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Middle East and North Africa Edition

PLAN OF ActiON in an exclusive interview, Alain Debare, cEO of Action Hotels, has announced a new property in Abu Dhabi, signalling the company’s entrance into the serviced apartment market.

Virgin Blue and Etihad have hit back at complaints made by Australia’s national carrier, Qantas, regarding a proposed partnership between the two airlines. The planned alliance would increase flights between Australia and Abu Dhabi, as well as linking Virgin Blue to Etihad’s growing international network.

4 US UNitY US plans for a national travel promotion body have reached several important milestones, with a board of directors announced and a funding mechanism established.

8 In This Issue Market Update Accommodation News Air Travel News International News Agents’ Corner Travel Tips Travel Talk Who’s Moved Rendezvous Events SEPtEMBER 18, 2010

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ALLIANCE Strikes Back

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TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Deputy Editor Laura Warne

Hotel Growth Hits Dubai Market In positive news for hoteliers, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has recorded growth in hotel occupancy and tourism arrivals for the first half of 2010, despite 36 new hotels entering the market.

Journalist Louis Dillon Savage Design & Layout Elina Pericleous Sales & Marketing Marianna tsiamas Evelina Hadjigeorgiou Directors Andreas constantinides Mary Kammitsi Headquarters P.O. Box 25255 Nicosia 1308 cyprus tel: +35722820888 Fax: +35722318958 Website www.traveltradeweekly.travel Emails info@traveltradeweekly.travel editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel sales@traveltradeweekly.travel

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anuary through June saw a nine percent increase in the number of hotel guests in the emirate, with figures reaching 3,852,742 guests. This growth in demand came at the same time as a seven percent increase in the number of hotels operating in Dubai, momentarily quenching concerns about an imbalance of supply and demand. According to DtcM, there are now 566 hotels operating in Dubai, with 67,369 rooms (indicating a 16 percent increase on last year’s total of 58,188 rooms). Khalid Ahmed Bin Sulayem, director general of DtcM, said that the results were impressive in light of the challenging conditions that the tourism industry continued to face. During the first half of 2010, hotels sustained occupancy rates of 71.7 percent, while hotel apartments saw an increase of two percent, up to 68.8 percent.

currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar

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

Dubai

Sharjah and Oman Partner for MICE Growth

MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 16/9/2010

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)

in terms of source markets, UK visitors were the most common, but Dubai also saw significant increases in Gcc and Asian guests.

1USD= 3.69 5.70 3.75 1501 0.37 0.70 46.6 0.29 3.64 0.38 1.46 8.54 10,008 215.55 75.17 1.27

Expo Centre Sharjah and Oman international trade and Exhibitions (Oitc) have reached a co-operation agreement designed to boost the MicE industry throughout the Gcc. As part of the agreement, Expo centre Sharjah will launch an Omani consumer exhibition in 2011. The two parties will also exchange information, expertise and experience, while expanding consultations on developments in the exhibition industry. A working team will be developed to follow through on the actions outlined in the co-operation agreement. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, director general of Expo centre Sharjah, said meetings and agreements such as this were essential to enhancing mutual economic co-operation between Sharjah and Oman. He called on investors and Omani companies to engage with and participate in exhibitions held in Sharjah, pointing out that Oman was Sharjah’s second largest Gcc trade partner according to Sharjah Economic Development Department. SEPtEMBER 18, 2010


Fleet Upgrades Anticipate Car Rental Growth Car rental providers in Kuwait are expecting a busy end to the year as business travellers return from summer holidays and Ramadan breaks.

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n anticipation of the increase, and in a bid to stay ahead of competitors, Thrifty car Rental is upgrading its fleet to 2011 models and equipping its vehicles with GPS, Bluetooth, touch screen navigation and USB points. The company will also upgrade its internal reservation software to minimise customer waiting time, according to Amer Adess, managing director of Thrifty car Rental Kuwait. "We are integrating the latest technology into our existing systems and vehicles to aid our growth in Kuwait in order to keep Thrifty car Rental the number one choice

for customers," said Adess. "Our technology should be fully upgraded by November this year and will aid in our regional growth strategy." "As the economy gradually recovers, people will expect more quick, trustworthy and efficient offerings from the service industry and we plan on leading the way.”

