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Middle East and North Africa Edition

September 17, Issue 97

Grosvenor House, Tower Two complements the existing five-star offering of the prestigious property. OMAN AIR HOLIDAYS LLC Oman Air and Bahwan Travel Agencies will partake in a joint venture, Oman Air Holidays LLC, which will promote inbound tourism to Oman as well as outbound travel to destinations served by the national carrier’s network.

4 DOUBLETREE SUITES BY HILTON ERBIL TO OPEN IN 2013 Hilton Worldwide is scheduled to open its first hotel in Erbil, the thriving capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan, at the end of 2013.

In This Issue

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

SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

6 2 3 6 7 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 ISSUE 97

Grosvenor House Dubai Opens Second Tower


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Managing Editor Mary Kammitsi Journalists Rita Kasziba Marianna Keen

IHG: RevPAR Growth in EMEA InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) recorded healthy RevPAR growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in the first half (H1) of the year.


uring the first six months of the year, the EMEA region’s IHG properties witnessed a Sales & Marketing Maria Demetriadou RevPAR increase of four Brighite Ess percent, and a rate growth of Dominique Tennant two percent. Excluding Egypt (10 hotels) and Directors Bahrain (two hotels), where the political Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi turmoil resulted in significant decline, RevPAR Headquarters rose 5.3 percent. T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly Ltd. Despite the drop in some countries, other parts P.O. Box 25255 Nicosia 1308 Cyprus of the Middle East experienced healthy growth, Tel: +35722820888 including Saudi Arabia (10.2 percent) and the Fax: +35722318958 UAE (3.4 percent). Website In the second quarter, ending June 30, EMEA’s average RevPAR grew by 4.8 percent, with rate Emails growth of 2.1 percent, and six percent excluding Egypt and Bahrain. IHG posted USD224 million revenue and USD71 million operating profit, representing an increase of 17 percent and 22 percent respectively compared with H1 2010. Managed operating profit declined by USD1 million to USD31 million due to the harsh Design & Layout Elina Pericleous

MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 15/9/2011


CURRENCY Dirham Pound Riyal Pound Dinar Dinar Pound Dinar Riyal Rial Dinar Dirham Riyal Rial Dinar Dinar

USD4 million impact of the unrest in the Middle East. IHG opened 3,461 rooms (919 hotels) in the region, including two Hotel Indigo properties and nine Crowne Plaza hotels, across eight different countries. In addition, the company signed 4,547 rooms (24 hotels) during the half year, including seven Crowne Plaza properties, three Hotel Indigo hotels and four Staybridge Suites properties.

STR: Qatar Leads Growth

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)

InterContinental Hotel, Festival City Dubai

1USD= 3.67 5.96 3.75 1,507.5 0.37 0.71 48.28 0.28 3.64 0.38 1.42 8.19 10,665.5 213.9 74.17 1.23

Qatar continues to lead the region’s growth, based on STR Global’s latest Middle East and Africa (MEA) hotel pipeline report. According to the July Construction Pipeline Report, the MEA hotel development pipeline comprises 460 hotels with 125,268 rooms. Among all countries in the region, Qatar will see the largest room growth, with 78.3 percent, once all 6,604 rooms in the total active pipeline open. Oman closed the month with an increase of 57.9 percent or 3,734 rooms, closely

followed by the UAE with 55.7 percent or 48,071 rooms. Other countries with a remarkable growth rate include Bahrain with 49 percent or 3,155 rooms and Algeria with 47.9 percent or 1,619 rooms. Doha, Qatar

SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

Passenger Travel on a Rise Global air passenger traffic volume in July increased by 5.9 percent compared with the corresponding month in 2010, revealed the International Air Transport Association (IATA).


ony Tyler, CEO, IATA, elaborated on the figures. “Passenger travel bucked the gloomy economic outlook with a 5.9 percent increase in July. This increase was likely based on the much more optimistic economic outlook that marked the beginning of the year. With business and consumer confidence now tanking, sluggishness in international trade, and high fuel prices, the expectation is for a weaker end to the year.” International passenger markets experienced a growth of 7.3 percent compared with July 2010, outperforming average domestic markets, which

witnessed a dull growth of 3.5 percent year on year. Compared to pre-recession levels of early 2008, international passenger traffic improved with an impressive 12 percent. IATA’s report, however, reveals that the global financial crisis has cost airlines about two full years of growth. Load factors for the total market improved by a half percentage point to 83.1 percent, with North American and European carriers leading the growth. Middle Eastern airlines experienced a 9.7 percent increase in demand, outstripping the 8.9 percent capacity growth recorded in the region, while load factors averaged at 81.4 percent.

