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11 AUGUST 2012

ISSUE 144

Abu Dhabi: Increased Visitor Volume 1.2 million guests, up 14 percent from 2011, checked into hotels and hotel apartments in Abu Dhabi during the first half of the year.

Saudi Arabia’s capital city, Riyadh has welcomed its first Best Western International (BWI) hotel.

03 Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus Integrate Even Further Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus have signed an interline and codeshare agreement following the recent equity purchase of the Irish carrier.

08 IN THIS ISSUE MARKET UPDATE WEEKLY NEWS ACCOMMODATION AIR NEWS INTERNATIONAL WHO’S MOVED TRAVEL TALK AGENT’S CORNER TRAVEL CHANNELS RENDEZVOUS NEWS & EVENTS

02 04 06 08 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Riyadh Welcomes First BWI Hotel

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MARKET UPDATE

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi mary@traveltradeweekly.travel JOURNALISTS Stefanie Saghbini Rita Kasziba Dominique Christou

Royal Jet: Record Summer Royal Jet, the Abu Dhabi-based international luxury flight service company has recorded its best summer results to date, driven by increased flying hours and the success of newly introduced destinations.

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SALES & MARKETING Maria Demetriadou Derek Lainsbury 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

he total number of flying hours across the entire fleet improved 19 percent compared to the same period in 2011. The encouraging performance levels follow the company’s record performance in the first quarter (Q1) of the year which delivered a year-on-year revenue increase of 15 percent. UK, Switzerland, France, Germany and

Saudi Arabia, remained Royal Jet’s top destinations while its routes to the US and Asia also continued to gain popularity. Meanwhile, the Boeing Business Jets’ flying hours rose 25 percent, accounting to almost three-quarters of the total flying hours. According to Shane O’Hare, president, Royal Jet, the team at the company continues to raise the bar following a record year in 2011 and the airline’s best ever Q1 performance.

Bahrain Air: Robust Demand Growth

www.traveltradeweekly.travel EMAILS info@traveltradeweekly.travel sales@traveltradeweekly.travel editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel

Following a challenging period, travellers are regaining their confidence in Bahrain as the second quarterly report of the kingdom’s national carrier, Bahrain Air, indicated. For the three-month period, passenger volume increased by 57 percent, while average load factors stood at 78 percent as compared to 59 percent recorded in the corresponding period in 2011. The average aircraft utilisation showed a 45 percent improvement averaging at 13.1 hours per day. The clear improvements in market conditions along with the airline’s continued investment in product and services have paid rich dividends, noted Richard Nuttal, CEO, Bahrain Air.

MENA EXCHANGE RATES Accurate as of

10/08/2012 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar

COUNTRY

CURRENCY

1USD=

UAE (AED)

Dirham

3.67

Egypt (EGP)

Pound

6.08

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

65.57

Kuwait (KWD)

Dinar

0.28

Qatar (QAR)

Riyal

3.64

Oman (OMR)

Rial

0.38

Tunisia (TND)

Dinar

1.62

Morocco (MAD)

Dirham

8.95

Iran (IRR)

Riyal

12,275.00

Yemen (YER)

Rial

214.06

Algeria (DZD)

Dinar

82.37

Libya (LYD)

Dinar

1.26

Traffic Up at Oman Airports

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uscat International Airport welcomed a total of 3,749,000 passengers in the first half (H1) of the year, marking a robust 20 percent increase over the corresponding period in 2011, based on data compiled by Oman Airports Management Company. During the six-month period, the number of arriving passengers rose 23 percent to reach over 1,893,700, while the volume of departing passengers climbed 18 percent to

over 1,808,300. Meanwhile, the airport witnessed a total of 36,250 civil aircraft movements, up nine percent over H1 2011. At Salalah Airport, passenger traffic improved 25 percent with over 294,200 travellers passing through the terminals, while civil aircraft movements totalled in 2,750, representing a year-on-year growth of 28 percent, thanks to increased capacity and frequencies by existing carriers and new airlines launching services to the country’s airports. 11 AUGUST 2012


MARKET UPDATE

Abu Dhabi: Increased Visitor Volume

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n the first six months of the year, 1,189,995 guests checked into hotels and hotel apartments in Abu Dhabi, marking a yearon-year increase of 14 percent and accounting for over 3.4 million guest nights. Over the six month period, the emirate achieved over 2.5 million room nights, up eight percent over the corresponding period in 2011, while total revenue rose two percent. Although visitor volume from the UK slipped two percent, it still remained the emirate’s main overseas market, followed by India and Germany, while the emerging markets of China and Russia also delivered promising results.

