Travel Trade Weekly Issue 94

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Middle East and North Africa Edition

August 27, Issue 94

India’s largest low fare carrier, IndiGo, is to launch scheduled flights between Muscat and Mumbai, effective from October 10.

Queen alia Hits new ReCoRD Queen alia international airport has, in July, recorded its best month ever in terms of passenger traffic, after welcoming more than 600,000 travellers for the first time.

3 Coral Hotel DHaHran ReaDies to open Coral Hotel Dhahran, now in its preopening phase and set to be launched by the end of the year, marks Hospitality Management Holdings’ (HMH) eighth Coral property in saudi arabia.

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 27, 2011

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IndiGo to Connect Muscat to India

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Aldar Properties Announce Positive Financial Results

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Managing Editor Mary Kammitsi mary@traveltradeweekly.travel 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 www.traveltradeweekly.travel Emails info@traveltradeweekly.travel editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel sales@traveltradeweekly.travel

Abu Dhabi-based property development investment and management company, Aldar Properties PJSC, has announced positive financial results for the six-month period ended June 30, 2011.

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he figures show a continued growth in recurring revenues and ongoing progress on development projects. The company reported a net profit of aeD316.4 million (usD86.1 million) for the first half of this year (H1), compared with a loss of aeD789.5 million (usD214.9 million) for H1 2010. net profit for the second quarter of this year (Q2) was aeD127.3million (usD34.6 million), compared with a loss of aeD475.3 million (usD129.4 million) for Q2 2010. Revenue for the period was aeD1,560.4 million (usD424.9 million). The group recognised aeD832.1 million (usD 226.6 million) from the sale of completed residential units and land, whilst aeD189.6 million (usD51.7 million) was earned

Dollar Thrifty: Less Favorable Environment

MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 25/8/2011 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)

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CURRENCY Dirham pound Riyal pound Dinar Dinar pound Dinar Riyal Rial Dinar Dirham Riyal Rial Dinar Dinar

as rental income from investment properties, aeD177.1 million (usD48.2 million) came from project management and asset management services and aeD361.6 million (usD98.6 million) from the group’s operational businesses that include hotels and schools. total recurring revenue from aldar’s investment portfolio and operational businesses accounted for aeD728.3 million (usD198.3 million) in H1 of this year, double that of H1 2010. ali eid alMheiri, chairman, aldar properties, commented on future plans given the positive figures. “The second half of the year will see continued delivery with the significant handover of residential units at al Raha Beach and further progress across our development portfolio.”

1USD= 3.67 5.96 3.75 1,503 0.37 0.71 47.42 0.27 3.64 0.38 1.37 7.85 10,571 213.9 71.89 1.20

Dollar Thrifty automotive Group (DtG) has recorded slightly negative second quarter (Q2) and first half (H1) results, due to the challenging environment. The company’s net income for Q2 totalled usD42.5 million, or usD1.36 per diluted share, compared with net income of usD42.3 million, or usD1.40 per diluted share in the corresponding period in 2010. non-Gaap net income increased to usD42.3 million or usD1.35 per diluted share, from usD38.0 million or usD1.26 in Q2 2010. scott Thompson, president and Ceo, DtG, elaborated on the performance. “we are very pleased with our results for the quarter, particularly the Corporate adjusted eBitDa margin of 20.5 percent achieved during a period when our car gains declined and rental revenue per day was under pressure.” total revenue accounted for usD395.1 million, consistent with the corresponding 2010 period. Vehicle rental revenue remained unchanged as a three percent increase in rental days was offset by a 3.4 percent decrease in revenue per day. “while we were pleased with our continued rental day growth during the quarter, the rate per day environment was a headwind, negatively impacting top line revenue growth. we believe that fleet decisions in the industry following the crisis in Japan impacted fleet levels and pricing in the quarter. The rate environment is improving in the third quarter compared to the first half of the year; however it is still slightly negative to prior year levels,” added Thompson. For the six months ending June 30, the company’s net income totalled usD59 million, or usD1.89 per diluted share, compared to usD69.6 million or usD2.31 per diluted share for H1 2010. auGust 27, 2011


Queen Alia Hits New Record Queen Alia International Airport has, in July, recorded its best month ever in terms of passenger traffic, after welcoming more than 600,000 travellers for the first time.

