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06 OCTOBER 2012


Rendezvous with James Hogan James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, talks about the airline’s growth strategy and its greatest challenges.

Amari Doha is to welcome its first guests on November 1, marking the brand’s debut in the Middle East.

02 Wyndham Signs Contract for Two Ramada Hotels Wyndham Hotel Group has signed an agreement for two Ramada hotels in the UAE.


02 03 04 06 08 11 12 13 14 15 16

Amari Doha to Open in November




Q & A with James Hogan Etihad Airways started the year on a high note after announcing a record number of passengers for 2011, and the carrier is keen on continuing its fast-paced growth. James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, talks about the airline's growth strategy and greatest challenges.

Travel Trade Weekly: What is the best way to describe the airline’s current network? James Hogan: From our hub in Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways serves 86 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America, with a fleet of 67 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and 100 aircraft on order. In 2013, we will launch services to Washington D.C., São Paulo, and Ho Chi Minh City. For the remainder of the decade, we will have in excess of 90 aircraft delivered. Furthermore, Etihad Airways now has almost 40 codeshare partners in addition to the equity partnerships with airberlin, Aer Lingus, Air Seychelles, and Virgin Australia. Travel Trade Weekly: What makes these codeshare partnerships and equity stake deals strategically important? James Hogan: By building on the success of the organic growth achieved in our first seven years of operation, these codeshares and equity acquisitions are intended to give us the scale to compete on a global playing field with added advantages of cost savings to be achieved through synergies and economies of scale. The equity acquisition strategy is also designed to create a global footprint, extending our network and reaching new customer segments. Our growth strategy is based on both organic growth and growth through partnerships.

James Hogan President, Etihad Airways

James Hogan: Our year-to-date results are an endorsement of our strategy. In a period when many airlines have seen demand softening, we have been able to add more passengers than ever before, with growth outstripping our capacity increases. Our strategies allow us to drive quality revenue and we remain focused and on track to deliver profitability for the full year, for the second year running. Travel Trade Weekly: What are the greatest challenges and the greatest opportunities currently facing Etihad Airways?

award-winning product. We believe it is our attention to detail and unique innovations that set us aside from any competitors. A key difference between Etihad Airways and other airlines is the partnerships we have made. Travel Trade Weekly: Could there be more acquisitions on the horizon?

Travel Trade Weekly: What makes Etihad Airways different to its competitors?

James Hogan: Our three pillar approach to achieve growth and sustainable financial performance is based on organic growth, codeshare partnerships and equity investment. In terms of new acquisitions, Etihad Airways has stated on many occasions that we are happy to listen to other airlines with the same philosophy as us and that we can work with.

James Hogan: Etihad Airways is a full service carrier with a modern new fleet and offering

Travel Trade Weekly: Will the airline be able to keep the pace of the past years’ growth?

James Hogan: The Middle East region has spent USD100 billion on airport projects and we are very lucky to have some of the most supportive governments in the world. We agree that the investment on the ground needs to be matched with investment in air traffic management, and the UAE is making strong progress in both areas. There are, of course, the challenging economic conditions that remain across the globe and lower growth and stagnating passenger and cargo traffic in European markets. It is therefore important to manage our costs. Fuel is our largest variable cost with prices tracking 31 percent higher than 2011. Yields, particularly in premium classes, remain a major challenge. And there are also the ’unknown unknowns’. Every year, we face challenges that could not be predicted in any business plan – Icelandic volcanoes, frozen runways at Heathrow, the redshirts in Bangkok, or the tsunami in Japan. Our challenge is to respond to those quickly and efficiently.

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WEEKLY NEWS Crystal Lagoons Unveils World’s Largest Lagoon in Egypt


DM to Open Crocodile Park The investment section of Asset Management Department of Dubai Municipality (DM) is studying the possibility of establishing a sophisticated crocodile park in Dubai, set to become a world-class tourist attraction. The civic body has assigned a team to analyse the best practises in the world in establishing parks for crocodiles, including in France, Tunisia, and Belgium. According to Khalifa Abdullah Hareb, director, assets management, DM, the proposed project will be a first of its kind in the Middle East and is envisaged to serve as an educational destination, as well as an amusement park, thus providing a unique platform for students to learn about the animals.

