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QATAR INFRASTRUCTURE Qatar has launched a USD21 billion transport infrastructure programme, in conjunction with its bids for the 2020 Olympic Games and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The Riyadh Provincial Tourism Office (RPTO) has barred a number of unlicensed tour operators and agencies. Seven tour organisers and five tour agency offices have been closed as part of an ongoing reform of the travel industry in Saudi Arabia.

9 CRUISING LIBYA Libya is experiencing a cruise renaissance, according to local operators and the national tourism board. Passenger shore excursions increased by 65 percent in 2009, compared to the previous year.


In This Issue Market Update Accommodation News International News Air Travel News Travel Tips Travel Talk Who’s Moved Rendezvous Events JANUARY 30, 2010


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TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Deputy Editor Laura Warne

LCC Business Model to Filter Up in 2010 The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has reported that global airline revenues will continue to fall in 2010, and ancillary charges will comprise an increasing share of aviation income.

Journalist Louis Dillon Savage Design & Layout Elina Pericleous Sales & Marketing Jane Davidson Marianna Tsiamas Danielle Bragg Directors Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi Headquarters P.O. Box 25255 Nicosia 1308 Cyprus Tel: +35722820888 Fax: +35722318958 Website Emails


rawing on data supplied by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and in partnership with Travelport, CAPA predicted that ancillary revenue would account for USD58 billion in 2010 - accounting for 12 percent of revenue worldwide. In 2009, ancillary costs - charges to the customer in addition to the cost of passage accounted for more than 10 percent of global revenue for the first time. The ancillary stream already accounts for 15 percent of revenue for the low cost carrier (LCC) segment, comprising an important feature of the LCC business model. However, according to the CAPA report, the growth of LCCs, combined with the search for new sources of income by legacy airlines, has boosted the significance of ancillary charges to the aviation industry as a whole.

IATA figures show that the airline industry will face revenue reductions of USD80 billion in 2010, leaving aviation income at USD456 billion - 15 percent lower than 2008 levels. CAPA predicted an increased interest in ancillary revenue by legacy airlines, as these carriers sought new ways to increase their income, while LCCs were expected to increase ancillary revenue by introducing new additional-charge services. Legacy airlines are also increasing their revenue by charging more, and more consistently, for existing penalty rates. According to the CAPA study, in the US revenue gathered from charges for cancellation or rescheduling increased by 52 percent in the second quarter of 2009, while airlines received USD4 billion in revenue for extra baggage fees alone. CAPA predicted that an ongoing interest in extra service charges by legacy airlines and LCCs alike would characterise business models in 2010.

MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 26/1/2010 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 5.45 3.75 1501 0.37 0.7 45.75 0.28 3.64 0.38 1.31 8.0 10,045 204.75 72.24 1.23 JANUARY 30, 2010

Riyadh Cracks Down on Illegal Tour Operators The Riyadh Provincial Tourism Office (RPTO) has barred a number of unlicensed tour operators and agencies.


even tour organisers and five tour agency offices have been closed as part of an ongoing reform of the travel industry in Saudi Arabia. Abdul Rahman Al Jasas, executive director of RPTO, said that his office was determined to eliminate regulation violations by enforcing such closures.

Infringements were discovered as part of assessment visits by RPTO officers, as part of an initiative that Al Jasas said was intended to encourage fair competition. Al Jasas further urged tour companies to obtain the correct licenses and provide services in accordance with regulations. According to Al Jasas, the closures may be temporary or permanent.

Jordan and Spain Strengthen Connections at FITUR, Madrid Jordan has strengthened its tourism ties with Spain following the FITUR conference held recently in Madrid. Nayef Fayez, general director of the Jordan Tourism Board ( JTB), said that additional flights between Spain and

Jordan had been arranged by the two countries. The additional flights were to be scheduled for peak travel periods. Fayez pointed out that marketing Jordan as a destination for Spanish visitors was

a priority for his organisation and that FITUR had provided an ideal platform. “JTB never miss this event, which is proof of its positive contribution to promoting Jordan as a destination in Spain,” he said.

Lebanon Reports Record Tourism Arrivals in 2009 Lebanon received a record number of visitors in 2009, with 1.85 million arrivals reported in that year. The previous peak, posted in 1974 when 1.4 million tourists visited the country, had not been approached until now. The Lebanese Tourism Authority reported a 38.1 percent increase in tourist arrivals in 2009 compared to 2008, equalling an 82 percent increase over 2007 numbers.

