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CYPRUS! Monthly

04 JANUARY 2014


Shurooq and DOHALAND Hospitality to Collaborate Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) signed a memorandum of understanding with DOHALAND Hospitality.

Abu Dhabi Airports has celebrated the grand opening of Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport.

02 Etihad Airways to Operate to 102 Destinations Etihad Airways is to increase its global footprint with the introduction of eight new routes.


02 03 08 11 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport Unveiled





Shurooq and DOHALAND Hospitality to Collaborate

Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with DOHALAND Hospitality.



iming to boost bilateral relations and mutual cooperation by establishing joint ventures for the development of projects, the agreement provides that the parties consent to jointly evaluate potential investment opportunities and to invest in tourism development projects that are currently being developed and managed by Shurooq. Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, chairperson, Shurooq, expressed her satisfac-

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 103607 WEBSITE EMAILS


03/01/2014 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)



tion with the move, which will expand business and investment cooperation between Qatar and the emirate. “Sharjah is witnessing dynamic development and remarkable growth in various sectors. The tourism sector in particular, which is projected to expand by 12 percent by 2016, benefits from exceptional support and encouragement. This MoU [...], will help deliver niche tourism projects to boost the emirate’s position on the global tourism map, DOHA,” she said.

Airlines to Post USD12.9 Billion Net Profit The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects airlines to return a global net profit of USD12.9 billion in 2013, well above the previously projected USD11.7 billion industry net profit. Based on IATA’s forecast, this year is set to be the second consecutive year of strengthening profitability with net profit rising to USD19.7 billion, although performance of individual airlines and regions continue to vary considerably. For 2013, Middle East carriers are predicted to deliver a net profit of USD1.6 billion, increasing to USD2.4 billion this

year as the region’s hubs, particularly in the Gulf, continue to expand in support of growing long-haul connectivity.

Royal Jordanian Airlines

MEA: 490 Hotels in the Pipeline


he Middle East and Africa (MEA) region’s hotel development pipeline comprises 490 hotels totalling 118,820 rooms, based on STR Global’s Construction Pipeline Report for the month of November 2013. Among the countries in the area, the UAE reported the largest number of units under

construction with 18,057 rooms, while six other countries are expected to see the opening of more than 2,000 rooms. Saudi Arabia currently has 16,666 units in the pipeline, while in Qatar 4,944 rooms are under construction. Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Algeria all have over 2,000 rooms under development.

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WEEKLY NEWS Royal Caribbean Arabia: Double-digit Growth in the Middle East Underscoring the cruise holidays’ growing popularity in the region, Royal Caribbean Arabia has recorded double-digit growth in the number of Middle Eastern travellers participating in its 2013 cruise programmes. As Helen Beck, regional director, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Royal Caribbean Cruises, noted, the company is looking forward to another successful year as it continues to introduce new itineraries and innovations, such as the much-anticipated Quantum class ships.

Quantum of the Seas

Oman Eyes Billion-dollar Asian Market Oman is ramping up its tourism pitch in upand-coming countries such as China, Japan and Korea as it aims to grab a larger market share of the booming Asian outbound tourism market. Based on the World Tourism Organization’s annual report, tourists from China and Japan spent USD102 billion and USD27.9 billion respectively on holidays abroad in 2012, and as H.E. Maitha bint Saif al Mahrouqi, undersecretary, Ministry of Tourism, Oman, revealed, the Sultanate, which currently operates 10 offices abroad, is keen on attracting more visitors from these lucrative markets and will soon launch its strategy. As al Mahrouqi further revealed, the US also remains on the Sultanate’s radar and the ministry of working closely with Oman Air.

Russian Visitors in Ras Al Khaimah


Conveniently located 10 minutes away from Dubai International Airport, Dubai Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf offers views of the city landscape of Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay and the Burj Khalifa.



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Bawadi Mall: Over 8.5 Million Visitors in 11 Months Bawadi Mall in Al Ain has held a series of entertainment activities for visitors of all ages to mark the end of the shopping centre’ s most successful year to date. Based on statistics released by the mall’s management, between January and November 2013, the centre welcomed a total of 8.56 million visitors, marking a 5.5 percent year-onyear increase with more than 762,260 shoppers hitting the shops in November 2013 alone, representing a 10 percent rise in monthly footfall. According to Khalid Shraim, senior marketing manager, Bawadi Mall, these figures are a clear proof of the lead position taken by Bawadi Mall as a preferred destination for tourists and visitors to the UAE.

Bawadi Mall

International Tourism Drives Economic Growth According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals increased by five percent in the first nine months of 2013, reaching 845 million worldwide, nearly 41 million more than in the same period in 2012, with Europe, and Asia Pacific driving the growth with their figures rising six percent. The positive trend registered in international tourist arrivals is also reflected in income reported by destinations worldwide. Receipts saw doubledigit growth in 10 destinations with Thailand leading the way registering an increase of 28 percent. Japan, Hong Kong, and UK followed with 23, 21 and 18 percent respectively, while the top 10 was completed by Greece, Turkey, India, Taiwan, US, and Macau.

