Page 1

BOOK THIS SPACE to Promote your Eid Offers

Contact us at sales@traveltradeweekly.travel

30 JUNE 2012

ISSUE 138


BOOK THIS SPACE to Promote your Eid Offers

Contact us at sales@traveltradeweekly.travel

30 JUNE 2012

ISSUE 138

Hard Rock Hotels to Enter the Middle East Hard Rock International and Aabar Properties have entered into an agreement for the development of Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi.

Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara in Abu Dhabi has opened, marking the launch of the hotel company’s first city-based hotel in the Middle East.

08 Rosewood to Debut in China Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is to enter China in 2013, with the opening of the 279-room Rosewood Beijing.

12 IN THIS ISSUE MARKET UPDATE

02

ACCOMMODATION

04

AIR NEWS

09

INTERNATIONAL

12

WHO'S MOVED

13

TRAVEL TALK

14

AGENT'S CORNER

15

TRAVEL CHANNELS

16

RENDEZVOUS

17

NEWS & EVENTS

18

Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara Opens

8


2

MARKET UPDATE

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY

Oman Air: Record Five Months

MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi mary@traveltradeweekly.travel JOURNALISTS

The first five months of the year have proven to be more successful than ever for Oman Air, with growth across all its departments.

D

Stefanie Saghbini Rita Kasziba Dominique Christou SALES & MARKETING Maria Demetriadou Brighite Ess Katerina Dalal 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

uring the period between January and May, net passenger revenue rose by 28 percent, while passenger numbers increased by 19 percent. Cargo revenue climbed 47 percent as cargo tonnage improved by 33 percent, when compared to the full-year increase in 2011. “I am very pleased to say that Oman Air has generated greater revenues, carried more passengers and transported more cargo between January and May than at any equivalent time in the airline’s history,” noted Wayne Pearce, CEO, Oman Air. “These excellent figures build further on the year-on–year increases we have achieved over the last two years and confirm Oman Air’s continued ascent as a world-class international airline,” he continued.

Wayne Pearce, CEO, Oman Air (centre)

Pearce attributed the success to the airline’s extremely hard-working staff, across every segment throughout its 41-destination network, whose members have improved efficiency and raised awareness amongst customers both of Oman Air as a carrier of choice and Oman as an ideal destination for business and leisure.

Marriott: Driving Hotel Development in Emerging Markets

Accurate as of

29/06/2012 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar

COUNTRY

CURRENCY

1USD=

UAE (AED)

Dirham

3.67

Egypt (EGP)

Pound

6.06

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

64.10

Kuwait (KWD)

Dinar

0.28

Qatar (QAR)

Riyal

3.64

Oman (OMR)

Rial

0.38

Tunisia (TND)

Dinar

1.59

Morocco (MAD)

Dirham

8.79

Iran (IRR)

Riyal

12,275.00

Yemen (YER)

Rial

214.01

Algeria (DZD)

Dinar

79.03

Libya (LYD)

Dinar

1.26

Marriott International and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) have joined hands at the RIO+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding concluded between the hotel company and the US government’s development finance institution, OPIC will make long-term loans to the third-party owners of the hotels, while Marriott International will be responsible for the management or franchise services under separate agreements. The million-dollar partnership is expected to encourage hotel development in emerging markets across the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean where water and energy resources may be limited. The loans will be available to hotel owners to fund projects across the hotel company’s 14 lodging brands, including Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard, and Fairfield Each hotel will be built to environmentally-sustainable standards such as the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design programme, where available, or in accordance with other respected global or regional specifications.

30 JUNE 2012


4

WEEKLY NEWS

Sofitel Aswan Joins Virtuoso Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan, Egypt, has became the first Sofitel hotel in the Middle East to be featured in Virtuoso; the luxury travel network of choice for leisure travel agencies and advisors, which includes 20 countries and over 7,200 travel advisors. The partnership is anticipated to give the hotel worldwide exposure.

