’s net profit totalled KWd2.2 million (Usd8.07 million) compared to a net loss of KWd4.7 million (Usd17.24 million) in the corresponding quarter in 2010. The operating revenue accounted for KWd13.9 million (Usd50.99 million), up 63.6 percent from Q2 2010, while operating profit increased by seven percent to KWd2.8 million (Usd10.27 million). average yield rose by 52 percent, and load factors were up 23.7 percent, making the airline market-leader on most routes it operates. The sound performance has further increased the carrier’s first half (H1) results. With an impressive growth, the airline’s net profit totalled KWd3.3 million (Usd12.09 million), compared to a net loss of KWd9.2 million (Usd33.72 million) in H1 2010. operating revenue grew by 41.9 percent to KWd25.3 million (Usd92.73 million), while operating profit accounted for KWd4.6 million

Jazeera Airways

(Usd16.86 million), compared to an operating loss of KWd5.1 million (Usd18.69 million) in the corresponding period in 2010. Marwan Boodai, chairman, Jazeera airways group, elaborated on the carrier’s performance. “our continued record-performance is a direct result of the business-enhancement measures we’ve put in place since mid-2010 as part of the turn-around plan. in addition to reducing cost, the turn-around plan brought more flexibility and efficiency to the business for the long-term. Jazeera airways comprises of an aircraft leasing business with assets deployed across the world and a commercial airline business serving 18 destinations across the Middle east. The results we’ve announced reflect the consolidated earnings of both business lines.”

Air Arabia Reveals Positive Financial Results MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 18/8/2011 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

1USD= 3.67 5.97 3.75 1,515 0.37 0.71 47.44 0.27 3.64 0.38 1.37 7.87 10,564.24 213.2 71.82 1.19

Air Arabia has published its financial results for the three months ending June 30, 2011, showing steady growth in profit, revenue and passenger traffic. The airline’s net profit for the second quarter (Q2) 2011, rose to aed 51 million (Usd 13.9 million), an increase of two percent compared to aed 50 million (Usd 13.6 million) in the corresponding period in 2010. in Q2 of this year, the carrier posted a turnover of aed592 million (Usd161.2 million), an increase of 22 percent compared to aed485 million (Usd132 million) in the same period of 2010. The airline also served 1,161,944 passengers in Q2 of this year, an increase of five percent compared to 1,108,310 passengers in Q2 2010. abdullah Bin Mohammad al Thani, chairman, air arabia, noted that the airline has consistently shown its resilience to dynamic market conditions. “The second quarter of this year has seen fuel price averaging to 46 percent increase in the market fuel bill compared to same quarter of correspondent year. The political turmoil of the region has continued with further escalation in several countries. despite the challenging market conditions, air arabia has achieved steady growth and solid profits for the second quarter, thanks to our focused business model and appealing product.” aUgUst 20, 2011

SHUAA and Rotana Invest in Jeddah SHUAA Capital Saudi Arabia has completed the acquisition of a prime plot of land in Jeddah through its SHUAA Saudi Hospitality Fund I. The land will be developed into a budget business hotel, managed by Rotana Hotel Management Corporation.


he 254-room Centro Hotels by rotana branded property will have a total built-up area of approximately 2 12,000m , and the project is expected to cost an estimated sar160 million (Usd42.67 million). omar al Jaroudi, Ceo, sHUaa Capital saudi arabia, commented on the investment. “This marks the second such transaction made by the Fund in Jeddah and underlines our view that the city is an exciting investment destination for sHUaa Capital. in rotana Hotel Management, we have a partner who shares our commitment to generating

aUgUst 20, 2011

strong investment returns for our clients as well as supporting the economic growth of the Kingdom.”

Over the past six months, the hotel market in Jeddah has performed exceptionally well The sHUaa saudi Hospitality Fund i, established in partnership with rotana Hotel Management Company in 2008, is a shariah-compliant, closed-end real estate investment fund, focusing on acquiring and developing prime land and real estate. The hotels in its portfolio are operated by rotana Hotel Management

Corporation. The Fund invests in areas with strong long-term growth prospects and supply-constrained market dynamics. saudi arabia and Jeddah in particular corresponds with this, noted, selim el Zyr, president and Ceo, rotana. “over the past six months, the hotel market in Jeddah has performed exceptionally well, with an increase in the average room rate of over nine percent. This growth compliments the long-term prospects of Jeddah’s economy, which is being driven by extensive infrastructure and large-scale development projects. We see saudi arabia as a particularly promising market for rotana hotels with significant upside potential.”