Abu Dhabi Airports Partners with Plaza Premium Lounge Abu Dhabi Airports has entered into a partnership with premium airport service provider, Plaza Premium Lounge Management Limited (PPLML), for the renovation, management and operation of Abu Dhabi International Airport’s hotel and lounges in Terminals 1 and 2. As a result, the airport’s renovated lounges will offer added privacy and luxury, allowing passengers to enjoy personalised services and access to a range of exclusive facilities, such as meeting venues, private VIP rooms and a live kitchen, among others. In addition, PPLML will also re-design the seating and room capacity of the airport’s lounges as well as the hotel to accommodate the continuous Song Hoi-see, CEO, Plaza Premium Lounge Management Limited increase in passenger traffic. (left) and Mohammed Al Bulooki, chief commercial officer, Abu Dhabi Airports

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Etihad Airways Teams up with VisitBritain Etihad Airways has signed a three-year deal with VisitBritain to increase visitor numbers from the Asia Pacific and Middle East (APME) region, whilst also encouraging more people to fly with the national carrier. The memorandum of understanding, valued at GBP2 million (USD3.26 million), will facilitate joint marketing activities in key markets around the APME region, including India, Australia, as well as the GCC. As Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer, Etihad Airways, pinpointed, the partnership also underlines the long-standing links between the carrier and Britain and will help create even greater opportunities to increase the growing number of tourists and business travellers flying to the country with the airline. Etihad Airways’ marketing messages and VisitBritain’s ‘GREAT’ campaign will be maximised throughout the partnership and the airline will also benefit from an enhanced presence on all VisitBritain digital platforms.

EIA Participates in Aviation Conference Erbil International Airport (EIA) took part in Iraq’s recent aviation conference in Baghdad. The event, which attracted more than 40 companies and over 300 professionals, highlighted the Iraqi aviation industry’s development through a number of keynote speeches from H.E. Hadi Al Ameri, minister of transport, Iraq, and other experts. Addressing the audience, Talar Faiq, airport director, EIA, called for greater cooperation between the country’s civil aviation authority and Iraqi Airways and reinforced EIA’s commitment to work together with all stakeholders towards the industry’s growth. EIA continues to see increasing traffic volumes and passenger numbers between January and November 2013 rose 25.2 percent, leading to a new record with the airport registering over one million passengers in a year.

Erbil International Airport

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London Skyline

Exhibitions and Conferences Get a Boost in Saudi Arabia The Saudi Supervisory Commission of the National Program for Exhibitions and Conferences (NPEC) approved the establishment of an advisory group of institutions and companies operating in the Kingdom’s exhibitions and conferences sector. The group has been formed to advise the committee with respect to policies, plans and regulations, while its missions include sharing opinion and information in the preparation of plans aimed at further improving the Saudi exhibitions and conferences sector; the development of standards and procedure for classification and licensing; and the oversight of exhibitions and conferences. The group will also be responsible for determining the fees for the services provided by the programme as well as for initiating policies and plans aimed at encouraging investors to join these events in the Kingdom.



Cruise Port Expansion Plans Revealed at Seatrade Middle East Significant port development plans were outlined at the recently held Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum in Abu Dhabi. In the UAE capital for example, the current temporary cruise terminal at Mina Zayed is set to become the site of the permanent terminal. Meanwhile, in Qatar commercial port activities are set to be relocated to a new site outside of Doha in 2016. With Sultan Qaboos port expected to cease cargo operations from August, Oman is also eyeing a larger market share of the regional cruise sector and plans to redevelop three new cruise berths, ferry and marina berths, hotels, souks, restaurants and other facilities, while also building a separate cruise terminal in Salalah. Dubai is also pushing ahead with a new terminal. Located at Mina Rashid, the new facility is expected to be operational in the first quarter of the year, while in Ras Al Khaimah the new terminal at Mina Saqr is due to be launched by the 2016/17 season.

DMCA Encourages Seafarers to Follow ‘Sunrise to Sunset’ Rule Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), the government authority in charge of regulating, coordinating and supervising all aspects of the maritime sector in Dubai, has renewed its warning and stressed the need to adhere to the regulations restricting the time recreational marine crafts can ply local waters. The authority has also emphasised the importance of taking into account weather warnings and following the instructions related to the weather and sea conditions. “The latest decision to ban recreational manual marine crafts after sunset comes in line with DMCA’s strategy to regulate maritime operations and water sports in Dubai according to the best international standards,” explained Amer Ali, executive director, DMCA, adding that the new policies are issued to reduce human and material risks and ensure the highest levels of safety to create a vibrant and safe maritime environment.

