14 DECEMBER 2013
Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard Goes Wireless Visitors to Downtown Dubai are now able to benefit from free wireless Internet connectivity across Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.
The UAE has been elected as the host country of the World Expo 2020 with Dubai, the host city, promising to astonish the world.
07 EGYPTAIR Increases Frequency to Asmara To enhance EGYPTAIRâ€™s African network, the national carrier has announced the increase in operations to the Eritrean capital, Asmara.
12 IN THIS ISSUE WEEKLY NEWS MARKET UPDATE ACCOMMODATION AIR INTERNATIONAL WHO'S MOVED TRAVEL TALK AGENT'S CORNER TRAVEL CHANNELS RENDEZVOUS NEWS & EVENTS
03 04 09 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Dubai Celebrates Expo 2020 Victory
The Domain, Diplomatic Area, Manama, Bahrain. Tel: +973 16 000 000
Dubai Celebrates Expo 2020 Victory Following two years of unwavering efforts and planning, the UAE has been elected as the host country of the World Expo 2020 with Dubai, the host city, promising to astonish the world. The winning bid finished well ahead of runner up cities São Paulo, Brazil; Yekaterinburg, Russia; and Izmir, Turkey. According to H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, Expo 2020 will undoubtedly stand out as the best edition in the 150year history of the show. “Dubai will bring to life our vision: ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’,” asserted Al Maktoum, adding that bringing a global event of this magnitude to the UAE will benefit the whole region. Expo 2020 is set to attract over 25 million visitors, of which 70 percent will
Russian Visitors in Ras Al Khaimah
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be from abroad thus offering a unique opportunity that is set to accelerate the tourism industry’s growth in Dubai, the UAE, and the wider GCC region.
Burj Al Arab
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Turkish Airlines: Passenger Numbers up 24 Percent
During the first nine months of the year, Turkish Airlines carried a total of 36.2 million passengers.
SENIOR JOURNALIST Rita Kasziba
hile available seat kilometres rose 21 percent, revenue passenger kilometres surged 24 percent, resulting in a 1.8 percentage point rise in average load factor to 79.8 percent. The positive operational improvements helped increase sales revenue by 26 percent to TRY13.9 billion (USD6.8 billion), while op-
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erating profit surged 12 percent to TRY1.3 billion (USD635.8 million) and net profit dropped six percent to TRY826 million (USD403 million). During this period, 36.2 million passengers were carried, up 24 percent. With the addition of 22 new destinations, Turkish Airlines now operates a total of 239 routes.
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Royal Jet Eyes Another Profitable Year
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International luxury flight services company, Royal Jet, has declared a strong yearto-date business performance, and expects to record another solid and profitable year. “The backbone of the operation is underpinned by the world’s largest fleet of Boeing Business Jets owned by Royal Jet. We have enjoyed exceptional business results over the last few years, with seven consecutive years of solid profits and [this year] will be no exception,” commented Shane O’Hare, CEO, Royal Jet, noting that the company plays a key role in establishing Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a top aviation hub.
dnata: Net Profit up 13 Percent
nata recorded revenues of AED3.7 billion (USD1 billion) for the first half of the fiscal year, marking an 18 percent increase, while the company’s profit rose 13 percent to AED458 million (USD125 million). With AED1.4 billion (USD375 million) airport operations was the largest contributor to revenues, as the number of aircraft handled by dnata jumped nine percent to 141,845.
The company’s in-flight operation also recorded strong growth and contributed AED891 million (USD243 million), representing a 39 percent increase, while revenues from travel services operations stood at AED303 million (USD83 million), up 16 percent. dnata's cargo handling division also witnessed upward growth with revenues rising four percent to AED546 million (USD149 million.)
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Bahrain Tourism Banking on MICE Business
Bahrain International Circuit
Bahrain’s tourism recovery is being buoyed by significant growth in its MICE sector, as interest in the destination piques once again. In a bid to further stimulate meetings business to the country, Bahrain is ramping up its participation at the upcoming Gulf Incentives, Business, Travel and Meetings (GIBTM), which takes place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in March, 2014. In addition, the Gulf state’s Ministry of Culture is supporting a brand new post-show familiarisation trip programme. “Bahrain has recognised the important role the meetings industry will play in the country’s economic revitalisation and is investing in tried-and-tested sales and marketing vehicles,” suggested Lois Hall, exhibition manager, GIBTM. “By backing GIBTM’s new post-show familiarisation trip initiative, the awareness of Bahrain’s key MICE-related attributes will be heightened amongst a community of key industry decision makers from Europe, Asia and the Americas who are looking to stage meetings and events in the Gulf,” concluded Lois.
