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CRUISE NEWS An influx of small ships and Bahraini tourists has been identified by Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) as factors in the Dubai cruise sector’s strong performance.

Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport has processed its first flight, as part of certification tests for the facility. The airport is on track to commence cargo operations on June 27, 2010 and is planned to become the largest airport in the world once fully operational.

3 HARRY POTTER PARK The world’s first Harry Potter theme park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, has opened in Orlando, Florida, US.

8 In This Issue Market Update Accommodation News Air Travel News International News Agents’ Corner Travel Tips Travel Talk Who’s Moved Rendezvous Events JUNE 26, 2010


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Al Maktoum Airport


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Deputy Editor Laura Warne Journalist Louis Dillon Savage

Wyndham to Acquire Tryp Brand in Strategic Alliance with Sol Meliá Wyndham Worldwide hotel company has cemented a deal to buy the Tryp hotel brand from Sol Meliá.

Design & Layout Elina Pericleous


he acquisition is being undertaken as an all-cash transaction, expected to be complete by the end of the Directors Andreas Constantinides second quarter of 2010. Mary Kammitsi Although Wyndham will purchase the Tryp Headquarters name, Sol Meliá will continue to participate in P.O. Box 25255 developing the brand, as part of a strategic Nicosia 1308 Cyprus Tel: +35722820888 alliance with Wyndham. Fax: +35722318958 Existing Tryp hotels will continue to operate Website under Sol Meliá’s existing ownership, management or licensing arrangements, with the brand name Emails likely to be changed to Tryp by Wyndham. 91 hotels are currently operational across Europe and South America and according to Eric Danziger, CEO of Wyndham, the brand will continue to expand. “Sol Meliá’s leaders built a family enterprise into a successful and

Sales & Marketing Jane Davidson Marianna Tsiamas Evelina Hadjigeorgiou

innovative global hotel company, providing an outstanding collection of products and services for more than 50 years,” he said. “We intend to continue expanding the Tryp brand by utilising our global development team to tap the significant growth opportunities across Europe and the Americas.” Tryp offers mid-market select service hotels, and currently operated more than 13,000 rooms. Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, CEO of Sol Meliá, said Wyndham had been chosen to expand the brand because of its experience in brand development. “We selected to work with Wyndham Hotel Group because of the company’s reputation as a global brand-builder, which will benefit the future of the Tryp brand,” he said. “This alliance will help Tryp become a truly global hotel brand by creating longterm synergies between our companies to boost Tryp Hotels to the next level.”

Marriott Bahrain Takes Up Global Hertz Deal MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 22/6/2010 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 5.68 3.75 1501 0.37 0.70 46.91 0.29 3.64 0.38 1.51 8.97 1090 226.19 74.83 1.32

After the signing of a master agreement with Marriott International and Hertz Corporation, Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Bahrain has entered its own local cooperation agreement with Hertz Bahrain. Hossein Garan, general manager of the hotel, explained that under the partnership, Hertz would provide transportation and car rentals for guests of the hotel apartments. "We are pleased to extend this agreement locally and work with Hertz in Bahrain,” said Garan.

(L-R) Teodor Ardeleanu, director of room operations, Marriott Executive Apartments Manama; Hossein Garan, general manager, Marriott Executive Apartments Manama; TP Azeez, general manager, Hertz Bahrain; and Abdul Kabeer, sales executive, Hertz Exhibition Branch JUNE 26, 2010

Small Ships and Bahrainis Grow Dubai’s Cruise Sector An influx of small ships and Bahraini tourists has been identified by Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) as factors in the Dubai cruise sector’s strong performance.


ccording to DTCM, Dubai has received strong numbers from its fledgling cruise industry. DTCM reported that 17 ships had visited the terminal between April 6 and June 14, 2010, bringing a total of 26,580 travellers between them. Figures showed that large ships, such as Costa Cruises’ sister ships, Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa, accounted for the lion’s share of passengers, aided by their adoption of Dubai as a home port. In 18 landings between December 10, 2009 and April 12, 2010, Costa Luminosa alone brought 118,314 tourists to Dubai;

