5 NOVEMBER 2011
Rocco Forte Hotels Debuts in the Middle East
Viceroy Hotels and Resorts has rebranded Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi to Yas Viceroy.
Rocco Forte Hotels is to open its first property in Abu Dhabi on November 7.
08 Nikki Beach and Egyptian Resorts Collaborate A 100-room hotel to be built at Sahl Hasheesh, ERCâ€™s purposebuilt Red Sea destination
IN THIS ISSUE MARKET UPDATE WEEKLY NEWS ACCOMMODATION AIR NEWS TRAVEL INTERNATIONAL WHO'S MOVED TRAVEL TALK AGENTS' CORNER TRAVEL CHANNELS RENDEZVOUS EVENTS
02 04 08 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Iconic Yas Hotel Transforms into Yas Viceroy
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi email@example.com JOURNALISTS Rita Kasziba Marianna Keen Dominique Christou
ADNH Grows Revenue Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) has recorded solid revenue increase in the first nine months of the year.
SALES & MARKETING Maria Demetriadou Brighite Ess Dominique Tennant Dimitris Thomaidis 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 www.traveltradeweekly.travel EMAILS firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org PRINTED IN CYPRUS Cyprint Plc P.O. Box 58300, CY-3732, Limassol, Cyprus Tel: +357 2572 0035, Fax: +357 25720123 Email: email@example.com
MENA EXCHANGE RATES Accurate as of
or the first nine months of this year total group revenue rose 7.4 percent to AED1.33 billion (USD364 million), while gross profits increased by 13.4 percent to AED206.7 million (USD56.3 million). Third quarter net profits showed a decline of AED48 million (USD13.1 million) compared with the corresponding period in 2010. Contributing AED120.5 million (USD32.8 million) to the group’s revenue, the hotel division proved to be one of the best performers. The results underscore the company’s
strategy, noted Richard. Riley, CEO, ADNH. “The excellent financial results achieved by the company for this quarter as well as previous quarters of this year bear witness to the success of our business strategy, which focuses on providing high quality, tailor-made and unique offerings aimed at meeting and exceeding the needs and expectations of our partners and customers. As we look ahead confidently to a fourth quarter, ADNH will continue its commitment to excellence across the varied hospitality sectors in Abu Dhabi and region-wide.”
IHG: Robust Americas RevPAR Growth InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has recorded strong revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth in the US and the Americas in the third quarter of the year. IHG’s RevPAR in the Americas rose 7.6 percent in the three month period. Driven by a three percentage point occupancy increase and 3.4 percent rate growth, the group’s comparable US RevPAR climbed eight percent. On a total RevPAR basis, which includes the benefit of new hotels, IHG’s US RevPAR grew 9.8 percent, outperforming the industry’s average 7.9 percent increase. On the same base, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express RevPAR grew 10.4 percent and 9.2 percent respectively.
Currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar
Saudi Arabia (SAR)
to the new, fresh look and design of Travel Trade Monthly and Travel Trade Weekly. We are pleased to inform you that this month, our publications reached their two-year milestone of providing up-to-date, reliable travel trade news. In this two year period, we have published 25 Travel Trade Monthly editions and a total of 104 Travel Trade Weekly issues. Our publications are the only Middle East and North Africa titles that promote MENA outside of the region. We enjoy an average of 5,500 readers per day with over 64,000 travel agents, tour operators and other trade professionals around the globe contributing to content as well as readership. The diversity and quality in our publications, as well as the frequency of campaigns from our advertisers, define what Travel Trade Monthly and Travel Trade Weekly stand for and promote and justify their increasing number of readers. We would like to thank our readers for their weekly support and trust in our titles and stress that we are committed to continually providing our audience with the latest news and developments. The Travel Trade Weekly Team
5 NOVEMBER 2011
Cruise Travel Booming in the Arabian Gulf Opportunities and challenges faced in the flourishing cruise industry have been addressed at the Seatrade Middle East Cruise Convention in Dubai.