ADPC Announces New Cruise Season at Zayed Port Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) confirmed that the new 2013/14 cruise season at Zayed Port began on November 19, and with a total of 75 scheduled vessel calls bringing more than 100,000 passengers, the 5.5-month long season looks promising. The first phase of the cruise terminal’s development is now complete, offering new facilities and accommodation for two large cruise ships and one small vessel. Upcoming development phases of the project focus on a state-of-the-art terminal building and a traditionally themed souk and heritage area. Activities for both passengers and the general public are to be developed according to market potential and demand. Mohamed Al Shamisi, acting CEO, ADPC, commented, “We believe that our significant investment in improved facilities, additional security measures and improved direct access will enhance our visitors’ experience, and increase Abu Dhabi’s appeal as an attractive destination.” Cruise Ship at Zayed Port
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Dream - Marina 101 to Open in 2014 With the tower nearing completion, Dream - Marina 101 in Dubai is set to welcome its first guests by the end of 2014. The comprehensive lifestyle project, conceptualised by Sheffield Holdings, seeks to promote a unique lifestyle model that encompasses all luxury necessities, from world-class restaurants to a roof-top nightclub and recreational facilities. The property will house 300 guest rooms and 420 branded hotel apartments, nearly 80 percent of which have already been sold, according to Abu Ali Malik Shroff, chairman, Sheffield Holdings. “Dubai has and will always remain a fantastic destination for residents and tourists. We are offering a unique and hassle-free investment opportunity mirroring the growth of Dubai’s real estate market. All our investors will enjoy 28 days of free stay in the hotel apartments per year, and will benefit from a guaranteed 75 percent return of the net profit,” he added.
PULLMAN DUBAI DEIRA CITY CENTRE. Newly Renovated 5 Star Hotel. D i r e c t l y C o n n e c t e d To D e i r a C i t y C e n t r e M a l l . T: +971 4 294 1222 - E : H2022@accor.com -
: Facebook.com/PullmanDubaiDCC - pullmanhotels.com
Dream - Marina 101
Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard Goes Wireless Visitors to Downtown Dubai, the flagship megadevelopment of Emaar Properties, are now able to benefit from free wireless Internet connectivity across the entire 3.5km long Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard. The initiative follows the recent announcement of the ‘Smart City’ project, which aims to provide all residents of the city with high-speed Internet in public areas, along with live services and real-time information. Nasser Rafi, CEO, Emaar Malls Group, remarked, “[The project] will not only accelerate all-round economic growth, but also adds to the lifestyle standards of our community, particularly the youth, who are actively engaged online for educational, social, and cultural interaction.”
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J O I N O U R G L O B A L L O YA L T Y P RO G R A M AT ACCO R H OT E L S . CO M
JTB Further Enhances Digital Media Offerings
ETA Launches Innovative Mobile Application
Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) continues its focus on engaging visitors via online and digital platforms, with strong emphasis being placed on enhanced presence on mobile devices, the development of a mobile site and an updated version of JTB’s smart phone app. Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, managing director, JTB, noted, “We are also shedding some light on some of Jordan’s less known experiences within fun and adventure, as there are so many adrenaline-pumping activities that Jordan has to offer. Furthermore, Jordan has many locations where tourists and visitors are able to take natural hikes, and walks within beautiful landscapes and waterfilled canyons.” Petra, Jordan
Egypt Tourism Authority (ETA) has announced the introduction of an official mobile application for tourists. In addition to practical information, Egypt Travel offers an index of 412 destinations and attractions located in the most tourist-friendly regions, including the Egyptian coastline on the Mediterranean and Red Sea, the Nile Valley and the desert, among others. The application is currently available for free on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, and is set to be launched for Android by midDecember. The new tool is one of several government initiatives aimed at reviving the Egyptian tourism industry, which has suffered over the past two years due to political instability.
Sharjah’s Luxury Cruise Season Commences Sharjah’s 2013/14 cruise season began at the end of November with the arrival of MSC Cruises’ 2,000-passenger, MSC Lirica at Khorfakkan port. The vessel is set to make 19 calls to the East Coast, bringing over 43,000 visitors to the emirate. H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, director general, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), noted, “Sharjah is keen to develop the East Coast and exploit its immense economic potential by developing the tourism infrastructure in the area.” Seaboure Odyssey also visited Khorfakkan port at the beginning of November, while Costa Fortuna is set to arrive on December 17.
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Katara Hospitality Expands Footprint in Doha Katara Hospitality has signed a memorandum of understanding with Sphinex Hotels and Resorts for the management of a new hotel in Doha under the umbrella of its Merweb brand. Located in Al Sadd district in the heart of the capital, Merweb Plaza Hotel is being designed to cater to the growing number of business travellers, and is slated to open in late 2014. The 175-key property will feature restaurants, meeting and banqueting venues and recreation facilities. Hamad Abdulla Al-Mulla, CEO, Katara Hospitality, said, “The addition of Merweb Plaza Hotel to the portfolio of managed hotels under the Merweb brand fits perfectly with our strategic expansion plans for this brand. As we are refreshing the Merweb brand to enhance the guest experience, we are looking forward to a successful partnership in managing this new hotel.”