Costa Deliziosa brought 65,730 to the emirate on 10 trips between February 23 and May 11, 2010. However, DTCM reported that a growing number of small ships and one-off landings had been invaluable to the sector’s performance, with ships carrying as few as 56 passengers contributing to

incremental growth. Growth in visitors from Bahrain was also identified as an important factor in the popularity of Dubai’s new cruise terminal. DTCM has estimated that 320,000 cruise passengers will visit Dubai over 2010, with a total of 120 ships expected to call into the port this year. Costa

Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Managers Train with Singaporean Role Models A team of 27 managers and directors from Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) have completed a leadership course at Singapore’s Civil Service College, as part of an international staff development programme. Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi, director general of ADTA, said young UAE national managers and directors constituted 71 percent of ADTA’s management, thus making training a key focus for the company. “The training is putting the MoU signed with Singapore 18 months ago into action,” continued Al Muhairi. “Singapore is something of a role model, as the country has achieved international success in economic and resource development, has fostered a strong tourism economy and is constantly upgrading its human resources skills.” The leadership course covered human resource management, change management concepts, leadership methodologies and communication techniques. It was the latest in a series of short training courses that ADTA has organised in co-operation with universities and training institutions around the world. JUNE 26, 2010


- Accommodation

Four Seasons Beirut Opened by Lebanese Officials Four Seasons Hotel Beirut officially opened on June 22, 2010, in a ceremony attended by key Lebanese royalty and political figures.


he hotel was inaugurated by Michel Suleiman, President of Lebanon; Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC); Nabih Barri, speaker of parliament; and Sheikh Saad Ed Deen Rafiq Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon. KHC holds a 47.5 percent stake in Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which manages the new hotel. “Our support for Lebanon on the economic, social and philanthropic fronts is unwavering,” said Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud. “This prestigious hotel is another landmark in the region. “Beirut is currently one of the most attractive locations for tourism in the region. Lebanon is witnessing economic stability and is attracting global investors.” Sarmad Zok, CEO of Kingdom Hotel Investments (KHI) said that Beirut was a particularly exciting market for the company. “Lebanon is a vibrant market that continues to be characterised by high barriers to entry,” said Zok. “We expect the Four Seasons Beirut to

(L-R) Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, chairman of KHC; Lebanese President Michel Suleiman; Nabih Barri speaker of parliament; and Sheikh Saad Ed Deen Rafiq Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon

provide us with attractive returns on capital in line with our targets.” KHI is headquartered in Dubai and has a controlling 38 percent equity ownership in Four Seasons Beirut. The hotel, located on the corniche in central Beirut, features 230 guest rooms and suites, four food outlets and a ballroom.

Four Seasons Beirut

Lebanon is a vibrant market that continues to be characterised by high barriers to entry

Accor Revamps Online Service to Focus On Direct Customer Bookings Accor Hotels has launched a new customer focused distribution strategy, transforming the websites for the group’s brands – Sofitel, Pullman, Mercure, Novotel, Suitehotel, All Seasons, ibis and Etap Hotels. Jean-Luc Chrétien, executive vice president of hotel marketing and distribution at Accor, explained that users could now select a hotel and room type easily online, with a range of new features 4

that included an interactive map showing hotel locations and descriptions, as well as a search engine that used criteria such as budget, number of children and facilities such as car parking and swimming pools.

Accor’s distribution strategy focuses relentlessly on customers

“The new system is a prime example of how Accor’s distribution strategy focuses relentlessly on customers,” said Chrétien. “We constantly strive to deliver increasingly attractive, personalised offers to ensure complete customer satisfaction.” Accor has also updated other aspects of its hotel websites recently, including the introduction of videos, new tourist guides and comprehensive hotel presentation files. JUNE 26, 2010

- Accommodation

Raffles Dubai’s Round-the-Clock Service Dubai’s iconic Raffles property will now offer a 24 hour check-in and check-out service for all guests staying in the hotel’s suites.


he new service is designed to appeal to guests with flights departing or arriving throughout the night and in the early morning – capitalising on Raffles Dubai’s proximity to Dubai International Airport. Guests staying in any of the hotel’s suites will be able to use their room and the hotel’s facilities for a period of 24 full hours, checking in and out at any time of the day or night,

JUNE 26, 2010

without incurring additional charges. A round-the-clock butler service and complimentary airport transfers are also offered to suite guests. Raffles Dubai is currently the brand’s only property in the Middle East, although Raffles Makkah Palace is expected to open in Saudi Arabia later in 2010. Future Raffles destinations around the world include Seychelles, Philippines, China, Maldives and Indonesia.