Accommodation

Fairmont Targets New Generation Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has rolled out a new campaign in the Middle East offering visitors and residents privileged benefits, through its complimentary guest programme. Travellers who sign up for Fairmont President’s Club will enjoy experiences and rewards, and will receive credit to use at Fairmont restaurants located in Fairmont Dubai; Fairmont Bab al Bahr, Abu Dhabi; Fairmont Nile City, and Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers, Cairo; and Makkah Clock Royal Tower, a Fairmont Hotel, Saudi Arabia.

Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel Dubai Rewards Bookers Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel Dubai has introduced a loyalty programme, designed to reward booking agents for their continuous support with points which can then be redeemed at the dining venues or accommodation at the property. According to Scott Butcher, general manager, Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel Dubai, the scheme is designed to build loyalty among bookers and corporate travellers.

Millennium & Copthorne and Kuwait Airways Join Forces Millennium & Copthorne Hotels has announced the recent signing of its frequent flyer agreement with Kuwait Airways, whereby Oasis Club members, can earn miles for every qualifying stay at any of the hotel group’s properties across Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Africa.

30 JUNE 2012


6

WEEKLY NEWS

Accommodation

Four Seasons to Launch Dubai Property Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, in collaboration with UAE-based holding company, Bright Start, is to open a resort in the heart of Jumeirah Beach in mid-2014. Targeting both leisure and business guests, leaning towards a residential-style product, Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach will feature 237 rooms, including 49 suites, a variety of dining options, a ballroom, meeting rooms, and a number of other corporate and recreational facilites. Commenting on the development, Kathleen Taylor, president, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, said, “Being the Middle East’s biggest tourism hub with a highly mature hospitality industry, it was important for us to be in Dubai with a strong product that can serve as one of the company flagships in this region.”

Morgans Hotel Group Partners for New Hotels Morgans Hotel Group, the New York-based hospitality management company, has announced a partnership with Moroccan entrepreneur, Ahmed Bennani, and Hivernage Collection, which will see the unveiling of two properties in Marrakech, Morocco. Delano Marrakech is slated to open in September followed by a Mondrian-branded property scheduled to be unveiled in late 2013. The collaboration was marked by a meeting with representatives from both parties, who came together to sign 15-year management agreements for both properties. Located in the heart of the Hivernage district, Delano Marrakech is set to feature 73 suites while Mondrian Marrakech, situated in the hotel area of Agdal, will boast 69 rooms.

30 JUNE 2012


8

WEEKLY NEWS

Accommodation

Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara Opens Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara in Abu Dhabi has opened its doors, marking the launch of the hotel company’s first city-based hotel in the Middle East. Developed by Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), the five-star property is situated along a 1.2km stretch of protected mangrove reserves, just 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport, and 10 minutes from key business centres such as the capital’s downtown area and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company. Featuring 222 rooms and suites, ranging from the entry-level Deluxe Balcony rooms to the Royal Mangroves residence, said to be the largest suite in the country, with up to 10 bedrooms, the new property offers guests a spa, Turkish Hammam, gym, large selection of dining venues, and various configurable meeting rooms. Moreover, the luxurious 560m2 Mangroves ballroom accommodates up to 550 guests, providing a versatile space which can be used in its entirety or divided into three separate sections each with a built-in audio/visual system.

Park Hyatt Jeddah Eyes New Markets Park Hyatt Jeddah – Marina, Club & Spa is keen on maintaining its positive performance levels in the long run by tapping into new markets, as business in the Red Sea region continues to thrive. “We are planning on developing new markets, including Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Europe, and increasing leisure tourism during the year within the Kingdom and other GCC countries,” Asif Raza, director of sales and marketing, Park Hyatt Jeddah – Marina, Club & Spa, said, adding that development plans continue across existing markets, including Riyadh, the Eastern Province, Bahrain, and Dubai.

Hard Rock Hotels Enters the Middle East

Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara

Hard Rock International and Aabar Properties have entered into an agreement for the development and management of Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi. The 378-room five-star property, located within the seafront of the Corniche, will mark the hotel company’s foray into the Middle East, and will feature an assortment of signature restaurants, entertainment and meeting facilities, as well as sport and recreational areas. The development marks an important benchmark to the overall global expansion of the Hard Rock brand, according to Michael Shindler, executive vice president, Hard Rock Hotels, and will also mark Aabar Properties’ first venture into the hospitality sector.