Belle Vue Hotel to Launch New Floor and VIP Lounge Belle Vue Hotel in Amman, Jordan, is gearing up for the launch of a new floor and the unveiling of a VIP lounge. According to Naaz Tabassum, marketing manager, Amlak Hotels & Tourism Investment, the addition of these latest facilities is in line with the company’s commitment to continuously meet the expectations of the discerning guests, with great emphasis being placed on rewarding loyal customers. Tabassum added that a further aim is to increase the properties business share from local and international markets. It is hoped that participation at all of the major travel trade shows around the globe will help in the achievement of this goal.
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ibis Amman Responds to Growing Venue Demand ibis Amman’s management team plans to add two meeting rooms to the existing three facilities, in response to the growing demand for venues in the Jordanian capital. As Eric Seso, general manager, ibis Amman, explained, the expansion corresponds with the brand’s strategy to continuously invest in the product, in order to ensure high guest satisfaction. “Our persistent investment in quality has been recognised worldwide. At ibis we always look forward, and invest every year in the development and maintenance of our product, for example this year the brand has […] developed our own bedding concept called “My Sweet Bed” to enhance the comfort of the guests, together with larger pillow sizes at all our hotels worldwide. Both are implemented in our ibis Amman. In the Middle East, out of nine ibis hotels, six have been officially certified ISO 9001 and 140001 in March this year.”
Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain Receives Green Globe Certification In recognition of its dedication to sustainability, Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain has been awarded the Green Globe Certification for the third consecutive year. The worldwide sustainability certification system is based on internationally-accepted criteria for the sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism businesses. Since 2011, Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain has been committed to reducing utility consumptions and implementing waste recycling programmes. The hotel is now working on four key areas to further decrease its environmental impact, including energy, water and waste efficiency. Meanwhile the main goal for 2014 is to support local organisations and charities. Over the past years, Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain has donated furniture and money to local organisations and today, the hotel recycles 76 percent of its waste including paper, metals and glass. Finally, extra food left over from buffets of the day go to animal care organisations.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa Unveils New Facilities After an extensive renovation over the past 12 months, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa has unveiled its upgraded leisure and entertainment facilities, new restaurants and dining venues, and revamped pool area. The hotel has also added an infinity pool, two outdoor Jacuzzis, a Thai lounge and The Ritz Gourmet Lounge, which features a shisha terrace. Situated on the first floor, the signature Italian restaurant, Primavera, now features a contemporary ambience with an open show kitchen and a new outdoor terrace, and Overlook, the hotel’s poolside restaurant, now welcomes guests with live DJ entertainment on weekends.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa
Bristol Hotel Amman Enhances Guest Experience Bristol Hotel Amman, the 170-room boutique hotel in the Jordanian capital city, has completed the remodelling of its lobby area, now showcasing new furniture and a contemporary atmosphere. As Ziad Fostuq, general manager, Bristol Hotel Amman, revealed, the management has already mapped out plans to expand the property’s spa with four more massage areas and a more comprehensive spa menu offering guests a wider selection of therapies. In addition, a proposal is in place for the renovation of building ‘A’, which would include the upgrading of existing rooms in order to further increase guest satisfaction. Highlighting further positive developments, Fostuq added, “Business has been somewhat stable, in fact we are exceeding our budget, and have grown our business versus 2012. We expect the Asian markets to grow, such as China.”
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Mövenpick Geneva: MENA Rises Nicolas Meylan, general manager, Mövenpick Hotel & Casino Geneva, revealed that 5.4 percent of the property’s guests in the first quarter of the year came from MENA, especially Saudi Arabia, North Africa and the UAE. “We have seen a significant increase over 2012 from these regions of about 11 percent,” he commented. Meylan is hoping to see a further rise in travellers from the region in summer 2014, as the Holy Month of Ramadan will take place in July 2014, giving travellers from MENA the opportunity to visit Europe in August and September 2014. “The Middle East booking time is very short; travellers from those regions book their hotels only a few weeks prior to arrival. It is therefore difficult at this stage to predict if the number of travellers will increase,” Meylan concluded.
