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Middle East and North Africa Edition

October 22, Issue 102


Kuwait International Airport is set to go through an environmentally ambitious expansion, significantly increasing capacity and establishing it as a new hub in the region.

The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh will open on October 24, representing the hotel company’s first hotel in Saudi Arabia.

5 ETIHAD AND VIETNAM AIRLINES AGREE A CODESHARE The partnership will commence on October 30, whereby Etihad will have a total of 33 codeshare partners..

9 In This Issue Market Update Weekly News Accommodation Air Travel News International Who’s Moved Travel Talk Agents’ Corner Travel Channels Rendezvous Events OCTOBER 22, 2011

2 4 5 6 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 ISSUE 102

Designs unveiled for Kuwait International Airport


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Managing Editor Mary Kammitsi Journalists Rita Kasziba Marianna Keen Dominique Christou Design & Layout Elina Pericleous Sales & Marketing Maria Demetriadou Brighite Ess Dominique Tennant Dimitris Thomaidis Directors Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi Headquarters T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly Ltd. P.O. Box 25255 Nicosia 1308 Cyprus Tel: +35722820888 Fax: +35722318958 Website Emails

Marriott: Strong RevPAR Growth Marriott International has released its third quarter (Q3) results, showing a healthy increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) and adjusted net income.


he company’s worldwide comparable systemwide RevPAR grew by 8.7 percent using actual dollars, while average daily rate rose 5.3 percent. Net income reached USD104 million, up 25 percent compared with Q3, 2010. Adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) totalled USD0.29, an increase of 32 percent. During the threemonth period, nearly 6,000 rooms were added to the worldwide lodging portfolio. Marriott’s net loss amounted to USD179 million, compared with net income of USD83 million in the corresponding period in 2010. J.W.Marriott, Jr., chairman, Marriott International, elaborated on the results. “We were very pleased with our performance in the third quarter. Despite continued economic uncertainty, revenue per available room growth was very strong and adjusted EPS rose 32 percent. After reaching targeted debt levels in mid 2010, we have been investing in growth while also returning substantial cash to our shareholders. In the last 12 months, we have opened 33,000 new rooms while returning USD1.4 billion to our shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. Third quarter share repurchases alone totalled USD550 million.” Given today’s economic uncertainty , Marriott provided a watchful but optimistic outlook for the future. “We are cautiously optimistic about 2012 and are well-positioned for continued growth. We expect to add approximately 30,000 rooms in 2012, most of which are already under construction and included in our 105,000 room development pipeline. While there is considerable economic uncertainty, assuming worldwide systemwide RevPar growth of three to seven percent, our earnings per share could total USD1.48 to USD1.68 per share and return on invested capital could increase substantially,” concluded Marriott.

Capital Hill Buys London Hotels MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 19/10/2011 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar COUNTRY UAE (AED) 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)


CURRENCY Dirham Pound Riyal Pound Dinar Dinar Pound Dinar Riyal Rial Dinar Dirham Riyal Rial Dinar Dinar

1USD= 3.67 5.98 3.75 1,507.50 0.37 0.71 49.60 0.28 3.64 0.38 1.42 8.14 10,665.50 213.25 73.07 1.23

Capital Hill Hotels Limited, the Middle Eastern investor with other global hotel holdings, has purchased two London hotels, Sanderson and St Martins Lane. Morgan Hotel Group (MHG), the operator and co-owner of the joint venture with US-owned real estate investment company Walton Street, has sold the two hotels for USD295 million, or a value of approximately USD832,000 per room. MHG, however, will continue to operate the 150-room Sanderson and 204room St Martins Lane under long-term management agreements. Sales proceeds, along with cash in escrow, will be used to retire the approximately USD156 million of outstanding mortgage debt, secured by the two hotels. Michael Gross, CEO, MHG, commented on the agreement. “Our continued management of these two great London assets and the proceeds from the sale will help provide the foundation for continued growth of our management business and brands around the world. We are pleased that our team will be able to continue to build on the value and financial performance of Sanderson and St Martins Lane as well as the addition capital the new owner plans to invest to enhance these assets.” The transaction is expected to be complete in the fourth quarter of the year and is subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions. OCTOBER 22, 2011

