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22 SEPTEMBER 2012

ISSUE 150

InterContinental Dubai Marina to Open in 2013 InterContinental Hotels Group and Select Group have signed an agreement to open InterContinental Dubai Marina, which will form part of the Bay Central development.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has announced the company’s first hotel in Tunisia, The Ritz-Carlton Tunis, Carthage, projected to open late 2014.

03 Qatar Airways to Introduce Flights to Gassim Qatar Airways has announced the launch date for scheduled flights to Gassim, its newest gateway in Saudi Arabia.

08 IN THIS ISSUE MARKET UPDATE

02

ACCOMMODATION

03

AIR NEWS

08

INTERNATIONAL

10

WHO’S MOVED

11

TRAVEL TALK

12

AGENT’S CORNER

13

TRAVEL CHANNELS

14

RENDEZVOUS

15

NEWS & EVENTS

16

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to Debut in Tunisia

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2

MARKET UPDATE

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

DXB: Over Five Million Passengers For the first time in its history, the monthly passenger volume at Dubai International surpassed the five million mark, based on data released by Dubai Airports.

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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

MENA EXCHANGE RATES Accurate as of

21/09/2012 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar

COUNTRY

CURRENCY

1USD=

UAE (AED)

Dirham

3.67

Egypt (EGP)

Pound

6.10

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

67.15

Kuwait (KWD)

Dinar

0.28

Qatar (QAR)

Riyal

3.64

Oman (OMR)

Rial

0.38

Tunisia (TND)

Dinar

1.57

Morocco (MAD)

Dirham

8.57

Iran (IRR)

Riyal

12,250.00

Yemen (YER)

Rial

214.61

Algeria (DZD)

Dinar

79.70

Libya (LYD)

Dinar

1.25

ubai International handled a total of 5,006,155 passengers in July, exceeding the previous high of 4,850,000 recorded in January, and marking a year-on-year increase of six percent. The high number has pushed the yearto-date traffic to 32,937,794, up 12.4 percent over the corresponding period in 2011. “Since 2009 average monthly traffic at Dubai International has skyrocketed from just under 3.5 million to over 4.7 million this year,” highlighted Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports, who further noted that these figures mean that an average of 112 passengers passed through the airport every minute of every day. The largest regional traffic growth in July,

Dubai International Airport

in terms of total passenger numbers, was recorded on routes to and from Western Europe, followed by Africa and the Indian subcontinent, while regions with the highest percentage growth included South America, Russia and CIS, and Australasia.

Jazeera Airways: Most Punctual Middle East Airline Jazeera Airways retained its position as the most punctual airline in the region and continued to grab leading market share on key routes, based on the Kuwaiti carrier’s July operational performance report. The airline’s on-time performance (OTP) for the month was 93.9 percent, placing it first in the region for the 19th month in a row, as ranked by independent OTP tracker FlightStats. The report, which presents figures based on official statistics from Kuwait’s Directorate General for Civil Aviation, showed that Jazeera Airways’ market share for the Kuwait – Cairo route increased to 28 percent, led by a 12 percent seasonal rise in flown passengers on the route, while between Kuwait and Beirut the airline’s market share reached 33 percent, driven by a 20 percent seasonal surge in flown passengers. In addition, Jazeera Airways remained the leading Kuwaiti airline to destinations such as Amman with a 37 percent market share, Beirut at 33 percent, Dubai at 16 percent, and Bahrain at 10 percent, in addition to capturing leading market share figures on five of the six Egyptian destinations it serves.

22 SEPTEMBER 2012


Accommodation

InterContinental Dubai Marina to Open in 2013 InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Dubai-based property developer Select Group have signed an agreement to open InterContinental Dubai Marina, which will form part of the Bay Central development in the cosmopolitan Marina area. Set to open by the end of 2013, the hotel will feature 132 rooms and 196 residential suites, in addition to eight food and beverage outlets, a spa, health club, outdoor swimming pool and pool deck. Business travellers will also be able to take advantage of the property’s boardroom and eight meeting rooms. Commenting on the new addition to the highly anticipated development, Rahail Aslam, chairman, Select Group, said, “The Bay Central development in Dubai Marina has plenty to boast about, from being positioned right at the heart of the Dubai Marina to the magnificent views that the three towers in the development offer.”