Bahrain Boat Show in November The Bahrain Boat Show International 2011, originally planned to take place in April, has been rescheduled and will be held between November 23-26 at the Kingdom’s Amwaj Islands.


ince its debut three years ago, the spectacular show has grown into one of the main boating events in the region. organised by Knotika Holding in partnership with Bahrain’s economic development Board (edB), it hosts an impressive line-up of exhibitors and showcases a wide variety of boats and leisure marine related products. From luxury megayachts to the latest marine technologies and innovations and leisurely aquatic activities, the event covers all aspects of the market, with a special focus on Bahrain’s industry, explained shaikh Mohammed, chief executive, edB. “The two previous international boat shows have been a great success and have been extremely popular in Bahrain and with visitors. We look forward to welcoming people to Bahrain for this event, which plays an important role in developing the boating industry in the

Kingdom, and building awareness and understanding of what the seas around Bahrain have to offer for the international sailing community.” The show aims to reach out to a broad public, noted Wael Juju, managing director, Knotika Holding. “as an island, Bahrain has enormous potential to develop its boating industry and trade shows are an important element in delivering this objective”

As an island, Bahrain has enormous potential to develop its boating industry

Abu Dhabi’s Success in Europe Seven cities across six countries have got a taste of abu dhabi’s travel trade opportunities during the emirate’s european road show, spearheaded by abu dhabi tourism authority (adta). The tourism road show, led throughout russia, germany, France, italy, the UK and ireland, is expected to pay rich end-of-year dividends to the emirate as travel professionals begin to buy-into abu dhabi’s quarter four plans. The event attracted an audience of more than 400 tour operators. Kira dmitrieva, head of department of south Cross, outbound travel agency in russia, commented on the show’s 4

great benefits. “This event gave us the necessary information on how to promote team building possibilities on yas island. i feel sure our corporate clients will be passionate about the idea of team building using the Formula one circuit.” The broad range of hotel projects underway, which includes Westin Hotel & spa, abu dhabi golf Club, eastern Mangroves Hotel & spa by anantara, Hyatt Capital gate, Park Hyatt abu dhabi, saadiyat island rocco Forte Hotel abu dhabi, st. regis saadiyat resort & residences saadiyat island, Jumeirah at etihad towers and ritzCarlton grand Canal abu dhabi.

Flow of Tourist Arrivals to Oman Raises Sector’s Share in GDP A surge in tourist arrivals will drive the travel and tourism industry’s share in oman’s gdP this year to Usd1.93 billion, according to the World travel and tourism Council (WTTC). The nation’s flagship carrier, oman air, reported that its passenger figures for the first quarter of this year surpassed those of the previous three years, with March recording 35,000 arrivals compared with around 25,000 in March 2010. salem al Mamari, director general of tourism promotions, Ministry of tourism, remarked on the country’s increasing demand. “We attribute oman’s appeal to our range of offerings for holiday travellers and adventurers alike, from old forts and seaside palaces to pristine beaches and fun seasonal festivals. We intend to further develop the necessary infrastructure and programs to support this thriving sector.” The cities of Muscat and salalah are expanding their airports to accommodate passenger traffic of 48 and 10 million per annum. arrivals at oman’s key ports are also growing, with Muscat alone reporting over 90 cruise ship visits for the 2010-2011 season. The Ministry of tourism in oman recently joined the international Council of tourism Partners as an alliance member, thus putting it in a better position to globally promote upcoming tourism developments such as the Usd2.5 billion omagine project covering a series of integrated tourism complexes in Muscat and the Usd1 billion tourism resort being built in the port city of salalah. a Convention and exhibition Centre, scheduled to open in late 2013, will extend oman’s appeal to business travellers. aUgUst 20, 2011