Boutique 7 Undergoes Transformation Ideally located in the Tecom area in Dubai, opposite Media City, Boutique 7 Hotel & Suites is soon set to welcome guests with a refreshed new look and a host of new amenities in mid-December while the property’s nightclub is set to launch in October. “Just nine months ago, we were a standard ApartHotel which did not stand out amongst the vast competi-

tion in Dubai,” explained Paul Evans, general manager, Boutique 7 Hotel & Suites, adding that the project involves complete refurbishment across the hotel from the reception to the bedrooms. “We have drawn from both Arabic and Western cultures and experiences to create a stand-out property which will firmly place us as one of the premiere boutique hotels in Dubai,” he said.

In a bid to stray away from the mainstream, the hotel will offer hot tubs on the balconies, which have already proven highly successful in Wales, as Evans indicated, “With so much competition in Dubai you sometimes have to think outside the box, and what we are trying to create is a unique brand that will wow every single customer that walks through our door.”

30 JUNE 2012


Air News

Emirates to Further Serve Iraq Emirates is to launch operations to Erbil, its third Iraqi destination, on August 12, commencing with four flights a week and increasing to daily services as of September 1. H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO, Emirates Airline and Group, commented, ”Since we first launched flights into Iraq, we have seen demand for our services there increase tenfold. Emirates has been offering a well-utilised cargo service to Erbil since February 2011 and we are confident that our new passenger service will be filled in both directions. A resource-rich country, Iraq offers great potential for growth and we look forward to the launch of our third destination there this August.”

Emirates

Qatar Airways Expands in Africa Qatar Airways has announced further improvements to its African operations with plans to launch scheduled flights daily to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, on July 25 and to Mombasa, Kenya, on August 15, while the airline is to begin a thrice-weekly service to Maputo, Mozambique, via Johannesburg, effective October 31. In Africa alone this year, Qatar Airways has pursued its strategy aggressively of focusing on underserved markets. The carrier recently launched daily scheduled services from its Doha hub to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda in East Africa. Mozambique is another example of the airline’s commitment to open up access to destinations that are largely underserved by international carriers and have good market potential. “This truly is the year of an African adventure for Qatar Airways with the introduction of four new routes on this continent of diverse landscapes, diverse peoples, diverse cultures, and diverse natural attractions,” Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, commented.

Qatar Airways

30 JUNE 2012

WEEKLY NEWS

9

Safi Airways Launches Routes to Bahrain Safi Airways has increased its presence in the region with a new flight between Kabul, Afghanistan, and Bahrain, bringing its number of Middle East destinations to three. Having commenced on June 24, the new route is part of a codeshare agreement with Bahrain’s flag carrier Gulf Air who will operate an additional three flights per week totalling six services a week to and from the Kingdom. Commenting on the deal, Karim Makhlouf, chief commercial officer, Gulf Air, said, “The expansion of our operations to Kabul through the codeshare agreement reinforces our commitment to strengthening our regional network and connecting regional markets. With a total of six weekly flights now between Bahrain and Kabul, travellers can take advantage of our fast and easy connections via Bahrain to fly to any of the 50 destinations across Gulf Air’s network.”


10

WEEKLY NEWS

Air News

flydubai to Launch Two New Flights flydubai is set to commence services to Bucharest, Romania, three-times weekly on October 1, and Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, twice weekly on October 18. The new services will allow travellers from the UAE to take advantage of low-cost fares to another two emerging destinations in Central and Eastern Europe. Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, said, “Our two latest routes illustrate flydubai’s commitment to expanding connectivity from the Middle East to new destinations that have historically been underserved. This offers more choice to our customers, increasing international travel options and avenues for trade. Furthermore, our base in Dubai provides the sizeable Romanian and Macedonian expatriate populations around the globe with affordable links to their home nations.”

flydubai

Qatar Airways Strengthens Japan Services Qatar Airways is set to boost operations to Japan with the introduction of non-stop flights to Tokyo, twice daily, effective October 28. With the launch of the new non-stop service to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, passengers from Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and Africa can take advantage of a seamless one-stop connection to Japan’s capital city via the airline’s hub in Doha. The frequency increase demonstrates the airline’s commitment to the Japanese market, according to Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, who explained, “A dedicated Tokyo service means a great deal to the travel community in and around Japan’s capital city, as we are now able to offer an enhanced one-stop product taking passengers to an exciting array of destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Similarly, we are now able to offer a one-stop service from our network to Tokyo via Doha.”

