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Dusit to Debut in Doha Dusit International is set to debut in Qatar in the third quarter of the year, marking yet another milestone in the company’s ’Year of Expansion’.

Renaissance Hotels recently unveiled a new address in the Egyptian capital with the opening of Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel.

08 Troon to Manage Two Properties in Morocco Troon has been appointed to manage two exclusive new properties in Morocco, further strengthening the company’s presence in the region.


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Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel Opens




Q & A with Isabel Borrego Tourism in Spain has long been a driving force of the country’s socio-economic development, and here Isabel Borrego, deputy minister of tourism, Spain, shares her views on the destination’s growing popularity among Middle Eastern travellers.

Travel Trade Weekly: What makes Spain an attractive destination? Isabel Borrego: Spain attracts every year more than 57 million tourists who choose this destination for many reasons. We point out our coastline, beaches, our nature, gastronomy, cities, and culture. The excellent climate, natural areas, the variety of landscapes, and the beauty of its shores also make Spain a perfect destination. The itinerary of Al Andalus and Islamic heritage footprint are very interesting for the Middle East regions. The shopping [factor] is also one of the main attractions for travellers. One of the biggest attractions of Spain is undoubtedly the food, which is one of the best in the world for quality and variety. [Approximately] 84 percent of tourists always revisit Spain and 40 percent have visited it more than 10 times. Transport and infrastructure has placed Spain in a leading position; 47 airports and one of the best networks of high-speed trains in the world. Spain promotes high levels of quality in all types of services offered by tourism industries such as hotels, travel agencies, restaurants. Spain is a modern country, ready to face future challenges and to enter new markets. It is no coincidence that the tourism industry in Spain generates about 11 percent of GDP. Cosmopolitan, modern, and well-connected cities of great cultural, historical centres attest its antiquity and its exceptional past combined with modern architecture and cutting-edge. Travel Trade Weekly: Approximately what percentage does the MENA region represent in Spain’s overall visitor numbers?

Isabel Borrego Deputy minister of Tourism, Spain.

tions for tourists from the Gulf area. New connections and the opening of the new visa office in the UAE [are set to] increase the flow between the countries. Travel Trade Weekly: How do you promote the destination in the Middle East?

Isabel Borrego: The most important is that the number of visas has grown by 30 percent, driven largely by the policy developed by the government of Spain. The tourist flow between Spain and the Gulf countries, especially the UAE and Qatar, is growing. Emirates achieved a [load factor] of 80 percent. We see that the interest of the airlines in Spain is growing. Turkish Airlines [for example] has flights from the Middle East via Istanbul to Spain. According to Spanish Airports and Air Navigation the number of passengers arriving in Spain with direct flights from the UAE has increased from 1,532 in 2009 to 86,533 in 2011. In Qatar, the number of passengers has tripled from 48,648 in 2009 to 152,639 in 2011. These numbers demonstrate the need for intensified promotions in these markets for Spain to become one of the favourite destina-

Isabel Borrego: In the Gulf area, we have many promotional activities planned, but among all, let me point out the next Business Day Direct; a roadshow [to] some of the main cities in the area such as Dubai, Kuwait, Riyadh and Jeddah. […] [Other initiatives] that are being undertaken by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, through Turespaña [Tourism Institute of Spain] include ‘I need Spain’ [which] was launched in the Arab market [and is] an international campaign that has been seen by 467 million people around the world. Another important agreement was the deal signed with Real Madrid FC by the ministry, the community, and the city of Madrid. Among the activities devoted, especially to the Middle East, was the first of the familiarisation trips organised in 2011. In collaboration with Emirates, many important agencies have visited our country and since 2011 we have organised fam trips from Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia as well. Training is another important point on the agenda of Turespaña. A Spanish delegation visited the region in 2011 to present the most important destinations of our country and its tourism resources. This action was also well received. With different strategies and the concept of ‘Keep Sharing’ [we have] launched several campaigns to invite web surfers to share their best moments and experiences in Spain.