Crystal Lagoons Corporation has showcased what is said to become the world’s largest man-made lagoon upon completion, at the recent Cityscape Global in Dubai. With major projects in five countries and over 40 locations across the region, the company has displayed its current initiatives in Jordan, Turkey, the UAE, as well as its second saltwater lagoon in Egypt, this time measuring 12ha.

TDIC Unveils New Residential Community on Saadiyat Island

Crystal Lagoons in Sharm El Sheikh

The mega water project will surpass the current Guinness World Records holder, Chile’s San Alfonso del Mar resort, the Crystal Lagoons Corporation’s first project, and is set to become the centrepiece of the new USD600 million Citystars Sharm El Sheikh luxury resort, featuring residential units, hotels, golf courses, marinas, a museum, a commercial centre, and a series of 10 saltwater lagoons, currently being developed by Radamis for Hotels & Touristic Resorts and slated to open before the end of the year. “Aimed at the high-end traveller, the resort covers 75ha with 2,500-rooms across three separate hotels and a 2.7ha lagoon offering an unlimited selection of water sports,” explained Kevin Morgan, CEO, Crystal Lagoons Corporation.

Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), the master developer of major tourism, cultural, and residential destinations in Abu Dhabi, has started leasing the Saadiyat Beach Residences, a new high-quality residential community on Saadiyat Island. Set across six low-rise apartment buildings situated in a private-gated community, the residences are being developed in two phases; the already-completed first which consists of 285 one- to three-bedroom apartments, and the second which comprises 210 one- to four-bedroom apartments, and due to be completed in 2013. To better serve residents in the area, a number of important community services and developments will open on the island in 2013.

Box Appeal Campaign: Successful So Far The Box Appeal charity campaign, which began on September 1 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis, and slated to end on October 31, is in full swing, with the Egyptian Orphanage Association among the early beneficiaries. This generous initiative, which was initially founded by Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai,

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Media City, saw 30 much happier boys and girls return to school after 30 boxes, filled with school stationery such as pens, rulers, paper, and pencils, had been collected. Many more organisations are set to join the campaign over the month, alongside the Egyptian Orphanage Institution, which is a non-profit organisation

devoted to the care and welfare of boys and girls between the ages of four and 10 years old. The institution provides education, teaches skills, and offers shelter in a home environment for underprivileged children who have no parents or who have been abandoned by extended family members.



TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi JOURNALISTS Stefanie Saghbini Rita Kasziba Dominique Christou

MEA: Positive Results for August The Middle East and Africa region closed the month of August with positive performance results, highly attributed to the Ramadan period ending earlier this year than in 2011, based on STR Global’s latest monthly report.


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 EMAILS


05/10/2012 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar







Egypt (EGP)



Saudi Arabia (SAR)



Lebanon (LBP)



Bahrain (BHD)



Jordan (JOD)



Syria (SYP)



Kuwait (KWD)



Qatar (QAR)



Oman (OMR)



Tunisia (TND)



Morocco (MAD)



Iran (IRR)



Yemen (YER)



Algeria (DZD)



Libya (LYD)



he region’s occupancy increased 11.9 percent to reach 53.8 percent during the month, while average daily rate (ADR) rose three percent and amounting to USD154.93, and RevPAR improved 15.3 percent to USD83.37. “Ramadan ended earlier this August compared to August 2011, and performance metrics were positively impacted because of it, showing a 19.6 percent RevPAR increase across the Middle East,” Elizabeth Randall Winkle, managing director, STR Global, commented, adding that Africa’s RevPAR grew 5.4 percent as occupancy continued to recover, while average room rates in USD remained under pressure. The largest year-on-year occupancy increases were reported from Cairo and Am-