enior executives from global cruise lines, representatives from regional tourism and port authorities, tour operators and travel agents gathered together at the Meydan Hotel and discussed the potential of cruise operations in the region. Chris Hayman, chairman, Seatrade, elaborated on the remarkable growth the region has experienced over the past decade. “Dubai has to be admired for its ambitions and achievements in reaching out to the cruise industry. From just 17 cruise line calls in 2001, this year the city will host 120 calls and 425,000 passengers. In order to further grow that business, our agenda at the convention has been to address how the whole region can grow as a cruise destination – by adding new ports of call, new shore excursions, expanding port infrastructure, sourcing new markets both locally and regionally, and
smoothing visa issues.” Hamad bin Mejran, executive director, business tourism, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, remarked on the cruise industry’s positive impact on the economy. “We need to amplify awareness about cruise tourism regionally as well as help cruise lines source passengers through our 18 overseas offices. In addition, as the cruise capital of the region, we are committed to building new facilities that will further contribute to the appeal of the Arabian Gulf and work closely with our neighbours to share our experience.” With a number of cruise liners planning to expand Arabian Gulf operations, the region is to experience a significant growth. German cruise line, TUI will start winter hub operations from Dubai in 2012, while MSC’s Lirica arrived in Dubai on October 28 en route to Abu Dhabi, where it will homeport for the winter for the first time.
RJ to Add African Destinations in December Royal Jordanian (RJ) is to embark on African expansion with the launch of scheduled flights to Lagos and Nairobi in December. Starting December 3, the airline will operate direct services to Lagos, the economic and financial capital of Nigeria, while the inaugural flight to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, will take off on December 16, announced Hussein Dabbas, president and CEO. Nigeria
The new routes come in line with RJ’s strategy to expand its network to new and underserved destinations. Dabbas also highlighted that connecting Amman with these African countries is expected to boost tourist influx to the Kingdom, particularly by Muslim pilgrims and Christians, visiting holy sites in the region. Lagos will be served twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with RJ deploying its wide-bodied Airbus A330 on the route. Meanwhile the Amman-Nairobi route will be operated four times a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays by the narrow-bodied A319. To further expand its African network, the airline is currently considering to launch flights to Accra, the capital of Ghana and Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
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Qatar to Home Resort of Pure Luxury Soon to open in Qatar, the Al Gassar Resort is to provide a range of offerings including the five-star deluxe waterfront hotel services at St.Regis Hotel.
he resort is inspired by traditional Arab architecture and is in the prime coastline location between West Bay and Doha’s cultural hub, Katara Village. It consists of 422 luxury apartments, a choice of food and beverage outlets, a business centre and grocery shopping assistant services, along with a fitness centre and outdoor sports facilities. The resort aims to offer residents a hotel-style living experience with a customised service in their own home. Wolfgang Pachler, chief operating officer, Resorts Development Company and master developer behind Al Gassar Resort, will provide a wealth of global experience to the development.
Al Gassar Resort surely is another mega landmark in Doha “It is truly an honour to be part of history in the making. Al Gassar Resort surely is another mega landmark in Doha. It presents the highest standards in hotel and residential services both for leisure guests and those seeking to make Doha their home on a more permanent basis”.
Rezidor Launches Club Carlson for Business The Rezidor Hotel Group, Carlson’s strategic partner in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has introduced a new extension of its loyalty programme. Club Carlson for Business is dedicated to small to medium-sized enterprises, which, by enrolling into the programme, can save on their travel budgets, and benefit from recognition and rewards at 1,000 hotels worldwide. John Kennedy, vice president, marketing and customer relationship management, Rezidor, commented on the initiative. “Club Carlson for Business offers more value to small and medium-sized businesses which are important client for our hotels. At the same time, the programme helps us to build loyalty.” The first phase of the programme is available in Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the UK, Germany, France and the US. Soon, companies listed in other countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa will also be able to join and take advantage of the benefits of the programme.