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ollowing a regression in travel demand at the beginning of the year, travellers seem to have regained their confidence in visiting the region and Jordan in particular. airport international Group (aiG), the developer and operator of the airport, registered an average 12 percent annual growth in passenger traffic over the last three years, underscoring the tourism industry’s instrumental role in the Kingdom’s development. in July, the airport’s performance hit a new record with 628,000 travellers passing through its terminals, representing an increase of 5.2 percent

auGust 27, 2011

over the corresponding month in 2010. with the local departures rising nearly 12 percent since the beginning of the year, Jordanians tend to be travelling more. The most impressive increase was seen on Medina (13 percent), sharm el sheikh (67 percent) and Rome (45 percent) routes. to accommodate the rising number of travellers, aiG is to invest usD800 million in a state-of-the-art terminal, scheduled to open in 2012. upon completion of the first phase of the new terminal, the airport’s capacity will be lifted to seven million passengers per annum from its current 3.5 million, to take it closer to its aim to serve 12 million travellers per year.

Queen Alia International Airport

several airlines have increased flight frequency or added flights, including Royal Jordanian, easyJet, air arabia, austrian airlines, alitalia, Vueling, flydubai, airBaltic, iberia and tarom Romanian. The airport has also welcomed new charter services by air Mediterranee, Mint airways, Xl airways.

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Celebrity Cruises Debuts Celebrity Silhouette Celebrity Cruises has unveiled its brand new USD800 million ship, Celebrity silhouette. Celebrity Silhouette

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he latest addition to the cruise line’s fleet, built in Germany at the Meyer werft ship yard, weighs in at 122,000 gross registered tonnes, measures 315m and accommodates more than 2,880 guests. The ship, inaugurated in the beginning of august, will provide travellers with an enhanced onboard experience throughout the eastern Mediterranean from Civitavecchia, near Rome, and in the Caribbean throughout the winter, from Cape liberty in Bayonne, new Jersey. Celebrity Silhouette, the fourth solstice-class ship of Celebrity Cruises, boasts an array of unparalleled features, such as an outdoor interactive grill, a high-tech tree houselike location, an art studio, private cabanas overlooking a real grass lawn on the top deck, and a new spa vibes programme. in addition, the ship also features a range of designer boutiques from renowned brands, a number of restaurants and an applededicated internet-café. another vessel, the fifth ship of Celebrity Cruises’ solstice-class investment, which totals usD3.7 billion, is due to debut in 2012.

Al Tayyar Travel Launches Corporate Identity Al Tayyar Travel Group has inaugurated a new corporate identity to keep up with the developing industry. nasser al tayyar, vice president and managing director, al tayyar travel Group, elaborated on the new initiative. “The launch of the new identity is in line with the changes of this continuously evolving industry, in which al-tayyar travel Group is currently conducting comprehensive changes beginning from the base, up to the summit, while maintaining the core values and commitment of credibility, patience, persistence and integrity.” Fahd al Jarboa, Ceo, al tayyar travel Group, defined the launch as a vital step. “The policy of change and development throughout the whole group is a necessary one, and it is portrayed in the new face of the group which is in line with the vision of modernity and development that we pursue. This will in turn ensure the continuity of the group and maintain its heritage in the region.” The company’s website now enables faster and more efficient access to information and allows visitors to browse according their preferences. 4

Third Global Geotourism Conference to be Held in Oman The Ministry of tourism in oman is set to host the third Global Geotourism Conference at the Grand Hyatt Muscat, from october 30 to november 1, emphasising the importance of the natural landscape to all countries’ tourism. to be convened by the Ministry of tourism and professor Ross Dowling from edith Cowan university in western australia, the event is expected to attract around 300 delegates, including international tourism specialists and agencies. Dowling expressed the significance of the event. “Geotourism is an emerging international segment. More people are travelling to see and learn about remarkable landscapes and geological features. as well, providing easily understood geological information adds to the visitor experience in other segments like trekking and road touring for example. The high caliber of confirmed conference speakers, including those from the international union for Conversation of nature (iuCn), unesCo and universities, demonstrates growing interest in many aspects of geotourism.” in keeping with this, the theme chosen for the Muscat conference is ‘seeing destinations differently’. The Ministry will use the event to launch several geotourism trails in the area, with tour information and navigation able to be viewed on 3G telephones. Mohammad ali Bin said, acting undersecretary, Ministry of tourism, expressed the prospects that the key event will open up. “The Ministry hopes that interested people overseas, our tourism students and industry partners will jump at the opportunity and attend, learn about geotourism and network with the world leaders. it is a great opportunity”. auGust 27, 2011



Qatar Tourism Authority Organises Massive Six Week Doha Park Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) will hold Doha Park, set to be the biggest entertainment event in Qatar, which will take place over a six week period.