22 SEPTEMBER 2012

WEEKLY NEWS

3

Rixos to Debut in Egypt Rixos Hotels is to open Rixos Sharm El Sheikh in October, marking the hotel company’s foray into Egypt. Nestled in the heart of the city, just 8km from the airport, the resort offers a scenic view of the Gulf of Aqaba’s mouth as well as Tiran Island. Besides 695 rooms and suites, it boasts a large conference hall along with two dining rooms, six à la carte restaurants, five bars, the famed Rixos Royal Spa, and the activity-filled Rixy Club dedicated to the younger guests. Upon opening, Rixos Sharm El Sheikh will become the 18th ring of the company’s portfolio after Rixos Residence Bomonty Istanbul which opened in September.

Rixos Sharm El Sheikh


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WEEKLY NEWS

Accommodation

Corp Executive Al Khoory Hotel Al Wasl Opens Corp Executive Al Khoory Hotel – Al Wasl, Dubai, has opened for business following a soft launch. Conveniently located on Al Wasl Road next to the Iranian Hospital, the hotel comprises 208 rooms and suites, a number of food and beverage outlets, a fitness centre, as well as versatile and multi-purpose meeting spaces and private function areas, offering a perfect address to stage meetings, corporate receptions, or private events. Commenting on the opening of the brand’s second property in Dubai, Michel Noblet, president, Hospitality Management Holdings (HMH), said, “Corp Executive Hotels has emerged as one of the strongest and most popular brands of HMH. We are confident Corp Executive Al Khoory Hotel - Al Wasl will not only live up to the excellent reputation established by the brand but will exceed it. It is a great addition to our portfolio and will serve as a fabulous address in Dubai for both business and leisure travellers.”

Accor Debuts ibis Styles in Egypt Accor’s latest property, ibis Styles Dahab Lagoon, has opened its doors, marking the brand’s debut in Egypt. Located in South Sinai, just an hour from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport, the hotel is nestled in a green setting with the backdrop of the Sinai Mountains overlooking the Red Sea, thus offering any sport enthusiast ample opportunities to indulge in endless activities. Options available at the hotel include diving, kite surfing, windsurfing, and snorkelling, as well as football, various gymnastics programmes, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, basketball, water polo, and billiards. ibis Styles Dahab Lagoon offers 139 rooms divided into three categories including 80 twin rooms, 56 double rooms, and three suites, with the deluxe sea rooms catering to families. In addition, the hotel features functional child facilities and a variety of oriental and international restaurants along with various beach and TV sports bars. Other facilities include a 400m2 swimming pool, a standard-sized grassed football pitch, massage booths, and a fitness room.

Tangram Hotels Eyes GCC Expansion Tangram Hotels, the newly launched international hotel brand originally established in Beijing, has outlined ambitious expansion plans for the GCC and the Middle East. With operations having recently been inaugurated in Erbil, the hotel brand is currently looking at opportunities in a number of business hubs, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Doha, Riyadh, Cairo, Tripoli, Fez, Nairobi, and Casablanca among other first and second tier cities within the region, to introduce its novel concept of smart hotels, which are designed to meet the specific needs of business travellers. Artist’s Impression of the New The new brand is said to have come up with an affordable hotel concept Royal Princessaimed at managing the necessities of this niche segment while letting go of excessive and redundant aspects of traditional hospitality services. “Tangram is about a contemporary lifestyle at an affordable price, for local travellers with global awareness,” highlighted Michael Henssler, CEO, Beijing Tangram Hotel Management, noting that Tangram Hotels guests value time, individuality, lifestyle, and innovative solutions that make their lives easier above all. As the latest member of Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), Tangram Hotels has access to global distribution right at the onset. “Tangram has ambitious expansion plans in emerging markets where GHA lacks coverage; and we are confident that their innovative product concept will appeal to our international customer base,” noted Christopher Hartley, CEO, GHA. “Tangram is exciting, practical, modern, and comfortable; it looks deeply into the needs and expectation of today΄s and tomorrow’s business travellers all over the world.” Tangram Erbil Lobby