“July is the peak in the annual cycle for passenger traffic. This year was no exception. But even if the industry’s performance could be classified as stronger than expected, we do face headwinds as we look towards the end of the year. Some of our challenges have a high percentage of government-made content. The recent downsising of Air Berlin is a clear reminder of the high cost of the German departure tax on the economy, jobs and communities. Governments should not compromise aviation’s role as an economic catalyst for the short-term revenue gain of gratuitous taxation, particularly when economies remain weak,” added Tyler.

Armani Hotel Milano Set to Open The second hotel in the Armani Hotels & Resorts portfolio, Armani Hotel Milano, is scheduled to be officially opened on November 10. Situated inside the exclusive Manzoni 31 building, in the centre of Quadrilatero della Moda, the hotel embodies all the signature qualities and aesthetic assets of the Giorgio Armani brand, signifying elegance, sophistication and comfort. The hotel will feature 95 guestrooms, the largest ones in the city, a gourmet restaurant, a luxurious spa, a fully equipped business centre with meeting rooms and magnificent views over Milan. Armani Hotels & Resorts was established in 2005 under an agreement between Giorgio Armani S.p.A. and Emaar Properties, with the objective to develop, own and operate an exclusive collection of hotels, resorts and residences in the world’s most important cities and holiday destinations. The first hotel is in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. SEPTEMBER 17, 2011


Oman Air Holidays Announced Oman Air and Bahwan Travel Agencies will partake in a joint venture, Oman Air Holidays LLC, which will promote inbound tourism to Oman as well as outbound travel to destinations served by the national carrier’s network. Oman Air and Bahwan


he move, which will create the country’s largest travel and tourism business, marks Oman’s first ever public-private partnership. Oman Air’s holidays division will integrate with Bahwan Tours for inbound holidays and with Bahwan Holidays for outbound travel, with markets and assets being shared, leveraging the competencies of each, and resulting in value for money products for clients in Oman and around the globe. The company will deliver a round the clock service to individual customers, the travel trade, corporate businesses

and the Government of Oman. Abdulrazaq Al Raisi, chief commercial officer, Oman Air, elaborated on the new partnership. “Working very closely with the Ministry of Tourism and their representatives, as well as Oman Air country managers and their sales teams abroad, Oman Air Holidays LLC (in partnership with Bahwan Travels), will showcase the Sultanate of Oman and every destination on the Oman Air network. Through efficient contracting and supplier selection, it will also deliver the widest array of tourism products to the discerning traveller and increase Oman’s prominence within the international travel market.”

Royal Jordanian Returns to Libya Royal Jordanian (RJ) has resumed its operation to Benghazi. The airline, which ceased its services to the North African country after the turmoil erupted in February, restarted its flights between Amman and Benghazi on September 15, after obtaining all the necessary approvals from the concerned authorities. RJ will operate frequent, almost daily services to the city to accommodate the strong demand on flights between the two countries, according to Hussein Dabbas, CEO, Royal Jordanian. Prior to the political unrest, the airline offered two weekly flights to Benghazi and five weekly services to its other Libyan destination, Tripoli. RJ will also re-launch its services to the capital city, once the readiness of Tripoli International Airport is ensured. Reconnecting the two countries is crucial due to the large movements of citizens between the countries, stressed Dabbas. The president also expressed hope that the situation in Libya would improve. 4

