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Emaar Launches the Sky Collection Discerning customers now have the opportunity to own luxury homes within the Sky Collection of The Address Residence Fountain Views III.
Dubai’s hotels enjoyed a busy first nine months of the year, welcoming over 7.9 million visitors, a 9.8 percent year-on-year increase.
10 Gulf Air Accelerates Launch of Flights to Pakistan Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, has brought forward the take-off date for its new flights between the country and Pakistan.
13 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 08 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Dubai Welcomes Over 7.9 Million Visitors in Nine Months
WEEKLY NEWS Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: Open Seven Days a Week Ferrari World Abu Dhabi announced that it now welcomes visitors seven days a week. “We wanted to give visitors in town as well as residents more of a chance to enjoy the park,” said Bruno Wiley, director of sales, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. “Our move to a 365-days-a-year operation was prompted by the growing entertainment demand on Yas Island, which is now firmly established as a regional leisure destination with a highly concentrated entertainment offering and another mega theme park, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, a wide range of excellent hotels, a world-class golf course, a Formula 1 racing circuit and a concert area hosting world-class musical events.”
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Jumeirah Corniche Development Announced H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, has endorsed the Jumeirah Corniche Development Project that will stretch 14km along the beach, adjoining six residential districts, starting from the area behind Dubai Marina Beach Resort down to Burj Al Arab. Scheduled for completion within one year, both the walkway and the jogging track will be linked with the Dubai Canal Project, and both residents and visitors will be able to enjoy a host of activities in line with the government’s vision to invest in human capital and promote healthy living. The project will also offer various facilities, shaded seating areas, stylish lighting features, public and health amenities and landscaping works.
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Saudi Council of Ministers Approves Tourism Regulation On October 28 the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia chaired by H.R.H Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, deputy premier and minister of defence, Saudi Arabia, approved the tourism regulation, which gives Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA) more power. Amongst others, the new law provides that the authority has to advertise, through its website and other multimedia, the prices of accommodation facilities, activities and services provided by tourism professionals licensed to run the tourist activities and crafts. Moreover, the most prominent features of the regulation entail that SCTA shall propose the tourist public places, in coordination with the relevant authorities and determine the executive regulations governing these activities, while those areas can not be owned by any other party.
MARKET UPDATE TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi firstname.lastname@example.org COPY EDITOR Mario Hajiloizis
Dubai: 13.1 Percent RevPAR Increase Dubai’s hotels performance in September experienced an increase in all key performance indicators.
SENIOR JOURNALIST Rita Kasziba JOURNALIST Maria Kazeli PRESS Maria Demetriadou Pauline Shahabian 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
ccording to TRI Hospitality Consulting’s report, during the month under review, Dubai’s average room rates (ARR) saw a rise of 8.5 percent to USD235.34 which coupled with a 3.1 percentage point increase in occupancy to 76 percent, drove a 13.1 percent rise in RevPAR to USD178.84. While the emirate’s year-to-date occupancy stands at 79.5 percent, Abu Dhabi’s average occupancy is 70.2 percent, largely thanks to a notable 11.5 percent rise recorded in September. The UAE capital’s ARR on the
other hand fell six percent to USD121.89 in September, while RevPAR jumped 12.5 percent to USD84.97.
Yas Marina Abu Dhabi
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15/11/2013 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar
Saudi Arabia (SAR)
Emaar Properties: 13 Percent Profit Rise Emaar Properties’ net profit for the first nine months of the year increased 13 percent to AED1.81 billion (USD493 million), while revenue grew 36 percent to AED7.57 billion (USD2.06 billion). With three hotel brands in Dubai, the company’s hospitality and leisure revenue reached AED1.06 billion (USD288 million), marking a nine percent year-on-year increase, supported by strong and sustained average occupancy levels of over 82 percent, while the shopping malls and retails sector’s revenue totalled AED2.29 billion (USD625 million) as Emaar Properties’ flagship project, The Dubai Mall witnessed a visitor footfall of more than 55 million, representing a rise of 24 percent.
Wyndham Worldwide: 17.6 Percent Profit Increase
yndham Worldwide recorded a total net income of USD187 million or USD1.40 per diluted share for the third quarter (Q3) of the year, marking a 17.6 percent year-on-year growth. Quarterly revenues reached USD1.4 billion, up 13 percent and the hospitality company is
expecting revenues to stand between USD4.93 billion and USD5.1 billion for the full-year. The group’s vacation ownership segment contributed the lion’s share with revenues totaling USD677 million, while Wyndham Exchange & Rentals and Wyndham Hotel Group recorded revenues of USD470 million and USD297 million respectively.