China Airlines Joins Forces with SkyTeam China Airlines has been welcomed by SkyTeam as its 15th member. The flag carrier of Taiwan, is the first Taiwanese airline to join the alliance. China Airlines


ith a total of 224 daily departures from 80 different countries, China Airlines is now to bring three new routes to the SkyTeam network. These destinations include Okinawa and Miyazaki, Japan and Surabaya, Indonesia. SkyTeam customers are provided with a vast choice of travel options considering China Airlines’ group of existing members, China Southern and China Eastern offer flights to 20 destinations in China. Michael Wisburn, managing director, SkyTeam, commented on welcoming the airline. “Thanks to excellent links to a number of existing SkyTeam hubs, China Airlines’ membership adds value to the alliance of both passengers and cargo customers. Adding a quality brand from a strong economic region will support SkyTeam’s focus on our top priority, enhancing our products and services for our customers worldwide.” Customers of China Airlines, and SkyTeam members, will be able to earn and use miles on all services. Corporate clients with business interests in Taiwan will benefit from SkyTeam’s global deals, which China Airlines will be included in. Chia-Juch Chang, chairman, China Airlines, commented on its collaboration with SkyTeam. “Joining SkyTeam is an integral part of our strategy for increased international growth and profitability. Today’s milestone is a momentous occasion in our history and we look forward to a future of co-operation and collaboration with our Sky Team partners, bringing greater benefits to our distinguished passengers.” 4

Designs unveiled for Kuwait International Airport Kuwait International Airport is set to go through an environmentally ambitious expansion, significantly increasing capacity and establishing it as a new hub in the region, Foster and Partners has revealed. The architectural firm responsible for the project has unveiled plans to create a state-of-the-art terminal building, comprising three symmetrical wings of departure gates. Each facade will span 1.2km, extending from a striking 25m high central space. This contemporary design is balanced with ease of movement, with only few level changes. To further aid orientation, the building is planned under a single roof canopy, punctuated by glazed openings that filter daylight, while deflecting direct solar radiation. The design sets a new environmental benchmark for airport buildings. Responsive to the climate of the intensely hot country, it is inspired by local forms and materials. The concrete structure provides thermal mass and the roof incorporates a large expanse of photovoltaic panels to harvest solar energy. Once complete, the project aims to be the first passenger terminal in the world to attain LEED ‘gold’ environmental accreditation.

The Rise of Ras Al Khaimah The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Investment and Development Authority (RAK TIDA) has announced that all departments are fully operational with promotional schedules of programmes ready to be launched, only five months after being established. RAK TIDA was present this year at Leisure Moscow , and will also participate in the World Travel Market in London, the ITB Berlin and the Arabian Travel Market in order to promote Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism offerings internationally. In accordance to the vision of H.H. Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, RAK TIDA was developed in order to promote the growth of the emirates’ domestic, international and regional tourism. Victor Louis, chief operating officer, RAK TIDA, commented. “The government is investing in tourism development projects worth AED600 million (USD1,633,453) between now and 2012 with the aim of increasing the number of visitors to the emirate to 1.2 million in 2013 compared to 600,000 visitors in 2010.” OCTOBER 22, 2011

- Accommodation

Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh Caters Exclusively to Female Travellers Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre, is the first hotel in Saudi Arabia to offer a female traveller programme. Due to the increasing number of travelling business women from the Arab world, Four Seasons aims to meet the needs of its female guests.


he female traveller programme will offer rooms which are located close to the elevators for privacy, a separate female fitness facility and abayas provided on request. Each room will feature a bar with healthy snacks, a selection of women’s magazines, daily fresh flowers and a variety of thoughtful touches to cater to each woman’s needs. Tarek Bekheit, director of marketing, Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at King-

dom Centre, commented on the introduction of the female traveller programme. “The greatest care and thought has been applied to developing this customised programme based on anticipating what a woman needs and wants on her travels and taking into consideration practical requirements while still paying attention to all the little details, resulting in relevant and intuitive service that can enhance the businesswoman’s experience at Four Seasons Riyadh at Kingdom Centre.”

