Page 1

28 APRIL 2012

ISSUE 129

Emirates Collaborates with JetBlue Emirates has announced the start of a oneway codeshare agreement with JetBlue.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts has unveiled two properties in Beirut marking the hospitality group’s entry into Lebanon.

13 MEETINGS & EVENTS BY RADISSON BLU CLICK HERE TO VIEW

IN THIS ISSUE RENDEZVOUS MARKET UPDATE WEEKLY NEWS ACCOMMODATION AIR NEWS INTERNATIONAL WHO'S MOVED TRAVEL TALK AGENT'S CORNER TRAVEL CHANNELS RENDEZVOUS NEWS & EVENTS

02 04 05 08 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Hilton Hotels & Resorts Enters Lebanon

8


2

RENDEZVOUS

Q & A with Ahmed El Meligui The upcoming Khareef season is expected to attract an influx of visitors to the Dhofar region in Oman. Ahmed El Meligui, director of sales and marketing, Salalah Marriott Resort, reveals details of the preparations leading up to the annual monsoon period as well as the future of the Sultanate’s tourism industry.

Travel Trade Weekly: How would you summarise the past 12 months? Ahmed El Meligui: Through the continuous support and dedication of the whole team, the management, and the owning company, Salalah Marriott Resort has, itself, positioned well in the market. In 2011, we were able to increase our total number of rooms sold by 10 percent, which is a great success, considering the mainly compressed market of the Dhofar region. Additionally, with joined efforts by Oman Air and the tourism players in the region, the national carrier introduced two weekly direct flights from Dubai to Salalah, and this linkage has really improved the accessibility of the region.

Moreover, we attended the Borsa International Tourism Exchange in Milan in February and were present at the ITB in Ger-

Ahmed El Meligui Director of sales and marketing, Salalah Marriott Resort

Travel Trade Weekly: How is the resort preparing for the Khareef season? Ahmed El Meligui: Starting from June 21 to July 31, the property will offer [special] rates. Additionally, the resort also offers distinctive room categories that keep the needs of guests from Oman and the GCC region in mind. Whether interconnecting rooms or chalets, the spacious rooms are ideal for GCC families. Travel Trade Weekly: How do you intend to broaden your targets and further increase demand from both existing and emerging markets? Ahmed El Meligui: Salalah Marriott Resort is internationally well positioned. Certainly Oman Air’s connections to Frankfurt and Munich helped boost tourism from Germany, and now with a connection to Zürich and Milan, two additional source markets have been opened.

many, and still have Top Resa in France and the World Travel Market in London on the agenda. In addition, we can refer to the Marriott Global Sales Organization that helps us push our property into our main source markets in Europe and that can serve more accounts across the Marriott portfolio of brands and capture more business from key buyers. As for new technologies, Marriott International is well advanced in this matter. The mobile applications for smart phones ensure that we stay on the go with our customers. Furthermore, our hotel website has been refreshed and now provides an even easier online experience to customers than ever before.

Travel Trade Weekly: What are your predictions for the future regarding the development and diversification of the Sultanate’s tourism industry? Ahmed El Meligui: Oman is investing a lot to enhance its infrastructure; for example, the upgrade of Salalah to an international airport. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2014 and it will help to increase the ease of accessibility for the region and put the Dhofar region on the touristic map. The ambition of future projects is also incredible to observe such as the Salalah Marriott Resort which is part of the OMR1 billion (USD2.58 billion) Mirbat Beach project undertaken by the Dhofar Tourism Company. The five-star resort is phase number one out of the five-phase development of this prestigious tourism project and marks a predominant stage in its completion. Travel Trade Weekly: How do you think these initiatives will bolster the region’s development? Ahmed El Meligui: This new development will extend the prospects of the Mirbat town into a destination for nature lovers; simply a perfect escape for everyone. In addition, our state-ofthe-art ballrooms, our first class amenities and service, and our 2000m2 swimming pool offer the perfect business hub for many looking to host conferences, workshops, and incentive groups, going in line with the development of Oman as an emerging MICE destination. With customised cultural packages, we can ensure to serve the needs of travellers and attract them to the Salalah Marriott Resort and the region.

