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26 NOVEMBER 2011

Mรถvenpick: 20 Green Globe Certifications Regionally Mรถvenpick Hotels & Resorts has received Green Globe certification for 20 properties across the Middle East region.


The Rezidor Hotel Group has unveiled the latest addition to its fast growing portfolio with the opening of Radisson Royal Hotel, Dubai.

09 Emirates Lands in Baghdad Emirates Airlines has touched down in Baghdad, marking its debut in the capital city of Iraq.



02 04 08 10 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Rezidor Opens Radisson Royal Hotel




TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi JOURNALISTS Rita Kasziba Marianna Keen Dominique Christou SALES & MARKETING Maria Demetriadou Brighite Ess Dominique Tennant WEB & LAYOUT Elina Pericleous DIRECTORS Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi HEADQUARTERS T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly P.O. Box 25255, Nicosia, 1308, Cyprus Tel: +357 2282 0888, Fax: +357 2231 8958 WEBSITE EMAILS PRINTED IN CYPRUS Cyprint Plc P.O. Box 58300, CY-3732, Limassol, Cyprus Tel: +357 2572 0035, Fax: +357 25720123 Email:


23/11/2011 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)




Riyadh Hotels Top the Region After months of declining occupancy rates throughout the Middle East and Africa, hotels’ performance in the region started to pick up again in September, based on data compiled by STR Global.


he region ended the month with mixed results in the three key performance metrics. With a 0.1 percent increase, occupancy climbed to 58.4 percent, while average daily rate (ADR) fell 1.5 percent to USD140.89. With 1.3 percent decrease, revenue per available room (RevPAR) fell to USD82.34. Elizabeth Randall, managing director, STR Global, commented on the hospitality industry’s performance. “After consecutive monthly declines in occupancy since February, the metric finally reported a slight increase in the region, driven by improving conditions in the Middle East and Southern Africa. The slight increase in occupancy levels came through increased demand with a three percent growth for the

month, which was the third month this year with demand growth. July and January were the other two months this year with demand increases of 1.5 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.” With a robust increase in all three metrics, Riyadh hotels outperformed all their Middle East counterparts. With a growth of 40.5 percent, occupancy reached 58.9 percent in the Saudi capital, while Muscat, the capital city of Oman, ended the month at 48.8 percent. Meanwhile, Egypt's capital Cairo, Egypt, recorded an occupancy fall of 30.9 percent to 41.9 percent. Riyadh reported the only double-digit ADR increase; climbing 12.6 percent to USD267.06, while the capital city’s RevPAR jumped 58.2 percent to USD157.27.

Amadeus: Positive Ancillary Revenue The Amadeus Worldwide Estimate of Ancillary Revenue for 2011 is reported to be USD9.9 billion, representing a 43.8 percent increase for the global airline industry. The report, undertaken by Amadeus and IdeaWorks, estimates global airline ancillary revenue to total USD32.5 billion. Holger Taubmann, vice president distribution, Amadeus, remarked on the ancillary revenue’s increasing importance in the global airline industry’s profit toolbox. “As ancillary revenues continue to grow rapidly, we are now seeing increasing interest from full service carriers around the world, which are also starting to implement ancillary services through global distribution systems, such as Amadeus.” The four categories, described by the IdeaWorks analysis, based upon the carriers’ ability to generate ancillary revenue, are ancillary revenue champs, major US airlines, low-cost carriers and traditional airlines. Ancillary revenue generated by Middle Eastern and African airlines is estimated to soar from USD0.9 billion in 2010 to USD1.4 billion this year, up 52 percent. IdeaWorks indicated that 48 percent of the USD9.9 billion global increase originates from the higher overall level of revenue and passenger activity, while the remaining 53 percent is attributed to carriers becoming more focused on ancillary revenue through better financial disclosure, stronger merchandising efforts, and adding more a la carte services for sale.

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Rezidor Opens Radisson Royal Hotel The Rezidor Hotel Group has unveiled the latest addition to its fast growing portfolio with the opening of Radisson Royal Hotel, Dubai.


he newly opened property is set to signify a new breed of luxury hotels in the emirate and underscore the company’s confidence in the region, according to Kurt Ritter, CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group. “We feel honoured to operate this flagship hotel. Radisson Royal Hotel, Dubai further strengthens Rezidor’s contemporary and successful portfolio in the Middle East and symbolises our ongoing commitment to the region.” Located in the heart of Dubai on the prominent Sheikh Zayed Road, just minutes away from the Dubai International Airport, the 51-storey property represents a true architectural master piece. Designed with the business and leisure traveller in mind, it offers a sleek and cosmopolitan design along with an array of facilities and high-class services. The 471 rooms, suites and luxury apartments, all of which offer fascinating views over Sheikh Zayed Road or the Jumeirah beach side, combine contemporary elegance with cutting-edge technology. Set to become the preferred culinary destination in the city, the hotel features an exclusive selection of food and beverage outlets, including an all-day dining restaurant, and three specialty restaurants, serving traditional and authentic cuisines. The serene Zen Spa, a fitness centre and an exclusive rooftop pool offer the ideal atmosphere to unwind or relax, while an exclusive 600m2 state-of-the-art modular space is available alongside seven boardrooms for meetings and events. Previously managed by JAL hotels, Rezidor have been managing the property since July.