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Al Diar Hotels Launches Arabic Booking Engine
Al Diar Capital Hotel
Arabic speaking customers worldwide now have the convenient option to book their rooms online through Al Diar Hotels’ dedicated online platform. With an enhanced browsing experience, the new booking engine, which is powered by ResNet World, ensures real-time content and room reservations facilities in Arabic and visitors are also able to avail exclusive offers. “The GCC has always been the primary source market for our hotels and we continue to see strong growth from the region,” highlighted Fadi Ibrahim, cluster director of sales and marketing, Al Diar Hotels.
Yas Waterworld to Attract Event Organisers Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, hailed as the UAE’s first mega waterpark, has over the past months made its unique attractions more inviting for repeat visitors to the park with a range of fun activities and events. “The demand so far has been very positive and we see a very good mix of nationalities every day,” commented Mike Oswald, park general manager, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, saying that as more MICE business gets channelled into the city, the demand for increasingly unique and impressive options is expected to gather momentum and the waterpark’s management aims to ride that wave. “At Yas Waterworld, we have hosted a number of varying events […] since we opened and this is certainly a sector of the market that we are looking to develop further. Whilst we have limited facilities for traditional meetings and conferences we can offer possibly one of the most unique, fun and exciting venues currently available in the region for incentive groups, teambuilding activities and events,” highlighted Oswald.
Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi
Eventful Weeks at Wadi Adventure Wadi Adventure continues to host various exhilarating events, attracting visitors of all ages. As Mike Wahba, business development executive, Wadi Adventure, revealed, the destination has witnessed a noticeable footfall increase in the past months. At the beginning of November, the facility hosted Wadi Adventure Race, or W.A.R., where hundreds of athletes competed in different activities, such as running, crawling, balancing, jumping and climbing, among others. On November 30, Wadi Adventure will also play host to the Al Ain Aerobatic Show opening night concert.
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Dubai Welcomes Over 7.9 Million Visitors in Nine Months
Dubai’s hotels enjoyed a busy first nine months of the year, welcoming over 7.9 million visitors between January and September, a 9.8 percent year-on-year increase. The latest visitor numbers, released by Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) on the sidelines of World Travel Market show growth across hotel establishment guests, room occupancy levels, hotel and hotel apartment revenues, and average length of stay. Hotel room occupancy averaged at 78.6 percent over the nine month period, up 3.1 percent compared to the same period in 2012 and hotel apartment occupancy also saw steady rise, up 7.3 percent to 81 percent, compared to 75.5 percent in the first nine months of 2012. Growth in revenues was also significant, with total income for the first nine months of the year up by 17.1 percent, reaching AED15.3 billion (USD4.2 billion). Total guest nights also recorded similarly impressive rises, up 13.7 percent. H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, DTCM, commented, “We have made positive early steps which demonstrate that while our aims are ambitious, they are achievable.”
Saudi Online Travel to Exceed USD1.9 Billion in 2014 The online travel industry in Saudi Arabia is developing at a rapid rate with online bookings expected to surpass USD1.9 billion in 2014, according to a Travelport co-sponsored research, carried out by global travel market research company PhoCusWright. According to the study, web sales in the country are forecasted to nearly double since 2011, when the online travel sector was valued at USD1 billion. The online travel industry across the whole of the Middle East is growing at an unprecedented rate, and the significant growth witnessed in Saudi Arabia is further testament to this, commented Rabih Saab, president, Middle East and Africa, Travelport. The research also shows the rapid development of Saudi Arabia’s travel industry as a whole, estimating that by 2014 the country’s travel trade will be worth USD11.4 billion compared to USD9.8 billion in 2011.
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Coral Beach Resort Eyes New Markets Sharjah-based Coral Beach Resort, is positioning itself as an ideal base for both business and leisure travellers from new upcoming markets, according to its management. As Ghulam Sajjad, head of sales, Coral Beach Resort, Sharjah, revealed, average daily rate has shown a notable growth this year, and although the resort’s main feeder market remains the CIS, during the summer months the GCC, and Saudi Arabia in particular, also increased its contribution. New markets such as Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have also been targeted, noted Sajjad.