28 APRIL 2012


4

MARKET UPDATE

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi mary@traveltradeweekly.travel JOURNALISTS

Dubai: International Airport Passenger Rise Dubai International Airport’s monthly passenger traffic surpassed the 4.5 million mark in February, for the second consecutive month this year, this according to monthly traffic reports issued by Dubai Airports.

Stefanie Saghbini Rita Kasziba Dominique Christou SALES & MARKETING Maria Demetriadou Brighite Ess DESIGN & LAYOUT Elena Stylianou DIRECTORS Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi HEADQUARTERS T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly LTD P.O. Box 25255, Nicosia, 1308, Cyprus Tel: +357 22 021607, Fax: +357 22 210466 WEBSITE www.traveltradeweekly.travel EMAILS info@traveltradeweekly.travel sales@traveltradeweekly.travel editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel

P

assenger volume surged 19 percent during February, recording a 16-month high to reach 4,561,147 passengers compared to 3,831,385 witnessed in the same month in 2011. This follows the airport’s record figure of over 4.8 million passengers in January, propelling the year-to-date passenger traffic by 16.4 percent to 9,413,286. The GCC continued to top the list with the largest increase in total passenger numbers in February, up150,643 passengers, followed by the Indian subcontinent, with an increase of 140,322 passengers, Western Europe which rose by 136,320 passengers, and Africa with an increase of 110,561 passengers. In terms of percentage passenger growth, South America remained the strongest mar-

Terminal 1, Dubai International Airport

ket, up 151.4 percent, owing to Emirates’ new routes to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, followed by Russia and CIS, which soared by 41.7 percent, Africa driving up the list with an increase of 35.9 percent, closely followed by Australasia which strengthened its influx by 29 percent, and Eastern Europe which saw improvements of 28 percent in passenger volume to the emirate.

MENA EXCHANGE RATES Accurate as of

26/04/2012 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar

COUNTRY

CURRENCY

1USD=

UAE (AED)

Dirham

3.67

Egypt (EGP)

Pound

6.05

Saudi Arabia (SAR)

Riyal

3.75

Lebanon (LBP)

Pound

1,505.50

Bahrain (BHD)

Dinar

0.38

Jordan (JOD)

Dinar

0.71

Syria (SYP)

Pound

57.45

Kuwait (KWD)

Dinar

0.28

Qatar (QAR)

Riyal

3.64

Oman (OMR)

Rial

0.39

Tunisia (TND)

Dinar

1.53

Morocco (MAD)

Dirham

8.44

Iran (IRR)

Riyal

12,270.00

Yemen (YER)

Rial

215.5

Algeria (DZD)

Dinar

74.93w

Libya (LYD)

Dinar

1.25

Rezidor: 1,000 New Rooms in Q1 The Rezidor Hotel Group opened four hotels adding some 1,000 rooms to its inventory, while it contracted a further six properties, totalling over 1,400 rooms, during the first quarter (Q1) of the year. The latest additions to the company’s portfolio include Park Inn by Radisson in Russia, Radisson Blu Hotel Istanbul Asia and Radisson Blu Hotel Mersin, both in Turkey, as well as Okoume Palace Hotel Libreville in Gabon. Emerging markets remain key development regions for the group, and commenting on future plans, Puneet Chhatwal, executive vice president, The Rezidor Hotel Group, said, “Rezidor is well on the way to achieve targeted signings [for this year] as well as maintain momentum of openings. Upcoming flagships such as Radisson Blu Hotel Lusaka, Zambia, Radisson Blu Hotel Doha, Qatar, Park Inn London Wembley, UK, and Park Inn by Radisson Lille, France, are scheduled to join the system this year.”

