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CYPRUS! Monthly

11 JANUARY 2014



CYPRUS! Monthly

11 JANUARY 2014


Traditional Souq Opens in Deira A new traditional souq has been launched in Naif, Deira, showcasing the traditional values of the UAE.

DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island has been unveiled, marking the second DoubleTree by Hilton branded property’s opening in the UAE.

04 Etihad and AEGEAN Partner Etihad Airways has signed a codeshare agreement with AEGEAN Airlines, Greece’s largest commercial airline.


02 03 06 12 15 16 17 18 19 20

DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island Opens





Abu Dhabi: Passenger Traffic Soars

During November 2013, a total of 1,330,378 passengers passed through Abu Dhabi International Airport, marking a 9.8 percent year-on-year increase.



ircraft movements rose 10.7 percent reaching 11,856, while cargo traffic climbed 33 percent to 66,516 tonnes. Commenting on the airport’s performance, Ahmad Al Haddabi, chief operations officer, Abu Dhabi Airports, stated, “With the increase of 12.2 percent in passengers passing through the airport [between

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

January and November 2013] compared with the same period in 2012, reaching 15 million passengers to date for 2013, such growth reinforces the airport’s position as a growing international aviation hub [...].” Currently in progress, the Capacity Enhancement Programme will enable Abu Dhabi International Airport to accommodate more than 17 million passengers annually.

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

Dubai: Highest Occupancy Levels since 2007 STR Global’s preliminary November 2013 data for Dubai show a positive image with double-digit RevPAR growth. According to STR Global’s report, during the month under review, supply increased 6.9 percent while demand grew 8.8 percent, leading to notable increases in operational performance indicators.

Occupancy rates rose 1.7 percent to 87.5 percent, the highest levels since 2007, while average daily rate jumped 9.8 percent to AED1,105.38 (USD300.844). As a result, the report indicates an 11.5 percent rise in RevPAR to AED967.68 (USD263.46), while this year, RevPAR is expected to grow by 3.5 percent.


10/01/2014 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)



Dubai Duty Free: New Daily Record in Sales


ubai Duty Free celebrated its 30th anniversary on December 20, 2013, with a new daily record as sales soared to AED111.88 million (USD30.65 million), marking a 40 percent increase over 2012’s anniversary sales. Passengers on this special day enjoyed up to 30 percent discount on a wide range of products, and as Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman, Dubai Duty Free, noted, many travellers now book their flights in order to be able to shop at the airport on this day. “We had a fantastic day on our anni-

versary with a huge surge of sales”, added McLoughlin.

30th Anniversary Celebrations

11 JANUARY 2014

WEEKLY NEWS Abu Dhabi Airport Business City Grows Abu Dhabi Airports continues to welcome new tenants to Abu Dhabi Airport Business City and the company has recently signed an agreement with DHL to lease a 2,880m2 warehouse at the logistics park. The newly-launched business city is currently operating three main facilities and services; the logistics park, the business park and the business centre; with each one of these playing a direct role in developing the future aerotropolis at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Spreading over a total area of 114,000m2, the logistics park offers value-added services specific to logistics, storage, freight and light industrial sectors and over 85 percent of the park is already occupied.

Abu Dhabi Welcomes Largest Ship in Costa Cruises’ Arabian Gulf’s Fleet Costa Fortuna, the largest ship of Costa Cruises’ Arabian Gulf fleet, has made its maiden arrival into Abu Dhabi at the end of December 2013. Carrying 3,747 of an expected 60,000 disembarking passengers from 15 calls to Zayed Port during this cruise season, the vessel spent a full day in Abu Dhabi before departing for Fujairah on its seven-day circular Arabian Gulf tour which also includes calls at Muscat and Dubai. “With recent improvements and upgrades to our cruise terminal to cater to large visitor flows, Costa Fortuna’s passengers experienced a welcome and level of service they rightly expect from a world-class cruise destination,” said Sultan Al Dhaheri, director of tourism eco-systems and leisure, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, adding that the emirate is expected to welcome 76 arrivals from 14 ships call during this season. Costa Fortuna

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.



11 JANUARY 2014




Jordan to Attract High-Value Meetings Business

Petra, Jordan

Traditional Souq Opens in Deira A new traditional souq has been launched in Naif, Deira. As Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general, Dubai Municipality (DM), explained, the construction of the market is aimed at maintaining the traditional values of the country and creating an environment of culture and memories for the next generations. Rashad Bukash, director, architectural heritage department, DM, added, “The market is expected to be a milestone in the history of urban development carried out by the civic body in the emirate of Dubai, which would definitely add a new destination for tourists and visitors commemorating the past for generations to come.” Built on 6,125m2, the souq comprises 95 shops, a traditional restaurant, cafeteria for traditional snacks, a prayer hall for women, in addition to the internal and external squares for kiosks, folk celebrations and festivals and a Friday market.