JANUARY 30, 2010

Saudi Arabia accounted for the highest number of arrivals, representing 17 percent of total visits and 26 percent of Arabian visitors. France originated the second highest number of tourists, with a 14.5 percent share. France was followed by Jordan and Kuwait, which accounted for 10.2 and 7.7 percent, respectively. Overall, Middle Eastern travellers were the most significant demographic,

accounting for 42 percent of the total and outstripping European visitors, who accounted for 25 percent. Nada Sardouk, director general of the Lebanese ministry of tourism, said that five star hotels had reported the highest occupancy, with an average of 46.1 percent. Two star hotels recorded average occupancies of 43.6 percent, while four and three star hotels averaged 39.9 and 26.8 percent each. Occupancy was highest in Beirut, the nation’s capital, at 48.9 percent, followed by Mt Lebanon (34.8 percent); South Lebanon (30.3 percent); North Lebanon (29 percent); and Bekaa (12.1 percent). Furnished apartments achieved the highest occupancy rates overall, with second category apartments reporting 71.8 percent occupancy and first category apartments 58.8 percent. 3


Mövenpick Predicts Diversification of Saudi Tourism Mövenpick is refocusing its efforts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to attract more guests from beyond the GCC.


ccording to figures from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), tourism accounted for 2.7 percent of the kingdom’s GDP in 2008, with total tourism revenues of SAR47 billion (USD12.5 billion). Mövenpick reported that the majority of Saudi tourism originated in the GCC, with 40 percent of guests at the Hajar Tower property in Makkah originating in Arabian Gulf countries. Currently, the majority of these tourists are from Saudi, but Omar Boujlid, general manager of Mövenpick Hotel and Residence Hajar Tower, predicted a boom in tourists from further afield. “Recent studies predict that international

tourism expenditure will grow to USD10.74 billion by 2013,” he said. “We are therefore looking at targeting pilgrims from countries like the US, UK, Canada, South Africa, Pakistan, Senegal and Nigeria.” Boujlid highlighted that Mövenpick was well placed to attract guests from a diverse range of source markets. “As a Swiss hospitality brand we enjoy a strong reputation for service excellence and a loyal following in these markets,” he said. He said that the demand for luxury accommodation was in a state of continuous growth in Saudi, citing figures from Business Monitor International (BMI). BMI estimated that religious tourism in

Mövenpick Hajar Tower Makkah

Saudi accounted for USD7 billion worth of revenue in 2009 and predicted that visitor traffic would grow by 6.5 percent annually, for a total of more than 15 million arrivals in 2013.

New Committee for Qatar to Boost Cooperation Between Hoteliers in Qatar A meeting between Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and 25 local hotel general managers has led to the creation of a new representative committee for hotels in Qatar. Ahmed Al Nuaimi, chairman of QTA, said the general meeting was called following significant growth in hotel

rooms and accommodation in Qatar. “The meeting had two objectives; firstly, to facilitate networking opportunities with the newcomers and secondly, to discuss issues and topics related to the hotel industry and the promotion of Qatar, working side by side with the Qatar Tourism Authority,” he said.

The new committee will be comprised of representatives from three, four and five star hotels in Qatar. It will meet with QTA on a monthly basis to discuss industry issues and to boost cooperation within the sector. Seats on the committee association will be held on a six month rotation.

Business as Usual for Rocco Forte Collection After Refinancing Rocco Forte Abu Dhabi


Anna Martin, director of communications for the Rocco Forte Collection, has affirmed that the company’s Middle East developments remain on track, following a recent refinancing deal with Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS). HBOS, a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group, has extended a GBP300 million (USD487 million) facility to Rocco Forte, allowing the company to continue with its operations and developments.

“It’s absolutely business as usual at Rocco Forte,” Martin said. “This is a very positive step.” The Rocco Forte Collection has four properties planned in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with a hotel in Abu Dhabi scheduled to launch in the summer of this year. Rocco Forte’s other MENA plans include properties in Jeddah, opening in 2011, as well as Marrakech and Cairo in 2012. JANUARY 30, 2010


Dusit Plans First Saudi Property in Jeddah Thai accommodation company, Dusit International, has signed its first hotel in Saudi Arabia, marking its seventh property in the Middle East.


am-Erik Ruttmann, regional vice president Middle East for Dusit International, said that the Middle East was an important upcoming market for the company and that launching in Saudi Arabia was a milestone. “The Middle East is a priority target market for Dusit International,” he said. “Having our first property opening in Saudi Arabia, the largest country of the Arabian Peninsula, is a notable step forward.” Ruttman said that Jeddah had been

selected for Dusit’s first property in the Saudi Arabia due to its status as the kingdom’s leading industrial centre. “We are proud to bring our unique Thai hospitality and become one of the most successful hotels in this city,” he said. The 278 key property will be located in the centre of the city, overlooking Obhur Creek. It has been designed as what Dusit describes as an urban resort and will operate under the Dusit Thani brand. Development will be undertaken by the United Company for Hotels and Tourism

