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11 FEBRUARY 2012

ISSUE 118

Hyatt: Saudi Hat-Trick Hyatt Hotels Corporations is to enhance its presence in Saudi Arabia after a Hyatt affiliate signed agreements with Naseel Holding Company to manage three new hotels in the Kingdom.

Accor has further expanded its Middle East portfolio with the opening of Mercure Gold Hotel Al Mina Road Dubai marking the brand’s debut in the emirate.

06 Egyptair Returns to Tokyo Egyptair is gearing up for the resumption of scheduled services to Tokyo, almost a year after Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

09 IN THIS ISSUE MARKET UPDATE

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WEEKLY NEWS

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ACCOMMODATION

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AIR NEWS

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WHO'S MOVED

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TRAVEL TALK

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AGENT'S CORNER

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TRAVEL CHANNELS

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RENDEZVOUS

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NEWS & EVENTS

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Mercure Debuts in Dubai

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MARKET UPDATE

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi mary@traveltradeweekly.travel JOURNALISTS

Jazeera Airways: 1.2 Million Passengers Jazeera Airways carried a total of 1.2 million passengers in 2011 between Kuwait and 17 leisure and business destinations across the Middle East.

Stefanie Saghbini Rita Kasziba Dominique Christou Melanthia Avgousti

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SALES & MARKETING Maria Demetriadou Brighite Ess Dominique Tennant DESIGN & LAYOUT Elena Stylianou DIRECTORS Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi HEADQUARTERS T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly LTD P.O. Box 25255, Nicosia, 1308, Cyprus Tel: +357 22 021607, Fax: +357 22 210466 WEBSITE www.traveltradeweekly.travel EMAILS info@traveltradeweekly.travel sales@traveltradeweekly.travel editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel

MENA EXCHANGE RATES Accurate as of

09/02/2012 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar

COUNTRY

CURRENCY

UAE (AED)

Dirham

3.67

Egypt (EGP)

Pound

6.03

Saudi Arabia (SAR)

Riyal

3.75

Lebanon (LBP)

Pound

1,505.50

Bahrain (BHD)

Dinar

0.37

Jordan (JOD)

Dinar

0.71

Syria (SYP)

Pound

57.45

Kuwait (KWD)

Dinar

0.28

Qatar (QAR)

Riyal

3.64

Oman (OMR)

Rial

0.38

Tunisia (TND)

Dinar

1.49

Morocco (MAD)

Dirham

8.40

Iran (IRR)

Riyal

12,015.00

Yemen (YER)

Rial

219.26

Algeria (DZD)

Dinar

76.61

Libya (LYD)

Dinar

1.23

1USD=

he low-cost carrier, which operated at a high on-time performance of 95 percent during the year, has once again proven to be one of the most punctual airlines in the region, based on data from Kuwait’s Directorate General for Civil Aviation. Moreover, Jazeera Airways captured the largest market share on a number of highdemand routes, including services operated between Kuwait and five Egyptian cities. Jazeera Airways also secured the leading position to Syrian destinations with 47 percent market share captured on the Damascus route, 76 percent on Aleppo’s, and 90 percent

Jazeera Airways

on the Deir Ezzor route. Furthermore, the airline was the leading Kuwaiti carrier on routes between Kuwait and Beirut at 35 percent, Amman at 33 percent, Mashad at 27 percent, Bahrain at 17 percent, and Dubai at 16 percent.

Dubai International Airport Hits New Record Dubai International Airport experienced another record year with passenger numbers reaching an historic 50.98 million in 2011, up eight percent from 2010. Based on the annual traffic report released by Dubai Airports, in December, a total of 4.69 million passengers passed through the terminals, representing an increase of 10.2 percent over the corresponding month in 2010. Meanwhile, aircraft movements totalled 29,519, resulting in a year-on-year growth of 7.7 percent, bringing the total number for the full year to 326,317, up 6.2 percent from 2010. Moreover, 28 new passenger destinations were launched while 17 were discontinued, bringing the total number of passenger routes operated from and to the airport to 215. In terms of total passenger numbers, the strongest markets proved to be India, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar, Germany, and the US, while the most significant traffic growth was registered on routes linking Dubai to Eastern Europe, Russia and the CIS countries, as well as the GCC, and North America. In order to accomodate the anticipated growth in passenger volume, Dubai Airports is set to invest USD7.8 billion in airport expansion to boost the current capacity from 60 million passengers per year to 90 million by 2018.

