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20 OCTOBER 2012

ISSUE 154

First ibis Hotel Opens in Abu Dhabi Offering a fresh option for budget-conscious travellers, Accor’s ibis Abu Dhabi Gate has opened its doors.

Nestled at the lowest point on earth the 420-room Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort & Spa has opened.

03 Air Arabia Launches Flights to Basra Air Arabia has announced the launch of services to the southern city of Basra.

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

02 03 04 06 07 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort & Spa Opens

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RENDEZVOUS

Q & A with Naif Zureikat Built 395m below sea level, King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre managed by Hilton (KHBTCC), is a truly unique venue which has already established itself as one of the region’s most coveted addresses. Naif Zureikat, general manager, KHBTCC, talks about new developments and the MICE industry’s future prospects in Jordan.

Travel Trade Weekly: Situated at the heart of the Jordan Valley, KHBTCC boasts a unique location. What other aspects make it an outstanding facility? Naif Zureikat: Managed by the global hospitality leader Hilton Worldwide, King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre has positioned itself as the business destination of choice, not just for major international organisations but also for many locally and regionally based companies. The three-storey centre comfortably hosts over 3,000 guests and boasts 26 conference halls, lounges, foyers, and several outdoor terraces on 24,000m2 of floor space. Its spectacular setting, state-of-the-art facilities, and fine customer service all reflect the superiority of the centre. It is ideally located at a convenient 45-minute drive from Queen Alia International Airport, 55km from Amman, and is near to many historical tourist attractions such as Petra, Jerash, and Madaba. Travel Trade Weekly: Can you list a few events which have taken place at the centre so far this year? Naif Zureikat: We have hosted many multinational visitors who came as part of different events such as the European Union, the International Medical Tourism, Wellness and Spa Congress, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools, among others. Travel Trade Weekly: Which are the most anticipated upcoming events this autumn and winter?

Naif Zureikat General manager, KHBTCC

in May 2013. It is a perfect addition to the convention centre making it the pre-eminent business and leisure complex in the region. The design is expressive of the dramatic terrain and portrays the hotel’s elegant character. The architecture is traditional in its overall forms and massing study, but contemporary in its look, detail, and spatial experience. Its food and beverage outlets provide a splendid array of cuisines and culinary experience and include a beach restaurant sitting in the landscape, close to the water. Travel Trade Weekly: How do you think the MICE industry in Jordan will continue to grow over the next few years?

Naif Zureikat: We recently played host to the 15th Congress of Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology and the 2nd IOF Middle East and Africa Osteoporosis Meeting and 6th Pan-Arab Osteoporosis Congress both of which happened in September. We are currently preparing for several events such as the Jordan Awards in November with 800 attendees, and the sixth Royal Medical Conference of the Royal Medical Services with 3,500 attendees, in addition to the MENA Information and Communication Technology Forum. Travel Trade Weekly: At what stage is the development at the Hilton hotel site? Naif Zureikat: We will be launching the fivestar 177-room Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa

Naif Zureikat: KHBTCC is widely connected with many other Hilton hotels which work in the MICE business; all members in this network are continuously updating each other in order to grow, provide our guests with the highest standards of service, and maintain the development of our MICE business worldwide. In addition to that, and together with our neighbouring hotels in the Dead Sea, we are working towards to create an attractive destination positioned worldwide as one of the most appealing areas. The Destination Dead Sea, which is focused on creating a complete destination, comes in a collaborative and strategicallyaligned effort between all bodies in the Dead Sea, particularly with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and under the umbrella of the Jordan Tourism Board.