New York City’s Tallest Hotel Scheduled to Open At the Tail End of 2013 Courtyard and Residence Inn Manhattan will become New York City’s tallest hotel property, following an agreement by Marriott International and ownership group Granite Broadway Development.


he two companies signed a franchise agreement to develop the property, bringing it to a soaring 68 stories, housing two markedly different hotels, the 378-room Courtyard by Marriott and the 261-room residence inn by Marriott. The Courtyard hotel will provide an uplifting environment for business and leisure travellers, while the residence inn will offer all-suite accommodation for longer stays. The hotels will share a main entrance and arrival lobby on 54th street. scheduled to open in late 2013, the project will be managed by interstate Hotels and resorts. it will also incorporate leased retail and restaurant space. The structure was designed by architect nobutaka ashihara and it will rise 230m, making it the tallest stand-alone hotel building (without office or residential space) in new york.

ronnie gross, vice president, granite Broadway development, remarked on the awaited development. “this project is a long time coming, and we believe that these two brands, along with the leased retail shops and restaurant, will offer needed services in this part of Manhattan. the building will be absolutely stunning, and the hotels are the right lodging brands for this wonderful location.”

Courtyard and Residence Inn Manhattan

This project is a long time coming, and we believe that these two brands, along with the leased retail shops and restaurant, will offer needed services in this part of Manhattan

Arabian Courtyard Reflects Arabic Culture and Heritage Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa, Dubai


Arabian Courtyard Hotel & spa in dubai has renovated its facilities to reflect arabic culture and heritage, in an aim to help the property retain its leading position in the dubai market. Habib Khan, general manager, commented on the significance of the renovation. “arabian Courtyard Hotel & spa has played an effective role in promoting tourism within the region and has created awareness of its historic location. The hotel has been key in promoting the area to international travellers thus it is fitting that our

property also reflects the culture and heritage that our location represents.” The hotel’s move to a more traditional theme is part of the property’s ongoing plan for investment in product enhancement.

Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa has played an effective role in promoting tourism within the region aUgUst 20, 2011

- Air Travel

Qatar Airways to Fly to Fifth City in China: Chongqing Qatar Airways will extend its presence in China with the launch of flights to the western city of Chongqing from November 28.


perating three times a week, the non-stop service from the airline’s hub in doha will take the carrier’s services to China up to 28 flights a week. Chongqing will mark Qatar airways’ fifth gateway in China. The launch is a prime example of the airline’s strategic focus on entering into emerging cities around the world. Chongqing Jiangbei international airport is one of the biggest airports in western China serving a large domestic market but with limited international flights. akbar al Baker, Ceo, Qatar airways, highlighted the carrier’s continued focus in the fast developing country. “Qatar airways is demonstrating confidence of doing business with partners in China and the opening of Chongqing as our newest route, particularly being an up-and-coming city that is underserved by international airlines, shows our commitment to a vibrant economy.” The airline already operates daily non-stop flights from doha to Hong Kong, shanghai and guangzhou and four-flights-a-week to Beijing. Qatar Airways

Etihad to Fly to Nairobi Etihad Airways is to launch daily flights to nairobi, its first destination in east africa. The airline will commence daily services from abu dhabi to the capital city of Kenya on april 1, 2012 and will deploy a two class a320 aircraft on the route. The new destination holds enormous potential, noted James Hogan, Ceo, etihad airways. “This new route will allow etihad to tap into large traffic flows between east africa, north asia, and the indian subcontinent. our strategy is to target areas of strong growth in emerging economies such as north, east and central africa and we have a number of other destinations under active consideration. nairobi is an ideal addition to etihad’s global footprint. There are 38,000 Kenyan nationals residing in the Uae and there are large and established pointto-point traffic flows between the two countries.” in 2010, Kenya received more than two million visitors, of which some 295,000 arrived from the Middle east. aUgUst 20, 2011