Hyatt to Open Five-Star Hotel in Doha Hyatt Hotel Corporation has been appointed by Msheireb Hospitality to manage one of four hotels in its flagship Msheireb Downtown Doha project. The five-star Park Hyatt Doha will be located in the heart of Msheireb Downtown. It will provide great access to the airport and Doha’s business districts. Msheireb Downtown, the world’s first sustainable urban regeneration project, aims to adapt 31 hectares in Doha, in order to change the way people live and work in the urban city. The USD5.5 billion project is to transform the commercial business district into a vibrant cultural city. Abdul Aziz Al Emadi, CEO, Msheireb Hospitality, commented on the development. “We are delighted to work with Hyatt Hotel Corporation, the world’s leading hotel brand. Hyatt shares our passion in creating a new hub in this part of the city, which integrates the best elements of Doha’s historical heritage with innovative facilities.” Guests staying at Park Hyatt Doha will be offered a choice of 181 rooms and suites along with 1,750m2 of state-of-theart-leisure facilities comprising of a spa and gym. Meetings and business gatherings can take place in the hotel’s 2,000m2 of ballroom and meeting spaces. OCTOBER 22, 2011

First Ritz-Carlton Hotel Opens in Saudi Arabia The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh will open on October 24, represents the hotel company’s first hotel in Saudi Arabia and demonstrating its continued commitment to the Middle East. The lavish hotel, which provides 493 rooms and suites, is located next to the Diplomatic Quarter and adjacent to the King Abdul Aziz Convention Centre, making it convenient for business travellers and dignitaries. Designed by Al Rasheed Engineering Company and constructed by Oger International, The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh regally faces spectacular fountains fronting a 1km driveway. It is situated within 213,500m2 of luxuriantly landscaped gardens and positions itself amongst the grand palace hotels in the world. Highlights include 49 exquisite two-bedroom Royal Suites, each measuring more than 425m2, and 50 one-bedroom Executive Suites at 95m2. Offering more than 5,800m2 of conference space combined, the hotel, with its catering team, is well facilitated to accommodate the largest of international summits and social gala events. 5

- Air News

airberlin and Malév to Offer Codeshare Services airberlin and Malév are to offer customers selected flights as codeshare services as of October 30.


ervices from Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Zurich to Budapest, operated by Malév, can now be booked via airberlin. Convenient non-stop flights to the Hungarian capital will be available for passengers travelling from Germany. Paul Gregorowitsch, chief commercial officer, airberlin, commented on the codeshare agreement. “As we prepare to join the oneworld airline alliance, we are delighted to have a new partner at our side. With flights to and from Hungary we can offer our customers a new, attractive destination and strengthen our presence in Central Europe.” The German domestic and European routes offered by airberlin will now be of benefit for Malév passengers as well,


with customers being able to book connecting flights to destinations including Dusseldorf and Oslo. Lóránt Limburger, chief executive officer, Malév, gave his statement on the partnership. “The agreement we have concluded with airberlin means that our route network is expanded

with new destinations. Through this airline, which is shortly to join the oneworld alliance, our customers can access new destinations in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, and soon they will also be able to enjoy all the advantages deriving from the carriers’ membership of oneworld.”

Egyptair’s First Flight to Jeddah Launched The first Egyptair flight to Jeddah commenced on October 8 from the new Seasonal Terminal in Cairo Airport. Egyptair now operates four daily routes to the Saudi Arabian city along with seven weekly services to Medina. Hussein Massoud, CEO, Egyptair, elaborated on the importance of the new route. “Egyptair makes every effort to provide its customers with the most comforting services, especially the Hajj and Omra customers and the Egyptians working abroad as these flights need special treatment.” Egyptair also serves additional flights within the Hajj and Omra seasons characterised by high operation volumes. Egyptair