Al Bateen Airport Wins Big at Formula One Al Bateen Excutive Airport, the region’s first and only dedicated private aviation airport, has experienced record aircraft movements during Abu Dhabi’s Formula One Grand Prix week. After witnessing an accelerated growth in the third quarter of the year, the airport has engaged top gear during the Etihad Airways Formula One Grand Prix. The highly anticipated race brought the number of business aircraft movements during November 8-13, to more than 150, representing an increase of 58 percent over the corresponding period in 2010. Reflecting Al Bateen’s commitment to supporting and promoting business aviation in the region, the facility provided free landing and private services during the events. Steve Jones, general manager, Al Bateen Executive Airport, commented on the improvement. “Al Bateen Airport welcomes the Grand Prix with great anticipation each year, particularly as the airport continues to improve its offering for its VIP passengers, providing best-in-class facilities and services.”

Travel at twice the speed of a Concorde Hypermach SonicStar

Plans have been unveiled for the revolutionary Hypermach SonicStar, a business jet which has twice the speed of a Concorde. The jet will have a flight time of two hours and 20 minutes from Dubai to New York whilst cutting 20 hour journeys to a mere five hours. Richard Lugg, chairman, HyperMach Aerospace, announced that the recent analysis of data shows SonicStar is capable of achieving the speed of Mach 4.0, while meeting requirements for high thrust to weight ratio engine designs, reduced emissions and the dramatic reduction of sonic boom overland. The first SonicStar flight is planned for June 2021, changing the way people travel.

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TDIC Launches Phase Two of Saadiyat Beach Villas Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), the master developer of Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi, has embarked on the second phase of Saadiyat Beach Villas. The new phase follows the success of the first villas, launched in 2009, which have been completely sold. The project is now nearing completion, and handover will start soon. The second phase of the development, which will consist of 90 properties, will be delivered from the beginning of the fourth quarter, 2012. The first residential community of Saadiyat comprises high-end, luxury homes, landscaped parks, play areas for children, swimming pools, gyms and basketball and squash courts. Future homeowners will also enjoy a private beach exclusively reserved for residents, announced Ahmed Al Fahim, ex-

ecutive director of marketing, sales and leasing, TDIC. “Following a highly successful launch of the first phase of Saadiyat Beach Villas, through which we sold all 255 homes, and due to the continued interest we are receiving from potential buyers, we have decided to release a second batch of these premium properties. Future owners can expect not only to acquire a home for what they will pay, but also the unique and exclusive Saadiyat lifestyle, which is made up of elite cultural, leisure and hospitality offerings.”

Saadiyat Beach Villas

Downtrend Reported in MENA Hospitality A downtrend in August this year compared to August 2010 was indicated by the three industry metrics in Kuwait, Al Taameer Real Estate Investment has reported, that hotel occupancy rates in the country saw a decrease of 2.8 percentage points year-on-year to 39.8 percent. Average daily rate (ADR) declined three percent year-on-year to USD192.4 with revenue per available room (RevPAR) decreasing 9.3 percent year-on-year to USD76.7. Riyadh and Jeddah recorded the largest year-on-year ADR increase in the MENA region, with a rise of six percent to USD223 and a growth of 5.3 percent to USD216, respectively. The highest year-on-year RevPAR declines recorded in the MENA region were in Cairo (-54.9 percent to USD24.46), Amman (-39.2 percent to USD38.37), and Beirut (-34.7 percent to USD76.87). By the end of the year, Tunisia’s travel and tourism sector's contribution to the country’s GDP is to reach TND5.8 billion (USD2.9 billion), along with supporting 509,000 jobs in the country. The number of international tourists visiting the Tunisia is to reach 9.7 million by 2021 compared with the expected seven million visitors ending this year. The leading cultural tourism destinations in the MENA region are Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, followed by Morocco and Algeria. 26 NOVEMBER 2011