QTA Participates in GCC Tourism Cooperation Events Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) represented Qatar in both the fourth joint meeting of the Committee on Tourism Cooperation and Gulf Tourism Committee and the Gulf Tourism Cooperation Committee’s 12th session. The joint meeting, which took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, addressed a number of topics, including the importance of employing GCC nationals in the private sector. The significance of sharing studies and key findings, cooperating with statistical agencies and the media. Meanwhile, members at the Gulf Tourism Cooperation Committee’s meeting agreed to work together in the field of training while Qatar presented a proposal to reconsider updating the courses required from member states. As a result, Qatar has been assigned to coordinate with the World Tourism Organization on the accreditation of the previously required courses as well as the new ones. QTA Delegation

04 JANUARY 2014



MSC Cruises to Launch Grand Voyage from Dubai

MSC Orchestra

Shurooq Meets Ministry Officials A delegation led by Ali Al Shehhi, director of investment department, Ministry of Economy, UAE, recently visited Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) to explore ways of strengthening future cooperation in areas of investment of mutual interest. The two parties agreed on the importance of activating bilateral meetings in order to enhance cooperation on a number of projects, and the need to exchange experience and expertise.

World Luxury in Riyadh The World Luxury Expo is returning to Riyadh between January 28 - 30, to showcase selected luxury brands and services, from an array of categories, to a highly discerning group of VIP guests. Sponsored by American Express and held in association with The Saudi Investment Bank, the three-day event will take place at The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, further strengthening the capital city’s position as one of the world’s most important luxury exhibition centres.

04 JANUARY 2014

MSC Cruises has announced a new and exclusive Grand Voyage for MSC Orchestra in 2015 that will set out from the UAE and then visit some of the most iconic sites of Asia before reaching the shores of Australia. During the 33-night itinerary, travellers will enjoy 13 ports of call in eight different countries across three continents, including Mumbai, Cochin, Colombo, Phuket, Langkawi, Singapore, Benoa, Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide before reaching the final destination in Perth. The Grand Voyage from the Arabian Gulf to Australia comes with three carefully-tailored all-inclusive packages, complete with three all-day and two half-day exciting excursions to discover Mumbai, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.




Zubarah Boutique Hotel Doha Unveiled

Zubarah Boutique Hotel Doha

The Classical Palace Group has celebrated the softopening of Zubarah Boutique Hotel Doha, marking the Zubarah Hotels and Resorts luxury hotel brand’s debut. Introducing a new hospitality concept defined by the Qatari culture, the property embodies a distinct identity and celebrates the cultural and historical values of the country, explained Abdullah Al Hamad, CEO, The Classical Palace Group, who described Zubarah Hotels and Resorts as Qatar’s first luxury hotel brand. “We are keen to provide personalised experiences through cultural exchange, exceptional “sense of place” and historic accents. Our hotels will definitely serve as a platform for Qatari culture to shine in music, education, arts and charity initiatives,” added Al Hamad. With an ambitious expansion plan, the company aims to be one of the first Qatari hospitality brands to export their offering abroad to both Arab travellers, as a home away from home, and international guests, who will enjoy a hint of Arabic tradition and culture.

Madinat Jumeirah Adds Mexican Restaurant Madinat Jumeirah is further expanding its extensive food and beverage portfolio with the addition of a Mexican kitchen and bar, Tortuga. Overlooking the tranquil waters of Mina A’Salam, with views of the Arabian Gulf, Tortuga offers an authentic Mexican dining experience including a Tortilla live cooking station; Molcajete, the famed melted cheese in a hot volcanic bowl; Churros, the crunchy fried choux pastry, and a multitude of fresh Mexican delicacies. ‘Tortuga’ means turtle in Spanish, and the name reflects the fact that Mina A’Salam hosts a group of turtles within the waterways of Madinat Jumeirah, which are now in the final stages of convalescence before being released back into the Arabian Gulf.

Artist Impression of Tortuga

04 JANUARY 2014



Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport Unveiled

WHITE Dubai Brings a New Experience

Abu Dhabi Airports has celebrated the grand opening of Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport. Located just 10 minutes from Yas Island, the property is conveniently connected to Terminals 1 and 3, providing easy access for all travellers 24 hours a day who can benefit from several food and beverage outlets, conference and meeting rooms, as well as various leisure facilities, including an outdoor swimming pool and a gym. Commenting on the launch of the fifth Premier Inn branded hotel in the region, Darroch Crawford, managing director, Middle East and Africa, Premier Inn Hotels, said, “Premier Inn’s successful formula, offering a hotel service in prominent locations at value-for-money prices, will ensure that our customer base, which includes both business and leisure travellers, will continue to increase dramatically in the region.” As Mohammed Al Bulooki, chief commercial officer, Abu Dhabi Airports, noted, with an estimated 20 million passengers anticipated annually by 2017, the partnership with Premier Inn ensures that Abu Dhabi Airports is in a position to provide solutions to best accommodate such demand.