Mövepick Hotel & Casino Geneva
Courtyard by Marriott Expands in Saudi Arabia Marriott International unveiled the new Courtyard by Marriott Jazan at an opening ceremony attended by H.H. Prince Mohammad Bin Nasser Bin Abdel Aziz Al Saud, emir, Jizan region, and Alex Kyriakidis, president, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. This is the hotel group’s first property in Saudi Arabian city, and the second Courtyard by Marriott project in the Kingdom, with Courtyard by Marriott Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter having opened in 2012. The hotel is connected to Al Rashid Mall with easy access to and from the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz airport. It features 129 guestrooms, two food and beverage outlets, 24-hour room service, a fitness centre, an indoor pool and seven executive meeting rooms. Adel Jubran, general manager, Courtyard by Marriott Jazan, said, “We are excited that our new Courtyard is the first in our region following the global celebration of Courtyard by Marriott’s 30th anniversary which took place [in October]. This is a dynamic brand that is popular in Saudi Arabia, and we are excited to see its expansion in the Kingdom.”
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Ayla Hotel Helps Typhoon Victims Al Ain-based Ayla Hotel has donated 20 boxes of blankets, sheets, towels, clothes and various necessities for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, in the Philippines. Commenting on the initiative, Mohamed Soussan, general manager, Ayla Hotel, said, “The Philippines have been stuck by a true human disaster and it is natural that we look at all possibilities about how we can contribute in facilitating relief in this tragic situation. It fills me with gratitude and pride to see our team being engaged, and working together towards saving lives.” All contributions will be forwarded to Red Crescent in the Philippines for further distribution to the most vulnerable areas.
EGYPTAIR Increases Frequency to Asmara In light of the efforts exerted to enhance EGYPTAIR’s African network as well as its connection with Europe, the national carrier has announced the increase in operations to the Eritrean capital, Asmara, from three to five services per week. EGYPTAIR flights to the African city will be operated on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The first outgoing Monday flight was launched on December 2, while the Wednesday services are due to begin from December 18. Moreover, it is scheduled that the operations will depart from Cairo at 23:30, and will arrive in Asmara at 03:10 on the following day, while flights from Eritrea will take off at 04:10 and are due to land in Egypt at 06:00.
Qatar Airways Enhances Colombo Capacity Qatar Airways has announced an increase in capacity to Sri Lanka, with one of its triple-daily flights to the country’s capital city, Colombo, expanded from a narrow-bodied Airbus 320 to the airline’s flagship widebodied Boeing 777. Beginning January 1, 2014, the larger aircraft will operate the route in a two-class configuration of 356 seats in economy, and 24 in business class. The other two daily flights to the city will be served with the narrow-body Airbus A320, which can accommodate up to 132 passengers in economy, and 12 in business class. Ajay Jacob, country manager, Sri Lanka, Qatar Airways, commented that Colombo remains a popular destination in the carrier’s rising Asia-Pacific network. The added capacity means travellers to and from the Sri Lankan capital will have greater access, and will also benefit from the comforts of an increasingly competitive product like the Boeing 777. Qatar Airways
Etihad Airways Boosts Melbourne Capacity Etihad Airways has introduced a new Boeing 777300ER on services between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, significantly increasing capacity on the route. Having begun operations on December 1, the larger aircraft offers 328 seats, 36 more than the Airbus A340-600, previously serving the destination. “Etihad Airways’ Melbourne - Abu Dhabi flights are some of the strongest performers in our network, this year load factors between the two cities have averaged more than 80 percent,” explained James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways. “Switching to the Boeing 777 gives us 12 percent more seats overall and 25 percent more in business class. This will enable us to increase our share of the corporate and leisure travel market between Australia and Abu Dhabi and beyond to our worldwide network,” he added. The new aircraft offers a belly-hold cargo capacity of around 14 -16 tonnes, allowing the airline to capitalise on Australia’s strong trading relationship with the UAE.
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Emirates Adds Flights to Luanda
Emirates now operates a daily service to Angola’s capital city of Luanda, with the addition of four extra weekly flights since December 1. The move to daily services adds just over 1,600 more seats per week, thus considerably boosting the route’s capacity, giving Angolan travellers added convenience, more choice and seat availability in their travels to Dubai. “The increase in flights to a daily service is a clear indication of the route’s success and its future growth potential,” said Orhan Abbas, senior vice president, commercial operations, Latin America, Central and Southern Africa, Emirates. “Angola is Africa’s second largest oil producer with a strong mining sector, and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, making it an attractive business destination,” he added. Emirates first started services to the African capital with three flights per week in 2009, using an Airbus 330-200. To meet increased demand, the aircraft was upgraded a year later to a Boeing 777-200 ER, and seven months thereafter to the current Boeing 777-300 ER, which features eight first class private suites, 42 lie-flat seats in business class, and generous space for 310 passengers in economy class.