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WEEKLY NEWS

DWC to Commence Passenger Terminal Operations in 2013

We could see commercial passenger operations commence in 2013

Following a highly successful year of cargo operation, Dubai World Central (DWC) is gearing up to begin passenger terminal operations. The airport, which handled 89,729 tonnes of air freight during its first full calendar year of operations, expects to further strengthen its position in the UAE’s aviation industry, according to Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports. “Although the airport is in its infancy, incremental cargo traffic growth has been steady and continues to ramp up as new operations are launched. Sea to air freight traffic growth was particularly robust as airlines took advantage of the airport’s bonded link to the Jebel Ali port,” commented Griffiths. “As for passenger operations, Dubai International will continue to serve as the primary focus of expansion and we will be investing USD7.8 billion to boost capacity to 90 million passengers by 2018. That said, operational trails for DWC’s passenger terminal are set to start during the second quarter of this year, and we could see commercial passenger operations commence in 2013,” he concluded.

Abu Dhabi International Airport Showcases Art and Heritage Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) has launched an art gallery at Abu Dhabi International Airport, reaffirming the government’s commitment to promote local art and culture. The gallery aims to showcase the UAE’s culture and heritage to all passengers passing through Terminals 1 and 3, as well as in the arrivals area, throughout the year. Speaking about this new initiative, which forms part of Abu Dhabi International Airport’s programme to enhance travel experience, Mohammed Al Katheeri, vice president, quality assurance and environmental health and safety, ADAC, said, “It has always been one of ADAC’s objectives to promote Abu Dhabi as a unique destination that is rich with history and heritage.”

Immersion Experience at Moroccon Mall Luxe Moroccan Mall is inviting shoppers to dip into a world of sea life by taking a five-minute elevator ride through the centre of what is being hailed as the world’s first and largest acrylic aquarium of its kind. Designed and built by International Concept Management (ICM), Aquadream offers visitors, of the recently-opened luxury mall near Casablanca, a Aquadream truly engaging experience, emphasising education and the importance of preserving the oceans. The 9.3m tall and one million litre aquarium enables shoppers to get closer than ever to sharks, rays, and thousands of other fish while learning about aquatic life. The extraordinary initiative at the mega mall, with over 350 retail outlets, follows ICM’s previous venture at Radisson Blu Hotel, Berlin. Speaking about the efforts and dedication behind building such a project, Roget Reynolds III, CEO, ICM, explained, “Aquadream presented challenges in the complexity of the design and execution, but with our collective expertise, we successfully designed and built the aquarium to fulfill the vision of the project while maintaining our strict safety standards.”

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Accommodation

WEEKLY NEWS

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Cristal Hotels & Resorts Expands in Lebanon Cristal Hotels & Resorts is set to open a new branch in Lebanon in a bid to increase its market presence and capitalise on future development projects.

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ith operations due to start this month, the new branch will pave the way for the company’s imminent regional expansion and development initiative, which is expected to add a total of 10 new properties to its growing portfolio. The new office will oversee the development and operation of the group’s upcoming properties in Lebanon as well as the Levant region with Peter Blackburn, president, Cristal Group Holdings, leading the team. “We are confident in meeting the hospitality needs across all segments of travellers within this region and we are looking forward

to start our new projects in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, which will be great additions to our existing portfolio of hotels in the UAE,” he explained. Aiming to be a premier business and leisure hotel operator in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, the company, which currently operates Cristal Abu Dhabi and Cristal Salam Hotel, has a carefully elaborated expansion plan with the aim to increase its portfolio to 25 properties within five to 10 years. “We see an opportunity across different segments and are equipped to meet the market needs with our various hotel brands for both mid-scale and upscale markets,” Blackburn added. “The overall strategy of offering

Check-in and Check-out as You Please Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced a new benefit, Your24, which is to abolish set check-in and check-out times for selected Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) elite members and introduce round-the-clock check-in at all Starwood hotels and resorts. Your24 is part of a suite of new elite benefits launching March 1, where members will be able to stay a full 24-hours, thus if they check in at 22.00, they can check out at 22.00 the next day. “We are constantly striving to make travel as personalised as possible for Starwood Preferred Guest members, and that means fresh thinking around long-standing industry practices. Your24 reflects very clearly that the preferences of our guests drive how we do business, and that’s another reason why Starwood and SPG have earned such intense loyalty with global travellers,” commented Mark Vondrasek, senior vice president, distribution, loyalty, and partnership marketing, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

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high-quality accommodation and services with reasonable price is one that fits well at any time, especially now that everyone is looking for extra value. Being able to cement our leadership position in the region with the opening of our new office in Lebanon is very gratifying and we are most grateful to our partners that continue to entrust their hotel assets to the Cristal Group for enabling this stellar performance. Adding this number of hotels to the network in the coming years has required us to invest significantly in our regional infrastructure to support both the new hotel openings as well as the existing hotel and in doing so ensuring our ability to sustain similar growth in the coming years.”