man at 69.7 percent to reach 37.9 percent and 52.9 percent to 43.2 percent respectively, while in Riyadh, figures fell 8.5 percent to 31 percent. In Dubai, ADR rose 23.7 percent to USD184.23, posting the largest increase in that metric, followed by Jeddah with an upsurge of 18.1 percent to USD255.99, and Amman, where ADR climbed 17.8 percent to USD160. Moreover, six markets achieved RevPAR increases of more than 25 percent, namely Amman (80.1 percent to USD69.10), Cairo (66.4 percent to USD39.81), Dubai (59.9 percent to USD109.29), Jeddah (40.6 percent to USD202.75), Muscat (36.1 percent to USD61.27), and Manama (25.8 percent to USD67.08).

DXB: Passenger Traffic up 20 Percent Passenger volume at Dubai International, the world’s fourth busiest hub for international traffic and cargo, exceeded the 4.5 million mark for the seventh time this year, based on the August traffic report issued by Dubai Airports. During the month, a total of 4,847,152 passengers passed through the airport’s terminals, marking a 20 percent rise over the same month in 2011, and pushing the year-to-date passenger figure to 37,784,946, a year-on-year increase of 13.4 percent. The largest growth in passenger numbers was recorded on the GCC routes, followed by Western Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa, while South America topped the list of the regions in terms of percentage growth in traffic, followed by the GCC, and Russia and the CIS. “Dubai International has successfully completed another record summer rush,” noted Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports. “The nonstop growth is a testament to Dubai’s attraction to tourists and businesses around the world. Providing top-flight infrastructure to accommodate that growth is another of Dubai’s key strengths and one that will play a key role in supporting Dubai’s World Expo 2020 bid.”

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Jebel Ali International Hotels Re-brands Jebel Ali International Hotels is undertaking a strategic rebranding process, and will continue operating as JA Resorts & Hotels. The new identity ensures a consistent and engaging brand that is set to enhance the group’s presence overseas as it looks to expand into international markets. Assisting with the project is Interbrand, which, by accurately identifying what the group stood for, will re-align the company’s vision, mission, and values in keeping with the new brand’s promises. “At JA Resorts & Hotels, we employ over 1,500 people and it was therefore essential to dedicate time to launching the brand internally before we revealed it to our guests and partners,” emphasised David Thomson, chief operating officer, JA Resorts & Hotels. Kevin Wallace, CEO, JA Resorts & Hotels added, “Essentially, we are reinforcing what we already do well, which is ‘heartfelt hospitality’ at all of our properties, whether big or small, central or remote.”

Amari Doha to Open in November Amari Doha is to welcome its first guests on November 1, marking the brand’s debut in the Middle East. Located just 15 minutes from Doha International Airport and in convenient reach of the Qatari capital’s major commercial centres, the 13-storey property features 120 contemporary rooms, including six suites, a spa, a number of food and beverage outlets, and a range of leisure facilities, including a swimming and children’s pool, fitness centre, a business centre, and conferencing and banqueting facilities. “Guests of Amari Doha will be warmly welcomed, well taken care of, and encouraged to acquaint themselves with all that Doha has to offer,” emphasised Damian Ball, general manager, Amari Doha, noting that a special Amari Host will be at hand to advise guests on the city’s major attractions. “Whether for business or pleasure we wish to ensure that our guests make the most of their time in this bourgeoning city,” he concluded.

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort to Launch New Restaurant The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort is gearing up for the opening of a new beach venue. Set apart from the hotel as a rustic series of buildings along the coast, Turquoiz, will embody the turquoise blue ocean that surrounds the island of Saadiyat, and will feature a large terrace offering sunset views. A wide selection of fresh seafood, light meals and snacks will be available, along with a myriad of signature cocktails, while, after sunset, the resident DJ will set the mood with serene lounge music.