WEEKLY NEWS The First ibis budget Opens in Morocco After unveiling its global economy dynamisation strategy, Accor has opened its first ibis budget hotel in the Moroccan city of Tangier. Located within close proximity to the airport, the first ibis budget offers a comfortable and friendly environment. Besides 121 modern rooms, the hotel features a spacious reception and a breakfast area. Accor established the ibis budget as part of its global economy brand dynamisation project, whereby ibis acquires mega-brand status by encompassing three other brands, namely ibis, ibis Styles and ibis budget. With the gradual conversion of the entire network of properties currently operating under the Etap Hotel and Formule1 banners, and the addition of new hotels, Accor aims to boast a portfolio of 600 hotels in 20 countries by 2015. The expansion strategy focuses on reinforcing the network in mature markets while also developing new projects in emerging markets. The brand’s next new hotels, due to open in December, are ibis budget Grenoble Sud, Seyssins in France, ibis budget Leysin in Switzerland, and ibis budget Bonn, Süd, Königswinter in Germany, while ibis budget Porto Gaia in Portugal is scheduled to welcome its first guest in the first half of 2012.

Jumeirah to Operate London Property Jumeirah Group has signed a management agreement with Grosvenor House Apartments, a wholly owned subsidiary of Park Lane Properties, to operate its luxury apartments in London. Due to fully open in early 2012, the property will feature 133 apartments. The property, which was originally built in the 1920s, has recently undergone a complete internal rebuild and refurbishment. Adding to the property’s exceptional features, it will also feature a spectacular first-floor atrium with a seven-storey vaulted ceiling and a grand over-sized fireplace. Launched in Dubai in 2008 with Jumeirah Living World Trade Centre Residence, Jumeirah Living offers truly personalised services, cuttingedge technology and sumptuous finishes. Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living is a fitting addition to the group’s existing portfolio of London-properties, which includes Jumeriah Carlton Tower and Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel.

Hotels to Improve Electronic Reservations

TravelClick is committed to bringing its customers the best global channel management solution

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The leading global provider of revenue solutions for hoteliers, TravelClick, has announced that the company has acquired the premier provider of distribution management solutions for hotels, EZYield. Through EZYield, hotels can update availabilities, rates and inventory on more than 650 websites. In order for properties to manage these aspects simply and simultaneously, EZYield’s products will be included in TravelClick’s iHotelier central reservation system along with property management systems and central reservation systems. Larry Kutscher, CEO, TravelClick, commented on the product. “Third party distributors, such as online travel agencies (OTAs), are a critical source of revenue for hotels, and

TravelClick is committed to bringing its customers the best global channel management solution to maximise revenue through these channels”. EZYield helps hotels boost revenue and increase efficiencies by streamlining hotel distributions with its web-based Fuzion Hospitality Suite, featuring integrated hotel reservation delivery and web booking, with more than 4,000 customers in 96 countries. Jonathan Cherins, executive vice president, reservation solutions, TravelClick, noted that hotels are faced with a complex set of distribution options. “TravelClick has a unique set of tools that help hotels optimise their channel mix and maximise visibility on OTAs and other online booking channels.”





JW Marriott to Debut in Bahrain Marriott International has signed a management agreement for the first JW Marriott hotel in Bahrain, due to open in 2016.


W Marriott Manama, owned by Khaleejcapita, will feature 274 rooms and suites and 102 residences. The 50-storey hotel tower will be a true highlight of Bahrain Bay, a USD2.5 billion development. Abdul-Aziz Al-Rabban, chairman, Khaleejcapita, commented on the announcement. “JW Marriott Bahrain will be a spectacular addition to the Bahrain Bay development. Bahrain has an under supply of luxury fivestar hotels and we are confident that the project will be a great success.” The hotel, which will boast a prime business location, will feature six restaurants, and a number of bars and lounges. It will also offer

JW Marriott Manama

1,590m2 of meeting space, while sport and recreational facilities will include a health club, a spa, indoor and outdoor pools and tennis and squash courts. JW Marriott Manama will mark the brand’s entry in Bahrain, noted Ed Fuller, managing director, international lodging, Marriott International. “Our currently open hotels in Bahrain, Marriott Executive Apartments and The RitzCarlton, have been tremendously successful, and we believe that this JW Marriott Manama is ideally located for a luxury hotel in Bahrain’s commercial and financial centre. Our JW Marriott brand is reserved for select luxury hotels in key gateway cities around the world, and Bahrain is certainly one of these.”

Yadis Hotels to Expand in Tunisia Demonstrating the group’s confidence in the Tunisian tourism industry’s fast recovery following this year’s uncertainty, Yadis Hotels plans to add new hotels to its existing portfolio of seven properties. Located on a private beach, the five-star Yadis Imperial Beach and Spa Resort, Djerba, is expected to become one of the finest properties in the country when it opens in March 2012. Besides 489 rooms, the all-inclusive hotel will boast a range of amenities, including a fitness centre, a spa and six conference rooms. Guests will also be able to enjoy a variety of activities, such as excursions by land or by sea or gastronomic tours. For those seeking the true Tunisian experience, the four-star Yadis Oasis Tozeur will offer a tranquil place, within close proximity to the desert and some well-known locations. The 159-room hotel will boast an ideal location for relaxation as well as for adventures. Offering an exceptional experience, Yadis Ksar Ghilane Luxury Camp will feature 60 luxurious tents. Set in one of the most stunning landscapes of Southern Tunisia, the camp promises a truly authentic stay, when it opens within the next few years.