Raffles Dubai


- Air Travel

Al Maktoum Airport Passes First Flight Test Dubai World Central Al Maktoun International Airport has processed its first flight, as part of certification tests for the facility.


ccording to Dubai Airports, the flight effectively tested air traffic control procedures; airfield and taxi way signage and routes; radio communication; and processes and procedures related to ground and cargo handling, fuelling, catering, customs, immigration and security. The airport is on track to commence cargo operations on June 27, 2010 and is planned to become the largest airport in the world once fully operational. Passenger operations are slated to begin in March 2011, to coincide with IATA’s timetable for updating its flight schedule. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Airports, said the test flight was an important step in the development of the facility. “This is an important milestone, not only for the airport's certification process, but as another step towards achieving Dubai's vision to become the pre-eminent centre

for aviation worldwide,” he said. “It is also a testament to the cooperation and dedication of all of the organisations and stakeholders involved, who have done an impressive job of building and preparing phase one of the facility for launch in a very short time frame.”

This is an important milestone... as another step towards achieving Dubai's vision to become the pre-eminent centre for aviation worldwide

would benefit from its connection to other bulk handling facilities in the emirate. “The fact that the airport is connected to Jebel Ali Port and Free Zone by a bonded road which cuts transfer times significantly is a strong sales point,” he said. “Although our cargo hub continues to be Dubai International, there is no doubt that Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International will play an increasingly important role - initially for spot cargo operations driven by customer need and eventually for scheduled freighter services.”

Dubai Airports also stated that the airport had been planned in part to meet a projected 48 percent increase in cargo traffic by 2015. Ram Menen, Emirates' divisional senior vice president for cargo, said the airport

Qatar Airways Announces Network Expansion to Destinations in Europe, Asia Qatar Airways will introduce six new routes over a four month period beginning in October. While some of the routes open entirely new destinations to the carrier, several represent secondary routes to countries already served by the airline. Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, said the new routes were in line with Qatar’s strategy of capitalising on underserviced destinations. “Budapest, Bucharest, Brussels, Nice, Hanoi and Phuket represent markets underserved so these are excellent opportunities for us to tap into,” he said. “We spend a lot of time diligently analysing new route opportunities and I 6

am pleased to say that the routes being announced today will not only open up new markets, but also strengthen our network strategy over our Doha hub.” Qatar Airways has declared its intention to expand its current 90 destination network to 120 by 2013.

Budapest, Bucharest, Brussels, Nice, Hanoi and Phuket represent underserved markets

Qatar Airways Route Launches Bangkok, Thailand: October 11, 2010 Hanoi, Vietnam: November 1, 2010 Nice, France: November 24, 2010 Budapest, Hungary via Bucharest, Romania: January 17, 2011 Brussels, Belgium: January 31, 2011

Akbar Al Baker JUNE 26, 2010

- Air Travel Etihad Installs Auto Check-in Kiosks in Abu Dhabi Terminal Three Etihad has introduced automated check-in at its home base, unrolling self service kiosks in terminal three of Abu Dhabi International Airport. The kiosks will allow passengers to generate boarding passes and luggage tags for themselves by entering their booking reference or e-ticket number, or scanning their passport. Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer of Etihad, said the kiosks would improve the experience of customers at the Abu Dhabi hub

“The first ten kiosks are conveniently placed throughout the Etihad terminal and will enable customers, especially those travelling on short haul flights, to save time on their journey and allow them to relax in our lounge or visit the shops and restaurants airside in the airport,” he said. Eight kiosks will be located in the economy check-in area, with the remaining two positioned near Etihad’s premium check-in desks.