22 SEPTEMBER 2012


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WEEKLY NEWS

Accommodation

Hilton Worldwide Adds to Saudi Pipeline Hilton Worldwide is to further strengthen its presence in Saudi Arabia after signing a management agreement to launch Hilton Garden Inn Tabuk, the company’s first property in the capital of Tabuk Province. The 110-key hotel, which will be developed conveniently close to the main Tabuk Highway, will feature 10 suites, a fitness centre, swimming pool, an all-day dining restaurant, lobby lounge, and extensive business facilities, and is expected to welcome its first guests in winter 2013. “Saudi Arabia presents promising development opportunities for us,” emphasised Rudi Jagersbacher, president, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide. “Today’s signing is key as we enter another new Saudi city and embed our expansion strategy to provide quality services and products to the market. As Tabuk’s prominence as a commercial centre grows, we are inspired to grow with it.” Adrian Kurre, global head, Hilton Garden Inn, added, “Hilton Garden Inn has had great success and has been well-received in the Saudi Arabia market since opening the Hilton Carlos Khneisser, vice president, development, Hilton Worldwide Middle East, and Abdulrahman Garden Inn in Riyadh in 2009.” Mushabab Al Sehri, chairman, Adex Contracting The new development brings the number of properties in the company’s Saudi pipeline to 15. Maintenance & Operations

Swissôtel Jadaf Dubai to Open in 2016 Following its successful debut in the region in Mecca earlier this year, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts, in partnership with Aabar Properties, is to further expand in the Middle East and launch its first hotel in Dubai. Scheduled to open in early 2016, the newly-built Swissôtel Jadaf Dubai is set to become an anchor deluxe hotel within a mixed-use development in the Al Jadaf area comprising three hotels, residences, serviced apartments, and retail and entertainment facilities. The contemporary hotel will feature 280 rooms and suites, an all-day dining restaurant, three specialty restaurants with an outdoor area, a spa, and meeting, conference and ballroom facilities, covering an area of 1,600m2. “Dubai has been at the top of our wish list for a long time,” emphasised Meinhard Huck, president, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts. “Although a large accommodation offering already exists, thanks to the increase in visitors there is still demand for elegant hotels. This is an additional important step in our expansion in this region”.

Swissôtel Jadaf Dubai

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to Debut in Tunisia The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has announced the company’s first hotel in Tunisia, The Ritz-Carlton Tunis, Carthage, projected to open late 2014. Owned by Companie Tunisienne de Development Touristique (CTDT), a subsidiary of the Driss-Jenayah Group, the 129-room property will be located in Carthage-Sidi Bou Said, a suburb of Tunis overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The hotel will offer an exclusive beachfront setting adjacent to the Presidential Palace just steps away from Carthage’s ancient ruins, seven food and beverage outlets, an expansive ballroom, and destination spa. “We are honoured to have been selected by Companie Tunisienne de Development Touristique to manage this incredible property,” expressed Herve Humler, president, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. “We believe this stunning destination, with its rich history and diverse culture, will offer our discerning guests a unique and exciting new location to explore when it opens late 2014. “We continue to explore other opportunities and destinations in the Middle East and Africa. With the right hotels in the right locations, I believe expansion in this region is an essential part of our future strategy.” Further commenting on the upcoming development, Omar Jenayah, CEO, CTDT, said, “We are delighted to partner with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in its first endeavour into Tunisia. The long and storied legacy of The RitzCarlton is well-suited to Tunisia’s own historical heritage.”

22 SEPTEMBER 2012


Accommodation

Crowne Plaza Amman and Jordan River Foundation Agreement As part of its corporate social responsibility strategy and its commitment to supporting the community and its valued members, Crowne Plaza Amman has signed an agreement with the renowned Jordan River Foundation to implement the Youth Career Initiative. According to this agreement, Crowne Plaza Amman is committed to delivering a 24-week training programme once a year to youngsters from deprived communities in Jordan who lack the resources to continue their education, but have completed high school, or an equivalent level of education. With this programme, they are trained in different departments around Crowne Plaza Amman, such as housekeeping and the kitchen among others; thus giving them the opportunity to find suitable jobs and become useful members of the workforce in the future.