Qantas to be Restructured Qantas International has revealed a major overhaul and is to launch two new airlines and purchase more than 100 aircraft as part of a fiveyear plan. This plan will affect some 1,000 jobs with the objective of returning the airline to profitability. increasing challenges and a tough business environment have prompted Qantas to conduct a radical overhaul, explained alan Joyce, Ceo, Qantas airways. “it is a steadily fading business, suffering big financial losses and a substantial decline in market share. The issues are neither cyclical nor temporary. Qantas international faces serious structural challenges, to do with the progressive deregulation of our market at home, the influx of competition here and abroad, and our high cost base.” according to Joyce, 82 out of 100 travellers flying out of australia opt for an airline other than Qantas, not including Jetstar. “Competitors are piling in, many with substantial foreign government backing, meaning we have some of the fastest capacity growth of any market in the world. Foremost among them are Middle eastern and asian carriers with well-positioned hubs.” “today a large number of our routes, primarily to asia and europe, are loss-making, with no improvement in sight. our share of the asian international market has collapsed to 14 percent. our profitable international routes are not sufficient to make up the shortfall. and our cost base is around 20 percent higher than our key competitors’. today Qantas international absorbs large amounts of capital that could arguably be better invested in profitable, growing parts of our business,” added Joyce. in an attempt to survive, Qantas will see radical changes. “our plan has four elements: opening gateways to the world, growing with asia, being best for global travellers and building a strong, viable business to create shareholder value. The ‘gateway’ strategy, based on an expanded network of alliance relationships, will further enhance the airline’s network with new destinations around the globe, but Qantas’ main focus remains asia,” Joyce further elaborated. 7

- Air Travel

Virgin Atlantic to Invest USD163 million

Malaysia Airlines Collaborates with AirAsia

Virgin Atlantic plans to invest GBP100 million (USD163.8 million) in product development after recording a strong year of trading and a return to profit.


espite enormous challenges, including the winter closure of london Heathrow and the ash cloud crises costing the business a combined gBP40 million (Usd65.5 million), strong growth in business traffic and solid load factors in all cabins resulted in healthy overall performance, noted steve ridgway, chief executive, virgin atlantic. “We have demonstrated the resilience of our business by weathering the toughest economic period for aviation and have now returned the business to profit. a sharp recovery in the first half of the year has been tempered by more challenged trading in the latter period due to increased capacity in the market and high fuel prices.” virgin atlantic’s pre-tax operating profit for the full year 2010/11 totalled gBP18.5 million (Usd30.3 million), while revenues increased by 13 percent to gBP2.7 billion (Usd4.4 billion). The airline recorded a load factor of 82 percent. “Whilst we have been very focused on trading the airline back to profitability, we have worked hard to introduce new aircraft, new routes and extra rotations to the existing network where there has been high demand. This year we are investing heavily in new product innovation so that we retain and enhance our leadership in customer service and experience,” added ridgway. to further improve its operation, the airline has introduced two new airbus a330s on leisure routes and launched a new service between Manchester and las vegas. its total revenue for the three-month period, ending May 31, accounted for gBP658 million (Usd1.1 billion), representing an increase of 7.6 percent. Virgin Atlantic

Malaysian Airlines (Mas) and airasia have entered into a comprehensive collaboration framework that will enable them to explore opportunities to cooperate on a broad range of areas. The deal will involve Khazanah nasional, which owns 69.5 percent of Mas, taking up a 10 percent stake in airasia, while tune air sdn, which owns 23 percent of airasia, will hold 20.5 per cent in Mas. all parties will strive to complement each other’s businesses so as to leverage on their respective core competencies and optimise efficiency for the benefit of consumers. tan sri Md nor yusof, chairman, Mas, is looking forward to the two companies working together. “The signing of the collaboration agreement heralds an exciting new era of cooperation whereby the airlines involved will stand to gain significantly by tapping the benefits of working together. We believe that the joint collaboration will help Mas focus on our strengths in our core markets and work towards deriving higher loads and more efficient resource utilisation. We will also be able to offer services in engineering and other areas to both airasia and airasia X. Firefly’s resources would be refocused to launch a new regional full service airline operation.”

