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Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel Completes Refurbishment Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel has unveiled its newly refurbished facilities now offering an even more luxurious accommodation option.

flynas is set to soar into the future with a brand new livery, and an ambitious business strategy.

8 Al Bustan Centre & Residence: USD4 Million Renovation The 640-unit Al Bustan Centre & Residence in Dubai is to embark on an extensive AED15 million (USD4 million) renovation.


8 03 04 08 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

flynas: New Identity and Business Strategy


The Domain, Diplomatic Area, Manama, Bahrain. Tel: +973 16 000 000

WEEKLY NEWS Russian Tourism to Ras Al Khaimah Set to Grow In a bid to further increase visitor numbers from Russia, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA) has supported the initiative of Coral Travel - hailed as the largest tour operator in Russia - to launch regular charter services from Moscow Under the agreement, Ural Airlines will operate twice weekly flights on Tuesdays and Fridays from Moscow Domodedovo Airport until March 29, 2014, bringing 12,000 additional Russian travellers to the UAE, 8,000 of whom will be accommodated in hotels in Ras Al Khaimah. Khalid Motik, director, Ras Al Khaimah TDA, described Russia as a key source market for the emirate accounting for some 18 percent of the total visitor numbers. “This agreement demonstrates Ras Al Khaimah TDA’s commitment to continue strengthening our ties with Russia in years to come, and brings us one step closer to our main objective of increasing our visitor numbers to 1.2 million by the end of [this year].” According to the authority’s figures, Russian visitor volumes are set to reach 200,000 by year-end. Russian Visitors in Ras Al Khaimah

Thrifty Car Rental Expands in the UAE Thrifty Car Rental, a franchisee of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, announced the opening of retail locations in Fujairah City Centre and Mercato Mall, now serving customers with a rental outlet in all of the major malls in the UAE. “Malls remain a key focus for us to grow the Thrifty brand in the UAE. Malls contribute to 30 percent of our short-term rental business, and this is only set to grow as we further expand into shopping malls and other retail opportunities,” explained Rahul Singh, general manager, UAE, Thrifty Car Rental. The strong car rental market in the country has urged the company to expand this year, increasing its fleet size to up to 17,000 vehicles with the goal of further strengthening its presence in UAE malls.

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Oman in Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism The country’s Ministry of Tourism represented Oman in the 16th session of the Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism which opened in Bahrain on October 30, chaired by Ahmed bin Nasser al-Mahrzi, minister of tourism, Oman. He referred to the importance of the role of the organisation in activating Arab tourism and achieving integration among Arab states in the tourism sector, and reviewing the streamlining of the various economicdrive procedures to support the field. Moreover he affirmed that according to the Arab Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, the Sultanate has made significant progress on Arab and international levels over the past four years, hoping that efforts towards greater activation of Oman’s tourist plans continue in a manner that go in line and keep pace with the developments at an international level.



Hyatt’s Profit Doubles Hyatt Hotels Corporation recorded a net income of USD55 million for the third quarter (Q3) of the year, as compared to USD23 million in the corresponding period in 2012.



hile the US market experienced positive demand trends, other markets, such as China and India witnessed more challenging months, as Mark Hoplamazian, CEO, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, explained. “During the quarter, we opened 11 hotels, bringing our total for the year to 35, reflecting

JOURNALIST Maria Kazeli PRESS Maria Demetriadou Pauline Shahabian DESIGN & LAYOUT Elena Stylianou DIRECTORS Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi

a strong and steady pace that demonstrated our balanced approach to growing our presence in new and attractive markets,” noted Hoplamazian. In the Europe, Africa, Middle East and Southwest Asia segment, RevPAR for comparable hotels increased 1.2 percent, while occupancy improved 210 basis points and average daily rate decreased 2.4 percent.

HEADQUARTERS T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly LTD P.O. Box 25255, Nicosia, 1308, Cyprus Tel: +357 22 021607, Fax: +357 22 210466 WEBSITE EMAILS

Increasing Competition in Doha Doha hotels recorded mix results in September with average room rates (ARR) and occupancy experiencing lower performance levels compared to the corresponding month in 2012 as TRI Hospitality Consulting’s HotStats report revealed. In line with the year-to-date figures, which have shown a 2.1 percent decline in ARR, rates dropped 0.3 percent to USD229.49, and occupancy fell 1.1 percentage points to 61.7 percent, overall occupancy for the year however remains stable at 62.9 percent. Although RevPAR was 2.1 percent lower, total RevPAR rose 1.7 percent to USD396.15 while gross operating profit per available room stood at USD196.52, down 1.5 percent.