Ayla Hotels & Resorts: Two Openings in 2014 Ayla Hotels & Resorts plans to launch two new properties in Al Ain in 2014, with Ayla Badawi set to welcome its first guests at the beginning of the year, followed by Ayla Grand Hotel a few months later. “We are very excited about the company’s growth and looking forward to extend our portfolio and market reach,” commented George Titus, director of sales and marketing, Ayla Hotels & Resorts, further revealing that Ayla Hotel Ain Ain recorded 100 percent occupancy 12 times during September and managed to close the month with an average occupancy level of 95 percent.
Cristal Hotels & Resorts Expands in Iraq Following the recent launch of Cristal Grand Ishtar Hotel, Cristal Hotels & Resorts is poised to further expand its footprint in Iraq. The hotel company, which also operates two properties in the UAE, has become the first international operator to enter Baghdad in over 20 years with the re-opening of Cristal Grand Kadri Hotel, which now welcomes guests as Cristal Grand Ishtar Hotel, Kamal Fakhoury, chief operating officer, Cristal Hotels & Resorts, explained. The company is currently gearing up for the launch of Cristal Hotel Erbil while 2014 will see new properties in Saudi Arabia.
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Marjan Island Resort & Spa to Open before the End of the Year Located on Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island, with inspiring views of the Arabian Gulf, Marjan Island Resort & Spa will offer the combination of true Arabian hospitality and wellness when it opens its doors. The property, which is set to welcome its first guests before the end of the year, will feature 303 guest rooms, 155 vacation suites, and eight food and beverage outlets. “The resort‘s amenities will also include a 1.7km beachfront boardwalk, themed children game centre, sandy beach club, holistic spa, spa retreat floor and four swimming pools,” added Roger Tannous, general manager, Marjan Island Resort & Spa.
Marjan Island Resort & Spa
Rixos Bab Al Bahr Hotel to open in February 2014 Located on the beach of Al Marjan Island, Rixos Bab Al Bahr Hotel is set to bring worldclass facilities and services to Ras Al Khaimah when in opens its doors on February 1, 2014. As Haytham Omar, general manager, Rixos Bab Al Bahr, explained, the property will feature 655 rooms and suites and a total of 14 outlets, specialty restaurants, ballroom, night club, spa and a Bab Al Bahr entertainment square. “As a brand, Rixos is known for its ultra all-inclusive concept that proved success everywhere, and we are looking forward to be the pioneer and operate that concept for the first time in the UAE,” added Omar. Haytham Omar
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Bin Majid Hotels & Resorts Continues Expansion Bin Majid Hotels & Resorts continues to strengthen its footprint in the UAE with new properties in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah. The company, which currently operates five hotels in the UAE, will soon unveil its latest project in the capital, the 230-unit The Tower Apartment, while Santorini Hotel on Ras Al Khaimah’s Al Marjan Island is slated for opening between the second and third quarter of 2014, informed Ali Kasapbashi, group general manager, Bin Majid Hotels & Resorts. “In the future we plan to expand in every emirate,” added Kasapbashi.
Khalidia Hotel Apartments to Get a Facelift
Emaar Launches the Sky Collection Serviced Apartments
Khalidia Hotel Apartments, located in the heart of the city on Al Maktoum Road, is set to undergo a transformation, Tarek ElSherif, managing director, Mourouj Hotel & Resorts, revealed. “We are now working on a plan to completely renovate and upgrade the hotel to meet the increased demand of the more sophisticated travellers who demand and expect only the best in Dubai,” said ElSherif, adding that the management aims to close the year with an average occupancy of 91 percent. “The Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing has successfully positioned Dubai as a safe haven in the region and managed to attract new markets that used to travel to other Middle Eastern destinations due to them being less expensive,” concluded ElSherif.
Discerning customers now have the opportunity to own luxury homes within the Sky Collection of The Address Residence Fountain Views III, Emaar Properties’ newest project in Downtown Dubai. Occupying a vantage location in the highest levels of the 76-storey tower, the collection offers a limited number of spacious, elegantly finished and fully furnished apartments boasting views of The Dubai Fountain as well as Burj Khalifa. “Across all our new projects in Downtown Dubai, we have set aside an exclusive Sky Collection that is specially designed to meet the lifestyle needs of the truly discerning clientele,” explained Ahmad Matrooshi, managing director, Emaar Properties, adding that Sky Collection offers a great value proposition, especially for families, with its spectacular location, luxurious, elegant finishes and service.