People will expect more quick, trustworthy and efficient offerings from the service industry Amer Adess

Australia’s Northern Territory Seeks Middle Eastern Tourism Ties Malarndirri McCarthy, tourism minister of the Northern territory in Australia, departed on a tour of the Middle East and Europe on September 10. She said the purpose of her trip was to connect with international tourism operators with a stake in travel to the region, including Emirates and Etihad airlines. “tourism is a key industry sector for the Nt government and contributes AUD1.7 billion (USD1.5 billion) to the economy and it is important to engage with organisations that play a key role in the sector’s sustainability and future growth,” she said. Mccarthy pointed out that improving relationships in the Middle East would also further the territory’s interests in Europe. “i will be meeting with Etihad Airways cEO, James Hogan, in Abu Dhabi to pursue opportunities to jointly market the Nt in the UK and Europe leveraging Etihad’s significant airline links,” she said. “in Dubai, i will be holding talks with Emirates Airlines senior vice president, Richard Jewsbury, to determine how the territory government can work more closely with Emirates, given its expansive footprint in the UK and Germany.” SEPtEMBER 18, 2010

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- Accommodation

Downsized Fairmont Mina Al Fajer on Track Fairmont’s planned Fujairah property is on schedule for its updated opening date, following redesigns and delays.

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he property was initially planned as a 200 room five star resort, with an additional 13 villas incorporated into the design. Originally slated to open in 2009, the hotel has since been downsized to just 88 rooms, although the villas have been retained. Fairmont plans to continue development across the Middle East, according to a high ranking representative of the hotel chain. chris cahill, president of Fairmont, said the Fairmont Mina Al Fajer property, set to

open in the spring of 2011, was a strategic location and part of a wider plan. “Fairmont Mina Al Fajer will complement our properties in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and cairo and will further strengthen our brand recognition in this very important market along with future key locations in Makkah, Saudi Arabia and Muscat, Oman,” he said. Fairmont Mina Al Fajer has been named after the real estate developers responsible for its construction: UAE-based Mina Al Fajer Real Estate, LLc.

Fairmont Mina Al Fajer will complement our properties in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Cairo Fairmont Mina Al Fajer

New Plan of Action for Hotel Developers Action Hotels, a division of Kuwait’s Action Group Holdings KScc, has entered the serviced apartment market and expanded its development pipeline with the announcement of a new property in Abu Dhabi. Rawdath Abu Dhabi will feature 130 serviced apartments and is expected to be completed by 2012. in an interview with Travel Trade Weekly, Alain Debare, cEO of Action Hotels, outlined the new strategy. “[Action Hotels chairman] Sheikh Mubarak Al Abdullah Al Mubarak Al Sabah is always looking for new opportunities, and there is definitely a market for branded serviced apartments – especially in Abu Dhabi,” said Debare. “We have noticed there is a possible oversupply in hotels in Abu Dhabi, but not in serviced apartments. “We will be targeting long term visitors, staying anywhere from four nights through to a month, six months or longer.” Debare said that a specific brand had not yet been chosen for the property, but added that Action was talking to Staybridge – a division of intercontinental Hotels Group (iHG). Action currently holds partnerships with hotel operators Accor and iHG for its properties in the Middle East and Australia. The company now plans to deliver a total of 2,700 rooms and 15 properties by 2012, with brands including Novotel, ibis, Holiday inn and Staybridge. 4

SEPtEMBER 18, 2010


- Accommodation

Mövenpick Predicts Rapid Tunisian Growth Tunisia’s strong potential for growth has prompted an expansion in the country by Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts.

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he company is soon to open its second property in the country, Mövenpick Hotel Gammarth, following the opening of Mövenpick Hotel and Spa Sousse in March. Jean Gabriel Pérès, cEO of Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, outlined why tunisia became a focus for the brand. “tunisia is well-placed for economic growth in the coming years as private sector investment continues to rise and business travel is also on the increase,” he said. “The fact that tunisia withstood the global financial downturn to increase

tourism revenue to EUR1.8 billion (USD2.34 billion) in 2009 underlines why we consider tunisia as a vital market for our expansion in the region.” Roger Kacou, senior vice president for Africa at Mövenpick, said the company would also continue to expand throughout wider Africa. “Africa has several more hotel projects in the pipeline and with more openings to follow,” he said. Mövenpick Hotel Gammarth will be located on the Bay of Gammarth near the country’s capital, tunis. it will feature 108 rooms and nine suites.