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ncompassing more than 100 entertaining events and attractions, including an amusement park, an international circus, theatrical plays, concerts, a 3D cinema and performances by folkloric bands depicting the heritage of Qatar and other arabic countries, the event is hoped to appeal to nationals and expatriates as well as international tourists. Doha park, which will be held in collaboration with the economic Group, will occupy 30,000m2 of the new event area near the Doha exhibition Centre. it will run from october 6 to november 17, ending with eid al-adha celebrations.

a wide media marketing campaign involving print, tV and radio will be launched in Qatar and neighboring Gulf countries in order to attract more visitors and tourists from the region, especially now that Qta figures show that the number of GCC tourists has increased nearly 40 percent and the number of international visitors has surged more than

12 percent during the first half of the year. other attractions include a children’s play area, bumper cars and rocket games and a special area for the european, Russian, egyptian and Chinese circuses. Qta has made entry to the activity areas free of charge, while nominal fees will be paid when using electric and electronic games at the amusement park.

Best Western Opens First Hotel in Russia Best Western International has debuted in Russia, with the largest hotel in its portfolio, adding 970 guest rooms to the capital city of Moscow. Best western Vega Hotel & Convention Centre was originally built in anticipation of the 1980 olympics and remodeled in 2007. The three-plus-star property features four guest room styles, a business centre and a fitness facility featuring turkish Best Western Vega Hotel & Convention Centre

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baths and a Finnish sauna. it also welcomes more than 190,000 visitors to its conference centre, which features 15 separate meeting spaces. The addition of the hotel to Best western’s portfolio is the next step in the company’s development efforts to meet the need for more hotels in Russia and the surrounding Commonwealth of independent states (Cis), catering to business and leisure travellers. The hotel helps to fill a gap in the market, suggested suzi Yoder, vice president of international operations, Best western. “we have found that there is a need in Russia and surrounding regions for hotels that offer leisure and business travellers international standards in the midscale and upper midscale markets. with many existing hotels competing only in the luxury or budget hotel

sectors, we are afforded the tremendous opportunity to introduce Best western, Best western plus and Best western premier hotels to travellers.”

There is a need in Russia and surrounding regions for hotels that offer leisure and business travellers international standards in the midscale and upper midscale markets The hotel is located in the picturesque izmaylovo Village, within walking distance of izmailovsky park, izmailovo souvenir Market and aqua Circus and only a two-minute walk from the partizanskaya metro station, providing easy access to the Kremlin and Moscow’s business districts. auGust 27, 2011


- Accommodation

Coral Hotel Dhahran Readies to Open Coral Hotel Dhahran, now in its pre-opening phase and set to be launched by the end of the year, marks Hospitality Management Holdings’ (HMH) eighth Coral property in Saudi Arabia.

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ocated in the heart of the central business district, the 153-room five-star property offers meeting, dining and leisure facilities to meet the requirements of a diversity of clientele. Michel noblet, president and Ceo, HMH, suggested that the new hotel fills a gap in the network of Coral Hotels & Resorts throughout saudi arabia. “we are delighted to be working with al omaier trading in opening the Coral Hotel Dhahran, a property that offers both an ideal location and outstanding facilities for the visitor to the eastern province of

saudi arabia.” Rushdi al ashkar, general manager, Coral Hotel Dhahran, expects business travellers and the GCC market to make up the majority of traffic. “we have budgeted to build occupancy slowly, reaching 50 percent within three months with corporate business making up two-thirds of guests, up to 28 percent leisure and around seven percent made up from long-stay guests. as we become established, i would expect to gain further business from the wider Middle east and europe, but the local market will remain our priority, with the Coral name well-known through the Kingdom.”

Coral Hotel Dhahran

The local market will remain our priority, with the Coral name well-known through the Kingdom

Sheraton Adana Hotel to Open in Turkey in 2013 Sheraton Adana Hotel is due to be built in the turkish city of adana, to be opened by starwood Hotels & Resorts worldwide, in 2013. The hotel company signed an agreement with serka turizm, which will be involved in the land acquisition, project development and construction of the project. sheraton adana Hotel will be located on the bank of the River seyhan, in the southern region of turkey, 1.5km from the historic centre of adana and only 4.5km from the airport. The hotel marks the debut of starwood in the city and further underscores the company's rapid growth in turkey. sheraton adana Hotel will comprise of 237 guest rooms, including 28 suites and serviced apartments, with all rooms featuring the brand's signature all-white sheraton sweet sleeper bed. The hotel will also offer more than 2,500m2 of spa and fitness space. The property is also well equipped for business travellers, providing a fully-outfitted business centre and over 3,000m2 of meeting space, including two ballrooms and five meeting rooms. starwood Hotels & Resorts currently operates six hotels throughout turkey including three in istanbul. other upcoming openings in turkey include le Méridien istanbul etiler, scheduled to open later this year, and sheraton Bursa Hotel and aloft Bursa, to open in 2013. auGust 27, 2011

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- Air Travel

Lufthansa to Boost Abu Dhabi Flights Lufthansa German Airlines is to increase flight capacity between Frankfurt and Abu Dhabi International Airport, effective from the end of October.