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WEEKLY NEWS

Accommodation

Palais Namaskar Joins Oetker Collection

Palais Namaskar

Palais Namaskar in Marrakech is to open as part of the Oetker Collection – Masterpiece Hotels on April 6. The resort is comprised of 41 suites, villas, and palaces, and sits amidst 50,000m2 of Balinese-inspired gardens, offering suites with private pools and Jacuzzis, and

a choice of three of four-bedroom palaces, for groups or families. The resort additionally boasts a variety of dining facilities, a tea lounge, and a roof bar. Furthermore, two double treatment rooms are available with a private Hamam and four individual cabins with private outdoor terraces, as well as a gym and a 1km jogging path surrounding the resort. In addition, Palais Namaskar offers guests its own private jet service, which operates from Casablanca Airport to Marrakech in just 30 minutes, as well as private car transfers available from various parts of Morocco. Frédéric Picard, general manager, Palais Namaskar, commented, “We are looking forward to welcoming guests to Palais Namaskar, where they will experience exceptional and unrivalled service in the most idyllic of settings. Palais Namaskar is about creating perfect moments and it will be our responsibility as a team to ensure that each guest experiences their's.”

Hyatt: Saudi Hat-Trick Hyatt Hotels Corporations is to enhance its presence in Saudi Arabia after a Hyatt affiliate entered into agreements with Naseel Holding Company to manage three new hotels in the Kingdom, bringing the total number of Hyatt-branded properties, under development across the country to six. Located on King Fahd Road, within close proximity to the Kingdom Center and the Al Faisaliya Tower, Park Hyatt Riyadh is slated for opening in the fourth quarter of 2015. Besides 275 rooms, including 50 suites, the hotel will feature three restaurants, a lounge, 1,450m2 of meeting and event space, a spa, and a fitness centre. Moreover, the 240-room Hyatt Regency Jeddah, also offering 30 suites, will feature three restaurants, 1,700m2 of meeting and event space, a spa, and a fitness centre, and is expected to welcome its first guests in the second half of 2015. Meanwhile, Grand Hyatt Jeddah, comprising 400 rooms, including 48 suites, will boast central location on the corner of Corniche Road with views of the Red Sea. Upon opening in early 2016, it will offer three restaurants, 5,700m2 of meeting and event space, a spa, and a fitness centre.

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Accommodation

The Nile Ritz-Carlton to Open in 2013

The Nile Ritz-Carlton

Arabian Construction Company (ACC) has been awarded a USD90 million contract to convert the historic Nile Hilton hotel into The Nile Ritz-Carlton, with the project expected to be completed in 18 months. Scheduled to welcome its first guests in 2013, the 13-storey hotel, that spans 64,000m2, will comprise 370 rooms. Owned by Misr Hotels, a subsidiary of the Holding Company For Tourism, Hotels & Cinema, the landmark hotel, which was initially built in 1959 along the famous river in the heart of downtown of Cairo, is undergoing extensive renovation, which will include interior finishing as well as mechanical electrical and plumbing works. Upon completion, the half-century old property will return as a modern benchmark for contemporary luxury hospitality worthy of The Ritz-Carlton brand, while, at the same time, preserving its iconic heritage. ACC’s prestigious portfolio includes some of the Middle East’s most luxurious towers, including Emirates Palace Hotel, Almas Tower, Princess Tower, Pentominium, Sky Towers, Etihad Towers, and Rotana Tower Amman, hailed the tallest building in Jordan.

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WEEKLY NEWS

Mercure Debuts in Dubai Accor has further expanded its Middle East portfolio with the opening of Mercure Gold Hotel Al Mina Road Dubai under a franchise agreement, marking the brand’s debut in Dubai. Situated close to Sheikh Zayed Road and Jumeirah Beach road, the modern four-star hotel provides easy access to the city’s bustling districts and business centres. The 184-room property, which offers guests a daily free shuttle service to the beach and shopping malls, is also in close proximity to the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre and Port Rashid. “We are delighted to add the franchised Mercure Gold Hotel Al Mina Road Dubai to our network of 19 Mercure properties in the Middle East which is also our first Accor hotel to open this year,” Christophe Landais, managing director, Accor Middle East, commented. Besides a variety of food and beverage outlets, the hotel features a meeting room along with a business centre, as well as a rooftop swimming pool, a spa, and a gym.

