Travel Trade Weekly Issue 95

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Middle East and North Africa Edition

September 3, Issue 95

Emirates is to ramp up frequency to Japan with two additional weekly flights taking capacity up to daily between Dubai and Narita International Airport, from November 1.

Ramada JumeiRah oPens in dubai The wide range of accommodation on offer in dubai has further enhanced, with the opening of the four-star ramada Jumeriah.

6 Premier inn readies for abu dhabi oPening Premier inn is to further enhance its uae portfolio as abu dhabi Capital Centre is nearing completion.

In This Issue

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

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Emirates Flies Daily to Narita

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TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Managing Editor mary Kammitsi mary@traveltradeweekly.travel Journalists rita Kasziba duncan macrae marianna Keen Design & Layout elina Pericleous Sales & Marketing 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

RJ: Record Passenger Numbers Royal Jordanian (RJ) has registered the highest passenger number in a month since inception.

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uring July, the airline carried 373,000 passengers, representing an increase of 13.3 percent over the corresponding period in 2010, and marking rJ’s most successful month in terms of passenger volume since its establishment 48 years ago. With a seat factor of 81 percent, up from 79 percent in July 2010, the airline’s net profit totalled Jd5 million (usd7.04 million). hussein dabbas, president and Ceo, rJ, also announced that with an 11.6 percent increase over the period in comparison, the company’s operational revenues accounted for Jd78.5 million (usd110.6 million). dabbas noted that despite the significant increase in passenger number, the profit was reduced by a remarkably higher (22.7 percent) operational cost due to the surge in fuel prices. With a massive increase of 51 percent, the

company’s fuel bill amounted to Jd30.5 million (usd42.96 million), compared with Jd20.2 million (usd28.5 million) in July 2010, constituting around 40 percent of the overall operational costs ( Jd76 million or usd107 million). flight frequencies and flying hours have also increased, prompting rJ to project a positive outlook for the remainder of the year following a challenging first six months, impacted by the ongoing turmoil in some countries in the region. The regional political unrest forced the airline to cancel 677 round-trip flights, while operations to some destinations were halted or negatively affected. in an attempt to help travel to and from Jordan to pick up in the upcoming months, rJ and the Jordan Tourism board joined forces to boost tourism.

Abu Dhabi International Airport: Increased Duty Free Sales

MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 01/9/2011 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the us dollar COUNTRY uae (aed) egypt (egP) saudi arabia (sar) Lebanon (LbP) bahrain (bhd) Jordan ( Jod) syria (sYP) Kuwait (KWd) Qatar (Qar) oman (omr) Tunisia (Tnd) morocco (mad) iran (irr) Yemen (Yer) algeria (dZd) Libya (LYd)

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CURRENCY dirham Pound riyal Pound dinar dinar Pound dinar riyal rial dinar dirham riyal rial dinar dinar

1USD= 3.67 5.95 3.75 1,506.5 0.37 0.71 47.38 0.27 3.64 0.38 1.37 7.89 10,603 214 71.85 1.20

Abu Dhabi international airport has recorded a robust growth in duty free sales in the first half of the year (h1). during the first six months of the year, the airport’s duty free sales accounted for aed293 million (usd79.77 million), representing an impressive increase of 7.5 percent compared with the corresponding period of 2010. Terminal 3, in particular, witnessed a sound increase of 59 percent, driven by the performance from its 19 luxury boutiques. beauty and fragrance shops, which attributed six ‘first in the middle east’ product launches, also strongly contributed to the notable results. figures are expected to stay on an upward spiral, noted huraiz al mur bin huraiz, chief commercial officer, abu dhabi airports Company. “We are committed to continuously improve the duty free offerings at abu dhabi international airport. This year, we have witnessed an increase in sales and look forward to even further growth in the third and fourth quarter. our renovation plan ensures that we keep the unique structure of Terminal 1, whilst offering our increasing numbers of travellers the most convenient and enjoyable airport shopping experience.” The airport will soon provide passengers with broader offerings upon re-opening several shops in Terminal 1. “We are expecting a strong number in the next six months as a result of the completion of the refurbishment of Terminal 1, creating a world class shopping environment,” added bin huraiz. abu dhabi international airport duty free was recently awarded the ‘best airport in Tax free shopping globally’ from the business destinations awards in the uK. sePTember 3, 2011


Emirates Flies Daily to Narita Emirates is to ramp up frequency to Japan with two additional weekly flights taking capacity up to daily between Dubai and Narita International Airport, from November 1.