28 APRIL 2012


WEEKLY NEWS Sharjah Expo Centre to Welcome 700,000 Visitors Following a successful year, having hosted 16 shows and welcoming over 594,000 visitors, Sharjah Expo Centre is now set to exceed 2011’s performance levels, with 25 events in the pipeline. The venue is to witness over 700,000 visitors this year, according to Said Al Midfa, director general, Sharjah Expo Centre, who stressed that despite UAE’s burgeoning MICE scene, the emirates do not compete, rather they complement each other. “In addition, our tie-ups with regional and international industry bodies and exhibition agencies have also started paying rich dividends in the form of rising number of exhibitors and visitors,” Al Midfa noted. “This trend is set to continue as the Expo Centre spreads its wings to newer markets and regions, the latest being the cooperation with the Moroccobased Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT).”

28 APRIL 2012

5

Al Zorah Resorts: Full Steam Ahead Al Zorah Resorts, the flagship division of Al Zorah Development Company, is set to become a prime hub for the hospitality and tourism sector of Ajman and the region, covering some 5.4 million m2 of land along a 12km stretch of the emirate’s coastline. Comprising six beachfront hotels and a number of creek-side residences, the Parkland Resorts community will form a focal point of the project. “The first phase of Al Zorah Resorts will be completed in 2014, and will include an upscale 160-room five-star resort, a 300-room midscale five-star hotel, a tourist village, a beachside village, and a golf course,” Imad Dana, CEO, Al Zorah Development Company, said. According to H.H. Sheikh Rashid Bin Humeid Al Nuaimi, chairman, Al Zorah Development Company, Al Zorah Resorts will catalyse the emirate’s entire economy.


6

WEEKLY NEWS

Abu Dhabi Spaceport Advances Virgin Galactic and Aabar Investments are moving towards their ambitious plans to establish Abu Dhabi as a regional hub for space tourism. In 2009, the two entities agreed that the UAE capital would gain exclusive regional rights to host Virgin Galactic tourism and scientific flights, and the recent appointment of Steve Landeene as chief advisor marks another significant step in bringing these

intentions into fruition. “We are at the dawn of a new era in commercial space and are perfectly positioned with the world’s first spaceline, Virgin Galactic, to ensure that we are a prime beneficiary of the opportunities that will follow,” said Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny, CEO, Aabar Investments. “This will become a regional hub for space tourism, as well as space-based science research and education,” he concluded.

Qatar Hotels Committee Formed Qatar Hotels Committee has been established in a bid to stimulate investment in the tourism sector, to meet the anticipated demand of 2022 and beyond. Headed by Ahmed Al Nuaimi, chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), and comprised of professionals from the country’s tourism and hospitality bodies, the new committee will offer expert guidance to the authority about the most pressing issues affecting the country’s hotel segment. Promoting cooperation between QTA, the tourism industry, and the hotel sector, as well as enabling a coordinated approach to the growth of the entire industry, will all form part of the committee’s responsibilities, which is a result of two years of efforts. In addition, the group’s priorities will focus on protecting local hotels' interest, collecting all information and tourist statistics and classifications, organising conferences and meetings, participating in trainings, and creating an overarching policy for the hotel sector.