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WEEKLY NEWS Deira Heritage Market Opens Deira Heritage Market has launched, adding an exotic marketplace to sell and buy anything traditional to the destination. Built on a total area of 4,600m2 at a cost of AED5.7 million (USD1.55 million), the market comprises 98 shops, a traditional restaurant, cafeteria, a prayer hall for women, international and external squares for kiosks, folk celebrations and festivals, and a Friday market. As Rashad Bukash, director, architectural heritage department, Dubai Municipality (DM), expressed, the market is expected to be a milestone in the history of urban development carried out by the civic body in the emirate of Dubai, which would definitely add a new destination for tourists and visitors commemorating the past for generations to come. Along parallel lines, Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general, DM, said, “I hope this to be the traditional business landmark of the country with which the city of Dubai can be proud of its heritage and tradition.”

flydubai Adds Hotel Offering flydubai has launched a new hotel offering enabling passengers to plan their entire holiday through the carrier’s website. The move comes as flydubai celebrates its fourth anniversary and follows the airline’s exclusive partnership with Tourico Holidays, as the new offer now provides passengers with regular specially reduced rates on resorts and attractions. As Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, explained, the team at the airline has listened to its customers, many of whom expressed their desire to book hotels and other travel-related services along with their flights. Thanks to flydubai’s partnership with Tourico Holidays, passengers can now choose from more than 36,000 hotels, cruises, vacation packages, and Jason Soss, president, Global Business attractions in over 4,500 Development Travel Holdings, parent company of Tourico Holidaysm and destinations. Ghaith Al Ghaith

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Abu Dhabi Targets Japan and Korea Abu Dhabi has embarked on a series of road shows in Japan and Korea in order to put the emirate’s expanding destination offering further up the Far Eastern outbound travel trade agenda. Led by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the 11-strong delegation touted an enlarged tourism proposition which is being tailored to the high-yield Far Eastern market. The initiative comes as Abu Dhabi attracts more Far Eastern hotel guests than ever before with the first four months of the year registering 4,450 Japanese travellers, up 10 percent, translating into 17,842 guest nights, while Korean visitor numbers totalled 5,059, a 35 percent leap on the same period in 2012, delivering 13,319 guest nights. Moreover, travellers from both countries now have good air access to the emirate via Etihad Airways, as Mubarak Al Nuaimi, director, promotions and overseas offices, TCA Abu Dhabi, explained.




Egypt: Positive Results in Sharm El Sheikh Sharm El Sheikh’s hotel sector continues to rebound, according to TRI Hospitality Consulting’s latest HotStats report for April.

COPY EDITOR Stefanie Saghbini


SENIOR JOURNALIST Rita Kasziba JOURNALIST Maria Kazeli PRESS Maria Demetriadou Pauline Shahabian 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

riven by strong demand from both tour groups and independent travellers, the destination reported a RevPAR increase of 11.2 percent to USD34.4. Average room rate (ARR) rose 13.9 percent to USD52.48, and despite occupancy dropping 1.5 percentage points to 65.6 percent, gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) rose 12.4 percent to USD28.72. On the contrary, in Cairo RevPAR fell 10.3 percent to USD48.56 due to occupancy declining 12.7 percentage points to 43 percent. Nonetheless, ARR rose 16.2 percent to USD113.04, while GOPPAR stood at USD37.94.


Kuwait: Strong Corporate Demand A number of international conferences boosted the Kuwaiti hotel sector’s performance in April, as TRI Hospitality Consulting’s latest HotStats report revealed. During the month, RevPAR increased 18.2 percent to USD174.69, driven by a 7.5 percentage point rise in occupancy to 63.5 percent, while average room rate climbed 4.2 percent to USD275. With gross operating profit per available room surging 41.6 percent to USD193.13, Kuwait registered the highest growth in this metric out of the regional markets surveyed.


29/06/2013 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)



Saudi Arabia: Intense Competition in Riyadh


otels in Jeddah demonstrated particularly strong profitability in April, however, the competition in Riyadh continued to intensify as a number of new projects entered the markets, TRI Hospitality Consulting’s HotStats In Jeddah, average room rate (ARR) rose 14.2 percent to USD242.82, lifting RevPAR up

13.9 percent to USD169.16, while occupancy dropped 0.2 percentage points to 79.4 percent. Meanwhile in Riyadh, a number of high profile events contributed to an occupancy increase of 4.3 percentage points to 74.1 percent. ARR, on the other hand, dropped 2.1 percent to USD246.15, while RevPAR improved 3.9 percent to 175.47. 22 JUNE 2013