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n response to the gradually growing traffic between the countries, lufthansa upgraded the route from six weekly flights to daily services a year ago, and is now to further boost capacity. The 14 percent increase in passenger volume on the route this year, prompted the airline to discontinue its onward flight from abu Dhabi to Muscat, oman, giving full capacity of the aircraft to abu Dhabi. peter pollak, general manager uae and director Gulf and iraq, lufthansa, commented on the capacity increase. ”lufthansa is pleased to announce increased capacity on its abu Dhabi – Frankfurt route, which reflects the growing demand from our customers in the abu Dhabi region, in Germany and in the rest of europe.” The upgraded service is expected to be of benefit to all passengers, noted ahmed al

Haddabi, chief operating officer, abu Dhabi airports Company (aDaC). “lufthansa is one of our eldest partners at abu Dhabi international airport, which makes us eager to further enhance its services and offerings. we trust this development on the route between Frankfurt and abu Dhabi will be welcomed by business and leisure travellers, mutually”. lufthansa will deploy an airbus a330300 on the route.

Qatar Airways to Codeshare with Brazil’s Gol Qatar Airways and Brazil’s Gol linhas aéreas inteligentes have signed a codeshare agreement to connect travellers from Doha to the south american country. The agreement provides Qatar airways’ customers seamless connections from Doha to 46 cities across Brazil. By purchasing a single itinerary combining flights on both airlines’ network, passengers now enjoy a more convenient travel experience through sao paolo Guarulhos international airport, where Qatar airways operates daily non-stop flights. The partnership demonstrates Qatar airways’ commitment to providing customers with broader options and greater flexibility, noted akbar al Baker, Ceo, Qatar airways. “we are pleased to now be growing our passenger base through this exciting new partnership with Gol linhas aéreas, which offers a convenient travel experience across Gol´s domestic network in Brazil to the many international destinations we fly to beyond our Doha hub.” with more than 900 daily flights to 51 destinations, Gol offers the most extensive route network in Brazil and is eager now to welcome Qatar airways’ passengers on board, commented Claudia pagnano, communications vice president, Gol. “we are honoured to partner with Qatar airways, an airline that, like Gol, is constantly focused on delivering a great experience to all travellers. we look forward to introducing Brazil´s most important cities to Qatar airways global customers.” 8

IndiGo to Connect Muscat to India India’s largest low fare carrier, indiGo, is to launch scheduled flights between Muscat and Mumbai, effective from october 10. The airline, which will embark on its global expansion by commencing services to Dubai, Bangkok and singapore in september, will operate four weekly flights to the capital city of oman on tuesday, Thursday, Friday and saturday. with the same service continuing to singapore after a brief stopover in Mumbai, passengers will enjoy seamless connectivity to indiGo’s expanding global network.

We hope to create the same magic and success in the international market The Middle east, and oman in particular, represents a market with high potential for the airline, noted aditya Ghosh, president, indiGo. “we wish to thank our customers for their enduring trust and support. Muscat is a key market for us and a large indian population based in oman can experience indiGo product offerings. indiGo is committed towards providing affordable fares to the growing market of frequent travellers in oman, and likewise, offer increased daily flights in future. we are diligently working with the authorities to get additional rights to cater to the growing india-oman traffic.” The carrier’s rapid expansion in the international skies will further consolidate its position as the world’s fastest growing low fare airline (according to the Centre for asia pacific aviation), added Ghosh. “we hope to create the same magic and success in the international market and look forward to a great experience with our customers. it is our consistent endeavour to make the journey hassle free for our customers and provide them with high quality travel experience at the best yet affordable prices.” auGust 27, 2011


- International

First Hyatt Hotel in Tanzania Debuts and Announces Management Agreement Since opening its doors in Tanzania on August 1, affiliates from Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam, The Kilimanjaro, have announced an agreement with ASB Tanzania, a wholly owned subsidiary of Albwardly Investments, to manage the hotel.