Abu Dhabi Seeks to Further Entice Indian Travellers Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) spearheaded a three-city road show in India, in order to build on expanding inbound tourism from the south Asian republic. The scheme included ADTA and 12 of the destination’s key stakeholders that took their promotional proposition to trade and media in Mumbai on September 12, followed by Delhi two days later and Chennai on September 16. The move comes as ADTA figures indicate that in the first seven months of this year, India rose to become Abu Dhabi’s second largest international source market for hotel guests after the UK, accounting for 58,724 guests, a 25 percent rise on the same period in 2010. In terms of guest nights in the first seven months, India was the third largest international source market after the UK and US accounting for 235,695, which amounts to a 52 percent rise on the same period in 2010. The opportunities emanating from this scheme are far-reaching commented Dayne Lim, product development director, ADTA. “Our aim for this inaugural road show in India is three-fold; to showcase Abu Dhabi’s expanding range of hospitality, events and attractions products, strengthen the distribution and packaging channels of these products, as well as deepen our market insights for valuable input to our future product development. There are strong air links between India and Abu Dhabi, with routes between the two currently being served by Air India, Jet Airways and our own national airline, Etihad Airways, which operates a total of 52 flights a week, covering eight Indian cities. The excellent air access, allied with market proximity and close business and social ties between Abu Dhabi and India, provides ADTA with a strong competitive advantage to capitalise on the undoubted growth potential of India’s outbound tourism market.” SEPTEMBER 17, 2011


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- Accommodation

Grosvenor House Dubai’s New Offering Grosvenor House, a luxury collection hotel in Dubai, has revealed its second tower.


ith the addition of 45 storeys, a range of accommodation options, a variety of food and beverage concepts and recreation amenities, Tower Two complements the existing fivestar offering of the prestigious property. Pam Wilby, general manager, Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Méridien Beach Resort and Spa, commented on the launch. “Since the opening of Tower One in 2005, Grosvenor House Dubai has become an iconic destination for business and leisure travellers alike, seeking the ultimate in five- star service and comfort. We are delighted to be strengthening this

existing offering with the highly anticipated opening of Tower Two. All hotel guests have access to the facilities in both towers, in addition to the use of the beach and pool and the 14 restaurants and bars across the road at the sister property Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort and Spa.” Catering to both short and long-term stays, Tower Two offers 206 premier rooms and suites, 216 residence apartments and five villas. It also boasts a lifestyle spa, offering a variety of treatments, a privilege business and leisure lounge and a number of high profile dining, lounge and bar offerings, making the hotel an ultimate culinary and night life destination.

Grosvenor House Dubai

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Erbil Slated to Open in 2013 Hilton Worldwide is scheduled to open its first hotel in Erbil, the thriving capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan, at the end of 2013. DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Erbil, under a management agreement with real estate developer The Clairmont Group, will comprise of 200 serviced apartments as well as a business centre, health club, swimming pool, eight meeting rooms, two restaurants, a lobby lounge and bar. Strategically located on Erbil’s central thoroughfare, close to the recently expanded Erbil International Airport and the Ainkawa district, one of the city’s main retail and entertainment centres, the hotel will be ideal for both leisure and business travellers visiting the flourishing capital. Rob Palleschi, global head, DoubleTree by Hilton brand, expressed his pleasure in debuting in the emerging commercial and touristic city. “I am delighted to be bringing our brand to such an important city in the Middle East. DoubleTree by Hilton has built its success on providing high standards of service and quality facilities in gateway cities, which makes it the ideal choice for Erbil’s thriving community.”

DoubleTree by Hilton has built its success on providing high standards of service and quality facilities in gateway cities 6

SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

- Air Travel

Air Arabia Links Sharjah with Yanbu Air Arabia is to expand its route map by launching flights from its primary hub in Sharjah, UAE, to Yanbu, its sixth destination in Saudi Arabia. Air Arabia


eginning November 1, the low-cost carrier will operate three weekly flights between Sharjah International Airport and Yanbu Airport on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The new route will enhance options available to travellers flying between the two countries, noted AK Nizar, head of commercial department, Air Arabia. “In July this year, Air Arabia started its flights to the city of Gassim in Saudi Arabia and today, we are extremely pleased to introduce our new service between Sharjah and Yanbu, which marks the sixth destination in Saudi Arabia reachable via Air Arabia. Air Arabia customers now enjoy an ideal choice for air travel between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, benefiting from value for money

fares and a wide range of destinations on offer within the Kingdom and beyond.”