29/11/2013 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)



Dubai International: Passenger Traffic up 13.1 Percent


assenger traffic at Dubai International rose 13.1 percent to over 5.4 million in September. The significant increase boosted year-to-date volumes to close to 49.38 million, up 16 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2012. Aircraft movements in September totalled 30,746, an increase of 10.2 percent, while passengers per aircraft stood at 193. According to Dubai Airports’ statistics, all regions recorded positive growth with

the exception of South America. Traffic from Eastern Europe rose 65.1 percent and from Australasia 38.6 percent, while the top market in terms of passenger numbers proved to Western Europe, followed by the GCC and the Indian subcontinent.

Dubai International, Concourse A

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Qatar: Demand Outstrips Supply Qatar’s tourism industry continues its upward trajectory, with all key indicators of the sector demonstrating improvement and growth in the third quarter (Q3) of the year. According to Qatar Tourism Authority’s statistics, despite over 600 rooms entering the market, average hotel occupancy rose from 50 percent in the corresponding period in 2012 to 57 percent. Meanwhile the total revenue amongst four- and five-star hotels, which make up 11,717 of Qatar’s 13,551 rooms, jumped 13.81 percent to QAR703.1 million (USD193 million). Regional visitor numbers climbed 20 percent, driven by increased volumes from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, while tourists coming from other continents rose 13.36 percent, with arrivals from Asia showing an 18.27 percent growth. Increased exposure to the global economy as well as a diverse range of events and activities across the country has helped boost both business and leisure travel volumes, and the authority expects the industry to continue to grow in 2014.

Al Ain Zoo Enhances Partnership with Jersey Zoo In line with its commitment to the conservation of endangered species, Al Ain Zoo recently welcomed a delegation from Jersey Zoo, in the British Isles. The representatives of the two zoos, who have long shared a collaborative relationship, met to discuss future joint projects and development activities. Among the key topics covered was a joint training programme focused on animal husbandry, the selective breeding of animals between zoos, ultimately contributing to the preservation of endangered species. Commenting on the initiative, H.E. Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri, director general, Al Ain Zoo, said, “Our commitment to wildlife conservation is strengthened by such collaborations, and this is one of our numerous strategic partnerships and programmes, both in the UAE and overseas.”

Jersey Zoo’s Visit in Al Ain

Egyptian Minister Opens Civil Aviation Conference Abdul Aziz Fadel, minister of civil aviation, Egypt, has opened the international conference entitled ‘Future Strategies for Developing the Civil Aviation Sector’, held between November 10 - 12 at the Ministry of Civil Aviation in Cairo. The forum was attended by a number of ministers, ambassadors, governors, top governmental officials, aircraft manufacturers and various media representatives. “The Ministry’s care for holding this conference for the first time in Egypt comes in light of the efforts exerted to enhance and develop the aviation industry in the Arab region in general and in Egypt specifically, as Egypt is characterised by its premium location on the crossroads of the worlds continents and its pioneering role in the aviation business in the region” said Fadel.

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WEEKLY NEWS Seven Tides on Show in Moscow Dubai-based developer Seven Tides participated at the 21st annual Moscow International Property Show, the high-profile real estate show which is considered the premier event for the booming overseas property market in Russia, between November 15 – 16. International interest in its Anantara Residences Dubai, located on Palm Jumeirah, continues to attract Russian investors, and according to Abdulla Bin Sulayem, CEO, Seven Tides, they currently account for around 20 percent of sales of the completed 442 one- to four-bedroom penthouse apartments, which range in size from 108m2 up to 883m2. “The number of high-net-worth individuals in Russia is forecast to surge by 51 percent between 2012 and 2022, as per [this years’] Knight Frank Wealth Report, and participation in the Moscow International Property Show gives us a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with a growing audience of prospective investors,” added Bin Sulayem.

View from the Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Residences

MNTO Launches MEET Morocco 2014 The Moroccan National Tourist Office (MNTO) launched the 2014 edition of MEET Morocco with a special presentation on November 20, at the Global Meetings & Events Expo. The 92-page publication highlights the country’s suitability as a destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, and includes features on the Kingdom’s principal regions, the main visitor activities, new infrastructure and hospitality developments, meetings facilities and a comprehensive list of hotels. MNTO will distribute 8,000 printed copies and 2,000 CDs of the guide at major international travel trade shows and mailed it to specialist databases of meeting planners, corporate travel and events buyers.