Third Arab Aviation and Media Summit Coming Soon to Oman The third edition of the Arab Aviation and Media Summit is set to take place under the patronage of H.E. Maitha bint Saif bin Majid Al-Mahrouqi, undersecretary, Ministry of Tourism, Oman, between June 25 – 27, in Salalah. Under the theme ‘Aviation and Tourism: Enabler of Economic Growth’, the summit will assess the impact of aviation and tourism on regional economic growth and will also focus on discussing and debating the challenges and opportunities faced by the industry in the wider Arab world. “The Arab world’s aviation and tourism industry has, over the years, demonstrated its significance to the economic growth,” noted Adel Ali, group CEO, Air Arabia, one of the organisers of the event, adding that the sector is set to continue to be regarded as a catalyst for economic activities in the decades to come.

Dubai MSS: Rapid Implementation H.E. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, president, Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), recently held a meeting with high-profile industry experts to review the progress in the implementation of the new Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy (MSS). MSS is poised to develop, regulate, and promote the industry that will ultimately position Dubai as a first-class international maritime hub and, according to Sulayem, is of particular importance as it is the first-ofits-kind plan aimed at achieving a radical change across Dubai’s maritime industry. “We are confident in our ability to raise the bar of the local maritime sector and maintain ongoing growth and sustainability in collaboration with our strategic partners from H.E. Sultan Ahmed Bin the public and private sectors,” he added. Sulayem

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Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel Opens Renaissance Hotels recently unveiled a new address in the Egyptian capital with the opening of Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel. Located minutes away from Cairo International Airport, the 333-unit hotel brings a sophisticated sense of lifestyle hospitality to Mirage City, and is destined to become a local landmark. Guests can enjoy various culinary experiences, while business travellers can take advantage of seven meeting rooms and a grand ballroom offering more than 1,100m2 of event space. w According to Magdy Naguib, general manager, Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel, the property is set to become a popular destination for guests and locals alike.

Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel

Dusit to Debut in Doha Dusit International is set to debut in Qatar in the third quarter of the year, marking yet another milestone in the company’s ’Year of Expansion’. Located in the heart of the capital’s diplomatic district, overlooking the Corniche, Dusit Residence and Suites, West Bay, Doha is set to redefine standards of luxury in the city’s hospitality sector. “This announcement clearly demonstrates our commitment to expand the Dusit portfolio on a global basis, and our strategic plan to establish and strengthen our presence in key gateway cities, particularly within the Middle East,” noted Andrew Shaw, regional director of development, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Dusit International, adding that Qatar offers enormous potential.

Four Seasons Expands in Morocco Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts plans to add a third property to its Moroccan collection with Four Seasons Resort Agadir set to open in 2016. Set on 18ha of prime beachfront within the Taghazout Bay area, the resort will feature 132 rooms and suites in addition to 56 private residences, and is expected to attract a mix of domestic and international travellers.

Troon to Manage Two Properties in Morocco Troon has been appointed to manage two exclusive new properties in Morocco, further strengthening the company’s presence in the region. Scheduled to open in 2014, Group Palmeraie Développement’s Les Jardins De l’Atlas, Marrakech, and California Golf Resort, Casablanca, will complement Troon’s existing Palmeraie Golf Club in Marrakech. The 18-hole championship courses are set to become must-visit destinations for the discerning golf traveller in the years to come, according to Bruce Glasco, vice president, international operations, Troon. “The country has fast become one of the world’s most intriguing golfing nations, and we feel both properties will take the lead for leisure attractions in Morocco’s ever-growing golf and tourism strategy,” he concluded.

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Qatar Airways: Triple Daily to Paris Qatar Airways has stepped up frequency on the ParisDoha route to triple daily flights, increasing its weekly scheduled services to the French capital from 18 to 21. The additional capacity aims to offer travellers to and from France greater choice, improved connectivity, and more flexibility, as the array of connecting destinations over the airline’s main hub include Muscat, Dubai, Cape Town, Kilimanjaro, Delhi, Goa, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Bangkok, Melbourne, and Perth. Eric Didier, country manager, France and Benelux, Qatar Airways, thanked the carrier’s corporate and travel trade partners for their support over the years, which has resulted in the growth of the Paris operations. Flying to the European capital since 2000, Qatar Airways operates an Airbus A340 aircraft on the Paris– Doha route, in a three-class configuration.