28 APRIL 2012


8

WEEKLY NEWS

Accommodation

Deira Welcomes Two New Ballrooms Flora Creek Deluxe Hotel Apartments has added two new ballrooms to its properties set to cater to the growing demand for advanced conference and banqueting venues in Deira. The two new facilities can accommodate up to 475 guests and can cater to all types of events, from large scale meetings and conferences, seminars, and workshops, to press conferences and exhibitions with any set up desired. Commenting on the new venues, Herve Peyre, cluster general manager, Flora Creek & Flora Park Deluxe Hotel Apartments, said, “Our new ballrooms are truly unique to this area, as they offer a modern alternative with natural daylight and state-of-the-art facilities. Combining prime location, service professionalism, and an eye for detail, our attentive banquet team will assist you from start to end.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts Enters Lebanon Hilton Hotels & Resorts has unveiled two properties in Beirut, marking the hospitality group’s entry into Lebanon and another step towards its goal of establishing a hotel in every key city in the region, as Rudi Jagersbacher, president, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide, verified. Following an extensive, five-month conversion programme, the 183-room Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace and its sister property, the 195-room Hilton Habtoor Grand, both owned by UAE-based Al Habtoor Group, will continue to undergo moderate renovations until August. Dave Horton, global head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, guarantees all guests the very best in Lebanese hospitality coupled with the service standards that define Hilton. Moreover, both hotels are ideally located in the capital city’s prime residential and retail area, and are ready to cater to the most discerning leisure and business traveller.

28 APRIL 2012


Accommodation

Introducing the Hi-Tech Ballroom A new benchmark in Saudi Arabia’s hospitality sector has now been set by Makkah Clock Royal Tower, a Fairmont Hotel, with the unveiling of the high-tech Al Jiwar Ballroom. The Islamic theme-inspired Al Jiwar Ballroom offers function space and event venue in the Holy City, featuring a dedicated VIP seating section spread across 2,400m2 that can accommodate up to 1500 guests, a media room boasting advanced technologies for live broadcast, and eight translation rooms in order to curb global language barriers during key events, as well as a unique and systematic theater with 700 seats. Khaled Yamak, group director, communication and business development, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, Mecca, commented, “We have, in essence, created a unique and unforgettable experience for our discerning guests and this will be a key catalyst towards positioning Al Jiwar as the preferred meeting and function destination in the Holy City.”

28 APRIL 2012

WEEKLY NEWS

9

Pegasus to Acquire Six Senses Resorts & Spas Pegasus Capital Advisors has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Six Senses Resorts & Spas, which operates the Zighy Bay resort in Oman. Under the terms of the deal, the US-based private equity fund manager will take over all of the Six Senses and Evason branded resort and spa management contracts and related intellectual property rights, and will continue to operate them under a new company managed by the fund and its affiliates. Craig Cogut, founder, Pegasus Caital Advisors, commented, “Six Senses is known around the world for providing a unique and innovative guest experience. The brand has a great heritage, and we believe it is strongly positioned to grow. Going forward, the new Six Senses will be a debt-free company with committed capital for expansion into new and within existing international markets.”


12

WEEKLY NEWS

Jazeera Airways Lands in Najaf Jazeera Airways has launched two non-stop services to Najaf, marking the first time an airline has introduced scheduled passenger flights between Kuwait and an Iraqi city in 22 years. The governments of Kuwait and Iraq have recently been endeavouring to ensure the successful inauguration of the service, according to Marwan Boodai, chairman, Jazeera Airways.

Air News

Etihad Airways Takes on Southern Iraq Etihad Airways recently launched four-weekly flights from Abu Dhabi to Basra, which, according to James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, reflect a commitment to strengthening ties in the region. H.E. Abdulla Ibrahim Al Zowi Al Shehi, UAE Ambassador to Iraq, described such services as vitally important on government and social levels for strengthening the bridges of understanding between Iraq and the UAE, as well as increasing trade and tourism, while similarly H.E. Arshad Tawfiq, Iraqi Ambassador to the UAE, said, “[These direct routes] facilitate the movement of business people from both countries and pave the way for investors travelling to Iraq through the UAE to source opportunities in the country, as well as offering services to the Iraqi community residing in the UAE.”

Gulf Air Strengthens Qatari Ties Gulf Air has become the largest operator of flights between Doha and Bahrain after introducing seven additional flights to Qatar’s capital city last month. The airline’s new frequencies offer a number of fast and easy connections for travellers in the region, according to Samer Majali, CEO, Gulf Air, who highlighted aims to strengthen the GCC and MENA networks.

