Travel Trade Weekly Issue 103

Page 1

Middle East and North Africa Edition

October 29, Issue 103

Hilton Abu Dhabi unveils its newly refurbished meeting and conference rooms. LE BRISTOL ABU DHABI TO OPEN DOORS IN 2013 The ultra-deluxe hotel, Le Bristol Abu Dhabi, is scheduled to open in the capital in 2013.

6 FLYDUBAI TO FLY TO SERBIA flydubai is to continue its European expansion drive with the launch of direct flights to Belgrade, effective from November 10.

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 29, 2011

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Hilton Abu Dhabi Revamps Meeting Facilities


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

UAE Inks Air Services Agreement with Ukraine The UAE has signed Agreed Minutes and initialled an Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Ukraine.


he agreement, initialled by Omar Bin Ghaleb, deputy director general, UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Dmytro Babeichuk, director, Air Navigation and Foreign Relations Department, State Aviation Administration, Ukraine, is to further boost the cooperation in the air transport section. Following negotiations, attended by representatives from Abu Dhabi Department of Transport, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Sharjah Department of Civil Aviation, Ras Al Khaimah Department of Civil Aviation, Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines, Air Arabia, RAK Airways and flydubai, the two delegations agreed that any number of designated airlines of both parties will have the right to operate scheduled Odessa, Ukraine air services between the European country and the UAE. The UAE delegations designated Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, Air Arabia, RAK Airways and flydubai, while the Ukrainian delegation confirmed its current designations for operations under the initialled ASA. The Agreed Minutes allow full flexibility on the routes, capacity, number of frequencies and types of aircraft, in any type of service (passenger or cargo), excluding the exercise of fifth freedom traffic rights which is subject to the approval of the Aeronautical Authorities.

Sahara Hospitality Forecasts Continued Growth

MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 26/10/2011 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 5.97 3.75 1,505.50 0.37 0.71 49.45 0.27 3.64 0.38 1.41 8.10 10,725.00 214.26 73.83 1.22

Sahara Hospitality (SHC) has reported strong third quarter (Q3) financial results and expects revenue to be further enhanced following development of more private accommodation for contractors (PAC) in Nimr, Oman. The Q3 report shows an increase in gross revenue of six percent at OMR5.64 million (USD14.65 million) as against OMR5.32 million (USD13.83 million) recorded in the same period of 2010. Net profit of OMR1.27 million (USD3.32 million) for the period is very similar to 2010’s figure of OMR1.26 million (USD3.28 million). The positive results are attributed to additional accommodation facilities at Fahud. Further construction works at Nimr PAC are in progress and will be ready for use by end of the year, adding to the availability of rooms and enhancing expected returns for the coming period. SHC has completed 11 years of safe work without lost time injuries (LTI) at PAC Fahud and plans are in progress to celebrate this great achievement and reward involved staff for their continual commitment and excellent work done adds the company report. OCTOBER 29, 2011

Hilton Abu Dhabi Revamps Meeting Facilities Hilton Abu Dhabi unveils its newly refurbished meeting and conference rooms.


he 327-room hotel, with more than 38 years of experience in conferences, meetings and events, has equipped all its function spaces with the latest technology and will soon introduce new names, reflecting the culture and heritage of the emirate. Leena Rajagopal, director of conference and events, Hilton Abu Dhabi, elaborated on the new facilities. “Hilton Abu Dhabi is the preferred venue for conferences, events, meetings and outside catering in Abu Dhabi. My team offers personalised service and tailor-makes any meeting or event. We have renamed our meetings facilities to honor the culture and heritage of Abu Dhabi, such as the Baniyas Room named after one of the most prestigious and highly regarded tribes of Southern Arabia and the Bateen Room after the oldest area of the UAE capital city with a rich history in boat making and fishing.” Khalidiya Room Hilton Abu Dhabi

Hilton Abu Dhabi is the preferred venue for conferences, events, meetings and outside catering in Abu Dhabi. My team offers personalised service and tailor-makes any meeting or event. With 14 function spaces, including outdoor venues, the hotel can now accommodate up to 2,000 guests. Business centre services, connectivity to the LCD projector with built-in white screen and Wi-Fi, audio and visual equipment, secretarial services and a variety of other facilities are all available to best cater to business guests.