Turquoiz at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

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Wyndham Signs Contract for Two Ramada Hotels Wyndham Hotel Group has signed a management agreement with Golden Sands Hotels for two Ramada hotels in the UAE. Effective immediately, the newly-opened 356-key Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, and the 245room Ramada Sharjah join the company’s growing portfolio of managed hotels within the Middle East. Commenting on the contracts, Michael Zager, vice president, managed operations, Middle East and Africa, Wyndham Hotel Group, and cluster general manager, Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach Residence and Ramada Sharjah, said, “Over the last 18 months, tourism has experienced a renewed resurgence in the UAE. With over nine million visitors to Dubai alone last year, there is certainly demand for high quality, affordable accommodation such as that offered by the Ramada brand.” With six Ramada hotels already open throughout the UAE, the company is well placed to serve the needs of guests within the region, Zager further noted.

06 OCTOBER 2012


Governor West Bay Successfully Debuts in Qatar Governor West Bay, a five-star American chain of hotels, has launched luxury furnished apartments in a dry hotel setting in Qatar. The hotel, which was built at an estimated cost of QAR450 million (USD123,6 million) comprises 195 furnished two and three-bedroom apartments with a capacity to host 450 persons. An entire 1,200m2 business floor featuring conference and meeting rooms ensure an ideal address for business travellers, while a large restaurant divided into four sections, separate spas, gym, a covered swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi make the hotel a restful gateway for tourists. Commenting on the company’s debut in the country Jean-Patrick Thierry, managing director, Governor West Bay, said, “With Qatar’s economy expanding rapidly, there is an increasing demand for the unique services that we provide from Qatari and expatriate residents, visitors and businesspersons.”




Air News

First Domestic Flights Land in Al Ain Airport Abu Dhabi Airports Company has celebrated the arrival of the first Rotana Jet domestic service to Al Ain International Airport. The aircraft departed from Abu Dhabi International Airport at 18:00 and arrived at Al Ain International Airport at 18:30, making it the first domestic flight to land in the airport’s history. With the newly inaugurated operation from Abu Dhabi International Airport, Rotana Jet now flies twice-a-day to Al Ain, complementing the already-inaugurated daily services to Fujairah, which commenced on September 12. Rotanta Jet deploys the Embraer ERJ145 aircraft on these routes with 50 seats and a comfortable 31-inch seat pitch. Flights to Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ruwais are set to follow.

Rotana Jet's Arrival

Emirates Strengthens Seychelles Ties In a move to support the tourism sector of the Seychelles, Emirates is to introduce two additional flights to the archipelago on December 3 this year and February 5, 2013 , thus increasing the service to 13 weekly flights. The airline, known to have contributed to the development of new tourism markets for the Seychelles, will enhance its promotional efforts across its network to sustain the awareness around the idyllic destination. “The increase in frequencies will provide even more travel options and flexibility to visitors from across our network. Working with the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and the Seychelles Tourism Board has been very fruitful. We thank the government of the Republic of Seychelles for their trust in Emirates”, said Ahmed Hashim Khoory, senior vice president, commercial operations, West Asia and Indian Ocean, Emirates.

Qatar Airways to Fly to Najaf Qatar Airways continues its network expansion with the announcement of four-weekly scheduled flights to Najaf, its third route in Iraq, effective January 23, 2013. The addition of Najaf takes Qatar Airways’ frequency to Iraq from eight flights to 12 services a week, offering passengers a greater choice of travel options to more than 100 destinations around the world. Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, expressed delight for the airline’s added services to Iraq, a market where the carrier this year alone launched services to two prime cities, namely Baghdad and Erbil. “Iraq is proving to be an important market for Qatar Airways; we currently operate four flights a week between Doha and the cities of Baghdad and Erbil,” Al Baker commented. “We are confident that Najaf will prove to be a popular destination for our passengers, especially those from the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific and those returning to visit their homeland. With major infrastructure developments and vast untapped tourist potential, we are very excited about our launch of flights to Najaf,” he added.