WHITE, Addmind’s renowned nightlife concept from Beirut has launched its seasonal outdoor experience in Dubai at Meydan Racecourse’s grandstand rooftop. Following the success of The White Room at Al Murooj Rotana, WHITE Dubai now brings a complete brand experience to the UAE. The 80m2 space has been designed to cater to over 1,000 guests and features exclusive table service and a large bar area boasting 360 degree views of Dubai. The venue will play host to various live shows, striking entertainment and the brand’s signature visuals and lighting displays.

TTW Jan 2014.pdf 1 12/29/2013 5:27:06 PM

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04 JANUARY 2014





Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai Unveils New Suites

Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai

Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai has released 21 new and refurbished suites in various sizes, offering guests more options to choose from. The units, which all boast views of the city’s skyline, range from 83m2, and include an executive working desk and free Wi-Fi Internet access, amongst others. The new suites come as part of the hotel’s recent refurbishment and extension programme which has seen the property renovate 54 club rooms and add an extra 150 new units to the previously existing 116 more than doubling its room inventory. In addition, the hotel has also completed an extended outside terrace which connects three of the property’s restaurants.

Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi Showcases Events Facilities Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi has unveiled details about its highly specialised and flexible convention spaces that have been developed with the region’s rapidly-growing business events market in mind. At the heart of the five-star business hotel’s facilities is a spacious conference centre with a variety of function rooms that can host up to 2,000 people. This also includes the 785m2 Onyx Ballroom, fully equipped to handle all types of events. In addition, the property also offers a range of meeting room facilities, which can be conveniently configured into various setups, and a VIP room as well as two boardrooms are also available. One of the highlights at the hotel is the 2,000m2, glass-paneled Skydome, the ideal venue for product launches, exhibitions and similar events. “The unique innovative design of the pre-function area with its impressive Skydome, the elegance and convenience of each function room, together with state-of-art facilities and attentive service make Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi the perfect venue to host memorable events of every size and scale, from major business conventions or product launches to more personal events like weddings or birthday parties,” commented Kamal Chaoui, general manager, Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi.

04 JANUARY 2014


Air Arabia Launches New Website In a bid to further improve passenger convenience and online experience, Air Arabia revealed its updated website, which is equipped with a number of features providing quick and easy guidance to passengers. The modern design, look and feel of the website and user-friendly interface aim to allow passengers to have quick and easy access to the most important travel information on flights, air tickets, online checkin, reservations, seat selection, pre-book baggage, and many more.

New Air Arabia Website

Gulf Air to Launch Sialkot


04 JANUARY 2014

Bahrain’s national carrier announced that it will start services to its fifth destination in Pakistan, Sialkot, beginning January 17, with two flights per week. The city is part of the Export Triangle of Pakistan, which encompasses Gujrat, Sialkot and Gujranwala, and hosts approximately 60 percent of the country’s small and medium enterprises, while Sialkot International Airport is located just around 125km north of Lahore. Pakistan is a key longstanding market for Gulf Air and is one of its most successful destinations, remarked Ahmed Janahi, acting chief commercial officer, Gulf Air.



Etihad Airways to Link Abu Dhabi and Rome Rome will become Etihad Airways’ second Italian gateway as of July 15. Subject to regulatory approvals, the route between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Fiumicino will be operated by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration, featuring 22 fully-flat beds in business class and 240 seats in economy class. “Since we started operations to Milan back in 2007, Etihad Airways’ passenger and freighter operations between Italy and the UAE have gone from strength to strength,” explained James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, noting that the addition of Rome, which is also a hub for the carrier’s codeshare partner, Alitalia, will further extend the airline’s geographic presence in the Italian market and create an additional entry point to Europe with excellent onward connectivity options.




Etihad Airways to Operate to 102 Destinations

Etihad Airways

Direct Riga - Abu Dhabi Service Took Off As from December 17, 2013, Latvian carrier airBaltic is operating an Airbus A319 aircraft four times a week between the country’s capital, Riga, and Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi hub. The two airlines have marked the start of the direct Riga - Abu Dhabi flights with a ceremony at Riga International Airport in Latvia attended by government officials, airline executives, business leaders, travel agents and the media, while the event also officially kicked off the new Etihad Airways - airBaltic codeshare partnership. Martin Gauss, CEO, airBaltic, commented, “Today’s event is about two airlines working together, using the strengths and opportunities of each carrier’s network, and putting an attractive travel proposition to our most important target - the customer.”

Etihad Airways and airBaltic Crew Members

Etihad Airways is to increase its global footprint with the introduction of eight new routes, bringing the carrier’s global network to 102 destinations by year-end. Over the coming months, the Abu Dhabi-based airline will launch services to Medina, Jaipur, Los Angeles, Zurich, Yerevan, Rome, Perth and Dallas, and by increasing frequency and connectivity on existing routes a growth of more than 20 percent is expected in weekly departures. “Together with our codeshare and equity alliance partners, we have created a virtual network of more than 375 destinations. This collaborative model gives us scale and enhanced global market access in constrained regions,“ commented James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways. To support the next phase of its global network expansion, the airline will receive 20 aircraft deliveries this year, including the first 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A380s.