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Saudi Arabia: 2.9 Million Inbound Trips The number of inbound trips to Saudi Arabia reached 2.9 million in the first quarter of the year, during which tourists spent more than SAR7.1 billion (USD1.89 million), according to a report released by Tourist Informational and Research Center (MAS), the statistical arm of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities. The largest volume of visitors arrived from the MENA region particularly from Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Egypt, with the number of flights reaching 1.6 million, followed by nations in South Asia, with 360,000 trips.

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DXB: Busiest Half Year Ever

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ubai International (DXB) recorded the busiest first half-year in its history, with over 27.9 million passengers passing through its terminals between January

and June. Based on Dubai Airports’ report, in June alone, the airport handled 4,714,746 passengers, up 16 percent over the same month in 2011, bringing the total figure for the first half of the year to 27,931,639, a year-onyear increase of 13.7 percent, while average monthly passenger traffic stood at 4.65 million. The top destinations with the greatest passenger volumes include India, Saudi Arabia, UK, Pakistan, and the US.


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WEEKLY NEWS

Saudi Al Ogair Project Gets Green Light The Saudi Council of Ministers has approved the allocation of a financial support of SAR1.4 billion (USD373 million) for the highly anticipated Al Ogair project.

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Al Ogair project

Shurooq Unveils New Projects The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has embarked on its latest project, the Al Hisn Island in Dibba Al Hisn in the Eastern region of the emirate. The new leisure and tourism development will include a water canal along with a number of cafés and restaurants as well as various other facilities, revealed H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO, Shurooq, adding that the project is set to raise the level of services offered in the area. Al Hisn Island joins Shurooq’s previously announced projects in the region including the AED420 million (USD114 million) The Chedi Khorfakkan Resort, scheduled to open in 2015. Al Sarkal also outlined plans to develop the Khorfakkan Corniche and add new amenities to the area. Moreover, he revealed the completion of the preliminary studies of Al Badayer; a new leisure project set to comprise an integrated and self-sustained tourism complex, an outdoor theatre, tourist information centre, and other amenities. Work is also underway at the Kabla Eco-tourism Project.

argeting mainly the Saudi and expatriate families residing in the Kingdom, the site will comprise a host of leisure facilities including tourist accommodation and housing as well as conference and training facilities, offering feasible investment opportunities. Other features of the project area will include the seacoasts, archaeological sites, urban heritage sites, a commercial centre, offices, warehouses, retails stores, entertainment centres, sports and educational facilities, health care centres, parks, services, and related infrastructure. The programme, aimed at developing coastal tourism with large-scale mixed-use recreation facilities, will be developed in three 10-year phases, whereas the beaches and the seacoast are set to start receiving visitors in 2016. Al Ogair Development Company’s investment is expected to reach SAR17 billion (USD4.5 billion), while the total public investment on the destination is forecasted to exceed SAR34 billion (USD9 billion), which comes in line with the Kingdom’s endeavours to prolong the period of tourist stay and increase tourist expenditure, limiting the impact of seasonal fluctuations and creating job opportunities.

Travelport Teams up with Cozmo Travels Travelport has announced a new agreement with Cozmo Travels, a leading travel management company in the Middle East which saw a comprehensive testing of Travelport’s ground-breaking Universal Desktop begin at the agency this month. With operations across the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, the collaboration makes Cozmo Travelport's first Middle East customer to benefit from the application which streamlines the travel booking process within a single, powerful platform. Through Travelport Universal Desktop, Cozmo Travels will gain access to advanced desktop functionality including the ability to seamlessly combine all components of the travel itinerary and centrally manage profile and policy information, all within the highly configurable desktop. According to Rabih Saab, president, Middle East and Africa, Travelport, the application will take Cozmo’s client service to a new level, bringing a vast range of products into a single platform.