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mirates commenced flights to narita in march 2010 and since then, the positive response from the travelling public, and the soaring demand for services between the two countries, have prompted the decision to upgrade the route. The additional flights reaffirm the level of commitment emirates has to the highly important Japanese market, and vastly improve connectivity to the airline’s expanding global network, noted richard Jewsbury, senior vice president commercial operations for far east and australia, emirates. “Japan is a vital market for emirates and being able to increase the flights to a daily operation is a great testament to the partnership which has

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existed since we began operations to Japan, through osaka, nine years ago. demand on the route continues to remain strong since we launched last year, which was reflected in emirates recently topping abroad’s airline satisfaction ranking. i am sure that our passengers will appreciate being able to fly daily from both narita and osaka.” The airline remained confident in the route despite the natural catastrophe earlier this year. “in the aftermath of the great east Japan earthquake, emirates continued operating flights to and from narita as normal without interruption and maintained a service for those passengers who needed to travel during that difficult time. emirates has been committed to helping Japan through this period of recovery. We

appreciate that the Japanese authorities have recognised this commitment and allowed us to operate this daily service,” added Jewsbury. given the fact that since 2002, emirates has carried more than 1.3 million passengers and 60,000 tonnes of cargo on its flights to Japan, the airline proffers high importance to the route and employs 200 Japanese cabin crew. in a move to better serve the growing number of passengers to and from Japan, emirates’ and Japan airlines’ longstanding partnership will include a code share on the additional two dubai-Tokyo-dubai services. To further cement its presence in the far eastern market, emirates has also extended its global sports sponsorship initiatives to include Japanese events.

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ATM 2012 Partners with Mövenpick Properties Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), has selected three Mövenpick accommodation options as the host hotels for its May 2012 event in Dubai.

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he properties chosen are ibn battuta gate hotel, mövenpick hotel deira, and royal amwaj resort & spa on Palm Jumeirah, which is scheduled to open in 2012 and will feature individual water villas set around meandering lagoons and a private beach. The hotels will officially accommodate the ‘hosted buyers’ programme, which includes top decision-makers from the leisure, golf, cruise, medical and meetings sector, as well as selected international press. mövenpick hotel deira, is the latest five-star addition to dubai’s ‘old town’ skyline, while ibn battuta gate hotel is ideally located at the gateway to ‘new dubai’ close to Jebel ali freezone and with the dedicated ibn battuta metro station just minutes away. Lucie James, marketing manager, reed Travel exhibitions, remarked on the significance of the decision. “The combined offering of these three distinctive and very different hotels will allow our hosted buyers and international media guests to get a real sense of the diversity of the tourism product across the middle east. The mutual trade-off in attracting quality buyers and delivering a quality host hotel experience is crucial in driving interest and guaranteeing the attendance of key travel industry players.”

The combined offering of these three distinctive and very different hotels will allow our hosted buyers and international media guests to get a real sense of the diversity of the tourism product across the Middle East

Indonesia Strengthens Middle East Presence Indonesia, in an attempt to strengthen its appeal among middle eastern travellers, has appointed Visit indonesia Toursim office’s regional representative. The asian country has witnessed a notable growth in the number of visitors from the middle east and strives to further utilise the region, noted nour aridi, lead account manager, gaa marta Consulting, the dubai based toursim and hospitality company that has been appointed. “We are very pleased to receive this Indonesia appointment as indonesia is an exciting and fascinating destination that is seeing its popularity grow year on year from this region.” indonesia’s ministy of Culture and Tourism has set itself the target of attracting 7.7 million foreign tourist arrivals this year, while domestic tourist volume is expected to rise to 237 million from 234 million in 2010. 4