Jordan has identified the MICE sector as one of the key high-value niche markets that is expected to further fuel the growth of the country’s tourism industry. According to Jordan Tourism Board (JTB), currently some 10 - 15 percent of all visitors to the country are MICE-related, and the Kingdom is investing heavily in the development of tourism-related infrastructure in order to elevate its appeal. In a bid to further improve this percentage, JTB has also increased its level of participation at this year’s Gulf Incentives, Business, Travel and Meetings (GIBTM), which will take place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre between March 24 - 26. Following the event, JTB will host a familiarisation trip to showcase the country’s MICE-focused attractions and services.

SCTA Adds SAR10 Million to Al-Ula Project Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA) is to adopt an additional SAR10 million (USD2.7 million) to accelerate the implementation of the second and third stages of Al-Ula Heritage Village. This was announced by H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman, president, SCTA, at the inauguration of the Third National Heritage Forum in Al-Ula in December 2013. The development programme for Al-Ula heritage town is a broad plan that includes resorts, improvement of the existing airport, in addition to the overall development of Madain Saleh site, said bin Salman indicating that SCTA is working to increase the frequencies of flights to meet the growing demand of the visitors, while the region’s hotel inventory will soon be enhanced with 300 rooms.

H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman

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WEEKLY NEWS TDIC Backs Clean-up UAE Campaign Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) closed 2013 with a clean-up initiative on Saadiyat Beach, which formed part of Emirates Environmental Group’s annual ‘Clean Up UAE 2013’ campaign. Over 80 volunteers representing TDIC staff, Saadiyat residents and members from various operators in the destination, took part in the event which was aimed at removing recyclable and mixed waste along the beach’s 9km stretch. “The event was rather successful, with people of all ages and backgrounds helping us clean up the Saadiyat Beach stretch,” commented on the initiative, Nathalie Staelens, head of environmental services, TDIC. Icon TTG Half Page AD 155x220.pdf



UK: Increasing UAE Tourists by 40 Percent In the first quarter of the year, Emirati, Omani and Qatari nationals travelling to the UK will be able to obtain a free electronic visa waiver 48 hours prior to their planned departure. Following this development, Reed Travel Exhibitions anticipates a surge of exhibition enquiries from UKbased travel and hospitality companies especially ahead of Arabian Travel Market which is to be held in May in Dubai. The waiver is also set to be extended to Kuwaiti nationals later in the year. “VisitBritain’s, the British government-backed national tourism agency, 2020 forecast increase of up to 40 percent more UAE tourists choosing to spend time in the city, is great news for UK tourism,” said Mark Walsh, portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, who added that London is a favourite among GCC travellers who flock to the UK capital in summer craving for cooler temperatures, shopping and entertainment options and luxury hotel accommodation.

10:25 AM



A 35-acre oasis nestled between the majestic Hajjar Mountains and Indian Ocean and ideally located in the heart of the city. The hotel’s Palm Beach Club offers 900 square metres of rest and relaxation, an Olympic pool and beautifully landscaped gardens leading to the beach.

600kms from Muscat, the hotel offers expansive views of the Al Wusta Region’s coastline with its 213 Rooms, Frontier Pub and Sports Bar, Al Safi Restaurant and SOUQ our all-day dining Restaurant.



Set in 10 acres of lush landscaped gardens within the prestigious "Qurum Heights" area of Muscat the hotel's Cliff Club offers the latest in leisure facilities. You will be able to unwind and reward yourself after a day at the office or simply lounge at the pool or private beach and completely rejuvenate yourself.

Situated in 45 acres of lush tropical garden, overlooking the Arabian Sea and on a long stretch of pristine white sandy beach. The Resort enjoys an ideal location for Business Travellers, Meetings and Events and for Families.



With 126 rooms and suites, and situated 9kms from Sohar's Economic Zone, Industrial Estate and Port. Whether it is for business or leisure, we are your definite partner for accommodation and events in Sohar.

One of the city’s newest hotels with 187 guest rooms including 11 apartments; this modern hotel is conveniently located approximately 8kms from Muscat Airport; its close to the city’s main shopping and historical sites and business hub.

For more information, please call the hotels directly on the following numbers: InterContinental Muscat +968 2468 0000. Crowne Plaza Muscat +968 2466 0660. Crowne Plaza Sohar +968 2685 0850. Crowne Plaza Salalah +968 2323 8000. Crowne Plaza Duqm +968 2521 4444. Holiday Inn Muscat Al Seeb +968 9444 9606.

11 JANUARY 2014





Hilton Al Ain Promotes the Destination As a long-standing member of the local community, Hilton Al Ain takes great pride in showcasing the destination’s cultural and tourism offering. As Adham El Sebary, general manager, Hilton Al Ain, explained, the management is working in close collaboration with fellow community members in order to attract more visitors to the ‘Garden City’. “We actively support local tourist attractions, such as Al Ain Zoo and the popular Wadi Adventure, selling tickets on behalf of the attraction,” explained El Sebary. “Having operated in Al Ain for more than 42 years, Hilton Al Ain has grown alongside the emirate; and so we have a strong appreciation for its offerings. Only a 60-minute drive from Abu Dhabi, [Al Ain] is a perfect getaway spot for tourists looking to explore their adventurous side and learn more about UAE culture and wildlife,“ he added.