Etihad Airways to Increase Flights to Istanbul Etihad Airways has announced that it will launch daily services between Abu Dhabi and Istanbul as of January 1, 2013. According to James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, the move to daily services was motivated by strong performance and the potential for further growth. “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,” he explained. “This is indicative of the thriving trade and commercial relationship between these two countries, as well as world-class tourism programmes. A significant number of passengers on the route travel between Turkey and Northeast Asia and Australasia. Further supporting this traffic is

Etihad Airways’ ongoing growth in Asia. Tokyo, for example, will increase from five services per week to daily in April 2013 and we also commenced Shanghai and Chengdu services in the last year, enhancing connections to China,” Hogan commented, further noting that the airline continues to look at ways to enhance its codeshare partnership with Turkish Airlines.

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Air Arabia Maroc to Launch New London Gatwick Services Air Arabia Maroc has announced that it will begin a new operation connecting Casablanca and Tangier to London Gatwick airport. The new non-stop service will commence on October 28, offering a total of five weekly flights between Morocco and the UK. The flights between Casablanca and London-Gatwick Airport will operate on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays, and services between Tangier and London-Gatwick Airport will be offered on Thursdays and Sundays. Commenting on the new routes, Adel A. Ali, group CEO, Air Arabia, said, “This announcement marks a new milestone for Air Arabia Maroc. Entering the UK will further strengthen our current flights between Morocco and Europe, and at the same time, offers customers wider choice of affordable air travel between Casablanca, Tangier, and London.”

Air News

Turkish Airlines Expands MENA Network

Oman Air Inaugural Ceremony Following the launch of a new service by Oman Air between Muscat and Tehran, on September 1, an inaugural ceremony was held in the Iranian captial on September 24.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines, said to boast the world’s seventh largest network, is stepping up its expansion in the MENA region with new services being launched to four additional destinations. Following the introduction of thrice weekly flights to the Yemeni city of Aden via Sana’a, on October 2, the airline is set to commence three weekly operations to Sebha, southwest Libya, on October 7. In addition, starting October 9, the carrier will operate four weekly services to the coastal city of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, while three-weekly flights to another Red Sea destination, Hurghada, are due to commence on October 17.

Inaugural Ceremony

A traditional cake-cutting ceremony was held at Muscat International Airport, following which the Oman Air delegation, headed by Abdul Razak bin Juma al Raisi, chief commercial officer, Oman Air, alongside senior management members of the airline and Omani media, departed to Tehran Utilising Oman Air’s latest Embraer E175 regional jets, which offer outstanding levels of space, comfort and amenity, the new service confirms and strengthens the historic links between the Sultanate and Iran. Not only does it offer Omani and Iranian citizens the opportunity to discover the attractions of each other’s countries, but passengers from further afield can now fly to Tehran whilst experiencing Oman Air’s legendary hospitality.

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Ghulam Al Balooshi Ghulam Al Balooshi has been named interim general manager by Travelport for the company’s Galileo operations in Saudi Arabia. He has held various senior level commercial positions at both Sabre and Amadeus Gulf, before joining Travelport in 2010. In his new role, Al Balooshi is in charge of all Galileo-related

commercial activity in the Kingdom, and also retains his responsibilities for Travelport’s commercial activity in the Lower Gulf region. His main focus will be strengthening the company’s relationships with travel agencies in the region and ensuring that they benefit from its wide range of products.

Ferhad Zohny Ferhad Zohny has been named director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi. Over the past 15 years, Zohny has held a number of positions in five-star hotels across the world, including in Egypt, the US, Kuwait and the UAE. Previously, he also worked as director of sales at InterContinental Abu Dhabi, and received the second best sales team award in the Europe, Middle East and Africa

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region from the company in 2009. More recently, he served as director of sales at Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel. With a Master’s in Marketing from the University of Wales and his abundant knowledge of the GCC market, Zohny is now responsible for the positioning of the hotel, as well as analysing current and potential market trends, and driving the sales team to increase market share.