Etihad’s new self service check-in kiosk

Flydubai Expansion Dubai’s low cost airline, flydubai, has launched flights to three new destinations – Latakia in Syria, Karachi in Pakistan and Colombo, Sri Lanka. The relatively new airline now boasts a network of 21 destinations around the world. Ali Saif Alawani, UAE ambassador to Pakistan, said the new destination would cement the already strong ties between the two countries. “Increasing the number of affordable, quality, direct air travel links between our countries will only serve to strengthen our relationship,” he said. The new Latakia route makes Syria the second country, after Egypt, to host three flydubai destinations. The airline recently announced that traffic between Damascus and Dubai had grown by 39 percent since flydubai launched flights to the Syrian capital last summer. Travel to Sri Lanka has also shown significant increases this year, with growth of 106 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai, with Ali Saif Alawani, UAE ambassador to Pakistan JUNE 26, 2010


- International

London’s Savoy Hotel to Re-open 10.10.10 After nearly three years of closure, a re-opening date has been confirmed for London’s iconic Savoy hotel.


The Savoy

he Savoy will re-launch on October 10, 2010 the tenth day of the tenth month of 2010. The property, among the most famous hotels in the world, has been undergoing extensive renovations since December 2007. According to Fairmont, the operator of the hotel, every aspect of the property has been overhauled. Highlights named by Fairmont included a remodelling of the hotel’s signature River Restaurant, a new two bedroom royal suite and the re-launch of the hotel’s 38 river view suites and rooms. The Savoy has also undergone extensive upgrades to its electrical systems and other amenities, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint of the hotel. Kiaran McDonald, general manager of The Savoy, said the goal was to establish the property as the most energy efficient

in London. “When we reopen with a modernised, energy efficient hotel, we will have a reduced carbon footprint and an enhanced service offering that will be utterly seamless to our guests,” he said. The Savoy first opened in 1889 and has undergone several refurbishments since then. The hotel is jointly owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia and the HBOS holding company. However, reports have emerged that Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is in negotiations to purchase a one third stake in the hotel.

We will have a reduced carbon footprint and an enhanced service offering that will be utterly seamless to our guests

Harry Potter Theme Park Opens at Universal Orlando Resort, Florida The world’s first Harry Potter theme park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, has opened in Orlando, Florida, US. The park is integrated with Universal Orlando Resort and offers a range of attractions based on the Harry Potter series of books and films. Attractions include recreations of locations within the fictional world of the Harry Potter series, including Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmead village. The park also features roller coasters based on events in the films and books. The grand opening of the park featured appearances by the actors who starred in the films; Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, James and Oliver Phelps, Matthew Lewis, Bonnie Wright, Michael Gambon and Warwick Davis. Brad Globe, president of the consumer 8

products division of Warner Bros studios, producer of the films, said the park was a faithful recreation of the Harry Potter world. “The grand opening [was] the culmination of our firm commitment to create the most authentic Harry Potter

experience possible,” he said. “We've enlisted the best possible partner in Universal Orlando Resort and we are proud to say that the result has fully captured the magical worlds detailed in both the books and the films.”

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

JUNE 26, 2010

DNATA Secures STC Contract Dnata’s Saudi Arabian arm has signed an agreement with Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC), to provide travel management services for STC’s network in Saudi Arabia. STC has recently branched into international markets, including Kuwait, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Malaysia and South Africa. Omar Bin Mohammed Al Turky, vice president of STC, said the agreement would cover both corporate travel and personal holidays for STC employees. In Saudi Arabia, DNATA operates its corporate travel management business

in partnership with the Hogg Robinson Group (HRG). Mohammed Mosaid, general manager of Dnata Saudi Arabia, outlined the responsibilities that Dnata would assume. “Dnata HRG will establish full time implant services based in STC head office, Riyadh, as well as providing a 24hour service to cater for STC's retail and leisure enquiries,” he said. According to Dnata, the new contract is in line with a business strategy of signing long term agreements with partner businesses.

Wataniya Airways Launches Holiday Arm Kuwait’s premium service airline, Wataniya Airways, has launched holiday packages through its new Wataniya Airways Holidays brand. The inaugural packages feature four of the airline’s most popular destinations – Bahrain, Dubai, Rome and Vienna. Lee Shave, chief commercial officer at Wataniya, said the move was a milestone in the airline’s development. “With the launch of our own holidays programme we are giving guests just another reason for choosing Wataniya Airways for all their travel options,” said Shave. “I am very confident that our guests will enjoy their experience on a Wataniya Airways Holiday and our packages will prove very popular for both short and long holiday breaks.” Wataniya has partnered with a range of luxury hospitality brands, including InterContinental, Fairmont, Atlantis, Hilton and Four Seasons. Mark Senior has been appointed as product manager for the new Wataniya Airways Holidays brand. “We have hand-picked the hotels and apartments in great city centre locations, perfect for sightseeing, shopping and enjoying the great variety of local restaurants and cafes,” said Senior. “Over the coming weeks we will be adding new hotel offers and Wataniya Airways introducing more Holidays office destinations.” 10