OCTOBER 22, 2011

- Air News Emirates to Launch Latest Iraqi Route Emirates Airlines is to launch a service to its 115th international destination, Baghdad, Iraq. The DubaiBaghdad flights will commence on November 13 and will be Emirates’ second Iraqi destination after Basra. Emirates held a gala dinner in the capital city on October 11 prior to the launch in order to celebrate the upcoming service. More than 300 guests, including representatives from the local business community, key government officials and members of the local Iraqi media attended the gala. Ahmed Khoory, senior vice president, commercial operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran, Emirates, commented on the new route. “Basra has been a very successful first foray into Iraq for Emirates. Our passenger loads have been consistently strong and we are confident

that these positive booking numbers will also be reflected in our forthcoming Baghdad operation.” The flights will operate four time a week, on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Emirates will deploy an Airbus A330 in a three-class configuration on the route. “Baghdad has been on our wish list for some time and we are now ready for our launch on November 13,” noted Khoory.

Air Arabia has launched scheduled flights to Donetsk, marking the second leg of the low-cost carrier’s Ukrainian expansion. The airline will operate twice weekly services on the routes between its primary hub, Sharjah and the eastern Ukrainian city on Tuesdays and Fridays, announced A. K. Nizar, head of commercial, Air Arabia.

Emirates Airlines

Bahrain Air Opens New Regional Sales Office in Dubai Bahrain Air’s new office in Dubai is the airline’s first direct sales centre outside of the country. Hanif Zakaria, regional sales manager, Gulf and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain Air, who heads the Dubai office, elaborated on the move. “This new office will enable us to establish stronger ties with travel agents and the travel trade both in the UAE as well as the surrounding markets. With our continuously expanding team of professionals, our presence in Dubai will also allow us to provide greater support and care to our customers, as well as expand our activities within the GCC.” The addition of the new sales office comes after the airline recently restructured itself as a hybrid, airline offering both business and economy class services. The airline introduced a new dimension, which it claims will bring style back into short haul travel. 8

Air Arabia Arrives in Donetsk

Air Arabia’s promise of value for money is now further spread into Ukraine with the launch of our services to the city of Donetsk “Air Arabia’s promise of value for money is now further spread into Ukraine with the launch of our services to the city of Donetsk. With our existing services to Kiev, customers can now enjoy Air Arabia’s awardwinning service, affordable fares and a great network.” Donetsk marks the low-cost carrier’s second Ukrainian destination after the capital city of Kiev. Air Arabia

OCTOBER 22, 2011

- Air News

IATA: European Airlines Lagging Improvements The International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned that European states are falling behind in their commitments to improve air traffic management.


he latest independent Performance Review Body (PRB) report, and the draft recommendations from the European Commission, point out that the states’ legislated commitments to deliver improvements in operational, financial and environmental efficiency are off course. Tony Tyler, CEO, IATA, commented on the challenges. “Everybody agrees that high costs, delays, environmental waste and circuitous routings are not acceptable. But the problems are not going to fix themselves. Airlines have invested in aircraft and technology to operate at the highest levels of efficiency, often times ahead of what air nav-

Tony Tyler

igation service providers are capable of, and we are ready to help drive efficiencies further.” In 2010, PRB’s proposed target of cost efficiency of air navigation services was re-

duced from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent. “Watering down the targets for 3.5 percent is costing the competitiveness of Europe’s connectivity EUR1 billion (USD 1.4 billion) a year. Now because of inaction we are facing a further hit of EUR 256 million (USD 354 million). When targets are agreed, state leadership must ensure that they are met. This is not the time for complacency. The real story is with the Big Five air navigation service providers – Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain. Being responsible for 54 percent of the costs of air navigation services in Europe, the success of the performance scheme is dependent on these states meeting their share of the required cost reductions with no shortfall,” concluded Tyler.

Etihad Airways and Vietnam Airlines Agree a Codeshare

Gulf Air: First Airline with Live In-Flight Global TV

Etihad Airways has announced a codeshare agreement with Vietnam Airlines. The partnership will commence as of October 30, whereby Etihad will have a total of 33 codeshare partners. Passengers of Vietnam Airlines will be able to connect through Bangkok to Abu Dhabi, Etihad’s hub. James Hogan, CEO, Etihad Airways, commented on the signing. “The codeshare agreement with Vietnam Airlines offers our passengers yet more destinations and connectivity while demonstrating our ambition to develop our presence in Asia. Both Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are cities with much to offer both business and leisure travellers.” Etihad Airways operates services to Etihad Airways Bangkok twice a day.