Philipp Economou Philipp Economou has been named general manager at Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi. Economou, who has been with InterContinental Hotels Group for 17 years, brings a wealth of international experience to the role, having previously worked at various points across the world, including InterConti-

nental Cannes as well as InterContinental Miami. He later moved to the UAE to take on the position of resident manager at InterContinental Abu Dhabi, before moving to Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, where he now looks forward to fulfilling the role and achieving the targets set for the team.


travel talk is your space


Samer Majali

Herve Humler

CEO, Gulf Air.

President, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

“As a pioneer of the Middle East aviation industry, […] Gulf Air has demonstrated that ‘age’ is no barrier to enthusiasm and innovation. The brand has continuously evolved in tune with the changing times, both in terms of its brand logo as well as its values. The modern Golden Falcon image which Gulf Air sports now is a reflection of the personality of Gulf Air; bold, contemporary, innovative, and entrepreneurial.”

“At The Ritz-Carlton, we specialise in creating memories for our guests at every touch point of their experience. From concierge services, to housekeeping, […], there is a significant amount of dedicated craftsmanship and care that goes into making memories for the discerning world traveller. ’The Art of The Craft’ [video series] centres on how significantly the craftsmanship of true professionals can impact your experience with our brand.”

Hans-Peter Leitzke Managing director, Rosewood Corniche.

“This is a great milestone to achieve [as we celebrate our fifth anniversary] and we are proud to be the standard-bearer for hotels in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Having completed our most successful Ramadan and Eid season to date, it is a great time to honour our colleagues and acknowledge their hard work in making the hotel the best it can be.”

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

06 OCTOBER 2012


AGENT’S INSIGHT NAME: Tarek Moshref POSITION: Managing director COMPANY: Pronto Tours LOCATION: Egypt WEB:

Who are you? My name is Tarek Moshref, the managing director of Pronto Tours in Egypt. I come from a solid background in tourism and marketing for incoming and outgoing programme itineraries, as well as being experienced in operating and handling services for international travel agencies. What is your favorite thing about working in the travel industry? Organising tours of special interests. When is the best time to visit Egypt? The best time to visit Egypt is in the winter time, beginning around October and ending around January, as well the spring time, in March until about May. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? In 2013 I will go to Italy. Why should people come to you for travel advice? I think the high quality guest services and the good experience with dealing with other people with different mentalities and cultures, that is what makes the people come to me. My services must meet and exceed the guest’s needs, and I understand and anticipate each guests' wants and needs.

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Travelport Leads the Way Travelport is taking an industry lead in streamlining the upload of hotel negotiated rates by proactively conducting rate audits with hotel suppliers; designing and implementing new processes; removing the availability of outdated and duplicated codes; and streamlining the process for hotels to upload their negotiated rates. According to external research from CWT Solutions Group, up to 25 percent of hotel negotiated rates are incorrectly uploaded, or not loaded at all, at initial audit. The

main reasons for this include the hotel’s failure to load the data into the Property Management System or Central Reservation System; the rate not being set up correctly or missing/ inaccurate code information, as many codes are outdated and duplicated; and multiple processes for uploading data. Travelport has already seen supplier compliance rise from less than 80 percent to more than 97 percent, and the programme, which initially kicked off in the US and Canada, will be deployed globally later in the year.


TRAVEL CHANNELS Over 873,000 Saudis Visits Dubai

ReboundTag Available in the UAE Tracing lost luggage just got easier with ReboundTAG, a new high-tech microchip bag tag now available in the UAE market.


y applying ReboundTAG microchip bag tags, that use state-of-the-art radio frequency identification microchip technology, travellers can easily and quickly identify their luggage via airlines and other airport personnel to ensure a faster and safer return of their lost belongings anywhere in the world. ReboundTag, the British technology company developing innovative technology solutions, aims to partner with global baggage handling companies, to provide travellers with live updates by SMS and email once their luggage is found. The tag, which is completely compatible with the International Air Transport Association’s reusable luggage standard, will be integrated into Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA) World Tracer, the system used by 95 percent of airline companies worldwide for luggage recovery.