Khalidia Hotel Apartments
Sky Collection of The Address Residence Fountain Views III
Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman Eyes Turkish Market Keen on targeting the Turkish market, Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman’s management has entered into an exclusive deal with Fly Express Tourism, a growing destination management company (DMC) in Dubai. The DMC, which operates offices both in Turkey and in key cities around the world, has been entrusted to promote the hotel to the Turkish market and bring some 25,000 guests to the emirate. “Ajman as a destination is becoming more popular among tourists from Turkey and we would like to make the most of this opportunity through our exclusive partnership with Fly Express Tourism,” commented Iftikhar Hamdani, general manager, Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman.
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Mövenpick Hotel Apartments The Square Dubai: Healthy Occupancy Levels Nestled in the district of Al Mamzar, in close proximity to Deira and Bur Dubai, Mövenpick Hotel Apartments The Square Dubai features 180 comfortable rooms and serviced apartments, attracting guests from diverse geographies. The hotel, which welcomed its first guests in January, has already achieved a healthy occupancy of 78 percent, as Prisca Lobo, director of sales, Mövenpick Hotel Apartments The Square Dubai, revealed, further noting that the main feeder markets include the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK, Korea and China, while during the winter months, Russia also proves to be an important market. “Our focus is to promote the property to the leisure traveller as well as the business guest. In addition, we are a ideal for GCC families,” added Lobo.
Mövenpick Hotel Apartments The Square Dubai
Cosmopolitan Hotel: Successful First Year Located in one of Dubai’s trendiest and fastest developing districts, Al Barsha, Cosmopolitan Hotel has fast become a popular choice among travellers visiting Dubai. “Despite being new, we have done well and we achieved 85 percent occupancy in the first half of the year,” informed Daniel Hajjar, general manager, Cosmopolitan Hotel, adding that the CIS countries, Italy and Germany have all significantly contributed to the positive figures and the hotel is on track to close the year with an average occupancy of 87 percent. As Hajjar further revealed, the owners of the hotel will also soon start construction works on a new fivestar property in Al Barsha offering 256 rooms. 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
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Qatar Airways Touches Down at Clark International Airport
Victor Jose Luciano, president, Clark International Airport (left) and Woo Yew Seong
Qatar Airways has commenced non-stop daily flights to Clark International Airport in the Philippines. Woo Yew Seong, senior vice president, commercial operations, network, Qatar Airways, described the launch of the new route as a key milestone in the carrier’s expansion which is expected to offer travellers more convenient connections via the Qatari capital to a range of key leisure and business destinations. The service is being operated with an Airbus A330 in a two-class configuration of up to 248 seats in economy and up to 36 seats in business class. Clark International Airport, which is poised to become a new tourism and commercial hub, is the carrier’s second gateway to the Philippines after the capital city of Manila and its 12th destination in southeast Asia. “Qatar Airways is now well-positioned to offer travellers from the Middle East, Europe and US the convenience of an additional daily flight to the Philippines via the airline’s Doha hub,” concluded Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways.
flydubai Cargo Goes Paperless
Air Arabia Launches Hofuf
flydubai Cargo division has begun implementing electronic airway bills throughout its operations, with the new initiative aiming to reduce the amount of paperwork needed for cargo deliveries, while streamlining the process between different entities. Mohamed Hassan, vice president, cargo, flydubai, explained that switching to electronic airway bills is an important milestone in the history of the airline’s cargo operations. “With cargo deliveries often requiring 20 or more paper documents each, the new initiative keeps our costs at a minimum, allowing us to be more productive, more reliable and deliver orders with greater accuracy,” he commented. flydubai Cargo, which began operations in 2012, transports a range of goods including perishable items, textiles, electronics, courier items, pharmaceuticals and general cargo, with the first year of operations being successful transporting an average of 3,200 tonnes each month, a considerable increase on predicted figures. The carrier’s services have also provided a much needed cargo option for underserved markets, as flydubai Cargo services operate to more than 68 stations across its network, while offering more than 150 stations through its interline agreements with other airlines.
Air Arabia announced that starting November 18 it will introduce flights to Hofuf, making it the 10th destination in Saudi Arabia that the airline serves from its main base in Sharjah. “As we are committed to offering our value-for-money services to even more destinations in the Kingdom, we will continue to evaluate opportunities in this vibrant market. That said, we are confident that the increased air connectivity between the UAE and Saudi Arabia will further contribute to the ever strengthening social and economic ties between both nations,” said Adel Ali, group CEO, Air Arabia. Air Arabia currently operates over 80 non-stop weekly flights from Sharjah to Saudi Arabia.