Coral Oriental Dubai: Notable Room Rates Growth Coral Oriental Dubai has kicked off the autumn season with a remarkable surge in revenues and average room rates also picking up over the previous few months. While visitor volumes from the GCC have levelled off after the recent boom during the summer months, other markets are driving the increase in both numbers and income, as Tony Homsi, general manager, Coral Oriental Dubai, noted. “There has been a rise in visitors from the CIS market, complementing the traditionally strong European segment and all the signs for the coming months are quite positive,” Homsi added, noting that in 2011, based on figures released by the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, over half a million tourists visited the destination from Russia and the CIS countries, and this figure is set to significantly improve. “Compared with many cities around the world, which are struggling in the light of continued uncertainty in the financial markets, Dubai is a shining star as far as the hospitality sector is concerned,” Homsi further highlighted.

22 SEPTEMBER 2012

WEEKLY NEWS

Shangri La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa Opens New Restaurants Shangri La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa has opened two new concept restaurants, namely Fairouz and Asia. Both located at the Al Mazaar souk within the Omani resort complex, the restaurants offer distinctive and authentic cuisine. Named after the legendary singer, Fairouz welcomes guests with a wide variety of Lebanese specialties, while Asia takes diners on a culinary exploration of east and southwest Asia. The opening of Fairouz and Asia increases the resorts’ restaurant and bar portfolio to 20, noted Mark Kirk, general manager, Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, adding that the hotel’s in-house guests and local patrons are spoilt for choice. “We have specialty restaurants, beach and pool restaurants, bars, and lounges. The choices of cuisine include Arabic, Lebanese, Moroccan, Italian, Mediterranean, South American, Asian, and international,” Kirk concluded.

Shangri La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa

Louvre Hotels Group Introduces U Louvre Hotels Group has launched its corporate university, U, a flexible and modern training resource that is set to improve the integration and skills of the group’s 19,000 members of staff around the world. Besides supporting the company’s development both in Europe and worldwide, U has also been designed to reflect and develop the philosophy of the group that is focused on reception, service. By using fun and innovative teaching methods, 100 percent of staff will be trained each year through programmes covering topics such as revenue management, distribution, marketing, and customer relations, just to name a few, allowing staff to fulfill their roles as best as possible and to be adaptable, and progress within the group.

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WEEKLY NEWS

Rotana Jet Extends Domestic Network Rotana Jet has launched double daily services from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Fujairah. Two flights a day to Al Ain will commence on September 26 and services to Sharjah will soon follow. Commenting on the new flights, which are operated by Embraer ERJ145 aircraft with 50 seats, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al‐Nahyan, chairman, Rotana Jet, said, “Air connectivity is a key component of any country’s development. At Rotana Jet, we are committed in developing a safe, reliable, and efficient air transport connecting the various emirates of UAE with the capital to improve easy accessibility both domestically and internationally. This will facilitate greater and more equitable benefits for tourism growth as well.” Connecting the capital’s airport with other key destinations in the UAE is of great importance, noted H.E. Ali Majed Al Mansoori, chairman, ADAC. “As one of the fastest growing airports around the world, Abu Dhabi International Airport is once more providing high-end, efficient services to meet the needs of its diverse customers, with the launch of Rotana Jet domestic flights,” he concluded.

Air News

Qatar Airways to Introduce Flights to Gassim Qatar Airways has announced the launch date for scheduled flights to Gassim, its newest gateway in Saudi Arabia. Effective January 7, 2013, Gassim will become Qatar Airways’ fifth destination in the kingdom, where it already serves Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, and Medina. The Doha-based airline will operate four times a week to the central Saudi city of Gassim, offering travellers a greater choice of travel options to more than 100 destinations around the world. Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, expressed delight for the boosted services to Saudi Arabia, a market where the carrier has more than doubled its frequency over the past year. “Today, Qatar Airways operates 60 flights a week across four destinations in Saudi Arabia, which will rise to 64 with the addition of Gassim as our newest route, representing the importance and commitment Qatar Airways has in the Saudi market. Saudi Arabia’s aviation industry has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years, reporting the strongest increase in passenger traffic in more than a decade in 2011, with more than 54 million passengers travelling from the country,” he said.