5 NOVEMBER 2011
Rocco Forte Hotels Debuts in the Middle East Rocco Forte Hotels has officially confirmed that its first property in the Middle East will open in Abu Dhabi on November 7. Presenting a striking, wave-shaped glass building, the luxury Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi is set to become a new urban landmark for the emirate. It will provide 281 bedrooms as well as four restaurants, two bars, a large spa, a ballroom and meeting rooms. Sir Rocco Forte, chairman, Rocco Forte Hotels, commented on the property. “Our service quality will match the exceptional design, delivered by a team who aim to bring a new type of luxury experience to customers, with discreet and efficient service as well as a personalised and authentic approach. We expect the hotel to set a new benchmark for luxury in Abu Dhabi ahead of our next four scheduled openings in the region over the next three years.”
Nikki Beach Hotel and Resorts and Egyptian Resorts Collaborate Egyptian Resorts Company (ERC) and Nikki Beach Hotels and Resorts have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to manage and operate a 100-room boutique hotel which is to be built at Sahl Hasheesh, ERC’s unique, purpose-built Red Sea destination.
Sawari marina, Sahl Hasheesh
he boutique hotel will be located on a beachfront property in Sahl Hasheesh’s Sawari marina development. It will consist of the Nikki Beach club, meeting space, food and beverage facilities, a night club and a luxurious spa. Nikki Beach Hotels and Resorts is a collection of elite lifestyle properties, strategically located on beachfronts and urban areas worldwide. Carlos Arenas, director, strategy and business development, ERC, commented on the agreement. “We are very excited to be partnering with Nikki Beach. It is very rewarding to have a top global brand seeking out Sahl Hasheesh, and we look forward to jointly raising local and international consumer awareness of both Sahl Hasheesh and Sawari marina.” Sawari is anticipated to become the Red Sea coast’s premier marina, making Sahl Hasheesh a top destination for second time home buyers and property investors from Europe and the Gulf. Mohamed Kamel, CEO, ERC, gave his insight on the agreement with Nikki Beach. “Convincing Nikki Beach to invest time and energy in Egypt is not just a win for Sahl Hasheesh and ERC, but for the economy at large. We believe the Nikki Beach MoU suggests a clear answer. Top international players see outstanding profit potential in Egypt, particularly on the Red Sea Coast.” 5 NOVEMBER 2011
The Sifawy Broadens Oman’s Offering The Sifawy, a boutique four-star hotel, opened in Oman on September 16, marking Egyptian based Orascom Development’s first property in the country. Located in the heart of the picturesque marina town of Jebel Sifah, the hotel is close to the main entertainment hub with restaurants, cafes, shops and buzzing night-life. It is also less than an hour’s drive from the capital city of Muscat and Oman’s international airport, making it very convenient for international visitors. The Sifawy provides 55 guest rooms, including 30 suites, with the Marina Suite offering a personal butler. The property’s amenities include a large swimming pool, outdoor jacuzzi, fitness centre, treatment room, in addition to a wide range of activities and excursions. Authentic regional and international cuisines are served at the hotel’s restaurant, Al Sabla, or the beautiful beach restaurant, As Sammak, which offers fresh, seafood.
Yas Hotel Transforms into Yas Viceroy Viceroy Hotels and Resorts has rebranded the iconic Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi to Yas Viceroy.
ince assuming the management of the hotel in the summer, the team at the property has been engaged in a thorough preparation to align itself and the property with the Viceroy brand’s high standards. Heiner Werdeling, general manager, Yas Viceroy, commented on the rebranding. “The improvements we have already made since taking over the management of the hotel in July exemplify our dedication to immediately introducing Viceroy Hotels and Resorts' unique service standards to Yas Viceroy.” The first Viceroy branded property in the Middle East debuts with both tangible and intangible upgrades, including a sleek new lobby, an expanded greeting area and improved concierge facilities. The hotel has also re-launched the executive club suites, and refreshed the menus at the hotel’s 12 restaurants. “Over the next 12 months our guests will see both cosmetic and service changes to Yas Viceroy, designed to ensure that what is already an architectural icon of Abu Dhabi becomes a standard bearer for hospitality in the region,” added Werdeling. The upgrades at Yas Viceroy align the hotel with Viceroy’s brand image, noted Anton Bawab, regional president, Viceroy Hotel Group. “We are proud to have been selected to manage what has become possibly the finest and most architecturally significant hotel in the region. The hotel's exceptional architecture and lavish interiors perfectly compliment the Viceroy Hotel Group's distinctive aesthetic and exemplary service standards. The expansion of Viceroy Hotel Group in the GCC region shows the continued growth of the luxurious portfolio and sets a high benchmark for new hotels to come in the region.”