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WEEKLY NEWS

Best Western Debuts in Riyadh Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh has welcomed its first Best Western International (BWI) hotel. Located on King Abdul-Aziz Road, the 10-storey Best Western Orchid Hotel is in close proximity to major companies and government departments in downtown Riyadh. Besides 86 rooms and suites, the hotel comprises an all-day dining restaurant, fitness centre, and a range of facilities for corporate guests. “Best Western International foresees a bright future for Saudi Arabia,” emphasised Glenn de Souza, vice president, international operations, BWI. “With a fast-growing economy driving the business travel sector and pilgrimage traffic that is going from strength-to-strength, demand for hotel accommodation in the Kingdom will grow exponentially in the next decade. And with more than 1,500 comfortable, convenient hotel rooms expected coming on line by 2015, BWI will be at the forefront of this exciting country’s travel and tourism boom.”

Accommodation

Radisson Blu Hotel Doha Being Renovated Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s recently opened flagship hotel in Qatar, Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha, is being completely renovated. The 583-room hotel, which officially started operating under the Radisson Blu brand in July, has embarked on extensive upgrades. “The bedrooms in the east wing of the hotel are currently undergoing major renovations, which will be completed in early 2013,” explained Mark Willis, area vice president, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, adding that each member of the hotel’s team now flies the Radisson Blu flag and embraces the brand’s ‘Yes I Can’ spirit.

Radisson Blu Hotel Doha

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WEEKLY NEWS

Air News

Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus Integrate Even Further Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus have signed an historic interline and codeshare agreement which follows the UAE national airline’s recent 2.987 percent equity purchase of the Irish carrier. Under the deal, Etihad Airways will place its ‘EY’ code on Aer Lingus flights between Dublin, Manchester, and London Heathrow, and destinations in Ireland, the British Isles, the Channel Islands, Portugal, the Netherlands, and the US. In return, Aer Lingus will place its ‘EI’ code on Etihad Airways’ flights between Abu Dhabi and Dublin, and have full access to services across the network beyond Abu Dhabi, to points including Australia, Asia-Pacific, the Indian subcontinent, and the Middle East.

Air Arabia’s New Safety Video Featuring Children In a first for the aviation sector in the Arab world, an in-flight safety film developed by Air Arabia features a group of children, the airline’s youngest flight crew members, briefing passengers about on-board safety instructions. Child stewards, dressed in Air Arabia outfits, have replaced the actual crew members and are currently greeting passengers through the aircrafts’ inside television monitors. In the video, developed in English and Arabic, the children are seen interacting with children passengers and instructing them about safety with the help of colourful drawings and animation pictures.

James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, said, “We are delighted to announce this new codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus which will provide Etihad Airways’ customers with new travel options and flight connections to Ireland, the UK, continental Europe, and across the Atlantic to Boston and New York. The codeshare agreement is an early indication of the success of Etihad Airways’ strategic plan to acquire equity in Aer Lingus and other airlines and the instant benefit it brings to both airlines’ customers around the world.” Initially, members of the Etihad Guest loyalty programme will be able to earn miles on Aer Lingus codeshare flights and further integration of frequent flyer programmes is under discussion.

Emirates A380 to Amsterdam Emirates’ A380 route network has extended to the Netherlands with the launch of operations to Amsterdam. Emirates is the first carrier to offer a scheduled A380 service to the Netherlands, after just two years since its first flight to the capital. The double decker will operate as EK0147, departing Dubai to Amsterdam daily, and will become the 19th A380 destination among a host of major cities around the world.

Air France and KLM to Launch In-flight Connectivity Air France and KLM, in partnership with Panasonic Avioanic, are to roll out a joint in-flight connectivity programme on board their long-haul flights, with trials to begin in 2013 on two Boeing 777300s, operated by each airline. The partnership will enable customers to stay connected through text messages or emails as well as Internet connection and ultimately through live broadcasts of TV programmes, offering passengers access to a broad scope of data communication during the flight and a range of free services on the in-flight website.