Regions (UCHTR). Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mutlaq AlQahtani, President of UCHTR, said that Dusit’s entry into the kingdom would introduce a new approach to accommodation and service. “The partnership with Dusit International, known for its distinctive Thai hospitality, allows us to bring a new dimension of service quality to Saudi Arabia,” he said. “We look forward to the successful development of Dusit Thani Jeddah as well as future properties in this region.”




COTTM (China Outbound & Travel Market) 2010 is now entering its 6th year, and is the only business to business show in China dedicated to the China outbound travel and tourism industry. COTTM is the ideal platform for international companies and countries to showcase their destinations and products to the Chinese outbound industry, and it takes place on 28-30th April 2010, in Beijing at the China World Trade Centre.




100% Outbound – only event in China entirely dedicated to the China outbound travel and tourism sector. 100% B2B – only attended by trade professionals, 3,258 trade visitors! In 2009, 60% of attendees were final decision makers, and 37% were major influencers in purchasing. Learn – top operators debate, workshops, conferences & seminars enables you to learn about the latest trends and opportunities offered by the Chinese outbound travel sector. Supported by:



Effective planning – COTTM's buyer driven appointment system ensures that your 3 days at the show are well organised. Who should exhibit – National (regional) tourist boards, inbound tour operators, airlines, hotel chains, tourist attractions, destination management companies, cruise and ferry lines, transportation providers, and incentive houses etc.


For more information on COTTM visit WWW.COTTM.COM or contact Jane Carter at JANUARY 30, 2010



Strike Two for British Airways, Says Unite Unite, the union that represents British Airways’ (BA) cabin crew has commenced a new ballot to determine future strike action. Ballots opened on January 25 and will continue until February 22.


ccording to BA, although the time of the potential strike has not yet been announced, March 1 would mark the earliest legal date following the close of the balloting process. BA also reported that as the strike would only affect BA operated flights; codeshare partners, would not be affected. Leo McCluskey, assistant general secretary

of Unite, preemptively ruled out a strike over the Easter period, heading off speculation that the union would attempt a holiday strike similar to action which had been planned for Christmas 2009. “I want to make it abundantly clear that, if industrial action receives the required mandate from the members and strike action is made necessary by continuing management intransigence, we will not call such action over the Easter holiday period,” he said.

“We are making this announcement now so families can plan their travel arrangements confidently.” BA has petitioned its staff to act as stand-ins in the case of a strike and has announced its contingency plans for dealing with flight disruptions. Customers booked to fly during a strike period will be able to rebook free of charge on any BA flight within 12 months, or receive a refund.

of its route network, particularly in India, to which six new routes will launch in the first quarter of 2010. The airline will add connections to Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi from Kuala Lumpur, and to Chennai from Penang. Kathleen Tan, regional head of commercial operations, said she hoped the extended network would raise the profile of AirAsia’s services as providing a hub for Asia Pacific travel.“We are confident that AirAsia’s direct connection serving

Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi will be able to stimulate new travel demands and further tap markets, especially those of young working adults and families, to travel to Malaysia and thereafter use Kuala Lumpur as a gateway to over 130 routes in Asia,” she said. “This translates into a low cost yet efficient travel experience for guests who benefit from using the LCC Terminal in Kuala Lumpur to connect to destinations as diverse as Australia, China, Taipei, London and Abu Dhabi.”

AirAsia Boosts Services Malaysian based low cost carrier, AirAsia, is expanding its network and upgrading its services. The airline has added a web check-in service, available on all flights, and has installed self check-in facilities in several hubs around Asia. The airline links to the UAE as well as an extensive network across the Asia Pacific. Sathis Manorharan, regional head of cargo for AirAsia, said that expanding the airline’s cargo capacity was a priority and that the carrier was looking to explore new markets. AirAsia has declared a rapid expansion

Tourism Australia Launches USD18m International Stimulus Project Australia’s Tourism Minister, Martin Ferguson, has announced a range of stimulus campaigns for leisure and business travel, targeting several international markets. Tourism Australia will deliver 62 separate tourism marketing projects in 13 different markets, according to Andrew McEvoy, managing director of Tourism Australia. “The recovery effort will also include activity to stimulate the important business events sector and domestic business travel, which was hard hit last year,” said McEvoy. 6