Bahrain Air Introduces Routes Bahrain Air recently began operating direct flights to Khartoum, Sudan, with three weekly flights, and to Beirut, with four weekly services, from Saudi Arabia’s King Fahad International AirBahrain Air port (KFIA), Dammam. The inaugural flight to Khartoum took off on June 13 while the first service to Beirut set off on June 20, onboard its modern aircraft A320/A319. “We are a hybrid airline offering both business and economy class configuration. Our new flights schedule will give Bahrain Air passengers better convenience flying out from KFIA and eliminate delays on the Saudi - Bahrain causeway. The carrier also provides lounge facilities and offers immediate connections to popular GCC destinations, the Levant, and the Indian subcontinent,” said Hanif Zakaria, regional manager, Saudi Arabia and GCC, Bahrain Air. The airline also operates flights to the two major cities in the Kingdom, namely Riyadh and Jeddah.

Pets Travel Free with ExecuJet ExecuJet Europe has launched the first complimentary pet handling service at London Cambridge Airport, enabling domestic cats and dogs to travel internationally, without quarantine and overseas vet inspection. ExecuJet and London Cambridge Airport are now approved by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for the UK’s Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). New regulations introduced this year bring PETS fully in line with European Union (EU) regulations; cats and dogs coming from the EU and certain nonEU countries will no longer require a post-vaccination blood test, and the pre-entry waiting period will be reduced from six months to 21 days. ExecuJet

30 JUNE 2012


12

WEEKLY NEWS

International

Rosewood Beijing to Open Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is to enter China, during the summer months of 2013, with the opening of the 279-room Rosewood Beijing. Located in the central business Chaoyang District, the hotel will offer landscaped outdoor space, integrated into the design of many of the restaurants, as well as a Rosewood Sense spa, recreational facilities, and residential-styled meeting and function areas.

Raffles Hospital Touches on Arabian Hospitality A new class of private rooms at Raffles Hospital in Singapore has been designed with the cultural-specific needs of Gulf and Middle Eastern in-patients in mind. Each of the new rooms include a Qibla, Quran, prayer mats, Arabic-language entertainment, and concierege services, and a menu offering a variety of Halal cuisine, just to name a few.

Opening of Presidente InterContinental Santa Fe in Mexico City InterContinental Hotels Group (lHG) and Grupo Presidente have announced the opening of Presidente InterContinental Santa Fe, Mexico City, said to be the tallest building in the area, offering views of the Santa Fe area, the Valley of Mexico, and the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes. The building’s conversion into the Presidente InterContinental Santa Fe represents an approximate USD35 million investment, which has resulted in 111 rooms, including 26 suites, six meeting rooms accommodating up to 300 people, an art gallery, seven stories of office facilities, six restaurants, and the soon to open Bamboo House, which will feature cuisines ranging from Mexican, Asian, and French. “With its ideal location, rich amenities, and the famed personalised service of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, the Presidente InterContinental Santa Fe is in a prime position to attract both international and domestic business and leisure travellers,” said Kirk Kinsell, president, the Americas, IHG.

30 JUNE 2012


WHO'S MOVED

Kasper Wigen Kasper Wigen has taken on the position of marketing and communications manager at Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand and Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace. He moves to the Lebanese capital after working at Hilton Al Ain in the UAE and Hilton Copenhagen Airport in Denmark. In Beirut, he is in charge Îżf all

marketing, public relations, and communications activities of these sister hotels alongside a new team which has been appointed to spearhead all activities and lead operations across the two properties.