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he city centre property, Casablanca in Morocco, Hyatt Regency which is the first Hyatt- oubaai Golf Resort & spa and Hyatt branded hotel in the east Regency Johannesburg, both in south african country, features 180 rooms, including 18 suites, two restaurants, three bars, and more than 900m2 of meeting and event space, including a 400m2 ballroom and nine banquet rooms. The hotel which appeals to both leisure and business guests also offers a spa, an outdoor infinity pool and a fitness centre. peter norman, senior vice president for real estate and development, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts europe, africa, and the Middle east, remarked on the importance of the development. “The introduction of Hyatt Regency Dar es salaam, The Kilimanjaro, expands the presence of the Hyatt brand to a key gateway city for eastern africa.” The Kilimanjaro joins the existing Hyatt-branded hotels on the african continent, including Hyatt Regency

africa and Hyatt Regency sharm el sheikh Resort and Hyatt Regency taba Heights, both in egypt.

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam auGust 27, 2011

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- International

Rezidor Announces Radisson Blu Sobieski Hotel, Warsaw The Rezidor Hotel Group has revealed that its ninth hotel in Poland, Radisson Blu Sobieski Hotel in Warsaw, will be rebranded in the third quarter of this year, with renovations set for completion in 2015.

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he hotel is currently known as Jan iii sobieski Hotel, warsaw and was designed and built in 1992 by an austrian-polish team. The hotel has recently been acquired by wenaasgruppen, which will take on the extensive, ongoing renovation programme, and the hotel will be completely re-vitalised in the coming years. Kurt Ritter, president and Ceo, Rezidor, expressed his pleasure with the new addition to the group’s portfolio. “with now 17 properties, wenaasgruppen is the largest single owner of Rezidor hotels. we are thankful and delighted to further strengthen our trustful co-operation and also look forward to further

Radisson Blu Sobieski Hotel, Warsaw

developing our portfolio in poland, a country clearly on the move.” located in the southern part of warsaw’s central business district, Radisson Blu sobieski Hotel is considered ideal for corporate visitors and upon completion, the hotel will comprise of 467 guest rooms with Radisson Blu signature services.

Viceroy to Debut on Turkish Riviera Viceroy Hotel Group, in partnership with property developer safir Group, is poised to open a luxury resort and residences on the turkish Riviera in 2014. located on the south-western shores of turkey, overlooking the beaches of Koyunbaba Bay, Viceroy Bodrum will offer luxurious and contemporary accommodation, with its design reflecting the natural beauty of the coast. upon completion in 2014, Viceroy Bodrum will boast 84 guest rooms and 166 residential units. other amenities will include a private beach club, a spa and a number of turkish and international dining options. Bodrum, just a 50-minute flight from istanbul, is often referred to as the turkish Riviera. with its Mediterranean climate and wide range of activities on offer, it represents a truly luxurious spot, noted anton Bawab, senior vice president, Viceroy Hotel Group. “The turkish Riviera is the quintessential location for a luxury Viceroy seaside resort. The Viceroy Bodrum will feature the hallmarks of our properties, chic design, luxurious amenities and impeccable service, to inspire visitors and offer a unique experience in this market.”

ONYX Hospitality to Manage Amari Residences Pattaya ONYX Hospitality Group has been appointed to manage a landmark 135room mixed-use development project in pattaya, Thailand, under its cornerstone, mid-to-upscale amari brand. The property, currently known as The legend, comprises of 35 stories and will be renamed amari Residences pattaya. Development of the project will begin in 2012, with a scheduled opening date of late 2014. when completed, it will feature 140 privately owned residential condominiums and 135 amari-managed serviced apartments, all offering unique views of pattaya Bay. situated in a prime location in south 10

pattaya, only five minutes away from pattaya City and Jomtien Beach, amari Residences pattaya will be positioned as the area’s leading destination for business and leisure travellers. Facilities will include an international restaurant, state-of-the-art gymnasium and outdoor swimming pool. Rony Fineman, president and owner, nova Group, remarked on the

opportunities the partnership will bring. “The strength of the amari brand, its reputation for service excellence and the expanding economy in pattaya is the perfect formula for a successful partnership. we believe in onYX’s expertise in hospitality management and we are confident that onYX will lead our property in the right direction towards a bright future.”

The strength of the Amari brand, its reputation for service excellence and the expanding economy in Pattaya is the perfect formula for a successful partnership auGust 27, 2011


Furqan Shah

Philip Wooller philip wooller has been appointed as area director of the Middle east and africa at stR Global, the market data provider to the world’s hotel industry. Based in Dubai, wooller will be in charge of sales and business development across the region. He joined stR Global with more than 20 years experience in hotel management in 2008, upon the company’s merger with The Bench, where he had been previously working. stR Global defined the establishment of local presence in the Middle east and africa as increasingly important, due to the wide range of opportunities emerging in the region.