Tunisia withstood the global financial downturn to increase tourism revenue

Mövenpick Hotel Gammarth

Missoni Kuwait Delayed Until 2011 Despite a revised opening date of September, 2010, Hotel Missoni Kuwait’s official launch has been pushed back to early 2011. The hotel was originally expected to open in May, 2010, following the 2009 debut of the brand with Hotel Missoni Edinburgh. Missoni has yet to release a firm opening date, or a clear reason for the delay, but hotel representatives say they are continuing with soft launch preparations before the official opening. The 169-room hotel, a joint project of Rezidor Hotel Group and Missoni fashion house, is set to be part of Symphony centre, a luxury shopping centre in Kuwait city.

Hotel Missoni Kuwait SEPtEMBER 18, 2010

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- Air Travel

Etihad and Virgin Blue Defend Proposed Alliance Virgin Blue and Etihad have hit back at complaints made by Australia’s national carrier, Qantas, regarding a proposed partnership between the two airlines.

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nder the proposed alliance, Virgin Blue’s international arm, V Australia would launch direct services to Abu Dhabi in February, 2011, with three weekly flights from Sydney. This would move to a joint double daily schedule with Etihad, which currently operates 11 weekly services between Sydney and Abu Dhabi. Additionally, the two airlines would offer a joint network of more than 100 destinations from October 1, 2010 and would link their frequent flyer programmes, making Etihad Guest and Virgin Blue’s Velocity fully reciprocal. However, Qantas has alleged that the partnership could cause significant changes to market dynamics, and expressed concern that the airlines have failed to mention potential price fixing on routes between Australia and the UK/Europe. “Since Abu Dhabi attracts only a small volume of point-to-point travel, the true value of the proposed alliance rests in access to international networks,” said Qantas in its statement to the Australian competition and consumer commission. Qantas added, "it is not possible that the applicants will not also be coordinating prices between Australia and Europe when they are price fixing on the Australia-Abu Dhabi route”. Virgin Blue has responded that under

(L-R) John Borghetti, CEO of Virgin Blue Group of Airlines and James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways

interim authorisation, the airlines would jointly set prices under connecting services to Europe and the UK and added that authorisation was sought for full cooperation in terms of joint marketing, distribution, sales and scheduling. in its response, Virgin Blue said that, “Qantas' opposition would have the effect of protecting Qantas from enhanced competition from V Australia/Etihad.” John Borghetti, cEO of Virgin Blue Group of Airlines, has previously commented that the increased competition would be positive for the market. “Everybody wins from this partnership,” he said. “it increases competition, choice and convenience for the travelling public. “Etihad will gain access to the valuable domestic feed in Australia and the Virgin

Blue Group will gain access to an extensive international network serving multiple destinations across the Middle East, the UK, Europe, Africa and Asia.” Etihad officials have also commented on the strong benefits to travellers and both airlines, should the proposed partnership go ahead. Australian regulatory body, the Australia competition and consumer commission, is currently reviewing the application and submissions, but has not given a firm date for its decision.

Qantas' opposition would have the effect of protecting Qantas from enhanced competition from V Australia/Etihad

Baggage Breakdown Causes Travel Troubles for Hajj Pilgrims Technical difficulties at Abdulaziz international Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia caused delays of up to 12 hours for returning Hajj pilgrims in early September, according to tunisair. Delays were caused by problems with baggage conveyer belts at the airport, which broke down repeatedly over the 6

course of five days. tunisair reported that all flights for all airlines were affected by the breakdowns, resulting in large crowds of stranded passengers. Abdulaziz airport is Saudi Arabia’s third largest and serves as the main gateway for travellers to Makkah, which lacks its own.