Wigen has become the head of all corporate communications activities

Maria Kuhn Maria Kuhn has joined Kempinski Hotels as vice president of public relations. By managing and coordinating the global, regional, and hotel teams, Kuhn, who is a German national based in Geneva, is now responsible for the hotel company’s worldwide public relations. She will guide and oversee public relations efforts to position Kempinski Hotels as a leading luxury lifestyle brand and will ensure that all public relations activities are globally consistent

30 JUNE 2012

and in line with overall group messages. Most recently, she worked as director of corporate communications at Shangri-La International Hotel Management. Her extensive professional background also includes positions with InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, Four Seasons Hotel London, and Four Seasons Thailand. Besides her longstanding international experience, she has an extensive network in hospitality in Asia, the Americas, and Europe.

13

Xenia Adamou Xenia Adamou has been promoted to general manager of the South African market at Etihad Airways. She takes on the position after having worked as sales manager of the airline for four years. Prior to that, she spent over 30 years with South African Airways where she built an extensive career in a number of senior man-

ager positions within the sales and marketing department. She has a proven track record and extensive knowledge of the market which has helped develop long-standing relationships in the key corporate and travel sectors. Adamou replaces Maurice Phohleli who continues to serve the airline as general manager of Nigeria.


TRAVEL TALK

travel talk is your space

14

Ayman Ashor

Enad Tannous

General manager, Tilal Liwa Hotel.

General manager, InterContinental Aqaba Resort.

“Tilal Liwa Hotel is a real top desert destination so we receive a mix of several nationalities from both corporate and leisure clients. Business in Tilal Liwa is healthy with both corporate and leisure markets active during the weekends. We receive 90 percent occupancy during the weekends and are running on average occupancy of 72 percent.”

“InterContinental Aqaba Resort has always been considered to be one of the best resorts in Aqaba, which has gained popularity and retained many loyal guests who enjoy what the resort has to offer. The hotel has always developed and updated itself to offer its guests with unmatched services from the dedicated and experienced team, great outlets, and facilities that are guaranteed to exceed expectations and result in ultimate satisfaction.”

Michel Noblet President, Hospitality Management Holdings.

“It is utterly logical for us to position ourselves in countries where there is demand for alcohol-free hotels. In this respect, Indonesia and Malaysia look quite promising. Equally lucrative is the midmarket segment in both the MENA region and the subcontinent. We are looking at substantial growth for our brands in the coming five years. Moving forward, we want to go where the business is and in this respect, Asia is our next frontier.”

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

30 JUNE 2012


AGENT'S CORNER

AGENT'S INSIGHT NAME: Mohamed Yousef POSITION: President COMPANY: Egypt Last Minute Group LOCATION: Egypt WEB: www. egyptlastminute.com Who are you? I am the president of Egypt Last Minute Group, which is part of Rammaside Travel Group, a reputable and licensed travel company and member of the Egyptian Tourist Board. Therefore, you can be assured that everything will be well-planned in advance. We offer excellent planning, fast-thinking and quickly-acting staff, and good connections across the Middle East with people who care, thus we can act promptly to get the holiday you ask for in the shortest amount of time. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? New experiences, creating memories, learning new cultures, meeting people, broadening horizons, and helping others to understand Egyptian culture and history. Also, discovering other places and people not through the media but through my own eyes and presence. When is the best time to visit Egypt? The best time to visit Egypt is from October through to April, especially if you wish to see the country’s ancient sights like the Pyramids of Giza and the temples. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? Greece. I love its history, culture, and people. Why should people come to you for travel advice? First and most importantly is that we collect payment at the end of your tour and if you are not satisfied, you do not pay. But, it is a guarantee that you will get the best service. Egypt Last Minute works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide holidays to enable you to enjoy every moment in Egypt, down to the very last minute.

30 JUNE 2012

15

Gulf Air Promotes Beirut Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, recently organised a familiarisation (FAM) trip to Beirut, Lebanon, for a number of Kuwait’s top travel agents in a bid to help them promote the destination to their customers. The trip came as a token of appreciation to these agents, who continuously promote and market Gulf Air destinations. Currently offering five weekly flights to Beirut, which is hailed as one the most popular destinations in the region, Gulf Air initially launched flights to the Lebanese capital in 1974. “We have been flying to Beirut since the 1970’s and the city is a very popular, all-time destination for its appeal for both business and tourism travellers,” expressed Ahmed Al Matrook,

country manager, Kuwait, Gulf Air, who added that the airline always works closely with travel agents and travel management companies, who are an integral part of its business.