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Accommodation

Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort & Spa Opens Nestled at the lowest point on earth, on the banks of the Dead Sea, the 420-room Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort & Spa has opened its doors. This latest addition to InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)’s portfolio offers a place for rest and relaxation with a vast 5,500m3 swimming pool, which has been named The Lake, alongside an infinity beach-side pool, a 6,000m2 Thalgo Spa with 30 treatment rooms, three indoor heated hydrotherapy pools, a Dead Sea salt water pool, and a gym. Guest can also enjoy what is being hailed as the longest stretch of private beach at 408m below sea level, eight bars and restaurants catering to all tastes, and extensive meeting and event facilities, including a 600-person ballroom. A walk down the promenade will lead guests to an amphitheatre, kids club, and a café. Located just 30 minutes away from Amman and 45 minutes from Queen Alia International Airport, the property’s guestrooms also include a presidential as well as a royal suite. Having described the property as a very special place, Pascal Gauvin, chief operating officer, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG, said, “The leisure and spa facilities have to be seen to be believed and it will not be long before the resort becomes one of Jordan’s most popular places to escape to.”

Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort & Spa

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WEEKLY NEWS First ibis Hotel to Open in Abu Dhabi Offering a fresh option for budget-conscious travellers, Accor’s ibis Abu Dhabi Gate opened its doors on October 19, marking what is said to be the first internationally-branded economy hotel in the UAE capital. The debut of the ibis brand is set to fill a gap in the market, as Christophe Landais, managing director, Accor Middle East, noted, “ibis is pioneering a new era in Abu Dhabi’s hospitality arena by offering the first economy lodging hotel with international standards,” Landais said, adding that the launch of the hotel also marks a key milestone in the brand’s expansion. “As a key trend, it has been observed that travellers nowadays are more and more budget-savvy but at the same time they expect good quality service. With ibis Abu Dhabi Gate, we are fulfilling the gap in the market for business and leisure travellers who want quality service at value for money prices,” he added. Conveniently located at the entrance of Abu Dhabi in Musaffah, in close proximity to important service areas including Abu Dhabi International Airport, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, and the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and offering easy access to Yas Island and the Corniche, the hotel features 252 rooms, 42 apartments, and a variety of dining options. ibis Abu Dhabi Gate is clustered with Novotel Abu Dhabi Gate Hotel, thus guests can also have access to a swimming pool, wellness and fitness centre, and other facilities.

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MARKET UPDATE

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

ACI: Passenger Traffic on the Rise Global passenger traffic remained on the growth trajectory in August, with all regions posting strong year-on-year gains, primarily in emerging markets and Asian airports, based on the Airports International Council’s latest report.

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

he major source of the sustained expansion continued to come from air hubs in the Far East such as Jakarta, Bangkok, and Singapore, which experienced double digit growth of 25.7 percent, 11.4 percent, and 10.9 percent respectively, while, in the Middle Eastern, Dubai posted a robust rise of over 20 percent, similar to that of Istanbul. “On a whole, growth in passenger traffic has remained relatively consistent from month to month with overall growth rates in the realm of four percent over the last twelve months,” highlighted Rafael Echevarne, director of economics, ACI World,

adding that air transport has been immune to the downside risks that have persisted in the global economy throughout 2011 and this year. “However, even with strong demand in emerging markets fuelling this growth, this phenomenon is not indefinite,” Echevarne further emphasised. Meanwhile, overall freight markets remained sluggish with a mere 0.6 percent increase, which, according to Echevarne, is at a standstill with respect to growth in freight volumes from 2011. “The evident contraction in European traffic is contributing to the overall lacklustre performance in air freight,” he concluded.

The Rezidor Hotel Group: Nine New Hotels, Four Openings MENA EXCHANGE RATES Accurate as of

19/10/2012 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar

COUNTRY

CURRENCY

1USD=

UAE (AED)

Dirham

3.67

Egypt (EGP)

Pound

6.11

Saudi Arabia (SAR)

Riyal

3.75

Lebanon (LBP)

Pound

1,503.50

Bahrain (BHD)

Dinar

0.37

Jordan (JOD)

Dinar

0.71

Syria (SYP)

Pound

68.50

Kuwait (KWD)

Dinar

0.28

Qatar (QAR)

Riyal

3.64

Oman (OMR)

Rial

0.38

Tunisia (TND)

Dinar

1.56

Morocco (MAD)

Dirham

8.52

Iran (IRR)

Riyal

12,284.00

Yemen (YER)

Rial

214.59

Algeria (DZD)

Dinar

78.87

Libya (LYD)