Agent’s Insight Rahul Sasidharan Travel Agent, BCD Travel Dubai Who has inspired you in your travel career? I have been with this company for one year and three months. I was interested in travel and tourism because it is a glamour industry. When I joined the company I went through courses and my teachers there helped me in the industry.

What has been the highlight of your career so far? The best part of working in the travel industry is that we get to visit so many countries around the world. My favourite so far has been Switzerland.

When is your peak selling period? For our market, travelling from the Middle East, June, July and August are the busiest months, then there is Ramadan and Eid. After that, new year is a very busy time for travellers, as well as school vacations throughout the year.

Where is the next hot destination? From this part of the world, during summer, Europe is the most popular destination. Austria, Italy and Spain are all popular and London is the all time favourite European destination for locals in the Middle East. Switzerland and Paris are also in demand over summer. At other times, we find the Indian Ocean, including Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives is very popular. For family tourism, people are choosing far east destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Why are travel agents important? Travel agents are important because even though online bookings are available everywhere, when it comes to saving time, money and getting the correct advice, people still trust travel agents more than online outlets.

When it comes to saving time, money and getting the correct advice, people still trust travel agents more than online outlets JUNE 26, 2010

A Little Help From Your Friends: The Business Side of the Social Web


ocial media, in all its forms, has become a touchstone for the travel industry. Consumer habits are changing, with information increasingly gathered from peers instead of professionals. Despite widespread certainty of the social channel’s importance, the question of exactly how social media can be leveraged is a persistent one. PhoCusWright Connect has recently released the results of a study into the realities of online reviewing and other social media for the travel industry. Travel Trade Weekly spoke to Douglas Quinby, the man who oversaw the project, to bring you his insights and advice on how travel businesses can make the most of the social web. Quinby said one of the most effective uses

of Twitter and Facebook to date had been the most direct: using the sites to funnel offers to followers and fans. “I think of these sites as being ‘loyalty lite’; if someone is a fan of yours or a follower, it shows that they are in some way loyal, that there is a connection to your brand, even if they have never booked with you,” he said. “Using social media like this as a vehicle to push out offers, works to encourage that loyalty.” Quinby named a US company, Joie De Vivre Hotels ( JDV), as an example of using Twitter and Facebook as effective sales channels. He described JDV’s practice of using twitter to disseminate offers exclusive to the channel. “Every week they will host a Twitter

Tuesday, were they provide offers and discounts that can only be accessed by their followers,” he said. “They will post the offers with a link that their followers can click through to redeem the deal; they will also usually have a separate offer available on Facebook, in order to keep the channels unique.” “Sometimes I think that they are the masters, and we are all students!” Quinby joked. Quinby said using social channels in this way worked to increase online following, which itself worked as a kind of advertising, by spreading through social networks and acting as a public endorsement. For more social media business tips, see next week’s issue of Travel Trade Weekly.

Training Day, Do it Your Way The experts tell us continually that staff training and development are all-important in the hospitality industry. However, these issues can be addressed in very different ways: in-house training programmes; outsourcing to educational institutions and hospitality colleges; suggested reading; or peer support programmes. Here, Travel Trade Weekly brings you one example from the industry – Rezidor Business School. More than 120 Rezidor hotel employees from across the Middle East and Africa recently attended a five day development school on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The school was launched in 1996 and is the primary learning platform for employees within Rezidor. The school takes place every quarter, held in a different Rezidor hotel and facilitated by Rezidor’s own trainers, as well as external consultants from institutes such as Cornell University (US) or Skill4/Huthwaite (UK). A range of 11 classes were on offer at the recent Abu Dhabi school, covering business management, people development and general manager certification training. Marko Hytonen, area vice president for Rezidor, said feedback from the event had been extremely positive. “We are fully committed to developing each of our employees to his or her full potential and would like to be recognised as the employer of choice in the hospitality industry,” he said. JUNE 26, 2010


Jeff Strachan

Richard Vaughan

Vice President of Sales and Marketing, MEA, Marriott Hotels International Ltd

Divisional Senior Vice President, Commerical Operations Worldwide, Emirates Group "Senegal is a fascinating country which will soon become within easy reach of the Middle East, thanks to our new route to Dakar - the first direct service from the GCC [launching on September 1, 2010]."