Etihad Airways: Major Plans for India Etihad Airways has commenced major expansion of its Indian operations following the approval of its 24 percent investment in Jet Airways. The first stage includes additional flights or the introduction of larger aircraft on existing routes to India with Mumbai and New Delhi enjoying already a doubling of services from seven to 14 weekly. Kochi will also witness a boost as of June, Bangalore and Chennai will follow in July, while Hyderabad is set to be enhanced in October. New Airbus A321 aircraft, seating 174 passengers, will be used on all Abu Dhabi - Chennai and Abu Dhabi - Kochi services, while the two carriers also plan to codeshare on each other’s flights between the UAE, India and other markets in the Middle East, North America and Europe.

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EGYPTAIR Offers New Flight to Jakarta

Indonesia Miniature Park

Etihad Airways to Operate to Jaipur Etihad Airways is expanding its destination network in India with the launch of daily services from Abu Dhabi to Jaipur. The new flights, which will commence in April 1, bring the total number of Indian cities serviced by the UAE national carrier to 10. Boasting a population of 3.1 million Jaipur ranks as the country’s eighth largest economy and is also home to some of India’s most important heritage sites. James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, described India as one of the world’s fastest-growing destinations, and a key market in the growth strategy of the airline. “We are excited to introduce Jaipur into our network, a move that will create significant benefits for our passengers, as well as the economies of India and the UAE,” added Hogan.

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Progressing ahead with its rapid network expansion plan, EGYPTAIR has started serving Jakarta on December 22, 2013. The new operation is aimed at sustaining the carrier’s position in southeast Asia and integrating its services in this fast-growing region of the world. EGYPTAIR now operates four weekly flights via Bangkok on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays on a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Located on the northern coast of Java, Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia and a huge, sprawling metropolis, home to nine million people. The province has rapidly expanded through the years, absorbing many villages in the process. Moreover, Jakarta is also hailed as the centre of the country’s national finance and trade.

Gulf Air Expands in India Gulf Air has launched five weekly services to Trivandrum International Airport, further strengthening the carrier’s Indian operations. “The addition of Thiruvananthapuram to our network supplements the airline’s product offering, increasing customer convenience - which is our ultimate goal,” commented on the new route Hussain Rahman, country manager, India, Gulf Air, noting that with both the first inbound and outbound flights operating at full capacity it is clear that Bahrain’s national carrier is meeting passenger demand. Having inaugurated its first flight to Mumbai in 1971, Gulf Air shares a historical relationship with India and operates now to five key destinations in the country. In line with its endeavours to offer passengers greater comfort, the airline has recently introduced brand new Airbus A321 aircraft on its Indian routes which are equipped with the latest inflight entertainment technology and fully-flat beds in Falcon Gold class.

Gulf Air Debuts in Thiruvananthapuram




Golden Tulip Hospitality Group Launches into Indonesia

Golden Tulip Galaxy Hotel

Hyatt Place Arrives to Europe Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Interarm-M have celebrated the launch of Hyatt Place Yerevan, marking the brand’s debut in Europe. Located just steps away from the heart of Armenia’s capital city, the hotel features 95 rooms, a fullservice restaurant, bar, gym and two meeting rooms. Highlighting the significance of the opening, Peter Fulton, executive vice president, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Southwest Asia, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, said, “Having built a strong foundation for the brand with more than 180 Hyatt Place hotels in the US we are delighted to now bring Hyatt Place to Europe and establish the brand’s presence in new markets where our guests are increasingly travelling.”

Golden Tulip Hospitality Group introduced its first property in Indonesia, opening the doors of Golden Tulip Galaxy Hotel in Banjarmasin, the capital city of South Kalimantan. The company aims to quickly establish the hotel as a leading property in the city and to be the main meeting point for both local residents and guests from the surrounding provinces. Golden Tulip Galaxy Hotel is a newly-built, first-class hotel with a prime location in Banjarmasin’s bustling central business district, and it offers 138 deluxe rooms and suites, featuring expansive lobby, spacious rooftop lounge, concept restaurant, as well as a second restaurant offering Chinese fine dining. “For us this is a very important milestone as we enjoy strong growth in Indonesia. We are thrilled to be launching our brand in the country, which we anticipate to be one of the most important markets for us in the future,” said Mark van Ogtrop, managing director, Golden Tulip southeast Asia.