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Samaya Hotel Deira Launches Travel Desk

Samaya Hotel Deira

Mövenpick Reaches 20 Green Globe Certifications Regionally Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has received Green Globe certification for 20 Middle Eastern properties. The chain’s corporate vision has been to establish a common and global approach to environmental, employer and social sustainability. In the Middle East, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have been Mövenpick’s greenest countries to date, with five hotels in each country accredited with Green Globe status. Two properties in Dubai – Bur Dubai and Deira – have also been awarded certification, while Mövenpick’s hotels in Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Lebanon, were the other properties to make the grade. Gerard Hotelier, vice president operations Middle East, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, commented on the initiative's significance. “The programme is not only important for our hotel company, but in a world where resources are increasingly scarce, it helps us set an example and raise industry benchmarks.” Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is aiming for 100 percent of its hotels, resorts and cruises to be Green Globe certified within two years.

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Samaya Hotel Deira has introduced a travel desk at the lobby offering guests a convenient option to book tour packages to local attractions. Guests at the five-star property, strategically located in the commercial and business district of Deira, can now seamlessly manage their whole trip, noted Fouad Bizri, general manager, Samaya Hotel Deira. “We are pleased to open the travel desk that will be providing our guests with tour packages to local attractions and other travel needs while visiting UAE. The presence of a travel desk in our hotel will assure our guests that all their requirements for local tours of the emirates and other services will be taken care of.” The newly launched travel desk provides a range of services, including meet and assist options, airport transfer, guide and interpreter service, guest transfer and organising of individual tours. One of the most action packed tours, offers guests the opportunity to discover six out of seven emirates just in one day.

Deira City Centre




Air News

Emirates’ A380 London Service Goes Triple Daily Emirates Airlines is to increase capacity on its London Heathrow route by adding a third daily A380 service to the busiest airport in the UK.


Emirates A380

tarting from January 24, 2012, Emirates’ flagship aircraft will replace Boeing 777s on routes EK 029 and EK 030, indicating that three out of the airline’s five daily

services will be served by the superjumbo. The introduction of an additional A380 service boosts capacity on one of the airline’s busiest routes. Salem Obaidalla, senior vice president commercial operations for Europe and Russian Federation, Emirates, commented on the service. “Given the popularity of Emirates’ A380s, I know this news will be well received by our customers flying between London Heathrow, Dubai and beyond. As these magnificent aircraft continue to join our fleet, we can offer more seats and choice in and out of high density points, while enabling a greater number of passengers to benefit from the Emirates’

Qatar Airways Reveals New Routes for 2012 Qatar Airways will focus its 2012 expansion programme on seven new routes to Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The airline will expand in Australia by introducing flights to Perth, and will grow its network in Europe by launching services to Helsinki, the capital of Finland, and Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Gassim in Saudi Arabia, and three East African cities – Zanzibar, Kigali and Mombasa, in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, respectively, will also be added to the airline’s portfolio. Operating from Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha, all seven routes will be launched over the next few months. As previously announced, Baku and Tbilisi, the capital cities of Azerbaijan and Georgia, will also become part of Qatar Airways’ network from February 1. Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, commented on the airline’s robust strategy. “Our mission has been to operate to key business and leisure destinations around the world, but also to underserved markets where others dare not venture.”

A380 experience.” In 2008, the airline debuted its own brand of double decker, equipped with an onboard lounge and shower spas. The aircraft boasts14 flat-bed first class private suites and 76 fullyflat seats in business class, while downstairs it offers 427 seats in economy class. The addition of the new A380 service marks another step in Emirates’ continuous investment in the UK, where it operates 105 weekly flights via six gateways: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and Manchester, where the airline launched A380 services in September 2010.

Jet Airways Enhances Gulf Network Jet Airways is to introduce new daily flights from Riyadh to Mumbai and launch additional services from Mumbai to Bangkok, effective from December 14. In response to the growing demand for flights between the Gulf region and India, the airline will operate twice daily services between the Saudi capital and India’s largest city. The launch of an additional flight to Bangkok will also enhance travel options through Jet Airways’ Mumbai hub. With the introduction of the third service, which will be operated in the early morning, the airline becomes the first carrier to offer triple daily frequencies from Mumbai to the Thai capital city. Sudheer Raghavan, chief commercial officer, Jet Airways, commented on the airline's expanding route map. “These services will offer seamless connections to several destinations to our guests across the network through our Mumbai gateway. We believe that these new flights have the potential to serve the needs of our corporate and leisure travellers.”