Dinar

1.25

The Rezidor Hotel Group closed the third quarter (Q3) of the year by signing nine new hotels with over 2,000 rooms and opening four properties featuring more than 600 rooms. With the latest additions, this year so far the group has added 26 hotels, with 5,900 rooms, to its pipeline and has launched 13 properties featuring 2,900 units. In line with Radisson Blu Hotel Lusaka its Route 2015 target, the hotel company continues to signal its commitment to asset-light growth strategy focusing on profitable growth through management and franchise contracts in emerging markets, thus almost all openings and signings in Q3 were fee-based and in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Recent launches included the 117-room Park Inn by Radisson, Tete, Mozambique; the 252-key Radisson Blu Resort, Bukovel, Ukraine; the 121unit Park Inn by Radisson, Odintsovo Moscow, Russia; and the 142-room Radisson Blu Hotel, Lusaka, Zambia. The group has also recently completed the extension of a portfolio of six management agreements.

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WEEKLY NEWS

Accommodation

The Wave, Muscat Launches Waterfront Apartments The Wave, Muscat has opened registration for the latest addition to the residential portfolio at the development, Marsa One apartments. The first waterfront apartments to be launched at Oman’s lifestyle destination form a section of the newest residential area of the project, part of Almarsa Village, the commercial and tourism hub of The Wave, Muscat. Set in a prime marina-front position, this phase comprises 121 luxury one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, ranging from 90m2 to 248m2, offering owners and residents a piece of the ideal marina lifestyle. “Marsa One apartments are first of its kind for The Wave, Muscat and for the city and a chance for people to own their own piece of an exclusive Muscat address,” highlighted David Stafford, vice president, sales and marketing, The Wave, Muscat, adding that now is the time to invest in Oman, which boasts a stable economy and consistent year-on-year GDP growth.

Palm Tree Court Re-opens Following an extensive upgrade and refurbishment programme, Palm Tree Court, one of the two luxurious hotels based at Jebel Ali Golf Resort in Dubai, is now welcoming its guests with a refreshed new look. Not only have the leisure facilities and dining outlets been improved and enhanced, including the addition of a beachfront pool, but JA Resorts & Hotels has also added an extra 74 suites and junior suites to its award-winning property, as well as four new villas, which according to Fredrik Reinisch, general manager, Jebel Ali Golf Resort, pays testament to the hotel’s guests and the level of service it can provide. Palm Tree Court

Altius Hotel, Nicosia Opens Following negotiations, which began a few years ago, to bring back to life what used to be the bustling Churchill Hotel, Cyprus’ capital, Nicosia, has welcomed Altius, ideally located in a quiet area and a short distance from the city centre. Catering to business travellers and seasoned tourists, the property consists of 52 guestrooms including 48 double rooms and four suites, some of which feature private terraces and all of which provide free wireless Internet. Other facilities include a business centre, three multi-purpose function rooms, a cocktail lounge bar, and a fitness and health-dedicated restaurant.

Residence Inn by Marriott Manama Juffair Opens Marriott International expands its reach in the Middle East as it marks the grand opening of Residence Inn by Marriott Manama Juffair, the largest extended-stay brand within the Marriott International portfolio. Located in suburban Manama and offering 80-units, which include a mix of residential-feel studios and one-, two- and threebedroom suites, the property is suitable for long-stay business travellers as well as for families on leisure trips.

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Air News

Rizon Jet Receives Safety Ratings Rizon Jet has become the first and only aircraft charter operator in the MENA region to achieve the internationally respected Aviation Research Group/US (ARG/US) Platinum Safety Rating at its Doha facility. The rating is the result of independent evaluations and a week-long audit, facilitated by NEXUS Flight Operations Services, the first facilitator of the ARG/US Platinum Safety Rating audits in the Middle East region that assesses candidate’s flight operations against industry best practices. The ARG/US Platinum Rating requires a well-developed and fully implemented safety management system, which includes a clear and workable emergency response plan as well as effective policies, procedures, and record-keeping for all major operational and maintenance aspects. According to Hassan Al-Mousawi, CEO, Rizon Jet, the rating is recognition of the private air charter’s consistently high flight safety standards, achieved by its dedicated and professional team in Doha, which strives for excellence in every aspect of the company’s business.