MEA: Average Decrease, Partial Increase The Middle East and africa region has experienced a decrease in all three key hotel performance metrics during July, according to the market research authority from sTr global’s latest report. based on data provided by sTr, the region’s occupancy dropped by 1.2 percent to 60 percent, while the average daily rate fell by one percent to usd139.89. revenue per available room (revPar) dropped to usd83.98, representing a 2.2 percent decline over July 2010 figures. elizabeth randall, managing director, sTr global, attributed the negative results to the rather high figures in the corresponding period in 2010. “The fifa World Cup, which attracted extra demand and room supply during June/July 2010 across south africa, made from a tough comparable this month throughout the country. meanwhile, the consequences of the arab spring continue to impact the results for northern africa.” as opposed to the region’s average performance, some markets recorded positive results. dubai (+17.6 percent to 77.9 percent), Jeddah (+16.1 percent to 78.3 percent) and abu dhabi (+14.5 percent to 59.3 percent), alike have experienced double digit increases in occupancy. at the same time, Cairo, sandton, and the surrounding areas posted the largest drop in occupancy. in terms of average daily rate, dubai and Jeddah rose 4.5 percent to usd162.18 and four percent to usd210.63, respectively. dubai also increased 22.8 percent in terms of revPar, to usd126.41, followed by Jeddah with a 20.8 percent rise to usd164.95. sePTember 3, 2011



- Accommodation

Ramada Jumeirah Opens in Dubai The wide range of accommodation on offer in Dubai has further enhanced, with the opening of the four-star Ramada Jumeriah.

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anaged by abjar hotels international, the hospitality arm of almulla group, and under a licensed franchise agreement with ramada Worldwide, the ‘super deluxe’ hotel offers 252 rooms and state-of-the-art amenities. With its prime location on dubai’s al mina road, just minutes away from the city’s main access points and premier business hubs, such as the dubai World Trade Centre and dubai international Convention & exhibition Centre, as well as shopping malls, ramada Jumeirah is expected

to attract both business travellers and Ramada Jumeirah Dubai holidaymakers. alan rigazzi, general manager, ramada Jumeirah, commented on the opening. “This project marks the culmination of a thrilling journey. ramada Jumeirah offers all the comfort and refinement of a genuine, first class establishment, complemented by dining and leisure facilities.” The hotel features five food and beverage outlets, a rooftop outdoor swimming pool, a health club with spa facilities, a fitness centre and meeting facilities, including a large onsite business centre.

Ramada Jumeirah offers all the comfort and refinement of a genuine, first class establishment, complemented by dining and leisure facilities

Premier Inn Readies for Abu Dhabi opening Premier Inn is to further enhance its uae portfolio as abu dhabi Capital Centre is nearing completion. The hotel, a sister property to the company’s operating hotels in dubai, Premier inn dubai international airport, Premier inn dubai investments Park and Premier inn dubai silicon oasis, is scheduled to welcome its first guest in october, confirmed darroch Crawford, managing director, middle east and africa, Premier inn. “Premier inn abu dhabi Capital Centre has 242 rooms, an all day restaurant overlooking the swimming pool and whirlpool spa, a bar and a Costa Coffee outlet. We also have several meeting rooms and a gymnasium. an outstanding feature of the hotel is its location immediately next to abu dhabi national exhibition Centre, and just 15 minutes from abu dhabi international airport. it is also only a very short walk from Zayed sports City.” The soon-to-open hotel will be led by amer ammar, who previously held the general manager position at dubai silicon oasis, another Premier inn hotel.

An outstanding feature of the hotel is its location immediately next to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre 6

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- Air Travel Qatar Airways to Land in Azerbaijan and Georgia in 2012

UAE Initiates Open-Sky Agreement with Sierra Leone The UAE, represented by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Sierra Leone and has initialled an open Air Services Agreement (ASA).

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ollowing negotiations, initialled by saif mohammed al suwaidi, director general, gCaa and david Wayland banya, acting permanent secretary, sierra Leone Civil aviation authority, the two delegations agreed that any number of designated airlines of both parties will have the right to operate scheduled services. The uae designated etihad airways, emirates airline, RaK airways, air arabia and flydubai as national airlines under the agreement, while the west african country’s delegation will designate its airlines in due time. The agreement between the two countries now allows unrestricted frequencies, capacity and types of aircraft to be operated by the designated airlines in any type of service, whether passenger or cargo. The parties also agreed to allow unrestricted non-scheduled operations between the uae and sierra Leone, as well as code sharing between their respective airlines.