In 2011, more than 873,000 Saudis travelled to Dubai, making the Kingdom one of the main source markets of the emirate, based on data compiled by Tourism Information and Research Center (MAS), the statistical arm of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities. According to the official statistical analysis issued by Department of Tourism in Dubai, in 2011, the total number of tourists to Dubai reached 9.1 million, of which 873,152 tourists hailed from the Kingdom, representing 9.6 percent of the total figure. In addition, Saudis accounted for 27 percent of the Arab visitors, and 55 percent of the total GCC tourists visiting Dubai during 2011.

ALJREIC Launches New Website As Internet penetration across the Kingdom continues to grow, Saudi companies and organisations are increasingly looking at online and social media tools as an integrated part of their marketing strategy. According to recent statistics, Internet penetration in Saudi Arabia has now reached 38 percent, making the development of interactive corporate websites and the utilisation of social media to build brand awareness and engage customers, a must for any organisation. “We greatly value the importance of online marketing, especially with the rapidly increasing Internet penetration in the country and the growing popularity of online social media,” noted Mahmoud Mokhtar, chief operating officer, Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Co. (ALJREIC), who revealed that following the recent launch of a user-friendly portal for ALJREIC’s hospitality brand, Anjum Hotels, feedback has been very positive.

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Q & A with Hilal Al Kuwari Since its establishment almost a decade ago, Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) has gained international prominence and has put Qatar firmly on track to become a global sports powerhouse. Hilal Al Kuwari, president, AZF, shares his views on the country’s rising profile as a leader in the regional sport scene.

Travel Trade Weekly: What role does AZF play in establishing Qatar as regional sports hub?

Hilal Al Kuwari President, Aspire Zone Foundation

Hilal Al Kuwari: Originally having been established in 2003 as a Sports City project, Aspire Zone Foundation has carried on to evolve and today works to develop sports champions, promote healthy lifestyles, and galvanise the sports economy of today, and of the future, through its member-organisation: Aspire Academy, Aspetar, and Aspire Logistics. Since nearly a decade ago, AZF has continued to make significant impact in the local, regional and international sporting arena. Our momentum continues to gain traction, thanks to our passion to support and instigate sporting events and healthy lifestyles. Travel Trade Weekly: What were the main highlights of the current year so far? Hilal Al Kuwari: A range of events have been held, including the Doha Jam Street Basketball Tournament, and we also held our second annual Aspire Zone Ramadan Sports Festival. Earlier in 2012, AZF received the World’s Leading Sports Tourism Development Project for the World Travel Awards 2011. We also participated in the inaugural Qatar National Sports Day, were part of the Samsung Diamond League, and hosted the internationally famous Cirque de Soleil. Most recently, our very own Aspire Academy graduate Mutaz Barshim won the bronze medal in the high jump at this year’s London Olympics. Aspetar has treated, this year alone, over 10 elite sports athletes. We have also participated in the Asian Football Confederation

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U-14 Football Festival 2012. All of these truly make us proud and encourage us to continue bringing a new zeal of sport in the country. Travel Trade Weekly: What role will Aspire Zone play in the highly anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup? Hilal Al Kuwari: AZF boasts the honour that Khalifa Stadium, one of the most impressive infrastructures in Qatar will be one of the 12 stadiums that will be used during the World Cup. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will also be an opportunity to showcase Aspire Academy’s students and graduates’ talents. Aspetar will also have a significant role during the FIFA World Cup in providing medical services to the Qatar national football team as well as medical support to all participating teams.