Marriott Adds to its Extended Stay Offering in MENA Marriott International will open the first Residence Inn by Marriott hotel in Bahrain in early 2012, marking the beginning of expansion plans for the brand throughout the MENA region. Residence Inn will join Marriott’s other extended stay brand, Marriott Executive Apartments, which has four properties in operation. Residence Inn by Marriott Juffair, Bahrain, with 78 units, will be located adjacent to the Marriott Executive Apartments in an attractive suburban neighborhood of Manama. The property will offer a mix of spacious studios and one to two, and three-bedroom suites. Designed for stays of five days or more, each suite will have a fully-equipped kitchen and flat screen TV among other amenities. Rates will vary depending on length of stay, with lower rates for longer stays. Two other Residence Inn by Marriott hotels are planned in the region, with a property in Saudi Arabia expected to be launched in 2012 and an opening in Algeria scheduled for 2014. OCTOBER 29, 2011

- Accommodation

Hilton Worldwide and Al Habtoor Group Partners for Three Hotels Hilton Worldwide and Al Habtoor Group have signed an agreement to convert two hotels in Lebanon and to develop the very first Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts branded property on Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE.


nder the agreement, Hilton Worldwide will enter Lebanon by converting the 195-room Habtoor Grand and the 183-room Metropolitan Palace to Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand and Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace. The two hotels, both located in the heart of the capital city, are expected to be unveiled in early 2012. The partnership will also see the development of Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeriah, the first luxury resort in Dubai under the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Re-

sorts brand. The 324-room hotel, located on the iconic Palm Jumeirah, is scheduled to open at the end of 2013. Christopher Nassetta, president, Hilton Worldwide, commented on the developments. “Beirut is one of the liveliest cities in the world and a leading gateway destination between the east and west. We have been looking forward to entering Lebanon and are very pleased that we are able to do so with this caliber of properties. Equally, Waldorf Astoria's heritage and prestige is a perfect fit for Dubai and it is exactly the right time for this luxury brand to join the

expanding number of properties we have planned in the UAE.” Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman, Al Habtoor Group commented on the announcement. “Hilton Worldwide and Al Habtoor Group are two of Dubai's biggest corporate names, and our capabilities as hotel developers combine perfectly with Hilton Worldwide expertise as hotel operators. They were our partner of choice to help re-establish the two Beirut hotels and we are particularly thrilled to be part of the team launching the legendary Waldorf Astoria name in Dubai.”

Le Bristol Abu Dhabi to Open Doors in 2013 The ultra-deluxe hotel, Le Bristol Abu Dhabi, is scheduled to open in the capital in 2013. A ceremony was held at the construction site in the Al Bateen area to mark the new project to be developed by Oetker Collection, in partnership with National Corporation for Tourism and Hotels (NCTH), which will bring a new dimension of classic European hotel luxury and style infused with French flair to Abu Dhabi. Le Bristol Abu Dhabi will feature 184 luxury guestrooms with a minimum size of 45-55m and suites with private fitness facilities. Various contemporary gastronomic choices, including a Conference offering in gourmet restaurant will be Le Bristol Hotel, Beirut offered and there will be a selection of banqueting rooms with stunning seaside views for up to 300 persons. Other attractions include a spa, a private beach and a private marina. 2


OCTOBER 29, 2011

- Air News

Emirates Boosts African Network Emirates Airlines is to expand its African network by linking Dubai with two new destinations – Lusaka, Zambia, and Harare, Zimbabwe, effective from February 1, 2012.