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EGYPTAIR Hosts Kuwaiti Delegation in Sharm El Sheikh In light of the efforts exerted to increase inbound tourism to Egypt, the country’s national carrier, EGYPTAIR, hosted a tourism and media delegation from Kuwait recently, with guests staying in the Red Sea destination of Sharm El Sheikh. The delegation included a number of representatives from travel agents and media channels from the Gulf country. During the visit, participants expressed appreciation for the trip and were impressed by the security and stability they witnessed in Sharm El Sheikh. The delegation further asserted plans to communicate these positive views and feelings to the Kuwaiti society, which has deep-rooted ties with the Egyptians. EGYPTAIR EXPRESS currently operates a total of two weekly nonstop flights between Kuwait and Sharm El Sheikh, as well as two weekly flights between the Egyptian city of Sohag and Kuwait. EGYPTAIR also operates two daily services between Cairo and Kuwait, fiveweekly flights between Alexandria and Kuwait and three-weekly operations between Kuwait and Luxor. As interest in tourism increases between the two countries, it is expected that the number of frequencies will also grow to meet the demand.
New Air Arabia City Check-in Terminal
Adel Ali Inaugurates Check-in Terminal
Air Arabia, hailed as the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier, opened its City Check-in Terminal in Safeer Mall, Sharjah. Located on the Dubai-Sharjah Highway, the facility is the carrier’s third check-in service outside of an airport, following the launch of City Check-in facilities in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah in 2012. The new mall-based terminal is equipped to accept baggage from passengers, which is then sent straight to Sharjah International Airport. Passengers can check-in 24 hours before their flight, and up to four hours before departure. Checked-in passengers, can then choose seats, and will receive their boarding passes, as well as claim tags for any checked-in luggage, meaning they only need to reach the airport to proceed to the aircraft. Sharjah City Check-in Terminal is currently operational, and will be accessible seven days a week, from 9:00 to 22:00. “Our new ‘City Check-in Terminal facility’ will be a great value addition for our passengers based in Sharjah, helping to reduce the amount of time they need to spend at the airport and making the process of flying a total hassle free experience,” commented Adel Ali, group CEO, Air Arabia.
StayWell Adds Five Hotels in New Zealand
Park Regis Auckland
Marriott International Enhances Mobile Check-in Mobile check-in is now available at 20 additional Marriott International properties in 19 countries including the UAE, UK, Mexico and India. First launched at 329 hotels in the US and Canada, the mobile check-in feature on the Marriott Mobile App now represents the broadest mobile offering of its kind in the lodging industry. The resource, named Marriott Hotels, expects to complete a full global roll out of mobile check-in and check-out services at the company’s 500 hotels in the first half of 2014. “Mobile check-in is just the start. Our guests are more mobile and global than ever before and technology is increasingly important to them, which is why we will add check-out [in 2014]. We will continue to solicit feedback from our guests as we enhance the travel experience with Marriott,” revealed Paul Cahill, senior vice president, brand management, Marriott Hotels.
Sydney-based accommodation operator StayWell Hospitality Group is expanding to New Zealand after signing a major five-hotel management agreement with international hotel investor CP Group. The hotel company, which operates the Park Regis and Leisure Inn hotel brands, took over properties in Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, Rotorua and Picton, previosuly managed by Accor under the Mercure badge. Taking effect since December 1, the agreement sees the five properties rebranded as Park Regis Auckland, Park Regis Dunedin, Park Regis Picton, Leisure Inn Wellington and Leisure Inn Rotorua. The move is significant for the Australian company which launched with just five hotels in New South Wales and Tasmania in 2006, and already commands an international portfolio numbering 32 properties. According to Simon Wan, group CEO, StayWell Hospitality Group, the deal is part of the company’s deliberate strategy to grow its network to at least 100 hotels in three years.
Elaf Group Honours Partners in Turkey
Committed to promoting excellence and quality performance in business, Elaf Group recently held a special gala dinner at CVK Park Bosphorus Istanbul in honour of its major partners in Turkey, including travel and tourism agencies and representatives. Senior officials and department managers from the group were also invited to the dinner, in recognition of their efforts towards contributing to successful operations. Attendees to the event included highprofile figures and officials such as H.E. Abdul Mohsen Bin Abdul Rahman Alkanawi, consul general of Saudi Arabia in Turkey, and Ziyad Bin Mahfouz, president, Elaf Group, who extended his appreciation to partners for their efforts on par with the company’s development strategy. “Elaf’s leading position in the Turkish tourism and hotel industry reflects our ongoing commitment to achieve our strategy aimed to expand into foreign markets while delivering best value-added services to our customers,” Bin Mahfouz concluded.
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Jork Bosselaar Jork Bosselaar has been named pre-opening general manager of Alila Hotels & Resorts’ first property in Oman, Alila Jabal Akhdar, due to open in 2014. Already a member of the Alila family, Bosselaar first joined the company in 2006 as general manager of Alila Manggis
in Bali, before moving to Alila Ubud in Bali in 2008. Prior to this, he managed various resorts across Thailand. Bosselaar, who brings a wealth of hospitality experience and extensive knowledge to the role, is excited to be part of the group’s first venture into the Middle East.