In July this year, Air Arabia started its flights to the city of Gassim in Saudi Arabia and today, we are extremely pleased to introduce our new service between Sharjah and Yanbu

Bahrain Air Returns to Kathmandu Following a brief break, Bahrain Air is to resume flights to the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, with daily operations starting from September 21. The re-launched services will arrive in Kathmandu in the early morning to best facilitate onward travel into Nepal, while the return flights, again in the morning, favour incoming passengers travelling to Bahrain or beyond, on the carrier’s expanding network. The reinstated services are expected to help increase tourist traffic between the countries, commented Richard Nuttall, director commercial operations, Bahrain Air. “Katmandu is and will remain a core part of Bahrain Air’s network, and we look forward to boosting direct connections between Nepal and Bahrain. It is the start of a new period of growth for Bahrain Air that will include resumption of old routes, some new destinations and agreements with other carriers to boost our network further.” Bahrain Air first commenced services to the Nepalese capital, in March 2009, operating thrice weekly. Bahrain Air

In addition to non-stop services to six cities in Saudi Arabia, Air Arabia also provides its customers with a variety of land arrangements, including hotel accommodation and car rental.

IndiGo Debuts in Dubai IndiGo has launched scheduled flights to Dubai, marking the budget carrier’s first international service. The inaugural Delhi-Dubai flight ushered a new era in IndiGo’s history. With its foray into international 8

skies, IndiGo now strives to replicate its domestic success story, firstly in the Middle East. Following its debut in Dubai, the carrier is now getting ready to commence flights between Mumbai and Muscat, effective from October 1.

IndiGo crew and team in Dubai SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

- International

Ascott Eyes Chinese Expansion The Ascott Limited, CapitaLand’s wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, has initialled contracts to manage two more properties in China.


ith the addition of Ascott Financial City Chengdu and Somerset Wangjing Beijing, Ascott has re-affirmed its leadership position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in China, noted Lee Chee Koon, managing director for North Asia, Ascott. “Ascott will now have around 7,000 apartment units in 38 serviced residences across 16 cities in China. We will continue to tap on more opportunities in tier-one cities like Beijing where we still see an abundant demand for international serviced residences from business travellers and tourists. In the meantime, we are deepening our presence in high growth cities such as Chengdu, where foreign direct investment and tourism are expected to increase exponentially in the next few years.” Ascott Financial City Chengdu will form part of the landmark 58-storey Chengdu Financial City twin-tower development. Located in the new business centre of Chengdu, the hotel will provide convenient access Ascott Financial to the city’s major financial and business facilities. City Chengdu The 181-unit residence, scheduled to open in 2014, will feature a swimming pool, gym, spa, sauna, children’s playroom, business centre, meeting room and reading lounge. Strategically located in the Wangjing business district, the 187-unit Somerset Wangjing Beijing, is scheduled to open in 2013. Amenities will include a swimming pool, gym, business centre and meeting room.

Secret Bay, the Hidden Gem of the Caribbean Secret Bay, a newly constructed villa-style hotel that embodies simple chic and eco-luxury, has opened on the nature island of Dominica. The boutique property, located on the northwest coast of the Caribbean island, currently boasts four exquisite villas and bungalows. With the entire site developed using green and sustainable practices to minimise environment impact, Secret Bay presents one of the most eco-friendly developments in the region, noted Gregor Nassief, owner. “We believe in sustainable luxury, by offering exceptional comfort while looking after all that we love about Secret Bay.” Completing the VIP-experience, guests can enjoy endless adventures, from scuba-diving to hiking or biking, on two secluded sandy beaches, a spectacular sea-cave, the Cario River and two distinct micro-climates. Couples seeking a romantic getaway, as well as individuals looking for a rejuvenating long-term break, are targeted at the ultimate eco-luxury hideaway on the island of Dominica. Often called the ‘natural island’ due to its abundance of natural splendours, Dominica is one of the least populated islands of the Caribbean, a true paradise for nature-lovers. 10