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Qatar Airways Touches Down in Uganda Qatar Airways has introduced scheduled flights to Uganda. The airline now operates daily services to Entebbe International Airport, near the East African country’s capital city of Kampala.

Akbar Al Baker and Stephan Chemoiko Chebrot, Minister of Transport

Uganda marks Qatar Airways’ 16th route on the African continent, and reaffirms the airline’s commitment to connecting Doha and the Middle East region with diverse destinations, noted Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways. “Passenger demand prompted this new route and I am excited that we are able to bring our award-winning five-star service to Uganda for the first time. Since we announced plans to serve Uganda with daily passenger flights, this new route has been highly anticipated by the travel trade, business community and the travelling public. I would like to stress that we are here to stay, building strong relationships with our business partners for the long term.”

Air News

Gulf Air Expands Operations into Saudi Arabia Bahrain’s national carrier further expanded its operations to Saudi Arabia by adding Gassim, Yanbu and Taif to its network. Services to Taif will begin from January 25, 2012, with four flights per week, while flights to Gassim will start on January 17, 2012 and flights to Yanbu will commence on February 15, 2012. Both Gassim and Yanbu routes will be serviced three times a week. On the initiation of services, the airline will fly to seven cities in Saudi Arabia. Samer Majali, CEO, Gulf Air, commented on the significance of the development. “Bahrain’s relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is historical dating back to centuries. Currently we operate to four destinations; Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh and Medina. For Gulf Air, these new destinations manifest our new strategy to identify and serve niche and under-served markets.” Gulf Air

flydubai Links Dubai and Tbilisi flydubai has become the first UAE airline to offer direct flights between the Emirates and Georgia, by commencing services to Tbilisi. The introduction of the new route, which is operated on Mondays and Fridays, marks an important step in further deepening the relationship between the nations, noted Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai. “At flydubai, we aim to connect Dubai to emerging destinations and we are very excited about the route to Tbilisi, a capital steeped in history. In addition to promoting travel and tourism between our nations, we hope that these new flights will play a role in forging future collaborations in the various fields of common interest such as banking and real estate.” The new service further encourages tourism and trade between the countries, added George Karbelashvili, deputy minister of Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Georgia. flydubai

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Air News



Emirates Lands in Baghdad Emirates Airlines has touched down in Baghdad, marking its debut in the capital city of Iraq.


aking advantage of Emirates’ extensive network connecting through Dubai, onboard the inaugural flight were passengers from a number of destinations, including Australia, England, the US, India, Pakistan and the UAE. Given the city’s fast development, the Iraqi capital holds great potential for the airline, noted Ahmed Khoory, senior vice president, commercial operations for the Gulf, Middle East and Iran, Emirates Airlines. “Baghdad is an important destination for many of our markets, with a good mix of leisure and trade traffic travelling into the capital from more than a dozen international cities. We have been

working closely with the General Civil Aviation Authority to make this destination possible for our passengers and it is gratifying to finally be here.” Baghdad represents the second Iraqi destination in Emirates’ expanding route map after Basra, where, since the launch in February, the airline has received highly positive response. “We are seeing robust booking levels in both directions for Basra and expect the same level of interest for Baghdad. These markets are high revenue generating, making them key destinations for the airline,” added Khoory. The new service will be operated on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday by an Airbus 330.

Etihad Airways and Malaysia Airlines Form Partnership Etihad Airways announced a reciprocal Frequent Flyer agreement with its codeshare partner Malaysia Airlines. Members of the Etihad Guest programme can now Putrajaya Bridge, Kuala Lumpur earn Etihad Guest Miles when they fly with Malaysia Airlines, while members of the Asian airline’s frequent flyer programme can earn Enrich Miles on Etihad Airways services. Etihad Guest Miles can be redeemed for Malaysia Airlines flights and vice versa. The new cooperation will improve the partnership between the airlines and also create convenience for passengers, commented Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer, Etihad Airways. “We are delighted to take our successful partnership with Malaysia Airlines to the next level by extending it with a close frequent flyer cooperation. This offers both airlines’ loyal customers the opportunity to earn and burn miles on each other’s network.”