Tamani Hotel Marina on the Growth Curve Tamani Hotel Marina, the all-suites property in Dubai Marina, has recorded significant increase in the number of guests, revenues and room rates. As Sherif Elibrashy, director of sales, Tamani Hotel Marina, revealed, guest numbers from the Arabian Gulf and CIS rose five percent in 2013, while total revenue improved eight percent. Meanwhile, room rate increased 11 percent, reflecting the accelerating economic growth across all sectors in Dubai, especially tourism and aviation. As Elibrashy further noted, the hotel is committed to corporate social responsibility and the staff also participated in the ’Clean up the UAE’ campaign, organised by Emirates Environment Group, as well as in the waste collection programme in Nadd Al Shiba.

Tamani Hotel Marina Dubai

Flora Hospitality to Open Four Hotels in Dubai Flora Hospitality, the non-alcoholic hospitality brand with currently seven hotels in the UAE, has unveiled plans to launch four properties in Dubai within the next two years. The company is investing AED750 million (USD204.2 million) into its expansion drive which will increase its footprint in the UAE to 11 hotels and over 1,700 rooms by 2016. The plan includes an AED400 million (USD108.9 million) project in the Burj Khalifa Master Community in Downtown Dubai with the property set for completion by the fourth quarter of 2016. Two other four-star properties of 186 and 272 rooms will also be materialised in strategic locations in Al Barsha and in Al Garhoud close to Dubai International, and both projects are slated for opening by the end of 2016. The fourth property will be a 90-room hotel in Deira, which is set to appeal to Dubai’s fast-growing business travel sector.

11 JANUARY 2014




Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi: Overall Transformation

Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi

Al Diar Hotels to Expand Al Diar Hotels, a division of Abu Dhabi National Hotels, continues to strengthen its presence in the UAE capital. As Fadi Ibrahim, cluster director of sales and marketing, Al Diar Hotels, revealed the company will shortly announce a new hotel apartments project in Abu Dhabi. “We have been promoting Al Diar Hotels as a brand with “One Name, Many Addresses”,” explained Ibrahim. “This is another year for Al Diar Hotels’ management to maintain the trust and loyalty of our corporate clients and guests by providing high quality service at affordable rates.”

Ramada Downtown Dubai Welcomes Russian Professionals Ramada Downtown Dubai hosted 37 tour operators from various cities of Russia for a familiarisation tour. Expressing delight at welcoming the Russian team at the property, Samir Arora, general manager, Ramada Downtown Dubai said, “We hope the tour has helped the group to increase their knowledge of the property and experience our services and facilities at first hand so that they can effectively sell it to their clients.”

11 JANUARY 2014

Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi will carry out an overall transformation this year that will include the completion of the ongoing renovation work as well as the addition of three more restaurants. “We have launched phase one of the redevelopment in October 2013, including all rooms in the main tower, two new restaurants and a exclusive club lounge,” explained Shaun Parsons, general manager, Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi, adding that these changes have already brought fresh energy to the hotel, that is evident from the positive feedback the management receives on a daily basis. “We expect strong business results this year. By end of the first quarter we will have the new restaurants live as well which will definitely boost Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi’s position in the market as a key culinary destination well,” asserted Parsons.



Ayla Bawadi to Open in March Ayla Bawadi is set to welcome its first guests in March and will be followed by Ayla Grand just a few months later. Located right next to Al Ain’s Bawadi Mall and the camel market, Ayla Bawadi is expected to fast become a popular choice for travellers. “Next in the line is our fivestar property, Ayla Grand, which is due to open around June/July,” informed Mohamed Soussan, general manager, Ayla Hotels, adding that the hotel, which will feature a range of facilities and amenities, is set to appeal to long-stay guests, filling a gap in Al Ain’s hospitality scene.


The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal to Launch Spa

Dilip Mukundan

The outlook remains positive for The RitzCarlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, as the 500-key luxury hotel prepares for the opening of new facilities. The hotel, which is already home to one of the largest ballrooms in the city, aims to attract even more group business, as well as couples looking for a one-of-a-kind wedding experience. “We anticipate an increasing number of wedding leads, both local and international,” asserted Dilip Mukundan, director of sales and marketing, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal revealing that besides Venetian Village, that will be home to a number of food and beverage outlets, the upcoming ESPA spa is also expected to attract increased interest.

DAMAC Properties Introduces TENORA One of the Middle East’s largest real estate developers, DAMAC Properties is to launch the first luxury serviced hotel apartments in Dubai World Central (DWC), scheduled for completion in advance of Dubai hosting the Expo 2020 exhibition. TENORA is a 10-storey, 270-unit tower in the heart of the DWC site and will be completed in the second quarter of 2015. Construction is well advanced, and Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president, DAMAC Properties, supported, “TENORA is designed specifically to support the influx of people to the DWC area of Dubai – not only during the exhibition itself, but also the many thousands of people who will be working on the project in the lead-up to the event.”