Farooq Payara has been promoted to director of sales and revenue at Ramada Downtown Dubai. Having previously worked as revenue and e-commerce manager, he has now been tasked with planning and executing the hotel’s sales strategies. In addition, he will oversee sales
Mohamed Shoeib Mohamed Shoeib has taken over the helm of the sales and marketing team at Golden Tulip Seeb in Muscat in Oman as the department’s new director. This is not Shoeib’s first role at the company having first become an employee in July 2012. Since joining the property, Shoeib has played an integral role in managing the sales and marketing department and boosting the hotel’s revenue. He started his career in the
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hospitality industry in 1999, and has, over the past 14 years, served in a variety of different roles at a number of renowned five-star hotel chains. Shoeib’s solid track record and in-depth knowledge of the tourism business are set to significantly contribute to the hotel’s performance.
Shoeib played an integral role in boosing revenue
activities and is also responsible for analysing sales and financial data while ensuring top-quality customer service. With 20 years of experience, Paraya previously served as revenue manager at Majestic Hotel Tower in Dubai and held various posts in hotels across Pakistan.
Demeiter Vaubell Demeiter Vaubell has joined the pre-opening team of Alila Jabal Akhdar, Alila Hotels & Resorts soon-to-be-launched project in Oman, as director of sales and marketing. Prior to her recent appointment, Vaubell worked across the Sultanate and Asia in various roles with hotel companies and properties such as Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman, Desroches Island and Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas. Having been in the industry
for several years, Vaubell has in-depth knowledge of the regional luxury market. Jabal Akhdar is part of the Al Hajar mountains range, hailed as one of the most spectacular areas of the Sultanate.
Vaubell has in-depth knowledge of the regional luxury market
travel talk is your space
TRAVEL TALK H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri
Director general, Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
General manager, Rose Rayhaan by Rotana, Dubai.
“Hosting Expo 2020 will accelerate the growth of the tourism industry in Dubai, the UAE and the wider GCC region. [...] The legacy of holding such an event in Dubai is where the real value lies. A wide range of sectors will benefit, including construction, engineering and transportation, and of course the hospitality, retail and aviation sectors will experience a significant positive impact, further strengthening their already robust positions.”
“Universal Children’s Day is commemorated to promote international togetherness and awareness among children across the world. Being a multinational team from more than 25 countries, we decided to take the children for an imaginary trip across the globe by showing them different countries, traditions and cultures. This trip was conducted using audio-visual effects that excited the children and flew them with their imagination to many beautiful destinations.”
Pierre Frédéric Roulot
CEO, Louvre Hotels Group.
General manager, ME London.
“At Louvre Hotels Group we enjoy a genuine ‘franchise culture’ that we have acquired by making this management method the main driver of our growth in France and abroad. The [IREF Grand Jury Prize that I received at the 26th Franchise and Partnership Awards] is a recognition of the work of our investors and employees in developing this expertise and enhancing our franchise model.”
“We were competing against some of the very best hotels in Europe, and I am very proud ME London has won the [Best Opening of the Year, Best Hotel Suite for Suite ME, and Best Hotel of the Year at the European Hospitality Awards]. It is a testament of the efforts by Meliá Hotels International to support this unique brand worldwide.”
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 email@example.com
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AGENT’S INSIGHT NAME: Mohamed M’seddi POSITION: CEO COMPANY: Afritours LOCATION: Tunisia WEB: www.tunisianbooking.com
Who are you? I am M’seddi Mohamed, the CEO of Afritours. Afritours was created in the year 2000 and since then, it has become one of the top travel agencies in the Tunisian market. The ultimate goal of the agency is to fully satisfy the travel need of its customers. With our travel agency, we have opened up a whole new outlook on local and foreign tours. We offer the best prices and services to our clients. We are specialised in honeymoon tours around the world. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? My favourite thing about working in the travel industry is the outgoing and incoming tourism, Umrah, boat tickets and especially to see my customers satisfied with my service. When is the best time to visit Tunisia? The best time to visit Tunisia is at any time throughout the year. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? I would like to travel to Malaysia and the islands of Maldives for the next holiday. Why should people come to you for travel advice? People come to us for our honesty, transparency and reliability. These are the essential values for us.
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Gulf Air Partners with The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain has teamed up with The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa and hosted a joint familiarisation trip for a group of Omanbased travel agents and media representatives, giving them the opportunity to experience the Kingdom’s multitude of tourism attractions. During the two-day trip, the six travel agents and three journalists had the opportunity to discover Bahrain’s rich art and cultural heritage visiting a number of iconic tourist sites, such as Qal’at al-Bahrain, Bahrain Fort as well as
the Bahrain National Museum. The participating agents also experienced the national carrier’s onboard product and service offering, including the airline’s luxurious Falcon Gold Lounge at Bahrain International Airport, and stayed at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa enjoying the hotel’s extensive recreation and dining facilities. Situated on the north coast of Bahrain, the seven-story luxury Manama hotel features 245 rooms and suites located on a 20-acre urban resort complex just steps from the sea.