IHG Welcomes Staybridge Suites Atlanta Airport

Staybridge Suites Atlanta Airport

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced the opening of the Staybridge Suites Atlanta Airport, located just a short distance from Hartsfield– Jackson Atlanta International Airport. With the addition of this property, there are now four Staybridge Suites hotels open in the metro Atlanta area and eight in Georgia. An additional project is also in the pipeline for the Atlanta area, making the brand one of the most prominent upscale extended stay brands there. The seven-storey property features 149 spacious suites which include flat screen TVs, in-room DVD/ CD players, a work area separate from living areas, speaker phones, personal voice mail and complimentary local phone calls, as well as fully equipped kitchens.

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Rahim Abu Omar

Noel Massoud Noel Massoud has joined Paramount Hotels & Resorts as vice president of development in the Middle East. Having previously held various key positions at International Hotel Consultants, Jinan Hotels & Resorts, Emirate Palace as well as InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Massoud brings over 30

years of experience to his new role. In this position, he will be responsible for Paramount Hotels & Resorts’ development in the Middle East as the company continues to further consolidate its presence across the region with a number of projects in the pipeline.

Rahim Abu Omar has been named general manager at The Gulf Hotel Bahrain. Having previously worked in the UAE, UK as well as Lebanon, Abu Omar brings more than 29 years of international hospitality experience to the role. During his career, he received various recognitions and he

Alan Glover Alan Glover has been appointed sales manager at Etihad Airways for Victoria. Glover started his career in the industry as a key account manager for Gulf Air in Dublin. He joined Etihad Airways in May 2007 as manager of corporate sales in Ireland where he was responsible for the growth of corporate revenue. Based in Melbourne, he will report to Luisa Pastrello, country manager of Australia.

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played an instrumental role in the opening five hotels, including Metropolitan Hotel in Dubai and Habtoor Grand in Beirut. In his position, Abu Omar will be responsible for running the five-star property and he will also oversee the overall dayto-day operations.

Joan Mwaniki

Glover will look after sales in Melbourne and across the state of Victoria, as well as the neighbouring states of South Australia and Tasmania.

Glover joined Etihad Airways in May 2007

Joan Mwaniki has been named general manager for Kenya at Etihad Airways. With a strong track record of working in a commercial aviation environment, Mwaniki’s key responsibilities will be to raise awareness of the Etihad Airways brand and further strengthen relationships with key travel trade and corporate customers across East Africa. Prior to joining the Abu Dhabi-based airline, she held various positions with code-

share partner, Kenya Airways, where she spent seven years developing an in-depth understanding of the business and leisure travel markets on the carrier’s African network, including Mozambique, Zimbabwe and most recently in Tanzania, covering mainland Tanzania and the island of Zanzibar.

Mwaniki has a strong track record in the commercial aviation industry

travel talk is your space


TRAVEL TALK Ashraf Naguib

Rabih Saab

General manager, Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis.

President, Africa, Middle East, Travelport.

“When I took the prize [for winning the Best Medallia Score in 2013 among all the other Radisson Blu-branded hotels in the Middle East and Sub-Sharan Africa] […], I felt excited to return back to my home, Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis and thank every employee, from the lowest to the highest positions, for their exerted effort in earning our dear guests’ satisfaction and fulfilling our promise of 100 percent guest satisfaction.”

“The e-volve summit [organised by Travelport] is all about pushing boundaries in order to really think about the future opportunities, and the Dubai event exceeded our expectations. It is the first time we have brought together so many experts from the Middle East region and beyond, and this event provided the perfect platform to share experiences and best practises, and to be truly innovative.”

Ziad Tantawi

Omer Kaddouri

General manager, Hilton Kuwait Resort.

Chief operating officer, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation.

“To be nominated alongside such well-regarded resorts [at the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2013] is truly an honour. To have won [in the Luxury Beach Resort category] is a real testament to the outstanding hospitality and high quality facilities we provide at Hilton Kuwait Resort. It is an amazing achievement and I am thankful to Hilton Kuwait Resort team members for their ongoing commitment to exceeding guest expectations.”

“Clean up UAE is one of the environmental activities Rotana strongly supports. Since the campaign started 11 years ago, our properties have been actively involved and our colleagues have been and are continuing to volunteer in this noble cause every single year.”

Clean up UAE is one of the environmental activities Rotana strongly supports

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: Abduljameel Abdullah Ali Mohammed

POSITION: Founder and manager COMPANY: Socotra Eco-Tours LOCATION: Yemen WEB:

Who are you? Socotra Eco-Tours is an accredited tour operator which is entirely managed by locals. We look upon ecotourism as means of sustainable development for the island. We have professional tour field guides, trained naturalist guides, and we are able to provide accommodation in the best hotels on the island as well as arrange for overnight camping sites. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? Travel will introduce you to other cultures and you will experience traditions of people from all over the world. On the other hand, it will enable improvement of livelihoods of local community, if it is managed well, which will lead to the sustainable development that conserve and respect the environment and biodiversity. When is the best time to visit Socotra, Yemen? The best time to visit Socotra is between October and May. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? I would like to spend my next holiday here on Socotra. Why should people come to you for travel advice? I guess because we are Socotrans and locals, thus we give them honest answers based on the truth with a wide range of information they require.