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Emirates Adds Zurich to A380 Network Emirates is to boost its services to Switzerland with the launch of a daily A380 flight to Zurich. Starting January 1, 2014, EK087 from Dubai to the Swiss capital and its return sector EK088 will be operated by an Airbus A380, offering an increased capacity of more than 1,100 additional seats every week in each direction, which will equate to more than 870 seats on offer per day between the two destinations. The strategic decision is set to support Zurich’s strong position as a financial services hub and centre for a vast number of international companies, as Thierry Antinori, executive vice president, passenger sales worldwide, Emirates, explained. Thomas Kern, CEO, Zurich Airport, added, “The decision of Emirates […] represents another milestone for Zurich Airport and demonstrates the strong demand from travellers for the Emirates product.”




Qatar Airways Lands in Basra Qatar Airways has commenced flights from Doha to Basra, the airline’s fourth destination in Iraq since its inaugurating service to Erbil launched mid-2012. The new four-times-a-week route takes the carrier’s frequency across the country to 16 each week, representing a 25 percent increase. According to Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, Iraq has been on the airline’s list of expansion priorities for some time and the past 12 months have seen the carrier move forward at a rapid pace with the new route to Sulaymaniyah scheduled to start in August. “Opening up Iraq to the world with more travel options and flexibility has always been part of our general strategy to enter underserved markets and give the travelling public to and from such places the ability to travel with greater choice, bringing the world closer to them,” added Al Baker.

Turkish Airlines Flies to Al Qassim Turkish Airlines has reiterated its commitment to Saudi Arabia with the launch of direct services between Istanbul and Al Qassim, directly connecting passengers on the national carrier’s flights to the Saudi city to 29 destinations across 100 countries. As Ziya Taşkent, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Turkish Airlines, explained, the new route, the airline’s seventh in the Kingdom, has been inaugurated in response to the robust growth in passenger traffic across Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East region, where the carrier’s 32 destinations recorded an additional one million passengers in 2012; an upward trend the carrier aims to maintain with new routes and increased capacity. The new route will be operated four times a week by a new generation Airbus A320 and Boeing 738 aircraft.

Turkish Airlines

Etihad Airways Steps Up Belarus Services Etihad Airways has increased its operation on the Abu Dhabi-Minsk route from three flights per week to daily services. Passengers will now also benefit from onward connections from the Belarusian capital to the cities of Kiev, Moscow, and Saint Petersburg through a new codeshare agreement with Belavia. In turn, the national airline of Belarus will place its B2 flight code on Etihad Airways’ flights from Minsk to the UAE capital, and onwards to Ho Chi Minh City, Melbourne, and Sydney. According to James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, partnering with Belavia is an important catalyst for further strengthening business and leisure traffic between Abu Dhabi and Belarus.

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James Harrison James Harrison has been appointed general manager for Canada at Etihad Airways. Based in Toronto, he will be responsible for driving sales and further growing strong relationships with the airline’s trade and corporate partners. Harrison joined Etihad Airways in 2009, and first served

as a sales manager in Melbourne, before returning to the UK in 2012 to work in global sales. Most recently, he held the global account manager position for American Express at the airline. His previous work experiences include positions at The Hertz Corporation, British Airways, and Gulf Air.

Hazem Makled Hazem Makled has been appointed director of operations at the soon-to-open Novotel Al Bustan Abu Dhabi and Adagio Al Bustan Abu Dhabi. Makled, who has over 18 years of experience under his belt, started his career with Hilton Worldwide as a guest service agent at Makkah Hilton Hotel. He later held various positions in the front office department before becoming the director of guest service

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at Sheraton Deira Hotel. Makled then joined the sales and marketing team at Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort before continuing at Mercure Abu Dhabi Centre Hotel as room division manager. Makled, who holds a business administration diploma from the US as well as a law degree from Ain Shams University Cairo, also successfully completed the Accor International Hospitality Management Program.


Mohammad Khaled Mohammad Khaled has been named front office manager at Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea. Having worked both in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Khaled has over 10 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Throughout his career, he has taken charge of various front office tasks and responsibilities, such as creating different

reports, ensuring that guest data are processed efficiently, keeping track of guests’ satisfaction, and responding to concerns and inquiries, among others. Khaled joins the team after working for seven years at the InterContinental Hotels Group sister hotel, InterContinental Aqaba Resort.

travel talk is your space



Mike Oswald

Cluster director of sales and marketing, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jordan.

Park manager, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi.