“Each [hotel] brand needs to find its space and only time will tell if the brand is having a positive effect on the hotel’s performance. There are so many more contributing factors to a hotel’s success, factors such as location and distribution are also vital components and play just as important a role as the brand. It is important to understand that there are brands across a wide variety of lodging segments, from budget travel to luxury, from extended stay to airport transit. Each fills a customer niche and should be considered when evaluating the effectiveness of the brand.”

Factors such as location and distribution play just as important a role as the brand

Senegal is a fascinating country which will soon become within easy reach of the Middle East

Jeff Strachan


Mohamed A Al Noman Director General, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Agency "Meeting with other economic and tourism experts at [Shanghai Expo], we have come to determine which expertise can be exchanged and drawn the outlines for the coming period. We are expecting significant advances in the promotion of Sharjah's tourism services within this same period, which will attract the world's biggest tourism establishments.”

Mohamed A Al Noman

We are expecting significant advances in the promotion of Sharjah's tourism services

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

JUNE 26, 2010

Helga Otto

Antony Treston

Naladhu Resort, Maldives has appointed Helga Otto as resort manager. Otto has more than eight years of hotel management experience. She previously held managerial positions at a range of resorts in Africa, including Jaci’s Tree Lodge, Londolozi Private Game Reserve, Nxabega Safari Lodge, Whispering Pines Country Estate and The Manta Resort in Tanzania. She began her career as a receptionist at Sundown Ranch Hotel in South Africa. Helga Otto

Emaar Hospitality Group has appointed Antony Treston as general manager of The Address Dubai Marina. Treston has more than 25 years of experience in the service and hospitality industry. He was previously general manager (including preopening) at Aman New Delhi and has also worked at Mount Juliet Conrad, Ireland and Conrad Centennial, Singapore. Antony Treston

Faris Azzee Global distribution system (GDS) provider Travelport has appointed Faris Azzee as general manager for Saudi Arabia. Azzee will lead Travelport’s Galileo operations in Saudi Arabia, which is the GDS’s largest Middle Eastern territory. He was previously employed as country manager for the UAE. Azzee joined Travelport in 2008, following six years of employment at Amadeus. Faris Azzee

Martin Kubler Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers has promoted Martin Kubler from director of operations to hotel manager. Kubler joined the hotel in 2007, overseeing the pre-opening stages and launch of the property. He has more than 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry and holds a bachelor in international hospitality management. Kubler has worked in Germany, Dubai and Qatar. 14

Ray Manulat

Ray Manulat Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi has appointed Ray Manulat as general manager. Manulat has more than 20 years of golf management experience, including 10 years with Troon Golf. He was formerly general manager of the Alpensia Golf and Country Club in Korea. Manulat also assisted in the opening of Dubai’s The Montgomerie golf course. JUNE 26, 2010

Q&A with Christian Rainalter Christian Rainalter, general manager of JAL Fujairah Resort and Spa, talks to Travel Trade Weekly about promoting Japanese hospitality in the Middle East. Travel Trade Weekly: What  makes JAL properties different to others in the Middle Eastern region? Christian Rainalter: JAL Hotels is the very first Japanese luxury hotels brand to put steps in the Middle East region.  Based on this fact, JAL Hotels bring along to this part of the word the uniqueness of the refined Japanese hospitality and attention to details, combined with custom made services and facilities to suit the different needs of the market demand on all different levels. In addition to the cultural value and history of the Japanese refined hospitality that guests seek to experience and enjoy, the brand has, from another hand, its loyal guests and visitors from Japan and around the world.  Topping it up with the fact that the brand is new to the Middle Eastern market and guests from business and leisure travellers and local residents are always excited about experiencing new hotels and their facilities.