Gulf Air has launched the first aircraft in the world with global live television, internet and mobile phone service, after taking delivery of its first A330-200 aircraft, retrofitted with Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s Global Communications Suite. The comprehensive communications and entertainment solution, ‘Skyhub’ provides passengers with onboard full broadband connectivity to access internet, mobile phone services and live television service. Samer Majali, CEO, Gulf Air, elaborated on the pioneering technology. “We are bringing to you, for the first time in the world, fully integrated broadband connectivity offering high speed internet with high speed Wi-Fi and data services, voice over the internet (VOIP), streaming videos and the world's first in-flight live TV satellite stream across continents.” Gulf Air will soon enable more passengers to take advantage of the innovation upon Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite as it will be installed across the airline’s entire fleet. “Gulf Air is providing the fastest, affordable and unlimited internet and mobile access onboard,” concluded Majali.

OCTOBER 22, 2011


- International

Hilton Worldwide Plans to Develop Economy Hotel Sector in Turkey Four Hampton by Hilton hotels have been signed in Turkey, expanding the company’s brand offering in what it considers a key development market.


et to transform the sector, the four newly signed new-build hotels are Hampton by Hilton Istanbul Kayasehir; Hampton by Hilton Rize; Hampton by Hilton Corlu; and Hampton by Hilton Gaziantep. Hampton by Hilton Istanbul Kayasehir will feature 144 bedrooms and form part of a mixed use development, including a shopping centre, leisure facilities, restaurant outlets and office space. Hampton by Hilton Corlu will also form part of a mixed use development and will offer 136 bedrooms. Overlooking the Black Sea, Hampton by Hilton Rize will feature 90

development, Europe and Africa, Hilton Worldwide, elaborated on the strategic decision. “We have already seen significant growth of our Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn brands in Turkey and now we have a further four Hampton by Hilton hotels under development. These latest signings join the existing Hampton by Hiltons currently under development in Ordu and Bursa, which are expected to open later this year.” Hilton Worldwide has 34 hotels either currently operating or under development in Turkey.

Hilton Istanbul Kayasehir

bedrooms. Hampton by Hilton Gaziantep will have 116 bedrooms and will be located in the city's busy commercial district, within the Milenyum Business Centre. Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president

St. Ermin’s Marks First MGallery Branded Hotel in London Accor has inaugurated St. Ermin’s Hotel, its first property in the UK under the MGallery brand. The hotel is located in St. James in central London, between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. Offering a haven of tranquility, it is just a short walk from major West End theatres and London’s historical sites. Designed by architect Dayna Lee, the hotel boasts 331 rooms with a unique décor combining contemporary features with a classic style, creating a friendly and sophisticated atmosphere. The establishment offers state-of-the-art amenities, including a fitness area and 14 meeting rooms that can cater for up to 200 people. The hotel can also host weddings and ceremonies and has three restaurants offering European and classical cuisine. St. Ermin’s Hotel 10

OCTOBER 22, 2011

Sam-Erik Ruttmann

Ajay Narain

Sam-Erik Ruttmann has joined Langham Hospitality Group as vice president, development, Middle East. Ruttman, whose career spans over 30 years in the luxury hospitality industry, will be an invaluable asset to the group’s expansion along the ‘New Silk Road’ of China, India and the Middle East. Most recently he worked as regional vice president of development for a Thai-based hospitality brand, where he was instrumental in setting up its development office in the region. Prior to that, he held general manager roles at luxury hospitality brands in various locations around the globe, including Indonesia, Kuwait, Finland and Thailand. Ruttman brings an excellent track record of securing new luxury projects and in-depth experience in preopening s to his new position.

Ajay Narain has been appointed general manager of LeasePlan Emirates, a vehicle leasing and fleet management specialist based in Abu Dhabi. Narain joined the company in 1999, as senior analyst, and worked for several years in the corporate strategy and development department in the group’s headquarters in Almere, Netherlands. Most recently he held the position of financial director at LeasePlan India. Narain, who holds graduate and postgraduate degrees in economics, as well as a masters degree from the UK, aims to lead the company’s operation to the next level and to a market leading position in Ajay Narain the UAE.