he African countries, separated by a border at Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, will be served five times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Emirates’ new Dubai-Lusaka-Harare route reaffirms the carrier’s strategy to connect the UAE with emerging and underserved markets, pointed out Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman, Emirates Airline and Group. “Emirates has long understood the enormous potential of Africa, which today is one of the fastest-expanding economic regions of the world, benefitting from a combined market of over one billion people, rising consumer demand and an abundance of natural resources. “Zambia and Zimbabwe will be our 20th and 21st African destinations and their addition to our global network will enable us to provide new flexibility and choice for customers, help to grow trade routes and create important new inbound and outbound markets for tourism.”


Victoria Falls between Zambia and Zimbabwe

David Chawota, CEO, Civil Aviation Authority, Zimbabwe, commented on Emirates’ entry into the country. “The arrival of an airline of Emirates’ stature will be very significant for Zimbabwe, increasing capacity, connectivity and choice as the country strives to consolidate its economic recovery through attracting new trade, tourism and investment. We are extremely proud of the facilities we have at Harare International Airport and look forward to providing the very best service to Emirates customers from around the world. We really appreciate the support of our government in facilitating this development.” The airline will deploy an A330-200 aircraft on the route.

Qatar Airways Lands in Oslo Qatar Airways has launched scheduled flights to Oslo, Norway. Oslo is now the third gateway in the Scandinavian region, after Stockholm and Copenhagen, being served by the airline. Qatar will offer a five times weekly service to Oslo, the 107th destination on the airline’s global route map. Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, commented on the launch of flights to Oslo. “Qatar Airways has reached yet another key milestone in Europe, with Oslo becoming our seventh European destination launched so far this year.” The non-stop route from Oslo to Doha is served by an Airbus A330, offering 24 business class seats and 236 economy seats. The service from Doha commenced on October 5, with flight QR953 touching down at Oslo International Airport, welcomed by members of the local business community and travel trade. Qatar Airways

Jo Kobro, chief of information, Oslo International Airport, commented on the new service. “Qatar Airways’ new route from Oslo to Doha offers a comfortable and efficient link to the Gulf region and beyond. This new service will be much welcomed by business and leisure passengers travelling to a wide choice of Qatar Airways’ onward destinations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. OCTOBER 29, 2011

- Air News Egyptair Increases China flights Egyptair is to strengthen its presence in China by increasing frequencies to Guangzhou and Beijing. The additional flight to Guangzhou on Thursdays brings the total number of the airline’s weekly services to the southern city to five. Starting from December 1, Egyptair will operate four weekly flights instead of three between Cairo and Beijing, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

flydubai to Fly to Serbia flydubai is to continue its European expansion drive with the launch of direct flights to Belgrade, effective from November 10. The latest addition to Sveti Sava Church, Belgrade the carrier’s network reinforces its expansion strategy to connect the UAE with diverse markets, noted Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO. “We are committed to opening up routes previously underserved by direct UAE air links and are proud to become the first airline to operate direct services into Belgrade from Dubai. We anticipate a strong demand for flights, both from the Serbian community in the UAE as well as travellers looking for a low-cost link into one of the most dynamic cities in the world.” With its unparalleled cityscape and architectural style the Serbian capital has grown into one of the world’s leading cultural capitals, which regularly plays host to a raft of international festivals. “Serbia has taken numerous steps to develop its travel and tourism potential in recent years, including visa liberalisation and open skies policies. The subsequent entry of a number of European low-cost airlines has led to an influx of European travellers to the region and we fully expect the launch of our services to Belgrade to have the same effect here in the UAE,” added Al Ghaith. The historic city, to be served four times a week, will mark the 46th destination in the carrier’s network. OCTOBER 29, 2011

Etihad Partners with TAP Portugal Etihad Airways is to further strengthen its position in Europe after signing a codeshare agreement with TAP Portugal, the national carrier of Portugal.