Furqan Shah

Fouad Bizri

Furqan shah has joined Coral suites Hotel Fujairah as director of sales. shah’s experience in the hospitality industry spans over two decades and includes positions with international companies, including landmark Group of Hotels, Flamingo Group, avari Hotels and le Royal Meridien Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Most recently he worked as assistant general manager of Grand Midwest Group of Deluxe Hotel apartments and Golden square Hotel apartments in Dubai. The experienced hotelier is expected to add a new dimension to the property’s sales and business development activities.

Philip Wooller

Fouad Bizri Fouad Bizri has been appointed as general manager of samaya Hotel Deira, a five-star property strategically located in the commercial and business district of Deira. Bizri, who has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, will focus on strengthening overall hotel operations and enhancing the brand’s reputation in the Middle east. as general manager, he will be responsible for sales and marketing activities, and the hotel’s steady development as well as the delivery of high standard arabian hospitality. Having worked with a number of international hotel groups across the region, including Hilton international and interContinental, Bizri has solid background in sales, marketing and hotel operations.

Harald Eisenaecher Harald eisenaecher has been appointed as senior vice president of sabre travel network, europe, Middle east and africa (eMea). effective from september 1, eisenaecher replaces Martin Cowley, who will focus on the company’s growth in asian markets. eisenaecher joins sabre from Deutsche telekom, where he most recently held the position of senior vice president, personal and social networking. prior to that, he worked as managing director and vice president, marketing and sales at eBay Germany and vice president, marketing at Deutsche lufthansa and lufthansa Cargo. eisenaecher brings diverse marketing and commercial experience within the telecommunication, airline, and e-commerce industry along with a strong track record. auGust 27, 2011

Harald Eisenaecher 11


Saif Mohammed Al Suwaid

Eyad Hamed

Director General, General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). “The GCaa investigates every civil aviation accident in the uae or outside uae if the accident was related to one of our national airlines. The GCaa aircraft accident investigation Department investigates the accident or serious incidents findings, causes and contributing factors that lead to determining the probable cause of the accident or serious incident.”

Resident Manager, Emirates Grand Hotel. “Celebrate eid at emirates Grand Hotel where a special package awaits families, friends and colleagues who would like to gather together to mark the end of Ramadan. our special package will give our guests more quality time to spend together and relish the true meaning of the occasion. we wish everyone a happy eid!”

The GCAA investigates every civil aviation accident in the UAE or outside UAE if the accident was related to one of our national airlines

Saif Mohammed Al Suwaid

Our special package will give our guests more quality time to spend together

Eyad Hamed

Iftikhar Hamdani

James Hogan

Executive Assistant Manager, Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman.

CEO, Etihad Airways.

“we would like to support our somali brothers in this time of crisis. The hotel staff has decided to contribute an amount equivalent to their one day salary and the top management will contribute money equivalent to five days of their salary. we would like to encourage other organisations to contribute as much as possible especially during this holy month of Ramadan because any contribution will definitely help our brothers who are living each day without food and water.”

“The Russian regional cities are now even more accessible from abu Dhabi and beyond on the etihad network, thanks to the expansion of our codeshare agreement with s7 airlines. 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.”

Iftikhar Hamdani

We would like to support our Somali brothers in this time of crisis

We view the revised partnership as a natural extension of the successful joint operations James Hogan

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 12

auGust 27, 2011


Visa and Lonely Planet Launch Travel Microsite Visa and Lonely Planet have joined forces to create a travel microsite providing travellers with a wide range of information on destinations and the best way to access money abroad. The comprehensive site, which combines the expertise of Visa and lonely planet, offers travellers a range of essential information and travel services, including an atM locator, suggested trip itineraries and event calendar. other functions include the ‘ask the expert’ tool, which enables visitors to receive individual tailored responses, while the free desktop application provides information on the chosen destination. Visitors can also download guides with basic and helpful advices. Ross Jackson, head of cross-border business, asia-pacific, Central europe, Middle east and africa, Visa, elaborated on the new site. “our travel research indicated that seven out of 10 travellers use the internet as their primary channel for planning their holidays. The challenge though, is finding up-to-date and reliable information. By teaming up with lonely planet, we are able to provide trusted, accurate and up to date information for travellers to plan their holiday.” The site was highly anticipated, noted addy Cutts, business development manager, lonely planet. “travellers often come to lonely planet with queries about the best way to access their money abroad and so this partnership allows us to offer our expert travel advice with specific payment detail provided by Visa. The microsite will enable travellers to access lonely planet's specially produced content for 12 destinations, accompanied by Visa’s money tips, which provide travellers with detailed information on how to access their money abroad securely.” auGust 27, 2011