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SWISS Adjusts Winter Timetable
Qatar Airways Expands Services to UAE Qatar Airways announced the addition of Sharjah and Dubai’s Al Maktoum International as its newest routes to the UAE with 14 flights per week to each destination. Beginning March 1, 2014, the airline will operate twice daily to Sharjah International Airport as well as to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central from its hub in Doha. “The ever increasing demand for flights to the UAE has provided the business case for expanding our services to Sharjah and Dubai World Central,” remarked Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways. Operating Airbus A320s on both routes, customers from Europe, Africa and the Americas will have increased availability of flights to the UAE, while passengers from Australia, Asia and the Indian subcontinent will have convenient connection times when transiting via Doha.
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Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) commenced scheduled services to Kiev with the start of the 2013/14 winter timetable period on October 27, while the airline has also amended its existing services from Zurich, Geneva and Basel in line with expected demand during the winter months. “With our new schedules for winter, we are pleased to offer our passengers from Dubai more options of destinations to go to for business or holidays. Our reservation services also allow for hassle-free booking no matter how many destinations are chosen. What is more, passengers continue to enjoy quality products and services – just what SWISS and Switzerland are known for,” said Mark Pey, country manager, UAE and Oman, SWISS. The carrier offers a range of services from Geneva including Stockholm, Oslo, Gothenburg, Belgrade, London Gatwick, and Marrakech. Seasonal adjustments in Basel translate into suspending flights to Rome, while services to Barcelona and Prague are reduced to one weekly.
Gulf Air Accelerates Launch of Flights to Pakistan Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, has brought forward the take-off date for its new additional flights between the country and Pakistan, to November 15, a month ahead of the originally planned date. Gulf Air took the decision to accelerate the introduction of the increase in operations from 14 to 21 per week due to extremely high customer demand. Services to all four of the destinations that the airline currently operates to in Pakistan have been boosted as follows; Karachi from seven to 10, Islamabad from two to three, Lahore from three to four and Peshawar from two to four. The airline has had a strong presence in Pakistan since its first flight into the country in 1972 and currently offers onward connectivity to over 11 destinations across its network in the GCC, Middle East and Europe, including Frankfurt, London, Paris, Amman, Dubai, Jeddah and Medina.
Best Western Expands Indonesian Portfolio Best Western International (BWI) has launched BEST WESTERN Hariston, the company’s third hotel in Jakarta. Located in close proximity to the city’s port and 20 minutes from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, the newly-built midscale hotel features 201 rooms and suites, all equipped with modern amenities and complimentary Wi-Fi. A restaurant, bar, 24-hour room service, and outdoor swimming pool, sauna, and 11 meeting rooms are also available. Commenting on the company’s 10th property in Indonesia, Glenn de Souza, vice president, international operations, Asia and Middle East, BWI, said, “BEST WESTERN Hariston will cater to the rising number of business and leisure travellers visiting this fascinating area, with a range of modern amenities and our signature service standards that are enjoyed by guests at Best Western hotels all over the world.” As de Souza pinpointed, North Jakarta, which has long been an industrial and commercial hub, is currently undergoing a renaissance with a series of new cultural heritage attractions and retail offerings.
Jumeirah Group to Enter St. Petersburg Jumeirah Group, member of Dubai Holding, signed a management agreement with IFG Basis Project to manage a luxury hotel on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia. The hotel, developed within the structure of Wavelberg House, is expected to open within the next three years and will consist of 74 rooms, including 18 suites, three bars and restaurants, meeting facilities, a spa, rooftop hydrotherapy pool and retail space. Ilya Sokolov, director general, IFG Basis Project, commented, “We are very proud to be transforming this historic building into a luxury hotel and especially pleased that Jumeirah Group will manage it when it opens,” confirming that the demand for high-end luxury hotel accommodation in St. Petersburg is strong. Gerald Lawless, president, Jumeirah Group, observed that the group’s properties in Dubai have always been popular with Russian visitors, therefore it is a delight to bring the brand to Russia. Rendering of Wavelberg House
BEST WESTERN Hariston
IHG: New Brooklyn Holiday Inn InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced its newest hotel development for downtown Brooklyn, as in partnership with 300 Schermerhorn Realty, the company is set to launch a new-build USD80 million Holiday Inn hotel at 300 Schermerhorn Street. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, with an anticipated opening in early 2015. Owned by K.K. Mehta and his son Sanjeev Mehta, Holiday Inn Brooklyn Nevins Station is their second IHG property in the metro New York area, after Staybridge Suites Times Square - New York City which opened six years ago. The contemporary 8400m2, 246-room hotel will have 15 floors with more than 280m2 of meeting space including three meeting rooms and a ballroom. A sauna, steam room, indoor pool and a Jacuzzi and will also be among the guest amenities.