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WEEKLY NEWS

Air News

Air Seychelles to Fly to Abu Dhabi

Air Seychelles

Air Seychelles is to commence direct services between Abu Dhabi and Mahé, effective March 12. The announcement follows Etihad Airways’ step to acquire a 40 percent stake in the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles as part of a strategic partnership alliance initiative. Complementing the UAE-based carrier’s existing four weekly services from Abu Dhabi to Mahé, Air Seychelles will inaugurate two weekly return flights on the route, bringing the total number of services between the capitals to six, and to seven as of June. Deploying a Boeing 767-300ER series aircraft, Air Seychelles will offer a total of 844 seats each week. The additional services will be of benefit to passengers flying through Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi hub to the Far East, Australia, the Indian subcontinent, and the Gulf region. Travellers from key European markets, such as Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, and the UK, will enjoy convenient connectivity options in travel to Mahé and onward destinations across Air Seychelles’ extensive global network.

Emirates to Double Italy Flights In its drive forward into the European market, Emirates has announced a third daily flight to Milan, to commence on June 1, taking the number of weekly services offered to Italy to 49. The new flight, which will be operated by a 237-seat Airbus A330-200 in a three-class configuration, will leave Dubai at 03.40 and arrive in Milan Malpensa at 08.25, with the return flight to depart Milan at 11.10 and land in Dubai at 19.20. The latest expansion in Italy comes after news that the airline’s Venice flight would serve twice daily as of March 25.

Milan

Etihad Airways to Serve Lagos Etihad Airways has announced the launch of flights to Lagos, from July 1, subject to regulatory approvals, with six weekly services between Abu Dhabi and Lagos. Commenting on the airline's first flight into West Africa, James Hogan, CEO, Etihad Airways, said, “The launch of services to Lagos is consistent with our strategy of targeting areas of strong growth in emerging markets. The UAE is a major trade partner of Nigeria, which has a population of more than 150 million people, the largest in Africa and the seventh biggest in the world. The Lagos schedule will provide seamless connections over Abu Dhabi to key north and Southeast Asian destinations and markets in the Indian subcontinent and Australia.”

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Air News

WEEKLY NEWS

British Airways to Resume Libya Flights British Airways (BA) is to reintroduce scheduled services to Tripoli, effective as of May 1. The airline decided to halt operations to the Libyan capital city in February 2011 due to security concerns posed by the ongoing unrest in the country. After one year of suspension and a thorough security review in conjunction with the UK government and Libyan authorities, BA is poised to resume services between the countries. Expressing contentment on the reintroBritish Airways duced services, Keith Williams, CEO, BA, said, “We are delighted to be returning to Libya. Our flights to Tripoli have provided a vital economic link for many years, and it is good news for everyone that we can now restart operations.” BA will operate three weekly flights between London Heathrow Airport and Tripoli on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

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Egyptair Returns to Tokyo Egyptair is gearing up for the resumption of scheduled services to Tokyo, almost a year after Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. Starting April 12, the airline will operate two weekly non-stop services between its Cairo hub and the Japanese capital city. The re-introduced flights will depart Egypt on Sundays and Tuesdays and take off from Tokyo on Mondays and Wednesdays.


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WEEKLY NEWS

Air News

flydubai Adds Seventh Saudi Arabian Destination flydubai has commenced flights to Taif, marking its seventh destination in Saudi Arabia. The low-cost carrier, which launched services to the Kingdom in November 2010, now operates a total of 55 weekly flights between Dubai and seven destinations in Saudi Arabia, namely Riyadh, Jeddah, Yanbu, Gassim, Abha, Dammam, and Taif, a highly popular summer hotspot in the province of Mecca. “The UAE has boosted its commercial links with Saudi Arabia over the past year and the Kingdom is currently the UAE’s top non-oil trading partner,” Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, commented. “By covering the country’s main

commercial and leisure hubs, flydubai is supporting these relationships through offering regular travel between the two nations. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Saudi authorities for their support and assistance in making these flights possible,” he concluded. Due to its strategic location less than 100km from Mecca, the latest addition to the carrier’s network offers an alternative entry point for travellers performing Hajj and Umra. Furthermore, with its natural location on the slopes of the Sarawat Mountains, the city boasts rugged terrain and is also renowned across the Kingdom as the centre of a rich agricultural area.

flydubai

Qatar Airways Revives Tripoli Flights Qatar Airways resumed flights to Tripoli on February 2, from its Doha hub, after suspending operations in 2011. The route is being served three times weekly, via Alexandria, with further plans to increase capacity at a later date. Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, commented on the re-launching of the service, “Reviving the Tripoli flights, now that the political situation had eased, was a welcome boost to the airline’s operations, helping meet demand to and from the Libyan capital. Libya is an important market for us and it was unfortunate that unfolding events there had affected operations on safety grounds of all airlines flying to the country. We are delighted to be going back to Tripoli, and provide and help revive the much needed air transport system in the country after the difficulties of the past few months.”