The signing of the Collaboration Agreement heralds an exciting new era of cooperation

Etihad Airways and S7 Airlines Expand Codeshare Agreement Etihad Airways has expanded its commercial agreement with s7 airlines, russia’s fastest growing airline, facilitating passengers to fly to abu dhabi and beyond from four russian regional cities. etihad and s7 passengers are able to fly to and from abu dhabi on 8

the routes which connect via etihad’s daily Moscow services. The new codeshare cities served are: Kazan, samara, Krasnodar and saint Petersburg. James Hogan, Ceo, etihad airways, commented that the agreement is part of a continual expansion in russia.

“We view the revised partnership as a natural extension of the successful joint operations we launched in March 2010. We look forward to continuing to work with s7 to enable passengers from all over russia to travel to abu dhabi and further afield.” aUgUst 20, 2011

- International

Hilton Worldwide to Manage First Chad Property Hilton Worldwide has signed a management agreement with Salim Group for the 195-room Hilton N’Djamena.


he hotel will be the first Hilton Hotels & resorts property in Chad, where tourist numbers are rising with travellers drawn by the country’s natural attractions, such as the ennedi desert, tibesti Mountains, lake Chad and the world famous 3,000km2 Zakhouma national Park. n’djamena attracts high numbers of government visitors and overseas business travellers, particularly those from the energy sector. dave Horton, global head, Hilton Hotels & resorts brand, spoke about what the company hopes to offer customers in the african country. “Hilton Hotels & resorts is the global leader of hospitality and we look forward to welcoming the world’s travellers to Chad. this hotel will deliver the standards, quality and authentic hospitality guests expect from our brand and Hilton Worldwide.”

Worldwide, described africa as an exciting continent with greater than ever numbers of business and leisure travellers. “Hilton Worldwide aims to have a hotel in every key city on the african continent. With the development of this hotel, we will have a presence in 14 african

countries providing a great network for our guests.” The hotel, which is expected to open in 2013, will boast a health club, business centre, banqueting hall, swimming pool and four restaurants.

This hotel will deliver the standards, quality and authentic hospitality guests expect from our brand and Hilton Worldwide Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president development for europe and africa, Hilton aUgUst 20, 2011


- International

IHG to Manage Holiday Inn Property in Macao InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a 1,224-room Holiday Inn franchise contract with Sands China, a majority-held subsidiary of global resort developer, Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS).


oliday inn Macao Cotai strip, in the heart of the Cotai district and part of sands China’s newest integrated resort, sands Cotai Central, will be the world’s largest Holiday inn once completed in 2012. The resort will include the second largest building in the world and will boast 6,000 hotel rooms and a wide variety of gaming, dining, retail, entertainment and meeting facilities.

Sands Cotai Central

We will continue and even accelerate our quality growth both globally and in Greater China Keith Barr, Ceo, greater China iHg, described the resort as a great addition to iHg’s portfolio. “We have established a foundation of mutual trust with lvs, which will lead to future relationships. We will continue and

even accelerate our quality growth, both globally and in greater China, by partnering with international large-scale and influential developers like lvs.” it is predicted that visitors to Macao will continue to grow in parallel with the

wealth of the Chinese and attract other visitors from asia. in 2010, Macao became the fourth most popular destination in the region for visitors after Mainland China, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Dusit International’s Web Content Now Available in Arabic Asian hotel group dusit international, having launched a new, more interactive website earlier this year, has now introduced arabic content to the site in order to make a mark in the Middle eastern market. Catherine Mcnabb, vice president of sales and marketing, dusit international, commented that making information more accessible to arabic speakers was a crucial development. “serving our visitors in the language of their choice is important to us and we hope that by offering an arabic version 10

of our website this will enable arabic speaking visitors to more easily access information on dusit Hotels, not only for hotels in the Middle east but for all their selected destination. The care and concern for our arabic guests extends beyond the provision of information in their language, but includes the choice of Halal dining; prayer mats and arabic tv channels in many of our hotels.” Content on dusit international’s websites is available in english, arabic, Japanese and Chinese.