5 NOVEMBER 2011
Etihad to Fly to Tripoli Etihad Airways is to commence scheduled flights to Tripoli. Upon launching services to the Libyan capital, Tripoli will become the airline’s fifth North African destination. Etihad will offer three weekly flights to the historic city, announced James Hogan, CEO. “As soon as the NATO no-fly zone is lifted, the airport is declared safe and all appropriate infra-structure is in place we will be able to begin services.” The proposed schedule will allow maximum connectivity to Abu Dhabi for flights from North and South Asia and the Indian subcontinent, added Hogan. The return flights, operated by an Airbus A330200, are expected to go on sale within weeks. Tripoli
Qatar Airways Launches Four New Dedicated Cargo Services Qatar Airways’ cargo division is commencing scheduled dedicated freighter services to three North American destinations – Atlanta, Houston and Toronto, as well as to Jeddah. Atlanta and Houston are now served with twice-weekly flights, while the Toronto routes will begin on November 7. The services will be operated with Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777 freighters and will fly from the airline’s hub in Doha via Luxembourg. In North America, Qatar Airways has previously operated dedicated freighters only to Chicago. Extra cargo flights to Chicago, Colombo, Bahrain, Dammam, Hong Kong and Tehran were introduced on October 30. Effective from October 30, Qatar Airways’ passenger services to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia have been supplemented with a weekly cargo flight. Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, remarked that the airline’s dedicated cargo network is an extension of its strategy to develop its global air transport business. “With the recent completion of our 35 percent stake in Cargolux, Europe’s largest cargo airline, we have increased our focus on freighter operations, which ties seamlessly into the airline’s strategy to have as many connecting points across the globe from our Doha hub. We have identified tremendous route expansion opportunities around the world, including North America where the freighter market is huge.”
5 NOVEMBER 2011
Holiday Inn Resort Expands to Acapulco InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Playa Poniente Group announced the opening of Holiday Inn Resort Acapulco. The hotel exemplifies the USD1 billion Holiday Inn re-launch, the biggest project of its kind in the hospitality industry.
ocated on the ocean front, Holiday Inn Acapulco boasts a contemporary design with 224 spacious and comfortable rooms for business or leisure guests, offered at an affordable price. The hotel presents astounding views of the Pacific Ocean, a business centre, Santa Lucia Café Terrace and two restaurants. Holiday Inn Acapulco includes five meeting rooms which hold 12 to 40 people and a pool area for private or corporate events catering up to 200 people. Gerardo Murray, regional vice president sales and marketing, Mexico, IHG, commented
on the company's expansion. “We are very excited to open the Holiday Inn Resort Acapulco in one of the most wellknown ports in Mexico – Acapulco.” With a great location, Holiday Inn Acapulco, located in the heart of Acapulco on the Condesa area, has easy access to the city's nightlife and major tourist attractions, including the Quebrada and the Blue Water Sportfishing centre. “The opening of this new Holiday Inn Resort demonstrates the confidence we have in Mexico as an important tourist destination,” added Murray.
A Luxury Collection Hotel in India Great Hotels of the World has announced the launch of Syna Tiger Resort, India. The four-year, approximate USD1.8 million development opened on October 17. Spanning over 437km2, the resort is situated on the edge of Bandhavgarh National Park in central India. Arpan Dutta, chairman, Modus Vivendi Hospitality, commented on the resort. “This property is definitely one of the finest. Syna Tiger Resort will set an example for other resorts to follow.” It consists of beautiful surroundings with an azure plunge pool enclosed by 15 exclusive luxury cottages and a signature tree house. All accommodations come with modern amenities, network connectivity, private walled gardens and a jacuzzi. Syna Tiger Resort also offers facilities for hosting weddings and banquets. “We aim to deliver the best of services with a rural touch and have a rural kitchen concept where guests are served authentic cuisine. Syna Tiger Resort will take tourists’ expectations to a deeper and higher level,” concluded Dutta. Corporate clients can benefit from the resort's separate, naturally inspiring venue which holds a modern day tapovana, an outdoor space for spiritual practice, used for holding effective training programmes.