Emirates and Alaska Airlines Collaborate Emirates and Alaska Airlines have announced the launch of a new frequent flyer partnership that will offer travellers the opportunity to obtain Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles when they fly to any of Emirates’ 118 destinations worldwide. In addition, Emirates Skywards members can also accumulate miles across the Alaska Airlines network in the US, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Canada and Mexico, with miles flown on Emirates counting towards qualification for Alaska’s Most Valued Passenger elite level programme. Commenting on the partnership, Nigel Page, senior vice president, commercial operations, Americas, Emirates, explained, “As part of our commitment to Seattle, we are launching our service by partnering with Seattle’s hometown airline to offer customers the convenience of a frequent flyer partnership as well as one-stop check-in and through checked baggage, providing easier access to a vast range of points across the US, Canada, and Mexico.”

11 FEBRUARY 2012


WHO'S MOVED

Nitem Roedel Nitem Roedel has been is now looking forward to take named marketing and com- on board new responsibilities munications manager of in her role. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City. Roedel, who started her caOver the years, she reer in the hospitality industry gained valuable experiin hotel sales in Istanbul, took ence within the market on her first Middle East assignis now looking forward ment to pursue her passion for to take on board new client relations further. Over responsibilities in the years, she gained valuable her role experience within the market

Emilie Pignol Emilie Pignol has been appointed director of sales and marketing of Palais Namaskar, Oetker Collection’s latest addition to its Masterpiece Hotels, in Marrakech, Morocco, scheduled to open in spring. Pignol will be in charge of promoting the property across all markets with the support of Oetker Collection. Having held the position of

Bertrand Margerie Bertrand Margerie has been appointed hotel manager of Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea. The seasoned hotelier, who brings 24 years of experience to his role, most recently worked as managing partner and director of La Maison Villa Hotel in Phuket, Thailand. Margerie's more than 12 years of managerial experience exclusively with InterContinental Hotels Group, in-

11 FEBRUARY 2012

cludes various positions with a number of properties, such as Carlton InterContinental, InterContinental Le GrandParis, OkoumĂŠ Palace InterContinental, and InterContinental Dubai.

Margerie brings 24 years of experience to his new role

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director of sales and marketing of Angsana Riads Collection, Pignol has extensive knowledge of Morocco, and Marrakech in particular. After graduating from the International Business School in Nice, with a Master in Business Administration, she held various sales roles with Le MĂŠridien, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as well as Concorde Hotels & Resorts.

Lydia Kholud Rafea Lydia Kholud Rafea has been appointed director of sales and marketing at Hotel Missoni, Kuwait. Rafea started her career in the hospitality industry as sales manager at Grand Hotel Esplanade, Berlin, Germany, before joining the opening team of Concorde Hotels & Resorts, Berlin. She then went on to hold various sales positions, with her most recent

role being director of sales of Regent, Berlin. Over the years, Rafea gained extensive experience in national and international sales and marketing, as well as business development and strategic planning. In her new position, she will be responsible for all sales and marketing, as well as public relations activities at the hotel.


TRAVEL TALK

travel talk is your space

12

Wayne Pearce

Faisal Al Raisi

CEO, Oman Air.

Managing partner, Ideal Idea Events.

“We are delighted to have been appointed as official carrier for the Muscat Festival 2012. We anticipate that [this edition] will attract even more international visitors than the two million who came along in 2011 to experience the true essence of Oman. The Muscat Festival has become a key parat of Oman Air’s calendar and provides an ideal opportunity to promote both domestic and international tourism, as well as to encourage greater appreciation of Oman’s rich culture and long history.”

“It is clear that bilateral relations between the UAE and South Korea are moving from strength to strength as both countries continue to explore new avenues to promote mutual growth and development. Trade volume between the two countries has reached USD23 billion in 2011, establishing South Korea as one of the key trading partners of the UAE and opening more opportunities for socioeconomic cooperation.”