Emirates’ A380 arrives in Amsterdam

According to Thierry Antinori, executive vice president, passenger sales worldwide, Emirates, the airline is responding to strong demand by bringing its flagship aircraft to one of Europe’s most important trading and logistics hubs, adding much-needed seat capacity of more than 2,000 a week, which will stimulate further tourism and trade between the Netherlands, UAE and beyond.

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WEEKLY NEWS

International

Le Méridien to Debut in Bangladesh Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced the signing of Le Méridien Dhaka, slated to open in July 2013, marking the second property under the hotel brand in Bangladesh. Owned by Best Holdings, the 304-room hotel will be located close to the capital’s international airport with easy access to the city's central business district. Le Méridien Dhaka will span between the eighth and 15th floors of a new mixed-use development and offer guests views of the capital from the building's rooftop. Four food and beverage venues, including an all-day dining restaurant and specialty restaurant and bar, will offer distinctive culinary experiences for guests and locals alike, while the hotel will also house a fitness centre fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and a spa.

Seven-star Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa Opens. Jumeirah Group has opened the first and only seven-star hotel in Port Soller, Mallorca; Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa, which is set Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa to bring a new standard of luxury to the Spanish island. The resort which boasts a cliff-side location, consists of 120 rooms and suites, ranging from superior and deluxe rooms with sea, mountain, and port views, to junior and executive suites. To ensure guests receive top quality service, Jumeirah Group, which also manages luxury hotels and resorts in the UAE, London, New York, and Shanghai, purchased three Club Car low speed vehicles (LSV) 2+2 cars, which transport up to four passengers, for residents to circulate within the complex, and four Club Car Carryall LSV 6s for hotel employees to carry out maintenance and upkeep work. Club Car’s LSVs were chosen by the group’s senior executives as they are known to provide a more powerful electric battery and a range of 48km per charge, said to be the most effective and efficient in the industry.

BWI Launches in Serbia Best Western International (BWI) has continued its fast-paced global expansion with the opening of the first chic, contemporary Best Western Plus hotel in Serbia; Best Western Plus Hotel Park. Located in the historic city of Ruma, the new property marks the entry of the modern, upscale Best Western Plus hotel collection in Serbia. “This latest opening is further evidence of the major impact the Best Western Plus brand has had since its international launch in 2011,” said Glenn de Souza, vice president, international operations, Asia and Middle East, BWI. The hotel offers 73 rooms and suites, along with a restaurant and bar, a conference room seating up to 100 people in theatre style, and a banqueting hall able to host 300 guests.

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WHO'S MOVED

Jamal Al Azki Jamal Al Azki has been appointed assistant country manager of the UK and Ireland at Oman Air. Based in the airline’s UK office in Chiswick, London, he will focus on increasing sales and ensuring customer satisfaction. He takes on the role after serving as district sale manager for Oman, a role he

has held since 2009. The newly created position is expected to help cater to the specific demands of the large Arabic-speaking customer bases living in the UK, and reflects Oman Air’s commitment to the training and career development of its staff into progressively more senior positions.

Wael El Behi Wael El Behi has been promoted to general manager at Ramada Downtown Dubai. El Behi joined the property in June 2011 as executive assistant manager and assumed the acting general manager role in September the same year. Prior to moving to Ramada Downtown Dubai, he was with Coral Hotels & Resorts, holding various managerial positions. As general manager, he was responsible for the opening of Suha Hotel Apart-

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ments in Jumeirah Beach Residence in 2009, continuing later as director of business development with Auris Hotel Management. Having worked in the industry for nearly two decades, El Behi brings extensive knowledge in sales, marketing, and operations to the role, in which he aims to maintain the hotel’s reputation as one of the preferred addresses in the Downtown area of Dubai for both local and international visitors.