Bahrain Air Forms Dammam Hub Bahrain Air has further expanded its operations by announcing a second hub to be located in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Starting June 13, Bahrain Air will operate four flights a week from King Fahad International Airport to Beirut, along with three weekly services to Khartoum. “The Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia has been a very important market for us,” Richard Nuttall, CEO, Bahrain Air, expressed, further declaring Dammam as the airline’s second home.

28 APRIL 2012


Air News

Emirates Collaborates with JetBlue Emirates customers travelling to the US will soon enjoy seamless connections to numerous cities in the country, after the airline announced the start of a one-way codeshare agreement with JetBlue. The joint venture will further strengthen the relationship between the two airlines, which have been interline partners since 2010, and thus will enable customers to benefit from a single combined ticket for Emirates and JetBlue-operated flights, plus other benefits including one-stop check-in and baggage transfer. “Emirates’ network within the US will soon extend to almost 20 cities through our partner, JetBlue, making flying to the US from the Gulf, Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and the far East smoother and more convenient than ever before,” commented Thierry Antinori, executive vice president, passenger sales worldwide, Emirates. Emirates customers can connect to JetBlue services at New York’s JFK International Airport for services to numerous US destinations including Boston, Chicago, Orlando, and Washington Dulles.

28 APRIL 2012

WEEKLY NEWS

13

Turkish Airlines Improves Abu Dhabi Service Turkish Airlines has launched a new Airbus A321 aircraft on the Abu Dhabi – Istanbul route, said to offer passengers enhanced comfort. The airline will operate the new A321 service onboard an aircraft which typically accommodates 185 passengers in a two-class configuration. Commenting on the aircraft upgrade, Samil Karakas, general manager, Abu Dhabi, Turkish Airlines, said, “We are pleased to announce the launch of the new Airbus A321, which allows passengers to benefit from the state-of-the-art cabin design with wider seats, latest in-flight entertainment systems, and award-winning catering. Its operational flexibility allows Turkish Airlines to benefit from its unique comfort features and offer the very best onboard services for its passengers.”


14

WEEKLY NEWS

International

Hotel Berlin Completes Renovations Great Hotels of the World has announced the completion of major renovation works at its member property, Hotel Berlin, Berlin. These works, which have seen investments of over EUR30 million (USD39.5 million), have included full refurbishments of the lobby, the implementation of an exclusive airline crew lounge, a comprehensive renovation of the Classic wing, as well as face-lifts of the fitness and wellness areas, 200 of its premium guest rooms, and 26 new conference suites. Furthermore, the events area has more than doubled in size and has been extended from 1300m2 to 3000m2. Cornelia Kausch, managing director, Hotel Berlin, commented, “As a business hotel in the centre of the capital, our property not only offers guests all comfort and amenities for business and overnight stays, but also creative stimulation for the mind and soul.”

Amari Hua Hin To Set Fresh Standards Amari Hua Hin, the latest addition to Amari’s portfolio of properties in Thailand, is gearing up to open in June. Ideally located just two and a half hours from Bangkok and next to Khao Takiab, a popular stretch of beach, the resort offers easy access to the city’s shopping and entertainment venues. The 223-room Amari Hua Hin will offer an extensive selection of dining options and conference facilities, including a 450m2 ballroom, a fitness centre, a kids’ club and kids’ pool as well as an outdoor pool and spa. Simon Dell, general manager, Amari Hua Hin, commented, “We cannot wait to launch the new Amari property in Hua Hin. This is the first purpose-built Amari hotel to open since our brand revitalisation and as such, we will be introducing new service initiatives as well as launching a fresh design concept for the brand. One of our new initiatives is to encourage guests to not only experience local culture, but also be a part of it.”