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Laurent Voivenel Laurent Voivenel has been appointed CEO at Hospitality Management Holdings. Having worked with some of the world’s leading international hospitality brands, Voivenel brings over 28 years of hotel management experience to the position. In his distinguished career, he
has been associated with hotel chains such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Hilton Worldwide that took him to destinations across Europe, Asia Pacific as well as the Middle East. Within the region he has held positions in Manama, Riyadh, Jeddah, Aqaba, Brummana, and Dubai, among others.
Nader Mobader has assumed the position of general manager at the five-star Karbala Rayhaan by Rotana. Having previously worked in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Mobader has over 18 years of industry experience. The seasoned hotelier has already been leading the team
Adel Al Saleem Adel Al Saleem has been named country manager for the Philippines at Gulf Air. Based in Manila, Al Saleem will be responsible for driving the commercial performance of the airline in the Philippines and building on existing strong relationships with the carrier’s key travel agents and corporates, while he will also oversee Gulf Air’s airport operations. Al Saleem, who has over 20 years of experience in the
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industry, joined the airline in 1992 in the operations and ground services department and has since held various positions within the company across its network in Asia and the Middle East, including Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Iran, Bangkok and the Philippines.
Al Saleem has over 20 years of experience in the industry
through the crucial pre-opening phase and will also head the operations following the hotel’s opening. Prior to joining the company, Mobader, who is a graduate of Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland, served various international hotel chains.
Enad Tannous Enad Tannous has been named general manager at Amwaj Rotana Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai. With over 21 years of experience within the hospitality industry, Tannous joins the hotel’s team from InterContinental Aqaba Resort where he held the same position. Specialising mainly in food and beverage, he will manage the day-to-day operations of the five-star property, taking an active approach towards
leadership and maintaining the extremely high standards at the property. Tannous’ focus will be on ensuring that the hotel delivers the highest level of guest satisfaction, which he believes is paramount to the success in the highly demanding and competitive environment in which it operates.
Tannous’ focus will be on ensuring high-level guest satisfaction
travel talk is your space
Naji Abi Farah
General manager, leisure travel, Kimidar Tours.
General manager, Tulip Inn Muscat.
"We were thrilled that we had been nominated for this top prestigious World Travel Award and excited to see ourselves walking away with the [Egypt’s Leading Travel Agency] accolade which comes along with celebrating our 30th anniversary in the market. We would have never reached the red carpet without our customers' satisfaction across 30 years of success in the market."
“Tulip Inn Muscat mainly caters to the corporate market while the international tourism market represents a few percentages in our figures. In the coming season, our main goal will be to focus more on the creativity of our food and beverage concept, while we will also participate in international travel and trade exhibitions. [...] Tulip Inn Muscat will continue to provide the highest level of services.”
Adel Ali Group CEO, Air Arabia.
“Since the beginning of this year, Air Arabia added eight new routes, bringing the total route network to 88 destinations from three operating hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt. […] Air Arabia remains committed to help passengers reach wherever they want to travel at the best price. As we prepare to enter a new decade of operations, our strong financial position ensures that our business expansion plans remain on schedule.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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AGENT’S INSIGHT NAME: Hussein Al Abbadi POSITION: General manager COMPANY: Al Jawad Tours LOCATION: Jordan WEB: www.jawadtours.com
Who are you? My enthusiastic interest in our predecessors’ history, travel, and archaeology has led me to join the tourism industry immediately upon my graduation from college in 1981. Since then I have been totally involved in tourism until I formed my own private share holding company called Al Jawad Tours in the Aqaba region in which I occupy the function of general manager. As a result of years of dedication, hard work, and condensed contacts with tour operators all over the world focusing on Jordan’s archaeological wealth, and in full cooperation with tour operators in our neighbouring countries, we established a prominent and well-known tourist company. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? My immense pleasure is to make friends around the world; I found what I have been looking for in the travel industry. When is the best time to visit Jordan? Jordan enjoys distinguished seasons all over the year, but the best season is spring which is very favourable in Jordan. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? Due to the nature of my business, I always travel all over. Italy is my favourite spot for it possesses rich cultures especially arts, and its hospitable and friendly people. Why should people come to you for travel advice? At Al Jawad Tours, we take our business at heart in which service comes at the bottom of it. We always have innovative offers and ideas covering generous and attractive programmes, good value-for-money, gifts, and the most important thing is that we make sure that every client enjoys the personalised service offered and feel the family atmosphere with total relaxation.