Agent’s Insight Name: Omar Samra Position: Founder and ‘Chief Guanabana’ Company: Wild Guanabana Location: Egypt and UAE

Omar Samra

Who are you? i founded wild Guanabana back in 2009 in egypt. The idea for the company was a marriage between my passion for travel and my belief in the ability of travel to inspire and transform people’s lives. wild Guanabana is not an ordinary travel company. we are daring, different and green. we specialise in creating highly personalised, life-changing travel experiences around the world in a manner that is organised, safe and fun. That means delivering travel experiences that offer meaningful emotional connections not only with the location, but also with the local community and its people. at wild Guanabana, we believe travel is about self-discovery and that it can be a therapeutic experience that opens up new perspectives for people and inspires them in their everyday lives. we endeavour to be a socially and environmentally responsible company and encourage sustainable practices throughout all aspects of our business.

What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? it is the knowledge that every wild Guanabana journey we send a client on has the power to be a life-transforming experience. travel has a strong transformational power and we understand how to create a journey, with the right ingredients, to make this happen.

What is the best time to visit Egypt? all year round, but then i am biased! For desert excursions the best time to go is between october and april when the weather is moderate. For the beach and sightseeing, the weather is great almost all year round.

Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? i am actually heading to tanzania, over eid al Fitr, on wild Guanabana’s annual ‘Right to Climb’ journey to climb the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. The journey is part of our very active CsR strategy, which last year raised over usD150,000 for the Right to live association in egypt – a mental disability charity.

Why should people come to you for travel advice? wild Guanabana’s travel experiences are a fresh and inspiring take on adventure and non-traditional travel. our highly personalised journeys are created to give travellers a real opportunity to disconnect their minds from modern stress. travellers return to their everyday lives with a fresh mind, a feeling of accomplishment and a new lease on life. we have received customer feedback about journeys influencing people to change their careers, get involved with a charity, pursue a healthier lifestyle and even to get married! 13


Travellers Plan More Short Trips in 2011 Trips of three nights or less have become increasingly popular, according to PhoCusWright’s Consumer Travel Report Third Edition. Although a decline in average trip length may seem like bad news for travel companies, it signals a consumer travel market on the mend, according to the research company.

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f all leisure trips taken in 2010, 45 percent fell into the shortest category of three nights or less, up from 41 percent in 2009. while average trip length declined, there was no material shift away from taking longer trips. slightly fewer travellers took trips of seven to 13 nights, while a little more took trips of 14 nights or more in 2010 compared to 2009. Carroll Rheem, director of research, phoCuswright, explained that people were beginning to fit holidays back into their budgets again. “after eliminating shorter, lower-priority getaways the previous year, some travellers added short trips back to their

2010 budgets. in addition, fair-weather travellers stepped back into the traveller pool by taking short trips rather than long ones.” travellers whose longest trip was four to

six nights in 2010 appear to be the most likely to take longer holidays this year, according to the study, with 30 percent of them planning to take longer trips, up from 22 percent in 2009’s survey.

Onity’s Green Solution Reduces Energy Consumption and Costs at The Peabody Orlando Hotel A new eco-friendly energy management system from onity, one of the world’s leading providers of electronic locking solutions, is helping to cut energy consumption, decrease costs and increase comfort in The peabody orlando hotel. The Peabody Orlando Hotel

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onity sensorstat DDC Thermostat is part of the innovative system that will provide the hotel with real-time temperature, occupancy and activity status, saving energy and reducing operational costs. The thermostats are combined with online energy management software from Control Green, which provides the hotel’s managers with a snapshot of the entire property, showing temperature and humidity, the opening and closing of doors, occupancy status, HVaC activity and estimated cost savings per room. The peabody orlando has reported solid energy cost savings since then system’s initial installation in the hotel in January and is looking forward to seeing incremental savings in the coming years.

laird Hamberlin, president, onity, remarked on the significance of such green solutions. “The hotel industry is proactively embracing energy efficiency programs that generate tangible savings and reduce overall carbon footprint. onity is commited to developing green solutions that decrease hotel energy costs, without compromising the comfort of their guests.”