Serving our visitors in the language of their choice is important to us aUgUst 20, 2011

Atieh Hamarneh

Jesseca Fajardo

atieh Hamarneh has been appointed as general manager of Boulevard arjaan by rotana amman. Hamarneh brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously held various positions at a number of international chains across Atieh Hamarneh oman, the Uae, saudi arabia, Bahrain and Jordan. Prior to joining rotana, he worked as managing director of sadarah Hospitality Consultants. in his new position, he will be leading the pre-opening team of the first rotana property in Jordan, scheduled to open in mid 2012. His scope of work will focus on ensuring all areas are completed as per rotana standards and well-prepared for a successful opening.

Maher Bers Maher Bers has been appointed as front office manager, Crowne Plaza amman. Bers brings seven years experience to his role, having previously occupied various positions at five-star hotels in amman, dead sea and abu dhabi. Benefiting from his expertise in developing and implementing departmental objectives in line with the hotel’s business strategy, as front office manager, Bers will ensure that guests receive the best service possible.

Tom Singer

Jesseca Fajardo Jesseca Fajardo has joined dusit Thani dubai as sales administrator. Before moving to dubai, Fajardo held a number of key positions in reservations and sales at Plantation Bay resort & spa in Cebu, Philippines. in dubai she worked as sales coordinator at Burj al arab prior to joining dusit. in her new role she will provide the sales and marketing team with administration support with a specific focus on the handling of all correspondence and reports.

Tom Singer

tom singer has been appointed to chief financial officer of interContinental Hotels group (iHg). effective from september 26, singer will take over the role from richard solomons, who has been promoted to chief executive. singer, who will also assume a seat on the company’s executive committee, joins iHg from global healthcare group BUPa where he held the group finance director role since 2008. Prior to that, he was with Willian Hill, first as finance director and then as chief operating officer. at Moss Bros he worked as finance director and a main board director. He also held managerial positions with McKinsey & Company and Price Waterhouse. With a career spanning over strategy, finance and general management across europe and america, singer brings broad commercial and international experience to his role. aUgUst 20, 2011


Tamador Kouatly

A. K. Nizar

Manager Lebanon, Emirates. “emirates has incredibly strong ties with lebanon, we have flown continuously throughout the 20 year period supporting the destination with frequent and convenient flight times, and advertising campaigns to promote lebanon as a tourism destination. We have witnessed year on year growth in the market thanks to the dedication of our staff, in addition to lebanon's liberal open skies policy which has helped to stimulate competition within the market.” Tamador Kouatly

We have witnessed year on year growth in the market thanks to the dedication of our staff, in addition to Lebanon's liberal open skies policy

Jay Martens

A. K. Nizar

CEO, Lucioles (the organiser of Blossom Japan).

Head of Commercial, Air Arabia.

“Through various marketing and promotional activities that The real Japan have been undertaking all over the world, they are really trying to get the message across that they want us back. They have put together some excellent footage that shows us the rebuilding of a nation.”

They have put together some excellent footage that shows us the rebuilding of a nation Jay Martens

“air arabia remains upbeat towards this new partnership with al ansari exchange, which will also benefit our Uae customers. our customers will now be able to pay for their flight tickets and confirm bookings through any of the al ansari exchange branches that are spread out across different locations in the Uae. This move reflects our long term efforts to provide our growing network of customers with effective and innovative services based on our unique ‘value for Money' philosophy.”

Air Arabia remains upbeat towards this new partnership with Al Ansari Exchange, which will also benefit our UAE customers

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 12

aUgUst 20, 2011

Agent’s Insight Name: Deepa Rajesh Position: Holidays manager Company: Air Arabia Holidays Location: UAE Who are you?

Sabre Travel Network Improves Agent Productivity Sabre Travel Network, a global technology company that serves travel suppliers and agencies, has launched enhanced graphical capabilities in sabre red Workspace. sabre began the global roll out of graphical view in July, giving sabre-connected agencies the ability to leverage the increased productivity and time savings associated with the improved interface. The view simplifies the shopping and booking process allowing agents to book air, hotel, car and other suppliers faster and more efficiently. Chris Kroeger, senior vice president of marketing, sabre travel network, noted that in the past year, the company has provided a collection of technology that helps agents transform the way they work and serve their customers. “From the introduction of sabre red and the upgrading of 145,000 agents to the red Workspace to the launch of graphical view, we are equipping agents with powerful new tools to help them stay ahead in a competitive industry.” tatiana lula, key coordinator, Flytour, a leading travel company in sao Paulo, Brazil, found the technology to be very useful. “The tool is very intuitive. it did not take long to understand the logic and work flow. i enjoyed navigating without having to use the mouse and using only the keyboard. another positive aspect is that you can easily switch to traditional formats in the same environment if you want.”