The airline’s new flights, originally slated to start on november 30, will finally begin to the capital cities of baku and Tbilisi on february 1, 2012. akbar al baker, Ceo, Qatar airways, explained that the postponement is due to operational reasons. “With capacity increases planned on many routes, we face constraints on aircraft availability, therefore decided to revise these two route launch dates and move them to february. We regret the inconvenience caused, but all steps are being taken to look after passengers already holding bookings.” Passengers with tickets or already confirmed booking to and from both cities will be rebooked on alternative flights to the destinations.

With capacity increases planned on many routes, we face constraints on aircraft availability

Sierra Leone

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- Air Travel

AirAsia Imposes Check-In Fee AirAsia, the regional airline serving Malaysia and south-east Asian destinations, is to charge passengers for conventional check-in services, effective from September 21.

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mid the steep surge in oil prices, airasia strives to avoid the impact by aggressively growing revenue through ancillary income and services, in an attempt to spare passengers from occurring surcharges. Check-in at the counter will be considered as an additional service, therefore an ancillary fee will apply. The airline has recently launched a new self check-in function, which provides travellers with the ease of a quicker and more convenient way of checking-in via web and mobile devices. The application is expected to substitute the conventional

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way of checking in, noted Kathleen Tan, regional head of commercial, airasia. “The web and mobile self check-in services are part of our on-going mission to use technology to offer better guest experience, provide operation efficiency and offer greater savings to all our guests. These self check-in options will further enhance the travel experience and free our guests from airport congestions and long queues at the counters. it converts to reduce waiting time and one could travel without worrying about tiresome procedures often associated with air travel. it also helps us reduce our operational cost which we can give back

to our guests as savings.” airasia will continue to provide limited conventional check-in counters at all airports where it operates, but passengers opting for this service instead of the newly launched online method, will be charged. from september 21 onwards, a check-in fee of mYr10 (usd3.37) per guest will apply for all flight bookings, except for departures from Tokyo, osaka, seoul and Tehran.

These self check-in options will further enhance the travel experience

United Continental Holdings to Invest USD550 Million in Onboard Improvements

Qantas and American Airlines to Partner

United Continental Holdings, the holding company for united airlines and Continental airlines will invest usd550 million in fleet upgrades, bringing it closer to becoming the world’s leading airline. Product improvements will include adding flat-bed seating on 62 additional longhaul aircraft this september, as well as adding economy Plus seating and Channel 9 air traffic control audio to more than 300 aircraft, beginning this autumn. Work to almost double overhead storage space on more than 150 aircraft will take place beginning in march, 2012. in addition, united Continental holdings will install advanced broadband Wi-fi on more than 200 aircraft, introduce streaming wireless video onboard its 747-400 aircraft and completely retrofit its p.s. fleet with flat-bed seats, economy Plus, ondemand audio and video and Wi-fi. These product changes come in addition to the 25 new aircraft - including the boeing 787 dreamliner - that the airline will introduce to its fleet in 2012. united and Continental have each made significant product and service improvements over the past several years and since the airlines closed their merger in october, 2010. Jeff smisek, president and chief executive officer, united Continental holdings, remarked on the expansion. “We are making very good progress building the world's leading airline. When we announced our merger, we committed to building an airline that our coworkers would want to work for, our customers would want to fly, and our investors would want to invest in. These product enhancements announced today, coupled with our unbeatable route network and loyalty program, will provide an unsurpassed travel experience for our customers. We are planning many other product enhancements, both on the ground and in the air, which we will announce in the future.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (aCCC) has issued a draft decision proposing to grant authorisation for a Joint business agreement ( Jba) between Qantas and american airlines. in terms of the Jba, the airlines will coordinate operations on services between australia/new Zealand and the us as well as on their respective services to further support the transPacific routes. The partnership will be of benefit to both nations, noted rod sims, chairman, aCCC. “The aCCC considers that the Jba is likely to result in new and improved products and services, including improved schedules and connectivity. The aCCC does not consider that the Jba will have any anticompetitive effects, as Qantas and american airlines do not currently provide any overlapping direct services between australia and the us.” sePTember 3, 2011



- International

DoubleTree by Hilton Debuts in India DoubleTree by Hilton New Delhi-Mayur Vihar has opened, marking the first hotel of the brand in India.