Majid Al Qassimi

David Thomson

Assistant associate veterinarian, Al Ain Zoo.

Regional general manager, Jebel Ali International Hotels.

“As a former student of veterinary medicine, I fully support the Higher Colleges of Technology’s (HCT) initiative to extend this great field of [new veterinary studies programme] to fellow Emiratis and other avid science enthusiasts. With the huge variety of animals here at Al Ain Zoo, as well as the UAE’s strong focus on sustainability and environmental conservation, there is a clear need for more professionals in this line of work and the HCT is providing a great solution to meet this growing demand.”

“Hadiya [the new programme that will reward corporate bookers for their loyalty at any of Jebel Ali International Hotel’s luxury properties] is an extension of our commitment to develop a long-term business relationship with our corporate clients. We value our contracted corporate business very much and since we are just about to announce some very exciting portfolio additions, this is great timing for the launch.”

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, and observations to editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel

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AGENT'S CORNER

AGENT'S INSIGHT

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Travelport Agreement with Satguru Travel & Tourism

NAME: Waleed Al Abdulkader POSITION: Managing director COMPANY: Total Holidays LOCATION: Saudi Arabia WEBSITE: www.tholidays.com Who are you? My name is Waleed Al Abdulkader and in 2006, I founded Total Holidays as one of the dedicated global wholesale travel companies, with a network of 14 offices and sale points in 12 countries worldwide. Through our established network of offices, we provide ground services in over 700 cities worldwide with an online reservation system covering more than 46,000 hotels worldwide. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? The thing I love most about this career is public relations, as it keeps me close to people and helps me to expand my contacts worldwide. I also love serving our guests, advising them with my travel knowledge and experience with where to go and what to do and at the end make sure that they will be back and happy, and satisfied with our services. When is the best time to visit Saudi Arabia? Actually, there is no specific season that I would say is the best time. In summer, you can enjoy different activities, which are totally different than the ones that are on offer in winter. But personally, I prefer February to May, as in spring you can do lot of things from desert safaris, desert camps, and much more. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? For my next holiday I would like to travel to Europe or the US. Why should people come to you for travel advice? Every travel agency has its own unique selling points, and for us as a wholesaler, dealing with travel agencies as our end guests, we are proud to be the following: Being in touch 24-hours; loyal and very credible to our customers; and share our profits with them and not compete with them. We are also very flexible with our clients, in addition to being the only wholesaler in Saudi Arabia with a full office set up from accounts and operations to sales and management.

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Beach, Sierra Leone

Travelport has announced a historic distributor agreement with Satguru Travel & Tourism, Africa’s largest travel company outside of South Africa. Through the new 16-country distributor agreement, the largest of its kind ever signed by Travelport, the Global Distribution System (GDS) provider will grow its African network from 27 to 41 countries and grow its existing GDS operations in a further two. Travelport will also offer cus-

Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, and Togo. Commenting on the strategic agreement, Mark Meehan, managing director, Travelport, Africa, noted, “The deal we are announcing today with Satguru is a huge milestone for Travelport and represents a giant leap forward in our African ambitions. There are huge opportunities for us to grow our

The deal we are announcing today with Satguru is a huge milestone for Travelport and represents a giant leap forward in our African ambitions tomers a number of Satguru Travel & Tourism’s industry-leading ecommerce applications, as part of the deal. In 2011, flight bookings made through the GDS channel in Africa increased by 7.7 percent and the trend looks set to continue as economists predict that the average GDP across the continent will increase by 4.7 percent this year and 5.7 percent in 2013. Under the agreement, Satguru Travel & Tourism will set up operations and run the National Distributor Centres for Travelport in Burkina Faso, Central African

business across the continent and it’s great to be working with such an outstanding partner who has a very strong track record in Africa.” Further commenting, Anil Chandirani, managing director, Satguru Travel & Tourism, said, “Our partnership with Travelport will allow us to distribute the Galileo platform to a very extensive travel agency community in Africa. We believe our travel industry expertise combined with Travelport’s leading technology and deep travel content, will ensure our combined success as we move forward with our plans.”


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TRAVEL CHANNELS

The Mediterranean’s Future The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Ministry of Tourism, Tunisia, are to organise an international conference regarding the future of Mediterranean tourism, on the island of Djerba on April 16 –17.