Participants in Bahrain
Sabre Launches Mobile App for Travel Agents Sabre Travel Network has introduced Sabre Red Mobile Workspace, a mobile app for travel agents that provides access to commonly used functions including air, car, and hotel shopping and booking, customer profiles, seat maps, and ticketing capabilities. The purpose-built app is designed to take advantage of the features offered by tablets. It also incorporates a custom Sabre keyboard, providing easy access to alpha, numeric, and symbol characters from one screen. An embedded browser gives agents in-app access to popular resources such as Agency eServices and AgentStream. Sabre Red Mobile Workspace was introduced at the company’s Travel Technology Exchange event in May, but has since undergone extensive beta testing. The app operates as an extension of the Sabre Red Workspace, and uses cloud technology to share and automatically sync information across devices.
TRAVEL CHANNELS UNWTO Backs Libya’s Tourism Development Initiatives Under the agreement, signed during the 2013 World Travel Market in London, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will provide support to Libya’s Ministry of Tourism in its strategic tourism development endeavours in a bid to help revive the industry..
P Taleb Rifai
riority will be given to institutional building and governance, with technical support focused on formulating a cohesive tourism policy, strategy and action plan, as well as updating the sector’s legislative and regulatory framework and further strengthening organisational structure. Describing the agreement as a positive step towards reviving the North African country’s tourism sector, Taleb Rifai, secretary general, UNWTO, stressed, “Tourism will enhance the country’s global image and contribute to its sustainable economic growth and development.” Ikram Bash Imam, minister of tourism, Libya, added, “Libya has great potential for tourism, it was a tourism destination in the 60s and we want to prioritise rebuilding the country’s tourism sector. Tourism provides great opportunity for investment and employment and will give a better face for Libya.”
IHG Academy Cairo Celebrates First Graduation InterContinental Cairo Citystars, Holiday Inn Cairo Citystars and Staybridge Suites Cairo Citystars recently celebrated the graduation of 20 InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Academy students. The graduates received their certificates after completing two months of practical onjob training in different hotel sections such as front office and food and beverage. The ceremony was attended by Simon Stamper, regional general manager, Egypt and Lebanon, IHG, and Nasser Fadly, area director, human resources, Egypt and Libya, IHG, who said, “The Egyptian labour market for the tourism and hotel industry is in constant need of development and professionalism, here comes the role of the IHG Academy, for the students to learn basics and rules of hospitality and tourism which will prepare them for professional competition and shall enrich the labour market with developed refined skills.” IHG Academy Graduation
Airbus Highlights Two Corporate Jets at Dubai Airshow Airbus highlighted two corporate jets, an ACJ318 and an ACJ319, at this year’s Dubai Airshow, showcasing the aircraft’s comfort, space and freedom of movement. Constellation Aviation Services operates the Airbus ACJ318, which features lounge areas at the front, plus a private office/bedroom at the rear. Emirates Executive began offering VVIP charters earlier this year with Airbus ACJ319, which is the first business jet with private suites. “Airbus corporate jets have the widest and tallest cabin of any business jet, without needing more ramp space, allowing customers to take more of their lifestyle with them when they travel,” commented John Leahy, chief operating officer, customers, Airbus.
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Q & A with Amer Hadidi As Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ) gears up for the celebration of its 50th anniversary on December 15, Amer Hadidi, CEO, RJ recalls some of the most memorable moments in the airline’s history and elaborates on its role in the Kingdom’s socio-economic development.
Travel Trade Weekly: How can RJ help to revive Jordan’s tourism industry? Amer Hadidi: Our vision is to be the airline of choice, connecting Jordan and the Levant with the world. As such, we play a major part in driving the economic wheel of the Kingdom with annual revenues that exceed USD1 billion. The airline is a pillar in supporting tourism to the country by working hand in hand with many travel agents, the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB), hotels and other concerned entities. The travel industry recognises our outstanding efforts in promoting tourism both internationally and regionally, as well as our humanitarian contributions such as our ongoing contributions in serving the national community and offering human aid both in and out of Jordan. RJ is always keen to cater to the demand for travel by constantly trying to provide a robust route network, and boosting connectivity. This positively enhances tourism to the Kingdom and gives transit passengers the opportunity to explore various places of interest in Jordan. The airline’s transit passengers make up around 35-40 percent of its total number of passengers transferred annually. RJ has also supported the tourism sector in Jordan throughout its five decades of existence by promoting the country as the destination of choice in the international markets. The airline’s outstation offices also play an important role in promoting the airline and its services by participating in many tourism and travel fairs held outside Jordan. They also work hand in hand with JTB to promote Jordan and its most remarkable historical places. RJ is proud to serve Jordan and play a key role in boosting tourism to the country’s nation-
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Amer Hadidi CEO, Royal Jordanian Airlines
augurate routes to Washington, D.C., and Toronto in addition to some Asian cities to serve several types of passengers. Royal Jordanian is working on putting these cities on its route network in the near future. Travel Trade Weekly: Please tell us about RJ’s long-term plans.