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wned and operated by eros resorts & hotels. and managed by hilton Worldwide, the newly built hotel is situated in mayur Vihar, offering excellent connectivity with Connaught Place in the city centre as well as south delhi business districts, nehru Place, okhla, mohan Co-operative and Jasola. The Pragati maidan exhibition Centre and prominent tourist attractions like the akshardham Temple, rajghat, old fort and humayun's Tomb are also nearby. new delhi-mayur Vihar offers 196 guest rooms, including four suites, which are among the most spacious in the city. every guestroom features wired and wireless internet access, a LCd television, media hub, electronic safe, refrigerated private bar, tea and coffee making facilities and an iPod docking station with alarm clock. accommodating business travellers, DoubleTree by Hilton the hotel offers a 24-hour business New Delhi-Mayur Vihar centre and a boardroom that seats up to 16 guests, as well as a ballroom that can accommodate up to 750 people and is ideal for corporate meetings and business events as well as social gatherings and private receptions. for recreation, the hotel includes an outdoor infinity pool and a fitness centre.

Crowne Plaza Albuquerque to Open After Renovation and Brand Change Crowne Plaza albuquerque will open in september, following a brand change from hilton that involved usd14 million in renovations. The conference hotel is located in the university section of albuquerque, southwest new mexico, 10km from the airport. it features 2,415m2 of meeting space, an outdoor pool, a fitness centre and 261 re-decorated guest rooms with views of the city’s spectacular high-desert landscape of mesas, volcanoes and the sandia mountains. The hotel is ideally suited to the needs of business travellers and companies in the area, noted gina Labarre, vice president brand management, the americas, interContinental hotel group (ihg). “We are pleased to bring the Crowne Plaza brand to the albuquerque area, especially in such a convenient location for business travellers and meetings. There are several major employers in the area that will benefit from the meetings-savvy products and services that only a Crowne Plaza can provide.” The recipient of the new mexico green Zia environmental excellence award also targets leisure travellers with its proximity to the historic old Town, balloon fiesta Park, the world’s longest tramway, championship golf courses, indian gaming casinos and shopping venues. The hotel features the famous ranchers Club of new mexico restaurant, the only aaa 4 diamond award Winner in albuquerque, and the Crowne Plaza sleep advantage that encompasses the entire sleep experience.

AHS to Manage Magnolia French Country Khao Yai Resort Magnolia French Country Khao Yai resort in Thailand, due to open at the end of 2012, will be managed by absolute hotel services group (ahs). The technical services and management contract for the hotel offers promising prospects, suggested Jonathan Wigley, Ceo, ahs. “This is very exciting news and a great opportunity for us to work with magnolia Quality development Corporation. Khao Yai is one of high potential destinations for tourism in Thailand, especially for domestic travellers. With 10

the unique design and concept of magnolia french Country Khao Yai, we are confident that the property will be well accepted in the market which is in need of quality facilities and services.” only a two and a half hour drive from bangkok, Khao Yai is one of the most popular destinations for local residents and expatriates to spend their long weekends or short breaks away from the city. The destination provides natural settings, vineyards and adventure activities, while the property offers landscaped gardens, ponds and a large

swimming pool. The design of the 78-room resort has been strongly influenced by the southern france countryside yet with a modern and eclectic interior design, offering comfort and relaxation. a french brasserie is featured on the ground floor close to the swimming pool area. other amenities include spa and wellness facilities, an outside lawn area that is suitable for weddings and company team building activities, two meeting rooms and two boardrooms with a total of 485m2. sePTember 3, 2011


Slavy Ghazal

Sam Van Campenhout

Slavy Ghazal slavy ghazal has joined Coral beach hotels & resort as director of sales and marketing. Prior to his current role, he led the orient Queen hotel as general manager. ghazal brings a wealth of experience to his position, having previously worked at ramada downtown, four Points by sheraton, savoy hotel, bella riva suites and Le bristol hotel.