The hotel industry is proactively embracing energy efficiency programs that generate tangible savings and reduce overall carbon footprint auGust 27, 2011


Q & A with Vassilis Theocharides With close proximity to the Middle East, the island of Cyprus has attracted many visitors from the region and this is expected to increase, despite turbulence in the marketplace. Vassilis Theocharides, director, Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), Middle East and Arabian Gulf Office, tells travel trade weekly what attracts visitors from the region and how trends have changed. Travel Trade Weekly: Ayia Napa and Protaras were rated first and third top beach destinations in Europe, in TripAdvisor’s 'World’s Best Beaches' list for 2011. Since the announcement, have you noted any increase in tourism to Cyprus from the Middle East? Vassilis Theocharides: our figures from the Middle east until June are positive for this year. naturally, the announcement alone cannot attribute to the growth but just compliments travellers’ feelings on Cyprus. we are a beach destination above all, and now our potential travellers know that other visitors from europe have trusted our quality.

We are a beach destination above all, and now our potential travellers know that other visitors from Europe have trusted our quality Travel Trade Weekly: Gulf Air recently increased its capacity to Larnaca from five weekly flights to six. Is the number of Middle Eastern travellers visiting Cyprus expected to rise? Do you expect flight operations as well as collaborative relationships between tourism players in Cyprus and the Middle East to be further improved? Vassilis Theocharides: Yes, the arrivals from the Middle east are expected to rise by five to 10 percent, however, travel this year has shown us how volatile tourism is auGust 27, 2011

due to outside factors. The Cto does not work directly with airlines, but with the travel trade (i.e. emirates Holidays, etihad Holidays etc.). we are also still chasing after other regional airlines which are not yet flying into Cyprus.

Vassilis Theocharides

Travel Trade Weekly: What strategies are being used to entice Middle Eastern travellers to Cyprus, and which appear to be most effective? Vassilis Theocharides: we have given more time and effort in developing the charter business coming from various Middle eastern destinations. Therefore, as well as working together with agents selling individual travel, we have started encouraging operators to include charters from the Mena region to Cyprus. another strategy has been the implementation of targeted campaigns, such as the civil weddings undertaken in lebanon, which have proved to be highly effective and have secured arrivals for the entire year. Finally, for the last quarter, we shall turn our attention to MiCe tourism, assisting agents to sell our destination with our special incentive programs.

many expats have second residency there. next is limassol and then ayia napa.

Travel Trade Weekly: Do you think that the number of visits from the Middle East to Cyprus has changed since political and social unrest broke out in the Arab world? Vassilis Theocharides: undoubtedly

Travel Trade Weekly: From what regions of the Middle East do visitors arrive? What parts of Cyprus are most popular? Vassilis Theocharides: our main three

there has been a change since the developments in the Middle east, which has caused some of our source markets to decrease and others to increase. However, over all our numbers seem to mirror the trend from 2010, which is more correlated to our efforts than to outside factors.

visitor markets this year will be from lebanon, uae and iran. However, we have also noticed a strong increase from Jordan and egypt. according to our statistics, the most popular destination, which was surprising for us, is paphos, as

Travel this year has shown us how volatile tourism is due to outside factors 15


EIBTM 2011 to Focus on Technology How tourism conferences and meetings will be run in the future will be just one of the topics discussed and debated at eiBtM later this year. How social technology and services are going to re-shape attendees’ experiences at events, will also be up for debate. in partnership with global meetings architecture consultants, syncpartners, the event organisers will create a ‘future playground’, a unique space on the eiBtM show-floor that will demonstrate the use of innovative technologies and services. adi Ben-nesher, managing director, syncpartners, discussed the reasoning behind the new feature. “Bringing all technologies together is not an

easy task. our goal was to create a collaborative environment that simulates an event, which can then operate as a template for other event organisers to learn from.” Graeme Barnett, exhibition director, eiBtM, commented that technology is now a major part of any business.

The changing world we are all living in is being re-shaped every day by emerging technologies “The changing world we are all living in is being re-shaped every day by emerging technologies that connect and engage

individuals all over the world to contribute, share, express and debate. social networks and media sharing sites affect the way businesses are run today, and that change has its impact on the event industry. we have this year created a look at the future with this new abstract and live area of the show floor.” eiBtM will be held in Barcelona on november 29 to December 1.

Events China Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition Beijing, China, August 30-September 1, 2011 (www.cibtm.com) 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 (www.cityscape.ae) a B2B networking exhibition and conference for emerging real estate markets globally.

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.

Kazakhstan International Tourism Exhibition Astana, Kazakhstan, September 27-29, 2011 www.leisure.kz 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 (www.iftm.fr) an international travel and tourism trade fair for networking, doing business, innovating and keeping abreast of market developments.

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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.

auGust 27, 2011


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