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ommenting on the importance of the region's tourism industry and the forthcoming event, Taleb Rifai, secretary general, UNWTO, said, “While the Mediterranean may be the most visited region in the world, with over 200 million tourist arrivals a year, it also faces numerous challenges; political, environmental, and social. The conference in Djerba would offer an opportunity to tack stock of tourism trends in the region and adopt a ‘shared vision’

to adequately face these challenges.” Pointing towards the significance of holding the conference in Djerba, Elyes Fakhfakh, minister of tourism, Tunisia, said, “Tunisia has decided its leadership and, with the determination of its youth, has embarked on a new, dynamic future in which tourism is clearly a sector vital to growth.” Fakhfakh expressed the need for Mediterranean countries to come together in forums such as the Conference on the Future of Mediter-

ranean Tourism to share experiences and work together to maintain competitiveness. “We, in Tunisia, have a rich history and it is our objective to advance the promotion of our cultural assets as a means to diversify our tourism offer and bring our people closer to the sector,” he added. The conference will address how the Mediterranean region can continue to attract large numbers of visitors in the face of sustainability challenges and competition from other world regions.

DTCM: Successful Strategy, Further Prospects

Increased Passenger Demand, Decreased Load Factors

The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) recently invited key players of the tourism industry to review the emirate's performance in 2011 and discuss further prospects and strategies. Chaired by Khalid Bin Sulayem, director general, DTCM, the meeting highlighted DTCM's recent initiatives as well as future strategy plans to boost overall tourism. Bin Sulayman also remarked on the great significance of the cooperation between the government and the private sector, which sustains the industry's permanent development amid the challenging economic climate. Praising the concentrated efforts and the vital role DTCM played in the industry’s recent bloom, Ghassan Aridi, CEO, Alpha Tours, defined 2011 as one of the best years for Dubai tourism. Meanwhile, others remarked on the organisation's successfully decisive and helping part in overcoming the multiple challenges faced by the industry from both the global and regional sphere. David Thomson, regional general manager, Jebel Ali International Hotel, expressed, "They have championed the destination in every corner of the world and have allowed Dubai’s travel trade to achieve a far greater voice than many of the larger and more established tourist destinations.”

In line with long-term growth trends, passenger demand in the global aviation industry rose 5.9 percent in 2011, based on the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) full year report. With a slight decline over the 2010 levels, passenger load factors for 2011 averaged at 78.1 percent. Commenting on the figures, Tony Tyler, CEO, IATA, expressed, “Given the weak conditions in western economies, the passenger market held up well in 2011.” Overall, international air travel increased 6.9 percent in 2011, reflecting a significant growth of 6.2 percent recorded between February and July 2011, compared with 1.2 percent between September and December 2011. International capacity at the same time climbed 8.2 percent, pushing passenger load factor down to 77.4 percent. Middle Eastern carriers reported an increase of 8.9 percent in traffic, against a 9.7 percent growth in capacity, putting pressure on load factors, which at 75.4 percent, was the lowest except for Africa. December, however, ended on a positive note, with traffic up 11.7 percent against an 11 percent rise in capacity and a load factor of 77.1 percent.

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RENDEZVOUS

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Q & A with Sophia Paraskeva An increase in Cyprus tourism looks set with the Limassol Marina already in progress guaranteed to secure the island on the yachting and luxury tourism map. Expressing her views on this highly anticipated project, Sophia Paraskeva, public relations officer, Limassol Marina, talks about how this will be the new focal point of the city.

Travel Trade Weekly: How will the development boost tourism in Limassol, and Cyprus as a whole? Sophia Paraskeva: First and foremost, Limassol Marina is set to firmly position Cyprus on the nautical yachting map, something long overdue for an island in such a fantastic geographical location. Located at the crossroads of three continents, it boasts a relaxed pace of life and high standards of living. Set to change the face of Limassol and attract visitors seeking a certain level of quality in the services available to them, Limassol Marina will present the motive for tourists to increase the duration of their stay and plan a return visit. Limassol Marina will be the new focal point of the city; a thriving hub with a pedestrian promenade, restaurants, shops, cafĂŠs, boutiques, a spa, parking facilities, and exclusive properties, all with views of the marina and the yachts dotted in the blue horizon. Travel Trade Weekly: How many berths will be available? Are they all for the residence or also for tourists? Sophia Paraskeva: Limassol Marina will have the capacity to accommodate up to 650 yachts, from eight to 115m in length. Operated by internationally renowned Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, it will be ready to welcome the first yachts by the end of the year. There are no restrictions to the usage of available berths at Limassol Marina, but, at this present time, they can be secured by residential owners only. Buyers proceeding with the signing of a contract for one of the apartments, penthouses, or beach access villas, can secure

11 FEBRUARY 2012

their berth in the marina. Owners of one of the Peninsula or Island Villas, with a private berth, automatically acquire the mooring space attached to their garden.