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Emirates arrives in Baghdad

We are seeing robust booking levels in both directions for Basra and expect the same level of interest for Baghdad




Le Méridien Opens it’s 100th Hotel Worldwide in Coimbatore, India

Le Méridien Coimbatore

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide opened Le Méridien Coimbatore, marking the first internationally branded five-star hotel in the southern Indian city. Le Méridien Coimbatore is situated close to Coimbatore Airport and features 254 guest rooms and suites, including a presidential suite, with timeless chic design. The hotel also boasts a wide range of restaurant and bar options, including authentic Indian cuisine as well as international menus. With nearly 3,500m2 of meeting and event space and 11 smaller meeting rooms, Le Méridien Coimbatore offers the largest meeting area in South India with flexible and customised solutions for large-scale gatherings. For thoughtful and personalised weddings, the hotel also features a temple on-site. Adding more

to the guest experience, the property will soon open an international spa concept and a night club. Palani Periasamy, chairman, PGP Group of Companies, which owns Le Méridien Coimbatore under its Appu Hotels banner, remarked on the unique offering that the hotel brings to the city. "We visualise great potential for Coimbatore to emerge as an ideal MICE destination. The city's salubrious climate and proximity to wildlife sanctuaries make it an attractive destination for the leisure traveller, while its growth as a medicare and educational centre as well as the engineering and textile industries provide opportunities for it to become a strong industrial hub.” Le Méridien Coimbatore is the company’s 100th hotel worldwide.

Westin to Expand in China Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is to open three Westin branded hotels in China over the next six months. Westin, which earlier this year revealed three new properties across the country, chose the fast-growing cities of Ningbo, Xian and Xiamen for its latest development plans, announced, Brian Povinelli, global brand leader, Westin Hotels & Resorts. “Westin is rapidly branching out across China, fuelled by growing enthusiasm among owners and developers who are eager to introduce the popular global brand to some of the country's fastest growing cities. Our emphasis on wellbeing is resonating with travellers across China and around the world. More than 90 percent of Westin hotels currently in development will open outside the US.” Westin’s expansion will further reinforce Starwood’s presence in the country, commented Miguel Ko, president, Starwood, Asia-Pacific division. “The phenomenal demand for the Westin brand is helping Starwood lengthen its lead in China, where we have nearly 100 hotels in the pipeline. Demand for high-caliber global lodging continues to outpace supply in China, creating ideal conditions for the rapid expansion of all of our brands.”

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Bruno Fisher Bruno Fisher has been named and front office manager at Al executive assistant manager Bustan Palace in Oman. of Crowne Plaza Dubai-Deira. Fisher has more than 18 years Fisher has of hotel experience, of which more than 18 years he has served InterContinenof hotel experience, tal Hotels Group for 11 years. of which he His previous positions has served include resident manager of InterContinental Crowne Plaza Hotel Bahrain, Hotels Group for director of rooms at Inter11 years Continental Hotel Abu Dhabi

Jean-Francois Gouvrit Jean-Francois Gouvrit has been named general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Sharm El Sheikh. Gouvrit, who brings a wealth of expertise, cultivated over more than 15 years in hotel management, is in charge of all operations and sales of the resort. Most recently he worked as general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul. Gouvrit began his career as banquet waiter, but has fast worked his way up to technical advisor and then to various leadership

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roles. He also held a number of positions in the food and beverage divisions at The Ritz-Carlton hotels in Osaka, Shanghai and Singapore. Following experience with several brands, in 2004 he returned to The Ritz-Carlton as executive assistant manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka. Later he was promoted to hotel manager roles for the openings of The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou and The RitzCarlton Shanghai, Pudong, in China.


Xavier Louyot Xavier Louyot has joined Accor as vice president global marketing for Pullman. He has been tasked to define and implement the Pullman brand marketing strategy. Louyot, a graduate of the Ecole Hôtelière de Paris, also holds a Masters in direct marketing from the IAE Business School of Lille University. He brings a wealth of

experience to Accor, having previously worked in various marketing and communications positions with Le Méridien and Lucien Barrière. In 2008, Louyot joined Dolce Hotels & Resorts, where he worked his way up from marketing and public relations director for Europe to global director of marketing and public relations.


travel talk is your space


Akbar Al Baker

Ramzi Shaban

CEO, Qatar Airways.

Executive assistant manager, Mövenpick Hotel & Resort Al Bida’a.

“So far this year we have ventured into 14 new markets, launching flights to business and leisure destinations around the world at an average rate of more than one a month. Africa has been our focus this month with start-ups to both Benghazi and Entebbe. It is premature to say where we plan to operate as we don’t want to give heads up to the competition, but there are plenty of opportunities across Africa, which remain largely underserved by international airlines.”

“I am very proud of my team and all the efforts that have been put into obtaining [the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certificate for food safety]. By obtaining the HACCP certificate, Mövenpick Hotel & Resort Al Bida’a reinforces its commitment to provide its guests with the ultimate dining experience in a safe and healthy environment.”

Ahmed Al Nuaimi Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority.

“The UK market is a very strong one for Qatar. There are more and more tourism attractions in Qatar ranging from our iconic museums and cultural activities to high profile sporting events, from luxury hotels and spas to fine dining. We are also targeting the MICE sector, which continues to grow every year. Qatar has shown it can stage high profile, large scale events and we are also seeing the emergence of interest in the country as an incentives destination.”