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Travelport Coaches on How to Grow Business Travelport, a leading distribution services and e-commerce provider for the global travel industry, invited travel agency owners and senior managers to the Travelport Connect 2013 Toronto Showcase which took place on October 31 at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre. Designed for Canadian travel agents, both current and prospective customers, the event gave attendees the opportunity to become more familiar with the technology provider’s latest innovations via product overview sessions; discover faster and easier ways to use its products; share best practices with fellow travel
agent professionals and meet with Travelport representatives and supplier partners, including Air Canada, Agency Technology, Contac, Gogo Vacations, Huntington Travel, Jade Tour, nuTravel, Porter Airlines, Travel Technology Solutions, WestJet, and Wizie, in an intimate environment. Products that were in focus at Travelport Connect 2013 Toronto Showcase included Travelport Agencia, Travelport Smartpoint, Travelport Rooms & More, Travelport Mobile Agent, Travelport Next Generation Agency Tools, Travelport Ticket Exchange for Canada, and Galileo Vacations, amongst others.
TRAVEL CHANNELS UK Hospitality Businesses Prefer Mobile and Social Media Marketing
According to the findings of the TripAdvisor TripBarometer Mobile and Social trends released in October, half of UK hospitality businesses are devoting marketing spend to mobile and social media channels.
K hoteliers allow bookings through a mobile device at 44 percent, and four in 10 ensure their website is mobile-friendly, while at the same time 39 percent of travellers globally say they expect hospitality businesses to provide a mobile-friendly site, which suggests that UK businesses are quickly responding to consumer demand. A quarter of global travellers relied on social media to plan their last trip, to get recommendations, see pictures and videos of where they are going, find inspiration for what to do and see while they are there, and to look for deals. Facebook and Twitter have been revealed as the most popular social networks.
Saudia: Quick Services to Waitlisted Passengers As part of a new strategy adopted by Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) to serve waitlisted passengers on domestic flights and make use of vacant seats, the national carrier has installed several new devices, with the required number of field workers and a supervisor, to provide around the clock services to passengers, without interference from staff members being required. Passengers using this service can type their ticket numbers and phone numbers and they will be informed of the confirmed booking via SMS. If a passenger was unable to obtain a seat on a requested flight, he will be automatically shifted to the next one and a message denoting his seat will be sent out. The service was first introduced at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh with six gadgets. Saudia has also installed six such devices at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, four at Prince Muhammad Airport in Medina, two at Abha Airport and one at each airport in Tabuk, Najran, Qassim, Taif, Jazan and Yanbu.
Oman Air Supports the Geological Society of Oman Oman Air has supported the Geological Society of Oman on a scientific journey to the mountains of Dhofar Governorate, which was aiming at exploring the geological formations in the province and uncover the mystery about the origin and age of some of the types of rocks in the area. The trip was led by David Alsop, geological expert, Petroleum Development Oman, and Mohamed Al Kindi, president, Geological Society of Oman, while a group of geological scientists participated. Commenting on the airline’s support for the field trip, Usama Karim Al Haremi, head, corporate communications and media department, Oman Air, said, “Oman Air is keen to support endeavours such as this that contribute to enriching knowledge about Oman and unravelling certain scientific facts unique to Oman. Through this sponsorship, Oman Air provides an opportunity for many people to get to know of the importance and diversity of Oman’s geology.”
Participants during the Field Trip
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Q & A with Tim Cordon Since the launch of Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek in 1975, Dubai’s hotel scene has transformed into one of the world’s most competitive marketplaces, making, as Tim Cordon, general manager, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, claims, innovation a key element for success.
Travel Trade Weekly: Having already spent 10 years with Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, this is your first assignment in the Middle East. How much more challenging is it to lead a hotel and a team of over 600 in Dubai where the competition in the hotel industry is getting stiffer day by day?
Tim Cordon General manager, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek
Tim Cordon: Our food and beverage business is the most important sector for the hotel, with so many new restaurants opening all the time in Dubai the competition has never been stronger and customer expectations never higher so this is our primary focus. We work hard at keeping our food and beverage offerings up to date and will launch two new restaurants [in 2014] so watch this space. MICE also represents a big portion of our revenue, especially social events which have seen very strong growth over the last two years in particular.