he agreement further enhances the travel options of Etihad Airways’ passengers by offering flights to a number of destinations in Portugal, including Lisbon, Faro, Funchal (Madeira) and Porto. Under the codeshare, Etihad’s 34th such partnership, the Abu Dhabi-based airline will place its ‘EY’ code on services operated by TAP Portugal from Lisbon to Brussels, Düsseldorf, Faro, Frankfurt, Funchal, Geneva, London, Milan, and Porto. In addition, TAP flights from Porto to Brussels and Geneva will carry the ‘EY’ code. Likewise, TAP will place its ‘TP’ code on Etihad services to and from Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, and Milan.

TAP Portugal

The partnership marks another step in the Middle Eastern airline’s global expansion, noted James Hogan, CEO, Etihad. “This new codeshare illustrates Etihad’s growing ambitions in Europe. It opens up four key destinations in Portugal that we have been eager to offer our customers for a long time and we are certain the connections and seamless flight experience offered by Etihad Airways and TAP Portugal will appeal to business and leisure travellers.” The agreement opens up a new market for the European airline, commented Fernando Pinto, CEO, TAP Portugal. “TAP has been very active in providing new and more diverse quality services to its worldwide customer base. Through this new agreement with Etihad Airways, TAP will be reaching the UAE for the first time ever, not only offering faster and more convenient links between the Gulf region and Portugal, but also attracting and carrying new passengers to its own network, based at its functional Lisbon hub.” 9

- International

Vietnam’s Hue to be Home to Best Western Luxury Hotel Best Western International is due to open a new hotel development in Hue, Vietnam. The hotel which will hold the name of Best Western Premier Indochine Palace, will open in the fourth quarter of this year.


ith 222 guest rooms, the hotel located in the historic city of Hue will embrace the concept of an Indochine noble house. On The Palace floor, each room will incorporate a living space which will allow guests to entertain, and will also include a butler service. The Indochine Club Suites will offer a more luxurious stay to guests, including a luxury lounge with own check-in. In addition to the cultural and elegant design, Best Western Premier Indochine Palace embraces a sundeck with cabana

day rooms, a selection of restaurants, a spa, an executive lounge and 15 function rooms.

As a tourist destination, Hue ranks highly on Vietnam’s must see list. Building on this already substantial appeal is the city’s growing national importance Glenn de Souza, vice president international operations for Asia and the Middle East, Best Western International, com-

mented on the upcoming property. “As a tourist destination, Hue ranks highly on Vietnam’s must see list. Building on this already substantial appeal is the city’s growing national importance as a gateway linking provinces and cities in the north and south, as well as those in the East West Economic Corridor.” Located in central Vietnam, on the banks of the Perfume River, Hue, an ancient royal city, is full of culture and historical monuments. Best Western Premier Indochine Palace not only has the advantage of being located in the heart of the city but is also conveniently just 20 minutes from Vietnam’s international airport.

InterContinental to Expand in Russia and CIS InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) plans to have a portfolio of 100 hotels across Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) by 2020.Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn are already well established in Moscow and St. Petersburg but there is still huge room for growth according to IHG. Angela Bray, CEO, Europe, IHG, commented on the announcement. “We want to help bring people from around Russia and the rest of the world to experience the country’s rich cultural heritage and natural wonders.” IHG will continue to grow in Moscow and St. Petersburg and work with local investors to introduce, managed and franchise hotels across the country. The expansion will include the introduction of its newest brand, the boutique Hotel Indigo, into these two economic centres, in which the company sees significant potential for growth. “We are working with Crocus Group to build Europe’s biggest Holiday Inn in Moscow, with 1,000 rooms, due to open in 2014,” added Bray. Proposed hotels are expected to create more than 8,000 new jobs for the local community. IHG also announced it will open the Moscow branch of the IHG Academy in February 2012. 10

OCTOBER 29, 2011

Saeed Bin Sulaiman

Rashid Al Ardha

Saeed bin Sulaiman has been appointed country manager for Egypt at Emirates Airlines. Bin Sulaiman joined Emirates in 2001 and has since held a number of positions. His previous experience with the airline includes heading up its operations in both Uganda and Qatar. Within these markets, he successfully built and maintained country-wide relationships with political representatives, government officials, regulatory authorities and stakeholders.