Sam-Erik Ruttmann

Mark McCarthy Mark McCarthy has been appointed general manager of Rotana’s two pre-opening properties Al Ghurair Arjaan by Rotana and Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana, Dubai. McCarthy joined the company in 2007 as general manager of Towers Rotana Dubai. His commitment and dedication to the property and the company’s success paved the way for him to move forward and lead the largest room’s inventory at Rotana. During his career of more than three decades, he has held senior positions in the US, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Zambia and Bahrain. In his new position, he will be in charge of leading the management team for both properties and working hand in hand with Al Ghurair management to ensure a successful opening. Mark McCarthy

OCTOBER 22, 2011


Mubarak Al Nuaimi

Nabil Hammoud

International promotions manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

group director of operations, Safir Hotels & Resorts; general manager, Safir Marina Hotel Kuwait.

“Visitors to this year’s Abu Dhabi pavilion at World Travel Market (WTM) will find a host of new business opportunities in the form of brand new attractions, superb new beachfront resorts and city centre hotels as well as world-class events ideal for packaging and leveraging. Mubarak Al Nuaimi WTM 2011 will be the travel industry’s opportunity to engage with a destination which is receiving record numbers of hotel guests and which is prioritising tourism in its long-term economic and social development plans.”

“I take great pride in providing great service. There is nothing like the gratification I receive when I find the balance between a motivated employee, a happy guest who returns and recommends us and an owner who appreciates our results.”

Nabil Hammoud

There is nothing like the gratification I receive when I find the balance between a motivated employee, a happy guest

Kavita Sharma Jassim Chairperson, Worldwide Airline Customer Relations Association (WACRA).

“Aviation is one of the most volatile industries in the world plagued by a number of uncertainties; rising fuel prices, natural disasters, geo-political developments and many others. Passengers are the first ones to be affected in such situations but as a service industry, we have to ensure they are least affected by providing the best customer service possible.”

Kavita Sharma Jassim

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, frustrations and observations to 12

OCTOBER 22, 2011

IATA to Reduce Carbon Footprints

Agent’s Insight Name: Amine Lagoune Position: Owner Company: Algérie Tours Location: Algeria

Who are you? I am Amine Lagoune and in 2006 I created Algeria Tours, a tour operator in Algeria with representations in the most important parts of the country. We specialise in cultural, archaeological, historical and á la carte tourism. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? I would say to create original tracks for customers to discover the riches of Algeria.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has advised the European Union (EU) to discard its plans to include aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), but has repeated the air transport industry’s commitment to reducing CO2 emissions. Airlines, airports, air navigation service providers and manufacturers are aiming to put a stop to net carbon emissions from 2020 with carbon-neutral growth and by cutting net emissions in half by 2050, compared with 2005. They are also dedicated to improving fuel efficiency by 1.5 percent annually up to 2020. Tony Tyler, CEO, IATA, commented at the Greener Skies conference in Hong Kong. “The industry’s value chain is united around ambitious targets and a clear strategy to reduce its carbon footprint. To achieve the positive economic measures, technology improvements, more efficient infrastructure and better operations is necessary to meet our targets; governments need to be much more proactive.” In order to target emission reductions, the industry has made an agreement that has been endorsed by governments through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), to boast a four-pillar strategy. The four pillars are investments in technology, more efficient infrastructure, more efficient operations and positive economic measures.

When is the best time to visit Algeria? Between September and June is the best time. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? For my next holiday I would like to travel to eastern Algeria, to the Roman cities which have great beauty such as Djamila and Timgad. Why should people come to you for travel advice? We know and answer our customers’ questions very quickly. Most importantly we advise our clients.