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sam Van Campenhout has been appointed as general manager of marriott executive apartments manama, bahrain. Van Campenhout, with a career that spans over 20 years, brings in-depth knowledge in room operations and sales and marketing to his role. he started in the industry in 1991 with working in night audit at scandic Crown before moving into the front office. he took on his first sales assignment as convention sales representative at royal Crowne hotel, followed by a sales manager position at holiday inn Sam Van Campenhout brussels airport. he joined marriott in 1997 as director of sales and marketing with the conversion of swissôtel brussels to renaissance hotel brussels. he then continued as director of sales and marketing at brussels marriott hotel. in 2004, he became the cluster director of sales and marketing for brussels, before taking on the role of hotel manager at brussels marriott hotel in 2006.

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Harry Hohmeister CEO, Swiss International Airlines. “i am convinced that, with our stronger brand profile, we will be better able to survive and thrive in a competitive market that is growing tougher each year. i am equally certain that we will Harry Hohmeister continue to live up to, and further build on, our aspiration of being europe’s leading airline in product quality and profitability terms.”

With our stronger brand profile, we will be better able to survive and thrive in a competitive market that is growing tougher each year

Jassim Haji Acting director, information technology, Gulf Air. “Cloud Computing is the new evolution in the iT world towards delivering faster and more efficient iT and business services than ever before, while reducing infrastructure and service costs. internationally, this new technology is being fast embraced by every corporate entity and we are glad to be the pioneers once again, to introduce this in the Kingdom of bahrain. Traditionally, business applications have always been very complicated and expensive. You need a large infrastructure and applications, and a whole team of experts to run them. however, as businesses are becoming increasingly competitive and customers’ needs are changing constantly, it is important that we proactively address their needs more efficiently through appropriate technological empowerment but without maximising costs. Cloud computing is the solution to achieve this: from back-end business applications, platform services, virtual servers, storage and processing to front-end support services, it allows us to move with greater agility and respond faster to our customers.”

Internationally, this new technology is being fast embraced by every corporate entity and we are glad to be the pioneers once again Jassim Haji

Knut Frostad CEO, Ocean Volvo Race (at the reviewing of the Destination Village’s model). “it is fantastic and the coolest thing is that it will leave a superb sailing legacy on land, in the heart of the city. it will be a magnificent stage for the city with abu dhabi’s skyline in the background and is shaping up to be one of the most efficient stop-over locations. from the Corniche, the sight of the race village with the boats lit up on the water at night will make for a very stimulating picture.”

It will be a magnificent stage for the city with Abu Dhabi’s skyline in the background

Knut Frostad

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

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Amadeus on Corporate Responsibility Mission Amadeus, the travel technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry, has continued to demonstrate corporate responsibility leadership with the development of a number of key activities. The 16 projects initiated so far this year are aligned with amadeus’ social commitment to foster development through tourism and technology and to follow cooperation agreements signed with government bodies and institutions, professional associations and tourism companies. one of the main focuses of the ‘Technology Transfer Project’ is to help small, emerging entrepreneurs adopt professional processes in their businesses and expand their commercial reach by providing technology and market access. With agreements signed across south america, Central america and africa, a total of 4,000 hotels are expected to benefit from the programme.

Our corporate responsibility mission is to enable economic, social and environmental advancement in sustainable tourism and travel, through the intelligent application of technology and innovation another initiative of amadeus, the ‘global PC bank’, focuses on donating and distributing computers which are no older than three years to help administration of community projects. in the first half of the year, 300 computers have been delivered to Kenya, nigeria, Cuba, the Philippines, saudi arabia and nicaragua. around 1,500 students a year are expected to benefit from the training given on these PCs. The key component of amadeus’ project is, however, the education programme, which provides young people with no financial resources, with a range of professional courses. Countries reached by the training so far include Kenya, saudi arabia, south africa, Croatia, nicaragua, Venezuela and Colombia. as part of amadeus’ social responsibility initiatives, the company strives to evolve and grow its environmental credentials and gain better understanding and measurement of the environmental impact of its global operations. Tomas Lopez fernebrand, vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, amadeus iT group, elaborated on the projects. “our corporate responsibility mission is to enable economic, social and environmental advancement in sustainable tourism and travel, through the intelligent application of technology and innovation. With this in mind we believe that when it comes to helping people or improving the world around us, rather than purely making a financial contribution, actually it is more about having a certain mindset – a positive desire to lead and improve the world by applying the skills and resources which we use every day”. sePTember 3, 2011