“The Crowne Plaza brand is undergoing a dramatic change at the moment, so you will witness a fresher look at Crowne Plaza Amman [...]. We want our guests to think of success, comfort and a satisfying stay whenever they think of the Crowne Plaza brand and Crowne Plaza Amman specifically. We have five hotels across Jordan in strategic and excellent locations which are guaranteed to please and satisfy their guests with various services and facilities.”

“As a waterpark and a family attraction located in a country with a sizeable shoreline, the importance of knowing how to swim and having the ability to enjoy water-based activities is very relevant to us here in the UAE. [Hosting the world’s largest swimming lesson] seemed like a great way to get involved in a global drive to spread the message of the life-saving value of learning to swim. If there was ever a time to dive in, this would be it.”

Glenn de Souza

Amer Ali

Vice president, international operations, Asia and Middle East, Best Western International.

Executive director, Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA).

“Best Western International puts a lot of thought, care, and attention into our hotels, and I am absolutely delighted that this is finally being recognised by the industry [with BEST WESTERN PREMIER Sukhumvit having recently received two major awards honouring excellence of its interior design]. BEST WESTERN PREMIER Sukhumvit is part of a new era of Best Western hotels.”

“Establishing a comprehensive policy and standard guidelines to ensure the highest levels of maritime safety will be crucial in enhancing the level of maritime activities and maintaining safe navigation. This will have a positive impact on the operational performance of Dubai’s maritime sector and will help drive the country’s economic development and boost the industry’s contribution to the economy while opening up new windows of opportunity for further growth.”

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

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AGENT’S INSIGHT NAME: Hazem Poncho POSITION: Director of planning and international sales

COMPANY: NTS Group LOCATION: Egypt WEB: Who are you? I am Hazem Poncho, director of planning and international sales at National Travel Service (NTS) Group. We are a pure Egyptian-based destination management company (DMC). We exist and have been active in the Egyptian market since 1989. Our company is one of the top 10 DMCs in Egypt according to the annual statistics of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism. We offer a wide range of services including classical, MICE and incentives, safaris, diving, religious, bird watching programmes, and more, both on charter and individual basis. Our company has the certificate of ISO 9001 for the quality of product. We own and operate several properties including Nile Cruises & Resorts. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? My favourite thing is creativity and new ideas; meeting new people every year; getting to know all the new trends in the travel industry all over the world; and market surveys about surrounding competitors. When is the best time to visit Egypt? I think it is best during autumn and winter time. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? I would like to travel to Marsa Alam, south-eastern Egypt. Why should people come to you for travel advice? People should come to us because nobody knows Egypt like we do. Our long experience in both Egyptian and seven international markets allowed us to really be an honest eye of our partners abroad and to be their advisors in all travel-related issues.

Travelport Enhances Booking Engine Travelport has unveiled a series of significant enhancements and extensive new content to Travelport Rooms and More, its industryleading hotel booking engine. The new version was developed based on travel agency feedback and sets a standard of over 450,000 hotel properties and one million room offers all available through one portal. Enhancements to the new version of Travelport Rooms and More, which was originally launched in summer 2011, includes a fresh look and feel, a more user-friendly, next generation interface, and faster commission payment processes for travel agents, and the integration of

new content from leading aggregators, quickbeds. com, and most recently the UAE’s Destinations of the World. Rabih Saab, president, Middle East and Africa, Travelport, believes the time was right to invest in a number of useful upgrades and added, “The next evolution of Travelport Rooms and More needed to deliver even faster navigation, allowing agents to really take advantage of our unbeatable choice of hotel content, as well as simplified processes. For example, a key challenge for our agency customers was the collection of their commissions and so this was also an area we have also focused on.”