11 JANUARY 2014


DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island Opens


Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi to Become a Key Player

DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island has been unveiled, marking the second DoubleTree by Hilton branded property’s opening in the UAE. Located on the trunk of Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island, the 485-unit hotel features a private 650m beach and an array of on-site facilities, including a fitness centre, five temperature-controlled pools, three meeting spaces, and a wide range of dining options. The property, which joins Hilton Worldwide’s portfolio of four hotels in the emirate, also features the UAE’s first eforea: spa, the company’s exclusive spa concept.

DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island


Located in the heart of the new commercial and diplomatic area of the city, Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi offers a unique blend of Thai and Arabic hospitality and the management is keen on further increasing the hotel’s market share. As Kamal Chaoui, general manager, Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, revealed, the property’s main target markets will remain Europe, the GCC and the CIS countries and the local market. “The destination is as important to business travellers as leisure travellers, and the location of the hotel is ideal for the ‘new’ business area of Abu Dhabi as well as those doing business in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai,” highlighted Chaoui.

A WEEKEND GETAWAY IN ABU DHABI CITY Sands Hotel is ideally located in the heart of the city within easy reach to all land marks and shopping malls, prides itself on personalized service and exceptional restaurants including La Piazza for International specialties, live entertainment at Chequers Bar & Restaurant and Harvesters Pub. With a rooftop swimming pool, health club fitness & facilities with sauna that would make your stay a relaxing one. Stay in a superior room at the rate of AED 333* including buffet breakfast. Feel at home, experience tranquility and comfort during your weekend overlooking the city skyline view.

Call +971 2 615 6666 for reservations or more information. *Rate is for single or double occupancy. Free high speed internet access. Rate is subject to 10% service charge & 6% tourism fee. Rate is applicable during weekends (Friday and Saturday). Complimentary shuttle bus service to the public beach. Payment is by credit card or cash only. Rate is valid until 31 March 2014. Subject to availability. Terms & Conditions apply.

Managed by Danat Hotels & Resorts, a Division of National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels PO Box 32430, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates T. +971 2 615 6666 | F. +971 2 633 5766 E: |

11 JANUARY 2014




The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa to Upgrade Rooms

The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel & Spa

Mixed-use Development Brings New Hotel to Al Ain New details of Al Ain’s upcoming 500,000m2 mixed-use Hazaa Bin Zayed Stadium project have been revealed, including a hotel and various outlets. In addition to the stadium, the development will also comprise a community with 700 residential units in a complex of apartments and green spaces, two office buildings of 20,000m2, a chain of 50 restaurants and retail outlets, and a 172-room internationally-branded hotel. The project, which will be constructed in phases, will also have a public courtyard and a family entertainment area. Hailed as one of the most impressive and technologically advanced sports constructions in the UAE, Hazaa Bin Zayed Stadium is due to be launched mid-January and will accommodate 25,000 spectators. The project has been designed to reflect the principles of health and well-being, and will also include a healthy lifestyle area with a number of sports zones and a dedicated pool and gym.

Following more than 12 months of intensive renovation, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa now welcomes guests with a brand new look in its restaurants, pool area and leisure and entertainment facilities and the management continues to look at ways to further improve guests experience. “For the future we are looking into upgrading our rooms’ product with a fresh new interior design that focuses on the requirements and needs of today’s discerning, affluent business and leisure travellers,” explained Mark Neukomm, general manager, The RitzCarlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa, adding that the resort’s specifically designed activities such as the newly-launched Ritz Kids programme, the cooking classes, cook-out nights and the themed outdoor parties have been well received by both GCC and expatriate families.

Mafraq Hotel Abu Dhabi to Launch New Suites Mafraq Hotel Abu Dhabi, the four-star independent property located away from the city’s hustle and bustle, is gearing up for the launch of its new luxurious corner suites. As Mario Scotto, general manager, Mafraq Hotel Abu Dhabi, explained, the new units will focus on comfort, providing discerning guests with an extra bit of luxury. “Mafraq Hotel Abu Dhabi has established itself amongst the leading corporate hotels in the four-star category and we expect to further strengthen our reputation in that segment by further expanding into the MICE and business sectors,” revealed Scotto, adding that in the coming months the management will lay great emphasis on the promotion of the property’s business and meeting facilities.

Mafraq Hotel Abu Dhabi

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Anantara Unveils Villa Resort Concept on Sir Bani Yas Island Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has launched Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort, a one-of-a-kind villa resort concept in the heart of the Arabian Wildlife Park on Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Offering a glimpse of natural beauty up close, the five-star luxury resort comprises 30 villas split across three different room categories and guests are spoilt for choice with an array of dining options. Developed by Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), the complex has been designed with couples in mind and complements the company’s existing properties on the island that include Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara and Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort.

Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers: 230 Percent Rise in Events Jumeirah at Etihad Towers closed an extremely positive year in 2013, according to Doris Greif, general manager, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. “Despite the increase in competition with new MICE venues opening in Abu Dhabi, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers’ market share actually continued to increase in 2013, making us the market leader in this and many other service-related regards. Until September 2013, the total number of events held at our conference centre has increased by 230 percent to 944 events from 408 events conducted in the same period in 2012,” revealed Greif. Speaking about the current year, Greif added, “It will very much be a case of maintaining and extending our performance and respected awareness not only locally and regionally, but even more so internationally. Key international markets of focus will continue to be Germany, the UK, Italy and Russia in Europe, with the US and Brazil in the Americas, and China and Australia in the Asia Pacific.”