28 APRIL 2012


WHO'S MOVED

Anders Dimblad Anders Dimblad has been appointed general manager of both Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts properties in Ras Al Khaimah, namely Banyan Tree Al Wadi and Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach. In his new capacity, Dimblad will work closely with an extensive team to streamline and maintain seamless operations

28 APRIL 2012

across both properties, and achieve the ambitious business goals while complying with the high standards set by the Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts group. Prior to his current position, Dimblad has covered various roles across numerous Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts developments throughout the world.

15

Margaret Paul Margaret Paul has been named general manager of Madinat Jumeirah, The Arabian Resort. In her capacity, she will oversee the management of the resort’s three hotels, namely Al Qasr, Mina A’Salam, and Sar Al Masyaf, as well as the Souk Madinat Jumierah and the resort’s conference

centre. Paul joined Jumeirah Group in 2002 as hotel manager of Jumeirah Carlton Tower, London, before moving to Dubai in 2004 as hotel manager of Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Prior to joining Jumeirah Group, she worked at Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts in Europe and Dubai.


TRAVEL TALK

travel talk is your space

16

Frank Owens

Habib Khan

Group general manager, Emirates Grand Hotel.

CEO, hospitality division, Planet Group.

“One of the main goals in joining the Arabian Travel Market is to build a good reputation for our hotel and, most importantly, to encourage people to see what we are offering. We want to tell them that staying in our hotel promises a wonderful experience and good value for their money. Quality service delivered in a personalised manner is our priority, making sure our guests are satisfied.”

“The Arabian Travel Market offers multidimensional opportunities and exposures. We would like to capitalise on our ability to weather the past few years of global crises and yet be able to meet and exceed customer expectations in our hotels and associated companies in Planet Group. These are the positive notes that we would like to send to the industry and clients alike.”

28 APRIL 2012


AGENT'S CORNER

AGENT'S INSIGHT NAME: Diane Pacholek POSITION: Business development manager COMPANY: Total Holidays LOCATION: Dubai, UAE WEB: www.tholidays.com Who are you? My name is Diane Pacholek and I have lived in Dubai, London, France and the US, which has given me the opportunity to experience and understand a lot regarding the world of tourism. What is your favourite thing about working in this industry? I find it fascinating how travel trends change according to the outside world, pushing us to adapt and review how to divert the business. When is the best time to visit Dubai? Dubai is an exciting place all year round but the weather gets really hot from June to September. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? I would love to go back to Fiji and experience the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Island Resort as I love diving and this resort offers diving in breathtaking marine life and biodiversity. Why should people come to you for travel advice? As a multi-cultural team, we have experience in guiding and educating agents about existing and new destinations.

28 APRIL 2012

17

Travelport: A Primary Technology Partner Travelport has announced a long-term renewal with Conference & Travel, a member of the Travel Leaders network based in Indiana. Under the terms of the agreement, Travelport will continue to serve as Conference & Travel’s primary travel technology partner and provide access to all travel content including air, hotel, car rental, and cruise lines via its Apollo platform. Ann Waters, president, Conference & Travel, commented, “After a thorough review of technology solutions provided by GDS providers, we decided to renew with Travelport primarily due to the ability to maintain a familiar platform while also engaging with Travelport to implement their innovative solutions. “Travelport delivers the functionality and advanced technology that we need to enable our agents to increase productivity and efficiency. Deployment of products like Travelport Smartpoint and Travelport Flight Options Integrator bring the immediate flexibility my agency needs to better serve our clients.” Furthermore, Scott Hyden, vice president, US and Canada, Travelport, said, “This renewal demonstrates Conference & Travel’s confidence in Travelport’s innovative technology, extensive content, and support infrastructure.”


18

TRAVEL CHANNELS IATA Advises Stronger Cooperation

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged all parts of the aviation value chain in the Gulf to deepen their collaboration. The aviation industry has been catalyst to the region's economic transformation, however its ability to serve as a vehicle for economic growth is not guaranteed, according to Tony Tyler, director general, IATA, who further explained, “It depends on having the right conditions in place to support competitive sustainable businesses. Many of these are beyond the direct control of airlines, and most require the industry and government to work together with a common vision and purpose.” In addition, Tyler identified a four-point agenda for the region, based on safety, security, infrastructure, and environment, pivotal to the sector's future, and emphasised, “If aviation is to continue to deliver on its immense promise, safety must continue to be addressed as a community, working in partnership with governments and based on global standards, such as the IATA Operational Safety Audit.”