Agent’s Insight Name: Georgia Standage Position: Director Company: Prestige Travel Location: Cyprus Who are you? my name is georgia standage and i am the director of Prestige Travel, a family run travel agency in Cyprus. i have more than 30 years of experience in the tourism industry, in Cyprus and in the uK. i have worked extremely hard to build my own clientele base, by word of mouth and by providing a friendly service.

What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? The variety of tasks and the great satisfaction in helping others to have a holiday to remember and tell their friends about.

When is the best time to visit Cyprus? The best time to visit Cyprus weather wise for both swimming and sightseeing is mid-september onwards, as the island is not that crowded.

Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? i would like to visit australia and new Zealand, and i would love to see sardinia as well.

Why should people come to you for travel advice? People who book with Prestige get personal and friendly service. We always provide our clients with a few options and usually we become really personal or even friends by the end. Cyprus

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iPad used to Innovate British Airways Customer Service British Airways cabin crew are using the latest iPad model to bring a new dimension to customer service in the air, via personalised service.

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he iPad can provide cabin crew with details of a customer’s previous travel arrangements, enabling them to have prior knowledge of customer preferences and allowing them to offer a bespoke, customised service. The iPad is currently being trialled with 100 cabin crew with the aim to roll it out to all senior crew members across the airline in the coming months. Currently, cabin crew not included in the trial are handed a long scroll of paper listing up to 337 customers when all the passengers have boarded an aircraft. With the new iPads, cabin crew will simply refresh their screen through wireless 3g networks and they will have a complete list of passengers on board. nicola smith, regional customer service manager, middle east, commented that the technology has proven useful in the region. “The iPad is already allowing us to offer a more personalised onboard service to our middle east customers, but the possibilities for future development are endless. We are receiving great feedback from cabin crew and customers in the

The iPad is already allowing us to offer a more personalised onboard service to our Middle East customers, but the possibilities for future development are endless region. it allows the crew to offer the thoughtful service they want to deliver and customers are treated as valued guests.” The iPad lets crew quickly identify where each customer is seated, who they are travelling with, their executive Club status and any special meal requests. it

provides the latest information at the fingertips of the crew, including timetables, safety manuals and customer service updates. it also means any issues can be logged with ground-based colleagues around the network prior to departure so solutions can be delivered while the flight is airborne.

Sport Holidays Take Top Ranking in Europe There has been double-digit growth in sport holidays among european tourists, particularly germans, according to the latest survey by World Travel monitor, commissioned by iTb berlin. The research suggests that the sector’s popularity has overtaken cruises, previously the number one choice among europeans. germans were shown to be keenest on sports, accounting for 42 percent of the nine million sporting holidays taken by 14

europeans abroad. at 14 percent the dutch rank second, while in other european markets sporting holidays make up only six percent or less. The most popular destination to take a sporting holiday was revealed to be austria, attracting 24 percent of the european market, followed by italy and germany, which each account for 11 percent. The most popular activities among holidaymakers are hiking (38 percent),

cycling tours (23 percent) and motor sports (14 percent). at 10 percent, golf ranks fourth in the sporting popularity stakes among europeans, with nine percent of german sporting holidaymakers preferring it. The survey suggests that european sporting holidaymakers average 43 years of age, and most of them live in households without children. more men than women are attracted to sports when they are on holiday. sePTember 3, 2011


Q&A with Gabriel Khoury With plentiful developments and hotels gradually cropping up in Abu Dhabi, players of the emirate’s hospitality industry are eager for the fray. Gabriel Khoury, general manager, Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel, talks about the highly competitive environment. Travel Trade Weekly: Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel welcomed its first guest more than a decade ago. How has the hotel performed since then? Gabriel Khoury: sheraton Khalidiya has been providing excellent service to valued guests since 1997. The property started with 180 residential suites and one food and beverage outlet. as there was a phenomenal demand for rooms during that period and in the succeeding years, the hotel gradually increased the number to 225, and now operates 284 luxurious rooms and suites. The property, also added two food and beverage outlets, catering to different tastes of guests.