11 JANUARY 2014



First DAMAC Luxury Services Apartments Project Launched DAMAC Properties has unveiled DAMAC Maison – Dubai Mall Street, the company’s first luxury serviced apartments project in one of the most desirable areas in the world. The upscale hotel apartments have been designed to ensure a restful stay and a comfortable work environment. Managed by DAMAC Properties’ hospitality arm, DAMAC Maison, the property offers a luxury product with customer-focused services. According to Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president, DAMAC Properties, the location and the refined quality is what really distinguish DAMAC Maison – Dubai Mall Street. “DAMAC Properties always chooses premier sites for our developments and currently the Burj Khalifa area is one of the most sought-after locations in the world. In fact, there is no better site in that area that has not already been developed,” added McLoughlin.




Emirates Launches A380 Service to Mauritius Boosting its services to the island country, Emirates began its daily A380 service to Mauritius allowing an extra 153 passengers to reach the destination, where Emirates became the first airline in the world to operate an A380 service to. Upon touch down, the carrier signed a new and enhanced 10-year commercial cooperation agreement with Air Mauritius, and a renewed memorandum of understanding with the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority. In 2012 Emirates carried over 350,000 passengers and 6,000 tonnes of cargo between Mauritius and its global network of 130plus destinations spanning 78 countries.

The airline also operates a second daily flight to the country using a Boeing 777-300.

Mauritian Pirogue Boats Welcome Emirates’ A380

Etihad and AEGEAN Partner Etihad Airways has signed a codeshare agreement with AEGEAN Airlines, Greece’s largest commercial airline. In terms of the deal, the Greek carrier will commence a four-times-aweek service between Athens and Abu Dhabi on March 30 and, subject to regulatory approval, Etihad Airways will place its EY code on the new flight. Beyond Athens, the UAE carrier will also place its flight code on AEGEAN-operated services to 16 Greek destinations, and to a further 10 cities across Europe. In return, the Greek airline will offer new codeshare routes between Athens and seven destinations across the Gulf region, Australia and South Africa. “By partnering with Etihad Airways, AEGEAN gains access to the Gulf region and South Africa as well increasing connection opportunities to Australia. AEGEAN will also open up points on its network to Etihad Airways customers, and will enhance access to and from Greece via Abu Dhabi,” said Dimitris Gerogiannis, managing director, AEGEAN Airlines.

AEGEAN Airlines

flynas Inaugurates New Hub in Medina flynas has launched its new hub at Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Medina on December 12, 2013. The addition of the airport resulted in flynas expanding its domestic network from the city with two flights a day to Jeddah, one daily to Dammam, two daily to Riyadh and three weekly to Jizan. Moreover, the carrier is adding high frequency flights from Medina to two new international destinations, with three services a week to Amman, Jordan, and Istanbul and Antakya, Turkey, as well as boosting operations to Kuwait, with two extra frequencies per week. Extending his appreciation to airport officials for their cooperation, Wael Mohammed Al Sarhan, director of marketing and communication, flynas, said, “Medina is a key destination in our expansion plans due to its city’s position in the Islamic world and its increasing economic growth, add to that our quest to provide the best air transport solutions in to both citizens and residents to and from the Kingdom.”

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Dallas to Join Etihad Airways’ Network

From left to right: Khaled Al Mehairbi, senior vice president, government and aeropolitical affairs, Etihad Airways; Haitham Al Subaihi, vice president, Mid Atlantic, Etihad Airways; Geert Boven, senior vice president, Americas, Etihad Airways; Denise Harvill, vice president, central region, Etihad Airways

Taipei Set to Welcome Emirates Emirates celebrated the countdown to the launch to Taipei by showcasing its hospitality and onboard products at a reception in Taiwan’s capital city, where the airline’s executives met members of the media to discuss the new service. Emirates will begin a daily, nonstop service between Taipei and Dubai from February 10, establishing the first direct connection between the city and the Middle East. “Through Dubai, Emirates offers its passengers from Taipei a one-stop connection to 70 countries in the Middle East, Africa, the Americas and Europe. We are confident that this new route will open up new trade opportunities across the Emirates network as well as support business and tourism travel to Taipei,” supported Edwin Lau, vice president, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Emirates.

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Etihad Airways will launch direct services to Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, at the end of the year. The addition of the new ultra-long haul flight, which will commence on December 3, comes in line with the carrier’s pledge to continue to expand its US network. Dallas will become the UAE carrier’s fifth destination in the US and will follow the inauguration of the Abu Dhabi - Los Angeles service, due to commence in June. James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, described the US as one of the airline’s most important global markets and noted that the new service, which will be operated three times a week with a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, will also help further strengthen the deep commercial and bilateral ties between the UAE and the US.