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New Commercial Outlet Opens at Mina Al Arab Sheikh Mohamed bin Kayed Al Qasimi, chairman, Department of Economic Development, Ras Al Khaimah, inaugurated a new flagship outlet for Choithrams at Mina Al Arab in Ras Al Khaimah. Located in the Lagoon district, the new shop covers an area of 7,064m2 and offers a wide range of products and fresh food as well as other retail services to the residential communities, and will soon be followed by a similar outlet in Julphar Towers. Commenting on the launch of the shop, Mohamed Sultan Al Qadi, CEO, RAK Properties, said, ”We have successfully adopted a smart strategy that balances between supply and demand and dedicates resources diligently and according to long-term planning. This has made our projects appeal to major global retail companies present in the Middle East.” As Al Qadi further noted, RAK Properties has been successful in creating strong sub-brands to go under its corporate umbrella, including Mina Al Arab that is regarded as a great success story in the real estate development sector.




Al Bustan Centre & Residence: USD4 Million Renovation In a bid to maintain the property’s position and ensure that it is on par with new and upcoming hotels in the market, the 640-unit Al Bustan Centre & Residence in Dubai is to embark on an extensive AED15 million (USD4 million) renovation. Aimed at enhancing the holiday experience of the guests, the project will bring in state-of-the-art facilities to add comfort and convenience. A total of 296 studios and 136 one-bedroom apartments will undergo complete make-over, while the 208 two-bedroom apartments have already been refurbished. Moussa El Hayek, chief operating officer, Al Bustan Centre & Residence, expressed confidence that both business guests and vacationing tourists will be delighted to stay in the newly renovated guest rooms, which now feature contemporary modern design.

Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel Completes Refurbishment Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel has unveiled its newly refurbished facilities now offering an even more luxurious accommodation option for discerning guests visiting Oman. The extensive renovation included the complete redesign of the lobby area, the upgrade of the swimming and 24 guest rooms in the second wing of the hotel. As a result, the lobby’s new design now features contemporary Arabic-influenced patterns, while the rooms welcome guests with marble flooring, new curtains and a walk-in shower in the bathroom. In addition, the renovation also included the introduction of new conference space and the redesign of the lobby café. Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel

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Versailles Hotel Enhances Guest Experience

Versailles Hotel Dubai

Golden Tulip Khatt Springs Resort & Spa to Add Beach Club Golden Tulip Khatt Springs Resort & Spa is gearing up for the opening of its new beach club. As Hani Chahwan, director of sales and marketing, Golden Tulip Khatt Springs Resort & Spa, revealed, the beach club is set to be unveiled by the end of the year. “During the low season, we have also done preventive maintenance in preparation for the coming season,” informed Chahwan, further disclosing that over the past months, a number of markets, including the CIS countries, China, Poland as well as some other European markets, have shown notable increases. The Chinese market, in particular, is expected to record a 1520 percent growth by year-end, while the local market is set for a 10-15 percent rise.

Golden Tulip Khatt Springs Resort & Spa

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Versailles Hotel, Dubai, continues to improve guest experience by upgrading both the property’s interior and exterior. As Manoj Padhi, general manager, Versailles Hotel, Dubai, explained, the new lobby offers an extended seating area. In a bid to better serve today’s tech-savvy travellers, a new Wi-Fi system has been installed so that guests can use multiple devices at the same time. The business centre has also been renovated to suit both the corporate and the leisure travellers needs. As Padhi further revealed, the exterior of the hotel is also being upgraded, and by December, the property will boast a new chrome and glass façade. According to Padhi, the hotel’s average, year-round occupancy stands at 85 percent, with levels during the winter months rising as high as 95 percent. The hotel has also managed to attract new markets such as the Philippines and Slovakia. “For us, the CIS market remains the top producer during the winter months, and the Iranian market during summer, as we are located in the old Dubai area of Deira. The African market is also one which has been producing increased numbers and we find Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria registering substantial increases in recent times,” concluded Padhi.




Four Seasons Hotel Amman Launches New Restaurant Four Seasons Hotel Amman’s international all-day restaurant, Seasons, has received a full make-over and now welcomes guests as Olea restaurant offering traditional and authentic Levantine cuisine. Located on the lower lobby level, the new outlet sets a new standard of quality as an elegant buffet restaurant inviting guests on a gastronomic journey of delicious specialties. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as Friday brunch, Olea’s menu is inspired by the traditional dishes of Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Greece and Sinai. “The Levant culture is traditionally marked with intense hospitality and generosity, and food is seen as a channel of affection,” explained Khalid Bseiso, director, food and beverage, Four Seasons Hotel Amman. “We look forward to mirroring those emotions at Olea, our new Levant cuisine restaurant that offers a culinary experience to evoke the comfort of one’s home, gathered around the family breakfast and lunch tables.”