Rashid Al Ardha has been named country manager for Morocco at Emirates Airlines. Al Ardha holds numerous qualifications, including a bachelors degree in information technology from the American University in Dubai. He joined Emirates in 2006 as part of the airline’s UAE National Commercial Management Programme, which inducts trainees in Emirates’ commercial, services and operational undertakings. He has since gained experience in a number of roles and Ajay Narain worked most recently as country manager for Sudan.

Saeed Bin Sulaiman

Christian Zunk Christian Zunk has been appointed general manager of Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara. Zunk will also take on the role of general manager of Al Yamm Lodge and Al Sahel Lodge, Anantara’s two new luxury lodges currently under development. He is currently involved in the preopening stage of the forthcoming properties, which are due to open towards the end of the year. Prior to taking on his new roles, Zunk worked as director of operations at Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa. Having held a number of key roles in Asia, Germany and the US, he has been in the five-star luxury hotel industry for more than 16 years. During his six-year tenure with Four Seasons Group, and fouryear tenure with Rocco Forte Collection, he gained diverse expertise in various positions. Before joining Marriott, he served as director of rooms at Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa in the Philippines. Drawing on his extensive experience across the globe, Zunk aims to strengthen the properties’ position not only in the regional market but also on the international stage. Christian Zunk OCTOBER 29, 2011

Rashid Al Ardha


Khalid Ahmed Bin Sulayem

Abdulaziz Al Raisi

Director general, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

Chief operating officer, Oman Air.

Khalid Ahmed Bin Sulayem

“This kind of training [such as ‘The Spirit in Service’] for hotel concierges was designed to enhance motivations and inspire hotel service professionals on the front line to learn from experience and deliver unique service for the guest. DTCM will continue offering these initiatives as part of its endeavors to achieve world class quality of services standards.”

“Oman Air is committed to being at the forefront of technological innovation within the civil aviation industry and we are delighted that our pioneering in-flight mobile phone and wi-fi connectivity has been recognised with this prestigious [Best In-Flight ConAbdulaziz Al Raisi nectivity and Communications prize at Passenger Choice Awards]. Oman Air’s inflight connectivity service is just one of a number of sweeping changes we have introduced in the last two years. Our new fleet of Airbus A330s has been joined by brand-new Embraer E175 regional jets, we have expanded our network to more than 40 exciting destinations and we have opened superb new business class and first class lounges at Muscat International Airport. Furthermore, our online booking, e-ticketing and web check-in facilities are complemented by door-to-door first class and business class limousine services, a lounge-to-aircraft limousine service at Muscat and stunning onboard products and services.”

David Scowsill CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

“Travel and Tourism accounts for nine percent of GDP globally and seven percent of GDP in Japan. The industry is working hard to drive the recovery process [in Japan] and we anticipate that business will return to normal levels in 2012”.

David Scowsill

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 29, 2011

Agent’s Insight Name: Hatem Hassen Position:Managing director Company: Magical Adventures Travel Tunisia (Matt Travel Tunisia) Location: Tunisia Who are you? My name is Hatem Hassen. I have been in the tourism field for 15 years now and I have a degree in tourism. Travelling is my passion and I could not see myself in any other job. Matt Travel Tunisia is a travel agency specialising in beach holidays, honeymoons, adventure holidays and accommodation. We also offer cultural tours, archeological tours, trekking and family excursions. We organise the ultimate Tunisian tours for travellers to explore the country at a cheap rate.