WTTC Names New Vice President for Middle East and Africa James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, has been named World Tourism and Travel Council’s (WTTC) vice chairman for the Middle East and Africa. The announcement was made at the 12th WTTC Global Summit held at the Pamir Convention Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Speaking from the event, Hogan expressed delight in accepting his new position and looked forward to playing a major role in the planning of the 13th WTTC Global Summit to be held in Abu Dhabi in April/May 2013. “The WTTC Global Summit in Abu Dhabi next year will not only build on this momentum but also showcase the emirate’s abundance of world class tourism infrastructure and attractions, which are the product of millions of dollars of investment by the Abu Dhabi Government. I am confident that next year’s Global Summit will provide further stimulus for travel and tourism growth to the UAE capital,” he said.

28 APRIL 2012


RENDEZVOUS

19

Q & A with Karim Kamoun Yadis Hotels prides itself on its determination to ‘always go forward’ and the hotel chain is certainly marching ahead with new openings in the development pipeline. Karim Kamoun, strategy development coordinator, Yadis Hotels, shares details on the company’s projects and his outlook for the future of Tunisia’s tourism industry.

Travel Trade Weekly: Yadis Hotels’ recent announcement to open new properties in Tunisia indicates a high level of confidence in the country and its tourism industry. On what do you base this certainty?

Karim Kamoun Strategy development coordinator, Yadis Hotels

Karim Kamoun: Tunisia has a 3,000 year old history and has always managed to come back stronger following each crisis. This time, Tunisians started the revolution and chose the path of democracy. The new government is aware of the challenges facing the tourism industry and is promising to address them quickly. With its attractive geographic position, nice climate, and diversified products, alongside golf, spa, beaches, desert, diving, and more, Tunisia will always be a very attractive and compelling country to visit. Travel Trade Weekly: How do you foresee the industry’s future in the country? Karim Kamoun: Yadis Hotels is very optimistic about the future of the industry and believes in the importance of having a good quality product and service, diversification, excellence in staff training and in trying to exceed the always-evolving needs of its customers. Yadis Hotels is a fervent supporter of the 'open skies agreement' in Tunisia, which will bring a new category of clients and will be beneficial to the hotels and to the whole economy in general. Travel Trade Weekly: How have performance metrics fluctuated since the end of the upheaval and from which markets have you received most of your guests?

28 APRIL 2012

The new government is aware of the challenges facing the tourism industry and is promising to address them quickly. Karim Kamoun: All hotels suffered during the revolution and Yadis was not an exception. Occupancy levels decreased and revenue went down by 45 percent in 2011. The summer season was relatively weak in Djerba with an occupancy rate of 55 percent, while in October and November we recorded an occupancy rate of 65 percent. Most of

our guests came from France, Germany, and Belgium. Travel Trade Weekly: In the coming months, Yadis Hotels will unveil a range of new or renovated properties. Could you tell us about these? Karim Kamoun: Yadis Hotels will be opening, in July, a new five-star hotel in Djerba, namely Yadis Imperial Beach & Spa Resort, with an ultra all-inclusive formula and a capacity of 475 rooms and 14 suites, including three à la carte restaurants, two buffet restaurants, seven bars, two outdoor pools and a spa centre. Our other opening in September will be the fourstar Yadis Oasis Tozeur, in the city of Tozeur, in south west Tunisia; a classified historical monument boasting 146 rooms and 13 suites, as well as a 300-seat conference venue, a main buffet restaurant, an à la carte restaurant, and indoor and outdoor pools. Tozeur has been the setting for many movies such as Star Wars and The English Patient. Travel Trade Weekly: One of the most exceptional properties in the company’s portfolio is the Yadis Ksar Ghilane Luxury Camp. With which guests is the camp really popular in regards to origin? Karim Kamoun: Yadis Ksar Ghilane Luxury camp is more popular with guests seeking a truly authentic and memorable experience. People visiting the camp enjoy a unique experience with an exceptional quality of service. Besides local tourists, we receive guests from all over the world, including from Japan, Spain, UK, France and many other countries.