Hilton Opens Second Heathrow Hotel Hilton Hotels & Resorts has opened Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, the latest addition to its UK portfolio. Dave Horton, global head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, commented on the opening. “As a leading global hotel brand in the UK we are delighted to open our second hotel at one of the world's busiest airports. From exceptional restaurants and bars to a luxurious spa, Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, is a highly anticipated addition to Heathrow. We look forward to welcoming travellers to this outstanding new hotel and providing the renowned and authentic hospitality that travellers across the UK and around the world expect from Hilton.” The 350-room hotel, located on the doorstep of the airport’s Terminal 5 building, offers upscale accommodation for both leisure and business travellers. With a conference space of 926m2, it can accommodate up to 1,170 delegates, while the ballroom is designed to welcome up to 800 guests. Besides a range of food and beverage outlets, the hotel also features a gym and a luxurious spa. Greg Place, general manager, Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, expressed his delight. “We will be providing world-renowned Hilton service to business and leisure travellers using Heathrow airport, as well as providing large scale conference and events space in the area. We also look forward to welcoming guests and local residents to our luxurious spa and the destination restaurant.” Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5

SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

Thierry Perrott

Mohamed El Bardai Mohamed El Bardai has been appointed as director of employee development at Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi. In his new position, El Bardai is responsible for the training of all employees at the property. Having previously worked at a number of locations around the globe, including the US, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, he brings a wealth of experience that spans over 19 years. He has worked at Grand Hyatt Cairo and Best Western Hotel Chicago, while most recently he was the training manager for two Rosewood properties in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Mohamed El Bardai

Thierry Perrott Thierry Parrott has been appointed as general manager of Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Yas Island. Perrott, who has recently been named as area general manager for InterContinental’s (IHG) Crowne Plaza and Staybridge Suites Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, brings with him more than 30 years of experience. He joined IHG in 1981, and has since held a number of managerial positions around the globe, in Switzerland, the UK, Africa, France, Indonesia, South Korea and Egypt. In the last six years, based in Cairo, he worked as area general manager IHG Citystars and general manager IHG Cairo Citystars.

Simon W. Stamper Simon W. Stamper has been named as area general manager of Intercontinental Hotels Group Citystars. In his new role, Stamper will be in charge of the overall commercial operations and management of all three IHG properties in the Citystars commercial and residential complex, including Holiday Inn CairoCitystars and Staybridge Suites Cairo-Citystars. Stamper, who has more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, returns to Cairo after 1996, when he held a managerial position at Semiramis InterContinental Cairo. He also gained experience in various managerial roles in Europe, the UK, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Most recently, he worked as area general manager at InterContinental Abu Dhabi. In 2009 he was recognised for his achievements, winning InterContinental General Manager of the year, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) award.

Raman Khanna Raman Khanna has joined Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) as director of restaurant operations. Khanna has been tasked with establishing and growing a new ADNH restaurant division by introducing restaurant franchise agreements and setting up joint ventures as well as creating food and beverage concepts. He will also be in charge of advising and leading existing operations with new food and beverage developments. With more than 26 years of experience, Khanna brings extensive experience to the position. He spent the past six years with ALDAR properties, where he first worked as hotel development manager before taking on the role of director of business development and commercial. Prior to this, as director of catering and banquets, he was instrumental in the launch of Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, operated by Kempinski. Khanna is no stranger to ADNH, having worked as executive chef Raman Khanna at Hilton Abu Dhabi in the 90’s. SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

Simon W. Stamper 11

Aamir Pervez

Krishan Perera

General manager, Corp Executive Hotel Apartments, Al Barsha, Dubai.

Regional airport services manager for Europe, Oman Air.

“All too often, team members in any hotel get immersed in their own area of expertise, neglecting to look at the end result which is one dedicated to guest Aamir Pervez service. What we aim to achieve with this [Managers on the Floor] training programme is to project the wider picture so our staff can see what their colleagues contribute to the operation of the property, as well as ensure further development of the individuals themselves who may be stretched in to new areas through taking on different roles.”