IATA and SIS to Wipe-Out Paper Documents The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched Simplified Interline Settlement (SIS), removing paper documents from the airline industry’s billing and settlement process. The SIS will be fully implemented in 2013 and will eliminate all paper invoice creation and distribution between airlines and provide annual cost savings to the industry of USD400-USD700 million through the elimination of paper, mail chargers, courier fees, lost documents, internal paper handling and system and process efficiencies. In addition, SIS will offer environmental benefits through the elimination of and need to transport paper. SIS will consist of one billing file which will be converted into an invoice and a settlement file that will be sent to the billed airline and cleared and settled though the IATA Clearing House. Aleksander Popovich, senior vice president, industry distribution and financial services, IATA, commented on the innovative idea. “SIS is the culmination of three years of hard work and close collaboration between the airline industry, IATA’s expert team and the technology supplier Kale.”

What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? Exploring new horizons, to get an idea about different civilisations and meeting people of different nationalities. When is the best time to visit Tunisia? It depends. If you are looking for sun and beach, September is the best time. If you are looking to discover and explore the country, then it is best between November and April. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? For my next holiday I wish to visit Indonesia. Why should people come to you for travel advice? Because we have a professional team, good service and we offer the best prices.

Oasis, Tunisia OCTOBER 29, 2011


Qatar Airways Caters to Developing Corporate Flying Demands Qatar Airways’ corporate jet division, Qatar Executive, took part in the three-day Jet Expo show at Vnukovo-3 International Airport, Moscow. It is the first time that the airline has participated in Russia’s leading business aviation show


he airline is taking steps towards meeting demands for business jet services in the Middle East and globally. Jet business services provide business travellers with the convenient option of booking a flight as little as four hours before departure, access to premium lounges, and check-in just 10 minutes before flight departure. Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, commented on the attendance of the event. “Our participation in Jet Expo 2011 gave us a chance to interact with our most loyal clients and of course new clientele. At the same time, it was a perfect opportunity to

present services available for luxury flying.” The Russian market is of extreme importance to Qatar Executive which was initiated to make corporate jet services available for customers to fly to any destination. “Tapping into this highly lucrative premium market segment and achieving growth is part of our long-term expansion strategy. Russia offers solid potential that will enable Qatar Executive to meet its ambitious targets”, added Al Baker. The corporate jets, which were launched in 2009, are available with 11 or seven seats, along with Qatar Airways’ renowned high standards, services, comfort and reliability.

Etihad’s Chauffeur Service for Coral Economy Travellers Travellers can now enjoy a complimentary chauffeured car service with Etihad Airways. The offering is available for passengers living in Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah, on specific tickets purchased to certain destinations.

We are always looking for new ways to reward the loyalty of our guests in our home market, the UAE Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer, Etihad Airways, commented on this initiative. “We are always looking for new ways to reward the loyalty of our guests in our home market, the UAE. We have recently seen increased demand out of Dubai, Sharjah and Al Ain, and we feel that by extending our chauffeur service to Coral Economy guests in these places, we will be able to ensure they enjoy award-winning Etihad hospitality from the moment they leave their front door.”

Etihad Airways


OCTOBER 29, 2011

Q & A with Roddy Gordon Despite that Abu Dhabi’s hospitality sector has shown substantial growth, the emirate’s rising profile has been persistently creating room for further developments. Roddy Gordon, newly appointed director of marketing, Rosewood Abu Dhabi, talks about how the hotel aims to address this growing demand for luxury amenities. Travel Trade Weekly: The latest addition to Rosewood’s portfolio, an ultraluxury business hotel in Abu Dhabi, is scheduled to open within one year. At what stage is the development? Roddy Gordon: The construction phase is almost complete and we are now moving our focus to the fit-out phase of the project. We are selecting talented staff and we anticipate welcoming our first guests in September 2012.