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Celebrates Culinary Excellence Jumeirah at Etihad Towers’ six restaurants scooped nine accolades while two chefs also received special recognitions, further cementing the property’s position as the ‘Gourmet Capital’. At the ‘What’s On Abu Dhabi’ awards, Scott’s was acknowledged as Abu Dhabi’s best destination for seafood as well as British cuisine, Tori No Su won the best Japanese restaurant and Li Beirut won the best MENA restaurant title. Meanwhile, Time Out Abu Dhabi named the French inspired Brasserie Angélique the best new restaurant and best French restaurant. In addition, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers was also given widespread recognition in the ‘What’s On Black Hat Guide 2013’ and picked up the most ‘hats’ in the UAE.

Li Beirut

Auris Hotels Outlines Further Expansion Auris Hotels, which currently operates six properties in the UAE and one hotel in Saudi Arabia, plans to further expand its global footprint. Following the successful launch of Auris Al Fanar in Jeddah in July, the company is preparing for the opening of its first property in Oman, Auris Lodge Sohar. “We have been establishing business with investors in various countries, and we are currently looking into signing new projects in Saudi Arabia, Oman, France, Sudan and Jordan,” revealed Hatem Gasmi, managing director, Auris Hotels, further informing that the launch of a one of a kind members club is just around the corner which is set to allow the company to show appreciation for its clients and partners.

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Le Méridien Abu Dhabi Receives Blue Flag Le Méridien Abu Dhabi has been awarded with the Blue Flag accolade in recognition of its environmental efforts. The hotel’s team embarked on an eco-responsible path for sustainability, in a bid to benefit visitors, partners and suppliers, as well as the capital’s interest, and ensure a clean and safe environment without compromising on future generation’s needs. “The Blue Flag award, coupled with the recently [won] Green Key Award, is a fantastic achievement and proves our commitment towards a sustainable future, and betterment of product quality, we strive to provide for our guests,” commented Nemo Acimovic, general manager, Le Méridien Abu Dhabi. Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to more than 3,850 beaches and marinas in 48 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.

IFA HR Brings Fractional Ownership Investment to Dubai

Joe Sita, President, IFA Hotel Investments

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Global real estate and resort developer, IFA Hotels & Resorts (IFA HR), has added Fairmont Heritage Place, The Palm to its growing collection of luxury private residence clubs, offering holidaymakers and business people who frequent the UAE a new alternative that is set to fill a gap in the market. Situated within the five-star Fairmont The Palm, the residential enclave is designed to offer frequent visitors to the region a place to call home without the constrains of full-time home ownership. Thus, rather than purchasing and maintaining a property full-time, buyers are now able to invest into a fractional interest in one of the 10 one- and two-bedroom residences on the penthouse levels of the hotel, and gain 21-day access to the facilities along with unlimited Heritage Time which allows owners to utilise the residence beyond their 21 days whenever it is available.

Le Méridien Abu Dhabi's Team

ADNH to Unveil Venetian Village Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) is gearing up for the launch of Venetian Village, billed as the UAE capital’s newest stylish destination. Situated within The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal development, Venetian Village will introduce a new concept of al fresco dining to Abu Dhabi in a scenic, waterfront setting. Spanning across 20,000m2, the destination will feature six restaurant offering a diverse range of cuisines ranging from Mediterranean to Emirati and Japanese. It will also be the home to the hotel’s 2,000m2 spa, dedicated to therapeutic luxury. According to Julide Ozbilge Nuss, manager, food and beverages assets, ADNH, the upcoming Venetian Village is more than just a collection of restaurants, and it will bring a fresh ambience and attitude to the ever-evolving dining scene of the UAE capital.




Gulf Air to Resume Flights to Iran Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, announced that it will be recommencing operations to Mashhad, Iran, with four weekly services starting December 17. Hailed as one of the Middle East’s largest network carriers, Gulf Air is well-positioned to connect Iran to several key destinations in the Arab region and Europe, with excellent connectivity within three hours through its hub in Manama. Gulf Air is a major international carrier serving 32 cities in 21 countries spanning three continents. The airline operates one the largest networks in the Middle East, with double-daily flights to over 10 regional capitals, from its hub at Bahrain International Airport.

Imam Reza Shrine, Mashhad

Turkish Airlines Opens New Doha Office Turkish Airlines launched a new office in Doha after recording a 55 percent year-on-year growth in passenger numbers from the city in the first nine months of the year. The national carrier, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, launched operations to the Qatari capital seven years ago and now operates a total of seven weekly services to the city. “The increase in passenger numbers from Qatar is testament to the growth in demand from both business and leisure travellers to Turkey,” commented Mehmed Kursad Caymaz, general manager, Qatar, Turkish Airlines, saying that the new office, which is located in Crowne Plaza Building E, will deliver an enhanced service for both customers and travel partners. Murat Bas, vice president, marketing and sales, Middle East and Cyprus, Turkish Airlines, described the Middle East as one of fthe airline’s fastest growing markets, underpinned by buoyant economies in thriving cities like Doha.