Emirates to Further Serve Jordan Emirates is set to fly twice daily to Jordan as of October 1, providing greater access to one of the most popular tourism destinations in the Middle East. Amman is one of Emirates’ longest established routes which it has been serving since 1986, the year after Emirates was launched. The weekly capacity in the belly-hold of the aircraft serving the route will hit 200 tonnes in each direction, while businesses will also benefit from Emirates’ rapidly expanding network, with new trade lanes emerging with each additional destination, a trend which is set to continue as the 220 aircraft it currently has on order join its fleet.

Emirates Begins Daily Services to Dulles International Airport

Dulles International Airport, Washington D.C.

Emirates has launched its daily non-stop service from Dubai to Dulles International Airport, Washington D.C., marking the seventh gateway for the airline in the US and the 12th new route to join its international network this year. “Emirates offers important new choice, competition, and a higher level of internationally recognised service to the Washington, D.C. market with a state-ofthe-art product and fleet. As one of the

most important global cities in the world, we look forward to connecting D.C.-area travellers with the largest number of onestop flights to Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia,” commented Tim Clark, president, Emirates. Customers travelling to Washington will be able to connect seamlessly from points across the Far and Middle East, Indian subcontinent, and Africa via Dubai.

22 SEPTEMBER 2012


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WEEKLY NEWS

International

Hyatt Place Manatí Under Development

The Beach of Manati, Puerto Rico

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that an affiliate has entered into an agreement for a Hyatt Place hotel in Manatí, Puerto Rico, with Island Hospitality Partners, a joint venture of PRISA Group and McConnell Valdes Consulting and owner of Hyatt Place Bayamón Hotel, which is expected to open in 2014. “We are glad to work with Island Hospitality on a second Hyatt Place hotel project in Puerto Rico,” said Pat McCudden, senior vice president, real estate and development, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. “We believe that the Hyatt Place brand and the location of the hotel in Manatí will have strong appeal to business and leisure travellers visiting the region.” Hyatt Place Manatí, which is currently under construction, will have 104 guest rooms in a five-storey building, a free-standing casual dining restaurant, a 24/7 Gallery Menu with fresh made meals and appetisers, and a bar. Other amenities will include flexible meeting space, a 24-hour fitness centre, outdoor swimming pool, and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.

IHG Announces First Hotel in Rio Branco InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced that the Holiday Inn Express Rio Branco, Brazil, has broken ground and is scheduled to open late 2013, just in time for the forthcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. “We are thrilled that this hotel has broken ground in a market that IHG has thrived in since 1946 and knows well,” said Joel Eisemann, chief development officer, IHG, the Americas. “IHG is committed to working with our partners in Brazil to develop hotels in growing markets where branded, quality lodging options are needed.” Upon opening, the 110-room Holiday Inn Express Rio Branco will mark IHG’s first hotel in the city. Owned by Inter Oceanica Hotelaria, under a license agreement with a company in IHG, the property will be suitably located in the centre of Rio Branco’s downtown area, within close distance to multiple tourist attractions. The nine-storey hotel will boast four meeting rooms, an outdoor pool, bar, a fully-equipped business centre, a gym, and dining facilities.

Rio Branco, Brazil

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide to Expand in Russia Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced plans to expand its portfolio throughout Russia and the CIS, which will see the hotel group more than double its portfolio in the region over the next three years. “As one of the world’s fastest-growing outbound travel markets, Russia represents a great opportunity for us,” said Frits van Paasschen, CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. “With a rising middle

class, growing disposable income, an affinity for luxury brands, and huge pent-up demand for foreign travel, Russia is emblematic of the growth we are seeing in regions around the world and key to our global growth plans.” In 2011, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide opened three new hotels in Russia and CIS, marking a number of key milestones including the highly success-

ful debut of the W brand in Russia with the opening of W St. Petersburg and the entrance of the group into Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Simon Turner, president, global development and acquisition, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, commented, “We plan to expand our brands throughout the region in the years to come […] and are looking for a new and exciting growth vehicle.”