Algeria Tour OCTOBER 22, 2011


Jordan Inbound Cancellations Tops 55 Percent Political unrest in the Arab world has sparked fears over safety and security provided to tourists and resulted in high cancellation rates, according to a recent study, Reservations and Cancellations for the Inbound Tourism Market in Jordan.


he study, prepared by Eda’s Research Centre for Tourism, Environment and Culture, found that the cancellation rate for 28 inbound tour operators averaged at 55 percent. Through these offices, 91,000 tourists have visited the country in the first seven months of the year and another 56,000 are anticipated by the end of the year. Inbound tourism is, however, expected to pick up fast. These companies believe that around 200,000 visitors will arrive in 2012, half of whom have already confirmed their bookings. Respondents named the top five countries in the western hemisphere from which they attract visitors the US, Brazil, then Canada and Mexico in a tie, and Argentina and Ecuador. In Europe, France


and Spain occupied the top positions, followed by the UK, Italy and Germany in a tie for fourth, and the Netherlands in fifth place. In Asia, Japan and Russia topped the list, followed by India. China, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand came fourth, while Indonesia, Korea, Sri Lanka ranked as fifth. The study also points out that the percentage of cancellations in 17 offices has reached approximately 60.7 percent in the first seven months of the year, underscoring the political unrest’s harsh impact upon the non-Arab inbound tourism sector in the Kingdom. The inbound tourism sector in Jordan, especially from the main generating markets, has witnessed a notable decrease, due to the ongoing instability and the sluggish recovery from the global financial crisis.

Etihad to Sponsor Volvo Ocean Race Abu Dhabi Stopover ADTA’s Volvo Ocean Race yacht

Etihad Airways has signed a multilevel agreement with Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) to sponsor the emirate’s involvement in the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race. The airline will be presenting sponsor at the fortnight-long race stopover at the purpose built Destination Village in Abu Dhabi, which begins on New Year’s Eve. It will also be the title sponsor of the In-Port Race on January 13, 2012. Etihad Airways’ logo will feature prominently on the hull and sails of ADTA’s Volvo Ocean Race yacht, Azzam (Arabic for determination), as well as across its Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team clothing during the 2011/12 global event. As the first-ever Arabian hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race, the stopover will bring significant exposure to Abu Dhabi through a number of enhanced promotional activities and awareness initiatives. The Volvo Ocean Race 2011/12, which begins in Alicante, Spain on October 29 and concludes in Galway, Ireland in summer 2012, is a 39,000 nautical mile, nine-month, roundthe-world sailing race, taking in 10 destinations. Etihad Airways’ destination management company, Hala Abu Dhabi, Musee is theOceano, preferred travel Monaco partner for the Abu Dhabi stopover. OCTOBER 22, 2011

Q & A with Rita Faddoul Hotels across the board have responded to threats to the Middle East’s travel industry, with those in Lebanon confronted with an ample challenge. Rita Faddoul, director of sales and marketing, Riviera Hotel, Lebanon discusses with Travel Trade Weekly how the hotel took action in response to the situation. Travel Trade Weekly: How has Riviera Hotel performed this year?

done to try to overcome these threats and retain revenue?

Rita Faddoul: The first quarter of the

Rita Faddoul: We will be attending

year was not as expected, with a drop down of occupancy experienced not only in Riviera Hotel but in the entire city. However, in June, a new government was elected and the market picked up, as did our hotel. We can say that the summer season was quite a good one considering instability around the country. We are looking forward to a positive year-end quarter, when a lot of conferences and seminars will take place in the city, with each hotel taking its share. As for the Beach Lounge, so far we can say that it was a remarkable year for us on this level.

World Travel Market this year, sharing the booth with the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism. We will mainly be promoting and presenting the hotel’s complete renovation with pictures of the new rooms and premium lounge. We will also be conveying the message that Lebanon is calm and safe to be visited. During the summer we hosted a lot of events at the Beach Lounge, starting with Riviera Fusion, an art symposium and exhibition, held in May. This was followed by several events, including Fashion Show for Diamony Swimsuits, Martini Event and beach parties featuring international DJ’s such as Yolanda B’ Cool, Chip Monk and much more. These events are necessary for the Beach Lounge’s success and have received very good exposure in the market and a high number of attendees. As for the hotel, a full renovation of rooms and corridors on all five floors was completed, including the introduction of a premium floor with a premium lounge and amenities. Renovation of the public areas is scheduled to be finished by February 2012, when the hotel will be re-launched.