RJ Inaugurated New Route to Mosul Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ) launched its new route between Amman and Mosul in northern Iraq on November 12. Initially, the airline will operate two weekly services to Mosul, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, raising the number of frequencies between Jordan and Iraq to 28 per week, together with the nine weekly flights to Baghdad and Erbil and the four weekly operations to Basra and Sulaymaniyah. The services from Queen Alia International Airport, Amman to Mosul depart at 06:15, while return flights take off from the Iraqi city at 08:50. The addition of Mosul will increase the total destinations on RJ’s route network to 61 Arab and international cities, directly served from Amman. The airline offers its passengers more than 850 other destinations on member airlines through its partnership with the oneworld alliance. RJ

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flynas: New Identity and Business Strategy flynas, previously known as nasair, is set to soar into the future with a brand new livery, and an ambitious new business strategy aimed at hitting the 20 million passenger target by 2020.

flynas New Aircraft

Wizz Xtra Space Launched on Dubai Flights Passengers travelling with Wizz Air to or from Dubai can now take advantage of the low-cost carrier’s Wizz Xtra Space option. The service offers passengers an enhanced level of comfort when flying on the airline’s longest routes from Kiev, Budapest, Sofia and Bucharest to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central. By choosing this option, travellers will have access to selected rows in the cabin, where some seats are left vacant ensuring greater space and better comfort. They will also be entitled to priority boarding. “Wizz Air is again living up to the promise to deliver an innovative and customer focused service without straining consumers’ travel budgets,” commented Daniel de Carvalho, manager, corporate communications, Wizz Air. He further noted that passengers already have the option to book extra legroom, premium bundles which include varied comfort options, as well as the business-friendly WIZZ Flex service, which allows changes in dates and routes of existing bookings.

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The company announced in November a complete overhaul of its operations, with the launch of a new brand identity, a new business class offering on all routes, and a customer-centric service model that is set to lead the airline into a new growth chapter in its seven-year history. “The new brand identity is modern, vibrant and confident and reflects our new strategic direction and brand promise to our customers which is to be ‘Better’,” said Sulaiman Al-Hamdan, CEO, Nas Holding. In a move guaranteed to be met with widespread consumer requirements, flynas also announced the launch of its new business class cabin starting January 2014, where business class passengers will enjoy premium seats with a 122cm seat pitch and extra-wide armrests in a dedicated business class cabin, greater flexibility for last minute cancellations or flight changes, hot meals or snacks, extra hold-baggage, and free access to executive lounges.

MEA Makes up 6.1 Percent of Private Jets Globally A total of 672 new private jets were sold globally in 2012, a 3.4 percent drop from 2011 figures, according to General Aviation Manufacturers Association, while at the same time US makes up 49.7 percent of the global market for private jets; Europe 20.8 percent; Asia Pacific 11.8 percent; Latin and South America 11.6 percent; and Middle East and Africa (MEA) 6.1 percent. The figures were highlighted by Private Jet Charter (PJC), an independent private jet charter broker, which unveiled ambitious plans to expand its market share in Europe and the Middle East, with Hugh Courtenay, founder, PJC, revealing, “The Middle East holds a larger potential for private jet business compared to other more developed regions, due mainly to the fact that the service industry in this region is still developing. We are pleased with the growing interest in our air charter services here, reinforcing our position as one of the Middle East’s leading private aircraft charter brokers.” Hugh Courtenay




The St. Regis New York Debuts a New Era of Glamour

St. Regis Suite - The St. Regis New York

Wyndham Hotel Group: 500th China Property Wyndham Hotel Group, part of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation has opened Super 8 Fuzhou Jin Shan Wan Da, its 500th property in China. Nine years after the first Super 8 hotel’s launch in Beijing, the company has a strong presence in almost 200 cities in the Asian country. Super 8 Hotel Fuzhou Jin Shan Wan Da is situated close to the city’s main tourist attractions including the Wushan Historic Scenic Area, the historic blocks San-Fang Qi-Xiang, as well as the modern Haixia International Convention Centre and the famous commercial centre of Wanda Plaza, while it is ideally located for business and leisure travellers alike. The 100-room property offers friendly service at affordable rates, and each room is equipped with LED TV and amenities including free Wi-Fi access and continental breakfast. The property also features a meeting room, lobby lounge, breakfast room and private parking.