04 JANUARY 2014


Travelport and Hertz Team Up in Saudi Arabia Travelport and Hertz International have joined forces in Saudi Arabia to bring local travel agents up to speed on the latest car rental trends and opportunities, with more than 30 of the Kingdom’s leading travel agencies attending two workshops held in Jeddah and Riyadh to learn about ways to maximise their business through the car content available on Travelport’s global distribution systems (GDS), as well as Hertz International’s latest offers. “Non-air content such as car rental is a key part of Travelport offer, and the workshops we or-

ganised with Hertz really helped us highlight the business opportunities available to travel agents in Saudi Arabia. We [...] are planning to make these events a regular feature in Saudi Arabia and across the region this year,” commented Assita Kone, hospitality business development manager, Middle East, Travelport. Travelport’s GDS systems currently offer deals from 24 global car providers representing 30,000 locations, ensuring that travel agents have the best choice, and are able to complete entire itineraries through the same booking system.

Attendees at the Workshops

Dubai Hosts Natalie Tours Annual Congress The second annual congress of Natalie Tours was held in Dubai in December 2013 where the top management of the company met general managers of 100 travel agencies in Ukraine to discuss joint initiatives. As Saleh Al Geziry, director of overseas promotions, Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, revealed, arrivals from Ukraine to Dubai increased 29 percent in 2012, while between January and September 2013, some 49,000 Ukrainian tourists visited Dubai and Dubai International recorded a 62.4 percent rise in passenger volumes from the Eastern European country. Natalie Tours, a leading tour operator in the CIS, has been actively developing the destination since the company entered the Ukrainian markets three years ago.


TRAVEL CHANNELS Coral Beach Resort – Sharjah Hosts 7 Emirates Run Team The 7 Emirates Run, a 575km ultra-marathon led by veteran runner Wendelin Lauxen, enjoyed the full support of Coral Beach Resort – Sharjah which hosted the multi-national team at the resort in the last leg of the12-day run.


Coral Beach Resort – Sharjah

tarting from Abu Dhabi on November 21, the sprinters ran through all seven emirates, crossing Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Dubai, before reaching the hotel on December 1, 2013. Jean Pierre Simon, regional general manager, Northern Emirates, Coral Hotels & Resorts, welcomed the team at the hotel, saying, “We are extremely delighted to host the team headed by Wendelin Lauxen, who holds the Guinness World Record of fastest time to complete a marathon on each of the seven continents. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to be involved in this ultra-marathon, which not only paid tribute to the unity of the seven emirates, but also raised awareness to support the less fortunate of the society.”

Tilal Liwa Hotel Supports Walk 2013

History of Modern Education in Sharjah Highlighted

As part of its initiative to contribute to community development, Tilal Liwa Hotel teamed up with the crowds at the Yas Marina Circuit to support Walk 2013 held in November 2013. The initiative formed part of Walk for Life, a key pillar in the Imperial College London Diabetes’ public health awareness campaign called ‘Diabetes-Knowledge-Action’. The property’s team members enjoyed an array of family activities, such as a farmer’s market, a family football game, and a competition with a prize draw after the walk, while they were also provided with information about diabetes and ways to prevent and even reverse diabetes and its related complications.

As part of its ‘Journey through History’ educational discourse series, Sharjah Archaeology Museum organised a lecture titled ‘Modern Education in Sharjah – early beginning and challenges’. Presented by H.E. Mohamed Al Mussa, education consultant, Al Diwan Al Amiri, the programme highlighted the early beginnings of the modern educational system in the emirate and also outlined the turning point in education witnessed at the establishment of the UAE, which ultimately led to the country boasting some of the most acclaimed schools and universities in the region today. The event was hosted as part of Sharjah Museums Department‘s monthly lecture series throwing the spotlight on various topics of historical significance for the UAE and the Arab World.

Participants at the Lecture

04 JANUARY 2014



Q & A with Samy Boukhaled As Bahrain continues to leverage on its headline events to reach out to a wider audience, Samy Boukhaled, general manager, Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa, gives us his insight on the industry’s current issues and future path.