Emirates A380 to Operate to London Effective from March 30, Emirates’ 489-seat Airbus A380 will replace the Boeing 777-300ER on the airline’s EK flight 09/10 between Dubai and London Gatwick Airport, bringing a 36 percent increase in capacity to one of its three daily flights. As Thierry Antinori, chief commercial officer, Emirates, noted, since its inauguration in 1987, the route has become a strategic link not only into London but also into the regions of the southwest and Emirates takes great pride in becoming the first airline to operate scheduled daily A380 services to the airport. “Our support for London Gatwick’s long-term growth plans is aligned with our global strategy to optimise capacity on our major routes and to offer our passengers ever more opportunities to fly on our A380s. The A380s are highly popular with our customers because of all travel comforts thoughtful touches and luxury features that we have packed into it,” added Antinori. Emirates currently has 44 Airbus A380 aircraft in its fleet and 96 on order. Emirates in London




Qatar Airways Lands in Hangzhou

Hangzhou Launch

Etihad Airways to Expand Australian Presence Etihad Airways is to commence daily flights to Perth, effective from July 14. The nonstop services between the airline’s hub and its fourth Australian gateway, which will bring the carrier’s weekly operations to the continent to 35, will be operated by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with a total of 262 seats. As James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, pinpointed, the flight will mark the first nonstop route between Western Australia and the UAE capital and will cater to the growing demand for travel between these two points and beyond, to Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The new Perth route will further augment Etihad Airways’ existing services to Australia; double daily to Sydney in conjunction with Virgin Australia, and daily to Brisbane and Melbourne.

Qatar Airways concluded 2013’s network expansion with the final touch down celebrated in Hangzhou on December 20, 2013. The new Hangzhou – Doha flight will be operated four times a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, on an Airbus A330 in a twoclass configuration featuring 24 seats in business class and 236 seats in economy. “As a route, Hangzhou has strong potential when linked with key destinations in Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Africa; now all easily accessible via Doha through a convenient nonstop flight,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, addressing the media at the ceremony which followed the plane’s landing, also emphasising the airline’s ongoing commitment to the Chinese market. “China’s outbound tourism has been growing rapidly in the past decade, and we look forward to bringing more passengers from and to Hangzhou, helping to further boost leisure and business travel in China,” he said.

Czech Airlines Suspends Abu Dhabi Route After almost three years of operations, Czech Airlines has decided to terminate its Prague - Abu Dhabi regular service from January 18 to support the airline’s growth plans in Asia. According to the airline’s statement, parallel operations of flights to multiple Asian destinations via Abu Dhabi, and recently via Seoul, resulted in unhealthy competition, causing both commercial and economic damage to the respective carriers. In addition, the substantial improvement of Emirates’ Prague - Dubai service, alongside Qatar Airways’ announcement of the planned launch of scheduled flights between Prague and Doha, linked to its Asian network of connecting flights, from the start of the summer timetable validity were also significant impulses behind the European carrier’s decision. Czech Airlines

11 JANUARY 2014


Jacques Claudel

Andreas Jersabeck Andreas Jersabeck is returning to the UAE to take on the position of general manager at the recently opened Conrad Dubai. The industry veteran has been with Hilton Worldwide for 38 years and has a wealth of international hospitality experience. Over the past decades, he has

worked in various countries, including the UK, Egypt, Austria, Japan, UAE, Croatia, Greece, Ukraine and Qatar. Most recently, he served as general manager of Hilton Doha.

Jersabeck returns to the UAE from Qatar

Jacques Claudel has been appointed general manager at Hilton Al Ain. Cludel, a graduate of Strasbourg’s renowned hotel school, has worked with Hilton Worldwide for 19 years. During these years, he has gained valuable experience across key markets in France

Adham El Sebaey Adham El Sebaey has been moving to the UAE in order to transferred to Qatar to take continue as general manager at Hilton Al Ain. up the reins at Hilton Doha. El Sebaey joined Hilton Worldwide 25 years ago and has over the past decades enjoyed a strong international career which has taken him El Sebaey joined from his native Egypt to CamHilton Worldwide eroon and Sudan in Africa. 25 years ago and He then moved to other parts has over the past of the world where he has decades enjoyed also served at Hilton Curaçao a strong in Mexico and Hilton Barbainternational career dos in the Caribbean before

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and Morocco. Most recently he served as general manager at the company’s biggest hotel in Ras Al Khaimah, the 475-room Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa.

Claudel has been with Hilton Worldwide for 19 years

Raouf Ben Chedli Raouf Ben Chedli has been named general manager at Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa. Chedli first joined Hilton Worldwide in 1999 at Hilton Toronto, Canada. He then enjoyed a career which took him to St. Lucia, Tunisia and Egypt before arriving to the UAE in 2011. He has taken on his new position at Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa after working at DoubleTree by Hilton Ras Al

Khaimah in the same position where he helped in shaping the property’s corporate social responsibility programme which led to a cluster of community involvement awards in the past two years.