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Janet Abrahams Janet Abrahams has re-joined InterContinental Hotels & Resorts after having been appointed cluster director of sales and marketing for Phoenicia Beirut and Le Vendôme Beirut. Having long worked in international luxury hotel sales and marketing in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, Abrahams brings a wealth of experience

and connections to the role. Most recently, she served as area director of sales and marketing, in charge of the Levant region, for Kempinski. She will focus on enhancing business relations within the key regional markets and strategically marketing both the destination and the properties to emerging global clients.


TRAVEL TALK

travel talk is your space

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Peter Hoesli

Mohamed Ali Al Noman

Regional general manager, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Jordan.

Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.

“Re-certification [of all five Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in Jordan for another year] by Green Globe endorses our on-going commitment to sustainability. We are constantly re-examining our processes and procedures to improve our environmental impact and have implemented extensive trainings across all our hotels, to ensure every employee can play a positive role in sustainable good practice.”

“We have been trying to turn international focus on Sharjah’s magnificent East Coast and attract more international visitors with special events and festivals. We hosted a very successful H20 Nations Cup Powerboat Championship in March. So this increased attention on Sharjah and the East Coast by international luxury cruise passengers is indeed a welcome development and goes well with our strategy.”

Ziyad Bin Mahfouz President, Elaf Group of Companies.

“We are fully committed towards leveraging our market focus and extensive industry experience to provide our guests with the most comfortable experience during their stay with us. All of our Elaf hotels are known for their features like excellent location, the finest of amenities, convenient and world class services that give you a ‘home away from home’ feeling and a highly skilled and friendly staff who are dedicated to serving guests.”

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 NAME: Chara Georgiadou POSITION: Country Manager, Mediterranean COMPANY: trivago LOCATION: Germany WEB: www.trivago.gr Who are you? My name is Chara Georgiadou and I was born and raised in Athens. I have been living in Germany for the last eight years and in 2008 I joined the trivago family where I took the Greek platform of trivago under my responsibility. At the moment, I work as country manager for the Mediterranean. Trivago is Europe’s largest hotel price comparison website which allows users to compare hotel prices from over 100 booking sites for more than 500,000 hotels worldwide with just a few clicks. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? The fact that I get the chance to work together with people from all around the world. Visiting different cities and experiencing the cultures of the places I visit is really exciting and interesting to me. When is the best time to visit Germany? The best time for someone to visit Germany is Christmas. If the visitors can cope with cold temperatures then I would definitely suggest December, when the holiday season is at its peak. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? My next holiday will definitely be in Greece and more specifically in Andros Island. I am fortunate enough to come from a country that offers great options for holidays. For me visiting Greece is an opportunity to visit family and friends as well as discovering new, small paradises. Why should people come to you for travel advice? trivago compares, in real time, all available prices for specific dates and destinations from more than 100 websites. Every month, 18 million users trust trivago as their starting point for travel research. The company helps users find their ideal hotel and book it for the lowest possible rate. We are here to give you the best travel experience you can get for your money.

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Sabre Launches Virtual Meetings System Sabre has introduced its awardwinning, patent pending platform to shop and schedule high definition (HD) video conference meetings globally. Sabre Virtual Meetings, the world’s first global reservation system for video conferencing, pro-

vides an easy-to-use, cloud-based scheduling system for private and public rooms and connects to multiple telecom and video conferencing providers to facilitate real-time shopping, live scheduling, and confirmation simultaneously across multiple enterprises.

Al Bustan Centre & Residence Hosts Travel Agents Al Bustan Centre & Residence recently welcomed 20 travel agents from Kiev as part of a familiarisation trip organised for Natalia Tours. “We hope this familiarisation tour gave them first-hand experience of the extensive services and facilities we offer thus helping them in promoting Al Bustan Centre & Residence to their customers,” Yasser Moussa, director, revenue and business development, Al Bustan Centre & Residence, commented.


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TRAVEL CHANNELS

Singapore Popular for UAE Business Travellers UAE business travellers heading to Singapore are contributing to the rising percentage of corporate visitors to the country, according to Dubai-based tourism board officials.