Rizon Jet receives ARG/US Platinum Rating

Air Arabia Launches Flights to Basra Air Arabia has announced the launch of services to Basra, its third destination in Iraq. Flights to the southern city will commence on November 4, marking the airline’s 79th destination worldwide, initially offering threeweekly services from Sharjah. “This step reflects the commitment we place on serving the Iraqi market. This new service will further strengthen our current flights to the country and offers customers wider choice of affordable air travel, at the same contributing to the trade and tourism ties between the UAE and Iraq,” said Adel Ali, group CEO, Air Arabia. The new service will increase the number of Air Arabia flights to Iraq to 18 a week.

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easyJet Adds Routes to Iceland easyJet has introduced two new routes from Manchester and Edinburgh to Reykjavik, Iceland, which will begin in March 2013. The twice-weekly flights will start from Edinburgh and Manchester on March 14 and 21, 2013, respectively. Furthermore, the Luton-Reykjavik service, which launched earlier this year, is to be increased from three to four services per week throughout the year, bringing the total number of easyJet flights to the destination to eight per week from March 2013. According to Paul Simmons, director, UK, easyJet, Reykjavik is gaining popularity for leisure and business travellers alike, 30,000 of which travelled between the two cities since the London Luton service to the Icelandic capital was launched in March this year.

WEEKLY NEWS Etihad Airways and Air France-KLM Codeshare Etihad Airways and Air France-KLM have signed an agreement to codeshare on flights across the airlines’ networks, the first phase of a much larger strategic partnership which commences on October 28. The codeshare agreement will see Etihad Airways and Air France-KLM offering joint codes on destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. At the same time, Air France is also announcing a new codeshare agreement with airberlin, Europe’s sixth largest airline, in which the Abu Dhabi-based airline holds a 29.21 percent stake. James Hogan, president, Etiahd Airways, said, “This deal, Etihad Airways’ 40th codeshare, marks a momentous milestone for both airline groups and offers countless opportunities to develop an unrivalled commercial relationship. It reflects the core elements of Etihad Airways’ 10-year master plan, driven by organic network growth, combined with the forging of strategic codeshare partnerships and minority equity investments in other airlines. The linking together of these three components, as we continue to strengthen our bilateral agreements, means all the pieces of our plan are coming together.” Initially, the agreement will see the Abu Dhabi-based carrier’s EY code placed on Air France flights between Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Madrid, Nice, and Toulouse, as well as on KLM flights between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi, Billund, Cardiff, Newcastle, Oslo, and Stavanger. Air France will place its AF code on Etihad Airways services between Abu Dhabi and the Seychelles, the Maldives, Colombo, Dhaka, Kathmandu, and Islamabad, while KLM will place its KL code on Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Sydney, Melbourne, Islamabad, Colombo, and Lahore.

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WEEKLY NEWS

Air News

Etihad Airways to Launch Daily Services to Istanbul

Istanbul

Air Arabia Adds to Russian Routes Air Arabia has added its fourth destination in Russia with the launch of flights to Kazan. As part of its expansion strategy in the region, the new route, which complements its recent additional weekly service to Yekaterinburg, the carrier’s ninth destination in the region, as well as its 78th worldwide. “The launch of our non-stop service to Kazan is a continuation of Air Arabia’s promise to customer’s to expand its Eastern European presence and offer value for money fares to multiple destinations in the Russian Federation,” said Adel Ali, group CEO, Air Arabia.

Air Arabia

Etihad Airways has announced that it will fly daily between Abu Dhabi and Istanbul as of January 1, 2013. The new service will support traffic growth between the UAE capital and Turkey and connect traffic to onward destinations across the GCC, Indian subcontinent, North Asia, and Australia. James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, pointed out that the move to daily services was motivated by strong performance and the potential for further growth, as he further informed, “Since launching, we have observed a high point-to-point traffic flow between Istanbul and Abu Dhabi, accounting for the largest share of travellers on the route. This is indicative of the thriving trade and commercial relationship between these two countries, as well as world-class tourism programmes and a significant number of passengers on the route travel between Turkey and Northeast Asia and Australasia. “We continue to look at ways to enhance our codeshare partnership with Turkish Airlines in order to develop our presence in Turkey. By putting our EY code on their four times weekly flights to Abu Dhabi, in addition to their TK coding on our flights on the route, we bring strong feeds onto our network and theirs, generating significant revenue for the Istanbul-Abu Dhabi route.”