Ben Chedli most recently worked at DoubleTree by Hilton Ras Al Khaimah

travel talk is your space


TRAVEL TALK Kjeld Binger

Patrick de Groot

CEO, Airport International Group (AIG).

General manager, The Domain Bahrain.

“We are very pleased to be launching AIG and Queen Alia International Airport’s official websites, which are sustainable and positive communication channels that will help us better engage with our stakeholders. On this occasion, I would like to reaffirm AIG’s commitment to keeping our passengers and stakeholders well-informed of our recent developments. As always, we look forward to maintaining our position as one of the world’s leading airport management companies.”

“Since the opening on the first day of Eid al Fitr in August 2013, The Domain Bahrain has been welcoming a steady stream of visitors to its social spaces, rooms and suites. The property has been attracting many people and we are witnessing a steady growth in the number of return guests.”

Shane O’Hare

Frederic Gossot

CEO, Royal Jet.

General manager, Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, Air France KLM.

“The World Travel Awards is regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry and we are extremely proud to be awarded the best in the global private jet charter industry for a record seventh consecutive year. This accolade comes on the back of our USD700-million fleet renewal plans we announced at the recently concluded Dubai Airshow 2013.”

“Air France is very proud to be celebrating this long association with Saudi Arabia - one of our most important destinations in the Arabian Gulf - extending to 30 years of continuous service. We have flown millions of passengers to and from Saudi Arabia, helping to connect the country with the rest of the world.“

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: Mekki Mohamed Salah POSITION: Owner COMPANY: Sara Voyages LOCATION: Algeria WEB:

Who are you? Situated to the east of Algeria, in the province of Guelma, 560km of the capital, Sara Voyages is considered among the most known agencies in Algeria and through the world. With its qualities of service, we will make you meet the most marvellous corners of the country, its history and will open doors to the places of vacations of dreams.


Seychelles Promoted to Dubai Agents In a bid to further increase the level of destination awareness and product knowledge, Seychelles Tourism Office Middle East organised the last familiarisation trip for 2013 between December 3 – 7, 2013. Dubai-bound agents, who are responsible for directly selling the holiday products, were hosted at various properties of the destination like Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa on Silhouette Island, Kempinski Seychelles Resort, and Raffles Praslin Seychelles. While on Mahé, the group also did site inspections at different properties, visited Victoria, the smallest capital city in the world, tasted the Creole cuisine and met local tour operators who assisted them on the land arrangements.

What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? Our favourite thing about working in the travel industry is to see our guests so happy and develop the country in this field. When is the best time to visit Algeria? Algeria is a big country. It has the four seasons at the same time so the best time to visit it is all-year-round. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? For my next holiday I would like to travel to Sahara. Why should people come to you for travel advice? There are many travel agencies in Algeria, but we are established since 1992. We work with heart and honesty.


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Seychelles Islands

Thomas Cook Extends Deal with Amadeus Amadeus renewed its partnership with Thomas Cook in Egypt, under which the technology provider will be the primary global distribution system (GDS) and technology partner for Thomas Cook. The Egyptian travel and tourism sector is at a significant crossroads and it is imperative for the various players in the industry to work together to ensure the region regains its former glory, underlined Khaled Gad Elmawla, general manager, Amadeus Egypt. “Towards this direction, Amadeus has consistently prioritised

working with the right partners to bring in new and innovative technology solutions that will take the regional travel industry to new heights. The renewal of our agreement with such a powerful leader in the market is testimony to this fact,” he added. Antoine Medawar, vice president, Middle East and North Africa, Amadeus, said that the extension of the agreement indicates effectiveness of the collaboration, commitment towards existing customers as well as support to Thomas Cook development plans.


TRAVEL CHANNELS UNWTO Calls for Travel Liberalisation

Addressing the Royal Aeronautical Society, Taleb Rifai, secretary general, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), called for visa facilitation and more freedom in air transport.


n his speech, Rifai highlighted the interdependent relationship between air transport and tourism, while he reiterated the need to position both sectors collectively to stimulate the economy. According to Rifai, market liberalisation is a key factor for the development of civil aviation and tourism, while the World Trade Organization estimates that this may boost air traffic by over 75 percent. “Increased coordination among airlines, tourism destinations and airport authorities at national level, and the joint work of UNWTO and the International Civil Aviation Organization at the global level, will help position travel and tourism as a strategic sector with air transport at its core,” he said. Taleb Rifai

Royal Jet Inks MoU with Abu Dhabi Police Royal Jet, the Abu Dhabi-based luxury flight services provider, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Abu Dhabi Police to become its official air transportation and medical evacuation carrier, thus becoming the first private jet operator in the Middle East to undertake this task for a local governmental organisation involved in search and rescue efforts. The signing was held in the presence of Shane O’Hare, president, Royal Jet, who commented that the carrier’s medical evacuation experience over the last 10 years has seen Royal Jet handling several emergency situations involving transportation of injured patients due to natural calamities and manmade disasters.