5 NOVEMBER 2011
Sherif Khalil Sherif Khalil has been appointed vice president resort sales and business development for the Middle East and North Africa at Interval International. Based in Dubai, Khalil is in charge of securing new resort affiliations throughout the region and providing service to existing affiliates. As part of his responsibilities, he will also pursue business development
opportunities for Interval and Preferred Residences. Khalil initially joined Interval as operations supervisor in its Cairo office in 1999. He later was promoted to operations manager and then to general manager for the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to returning to Interval, he gained experience in the shared ownership industry.
Georges Farhat Georges Farhat has been promoted to hotel manager at Crowne Plaza Dubai. Farhat joined the team in 1994 as a management trainee. His dedication and commitment to the property’s success has enabled him to continuously work his way up the ranks. He played a major role in the hotel’s development through driving revenue, guest satisfaction and employee engagement. Throughout his 17 years with the property, Farhat has maintained strong relations within
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the local community, including government officials, community organisations as well as InterContinental corporate offices. Most recently he held the position of resident manager. As hotel manager, he aims to further develop his team members across all departments to deliver successful customer service.
As hotel manager, he aims to further develop his team members across all departments.
Jörg Hauri Jörg Hauri has been named general manager of Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi. After completing his apprenticeship and hotel course in Switzerland, Hauri spent several years travelling the world. During 20 years of living and working in various countries across Asia, he gained invaluable experience in the food and beverage section
and as resident manager. Following two decades in Asia, he joined Sheraton in Egypt, followed by the UAE. He then worked at two hotels in Mauritius before returning to Egypt to join Mövenpick. Following experience in Tunisia and Lebanon, he moved to Greece to become the group general manager for Maris Hotels in Crete.
travel talk is your space
Exhibition manager, International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), Reed Travel Exhibitions.
Chairman and CEO, Accor.
“We have a perfect match in terms of the ratio of buyers and exhibitors this year, which means a high volume of business is likely to be achieved. Many of our most loyal clients are continuing to support IGTM despite the challenging economic times. They are choosing to invest in IGTM as opposed to other events because they can quantify and measure a return on investment due to the quality of the pre-arranged appointments.”
“The Middle East region is a very important market for the group’s expansion plans and we are delighted to have this opportunity to meet our valued Middle East investors personally. With their support and our internationallyrecognised hotel brands in the region, we plan to further expand our portfolio to reach a network of 90 hotels by 2015.”
Giovanni Onorato President, Costa Cruises.
“The Costa Favolosa will be the largest and most advanced ship ever deployed in the region. She will offer our guests the truly unique opportunity to visit the most intriguing destinations in the UAE and Oman, on board an Italian cruise ship providing superb comfort, exclusive services and state-of-the-art hi-tech entertainment, including suites and cabins with private balconies, the Samsara Spa, spacious lidos, plus golf and Grand Prix simulators. ”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
5 NOVEMBER 2011
Travel Packages for Volvo Ocean Race
NAME: Waleed Arafat Ali POSITION: General manager COMPANY: Lendi Travels LOCATION: Sudan
Who are you? My name is Waleed Arafat Ali and I come from Nubian territory in Sudan. In 2003 I started working as a tour guide, exchanging my knowledge, experience and, most importantly, the feelings I shared with all my clients I was privilaged to tour with. I managed to develop from a tour guide to a tour operator, and in 2005 I started running my own tour groups. In 2007 I officially established my own business. At Lendi Travels we have an amazing team which over the years has reached a high level of harmony. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? Travelling with different people, different cultures and bringing people closer together. With all the issues in our world today, tourism offers me and others a better opportunity to discuss our global concerns and better educate ourselves. It interests me to show my country’s ancient history and culture. The industry offers me the opportunity to continuously learn about my country and its people. When is the best time to visit Sudan? Summer is always hot here, so winter is a more comfortable time for people to visit and not be exposed to too much heat. The best time to visit is September through to April. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? I always like to travel in the Nubian territory, but outside Sudan. I would love to travel to Europe. Why should people come to you for travel advice? I have a very good experience of the country and the correct knowledge to offer visitors. I listen to all interests and ideas from my clients. I craft them an excellent itinerary and turn their travels to a once in a lifetime holiday.