My name is deepa rajesh and i am the holidays manager for air arabia. air arabia is the Middle east and north africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier. We fly you to over 65 destinations spreading across the Middle east, north africa, asia and europe. We offer our travellers comfortable, reliable and value for money air travel across our network and with our value preposition ‘Pay less. Fly More’, we help you to fly more often to more places.

What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? travelling to different destinations, learning and experiencing different cultures and meeting new types of people.

When is the best time to visit the UAE? i would recommend a trip between november and april.

Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? There are many places that the world has to offer but the next one may be to the Bahamas or ladakh, india.

Why should people come to you for travel advice? as we follow the parent module, i believe our packages are competitive. our flight timings are such that one could really use their weekends well to take short breaks. apart from this, our flights are always on time which helps keep the excitement of going on a holiday. Bahamas

We’re equipping agents with powerful new tools to help them stay ahead in a competitive industry. aUgUst 20, 2011


Emaar Hospitality Group Promotes Emiratisation


Emaar Hospitality Group has organised a series of meetings and seminars for Emiratis working across the group, as part of the company's strategy to nurture Emirati talent.


he seminars addressed a variety of topics from the basics of hospitality, to the methods that can be used to achieve their professional goals, whilst contributing to the organisation. They were aimed at enhancing communication between management and the associates, proving to be an effective method of sharing the latest announcements, company structure, and the group’s core values. Patrick Heuze, Ceo, emaar Hospitality group, commented on the company’s support of emiratisation. “in line with emaar Hospitality group’s approach to build stronger personal ties between employees and management, the quarterly meetings brought together emirati associates throughout the group to further enhance their skill sets. By providing them with invaluable insights on the group's best practices, emaar Hospitality is restating its commitment to work closely with the national community, and prepare them for promising careers in the hospitality industry. We will host these meetings every quarter, to reiterate its support for the government’s emiratisation programme and the emirati associates that work across all our properties.”

We will host these meetings every quarter, to reiterate its support for the Government’s Emiratisation programme

Egypt Named as World Tourism Day Host Egypt will host the official 2011 World tourism day (Wtd) celebrations revolving around a ‘tourism – linking Cultures’ theme. The event aims to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. Mounir Fakhri abdel-nour, minister of tourism, egypt, explained that the country was eagerly anticipating Wtd, which will be held in aswan on september 27. “We are very honoured to be hosting the official celebrations of World tourism day 2011 in egypt. tourism is one of the most important sectors of our society, representing 12 percent of our gdP in 2010 and responsible for one in every seven jobs. World tourism day is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness around the world of this vital economic sector and its contribution to social, economic and environmental well-being worldwide and in egypt in particular.” taleb rifai, secretary-general, UnWto, commented on egypt’s suitability to host the event. “it is most fitting that egypt, home to some of the world’s most celebrated cultural heritage and a leading tourism destinations, be the host country for the official celebrations of World tourism day 2011.”

Tourism is one of the most important sectors of our society 14

aUgUst 20, 2011

Q & A Nabil Hammoud With accommodation options rising in Kuwait’s resilient hotel industry, offering a competitive edge and first class standards and customer service are vital for attracting visitors. Nabil Hammoud, general manager, Marina Hotel Kuwait, talks to travel trade Weekly about opportunities and threats in the market and highlights the importance of corporate culture to success. Travel Trade Weekly: With a high level of customer service having long been important to Marina Hotel Kuwait, how has the hotel aimed to retain levels of service and to improve the quality provided? Nabil Hammoud: in summary the answer has got two folds: cultural and technical. Company culture is important as quality service does not happen by itself, it has to be managed. an example has to be set and it is the responsibility of the leadership of the hotel to set the tone. Concerning this process, we are challenging ourselves to reinforce the culture of continuous improvement. We believe that employees do not do what you say, they do what you do, and also that you do not get what you expect, you get what you inspect and reward. on the technical side, it is important that everyone knows what they are doing. the leadership is responsible to first have the right employees in the right positions, and then they need to train them and give them opportunities to grow, since they are the ones delivering the service to guests. it is part of the culture to encourage employees to seek guests’ feedback, take corrective action and learn from it. Furthermore, we have a different metric where we get feedback and act on it. all the above should reinforce the service culture.