The St. Regis New York announced that it has concluded an extensive renovation. With redesigned guestrooms, suites and public spaces as well as the debut of the new King Cole Bar & Salon under renowned New York chef and restaurateur, John DeLucie, the hotel unveils a bold new era of luxury. “This fall, a new age of contemporary glamour [debuts] at this beloved Fifth Avenue address,” stated Paul Nash, general manager, The St. Regis New York. Nash added that the property continues to be synonymous with impeccable style and graceful charm, and its team is proud to continue this legacy for generations to come. The Fifth Avenue landmark revealed a new vision for its public spaces as well. In the iconic lobby, the renovation now reincorporates lost architectural elements, including oval windows above the front desk which were part of the original design of the hotel, while simultaneously infusing fresh touches through updated furnishings and amenities.

BWI to Open at Dhaka Airport Best Western International (BWI) has penned a contract with Maple Leaf Hotels & Resorts for a new-build hotel located adjacent to Shah Jalal International Airport, Bangladesh’s main international air gateway. Currently under construction, the 56-room property will operate under the upscale BEST WESTERN PLUS brand, and is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2014. Facilities will include an all-day restaurant, bar, fitness centre, sauna, steam room and spa, as well as a rooftop barbeque outlet. According to Glenn de Souza, vice president, international operations, Asia and Middle East, BWI, the company’s second hotel in Dhaka is perfectly positioned to cater to the country’s rising number of inbound and outbound travellers. “With a population of more than 160 million people, the eighth largest in the world, and a fast-growing manufacturing industry, Bangladesh is becoming an increasingly important regional and global player,“ added de Glenn de Souza (second from left) and Shawkat Hossain, Souza. managing director, Maple Leaf Hotels & Resorts

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Jad Shamseddin

Marianna Padilla-Pagan Marianna Padilla-Pagan has been appointed director of marketing at Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh. Padilla-Pagan, who will be based at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, brings a wealth of marketing expertise to the role, having already gained valuable experience in marketing

strategy development, product launches and new business initiatives. She began her career in the industry in 1996 as a front desk agent and throughout the years she has held several progressive positions in sales and marketing with luxury hotel chains in Canada and all over the world.

Jad Shamseddin has been appointed general manager at the smallville, Beirut. Having previously worked with a number of international hotel chains, including MĂśvenpick Hotels & Resorts and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Shamseddin brings with him a wealth of ex-

Anthony Tyler Anthony Tyler has joined Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre as hotel manager. With a career spanning more than 17 years, he brings with him a depth of experience and an exuberant passion for the hospitality industry. Tyler, who has an impressive track record in the industry, started his career in his home country Switzerland, and has also worked in Jakarta, Hong Kong, Dubai and Bangkok. He

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joined the Four Seasons family with his first posting in Malaysia 13 years ago. His food and beverage background then took him to Four Seasons Amman, and Four Seasons Resort Maui, before being promoted to resort manager at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica. He moves to Saudi Arabia from The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, A Four Seasons Hotel where he spent two years as hotel manager.


perience and knowledge. Passionate about operating hotels differently and creating unprecedented memories, as the general manager of the smallville, a newly opened, urban lifestyle design hotel in Badaro, Beirut, owned by Beirut Homes, he aims to make each and every guests’ stay unforgettable.

Rafic Khairallah Rafic Khairallah has been appointed general manager at Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor and Pavillion Winter Luxor. Having held several managerial positions with InterContinental Hotels Group as well as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Khairallah has vast background in the hospitality industry. He joined Accor in 2011 as hotel manager at Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah where he spent three years, and also became

actively involved in the operations of Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan. In addition to his in-depth knowledge, Khairallah, who holds a business management degree, also has an extensive background in the food and beverage sector.

Khairallah has vast background in the hospitality industry


travel talk is your space


Naeem Darkazally

Mohamed Saad

Vice president, sales and marketing, Middle East and Africa, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels.

Assistant director of sales, Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach Residence and Ramada Sharjah.

“The UAE’s hospitality sector is largely driven by a mix of leisure, business and MICE demand, and as the country witnesses exceptional growth from all these markets, we expect a continuation of solid performance figures, impressive visitor numbers and the introduction of exciting new hotel developments. Our expectations for Millennium & Copthorne Middle East for the coming period are very optimistic.“

“Ramada Sharjah strives to continue to be the number one hotel apartment in Sharjah, with the highest quality of service and the application of all possible standards for the Ramada brand. We continuously improve our facilities to offer the best product to our guests and to make them feel home. Therefore we have got, for the second year in a row, the excellence award from Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority.”

H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal CEO, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority.

“Sharjah is the UAE’s cultural and historic epicenter and has a great deal to offer as a destination. [...] Travellers can also admire the majestic mosques, discover traditional souks, or escape to the natural beauty of authentic Arabian deserts, mountains, and seas. These attractions, along with the premier leisure destinations of Al Qasba and the Al Majaz Waterfront, provide Sharjah with the perfect platform on which to showcase the region’s rich history."