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Abu Dhabi’s New Year Race Village
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) is offering tailor made holiday packages for the emirate’s New Year hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011/12 fleet. The packages cater to international travellers who want to make the most of their visit to the UAE. The variety of packages, which are being run by Volvo Ocean Race Abu Dhabi Travel Services, in conjunction with the stopover’s travel partner, Hala Abu Dhabi, offer a New Years Eve party, arrival ceremony of Volvo Ocean
Race yachts, Pro-Am Race, In-Port Race and departure ceremony. The packages consist of hotel accommodation, transfers to and from airports and transport to the Volvo Ocean Race. Mubarak Al Nuaimi, international promotions manager, ADTA, commented on the event. “We are pleased to be able to work with our preferred travel agency, Hala Abu Dhabi, to create customised travel packages in conjunction with this special event.”
Evolutionary Solution for Hidden Rates evolution technology by Great Hotels of the World has discovered 40 percent of corporate negotiated rates are not evident on the Global Distribution System (GDS).
he hospitality e-commerce and e-distribution provider, evolution, has found through researching over 200 hotels that 40 percent of corporate negotiated rates are not visible on the GDS. The results proved that the independent hotel sector, which receives a large amount of its corporate customers via the GDS, is poorly serviced by providers. The analysis, which found eight main reasons for the missing, corporate negoti-
ated rates, shows that the best central reservation systems and channel manager technology is insufficient. The reasons include wrong access codes which are provided by travel agents, hotel rates being visible but not complying with the contract, and incorrect access codes or pseudo city codes that have been supplied. Further reasons are that the last contracted room availability has not been applied by the hotel, incorrect loading instructions have been given, lower public rates are available
from other sources, the wrong rate structure has been applied and rates have not been loaded or have been loaded too late. evolution technology by Great Hotels of the World offers a solution for the identified issues and believes that hotels' current accounts’ production should be maximised.
evolution technology by Great Hotels of the World offers a solution for the identified issues
East London Appeals to Gulf Visitors Gulf visitors to London are increasingly being drawn to the city’s East End, in which rich trendy bars, art galleries and markets including international cuisines and vintage clothing, are an attraction according to VisitBritain. Urban improvement since the announcement of the London 2012 Olympic Games is making East London even more appealing to visitors from the Gulf region, Britain’s national tourism agency has concluded. The most colourful, bustling and inspirational markets in the area include Columbia Road Flower Market; Borough Food Market and Spitalfields Market, while Brick Lane is the place to be to experience the East End’s famous cafes, bars, music venues and Indian restaurants. The Old Truman Brewery and Museum in Docklands are also recommended attractions, as is The Whitechapel Gallery, in the area famous for exploits by Jack the Ripper and the Krays.
Food at Brick Lane market
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Q & A with Ghaith Al Ghaith With the UAE receiving a surge in demand due to its perceived safety amid a turbulent political climate in the Arab world, flight networks from the nation have expanded. Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai shares his insight on the low cost model’s success and the airline's plans for the future.
Travel Trade Weekly: Just after two years of inception, flydubai now operates to 45 destinations and boasts a fleet of 20 aircraft. How do you foresee the airline and Middle Eastern low-cost aviation’s future in the short-term? Do you think that the region’s LCCs can further increase their market share and preserve shares as high as their European or American peers? Ghaith Al Ghaith: Middle East’s LCCs currently account for only seven percent of total passenger traffic, compared with 35 percent in Europe, so there is great potential for growth. This region is fast emerging as the world’s commercial aviation hub and there is a level of expertise as well as demand that we can capitalise on. flydubai, especially, marries quality and reliability with an affordable proposition and it is this formula that has prompted excellent passenger numbers and made us the second-largest carrier operating out of Dubai International Airport. The lowcost model appeals to all travellers thanks to the tangible savings. Moreover, flydubai is based in a country in which 83 percent of the population is expatriate and therefore mobile with a desire to visit their home country or go on leisure breaks. The geographical location of the UAE is also very different to that of Europe or the US in that flying is the only feasible option when visiting other countries. When these two factors are combined with minimal penetration of LCCs in the Middle East, flydubai and the larger market are seen to be well-placed to prosper in the years to come. Travel Trade Weekly: flydubai has been con-
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stantly expanding to the European continent, with a number of routes having been launched in recent months. What makes Central and Eastern Europe a strategically important region for flydubai?