“To have achieved a first-place ranking for on-time performance for the third time in six months is a tribute to the commitment and hard work of all Oman Air’s staff at Krishan Perera Heathrow and our service partner, Dnata. As the world’s busiest airport, Heathrow is a challenging environment in which to operate and our consistent top five ranking shows that the Oman Air team’s efforts, and their close working with the airport authorities, are paying dividends. Whilst this is good news for our professional pride, the most important impact is on Oman Air’s passengers who can rely on our punctuality, as well as our outstanding airport and inflight services.”

[Managers on the Floor] training programme is to project the wider picture so our staff can see what their colleagues contribute to the operation of the property

Oman Air’s passengers can rely on our punctuality, as well as our outstanding airport and inflight services

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


SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

Galileo Lebanon

Agent’s Insight Name: Ziad Ghorayeb Position: General manager Company: Ghorayeb Travel & Tourism Agency Country: Lebanon

Galileo Presents New Cutting-Edge Products in Lebanon Galileo held a roadshow in Lebanon to demonstrate its new cutting edge products, providing attendees with an insight into the innovative travel technology. The full day workshop, which was held at Habtoor Grand Hotel in Beirut, provided travel agents with the opportunity to discover and learn about the global distribution system’s (GDS) new and existing products, while serving as a forum for discussion and feedback regarding the support and solutions provided by Galileo Lebanon. Forum dialogue revealed the newly showcased Travelport Rooms and More, a free-to-use online hotel booking site for agents of all GDSs, as a popular innovation, with agents commenting on the potential for maximising commission earned while improving working efficiencies. Galileo also demonstrated its innovative progress in other online and mobile solutions such as Travelport Mobi, an endtraveller mobile booking solution, and Travelport SMS, a mobile application that retrieves certain booking details. Najwa Tarabah, managing director, Galileo Lebanon, commented on the roadshow’s success. “The event was extremely positively received and it was great to interact with our customers in person to learn about what is working for their clients and how we can further support them with our technology and service. Agents responded well to our new Travelport Rooms and More hotel offering and some signed up straight away as a result.”

Travelport Mobi SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

The event was extremely positively received and it was great to interact with our customer’s in person

Who are you? My Name is Ziad Ghorayeb and I am the general manager of Ghorayeb Travel. I have been working in the industry since 1998 and I really love my profession. Ghorayeb Travel is one of the most prominent travel agencies in Lebanon. Our services include ticketing, hotel reservation, car rental and selling various tour packages. We handle both inbound and outbound travel.

What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? My favourite thing is the possibility of travelling. I really enjoy visiting new countries, discovering new cultures, habits and languages and everything that helps to get a better understanding of the destination and of how to promote it to our clients.

When is the best time to visit Lebanon? Lebanon is a destination that you can visit all year round. Winter is perfect for skiing in the mountains while summer is best spent on the beach. Lebanon is also the place where night life never stops. If I am not mistaken, we have the most thrilling nightlife in the Middle East.

Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? I would like to visit the Tuscany area of Italy and explore the villages including taking part in wine tasting . Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to do so next month.

Why should people come to you for travel advice? During the years of our operation, we have built up a very good reputation in all kinds of services. The world class management of the agency has earned us an important place in the industry. We always handle our clients in the most professional way, we always deliver what we promise, and we provide the best service. We organise several customised travel packages in and outside Lebanon and all are within our clients’ specified budget. Ghorayeb Travel tries its best to take care of all requirements no matter how small they are, to make our clients’ tours pleasurable and hassle-free. 13

Hotel Industry Leaders Join Forces The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) have joined forces to unite the hotel industry and reach a single methodology for calculating carbon footprints as well as consistent metrics for communicating emissions.


he Carbon Measurement Working Group led by hospitality members within ITP and WTTC, will gather together international hotel companies, including Accor, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, MGM Resorts International, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Red Carnation Hotel Collection, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide,