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: Nasiruddin Mohd Sahfiq POSITION: General manager COMPANY: Regency Travel & Tours LOCATION: Qatar WEB:

Who are you? I have been with Regency Travel & Tours for the past 10 years in the capacity of general manager. In a career spanning 19 years, I have had considerable and rich experience in the travel industry, coupled with diversified experiences with airlines, tour operators, travel management companies and travel agencies. Regency Travel & Tours is a young yet established, vibrant, and very modern travel agency, having been in existence for 25 years as a part of one of Qatar’s leading conglomerates, Regency Group. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? Passion for excellence in service, and glamour attached to opportunities to explore the world are the two important aspects of the travel industry which keep me involved and interested in this sector. When is the best time to visit Qatar? October to February is the best time considering the favourable weather conditions, and also being the season for local events and festivals. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? New Zealand. Why should people come to you for travel advice? Each individual who represents Regency Travel & Tours is passionate about working with the organisation and takes pride in delivering unparalleled service to our customers. This is displayed in the outstanding level of service we provide to our customers, be it for leisure travel or corporate travel. Our highly trained and dedicated travel consultants deliver personalised service in a professional way, and work towards a singular goal of satisfying the customers’ travel needs and making travel planning a delightful experience.

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Abu Dhabi Welcomes Top Tour Operators Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) invited 20 of the world’s top tour operators to the UAE capital as part of an intensive campaign which aims to bring the destination’s visitor numbers to 2.8 million by 2014, up from this year’s expected 2.5 million. The operators, from Italy, US, UK, France, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India and Australia, enjoyed a five-day familiarisation trips before joining the authority’s leaders for the 2013 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. “We are leveraging the emirate’s headline event to demonstrate clearly to the tour opera-

tors the destination’s assets and attractions and major events credentials,” explained H.E. Jasem Al Darmaki, deputy director general, TCA Abu Dhabi, adding that the authority aims to showcase the sheer breadth of Abu Dhabi’s expanded destination offering which has grown exponentially over the past 18 months and is now a vibrant leisure proposition.

Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


TRAVEL CHANNELS Le Méridien Study Reveals Coffee is Top Necessity Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts revealed the results of a newly commissioned survey on global coffee and travel habits, disclosing that if travellers had to give up one hotel commodity for the perfect cup of coffee, more than half would give up TV, while 18 percent would renounce Internet.


he project was undertaken as the brand plans to roll out an initiative that will introduce a dedicated coffee expert to every hotel globally by end of year. Le Méridien Master Barista will boast a technical skillset required beyond making basic coffee drinks and undergo an intensive training programme. “Coffee continues to be an increasingly important part of the travel experience, and to develop high impact programming for our Le Méridien guests, it was important that we had an understanding of global coffee trends. The new Le Méridien Master Barista programme, derived from key findings from our study, will further bring to life a quintessential European cafe and breakfast culture at Le Méridien hotels and resorts around the world,” commented Brian Povinelli, global brand leader, Le Méridien and Westin.

Global Cargo Saw Steady Growth

Accor: First Hospitality Programme for Saudis

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released figures showing global cargo growth stabilising in September following the recent months’ slow but steady growth. Freight tonne kilometres grew by 0.5 percent year-on-year, and while this is slower that the 3.4 percent rise recorded for August, overall air cargo volumes are at a 25-month high, and steady increases in the size of the market since April have been supported by improvements in business conditions. The overall picture however is coloured by significant regional variation. Asia Pacific airlines experienced a 3.1 percent fall in cargo activity whereas carriers in the Middle East reported 9.9 percent improvement. “At a global level, the September results are aligned with our expectations for an improvement towards the end of the year,” said Tony Tyler, director general, IATA.

Accor Middle East launched its all-new ‘Saudi Management Training Program’ designed to nurture the careers of Saudi Nationals in the field of hospitality as future leaders of Accor hotels. The commencement, which took place at Novotel Al Anoud in Riyadh, is part of an initiative by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, which has worked with Accor’s training academy, Tamheed, to create this tailor-made programme. Christophe Landais, managing director, Accor Middle East, emphasised that the company is deeply committed to developing its local communities. “The Saudi Management Training Program is an important initiative to us as we encourage Saudi nationals to join the hospitality industry and look forward to nurturing their careers within our future manThe First Candidates with Top Executives from Saudi Commission agement teams,” he said. for Tourism and Antiquities and Accor Middle East

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Q & A with George Demitry Based on statistics released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information of Oman, in 2012, tourist arrivals to the Sultanate rose to over two million from 1.4 million in 2011. Here George Demitry, general manager, City Seasons Muscat, looks behind the numbers and analyses the latest market trends.