20

NEWS & EVENTS

ADAC Focuses on Highest Standards Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) has received approval from the Department of Transport (DoT) on its Environmental Health & Safety Management System (EHSMS) documentation, including a detailed timeline for the application across ADAC and its subsidiaries. ADAC EHSMS is one of the key aspects of the Integrated Management Systems (IMS) programme initiated by ADAC in November 2010, and comprises of Quality Management System, Aerodrome Certification Management Systems and Environment, and EHSMS. Ahmad Al Haddabi, chief operating officer, ADAC, commented, “ADAC is working towards achieving its vision of becoming the world’s leading airports group. Therefore, the company is keen to adapt the latest methods and systems that would enable it to increase efficiency whilst maintaining the highest standards of environment awareness, health and safety, security, and quality.” Full implementation of the system is slated for completion by December 2013.

Shedding Light on the Saudi Arabian Tourism Experience Elaf Group sponsored the recently-concluded Saudi Travel and Tourism Investment Market, which was inaugurated by H.R.H. Prince Sattam bin Abdul Aziz, governor of Riyadh, and organised by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities at the Riyadh International Exhibition Centre. The event hosted 23 technical sessions to discuss the major issues related to the tourism experience in the Kingdom. Commenting on the tourism development in the region, Ziyad Bin Mahfouz, president, Elaf Group, pointed out that the forum plays a vital role in showcasing the tourism potential in Saudi Arabia, and shed light on the approved tourism projects for the next three years. He further underlined the significance of the event, emphasising that it hosted a series of sessions and workshops aimed at highlighting the interest in the cultural dimension of tourism and the effective tools to develop and promote the growth of tourism in Saudi Arabia.

EVENTS Arabian Hotel Investment Conference Dubai, UAE, April 28 – 30, 2012 (www.arabianconference.com) Bringing together regional leaders, this event includes discussions of key topics and challenges of the coming months.

IMEX Frankfurt, Germany, May 22 – 24, 2012 (www.imex-frankfurt.com) The show where the global meetings industry continues to do business while maximising connections and networking opportunities.

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) Dubai, UAE, April 30 – May 2, 2012 (www.arabiantravelmarket.com) An event which unlocks business potential for tourism professionals, where worlwide destinations showcase their range of tourism products.

International Travel Expo (ITE) Hong Kong, June 14 – 17, 2012 (www.itehk.com) A travel fair with impressive profiles of international exhibitors, buyers, and regional trade visitors.

GTM Germany Travel Mart (GTM) Leipzig, Germany, May 13 – 15, 2012 (www.germany.travel) The largest incoming workshop in Germany where German providers can meet key buyers from the international travel industry.

Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) Beijing, China, June 15 – 17, 2012 (www.bitechina.com.cn) A mega tourism event that showcases destinations, tourism attractions, travel packages, products, and services.

The Hotel Show Dubai, UAE, May 15 – 17, 2012 (www.thehotelshow.com) An exhibition providing a unique networking and sourcing platform within the region with over 14,800 professionals.

The Americas Meetings & Events Exhibitions (AIBTM) Baltimore, US, June 19 – 21, 2012 (www.aibtm.com) A leading exhibition for the meetings and events industry, bringing together professionals from all around the world.

28 APRIL 2012

Profile for T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly LTD

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 129  

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

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 129  

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

Profile for elinaperi
Advertisement