Premier Inn, Whitbread Group and Wyndham Worldwide, to collaborate on the groundbreaking initiative. The partnership demonstrates the industry’s endeavour to be environmentally sustainable, noted David Scowsill, CEO, WTTC. “The hotel industry recognises its responsibility to mitigate its environmental impact. Indeed many hotel chains globally have set carbon reduction targets. Through this initiative the industry is furthering its commitments to corporate and individual consumers by helping them to understand their environmental footprint. A harmonised approach to quantifying and communicating the sustainability of the industry’s products is a firm step towards accomplishing this. We are delighted to be collaborating with ITP and the hotel executives within this working group on this historic initiative.”

Stephen Farrant, director, International Tourism Partnership, described the collaboration as a pivotal milestone.

The hotel industry recognises its responsibility to mitigate its environmental impact “Customers and investors rightly want to know about the carbon footprint of the hotels they are dealing with. The fact that 12 global companies in the international hotel sector have come together to achieve, for the first time, this degree of consensus on the complex issue of carbon measurement is testament to both the crucial importance of addressing the carbon issue and the success of the ITP and WTTC joint working group through this first phase.”

Expert to Highlight Tourism Threat at Abu Dhabi Summit A strong sustainability focus is key to major tourism expansion in the Middle East, and this does not currently receive the necessary attention, according to Susanne Becken, associate professor, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand. Becken, an industry expert leading research into the vulnerability of global tourism to oil prices and future oil constraints, will raise questions over current global tourism growth projections at the second World Green Tourism Conference in Abu Dhabi. This will include whether sufficient investments are being made in sustainability. At the conference, which will take place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) on December 5-7, Becken will inform delegates that in the world 14

which faces challenges from climate change, a deep and clear-cut focus on sustainability is integral to major tourism expansion in the Middle East. “The fact that World Green Tourism is hosted by an Arab country where oil export plays an important role adds to the opportunity of sharing my research findings on tourism’s vulnerability to oil prices and future oil constraints. The high profile nature of the summit will enhance the effect of my message,” expressed Becken. The expert will reveal to conference delegates why two New Zealand government funded tourism research projects she manages, Tourism and Oil, and Preparing the Tourism Sector for Climate Change, are applicable in the Middle East.

“I am amazed by the expansion and extent of tourism development in the Middle East, especially in the aviation industry. I sincerely hope that the current investments are made with sustainability in mind, and in particular energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, and also efficient use of water resources. I am slightly doubtful that global tourism will grow as expected over the next few decades and I would value discussion with Middle Eastern tourism experts on their views on this and how investments that are based on solid growth are made,” added Becken.

I sincerely hope that the current investments are made with sustainability in mind SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

Q & A with Emel Atikkan Considered one of the most stable countries in the Middle East, Qatar has attracted increasing tourism, further spurred by the announcement of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and other major projects. Emel Atikkan, general manager, Kempinski Residences & Suites, Doha, tells Travel Trade Weekly about the new property’s introduction to the capital city during shifting market conditions. Travel Trade Weekly: What does Kempinski Residences & Suites Doha have to offer? Emel Atikkan: Considering Doha is a booming city and a centre of gravity for new, major long-term projects, our offer is custom-made for people that will relocate to Qatar. Businessmen, consultants and high profile people who are travelling to Doha for any length of time, from one day to one year, will find a place customised to their needs.

Travel Trade Weekly: How has the property performed so far this year, compared with the same period in 2010? Emel Atikkan: When we opened in June 2010, we focused on introducing our unique concept property in local and international markets, as well as promoting our European food and beverage offer, including our Aroma restaurant with its contemporary European cuisine and The Lounge, our trendy and sophisticated lounge bar. After one year of operation we can say that Kempinski is one of the most loved places in the city as the word is rapidly spreading around. Since the announcement of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and other mega projects, business increased and we look forward to the fourth quarter of the year, which from now promises golden results.