The facility features a dedicated Hajj terminal, intended to cope with the overflow generated by seasonal travel at the time of Ramadan. According to the National committee for Hajj and Umrah, 3.3 million pilgrims performed Hajj in 2009 and a 15 percent increase is expected to be tallied in 2010. SEPtEMBER 18, 2010


- International

European Cruise Lines May Face Ship Shortage A slowdown in ship construction could hurt the future of the cruise industry, despite strong results throughout the financial crisis.

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igures released by the European cruise council (Ecc) show that the European cruise industry exhibited strong performance throughout 2009, despite heavy financial blows to the world travel market. Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, chairman of Ecc, said cruising had remained strong in 2009, but was facing a future supply crisis if ship building remained slow. “We have not been immune to the recession and have seen a slight reduction in direct expenditure – down just over one percent to EUR14.05 billion (USD18.34 billion), which was a result of a downturn in ship building,” he said. The slowdown in ship building represents a longer term concern for the industry; combat the construction slowdown to help encourage further growth in the cruise sector. “European yards need encouragement to enable them to be as competitive as while many ships already planned are possible and to stimulate further new going ahead, forward planning has orders,” he advised. become more cautious. “There’s huge potential for further growth “Although at least 29 ships are being built provided new ships continue to be built.” in Europe between 2010 and 2014, new According to Ecc, the sector continued orders have slowed,” Lefebvre noted. to increase its revenue over the course of Lefebvre said measures should be taken to the global financial crisis.

European [ship] yards need encouragement

“The total value of goods and services generated in 2009 has reached EUR34.1 billion (USD44.52 billion), a rise of nearly six percent over the previous year,” Lefebvre said. According to Ecc, Europeans now account for close to 30 percent of all cruise passengers and are continuing to increase their share. The European Union is the third largest ship building economy in the world, following South Korea and china.

US National Travel Promotion Body Moves Towards Fruition US plans for a national travel promotion body have reached several important milestones, with a board of directors announced and a funding mechanism established. The corporation for travel Promotion (ctP), as the organisation is called, was created by a law signed in March this year. ctP still faces a number of hurdles before becoming effective, with an 8

executive director yet to be named. According to the US travel Association, the development of a global marketing plan and a private sector fundraising drive are also necessary stages. The newly announced board of directors is comprised of highly placed players in existing travel companies and state level travel promotion authorities. ctP is to be funded by a combination of public and private funds.

taxes are to be levied on travellers from countries engaged in the US Visa Waiver programme and matched by dollar for dollar contributions from the private sector. Progress on the ctP has been praised by representatives of the local travel industry and Oxford Economics has estimated potential gains in consumer spending of USD4 billion dollars annually. SEPtEMBER 18, 2010


UAE Nationals Step Up in Tourism Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry could see an increase in UAE nationals, as companies across the emirate, from Etihad to ADNEc, seek to upskill their local employees. Abu Dhabi tourism Authority (ADtA) has extended its ambassador programme for the second time, following doubled interest from local organisations. The ambassador scheme is designed to equip visitor-facing UAE nationals with new skills, knowledge and confidence so that they can better represent the emirate to international visitors. Nasser Al Reyami, tourism standards director at ADtA, said the programme would now be held twice-yearly. “The response has been swift and resounding,” he said. “From early beginnings three years ago when the intake was limited to students of Zayed University, we are responding to participation requests from both public and private sector organisations. “The result will be an expansive and well trained cadre of nationals who can and will do their country justice as they pass on the hospitality, destination and cultural knowledge they will acquire over the course of the two months long programme.” The second 2010 ambassador class will begin on September 27, with 55 applicants attending. Al Reyami said ADtA’s research showed that visitors to Abu Dhabi wanted to engage with heritage and cultural experiences, as well as the emirate’s range of modern attractions. “We want to ensure those participating have a good grounding in both Abu Dhabi’s business and leisure tourism, hence we need to expand the programme in tandem with the emirate’s growing offering,” he said.

We are responding to participation requests from both public and private sector organisations

Agent’s Insight Name: Louise Taylor Position: Personal Travel Consultant (Middle East division) Company: Destinology Location: London, UK Banyan Tree Al Wadi

Who travels more – Middle Eastern expats or locals? For us it is UK locals, which is the market we specialise in, so not so many expats really.