Tim Cordon: Dubai is certainly one of the most competitive markets I have ever worked in. Hotels form such a major part of Dubai’s social and business landscape that they play a more significant role in Dubai than in some other cities. This is fantastic for hoteliers but does mean it is tough and the need to constantly innovate is more important than ever. Travel Trade Weekly: Located in the heart of the historical city in close proximity to the shopping districts, the Gold Souk, as well as Burj Khalifa, the hotel offers an ideal base for both business and leisure travellers. How would you describe your target market?
will shape the industry’s future?
Tim Cordon: We have a great mix of both leisure and business customers, we were the first five-star hotel in Dubai and our heritage and history give us a loyal following, some of our guests have been coming since 1975. Deira is a bustling business district as well and the hotel benefits hugely from a creekside location.
Tim Cordon: Well it is no secret that markets east of Dubai are booming and we can certainly expect significant growth from these areas which means we need to make sure our operations are well suited to the new customers who will visit Dubai. Although more traditional markets are still very important and Emirates’ new route to Stockholm for example is a great opportunity for us in particular as Radisson has strong roots in the Scandinavian market.
Travel Trade Weekly: Emirates and flydubai’s fast-paced expansion and the launch of new services by low-cost carriers are set to open up new markets and new opportunities for Dubai’s hotel sector. Which markets are you planning to focus on? How do you think these new markets
Travel Trade Weekly: With 16 food and beverage outlets, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek offers a wide variety dining options. In addition, the hotel also houses 12 modern meeting rooms and the exotic Al Masour Dhow is a truly unique venue for any event. How important
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is the food and beverage component to the success of your business? Additionally, how important is the MICE market to your business?
Travel Trade Weekly: What are your expectations for the coming months? Tim Cordon: The hotel market in Dubai is booming and I do not see any reason why this will slow down over the next few months. It is an amazing success story that started way back in 1975 with the first hotel in Dubai ours!
Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek
NEWS & EVENTS
NCTA Hosts US Workshops In a bid to promote the UAE to the global audience, UAE National Council of Tourism & Antiquities (NCTA) is organising overseas workshops in Washington, D.C. and New York City. The events will feature a number of prominent representatives from NCTA, as well as the tourism authorities of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah, and Etihad Airways and Emirates, in addition to 19 tourist representatives. The workshops are set to throw the spotlight on the UAE’s recently approved slogan “Seven Emirates…One Destination” and promote the country as an attractive, diverse and safe destination. In 2012, the UAE welcomed 673,974 American hotels guests, compared to 591,100 in 2011. To further penetrate this market, NCTA is planning additional workshops in the country in 2014.
ABU DHABI NATIONAL EXHIBITION CENTRE MEETING POINT OF WORLD-CLASS EVENTS
New York City
EVENTS The Global Meetings & Events Expo (EIBTM) Barcelona, Spain, November 19 - 21, 2013 (www.eibtm.com) An annual event for the meetings, incentives, conferences, events and business travel industry. ITCA Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi, UAE, November 24 – 26, 2013 (www.itcaabudhabi.com) The International Travel Catering Association (ITCA) has once again chosen Abu Dhabi to host its membership. International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Cannes, France, December 2 – 5, 2013 (www.iltm.net) A leading ‘by invitation only’ event for the global luxury travel community, held annually in Cannes. Travel Turkey Izmir Izmir, Turkey, December 5 – 8, 2013 (www.travelturkey-expo.com) The last edition of the event welcomed 430 exhibitors and close to 15,000 visitors from 36 countries.
November 2013 Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 9 – 11, 2013 (www.seatrade-middleeastcruise.com) Key issues impacting the development of the Arabian Gulf’s cruise industry will be debated at the forum, which will feature a summit session and a conference. CMT – The Holiday Exhibition Stuttgart, Germany, January 11 – 19, 2014 (www.messe-stuttgart.de) Hailed as the world’s largest public trade fair for tourism and leisure with exhibitors from all over the world. 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) The fairs will focus on both the professional and the general public in a bid to showcase one of the largest Central European presentation of the tourism industry.
Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC) 2013
GCC Cigre 2013
Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Prix
December 2013 The Life & Style Show UAE
SME Congress and Expo
China Consumer Products Fair 2013
Winter Consumer Fair
January 2014 SMAP Moroccan Real Estate and Lifestyle Event 2014 - Abu Dhabi
INTERMAT and World EcoConstruct Exhibition 2014
World Future Energy Summit 2014
Abu Dhabi International Water Summit 2014
adnec.ae Information correct at time of publication. Please check www.adnec.ae/whatson for alterations.
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