Oman Air Held Staff Workshops As part of Oman Air’s implementation of Safety Management Systems in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization and regulator requirements, the carrier organised a series of one-day training workshops for staff involved in identifying and evaluating hazards, and controlling risks across the company. Titled ‘Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment and Control Workshops’, the training sessions were held in Muscat. Janab Al Sayyid Captain Manin Khalifa Al Said, general manager, quality assurance, Oman Air, said, “Risk assessment is a key element in implementing safety management systems, ensuring that Oman Air operates safely, and offering a seamless passenger experience.”

SMD: Museums’ Role in Preserving Identity Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) has concluded a conference, aimed at exploring in-depth how museums can help preserve national and cultural identity, at the Sharjah Archaeology Museum, which saw the participation of seven local and several other GCC universities. The two-day event, titled ‘The Role of Museums and Cultural Institutions in Strengthening Identity’, aimed to stimulate meaningful dialogue about how museums can preserve and broadcast information about Arab and Islamic culture in a world that has seen extraordinary changes as a result of globalisation. Manal Ataya, director general, SMD, remarked that it is essential to investigate how museums can play an integral role in disseminating a shared Arab and Islamic tradition with the world beyond. Conference Attendees

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Q & A with Ahmed Janahi Since embarking on its ambitious restructuring plan in December 2012, Gulf Air has successfully completed the realignment of its network and significantly reduced its expenses, ushering in, as Ahmed Janahi, acting chief commercial officer, Gulf Air, says a new chapter in the airline’s 63-year history.

Travel Trade Weekly: What are the next steps to be taken in order to ensure the airline’s long-term profitability and success? Ahmed Janahi: Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, has been single-minded over the past year in the implementation of a restructuring strategy designed to strengthen its core services through optimising its network, streamlining its structure and re-engineering its internal processes to transform the airline into a more dynamic organisation. Its focus has paid off; the airline’s 2013 third quarter financial results indicate that Bahrain’s national carrier is on-target to achieve its annual restructuring goals. Recording a year-on-year reduction in its losses, up-to September 31, 2013, of over USD250,000 is not an insignificant achievement, in what remains a highly competitive, volatile and financially fragile industry. Yet the airline is not resting on its laurels, a strong foundation for the future has been set. Gulf Air’s effort is now on navigating a successful transition as the airline emerges from a period of restructuring to one of development. Over the coming year the airline will further reduce operational costs and increase sales efficiency. In parallel, it will continue to meet customer needs as well as improving the product to deliver more value on a consistent basis thereby strengthening trust and reinforcing the airline’s position as carrier of choice.

Ahmed Janahi Acting chief commercial officer, Gulf Air.

made in 2013 that has resulted in a new airline that gets passengers to where they are going on-time, with more flight options to travel to their chosen destinations at a time convenient to them and better products and services both in the air and on the ground. Gulf Air will continue to be a global leader in on-time-punctuality (OTP) and aim to improve upon its current average OTP – 90 percent - for its flight arrivals. Bahrain’s national carrier will continue to operate one of the largest regional networks, and strengthen the frequency of its flights to its key destinations.

Travel Trade Weekly: Over the past months, Gulf Air has also continued its investment in product and service upgrades. Please tell us about the company’s future plans.

Travel Trade Weekly: In your opinion, what is that which sets Gulf Air apart from its competitors?

Ahmed Janahi: Gulf Air will continue to provide excellent service both on the ground and in the air building on the progress already

Ahmed Janahi: Gulf Air offers a different business proposition to its customers than its major competitors. The big three region-

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al carriers are battling it out to become the dominant east-west global connector by concentrating on moving high-volumes of transit-traffic through their hubs to onward points on their networks using high-density aircraft. The economics of which dictate a lower frequency of flights, meaning that the airline chooses when the passenger travels. Gulf Air’s business strategy is very different, with a focus on point-to-point traffic, especially in the region. Gulf Air operates lower-density aircraft allowing the airline to focus on offering passengers access to high-frequency flights putting control of when to travel very much back into the hands of passengers. Today, Gulf Air operates one of the largest regional networks, with a double daily service to eleven regional capitals. This strategy has allowed Gulf Air to successfully differentiate itself from its competitors and carved a niche for itself in highly competitive environment. Gulf Air also prides itself on its unique products and services. Whereas our regional competitors are geared towards providing highvolume service, the nature of Gulf Air’s business model allows for a more personal touch. Gulf Air is renowned through the industry for its traditional Arabian service and award-winning Sky Nanny and Sky Chefs, and as the airline that puts the ‘I’ into flying.



Investour 2014: Mobilising Investment and Partnerships The fifth edition of the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa (Investour) is to be held on January 23, while it will also open its doors, for the first time, to the participation of Portuguese companies. A joint initiative of the World Tourism Organization, International Tourism Trade Fair Spain, and Casa África which represents the Spanish government, Investour has consolidated its position as the tourism meeting point for Africa and Spain. During the previous four editions, around 180 Spanish companies and 831 participants attended, while various authorities such as the Economic Community of West African States, the Southern African Development Community, the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa, the Economic Community of Central African States and the East African Community, have honoured the event with their presence.

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.

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

Sponsored by


January 2014


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.


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.

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Travel Trade Weekly Issue 218  

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...