Travel Trade Weekly: I understand there is currently a refurbishment project at the Fujairah property could you please elaborate on this project? Christian Rainalter: Yes indeed.  In agreement with the owners, we have recently launched a refurbishment project that involves the full replacement of the room and suite carpets with brand new ones. Furthermore we are adding a palmed pathway and adding green areas to the most important asset of the resort: our beach area. This will give our guests the opportunity to walk under the breeze of palm trees with soothing views of grass lawns all the JUNE 26, 2010

length of our 500m private beach.  This refurbishment project comes together with our strategy in always delivering the best facilities and services to our regular and new guests.  The project is planned to be fulfilled by the end the summer season giving the beautiful resort a fresh new look and a brand new feel.

Guests are always excited about experiencing new hotels and their facilities Travel Trade Weekly: Will your resort co-operate with the upcoming JAL property in Dubai, in terms of promotions, etc? Christian Rainalter: Our big advantage is that both properties are under the same owning company, making synergy strategies easier to roll out for the benefit of our guests. Obviously both JAL properties will work together and will offer joint packages combining stays at the resort and the city hotel.  This way the visitors will enjoy a wider experience of their stay in the country and experience the same refined and personalised service of the brand.

Travel Trade Weekly: What is your main target market and how do you attract and retain your clientele? Christian Rainalter: The main market for Fujairah is the leisure market coming from the established outbound markets already present in Dubai. We offer to the traveller a relaxed yet

Christian Rainalter

attentive and personalised service and we are seeing more and more repeat guests coming back year after year. This is attributable to the product and mainly to the team at the resort, which continues to delight customers through their friendliness and smiles coming from the heart.

Travel Trade Weekly: In your opinion, are there any changes that could be made to improve the tourism and hospitality industry in your emirate? Christian Rainalter: Fujairah authorities are putting plenty of energy and ideas into making Fujairah a destination of choice but it will take some time – this region has so much to offer and it is about promoting this to the outside world. We clearly see from the weekend business that within the UAE community it has already won many followers. 15

CIBTM Opens for Visitor Registration and Hosted Buyer Applications Hosted buyer and visitor registration has opened for China Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (CIBTM). The event will take place from August 31 to September 2 this year. Hosted buyer status is available by application and covers flights and accommodation, as well as including priority scheduling for meetings with exhibitors at the event. Hosted buyers will also receive invitations to exclusive post event functions and complementary access to the CIBTM

educational programme. Jeffrey Xu, exhibition manager of CIBTM, urged applicants to register early.

If ever there was a time to do business in China it is now “[CIBTM] provides the best showcase of the meetings industry in the region and is a must attend event for all industry professionals,” said Xu.

“I would encourage anyone involved in the planning and staging of meetings, incentives, events and business travel throughout the region to register and secure their hosted buyer or visitor place.” Xu said the meetings industry in China was at an important stage. “Recognised by both the Chinese National Government and Beijing authorities who are supporting the event, the industry is set for a period of growth and expansion,” he said. “If ever there was a time to do business in China it is now.”

Events Dubai Summer Surprises Dubai, UAE, June 17 - August 7 ( Major shopping and entertainment event covering various venues across Dubai, specifically targeting family holidays during summer. Summer in Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, UAE, June 24 – August 4 ( Festival of family entertainment events covering eight venues across Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, featuring performers from more than 15 countries. India International Travel Market Bengaluru, India, July 10-12 ( A showcase for tourism, leisure, hospitality and related industries. India International Travel Market Bengaluru, India, July 10-12 ( A showcase for tourism, leisure, hospitality and related industries.


Cityscape Dubai Dubai, UAE, October 4-7 ( Networking, conference sessions and round table events for the real estate market, including hotels and other tourism developments. Outdoor Adventure Dubai Dubai, UAE, October 8-10 ( Adventure sports, outdoor clubs, equipment specialists and holiday destinations. GITEX Technology Week Dubai, UAE, October 17-21 ( Technology solutions for hotels, businesses and consumers. Hotex Fair Syria Damascus, Syria, October 19-22 ( Fair for Arabic and foreign companies in tourism and travel, including hotels, restaurants and equipment suppliers.

JUNE 26, 2010

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 33