Dubai Hosts Spanish Tour Operators In a bid to position Dubai as a leading tourism and commerce destination, and with the aim of targeting the important Spanish segment, which contributed to 41,000 visitors to the emirate in 2012, this year’s edition of the Federación Empresarial de Asociaciones Territoriales de Agencias de Viajes Españolas (FETAVE) Congress was organised by Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) in partnership with Alpha Tours. During the event, which was organised between May 12-17, participants took part in tours of the city and key attractions and had numerous meetings with hoteliers to discuss future business partnerships. Ghassan Aridi, CEO, Alpha Tours, supported, “Hosting such events for tour operators and travel agents from Spain will help boost participant’s activity in Dubai by updating them with the latest information and attractions on Dubai.” Ghassan Aridi

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UNWTO welcomes Trinidad and Tobago

WTD to Promote Water Preservation

Trinidad and Tobago became World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s 156th member state with the country rejoining after 35 years.


he announcement was made by Taleb Rifai, secretary-general, UNWTO, at the opening of the 55th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for the Americas, which launched on May 14 in San Jose, Costa Rica, where members of the organisation gathered to debate the latest regional tourism trends, examine the programme of work of UNWTO in the Americas for 2014-2015, and elect the candidate country to host World Tourism Day 2014. With reference to tourism, the archipelagic state plays an important role in the Caribbean region which is set to continue expanding, according to UNWTO’s long-term forecast ‘Tourism Towards 2030’, which states that over the next 17 years, international tourist arrivals to the region will reach 30 million, up from 21 million in 2012.

IATA Outlines Passenger Rights Regulation A set of core principles for governments to consider when adopting consumer protection regulation were recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at its 69th Annual General Meeting. As Tony Tyler, director general, IATA, explained, airlines are aligned with governments in wanting to fly the passengers to their destinations on time, however, sometimes that is just not possible. “Governments should set some simple guarantees on what passengers should expect in such situations. But un-harmonised and extra-territorial regulations can cause utter confusion for international travellers,” said Tyler, adding that regulators need to understand that travellers are customers which require the best possible experience because businesses depend on them to return. “These core principles on consumer protection will help governments harmonise their various regimes. And they will be the centrepiece of an industry-wide campaign to help regulators recalibrate their impression of what the air travel experience is, and how it could be even better.”

World Tourism Organization has announced that this year’s World Tourism Day (WTD) theme will focus on tourism’s role to worldwide water conservation efforts, in line with the UN General Assembly’s declaration of the year as the UN International Year of Water Cooperation. The official WTD celebrations will be hosted in the Maldives on September 27 and will bring together stakeholders and water experts to devise policies aimed at ensuring the tourism sector contributes to protecting water resources. The celebratory event will provide an opportunity to examine the challenges facing water management in tourism and the measures being undertaken by the sector to protect and promote water resources.

Agreement on Aviation Carbon-Neutral Growth The International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s 69th Annual General Meeting has endorsed a resolution on ‘Implementation of the Aviation Carbon-Neutral Growth (CNG2020) Strategy’. The resolution provides governments with a set of principles on how they could establish procedures for a single market-based measure (MBM), and integrate a single MBM as part of the overall package of measure to achieve CNG2020. As Tony Tyler, director general, IATA, expressed, the ball is now in the court of government, and the association will be strongly supporting their leadership as they seek a global agreement through the International Civil Aviation Organization’s assembly later this year. Being the first industry to suggest a global approach to the application of a single MBM to manage its climate change impact, aviation is a trailblazer in managing carbon emissions.

Tony Tyler, director general, IATA

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Q & A with Peter Hoesli Over the past few years, the Jordanian tourism industry has been tested by various challenges and here Peter Hoesli, general manager, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, regional manager, Jordan, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, shares his views on the past and what the future holds for the Kingdom.

Travel Trade Weekly: How would you describe the past 12 months? Peter Hoesli: The leisure group and MICE segments considerably reduced in production as the leisure itineraries used to include either Syria and/or Egypt and for the MICE segments there has been the double impact of the geopolitical and economic concerns. The independent leisure guest segment, however, is on the increase as these seasoned travellers take advantage of more competitive prices and fewer crowds at visitor sites. Due to previous experiences, they are also aware of the safety of Jordan as a destination and are less inclined to be swayed by the negative news from the mass media. The cost of utilities and other commodities has increased, some above average, which is putting a strain on our operations. New properties have opened and increased the room inventory while the influx of business has not increased. While this is, for the time being, affecting our resort’s occupancy, additional properties will help to shape and promote the Dead Sea region in the long-term, and eventually drive more business to the destination accordingly. Needless to say, that there were some positive aspects to be recorded during the past 12 months. Among others, we have accommodated some major ad hoc businesses, including the film crew of [the movie] Zero Dark Thirty over a longer period of time. Travel Trade Weekly: How have your source markets changed over the past two years? Peter Hoesli: The traditional key feeder leisure group and MICE markets, mainly Euro-