Gulf Air

“This FAM trip helped travel agents gain first-hand experience of our several award winning products, services, and facilities such as Sky Chef, Sky Nanny, SkyHub, and other most recent developments and initiatives,” he concluded.


16

TRAVEL CHANNELS

UNWTO and WTTC Calls on G20 Leaders The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) have urged leaders to acknowledge the importance of travel and tourism.

A

ccording to a research conducted by the two organisations, G20 economies could boost their international tourism numbers by an additional 122 million, generate an extra USD206 billion in tourism exports, and create over five million additional jobs by 2015, by improving visa processes and entry formalities. Taleb Rifai, secretary general, UNWTO, and David Scowsill, president, WTTC, therefore called on the world leaders to take the necessary steps to realise the industry’s potential in economic growth by removing unnecessary visa restrictions, especially for the emerging BRICs countries.

Tourism is Pivotal in SIDS Tourism is a key engine of job creation, livelihood, foreign exchange, and inclusive growth for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) new report, entitled Challenges and Opportunities for Tourism in Small Island Developing States has highlighted. “Tourism offers one of the most promising options for the economic growth and development of small island nations if planned and managed according to the principles of sustainability,” stressed Taleb Rifai, secretary general, UNWTO, at the United National Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), further noting that tourism has been an important contributor in enabling the Maldives and Cape Verde to graduate from the status of ‘least developed country’. SIDS’ natural and cultural resources give them a strong competitive edge, which therefore calls upon the international community to continue supporting these destinations.

Rio+20: Importance of Sustainable Tourism The Rio+20 event Green Innovation in Tourism, co-hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), alongside the support of the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism and the UNWTO affiliate member CNC-SESC-SENAC, altogether gathered some 300 international tourism experts. “The definition of competitiveness in tourism is closely linked with three objectives: development, inclusion, and conservation,“ commented Gastão Dias Vieira, minister of tourism, Brazil. “There can be no economic growth in tourism without sustainability, without conservation of natural resources, and without incentives to citizenship,” he added. The event highlighted major benefits which can be produced through the shifts in tourism practices, stimulating change towards greater sustainability within the tourism supply chain, such as the creation of jobs, reduction of environmental impacts, cutting of costs, and increases of competitive advantages for companies and destinations while enhancing the visitor experience.

30 JUNE 2012


RENDEZVOUS

17

Q & A with Selim El Zyr Rotana is continuing its proliferation across the region with a number of properties slated to open in the coming months. Selim El Zyr, president, Rotana, shares details on the company’s long-term strategy in line with the regional hospitality industry’s ever-changing face.

Travel Trade Weekly: Rotana has quite a few upcoming properties. What hotels are to join the hotel group’s portfolio next? Selim El Zyr: In Abu Dhabi, two properties are due to be launched this year at the Capital Centre development; Centro Capital Centre will open its doors in the third quarter, offering 414 rooms. The second property, due to open in Abu Dhabi, is Capital Centre Rotana which will be ready to welcome guests in the fourth quarter, boasting 300 rooms and suites. Rotana will also be opening two properties in Dubai in the fourth quarter this year. Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana is a five-star property located in Deira, offering 428 rooms and suites. As for Al Ghurair Arjaan by Rotana, this is a deluxe hotel apartment, directly connected to Al Ghurair.

star hotel will offer 400 rooms and suites. Travel Trade Weekly: Qatar is anticipating a significant surge in visitor numbers. What kind of plans has Rotana outlined to benefit from the emerging opportunities?