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

26 NOVEMBER 2011



Who are you? My name is Ayman Helal. Our company is a tourism integrated enterprise operating in the following main segments: Darran (conferences, conventions, incentives, special events), Darran Tours (specially tailored packages and tours excursions), Darran Productions (filming, animations, graphics, production) and Darran Hotels and Resorts (marketing and management of hotels, resorts and tourism projects). What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? The travel industry is my life. From 1976 to 1980 I studied tourism and hotel management and I have since been working in the same field, designing the communication between different cultures through prestigious events. The best thing is the success I have gained. When is the best time to visit Oman? The best time to visit Oman is September to April. The best time to visit the south of Oman and the eastern region is May to August when the eastern region (Al Ashkharah) is the coolest spot on the Arabian peninsula. As for the south, it is at this time of the year that we experience monsoons. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? For my next holiday I would like to travel to Catalina Island, Los Angeles, Langkawi Island, Malaysia or Cancun, Mexico. Why should people come to you for travel advice? I guess experience counts, as well as sustainability throughout the years working in the niche market, fulfilling our motto, ‘We deliver what so many others only promise.’

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Travelport Launches Lowest Public Rate Programme Travelport has launched a new hotel programme that gives Travelport global distribution system (GDS) connected travel agents access to the lowest publicly available rates. Activated on both the Galileo and Worldspan GDS, the Lowest Public Rate Programme already provides data on more than 40 hotel brands, including InterContinental Hotels Group, Preferred Hotel Group, Leading Hotels of the World and Marriott International, representing thousands of hotels worldwide. Travel agents booking via the new programme are able to find and book the absolute lowest public rate of the day, including

pre-paid rates and special promotion offers, saving time and making the process more convenient than ever. Niklas Andreen, group vice president, hospitality and partner marketing, Travelport, commented on the programme. “By offering complete rate parity, hotels participating in Lowest Public Rate stand to boost their brand awareness and loyalty amongst travel agents, many of whom prefer booking through the GDS channel. This is a win-win partnership that enables our hotel partners to expand their sales opportunities, whilst giving agents confidence that they have secured the lowest rate of the day.”



DTCM Pushes Sustainable Initiatives


The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) will be a strategic partner for the second edition of World Green Tourism, putting a spotlight on its own aims, which include reducing electricity consumption in hotels by 12 percent and water consumption by 20 percent.

aking place from December 5-7 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, World Green Tourism is the region’s first commercial event dedicated to examining how the industry can become more sustainable. A key initiative from DTCM is the Green Tourism Award, which was launched with the objective of reducing hotel carbon emissions by 20 percent. The first year of the awards programme attracted 79 submissions and included seminars and work-

Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

shops attended by 450 delegates from the hospitality industry. Hotels that participated in the awards are reputed to have saved 10 percent in electricity consumption and 17 percent in water consumption. This year, 104

submissions have been submitted, with 570 delegates expected to attend the award ceremony and industry seminars, with the new target in mind. Majid Al Marri, director of hotel classification, commented on the initiative. “Tourism is one of the most important industries in the UAE. The country has taken significant steps towards the improvement and protection of the environment with particular focus on biodiversity, renewable energy, water conservation, recycling and waste management.”

Qatari Hospitality Industry on the Rise Driven by new hotel and resort developments and a firmly increasing number of GCC visitors, Qatar’s tourism industry has experienced steady growth in the third quarter of the year, revealed the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA). Based on QTA’s latest report, average room occupancy rate for hotels climbed from 44 percent to 48 percent, coinciding with a steep rise in the number of visitors from the nearby GCC countries, which grew from 178,245 in 2010, to 221,793. The strongest feeder market among all Gulf states proved to be Saudi Arabia with 136,000 travellers. Ahmed Al Nuami, chairman, QTA, attributed the success to Qatar’s national tourism strategy, which in turn supports the country’s development and aims to diversify the economy. There are currently 11 new hotels under construction, according to the Department of Licensing and Classification. Upon completion, the new developments will add a further 21,988 rooms to Qatar’s inventory.

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Q & A with Antoine Flouty InterContinental Jordan, one of the oldest and most prestigious five-star hotels in Amman, has been continuously investing to provide discerning guests an ideal gateway and venue for corporate and private events. Antoine Flouty, resident manager, talks about the 440-room hotel’s renovation and latest initiatives.