Travel Trade Weekly: The property has undergone an extensive renovation. Could you tell us about the major elements of this? Gabriel Khoury: The hotel’s décor still maintains its classic ambience, with interiors that have a refined, modern sensibility: yet, the hotel has undergone a number of renovations and construction changes to have it according to sheraton standards, and to be able to meet the requirements of guests with various needs.

rooms in the city since there is an influx of guests with diverse requirements, depending on the nature of their visit. occupancy rates continuously grow as abu dhabi has become a business and leisure destination. The business district, where sheraton Khalidiya hotel is conveniently located, is frequented by corporate travellers who opt to have leisure activities after their business meetings. development of leisure areas are continuously in progress. shopping malls in the city offer everything guests may need from clothing to souvenirs, while cultural and heritage exhibitions as well as other activities reflecting the local traditions are being held to cater to visitors craving for arts.

There will always be a demand for an increase in hotel rooms in the city

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includes developing a broad range of tourism sites and products, targeting market awareness, and building organisational and industrial capacity and competence. in the city, to cater to diverse clientele, starwood hotels has five existing properties, and there are a number of starwood hotels in the pipeline with st. regis saadiyat hotel and st. regis abu dhabi to open early next year and Westin hotel opening in the fourth quarter of this year.

Travel Trade Weekly: With a broad range of happenings scheduled for the upcoming months, Abu Dhabi’s profile is on the rise. Which are the most anticipated events and developments Travel Trade Weekly: Has Abu Dhabi already reached its limits in terms of from your hotel’s aspect? Gabriel Khoury: The abu dhabi accommodation offerings or is there a national exhibitions Company has an demand for more newcomers? array of events and exhibitions all Gabriel Khoury: There will always be a

Travel Trade Weekly: With new luxury properties gradually emerging on Abu Dhabi’s horizon, the competition for guests tends to get throughout the year, such as the more and more intense. How do you international defense exhibition & ensure high occupancy rates amidst the Conference (ideX), the formula one increasing number of hotel openings? race in november, the World green Gabriel Khoury: With the opening of Tourism in december, the World future new hotels it is natural that competition has gotten tougher and hotels are impelled to position their respective properties with international standards. There is actually a demand for hotel

Gabriel Khoury

energy summit in January 2012, and the World ophthalmology Congress 2012. The abu dhabi Tourism authority has laid out a vision to build the city as a world class tourism destination, which

demand for an increase in hotel rooms in the city as there are new activities and development programmes in abu dhabi. The development of the business district and nearby areas, the progress of Yas island with all the activities going on, and the continuous international exhibitions, would really measure the necessity of more hotel rooms in the city. The demand will surely increase period by period. 15


Abu Dhabi Air Expo in March 2012 Abu Dhabi airports Company (adaC) is to host the middle east’s first and only general aviation exhibition, abu dhabi air expo, in march 2012. The event, taking place at al bateen executive airport, will enable exhibitors to demonstrate and share their latest innovations to a broader audience. in nearly 70,000m2, more than 100 aircraft will be displayed for an estimated 15,000 visitors from the gCC, Levant, north Abu Dhabi Air Expo

africa, south africa and asia. The remarkable improvement in the region’s aviation industry makes the uae, and abu dhabi in particular, an ideal host for such an event, noted h.e. Khalifa al mazrouei, chairman, adaC. “adaC is proud to host the first exhibition dedicated to general aviation in the middle east in abu dhabi, a premium international destination for business and leisure travellers offering world class facilities and attractions. The impressive 40 percent increase in traffic that al bateen airport has achieved during the first half of this year makes it the perfect hub for aviation professionals and enthusiasts to share the latest developments in the industry. The

middle east is a very dynamic region for aviation and hosting this event will allow the aviation sector to boost its growth and create more business deals.”

The Middle East is a very dynamic region for aviation The exhibition will be organised by adaC in conjunction with adone, the host of the Cannes airshow. in 2010, the region’s general aviation sector experienced a notable growth of 30 percent over 2009 figures and it currently represents more than 10 percent of the world market share.

Events 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.

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.

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

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

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