Travel Trade Weekly: Rosewood prides itself on its devotion to creating luxury hotels and resorts unlike any other in the world. What will make Rosewood Abu Dhabi stand out? Roddy Gordon: Rosewood has more than 30 years experience in operating luxury hotels and has been successfully operating some of the Middle East premier properties for more than 12 years. Rosewood Abu Dhabi will be the latest addition to our collection, and discerning guests who choose it will continue to appreciate the hotel’s embodiment of Rosewood’s ‘A Sense of Place’ philosophy, which is Rosewood’s honest approach in embracing the local culture and resources to create a one-of-a-kind experience. Travel Trade Weekly: The hotel is ideally located to cater to business travellers. How do you plan to position and market the property? Roddy Gordon: Sowwah Island will host the core of Abu Dhabi’s new central business district and as such we believe the hotel will become a strategic base for OCTOBER 29, 2011

the senior financial business community. The hotel is being created with the business community in mind so that we can offer the services they need. To appeal specifically to the discerning business traveller, Rosewood Abu Dhabi will provide a modern angle on the traditional role of the butler. The delivery of this service will be more contemporary than the classical butler stereotype. From the technology point of view, customers will have complete control of the room conditions, using in-room iPads with tailored applications to seamlessly allow guests to find their perfect room balance. Rosewood will also be very attractive to the leisure market because of the quality of our guestrooms, Sense Spa and our selection of world class culinary choices and luxury shopping options.

Travel Trade Weekly: With a career spanning over two decades, you bring a wealth of experience to Rosewood. How does Abu Dhabi differ from your previous locations (Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Dubai, Seoul or Auckland)?

Roddy Gordon

Travel Trade Weekly: Another prestigious property, Rosewood Dubai is slated for opening in 2013. Are there Roddy Gordon: Each of these markets any plans in place to add further hohave characteristics that define customer tels or resorts to Rosewood’s Middle perceptions and employee behaviour. East portfolio? South Korea has a formalised approach to doing business, while New Zealand is more relaxed and informal. Abu Dhabi is less pronounced in its contrasts. I sense a strong element of family values that radiates through the local culture. The local people are intensely proud of their heritage and the business community appreciates integrity and genuine relationships that go beyond the exchange of a business card.

Roddy Gordon: We are under discussion regarding a number of regional and global markets and our development team is very optimistic about the potential to grow the Rosewood portfolio. The appointment of Paul Arnold as vice president of development of Rosewood’s global development team for the Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean underlines the company’s commitment to the region. 15

Dubai International Airport Launches SnoozeCube Dubai International Airport (DXB) has become the first airport in the region to offer passengers state-of-the-art modular sleeping pods. Each accommodation unit, called a SnoozeCube, contains a full-sized bed, a touch-screen television as well as high speed internet access to ensure comfort, privacy, entertainment and connectivity at the same time. Passengers taking advantage of the pioneering pods also receive up-to-date information on flights. The 10 sound-proofed units already installed adjacent to Terminal 1’s Gate 122 are already proving to be a major attraction at the world’s fourth busiest airport for international passenger traffic. The launch of the innovation reaffirms

DXB’s commitment to continuously improving its services, commented Eugene Barry, vice president of commercial, Dubai Airports. “We are always looking at ways to enhance the level of comfort and indeed the overall customer experience at Dubai International. The SnoozeCube is certain to have a positive effect on both.” The adaptation of the cutting-edge units is a further endorsement of Dubai Airport’s reputation for continually enhancing visitor experience, added Larry Swann, the creator of the SnoozeCube. “Adopting innovative ideas has helped keep Dubai at the forefront of the travel and tourism industries, and the SnoozeCube is the perfect fit. Having researched

Inside SnoozeCube


airports around the world I realised that the travel experience can be enhanced by providing passengers a place to rest that is convenient, affordable, comfortable and safe.”

Events World Travel Market London, UK, November 7-10, 2011 ( A 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 A leading global event for the meetings and events industry, consistently delivers key buyers and decision makers. which 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 29, 2011

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