22 SEPTEMBER 2012


WHO'S MOVED

John Evans John Evans has been named general manager for the Philippines at Etihad Airways. Evans, who has more than 35 years of experience in airline operations, has held senior management roles at Swissair and Gulf Air in the UK and Thailand. He now transfers to the

Manila-based position from Cyprus, where he held Etihad Airways’ general manager position for the past year. Building on his depth of international sales and general management experience, Evans has been tasked to guide the airline’s growth in the Philippines market.

Hala Sabry Hala Sabry has been appointed director of sales and marketing at Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers, Cairo. Sabry, who brings over 17 years of knowledge and experience to the position, began her career as a reservations clerk at InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG)’s regional sales office in Egypt and later held various positions at Semiramis InterContinental Cairo Hotel within the corporate segment as sales executive,

22 SEPTEMBER 2012

assistant sales manager, and sales manager. She then became a marketing services executive at IHG’s regional Middle East and Africa office and subsequently joined JW Marriott as marketing communications manager. Sabry then returned to Semiramis InterContinental Cairo as assistant director of sales before being appointed to her most recent position as director of sales and marketing.

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Nader Hamarna Nader Hamarna has assumed the position of regional director of sales for the Middle East at Rocco Forte Hotels. Based in Abu Dhabi, Hamarna has been tasked to manage and grow the outbound leisure business from the region to the company’s European hotels, as well as to maintain and develop corporate individual

and MICE business across the region. Hamarna, who has eight years of hospitality expertise and market knowledge, previously held senior regional sales roles at Marriott International’s Dubai office and was most recently the director of business travel, in charge of corporate and group segments at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai.


TRAVEL TALK

travel talk is your space

12

Axel Jarosch

Paul Griffiths

General manager, Six Senses Zighy Bay.

CEO, Dubai Airports.

“The campaigns of the Ministry of Tourism certainly created additional awareness of Oman, especially for high-end leisure visitors wanting to […] be exposed to the rich culture, heritage, and hospitality for which the Sultanate is known for. Luxury travellers nowadays [...] are seeking new experiences. Oman has long attracted affluent guests wanting these special Arabic experiences. “

“July’s traffic volumes [at 5,006,155 travellers] mean that an average of 112 passengers passed through our airport every minute of every day. By 2018, that will soar to just under 170 passengers per minute. That is why we are investing USD7.8 billion in the future of this airport. In turn, that investment will drive an increase in aviations’ contributions to Dubai’s GDP from the current USD22 billion to 45.4 billion in 2020.”

Simone Broekhaar Director of sales and marketing, The Chedi Muscat.

“We are looking forward to steady growth from our key markets and increased number of MICE groups visiting Oman. The summer has become less of a ΄slow season΄ with increased numbers of travellers from the Middle East looking for short breaks during the quieter months and more small groups taking advantage of the opportunities that low season rates offer.”

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

22 SEPTEMBER 2012


AGENT'S CORNER

AGENT’S INSIGHT NAME: Nitya Acharya POSITION: Contracting manager COMPANY: Lama Tours LOCATION: Dubai WEB: www.lamadubai.com

Who are you? I am Nitya Acharya currently working as a contracting manager for Lama Tours, which was established in 1997. We are a team of young and dynamic professionals managing the business which is the most experienced destination management company in Dubai. Lama Tours is a very strong local brand which caters as a ground handler for many of the major exhibitions happening in the UAE, boasting a wide range of comprehensive services and performing very well in travel packages and incentive tours. We also specialise in organising conferences, seminars, meetings, and other events for the emirates and foreign companies. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? The most special part of the travel industry for me started with a dream of travelling. This is the only industry where you will gain experience and travel around the globe while you learn. When is the best time to visit Dubai? Dubai is a year-round destination; one which keeps every one happy with a lot of things to do for people of all ages and all walks of life. Generally, from November to March is the peak season for travel into the emirate. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? I love London, and my next trip is going to be to Europe or the US. Why should people come to you for travel advice? We inspire people to travel, explore, and experience the services of a company that has the best in class product, which we deliver by using advanced technology to ensure fast, efficient, and cost-effective services.