Sophia Paraskeva Public relations officer, Limassol Marina

tion. Tourists can choose between the secluded beaches, five-star hotels, championship golf courses, art galleries and museums, and outdoor activities available all year round, and much more. Travel Trade Weekly: Are you only focusing on the luxury tourism sector or will you be targeting other sectors too? Sophia Paraskeva: Aside from yachting and nautical tourism, we are creating a destination; an attraction for people seeking a diverse place to visit on holiday. The super yacht owner with a crew of 20 may be completely different to the owner of a villa with his yacht moored outside his house, or the family with a holiday apartment, or the visitor and tourists lunching at one of the restaurants. We make no exceptions; all these people are of interest to us. Travel Trade Weekly: Are you collaborating with other tourism authorities?

Travel Trade Weekly: How do you plan to attract international tourists? Sophia Paraskeva: Projecting the accurate image of Limassol Marina, the surrounding area, Limassol town, and Cyprus, to our international markets, is of the essence. Limassol, itself, and our EUR350 million (USD455 million) project walk hand in hand in all our promotional activities. We are selling a lifestyle and a destination; the two can not be set apart. Limassol can appeal to such a broad spectrum of people, regardless of their lifestyle choices. The fantastic flight connections and easy access to two international airports, makes for an ideal destina-

Sophia Paraskeva: Absolutely. We are in constant communication with the Limassol Tourism Development Company and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation to ensure updates and images of the Marina, and its development progress, are relayed accurately to all markets. We provide support and work in a joint effort to portray the correct image of our island and town to influential groups, key figures, agents, press, and anyone who has the potential to act as an ambassador for the town. Anyone visiting Limassol or Cyprus will have a prior knowledge of the Marina before arriving here due to this close collaboration.


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NEWS & EVENTS

World Routes Returns to Abu Dhabi The 18th World Route Development Forum is returning to Abu Dhabi, 16 years after the UAE’s capital first hosted what is being heralded as one of the largest global events of its kind. Hosted by Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), and supported by official carrier Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, the event will take place between September 28 – October 2. With early registrations already indicating a strong presence from all regions, this year’s show is set to become the largest in its history with over 2,750 air service industry professionals expected to attend. “Abu Dhabi Airports Company was eager to host 2012 World Routes in the UAE Capital to offer a unique opportunity to all of the show delegates to explore this innovative city and experience its offerings,” said James Bennett, CEO, ADAC, adding, “We are working closely with all stakeholders to ensure we deliver a comprehensive programme that will exceed all expectations and showcase the true identity of Abu Dhabi.”

Rewards for Corporate Bookers Jebel Ali International Hotels has launched Hadiya, a dedicated programme that will reward corporate bookers for their loyalty at any of the hospitality company’s luxury properties. As of February, corporate clients who become Hadiya members will be able to collect and redeem points on room and apartment reservations, dining, conferences and events. David Thomson, regional general manager, Jebel Ali International Hotels, commented on the new programme, “We value our contracted corporate business very much and since we’re just about to announce some very exciting portfolio additions, this is great timing for the launch.”

EVENTS Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo Melbourne, Australia, February 21 – 22, 2012 (www.aime.com.au) A must attend event in the region for the meetings and events industry, offering a platform to discover the latest ideas, network and conclude business plans.

The International Hotel Investment Forum Berlin, Germany, March 2 – 5, 2012 (www.berlinconference.com) The conference programme includes interviews with leading hoteliers, forecasts from top economists, panel discussions on the latest developments, trends, and best practice in the industry.

ITB Berlin Berlin, Germany, March 7 – 11, 2012 (www.itb-berlin.de) The world’s leading travel trade show, offering a platform for trade visitors to meet business partners and have the opportunity to do business.

GIBTM Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 26 – 28, 2012 (www.gibtm.com) The leading event for business travel in the GCC region, unlocking business potential within the Middle East for all professionals.

MITT Moscow, Russia, March 21 – 24, 2012 (www.mitt.ru) Russia’s leading travel exhibition, with over 3,000 participating companies and 185 destinations, this is a key meeting and networking place for the industry

China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market Beijing, China, April 18 – 20, 201 (www.cottm.com) A business-to-business exhibition, which provides a platform for international tourism boards and travel services to meet with China’s key outbound tour operators.

11 FEBRUARY 2012

Profile for T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly LTD

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 118  

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

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 118  

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

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