Emirates Strengthens Seychelles Ties In a move to support the tourism sector of Seychelles, Emirates is to introduce two additional flights to the archipelago on December 3 and February 5, 2013, thus increasing the service to thirteen weekly flights. The airline, known to have contributed to the development of new tourism markets for Seychelles, will enhance its promotional efforts across its network to sustain the awareness around the idyllic destination. “As a partner of Seychelles, we actively support the tourism industry of the archipelago. The increase in frequencies will provide even more travel options and flexibility to visitors from across our network. Working with Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Seychelles Tourism Board has been very fruitful. We thank the government of the Republic of Seychelles for their trust in Emirates,” commented Ahmed Hashim Khoory, senior vice president, commercial operations, West Asia and Indian Ocean, Emirates. Alain St. Ange, minister, Seychelles Tourism and Culture, expressed that these new services are an added boost for the country’s tourism industry placing it just one stop away from anywhere in the world.

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WEEKLY NEWS

International

First Pullman-Branded Hotel in the UK Accor has announced the launch of its first Pullmanbranded hotel in the UK, Pullman London St Pancras. Pullman London St Pancras, previously home to Accor’s Novotel brand, officially opened in September following a comprehensive refurbishment which has seen the complete transformation of the hotel into one of London’s most contemporary and stylish hotels. Entering the market as the capital city’s newest upscale hotel brand, the country’s first Pullman property is a cosmopolitan home of style and modernity. Situated just three minutes from King’s Cross St Pancras International train station, the hotel features 312 bedrooms, with panoramic views of the London skyline, and a restaurant, a bar named Golden Arrow, and a wine library. There are also 17 spaces for events and business meetings, including a 446-seat tiered theatre for arts and corporate use.

The Opening of Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Hyatt Hotels Corporation has opened Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, the first Grand Hyatt hotel in Malaysia. The property comprises 370 guestrooms and 42 suites, and offers business travellers, tourists, and local guests a sophisticated ambience. “We are thrilled to be able to bring the Grand Hyatt brand to the Malaysian community. Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur’s opening echoes again Hyatt’s development strategy, which is to focus on the gateway cities and markets where customers are travelling. We are very excited to introduce our authentic hospitality to Kuala Lumpur and cater to travellers from Asia and other continents around the globe,” commented Larry Tchou, managing director, Asia Pacific, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. The hotel is introducing three indoor and outdoor food and beverage options to the city consisting of restaurants, a bar, a lounge, and two private dining areas.

Renaissance Hotel to Open in Turkey Marriott International is set to continue its fast-paced expansion in Turkey, with the opening of its 10th hotel under its signature lifestyle brand. Located in the heart of the country’s third largest city, the 110-room Renaissance Izmir Hotel is slated to welcome its first guests later this year. Just moments from the Kordon, Izmir’s famous sea front promenade lined with cafés and shops, the hotel will bring the distinct look and feel of the Renaissance Hotels brand to the historic city while incorporating indigenous inspiration in every detail. “We are delighted to announce this exciting new addition to our growing portfolio in Turkey,” commented, Amy McPherson, president, Europe, Marriott International. Besides the brand’s signature R Lounge, and an all-day dining restaurant, the hotel will also house a fitness centre, spa, plunge pool, as well as meeting rooms and a dedicated business centre.

Renaissance Izmir Hotel

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WHO'S MOVED

Jeremy Canivet Jeremy Canivet has taken on the newly-created role of director of groups and events at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. Swiss-educated Canivet brings a wealth of experience to the position, having previously worked in Europe, the Middle East, as well as Southeast Asia. Prior to his move to Abu Dhabi, he served as director of sales

at InterContinental Doha, in charge of public relations and marketing. His career also includes senior positions at The Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Muscat Hotel, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, The Westin Briston Place, The Delta Chelsea, and The Park Lane Hotels in Canada.