22 SEPTEMBER 2012

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Travelport and Air China Team Up Travelport has announced a new multi-year global full content agreement with Air China. The agreement enhances the airline’s connectivity with Travelport to ensure high levels of global distribution system functionality providing Travelport-connected agencies with the accurate access to Air China’s full range of inventories. This means guaranteeing that Galileo, Apollo, and Worldspan travel agency customers worldwide will continue to have full access to the airline’s fares and inventories, as well as a check-in service on Travelport’s ViewTrip website. “We are impressed by Travelport’s commitment to innovation in the global distribution

chain and very pleased to sign an agreement that will expand access and sales of Air China’s nearly 300 flight routes around the world,” said Li Dong, deputy general manager, network and revenue management, Air China. “As the national carrier of China, Air China represents an important airline partner to Travelport both in the Asia Pacific region and globally. We are pleased they have also signed up for online check-in via our ViewTrip tool; we are keen to continually enhance the booking process throughout the travel distribution chain,” said Andrew Middleton, vice president, supplier services, Asia Pacific, Travelport.


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TRAVEL CHANNELS

Etihad Airways and OSyS to Maximise Fuel Use Etihad Airways has chosen Rolls-Royce subsidiary, Optimized Systems and Solutions (OSyS), to implement a new fuel management solution to maximise fuel use, cut carbon emissions, and reduce overall fuel costs.

O

SyS, one of the world’s leading suppliers of aviation fuel optimisation systems and services, will provide the software which will analyse the airline’s existing fuel arrangements, allowing Etihad Airways to better prioritise areas where the most effective fuel and emissions savings can be achieved, part of the UAE flag carrier’s continuing environmental efforts. Richard Hill, chief operations officer, Etihad Airways, said, “Across our global network, the new real-time analysis will help us

achieve a better understanding about fuel saving opportunities. It will allow us to more efficiently compare our planned fuel versus actual fuel used on every flight with the overall goals being to reduce fuel consumption, cut carbon emissions, and trim our aviation fuel bills. “We believe measuring and analysing fuel consumption during all phases of the flight will ultimately pay off in adapting our operational techniques so that we continuously improve the way we operate our flights in relation to flight and fuel planning, flight

and ground operation procedures, and air traffic system integration.” According to Mark Goodhind, vice president, operations optimisation, OSyS, along with the company’s endeavours to offer a better vision of fuel cost controls and to meet the needs of airlines’ operators, OSyS’ expertise serves airlines’ goals of achieving a more sustainable business.

OSyS’ expertise serves airlines’ goals of achieving a more sustainable business

SCTA to Improve Forest Rangers’ Tourism Skills The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has conducted a two-day training programme for forest rangers and employees of the National Commission for Wildlife Conservations and Development (NCWCD) to hone their skills in dealing with tourists and visitors. Organised by National Project for Tourism Human Resources Development (Takamul) centre at SCTA, the first stage of the initiative started in April 2011 where the centre trained 20 rangers from different natural reserves across the Kingdom. Since its initiation, dozens of rangers have taken part in the programme, one of which was held in May and another on September 2 – 3, with the fourth phase having taken place on September 14. This autumn, the programme will continue in the Arooj Bani Mo’arid Reserve and the Fursan Reserve with 102 and 49 rangers, while the final stage will be conducted in 2013 in Riyadh, focusing on improving the skills of NCWCD employees dealing with foreign tourists.

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RENDEZVOUS

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Q & A with Stefan Pichler Since its establishment in 2005, Jazeera Airways has flown over 8.8 million passengers, and building on its value-driven growth strategy, the airline continues to consolidate its position in the regional skies, as Stefan Pichler, CEO, Jazeera Airways, divulges the main factors behind its success.

Travel Trade Weekly: How did the airline perform in the first half of the year? Stefan Pichler: The first half was another successful period for Jazeera Airways. We have continued to enhance our profitability while increasing our market share to popular destinations in the Middle East and North Africa, and we have ranked once again as number one in on-time performance by FlightStats, the global flights tracker. We registered a record net profit of KWD2.6 million (USD9.2 million) for the second three months (Q2) of the year, making the quarter the company’s eighth straight quarter of profitability since Q3 of 2010.

Stefan Pichler CEO, Jazeera Airways

Travel Trade Weekly: Jazeera Airways closed 2011, its first full year following the company’s turn-around plan, with record net profit. At the same time, the airline also revealed a three-year Strategic Master Plan. What are the main points and goals of this plan?