Travel Trade Weekly:Have you noticed any change in main visitor markets or occupancy since the start of turmoil in the Arab world? Emel Atikkan: Due to the delicate political situation in the Middle East, tourism and business has been diverted from some Arabic countries, mainly to the GCC region, especially to Qatar, which is SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

considered one of the most stable countries in the area. Even the internal GCC tourism market looked to Qatar, especially after the unrest in Bahrain. We saw an increase of travellers from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman and Kuwait. Because we are an allsuites property, we are considered the preferred place for large Arabic families. Furthermore, we noticed a major increase from western European countries, mainly Germany, France and Italy, as well as Levant and Asian countries, like Japan. At the same time, we noticed a decrease in visitors from the US, the UK, Ireland and Australia.

Because we are an all-suites property, we are considered the preferred place for large Arabic families Travel Trade Weekly: Has any increase or decrease in business travel guests been noted? Emel Atikkan: A lot of international companies that are originally based in the UAE are now opening offices here in Doha. Also, many new international companies are considering exploring new possibilities in the country, due to the large number of upcoming projects.

Travel Trade Weekly: What unique options does your hotel offer with regard to MICE tourism? Emel Atikkan: Our spectacular Duplex Sky Villas, situated on the 61st and 62nd floors of the tower, the highest suites in town, are the ideal venue for exclusive board meetings, cocktail receptions, and dinners. Our strategic location in the diplomatic, financial and central business

Emel Atikkan

district, very close to the exhibition centre, is beneficial for both us and the delegates.

Travel Trade Weekly: What travel trade events will the property be taking part in this year? Emel Atikkan: Last May we successfully participated in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), in Dubai, with Qatar Tourism Authority, where feedback was positive. We also took part in the yearly Kempinski Hotels, GCC Roadshow in the Gulf region, again with good results. For the future we are planning to participate in the GIBTM in Abu Dhabi and in the next ATM in Dubai.

Travel Trade Weekly: Do you think that the announcement of the 2022 FIFA World Cup has increased tourism to the country and to your hotel? Emel Atikkan: I think this achievement has definitely increased curiosity in Qatar. The World Cup put the country on the world map, making it a better known destination for business and leisure tourism. We expect tourism to increase towards the end of the year and to continue increasing in the future. In this regard, we are poised to be one of the main options, being the only stand alone international branded residence in the city. 15

WTTC Calls for Entrants to 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is inviting tourism organisations and destinations from throughout the globe to apply for its 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which recognise best practices in responsible tourism. Tourism entities are called to illustrate their sustainable tourism and management practices as well as to show how they are reducing negative impacts on the environment, and supporting the protection of cultural and natural heritage. In addition, entrants should indicate how they maximise social and economic benefits. David Scowsill, CEO, WTTC, remarked on the growth of the awards, which promote responsible practice in the

tourism industry. “The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are unique with their rigorous three-step judging process that includes an expert on-site evaluation. Finalists are carefully chosen by an international team of approximately 20 judges representing a wide range of professional backgrounds and sustainable tourism expertise in the travel and tourism industry. I am delighted that over the past years, the awards, which recognise sustainable tourism practices, have grown immensely. WTTC is proud to honour and celebrate its winners at the WTTC Global Summit in Tokyo from April 16-19, 2012.” Winners will meet government and industry leaders at the Tourism for

Tomorrow Awards ceremony, receive outstanding international media exposure and are invited to submit case studies to WTTC's website.

I am delighted that over the past years, the awards, which recognise sustainable tourism practices, have grown immensely Applicants can choose one of four award categories: Global Tourism Business, Conservation, Community Benefit, and Destination Stewardship, with entries to be submitted online.

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

ITB Asia Suntec, Singapore, October 19-21, 2011 ( An event where international exhibitors, Asia Pacific’s leading companies and emerging enterprises meet top buyers.

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.

World Travel Market ExCel London, UK, November 7-10, 2011 ( Leading global event for the travel industry, presenting a diverse range of destination and industry sectors and providing an opportunity to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business.

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.

World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 5-7, 2011 ( An event that is supported by the ADTA and the EAD, and the only one in the region dedicated to the promotion of sustainable tourism.


SEPTEMBER 17, 2011

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 97  

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