Bertrand Margerie Bertrand Margerie has been appointed resident manager at InterContinental Aqaba Resort after transferring from Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea in Jordan. The seasoned hotelier brings 24 years of managerial experience to the role, 12 years of which he spent with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). During his tenure with IHG, he has held positions at a number of properties around the globe, including at Carlton InterContinental, Inter-

20 OCTOBER 2012

Continental Le Grand-Paris, Okoumé Palace InterContinental, InterContinental Resort Hammamet, Holiday Inn Resort Hammamet, as well as InterContinental Dubai. Prior to taking on the position of hotel manager at Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea, he was the managing partner and director at La Maison in Thailand. In Aqaba Margerie is looking forward to working hand in hand with the management and colleagues to enhance and promote the resort.

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Puneet Singh Puneet Singh has joined Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre as the new general manager. He takes on the position at the hotel company’s latest property in Bahrain after serving as general manager at Kempinski Hotel The Dome in Belek, Turkey, for two years. Prior to that, he held the same position at

Kempinski Hotel Sanya, China, as well as at Zamani Zanzibar Kempinski, Tanzania. Singh’s experience in the hotel industry spans almost two decades and across four continents, having worked in Kempinski’s five-star hotel properties in the UAE, Egypt, Turkey, China, Tanzania, Russia, Germany and the US.


TRAVEL TALK

travel talk is your space

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Philippe Zuber

Wael El Behi

General manager, The Address Downtown Dubai.

General manager, Ramada Downtown Dubai.

“In just five short years, The Address Downtown Dubai has become one of the most preferred hospitality destinations in Dubai, attracting visitors from around the world. The hotel offers business and leisure guests a wide array of valueadded services and amenities.”

“We expect some fruitful results [at this year’s World Travel Market]. Interaction with the international market on a single platform always helps us maximise our visibility and eventually establish contacts. Our hotel’s excellent location, with proximity to Dubai’s iconic landmarks including Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, and the business hubs, will be our key selling point.”

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AGENT'S CORNER

AGENT’S INSIGHT NAME: Ali Kasapbashi POSITION: Group general manager COMPANY: Bin Majid Tours LOCATION: Dubai WEB: www.binmajid.com

Who are you? My name is Ali Kasapbashi, the group general manager of Bin Majid Tours, a company which has been successfully working in the tourism activity for more than 17 years. We provide exceptional service to travellers seeking to discover the rich cultural and natural diversity of the Gulf. The aim is to make journeys a positive experience for travellers and also for tour operators. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? The travel industry is an evolving industry. The chance to travel and see many parts of the world, as part of one’s career, is always a very interesting option. Travelling is learning about other places, its people and their culture. It opens up more opportunity for networking and of gathering new concepts and ideas that you can always apply to your organisation. When is the best time to visit Dubai? Dubai has been a favoured destination all-year round because of the many things it offers however the best time to visit the emirate is during winter season when you can spend more time outside. You can go walk in the park, along the beach, in the souk, or to several historical places to explore and learn about its rich culture and heritage. Where would you like to travel for your next holiday? For my next holiday I will be in Turkey. Why should people come to you for travel advice? At Bin Majid, we are committed to providing services and expertise to help business persons, tourists, and groups. To meet every customers unique travel needs, Bin Majid Tours offer a wide variety of services. We are proud of the trust that we earn from customers and tour operators. Additionally, we have a professional and dedicated multilingual team.