ally treasured sites. Moreover, RJ employs more than 4,500 employees; around 90 percent of them are Jordanians. Thus, the airline contributes to higher employment rates in the Kingdom. As the flag carrier of Jordan and one of the leading carriers in the Middle East, RJ also participates in sponsoring many versatile events, believing in the importance of integrating into the society at large. Travel Trade Weekly: Which are the next destinations to join RJ’s network? Amer Hadidi: RJ introduced many regular routes to its network during this year, including Algiers, Lagos, Accra [and Mosul, Iraq]. In addition the airline inaugurated new regular cargo flights between Amman and Frankfurt. Meanwhile, the company is conducting studies to see whether it is feasible to in-
Amer Hadidi: RJ is scheduled to introduce 11 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the second half of 2014 to replace the A330s and A340s gradually. With the entry of Boeing 787 aircraft into service, RJ will begin a new era of the e-enabled airplane that is highly dependent on technology. We are currently working on different mobility projects that cover passengers’ booking, check-in and all other services that enhance their experience. Moreover, the high-end structure of the new terminal of Queen Alia International Airport offers a simplified travel procedure that is an added value for the airline. RJ, which takes up 60 percent of the traffic at the airport, considers the new terminal, with its cutting-edge features, a qualitative leap for the airline’s operations and services. It expects it to open up promising opportunities for the company and enables it to better serve its passengers. RJ is all the more proud to inaugurate this landmark at a time coinciding with its 50th anniversary.
NEWS & EVENTS
Maritime Experts Gather in Sharjah Following the show’s successful inauguration in 2011, Expo Centre Sharjah has once again played host to the MASTECH Conference. The event, which coincided with the Gulf Maritime trade exhibition in November, focused on energy efficiency requirements, safety and reliability concerns and design innovation. Naval architects and marine engineering and offshore professionals who attended the show, debated topics such as the latest developments in port and shipping aimed at handling ultra large ships and cargos, best practices in marine operations, and advancement in deep sea development. As Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah, highlighted, the regional maritime industry is facing a demand surge for multi-purpose vessels on the back of dramatic growth being witnessed by the offshore sector.
ABU DHABI NATIONAL EXHIBITION CENTRE MEETING POINT OF WORLD-CLASS EVENTS
EVENTS CMT – The Holiday Exhibition Stuttgart, Germany, January 11 – 19, 2014 (www.messe-stuttgart.de) Hailed as one of the world’s largest public trade fairs for tourism and leisure with exhibitors from all over the world showcasing their products. Ferien Messe Wien Vienna, Austria, January 16 – 19, 2014 (www.ferien-messe.at) An international event for holidays, travel and leisure, and the leading public access tourism trade fair in Austria. Go and Regiontour Fairs Brno, Czech Republic, January 16 – 19, 2014 (www.bvv.cz) One of the largest presentations of the industry, with an emphasis on Central European regions. International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) Madrid, Spain, January 22 – 26, 2014 (www.ifema.es) A global meeting point for tourism professionals with some 10,000 exhibiting companies.
November 2013 SATTE India New Delhi, India, January 29 – 31, 2014 Mumbai, India, February 3 – 4, 2014 (www.satte.in) Hailed as the biggest networking forum for the travel and tourism industry in South Asia, with more than 600 exhibitors from over 50 countries.
Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC) 2013
GCC Cigre 2013
Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Prix
December 2013 The Life & Style Show UAE
East Mediterranean International Tourism & Travel Exhibition (EMITT) Istanbul, Turkey, January 30 – February 2, 2014 (www.emittistanbul.com) Already over 4,000 travel companies from 67 countries have applied for the 18th edition of the event.
SME Congress and Expo
China Consumer Products Fair 2013
Winter Consumer Fair
SMAP Moroccan Real Estate and Lifestyle Event 2014 - Abu Dhabi
Business Travel Show London, UK, February 4 – 5, 2014 (www.businesstravelshow.com) The 20th edition is expected to attract more than 200 exhibiting companies and over 6,000 travel professionals.
INTERMAT and World EcoConstruct Exhibition 2014
World Future Energy Summit 2014
Abu Dhabi International Water Summit 2014
Borsa International Tourism Exchange (BIT) Milano, Italy, February 13 – 16, 2014 (www.bit.fieramilano.it) A business-to-business event, which has been present on the market since 1980.
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