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he number of business travellers overall has also continued to surge, comprising 24 percent of the total visitors to Singapore while some AED16 billion (USD4.4 billion) in expenditure from this sector contributed to around 25 percent of the total tourism receipts. Following a record year in 2011, when the country welcomed over 13.2 million visitors, it was recently reported that Singapore’s MICE industry saw a 46 percent yearon-year growth in the number of key conventions, conference, and tradeshows in 2011. “Singapore has been increasingly evolving as the preferred destination for business travellers in addition to families and students,” said Mohamed Hafez Marican, area director, Middle East and Africa, Singapore Tourism Board.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Raising Money for UNICEF Frits van Paasschen, CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, together with 25 other executives and associates of the hotel brand, is gearing up to participate in the company's fifth annual Road to Awareness bike ride challenge. The team will follow a training regime developed by Mark Verstegen, founder, Athletes' Performance and Core Performance, a worldrenowned leader in professional athletic training, nutrition and physical therapy. The cyclists will start the rigorous fourday bike ride in Chamonix on August 17 and will travel 354 miles to Monte Carlo, including some of the most challenging, high-altitude climbs from the Tour de France.

Thailand Witnesses Increase in Tourism Receipts According to Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand, the country recorded 19.23 million international visitors in 2011, up by 20.6 percent over 2010. With an average length of stay of 9.64 days and an average daily spend of THB4,187.12 (USD137) per person, the Thai tourism industry generated THB776 billion (USD USD25.45 billion). In addition, Thailand recorded a 31 percent increase in tourism receipts in 2011 over 2010, according to figures released by the Ministry, with total earnings of THB776 billion (USD25.45 billion) well above the original target of THB716 billion (USD23 billion). The growth in total number of visitors is being matched by increased average length of stay and average daily expenditure further underscoring the role of tourism as one of the country’s most important economic sectors and contributors to job creation and nationwide income distribution.

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RENDEZVOUS

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Q & A with Ali Kasapbashi Bin Majid Group’s success story dates back to 1978 and since then the company has established itself as one of the leading professional service providers in the UAE. Ali Kasapbashi, group general manager, Bin Majid Group, talks about the company’s exponential growth and current endeavours.

Travel Trade Weekly: How has the competition in the market grown over the past two decades and how has the group adapted to these changing market conditions?

Ali Kasapbashi Group general manager, Bin Majid Group

Ali Kasapbashi: The competition has been there over the past two decades and to any, business competition is healthy because it encourages you to create more ways to improve your services, your products, and your facilities in order to cater to the needs of your guests. Bin Majid Group is committed to providing high quality service, meeting time schedules, and cost implications. The group, a conglomerate of several companies including Bin Majid Hotels, Impala Rent A Car, Bin Majid Tours and Travel, and Gulf Hotel Supplies (GHS), is continually expanding its client base and seeking ways to reach their satisfaction. Its efficient organisation combined with cooperation from its business partners are strong factors that make it stand apart from the rest. Travel Trade Weekly: How do the numerous companies under the Bin Majid Group collaborate and support overall performance? Ali Kasapbashi: Bin Majid Group’s core of business is in providing services and expertise to business persons, tourists, and groups’ travel needs. The companies collaborate with each other in terms of services and cross-selling in order to support the group’s overall performance. With the wide variety of services that we provide, customers can approach us and we will offer them what they need. Bin Majid Tours has been successfully working in tourism activity for more than 17 years. It has a professional and dedicated

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in Dubai. Also having numerous international partners in select locations around the UAE, with friendly and highly-trained staff who are always ready to assist, Impala Rent A Car provides its customers with an enjoyable road experience wherever they go. GHS has emerged over the past few years to become one of the major reputable hotel suppliers across the Arabian Gulf. With honesty and commitment to provide the highest level of service and high quality products to customers, GHS services world famous brands in the hospitality industry. Travel Trade Weekly: Could you tell us about the group’s upcoming properties?