What are your biggest challenges as a travel agent? Obviously, the recent recession has made things quite difficult. Dubai especially as the exchange rate hasn’t been good so we’ve been hearing that things like food and beverages have just been a bit expensive. Dubai has done well working with this and we are seeing all kinds of deals, which you never used to get in Dubai.

When is your quietest selling period? For the Middle East we get enquiries all year round, there’s no real period that’s quieter than another.

Where do you expect the popular winter destinations to be this year? Well, we’ve just had a training session on the Banyan tree Al Wadi in Ras Al Khaimah and we’re really trying to push that as something a little bit different.

Why do people travel to the Middle East from the UK? Mainly because the flight time is really quite reasonable and for the quality of the hotels. Also, the guaranteed weather is a big thing, as well as the general level of service you get in the area.

We are seeing all kinds of deals, which you never used to get in Dubai 10

SEPtEMBER 18, 2010


Spotlight on Singapore for Sports Fans, Business Travellers Singapore’s tourism authority has launched several new initiatives aimed directly at Middle Eastern travellers, creating the potential for great package deals to the country.

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iddle Eastern sports fans could score a bargain this week, as Singapore tourism Board (StB) targets regional tourists for the upcoming Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix. The event will be held in downtown Singapore between 24 and 26, combining the famous motor sport event with international entertainment acts including Mariah carey and Missy Elliott. StB has already partnered with two local travel agents – MMi travel and Omeir travel – to create packages that include airfares, accommodation and entrance to

SEPtEMBER 18, 2010

Fi circuit Park. Jason Ong, area director for the Middle East and Africa at StB, said the event would include a range of ViP parties and entertainment, which have already kicked off ahead of the race – Grand Prix Season Singapore officially began on September 17. “With a stellar line-up of exciting lifestyle events and exclusive ViP offerings, Fi and non Fi fans alike will have a myriad of reasons to visit Singapore during the Grand Prix Season Singapore,” said Ong. Further boosting its tourism offering, StB has also launched an iPhone application, city Advantage Guide, specially designed for business travellers.

The guide lists high-end restaurants, shops, hotels and wellness establishments across the city and includes GPS location maps for navigation. “Singapore is firmly established as a mustvisit hub for Middle East business executives due to its open economy, top infrastructure, pro-business policies and trademark efficiency, which makes doing business here more pleasure than hard work,” said Ong. “The launch of the city Advantage iPhone application shows that as well as being a top business destination, Singapore is also a cutting-edge city where executives can be sure to make the best use of their time both inside and outside the boardroom.”

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Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al Mubarak Al Sabah

Daniel Naoumovitch

Chairman, Action Hotels “Elsewhere, the balance of power moved to the [hotel] owner, whereas in the Middle East the power has been with the operator due to the massive expansion of hotels and the presence of relatively few management companies. i believe this is now changing with the pressure on operators to produce results in a tough market, and, indeed, as the owners better understand the business.”

CEO, Sabre Travel Network Middle East "it's been an exciting month with over 55 agencies in the Middle East, and 1700 agencies around the world already upgraded to the new Sabre Red Workspace. The Workspace is a brand new concept, unlike any other solution in the market. Our customers have told us it's faster, more powerful and provides more stability despite the bandwidth issues here in the Middle East region. in addition, we will be rolling out newly-developed capabilities that have previously never been available to the market such as integrated mobile services, new air pricing tools, and sophisticated reporting and efficiency tools. These are very exciting times for us.”

Pressure [is] on operators to produce results in a tough market

These are very exciting times for us Daniel Naoumovitch

Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al Mubarak Al Sabah

Peter Von Moltke CEO, UBM Aviation “Much of the growth in the Middle East is spurred by increased flights in the region to a number of Asian and European destinations. Dubai international Airport is home to a growing airline, which is supported by a government interested in opening international markets, catapulting the airport into the position of being a leading international airport. Although Asia Pacific is a well-known area of growth, all eyes should continue to watch the region, specifically traffic to and from Delhi. indira Gandhi international Airport recently opened a new terminal, creating great potential for this airport to become an effective connecting gateway and a viable competitor to other international hubs.”