country origin or occupancy since the start of turmoil in the Arab world? Nabil Hammoud: Fortunately, the hotel has so far (until July) performed better this year than it did in 2010. The turmoil in the arab world has affected our business in Kuwait both negatively and positively. negative effects were experienced as many conferences, visitors and events were either cancelled or downsized. on a positive note, many Kuwaitis shortened their trips or did not go overseas and some instead took breaks at Marina Hotel and other resorts that have beaches, pools and the other amenities. We also had visitors from other gCC countries.

Company culture is important as quality service does not happen by itself Travel Trade Weekly: What plans are in place for the hotel’s future and any developments? Nabil Hammoud: The hotel is in the preliminary stage of working on a renovation plan. The hotel is still in very good condition, but some fine tuning is required to give it a competitive edge in light of the numerous new hotels that are getting ready to open soon.

Travel Trade Weekly: How has the Travel Trade Weekly: How will the hotel performed so far this year, hotel aim to be competitive during compared with the same period in Ramadan and Eid? Does it provide 2010? Have you noticed any change any unique offerings? in main visitor markets in terms of Nabil Hammoud: ramadan is aUgUst 20, 2011

Nabil Hammoud

increasingly synonymous with the Marina Hotel and we do have unique offerings, including The venue, where both iftar and ghabga are taking place. iftar is in the atlantis restaurant that is overlooking the arabian gulf, while ghabga is in the six Palms restaurant that has been transformed into a very elegant tent. other unique offerings include the quality of our food and service and the excellent relationship the staff has got with the guests. We do also have a promotional offer for guests who would like to stay at the Marina during ramadan and or the summer.

The turmoil in the Arab world has affected our business in Kuwait both negatively and positively 15

New Hosted Buyers Event Arranged for London The European tour operators association (etoa) and UKinbound have teamed up with visitBritain to host a business-to-business event in 2012. The visitBritain Hosted Buyers Marketplace (HBM) will provide an opportunity for British tourism suppliers and destinations to meet and do business with 150 specially-selected international buyers from 20 different countries. tom Jenkins, executive director, etoa, was delighted to be working with visitBritain and UKinbound on the networking event. “it affords etoa members and the wider tourism industry in Britain an exclusive opportunity to reach 150

international buyers here on our doorstep, in a cost-effective and timeefficient manner.” sandie dawe, chief executive, visitBritain, described the event as a fantastic opportunity for British tourism to showcase a wide range of products to a network of international buyers. “Buyers will also be taken on familiarisation trips to experience firsthand what the UK has to offer.” The Hosted Buyers Marketplace will be held at Wembley stadium, london, on March 19, 2012, the day prior to etoa and UKinbound’s well-established Britain&ireland Marketplace (BiM) at the same venue.


Buyers will also be taken on familiarisation trips to experience first-hand what the UK has to offer

Events China Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition Beijing, China, August 30-September 1, 2011 ( a leading event for the meetings, incentives, business travel and the events industry in China and asia.

Cityscape Dubai Dubai, UAE, September 26-29, 2011 ( a B2B networking exhibition and conference for emerging real estate markets globally.

PATA Travel Mart New Delhi, India, September 6-9, 2011 ( asia Pacific’s premier travel trade show with networking and contracting opportunities.

Kazakhstan International Tourism Exhibition Astana, Kazakhstan, September 27-29, 2011 The eighth Kazakhstan international tourism exhibition in astana, which caters for both the B2B and B2C markets and features a vibrant mix of inbound and outbound destinations.

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


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

aUgUst 20, 2011

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 93  

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

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 93  

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