Travel Trade Weekly: How does AZF contribute to the socioeconomic growth of Qatar and its aspirations laid down in the National Vision 2030? Hilal Al Kuwari: Qatar’s National Vision 2030 is the platform for Qatar to define and pursue the best path to development, as compatible with the views of its leadership and the aspirations of its people. Our visions and goals are aligned with spurring all facets of the four pillars, as the country’s leadership places emphasise on the use of sport as a tool of social, economic, human, and environmental development. Qatar and Doha have a great deal to offer internationally; weather, geographical location, safe and peaceful nation with a rich wealth of Arabic culture and Islamic traditions. The combination of these national traits, when combined with the unique collection of some of the world’s finest stadia and venues available at Aspire Zone, provide a contemporary opportunity designed to attract the business of international sport federations, national sports associations, and global sport event companies. Qatar is committed to showing the world itself and the heart of its people, and sport is a universal activity that encapsulates these shared values. The opportunities that are created for Qatar and its population are endless for the international sport that it attracts. With the many events that Aspire Zone hosted, Qatar and its people have benefitted from an influx of leading sport and business professionals to help shape the aspirations of the nation, and also to deliver unprecedented sporting results.



Dubai International Debuts New Way-finding System A new alpha-numeric system for gate numbering and wayfinding has been installed at Dubai International, making navigation through the world’s fourth busiest airport easier than ever. Dubai Airports, airlines, ground handling, and control agencies operating at Dubai International, have all applied the new system across all airport signage and computer support systems, thus the change impacted everything from flight information display screens to boarding cards and airport reservation systems. “Essentially, we have looked at this through the eyes of our customers to help them find their flights with ease and convenience,” Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports, commented, noting that research has shown that passengers find an alpha-numeric system a far easier way to navigate their way through the airport and locate their boarding gate. While all three terminals of the airport retain their current numbering, all concourses and departure gates have been renamed, and in total, over 1,500 signs have been changed.

Hotel Show Saudi Arabia to Bring Together Hospitality Industries More than 100 companies from 24 countries representing various supply chains of the hospitality sector across the Middle East and beyond, will be participating at the inaugural Hotel Show Saudi Arabia, presenting food and hospitality, to be held in Jeddah between November 17 - 19. The three-day show, being organised at the Jeddah Centre for Forums & Events, will bring together leading regional and international manufacturers and suppliers from the hospitality, catering, food and beverage, and related industries, covering over 8,500m2 of space with 5,000-plus invited buyers, live gourmet food demonstrations, seminars, and a dedicated hotel summit. Held under the patronage of H.R.H. Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, chairman, Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia is organised by MICE Arabia Group and co-organised by dmg :: events.

EVENTS Ukraine Travel Market Kiev, Ukraine, October 11 – 13, 2012 ( A three-day event dedicated to the domestic leisure industry and leading international companies. INWETEX-CIS Travel Market St. Petersburg, Russia, October 11 – 13, 2012 ( ) One of the largest business-to-business events in Russia welcoming over 460 companies and 10,000 professionals, including national tourist boards, airlines, hotels, tour operators, and cruise companies.

Diyafa 2012 Doha, Qatar, October 16 – 18 , 2012 ( The seventh edition of this international hotel, restaurant, and food exhibition, showcasing some of the best international products from across the world. The Cruise Show Birmingham, UK, October 20 – 21, 2012 ( A high profile event that will see the attendance of a plethora of qualified buyers, industry experts, and decision makers.

Indonesia Travel & Holiday Fair Jakarta, Indonesia, October 12 – 14, 2012 ( The 10th edition of the show featuring airlines, tour agents, hoteliers, and other related sectors.

World Travel Market (WTM) London, UK, November 5 – 8, 2012 ( A must-attend business-to-business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors.

Asia Pacific Tourism Destination Investment Conference Singapore, October 15 – 17, 2012 ( Consisting of an array of networking opportunities, the event will focus on hotel investments and tourism infrastructure developments.

The Hotel Show – Saudi Arabia Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, November 17– 19, 2012 ( A full spectrum hospitality and supplies event for the region, bringing leading manufacturers and qualified buyers together.

06 OCTOBER 2012

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Travel Trade Weekly Issue 152  

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 152  

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

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