All eyes should continue to watch the region, specifically traffic to and from Delhi 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 editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel 12

SEPtEMBER 18, 2010


Emma Corcoran

Tristan Beau DeLomenie Accor Middle East has appointed tristan Beau DeLomenie as general manager of hotels. DeLomenie will be responsible for Accor’s Novotel and ibis properties in Deira; ibis Rigga; and Suitehotel Mall of the Emirates. He has 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry and has worked in Europe, Thailand, china and indonesia.

Hilton Worldwide has appointed Emma corcoran as director of corporate communications for the Middle East and Africa. corcoran most recently worked with intercontinental Hotels Group as global communications director. She holds a bachelor of arts, specialising in philosophy and politics.

Tristan Beau DeLomenie

Philippe Seguin

Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri

Accor Middle East has appointed Philippe Seguin as vice president of sales and distribution. Seguin joined Accor in 2002 as sales and marketing regional director for Africa. Since 2006, he has worked as vice president of sales and marketing for Accor in Egypt. in his new role, Seguin will cover all of Accor’s Middle Eastern operations, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort (AWPR) has appointed Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri as director general. in this role, Al Hajeri will be responsible for leading AWPR’s expansion plans. Al Hajeri has strong senior management experience and holds a bachelor of arts, bachelor of business administration and executive MBA.

Philippe Seguin

Gehan Moustafa Kempinski Hotels and Resorts has appointed Gehan Moustafa as regional director of public relations for Africa. Moustafa was previously employed as brand and marketing communications director at Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, where she worked for seven years. 14

Emma Corcoran

Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Media City Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media city has made several new promotions within its team. Theresa Malviya has been promoted to meeting and events manager. Malviya has 15 years of hospitality experience across several continents. She previously worked in the reservation and MicE departments at the hotel. Gopi Krishnan has been appointed as reservation supervisor, after joining the hotel in 2008 as reservation agent. Krishnan has more than 10 years of hospitality experience; in her new role she will be driving new reservation initiatives at the property. Finally, Jaya Raj has been promoted to revenue manager, having previously held the position of meeting and events manager. Raj has more than eight years of hospitality experience and will now focus on analysing market trends to generate strong RevPAR at the hotel. SEPtEMBER 18, 2010


Q&A with Bruno Debray In the lead-up to the launch of the second ibis property in Kuwait next month, general manager Bruno Debray spoke to travel trade Weekly. Travel Trade Weekly: Firstly, please tell us a little about ibis’ two Kuwait properties. Bruno Debray: We have one ibis in Salmiya, which is the shopping and entertainment area of Kuwait. This hotel opened in 2008 and is now two and a half years old, so it has taken its place in the market and is doing well. The second property is in another part of town, Sharq, and is due to open in October. Sharq is a business district and the property is close to ministries, embassies and banks – it is an excellent district for business tourism. The core segment for both hotels is business travellers, but it is important to note that businessmen also visit for leisure. We do have some exclusively leisure focused tourism, which makes up about 16 to 17 percent of our total business. Leisure tourists are usually visiting for the weekend, but we also have families who visit Kuwait for special events or holidays.

Travel Trade Weekly: Are there many facilities for leisure tourists in Kuwait? Bruno Debray: Kuwait’s leisure facilities are mainly shopping destinations – there are lots of big malls, smaller boutique shops and traditional or modern souks. We also have a popular museum, historical sites, islands and a scientific centre, but for leisure Kuwait is mostly a shopping destination.

as with elsewhere in this part of the world, is that the workforce must be sourced from all over the world. This means that employees have the challenge of settling in and adjusting both to work and their new private lives, as well as working with many different nationalities. We conduct lots of training for quickly equipping people with the skills they need as well as focusing on career planning. The workforce has to be constantly taken care of – they are the base of our business.

There are only good signs Bruno Debray

Travel Trade Weekly: Is the mid- Travel Trade Weekly: How do you see market segment growing in Kuwait? the future of the tourism industry in Bruno Debray: The market here is still Kuwait? largely upscale and there is a real need for Bruno Debray: i think there is lots of economy hotels in the country. There are some, but they are not branded and international travellers need products that they recognise and can trust. Demand is growing and we will definitely see more. The market will attract other brands and so we must be vigilant. However, there is still room for us to grow in this market and we expect the new property to do very well.