Travel Trade Weekly: Have your main feeder markets changed over the past months or years? George Demitry: City Seasons Muscat offers one of the largest guest room inventories in Muscat as well as extensive meeting and convention facilities. As a centrally located four-star deluxe hotel, our core business is focused on corporate, government, meetings and conventions, and 75 percent of the overall revenue growth over [2012] has been contributed by our main segments. The trend remains favourable and MICE business is set to lead the growth over the coming years because we anticipate the gradual relocation of conventions from the traditional hubs in other Middle East countries to Oman, particularly in the pharmaceutical and medical related fields. Moreover, due to consistent expatriate relocation to Oman, City Seasons Muscat has seen increasing demand for our hotel apartments. These units, that are fully integrated in the hotel and have full access to hotel services and facilities, are spacious, modern and elegantly furnished making them the best fit for a home office or a family stay. Plus, the hotel’s central location means that it is a great address for visitors who can easily access the beach, the Corniche, the old souks as well as any other point of interest around Muscat. Travel Trade Weekly: In your opinion, what could be done to further enhance the country’s competitiveness on a global scale? George Demitry: Leisure travel is a second-

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George Demitry General manager, City Seasons Muscat

ary segment for City Seasons Muscat, nevertheless, the year-to-date performance reflects over 100 percent increase over 2012. It is certainly an encouraging sign for a business hotel. […] In addition to pristine shores and unique beach resorts, Oman has diversity of tourism resources in terms of adventure, heritage and cultural tourism. The Sultanate offers a safe tourist friendly environment and an affordable family destination with unlimited outdoor and natural attractions. Travel Trade Weekly: Please tell us about your plans for the coming months. George Demitry: We are always on the lookout to increase our offerings and expand the facilities to meet new trends and satisfy customers’ needs. The Raouche restaurant is our success-

ful Lebanese restaurant and we are expanding it by adding a large seating area that will cater to al fresco dining. With the cooler months, outdoor dining is a great trend that caters to both tourists and residents. The adjacent Raouche café, with its indoor and outdoor seating, is perfect for all-day relaxation and light dining, serving a selection of light snacks, French pastries, fresh cocktails and a variety of hot and cold beverages. To cater to the increasing demand from business travellers, we are starting the business centre expansion by adding extra working stations, a library as well as a private meeting room to accommodate small meetings. The addition of a fitness studio is also on the plans. Travel Trade Weekly: How do you see the Sultanate’s tourism industry developing in the future? George Demitry: It is evident that we are witnessing signs of solid growth; I do believe that the hotel industry in Oman is benefitting from encouraging business and economic activities. Major growth factors include infrastructure investments and mega projects, art and cultural programmes, sports and youth activities, human resources and social development programmes, and intensified destination management and marketing initiatives well executed and supported by Tourism Oman and the Ministry of Tourism. City Seasons Group Management is a firm believer of Oman [becoming] a corporate hub as much as a prime tourist destination, therefore plans are underway to open a second property in the Omani capital.



ATM 2014 Adds Extra Hall Reflecting the Middle Eastern tourism sector’s growing significance on the global stage, an extra hall has been added to the floor plan of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM)’s next edition. Running between May 5 - 8, 2014 at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, the next ATM’s exhibition space is set to exceed 23,500m2, representing a 5.8 percent increase over this year, and underlining the increased exhibitor demand which rose 11 percent from the Middle East and seven percent from Europe. “That the highest growth in floor space is coming from the Middle East is reflected in the growth being experienced in tourism in the region,” highlighted Mark Walsh, portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions. Building on its successful seminar series, ATM will also add a third seminar theatre to the line-up with a new ‘Showcase Theatre’ for workshops and country briefings.

EVENTS International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Cannes, France, December 2 – 5, 2013 ( 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 ( The last edition of the event welcomed 430 exhibitors and close to 15,000 visitors from 36 countries. Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 9 – 11, 2013 ( 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 ( Hailed as the world’s largest public trade fair for tourism and leisure with exhibitors from all over the world.


Sponsored by


November 2013 Ferien Messe Wien Vienna, Austria, January 16 – 19, 2014 ( An international event for holidays, travel and leisure, and the leading public access tourism trade fair in Austria.

Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC) 2013


GCC Cigre 2013


Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Prix


December 2013

Go and Regiontour Fairs Brno, Czech Republic, January 16 – 19, 2014 ( 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.

The Life & Style Show UAE

International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) Madrid, Spain, January 22 – 26, 2014 ( A global meeting point for tourism professionals with close to 10,000 exhibiting companies.

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


East Mediterranean International Tourism & Travel Exhibition (EMITT) Istanbul, Turkey, January 30 – February 2, 2014 ( 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


January 2014 Information correct at time of publication. Please check for alterations.

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Travel Trade Weekly Issue 212  

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...

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 212  

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...