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Gulf Air Honours Travel Agents Gulf Air recently invited over 100 travel agents on a network evening in which the airline’s top Dubai-based travel agents, Kanoo Travel, Airlink International, Akbar Travel, and corporate account McDermott ME, were honoured. The event was aimed at recognising trade partners for their loyalty and continued support to Gulf Air while giving them an opportunity to spend an evening in a relaxing environment with other members of the travel trade. Saad Al Qinni, country manager, Dubai, Gulf Air, thanked the travel agents for their continuous support

to the carrier’s business and gave an overview of the airline’s latest products, services, and various commercial initiatives to support their business, including the latest sales promotions. Gulf Air recently developed a series of commercial initiatives tailored to the UAE market. These include the Falcon Corporate Plus Programme for corporates and small and medium enterprises, the Falcon Flyer Programme, which offers members attractive privileges, value-added benefits, and unbeatable fares in the Falcon Gold Cabin to Europe, the Far East, Middle East, and Indian subcontinent.


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TRAVEL CHANNELS

Kempinski: Keeping Green Kempinski has improved efforts to reduce its global environmental impact by introducing a Green Inspiration by Kempinski programme at Kempinski Residences & Suites, Doha.

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ith the launch of the initiative, Kempinski Residences & Suites, Doha, and other Kempinski hotels around the world, will work to save water, electricity, gas, and other resources, reduce and recycle waste, and eliminate outputs into the sea and the environment. In order to achieve the best possible results, Kempinski Residences & Suites, Doha, has established a Green Team led by the general manager and the Green Champion of the property. The Green Team will hold monthly meetings to discuss innovative ideas, new projects, and ways to improve the daily operations of the hotel while reducing environmental impact.

Placing Cyprus on the Nautical Yachting Map Limassol Marina has just released its berthing tariffs and details of its launch packages, and is ready to welcome the first yachts and residents by the end of the year. Setting new standards for living and sailing in the Mediterranean, Limassol Marina is an official port-ofentry and will accommodate up to 650 yachts from 8m to 115m, providing facilities and services of the highest standard. Every berth will have access to fresh water, electricity, and a fibre optic network providing high speed broadband, high-speed wireless Internet, and telephone. There will also be a fuel station, waste removal, haul out and shore-side technical facilities, and a dry dock and workshop for light repairs and maintenance. All of this will be combined year-round, with 24-hour security, a concierge service and a team of experienced marina professionals.

TDIC Praised by Abu Dhabi Municipality Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), the master developer of tourism, cultural, and residential projects in Abu Dhabi, has been awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by a division of the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, for its remarkable safety achievements demonstrated on Saadiyat Island and its dedication to best working practices. TDIC recently marked a record of 10 million working hours in the construction of Saadiyat Beach Villas with no injuries, a feature it has proudly achieved along with its partners. This luxury development, which enjoys a prime location next door to a collection of international five-star resorts, is soon set to complete its first phase of 264 villas, with residents already starting to move in. The second phase, launched in November 2011, will see 90 villas delivered by year end. Nabil Al Kendi, chief development officer, TDIC, expressed the company’s gratitude during a recent award ceremony, “We thank Abu Dhabi Municipality for their appreciation of our success and for their encouragement to promote health, safety and environment in the Emirate.”

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RENDEZVOUS

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Q & A with Margit Gabriele Muller A doctor of veterinary medicine, Margit Gabriele Muller, director, Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, the first and largest of its kind in the world, updates Travel Trade Weekly on the latest news and the award it achieved in acknowledgement for the services rendered to what has long been the UAE’s national symbol; the falcon.

Travel Trade Weekly: What are the latest developments at Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital? Margit Gabriele Muller: We have enhanced our facilities this year especially in our large free-flight aviary. In order to keep our guests relaxed and cool especially in the summertime, we have reconstructed the aviary by adding a new receiving area fitted with air-conditioning units where guests can see the falcons before entering the aviary itself. Moreover, we launched our new website in mid-September, which features in-depth information about our tourism programme and an e-bookings portal.