Selim El Zyr President, Rotana

Travel Trade Weekly: What other regional openings are scheduled before the end of the year? Selim El Zyr: Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana will be the first property for Rotana in Jordan and it will start to welcome guests in the fourth quarter. Featuring 400 suites, the hotel will be located in the heart of the new downtown, Abdali. Rotana will also open its first property in Bahrain in the fourth quarter. Majestic Arjaan by Rotana comprises 128 apartments, as well as four meeting rooms, a swimming pool, gym, and health club. City Centre Rotana will be the second property for Rotana in Doha and this is due to open in the fourth quarter as well. Part of the City Centre Doha shopping complex, the five-

30 JUNE 2012

Selim El Zyr: Rotana will open its second property in the Qatari capital by the end of this year, which will give us about 800 keys in the city; quite impressive for one company. The long-term plan for us is to operate five to six hotels by 2022, in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar Tourism Authority is working on promoting Qatar as a quality tourism destination for leisure, business, education, and sport. The authority’s new strategy is to grow the tourism industry in Qatar by 20 percent in the next five years, which is certainly very encouraging.

Travel Trade Weekly: How do you think the Centro Hotels by Rotana concept will continue to evolve and revolutionise the sector? Selim El Zyr: Perhaps the most important reason that led the Arab region to recently adopt this concept is the rise in the percentage of regional travel from one Arab country to the other with a significant decrease in travellers looking for five-star accommodations, in addition to the launch of regional low-cost airlines. Through Centro, we were able to present a revolutionary hotel concept that redefines budget accommodation and which does not compromise on quality at all. In light of the major changes taking place in the travel and hospitality sectors in the region, the Centro brand was able to prove itself in a matter of a very short period of time. We have achieved the goals we had set as the figures reflect the need for this concept by businessmen who have formed 65 percent of the total Centro guests in 2011. This is the revolution that will redefine this sector in the next few years and further enhance the status of our cosmopolitan cities. Travel Trade Weekly: Which cities are included in the Centro brand’s expansion plans? Selim El Zyr: Rotana’s plan on opening Centro Capital Centre in Abu Dhabi later this year, raises the number of Centro rooms to 1,464 and the total number of Rotana rooms to over 14,000 by the end of the year. Upcoming plans include the opening of 25 Centro Hotels by Rotana properties across the Middle East and Africa by 2014, including Riyadh, Khobar, Beirut, and Bahrain.


18

NEWS & EVENTS

Sharjah Museums Showcased in Beijing The Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) alongside the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority successfully participated in the recently-concluded Beijing International Tourism Expo 2012, hailed as Asia’s leading annual travel and tourism event, which attracted 800 exhibitors from 70 different destinations around the globe. SMD received positive feedback from visitors as it showcased 16 museums from Sharjah, while representatives from the Department also met with a number of senior officials, top executives, and professionals, all of them eager to learn more about the emirate’s historical and cultural diversity as well as its heritage and rich civilisation, which paved the way for Sharjah to become recognised as the capital of Islamic culture for 2014. SMD has long been committed to promoting the diversity of the emriate’s museums, spanning archaeology, art, heritage, marine species, science, and Islamic civilisation.

GIBTM Witnesses Early Bookings for 2013 Record satisfaction levels among exhibitors have led to an increase in early bookings for the next edition of Gulf Incentives, Meetings, and Business Travel Exhibition (GIBTM), which will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from March 25 - 27, 2013. A survey of exhibiting partners following this year’s GIBTM showed that 95 percent believed the event delivered the right audience for their business and as a result they were keen to sign up again and capitalise on the extensive year-round global and regional marketing campaign, valued at over AED12.5 million (USD3.4 million). Gillian Taylor, manager, business tourism and MICE, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, explained that an increase in regional buyers and walk-in visitors helped to give this year’s show a buzz and greater energy, which he believes is always successful and offers the authority a great opportunity to showcase Abu Dhabi to the hosted buyers and the global industry, through the news stories that emanate from it.

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.

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.

International French Travel Market (IFTM Top Resa) Paris, France, September 18 – 21, 2012 (www.iftm.fr) An international fair for networking, doing business, innovating, and keeping abreast of market developments, offering a 360° panorama of the travel industry.

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

Africa Hotel Investment Forum 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.

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.

Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference (RHIC) Moscow, Russia, October 15 – 17, 2012 (www.russia-cisconference.com) Addressing the key opportunities and challenges across the region and offering a platform to exchange ideas with fellow industry experts.

30 JUNE 2012


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

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 138  

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

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 138  

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

Profile for elinaperi
Advertisement