Travel Trade Weekly: What would you say were the biggest highlights for the airline? Stefan Pichler: The biggest highlight for Jazeera Airways this first half of the year was the launch of its new route from Kuwait to the Iraqi city of Najaf back in April; the first scheduled flights between Kuwait and an Iraqi city in over 22 years. As we continue to pursue our value-driven growth strategy in line with the market demand, Jazeera Airways also received a brand new Airbus A320 aircraft from the manufacturer’s facility in Hamburg, Germany, bringing the total number of aircraft owned by the Jazeera Airways Group to 12. In the first half of this year, we also introduced a series of technology enhancements. In April, we launched a web-check-in service, and in May, a new iPhone and android booking app, as well as a self-check-in service at Kuwait International Airport.

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boarding passes collected. What really defines the strength of our network though is our convenient flights schedule that serves most customers.

Travel Trade Weekly: Based on the airline’s Q2 operational performance report, Jazeera Airways continued to grab leading market shares on a number of its routes. What do you think are the main factors behind this success? Stefan Pichler: There is no doubt that today our offering is unbeatable as everyone can easily book and check-in online, self-checkin without the hassle of queues, benefit from year-round great value fares, a higher than average baggage allowance of 40kg for economy class and 60kg for business class customers, and free on-board meals. We also have an easy and gimmick-free frequent flier programme called Jazeerati, which works by rewarding each and every customer or family with a free flight to any Jazeera Airways destination for every 10

Stefan Pichler: The year 2011 was a recordbreaking year despite the continued over capacity in the Middle East market, the impact of political unrest on travel within our network, and increasing fuel costs. We earned a record KD10.6 million (USD37.5 million) in net profit in 2011, as well as a record KD57.8 million (USD204.3 million) in revenue, up 36 percent from 2010, and a record KD14.9 million (USD52.7 million) in operating profit. These results reflect the success of the company’s turn-around plan which was implemented in Q2 2010 and had steered the company into continued profitability. As we move forward, we have adapted the three-year Strategic Master Plan to focus on improving the airline’s profitability in the long term. Our priority in the next phase is to gradually grow the load factor while maintaining high yields, and we believe we will be able to achieve this goal because we have the right network with the right capacity, the right product for our market, and a tried and experienced management team that has successfully navigated the company through the last two years with flying colours.


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NEWS & EVENTS

FAS Becomes Gold Sponsor of Abu Dhabi Air Expo Falcon Aviation Services (FAS), the private aviation company based at Al Bateen Executive Airport, has become the first official partner of the second annual General Aviation Exhibition in the Middle East, the Abu Dhabi Air Expo. During the event, which will take place between March 5 – 7, 2013, at Al Bateen Executive Airport, the company will host a VIP stand and will also showcase a range of its fleet to the 10,000 visitors expected to attend the expo. “FAS is excited at the opportunity to display the fleet and to highlight its range of services here in Abu Dhabi,” noted H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, chairman, FAS. Yousif Al Hammadi, chairman, Abu Dhabi Air Expo, added, “Not only has this very dynamic Gulf company offered us its support by becoming a Gold Sponsor, it will also enable visitors to discover all of the business aviation possibilities and services offered by FAS.”

Golf Stars Return to Abu Dhabi Some of the biggest names in the golfing world are set to participate in the 2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, the eighth opening gambit in the PGA Europeam Tour’s ‘Desert Swing’, that will run at Abu Dhabi Golf Club between January 17 – 20, 2013. The star-studded event, organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), is expected to attract a large number of golf enthusiasts and fans from within and beyond the region, who are being offered a series of attractive visitor packages. “We are currently talking to many headline players from the upper echelons of the world rankings and these giants of the game will complement up-and-coming young blood with a point to prove as well as tried-and-tested professionals eyeing the Falcon Trophy as a springboard for the season ahead,” Faisal Al Sheikh, events manager, TCA Abu Dhabi, commented.

EVENTS 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.

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.

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.

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.

Samara Tour Expo Samara, Russia, September 27 -28, 2012 (www.samaratourexpo.ru) A leading exhibition, which provides an annual opportunity for organisations from all over the world to showcase their products and services. 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 150