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Peter Hoesli General manager, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, regional manager, Jordan, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts

pean and Americans, have further reduced their production. Trips from these markets to the region are not really cancelled but rather postponed. The local market has been steady but we were affected by the increasing competition, resulting in a rate driven environment, especially when it comes to the corporate group segment. Due to the reduced influx from our traditional key feeder markets, we are encouraging our partners to increasingly look for alternative markets, such as the BRIC countries, out of which Russia has the most potential to produce volume business to Jordan for the time being. Of course, Brazil but also Eastern European countries do have a good potential to be further developed. We are increasingly also looking into the Asian markets and are supporting corresponding initiatives by our partners in this respect.

Travel Trade Weekly: Could the current year become another successful year for the Kingdom’s tourism industry? Peter Hoesli: Jordan as a destination has never aspired to be a volume driven destination such as Egypt or Turkey, which has resulted in an exclusive destination combined with a limited infrastructure and resources that caters for many niche tourist segments such as spa and wellness, medical, faith-based tourism and cultural round trips. The current visitor profile is found to be over the age of 40, financially sound, widely travelled, interested in history and culture, and seeking a once-in-a-life time experience with a certain level of comfort, and this is what Jordan delivers. We do not expect much change in terms of business environment during the coming months but hope that production during the coming autumn, which is a traditional high season period for Jordan, will yield some good opportunities. However, much depends on the region’s situation. Travel Trade Weekly: Please tell us about your plans for the coming months. Peter Hoesli: At Moevenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, we are planning to renovate 322 out of 346 rooms and suites during the course of [this year] and 2014. The beach rooms and suites as well as the Royal Villa, which have been taken into operation only six years ago, are not included in our current renovation plans. While we will keep the overall Arabesque look of the rooms, the interior will be freshened up and modernised accordingly.



Sharjah Concluded Participation at WEF Represented by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Sharjah Media Corporation, Crescent Petroleum, and Dana Gas, the emirate’s delegation successfully completed its participation in the regional meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa, which took place from the May 24-26 at the Dead Sea, Jordan. The event, which was themed ’Advancing Conditions for Growth and Resilience’ was attended by over 900 government, industry, media, civil society, and youth leaders from across the MENA. Sharjah’s participation was aimed at introducing and promoting its business potential to the attendees, according to H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO, Shurooq, who added that the forum provided the authority with a rare and valuable opportunity to network with the most influential individuals in the region.

Al Bustan Centre & Residence at KITF Al Bustan Centre & Residence, located in the heart of Dubai, recently participated in the 13th Kazakhstan International Travel Fair (KITF), held in Almaty. Launched in 2001, KITF has become the largest travel and tourism in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, having attracted some 500 exhibitors from 38 countries and 7,770 visitors at this year’s show, providing travel companies with opportunities to showcase the latest tourism industry achievements, education, medical, and holiday destinations from all over the world. Khaled Saab, director of sales and marketing, Al Bustan Centre & Residence, said, “We have showcased our property’s facilities and services to the tourists wishing to visit Dubai. [...] The property will cooperate with travel agencies and airline companies to offer many different travel products themed on the luxurious shopping experience.”

EVENTS ASIAN International Trade & Tourism Expo Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 2 – 8, 2013 ( The event will provide a platform for manufacturers, suppliers and various tourism sectors to showcase their products and services.

Food and Hospitality Oman Muscat, Oman, September 2 – 4, 2013 ( The event showcases a comprehensive range of services in the international food, beverage, and hotel industries.

Travel & Tourism Fair (TTF) Kolkata, India, July 5 – 7, 2013 ( TTF is hailed as India’s largest business-to-business focused travel trade show network.

Group Leisure & Travel Trade Show Birmingham, UK, September 18 – 19, 2013 ( One of Britain’s biggest annual group travel events with 200 exhibitors and 2,000 visitors.

Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention San Diego, US, August 4 – 7, 2013 ( GBTA’s Convention will bring together thousands of business travel buyers and industry suppliers and a strong line-up of keynote speakers.

The Hotel Show Dubai, UAE, September 28 – 30, 2013 ( Now in its 14th year, this show is a key meeting place for leading suppliers and buyers.

22 JUNE 2013

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 189  

Travel Trade Weekly Middle East & North Africa is the first and only weekly virtual publication of its kind in the MENA region. It is distri...

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