Margit Gabriele Muller Director, Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

Travel Trade Weekly: How many visitors have you received so far this year? Margit Gabriele Muller: Our visitor numbers have increased by 23 percent until August 31, compared to the same time period in 2011. The majority of our guests come from Germany representing 35 percent [of our total market share], UK at 20 percent, France at 20 percent, Australia and New Zealand at 10 percent, as well as other countries like the US, Italy, and South Africa. Travel Trade Weekly: What are your predictions in terms of visitation numbers for the fourth quarter? Margit Gabriele Muller: As the strong tourism season just started this month, I am expecting an increase of 30 – 35 percent in total visitor numbers for the year. We already have many bookings for cruise

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We offer an innovative, interesting, and funny tour all around falcons that we want our guests to enjoy, so as to spend an unforgettable time with us ships including new cruises that have included us in their programmes for the first time. From October and November onwards, we are set to receive visits from seven cruise ships weekly which will bring a large

number of visitors to Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital. Travel Trade Weekly: In July this year, Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital received yet another award, namely a certificate of excellence for business. Please tell us a little more about the ways through which this was achieved? Margit Gabriele Muller: The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is trying to provide outstanding services to its visitors. We offer an innovative, interesting, and funny tour all around falcons that we want our guests to enjoy, so as to spend an unforgettable time with us. However, our quest for excellence does not only include the tours themselves, but also the booking process. We provide online bookings with e-payment portals for our guests so that they can book their tour at Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital from the comfort of their home before they travel to Abu Dhabi. Moreover, we are working closely with the major tour operators and hotels to arrange easy booking possibilities for our visitors.

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NEWS & EVENTS

TCA Abu Dhabi Opens Eco Future Exhibition Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) has launched Eco Future, a family-focused, educational, and fun exhibition that aims to explore elements of a more sustainable, environmentally-aware lifestyle, at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island. Presented by TCA Abu Dhabi and developed in close collaboration with expertise from various entities of the emirate, the exhibition provides an insight to the environmental impact of UAE residents’ contemporary lifestyles, and will be open for the public for 12 months. The launch of the exhibition coincided with the UN World Tourism Day and supports this year’s ‘sustainable energy’ theme, noted H.E. Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, TCA Abu Dhabi. “Our shared goal is to promote awareness of the sometimes precarious balance between human existence and development on one hand, and nature and the environment on the other. Eco Future will hopefully inspire younger generation in the UAE to understand their responsibility to nurture what they see around them.”

Azamara Club Cruises to Renovate Two Ships Azamara Club Cruises has announced plans for the renovation of its two European boutique hotel-style ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. Both vessels are scheduled to enter drydock seperately, this year and 2013 respectively, where each will receive a shipwide facelift and a new profile with a new dark-blue hull. Cruise fans from the Middle East will delight in the refreshed ships, along with Azamara’s signature personal service from every staff and crew member, exciting destinations around the world, and more late night and overnight stays in port. “Discerning cruise fans from the Middle East will love the newly revitalised Azamara Club Cruises ships. With full refurbishment, we will be able to offer guests an even better destination-immersive travel experience with warm and authentic personal service,” said Lakshmi Durai, executive director, Middle East, Royal Caribbean Cruises, parent company of Azamara Club Cruises.

EVENTS The Cruise Show Birmingham, UK, October 20 – 21, 2012 (www.cruisingshow.co.uk) A high profile event that will see the attendance of a plethora of qualified buyers, industry experts, and decision makers.

International Golf Travel Market Algarve, Portugal, November 12 -15, 2012 (www.igtm.co.uk) The premier event for the golf travel industry with over 600 golf tourism suppliers and 350 pre-qualified buyers.

The Luxury Travel Fair London, UK, November 1 – 4, 2012 (www.luxurytravelfair.com) A collection of the finest and most unique travel experiences from around the world will be brought together for the seventh year running.

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 for the hospitality, catering, and food and beverage industries together.

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. PURE Life Experiences Marrakech, Morocco, November 12 -15, 2012 (www.purelifeexperiences.com) A premier travel trade exhibition serving one of the hottest high-end travel sectors at the moment – experiential travel.

EIBTM Barcelona, Spain, November 27 – 29, 2012 (www.eibtm.com) A leading global event for the meetings, incentives, events and business travel industry, held in a vibrant business and tourism destination. India International Travel Mart Hyderabad Hyderabad, India, November 30 – December 2, 2012 (www.iitmindia.com) India’s premier exhibition for the travel, tourism, hospitality, leisure and other related sectors.

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Travel Trade Weekly Issue 154