Our short-term plans include attracting new markets into the emirate because this would mean business for the group and to the emirate team which speak Arabic, English, German, French, Russian, Italian, and Spanish. Impala Rent A Car is one of the leading car rental companies in the UAE with six branches in Ras Al Khaimah, two in Fujairah, and one

Ali Kasapbashi: Bin Majid Hotels is an upcoming and growing chain of hotels in the Gulf region. At this year’s Arabian Travel Market, we announced two new properties opening in Abu Dhabi during the third quarter of this year and another one in Dubai in the first quarter of 2013. Travel Trade Weekly: The group’s portfolio already includes a host of activities and services. What segments will the group’s scope of work focus on in the short- and the long-term? Ali Kasapbashi: Our new properties showcase our hospitality legacy so our short-term plans include attracting new markets into the emirate because this would mean business for the group and to the emirate. Expanding the brand into the GCC is also an option and we would like to venture into new and stable partnerships and strengthen our old relationships with current associates.


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NEWS & EVENTS

IGTM Expecting Record Business International Golf Travel Market 2012 (IGTM), the premier global event for golf tourism which will take place from November 12 – 15 in Algarve, Portugal, is set to generate a record amount of business to the city with more buyers and exhibitors attending than ever before. The event will see representatives from more than 50 countries with over 250 buyers having already registered from 38 countries, a 19 percent increase over 2011 levels, while IGTM is now 75 percent sold out. A strong representation of exhibitors is expected from Ireland, Tunisia, and Brazil together with other destinations across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Commenting on the event, Peter Grimster, exhibition manager, IGTM, said, “This year’s IGTM looks set to break all records. We are on course for the largest ever attendance, and the ratio of buyers to sellers is set ideally for destinations to optimise business with golf tour operators during the four days.”

Abu Dhabi: Highest Ever Passenger Volume During the first half (H1) of the year, Abu Dhabi International Airport welcomed a total of 7,050,646 passengers, a robust increase of 22.8 percent over the same period in 2011, based on Abu Dhabi Airports Company’s (ADAC) report. Ahmad Al Haddabi, chief operating officer, ADAC, described H1 as an extraordinary period with the highest volumes of passenger traffic in the airport’s history. “Together with our home-base carriers and our other airline partners, we intend to further grow the airport’s network, which will strengthen our competitive position towards the world’s leading airports, as well as provide travellers with an efficient attractive international hub,” Al Haddabi commented. The top routes from the airport were Bangkok, Doha, Manila, London, and Jeddah, with the Far East achieving a 38 percent share of passenger movements, followed by the Middle East and Europe.

EVENTS China Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (CIBTM) Beijing, China, September 12 – 14, 2012 (www.cibtm.com) A leading meetings, incentives, and business travel show providing the ultimate platform for suppliers to the MICE industry.

International Tourism Bourse (ITB) ASIA Singapore, October 3 - 5, 2012 (www.itb-asia.com) Where exhibitors across all sectors of the travel-value chain, meet with top international buyers from the MICE, leisure, and corporate travel markets.

Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) Nairobi, Kenya, September 25 – 26, 2012 (www.africa-conference.com) An event showcasing the potential Kenya and other high-growth destinations across the continent have to offer.

Asia Pacific Tourism Destination Investment Conference Singapore, October 15 – 17 , 2012 (www.tdiasia.questexevents.net) Consisting of an array of networking opportunities, business meetings, and a conference programme, the event will focus on hotel investments and tourism infrastructure developments.

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)Travel Mart Manila, Philippines, September 25 – 28, 2012 (www.pata.org/events/pata-travel-mart-2012) Asia Pacific’s premier travel trade show offering networking and contracting opportunities for hundreds of international buyers and sellers. The 18th World Route Development Forum Abu Dhabi, UAE, September 29 – October 2, 2012 www.routesonline.com/events The largest global event of its kind, attracting over 2,750 delegates from more than 80 countries, and determining the future of air services.

World Travel Market (WTM) London, UK, November 5 – 8, 2012 (www.wtmlondon.com) A must-attend business-to-business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors. The Hotel Show – Saudi Arabia Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, November 17 - 19, 2012 (www.thehotelshowsaudiarabia.com) A full spectrum hospitality and supplies event for the region, bringing leading manufacturers and qualified buyers together.

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Travel Trade Weekly Issue 144  

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