The summer season was quite a good one considering instability around the country. We are looking forward to a positive year-end quarter Travel Trade Weekly: Have regional unrest and instability in Lebanon affected occupancy? Rita Faddoul: Beirut was among the few markets affected by the recent spate of regional unrest but, still, Beirut has a very strategic location. This situation resulted in a 30 percent drop in occupancy compared with the same period last year, but needless to say, Beirut is a survival city and always manages to get out of the crisis by finding ways to generate revenue.

Travel Trade Weekly: What have you OCTOBER 22, 2011

Rita Faddoul

and Iraq. New markets have emerged such as Tunisia, Turkey and Cyprus. We also have some Europeans from England and Germany.

Travel Trade Weekly: What unique features does the hotel offer? Rita Faddoul: Guests can look forward to a fully renovated hotel including the public areas, a new food and beverage outlet, a unique lobby bar, renovated ballrooms, meeting spaces, spa and gym.

Travel Trade Weekly: What are the hotel’s primary visitor markets? Rita Faddoul: Our key feeder markets are Syria, Jordan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait 15

Carnival Cruise Lines Announces its Fun Ship 2.0 Programme Carnival Cruise Lines’ new programme is to dramatically change the on-board experience for its guests. The multi-year effort is to provide guests with a variety of new restaurants, bars and lounges. Extending to the end of 2015, the first phase of the Fun Ship 2.0 programme will be part of a USD500 million investment across Carnival Cruise Lines’ fleet. Gerry Cahill, CEO, commented on the new innovation. “Fun Ship 2.0 is the largest and most ambitious initiative that our company has ever undertaken and it will serve to significantly transform the Carnival vacation experience for our guests.”Three themed bars and lounges will be present in the Fun Ship 2.0 programme, along with Carnival’s branded spaces RedFrog Rum Bar and Bluelguana Tequila bar. In addition, a new complimentary Bluelguana Cantina will be present on-board. “Carnival fans and those new to our cruises are destined for an incredible vacation experience,” continued Cahill.

Etihad Goes Wireless Onboard wireless internet will be available by the end of the year on Etihad Airways’ aircraft. Guests travelling on selected routes to Europe will be able to take advantage of the wireless access. James Hogan, CEO, Etihad, commented at the World Broadband Forum in Paris. “I can tell you that Etihad will have two aircraft with operational onboard internet by December this year, and five aircraft by March 2012.” Airlines now face pressure from travellers to also offer wireless internet on their flights. “Three of the five aircraft will be Airbus A330-300S, which will operate between Abu Dhabi and cities like Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Munich and Paris. We are right at the point now of settling on a fleet-wide connectivity solution for the coming years.” Hogan commented on the continuous evolution of technology. “Perhaps the biggest challenge is to stay in sync on this incredibly fast and exciting journey into the future.

Events World Travel Market London, UK, November 7-10, 2011 ( Leading global event for the travel industry, presenting a diverse range of destination and industry sectors, providing an opportunity to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business.

Philoxenia Thessaloniki, Greece, November 18-21, 2011 ( The expo, now in its 27th year, aims at promoting tourism in Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean. It acts as an international meeting point for professionals engaged in different sectors of the tourism industry.

Dubai Airshow EIBTM Dubai, UAE, November 13-17, 2011 Barcelona, Spain, November 29 – December 1, 2011 ( ( The foremost aerospace event in the Middle East, which Leading global event for the meetings and events industry, which consistently delivers key buyers and decision makers. gathers more than 14,200 professionals for three days. International Golf Travel Market World Green Tourism Antalya, Turkey, November 14-17, 2011 Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 5-7, 2011 ( ( The premier event for the golf travel industry with pre- A three-day event that is supported by ADTA and EAD, and the scheduled appointments, networking opportunities and only one in the region dedicated to the promotion of sustainable industry updates. tourism.


OCTOBER 22, 2011

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 102  
Travel Trade Weekly Issue 102  

Travel Trade Weekly is a leading news provider for travel industry professionals in the Middle East and North Africa, delivered every Saturd...