Travel Trade Weekly: How would you summarise 2013? Samy Boukhaled: 2013 has been a great year with a noticeable increase in guests from around the Gulf and a great amount of activities and change both within the hotel and throughout the Kingdom. We are very pleased to have been part of the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix and recently hosting the teams for the second Six Hours of Bahrain race also at the Bahrain International Circuit. Bahrain’s tourism industry saw a significant rebound in 2013. Hotels and the overall market have shown a significant growth over [2012] in occupancy and average daily rate (ADR) which positively impacted RevPAR. Hotels in the Kingdom reported 19 percent growth in occupancy rates to 45 percent, according to STR Global. Bahrain also recorded an increase of seven percent in ADR and an impressive 27 percent growth in RevPAR mainly driven by strong occupancy levels. The figures are a positive sign that the Kingdom is recovering from the setback of 2011 and is back on track in consolidating its position as the financial as well as leisure capital of the Middle East region. 2013 marked the third anniversary of our property. The property is getting better and better in terms of services and facilities offered. We have achieved new milestones as evidenced by guest experiences scores and surveys. Our property is rated first on TripAdvisor, we have received high scores from our Ambassador Satisfaction Surveys, and moreover we have also seen a significant increase of 30 percent in RevPAR performance. Travel Trade Weekly: How important are

04 JANUARY 2014

Samy Boukhaled General manager, Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa

Bahrain’s famous events to your business? Samy Boukhaled: The selection of events that the Kingdom hosted in [2013] has been quite impressive, from the spring and summer of culture events to the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix, Bahrain has easily placed itself on the international map, promoting itself both as an exciting destination for travellers and a modern and forward thinking country for investors and businesses. This further promotes Bahrain as a destination and provides great opportunities for both expats and Bahrainis alike within the country to experience a wonderful display of international culture. From our point of view as a hotel, these events, particularly the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Six Hours of Bahrain are a great draw for both guests within the Kingdom and from the rest of the world to come and enjoy

the country’s hotels, leisure facilities, cultural offering and of course its quality selection of shopping venues. Travel Trade Weekly: How can hoteliers, like yourself, help promote the country? Samy Boukhaled: The Sofitel brand is recognised as an international luxury chain. Sofitel is part of the Accor group of hotels, the world’s number one and Europe’s leading hotel operator. The group has 450,000 rooms in more than 3,500 hotels in 92 countries. Sofitel takes advantage of the Accor sales structure which consists of 34 sales offices around the world with a team of 700 sales managers. This international strike force represents all of the brands within the group ensuring more than 50 percent of Sofitel sales worldwide. As a hotel, we plan to be present in all major fairs and international exhibitions [...]. We are also targeting and inviting journalists from Europe and Russia to discover Bahrain and get some positive media. We will capitalise and package Bahrain as the cultural capital of the Arab World. Travel Trade Weekly: Tell us about your plans for the coming months. Samy Boukhaled: Being the first and only property to have Thalassotherapy in the GCC, we have designed unique packages clubbed with complimentary rooms to give the ultimate Thalassotherapy and wellness experience to our guests. [...] We are also penetrating the corporate and MICE segment by creating exclusive packages to meet the needs of the business travellers and large corporate conglomerates based in the region.



Africa Travel Week Reveals Strategic Partnership Thebe Reed Exhibitions announced that Africa Travel Week comprising International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Africa; Incentives, Business Travel & Meetings expo (IBTM) Africa; and World Travel Market (WTM) Africa, has received the full backing and support of the Western Cape province and the city of Cape Town. The strategic partnership in this inaugural three-in-one Africa Travel Week, will ensure that both the city and the province as a whole can fully engage alongside the organisers to maximise the impact the region will have on the major features, events and experiences that all participants can enjoy during the travel and tourism event. Africa Travel Week will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre between April 28 and May 3.


Sponsored by


Cape Town International Convention Centre

January 2014

EVENTS CMT – The Holiday Exhibition Stuttgart, Germany, January 11 – 19, 2014 ( Hailed as one of the world’s largest public trade fairs for tourism and leisure with exhibitors from all over the world showcasing their products.

SATTE India New Delhi, India, January 29 – 31, 2014 Mumbai, India, February 3 – 4, 2014 ( Hailed as the biggest networking forum for the travel and tourism industry in South Asia, with more than 600 exhibitors from over 50 countries.

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.

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.

Go and Regiontour Fairs Brno, Czech Republic, January 16 – 19, 2014 ( One of the largest presentations of the industry, with an emphasis on Central European regions. International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) Madrid, Spain, January 22 – 26, 2014 ( A global meeting point for tourism professionals with some 10,000 exhibiting companies.

Business Travel Show London, UK, February 4 – 5, 2014 ( The 20th edition is expected to attract more than 200 exhibiting companies and over 6,000 travel professionals. Borsa International Tourism Exchange (BIT) Milano, Italy, February 13 – 16, 2014 ( A business-to-business event, which has been present on the market since 1980.

SMAP Moroccan Real Estate and Lifestyle Event


INTERMAT and World EcoConstruct Exhibition


World Future Energy Summit


Abu Dhabi International Water Summit


Eco Waste Summit


Technical, Occupational and Further Education


Education 2020


February 2014 Tawdheef Recruitment Show


The Bride Show


Abu Dhabi Electronics Shopper & IT

26-1 Mar

March 2014 International Jewellery & Watch Show


GIBTM - The Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition

24-26 Information correct at time of publication. Please check for alterations.

04 JANUARY 2014

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 217  

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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