Travel Trade Weekly: InterContinental Jordan has recently undergone major renovations. How popular has the newly renovated premium wing, with the 179 premium and club rooms been with the guests? Antoine Flouty: The premium wing has been very well received. The extensive renovation's scope was to invite guests to experience ultimate luxury and safety with all of the comforts of home. With the latest technology available, the newly renovated club lounge offers a one of a kind experience in the heart of Jordan. As the oldest five-star hotel in the capital city, we are proud to offer an unprecedented commitment to safety and service for customer satisfaction.

room, the splendid work that is taking place will surely sweep guests off their feet once they enter. The hall has been re-shaped and this rectangular natural-light banqueting facility has certainly become the favourite venue for conferences and weddings and accommodating up-to over 400 guests for dinner. This year we hosted over 250 weddings and engagement parties.

Antoine Flouty Resident manager, InterContinental Jordan

Travel Trade Weekly: Have the Grand Ballroom and Riwaq Ballroom received more demand since their renovations? Antoine Flouty: Yes, definitely. The famed Grand Ballroom and the new Riwaq Ballroom have been fully renovated with integrating state-of-the-art technological equipment within the most stylish and elegant atmosphere. A unique blend of fashionable and luxurious material has been selected by famous interior designer Harry Gregory, to secure that both venues offer a one in a life time experience to our guests. You will feel its elegance the moment you step down the majestic staircase; a stylish combination of marble and crystal lit by a magnificent infinity chandelier. The Grand Ballroom provides the most refined venue for a wedding party, a corporate affair or events of any kind. At Al Riwaq Ball-

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Jordan as a destination will continue to suffer from tourist decline and recovery will be difficult to witness before September 2012. However, our property has managed to gain new business year-on-year this year, so far, compare to those in the first half of the year? Antoine Flouty: Performance levels are now behind the first six months, especially when looking at the leisure segment.

Travel Trade Weekly: The regional unrest has heavily impacted the tourism industry. How has InterContinental Jordan performed so far this year? Antoine Flouty: InterContinental Jordan had a declined occupancy over the last six months. The decline has not yet stabilised. Travel Trade Weekly: How do the hotel's performance levels in the second half of

Travel Trade Weekly: What do you think the outlook for the remainder of the year will be, for both your hotel and for Jordan as a tourist destination? Antoine Flouty: Jordan as a destination will continue to suffer from tourist decline and recovery will be difficult to witness before September 2012. However, our property has managed to gain new business year-on-year thanks to our renovated facilities and our upgraded service provided by our dedicated team.



WTM London: Increasing Visitor Volume

To cement last year’s 10 percent visitor increase with a further five percent rise is a great result.

One of the leading global events for the travel industry, World Travel Market (WTM) 2011, has experienced a five percent increase in visitor numbers. The four-day business-to-business event attracted a total of 28,183 visitors, compared with 26,908 that attended WTM 2010. The impressive surge comes after 10 percent growth was recorded after the previous event. The first day of this year’s WTM, dedicated to exhibitor invited guests, was a particular success, with visitor numbers rising 14 percent over 2010. The opening day, which allows exhibitors to hold beneficial discussions and negotiations with those potential partners that they want to conduct business with, saw the attendance of 7,614 invited visitors. The speed networking session, which took place for the first time before the exhibition opened to allow even more time to establish contacts, proved

to be highly successful, with 204 of the exhibitor invitees buyers and 457 exhibitors participating in it. Overall WTM 2011 attracted 47,776 participants compared to 47,719 in 2010. With the visitor figures continuously rising, WTM, now in its 32nd year, is gradually gaining popularity and recognation in the tourism industry, commented Simon Press, exhibitions director, WTM, Reed Exhibitions. “I am delighted with the attendance figures for WTM 2011. To cement last year’s 10 percent visitor increase with a further five percent rise is a great result. Most important is the record number attending the first day of WTM 2011 under the exhibitor invitations policy. The 14 percent increase in exhibitor invitees on the Monday of WTM 2011 and the success of the WTM speed networking sets the event up to conduct a record amount of business.”

EVENTS EIBTM Barcelona, Spain, November 29–December 1, 2011 ( A leading global event for the meetings and events industry, which gathers more than 14,200 professionals for three days.

Ferien-Messe Wien Vienna, Austria, January 12-15, 2012 ( The leading public access tourism trade fair in Austria, which is attended each year by more than 100,000 consumers.

World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 5-7, 2011 ( A three-day event that is supported by ADTA and EAD, and the only one in the region dedicated to the promotion of sustainable tourism.

FITUR Tourism Trade Fair Feirade Madrid, Spain, January 18-22, 2012 ( A meeting point for tourism professionals, in which they can establish lines of action, strategies and business alliances.

ILTM Cannes, France, December 5-8, 2011 ( A unique event that is ideal for buyers and suppliers working within the international luxury travel sector, who strive to provide the ultimate customised experience.

Horeca Kuwait Kuwait City, Kuwait, January 22-24, 2012 ( A trade exhibition for the hospitality and food service industries with live workshops, networking and social events.

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Travel Trade Weekly Issue 107  

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