Travel Trade Weekly: Will the two hotels operate together or as different entities? Bruno Debray: We will definitely work

Travel Trade Weekly: Are there any together, as our general strategy is the specific challenges of operating in same. The two ibis properties will operate Kuwait? like one hotel, with the same management Bruno Debray: Firstly, people must and same business plans – we will take adapt to the customs, which are common to all Middle Eastern countries. However, with hospitality everywhere, it is a very welcoming country. One main challenge, SEPtEMBER 18, 2010

advantage of the natural synergy between them. The strategy may differ slightly in some niche markets, but globally we have the same approach.

potential in Kuwait. There is still lots to be done from the government’s side as they are one of the key drivers of tourism in the country. There are lots of projects underway at the moment. The infrastructure is there and is in good condition – there is not much to do for Kuwait to be successful. Entertainment facilities need to be enhanced and there are still hotels under construction. The local market is strong and the economy is excellent – there are only good signs.

There is lots of potential in Kuwait. There is still lots to be done from the government’s side as they are one of the key drivers of tourism in the country 15


Middle East Events Show Changes Dates, Upsizes Venue The Middle East Events Show has announced a change of dates and venue for its inaugural affair. The show will now be held from June 1 to 2, 2011, at the Dubai international convention and Exhibition centre. Samantha Kane-Macdonald, exhibition director of the Middle East Events Show, said changes had been made to facilitate greater than expected interest in the event. “This decision has been made in light of

the overwhelming response and interest that we have received from the industry, not only within the Middle East but also from Europe,” she said. The Middle East Events Show is a trade exhibition targeted at the exhibition and meetings industry. According to its organisers, the show is the first in the Middle East to cater specifically to that market. The show is affiliated with the established

Middle East Events Awards, which will be incorporated into the schedule of the exhibition. The Middle East Events Show is being organised by iRR Middle East.

This decision has been made in light of the overwhelming response

Events Medical Tourism and Global Healthcare Congress Los Angeles, US, September 22-24 (www.medicaltourismcongress.com)

World Travel Market London, UK, November 8-11 (www.wtmlondon.com)

Forum for the global medical and wellbeing tourism industry.

Global event for the travel industry – four day business to business event promoting a range of destinations and industry sectors to international travel professionals.

International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations Muscat, Oman, October 10-12 (www.rtd4.om) Organised by Oman Ministry of tourism, UNWtO and international centre for Responsible tourism, Leeds Metropolitan University. conference for government, private sector, academic institutions and decision makers to discuss new directions for the principles and practice of responsible tourism in global destinations.

Arab Tourism Bourse Travel and Tourism Fair Damascus, Syria, October 19-22 (www.abtfair.com) Aimed at promoting the Syrian tourism industry, attracting new visitors and developing tourism in the region.

Hotex Fair Syria Damascus, Syria, October 19-22 (www.hotexfair.com) Fair for Arabic and foreign companies in tourism and travel, including hotels, restaurants and equipment suppliers.

Business Travel Show – Dubai Dubai, UAE, October 25-26 (www.businesstravelshowdubai.com) Dedicated event for buyers and bookers of corporate travel in the Middle East, focusing on small and medium sized organisations that book business travel.

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World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi, UAE, November 22-24 (www.worldgreentourism.ae) inaugural eco-tourism exhibition, featuring tourism authorities, urban city planners, hotels and resorts, property developers, airlines, tour operators, green product suppliers, universities, museums and heritage site organisations.

EIBTM Barcelona, Spain, November 30 – December 2 (www.eibtm.com) Global event for meetings and events industry, including networking opportunities, professional education seminars and a trade show platform for exhibitors, hosted buyers and trade visitors.

Blossom Japan Tokyo, Japan, January 18-21, 2011 (www.blossomjapan.com) A new invitation-only luxury travel exhibition focusing on the Japanese market.

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Travel Trade Weekly Issue 45