Ghaith Al Ghaith CEO, flydubai
Ghaith Al Ghaith: There are more than 55,000 expatriates from this region residing in the UAE and more than a million tourists from Central and Eastern Europe visit the Emirates every year. Travel Trade Weekly: With more and more airlines launching flights to the Middle East and the UAE, the competition is continuously intensifying. How do you intend to keep high seat levels and remain your passengers’ first choice? Ghaith Al Ghaith: There is enough passenger demand for all well-run airlines to
flydubai and the larger market are seen to be well-placed to prosper in the years to come be successful in this region and we welcome competition. Our aim has always been to expand both the flydubai fleet and network as quickly as possible, to offer travellers, whether flying for business, leisure or to visit friends and family, a greater number of affordable and convenient travel options. Our strategy has clearly paid off as we were named the best value-for-money airline in an independent poll of UAE residents conducted by research company Real Opinions. flydubai has redefined the low-cost model; we are the only airline in the UAE to offer an unbundled product in which the fare includes everything a person needs to travel – for example the price of the seat, all taxes and hand baggage. Everything else, such as checked baggage, extra legroom seats, in-flight entertainment and refreshments on board, is offered as an optional extra. Reliability is also key for customers. We are one of the most reliable airlines in the world with an on time performance record of 85 percent. The one third of our passengers who are travelling for business are encouraged to keep coming back as they can be assured of reaching their destination, and therefore their meeting, on schedule.
Al Majaz Waterfront to Offer Splash Park with Innovative Technology Splash Park
Splash Park, a garden themed aquatic facility for the entire family, will open in Sharjah by the end of this year, announced Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). With a prime location on Al Majaz Waterfront, Shurooq anticipates that the 800m2 water park will encourage investment and tourism in the emirate of Sharjah. It aims to construct a grand leisure park that complies with international standards, in cooperation with Sharjah government departments and establishments, as well as international companies. Splash Park will be a fully automated, zerodepth aquatic play area, suitable for the entire family, as well as catering to children with special needs, and will offer a variety of attrac-
tions and entertaining features. State-of-theart technology will also help to present a safe and fun environment, with water consumption optimised through sequenced activation and low-flow nozzle technology. H.E. Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO, Shurooq, elaborated on the innovative system. “The Splash Park facility that will be opening at the Al Majaz Waterfront by the end of the year is a unique concept – a safe and refreshing recreational water play system for children up to 12 years. What makes this system different is that there is no standing water, so there are fewer safety risks involved. This also makes it possible for handicapped children to make use of the facility with their wheelchairs and play with others like no other play facility.”
EVENTS World Travel Market London, UK, November 7-10, 2011 (www.wtmlondon.com) 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. Dubai Airshow Dubai, UAE, November 13-17, 2011 (www.dubaiairshow.aero) The foremost aerospace event in the Middle East, which consistently delivers key buyers and decision makers. International Golf Travel Market Antalya, Turkey, November 14-17, 2011 (www.igtm.co.uk) The premier event for the golf travel industry with pre-scheduled appointments, networking opportunities and industry updates.
Philoxenia Thessaloniki, Greece, November 18-21, 2011 (www.philoxenia.travel) 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. EIBTM Barcelona, Spain, November 29 – December 1, 2011 (www.eibtm.com) A leading global event for the meetings and events industry, which gathers more than 14,200 professionals for three days. World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 5-7, 2011 (www.worldgreentourism.com) 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.
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Published on Nov 3, 2011
Published on Nov 3, 2011
Travel Trade Weekly is a leading news provider for travel industry professionals in the Middle East and North Africa, delivered every Saturd...