“We will also be initiating 24 charter flights to bring an additional 7,000 tourists to Australia from Greater China and Japan during the peak travel times of February and March.” International campaigns will target New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Gulf. The Australian Government provided AUD9 million (USD8 million) in funding for the recovery campaigns, which was matched by industry contributions,

bringing the total package to approximately AUD20 million (USD17.9 million). “Many destinations around the world will no doubt be adopting aggressive marketing tactics this year as they look to recover from the global downturn in tourism last year,” said McEvoy. “While Australia managed to hold its own in the tough climate of 2009, we need to remain competitive with our activities and urge potential travellers to visit Australia now.” JANUARY 30, 2010


Abu Dhabi wins Routes Bid for Routes Forum Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) has won its bid for Abu Dhabi to host Routes – The World Route Development Forum in 2012.


he event draws airlines, airports and tourism authorities together to highlight route opportunities and business development for the sector. Other supporting partners include Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and ADNEC. Mike Howarth, founder of Routes Development Group, said there was intense competition to host the annual event. “Abu Dhabi met all the criteria, it is a new world aviation hub, ADNEC is now a major player on the international events circuit and the bidding partners led by the airport presented a compelling and powerful case,” said Howarth. Ahmed Hussein, deputy director general of ADTA said the successful bid was a fantastic vote of confidence in Abu Dhabi as a destination.

(L-R) Wayne Pearce, chief planning and strategy officer of Etihad; Mike Howarth, founder of Routes Development Group; Ahmed Al Haddabi, senior vice president of ADAC; and Ahmed Hussein, deputy director general of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority

“The international MICE business is extremely important to us and Routes has given greater relevance to us as the development of air access is crucial to any destination’s business and tourism progression,” he said.

The event is expected to draw 3,500 to 4,000 delegates and will be held from September 30 to October 3, 2012. Vancouver, Canada is set to host the 2010 event and Berlin, Germany will host the 2011 event.

Encouraging Results Follow Worst Demand Decline in History: IATA Giovanni Bisignani


The aviation industry ended 2009 with the largest ever decline since the Second World War, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Global passenger demand for the full year was down 3.5 percent, with an average load factor of 75.6 percent. Freight was down 10.1 percent, with an average load factor of 48.1 percent. However, Middle Eastern carriers generated the fastest growth in passenger traffic at the end of the year, with a 19.1 percent boost in December. According to IATA, this increase, along with the region’s 11.2 percent growth over the entire year, was a result of Middle

Eastern carriers taking a larger share of long haul connecting traffic over their hubs. Giovanni Bisignani, CEO of IATA, said revenue improvements and profitability growth would be much slower than the return ofdemand that the industry was starting to see. He predicted that airlines would lose an expected USD5.6 billion in 2010. “The industry starts 2010 with some enormous challenges,” he said. “The worst is behind us, but it is not time to celebrate. Adjusting to 2.5 to 3.5 years of lost growth means that airlines face another spartan year focused on matching capacity carefully to demand and controlling costs.” JANUARY 30, 2010

AIR TRAVEL NEWS Qatar to Overhaul Transport Infrastructure Qatar has launched a USD21 billion transport infrastructure programme, in conjunction with its bids for the 2020 Olympic Games and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The programme will focus on expanding and updating the country’s transport capabilities, to provide facilities adequate to host global events and to bring them into line with international regulations. Projects already underway include the

New Doha International Airport, the formation of the Qatar Railway Network and an expansion of the nation’s bus system. The scheme will be fully unveiled and discussed at the second Urban Transportation Summit in Doha, organised by event management firm IPQC. The summit will assemble planning and development experts to discuss the plans.

Ian Mulcahey, in charge of principal planning and urban design for the Gensler development and consultancy firm, said that transport infrastructure was particularly important in the Gulf region. “Urban transport is a highly important issue for all major cities but is particularly topical for the Gulf cities, which are on the cusp of their own transit revolution," he said.

Oman Air Woos Singapore with Jewel of Muscat Oman Air has signed on as a major sponsor to the Jewel of Muscat maritime project, designed to strengthen ties with Singapore. The Jewel of Muscat is a reconstructed ninth century sewn-plank ship, modelled on the wreckage of a Chinese Tang Dynasty treasure ship which sank in the Indian Ocean. The ship will sail along traditional trade routes described by Arab geographers and navigators, before being presented as a gift to the Singapore Government. “It was necessary for Oman Air to support this project to keep history alive, furthermore to bring both the nations closer,” said a spokesperson from Oman Air’s corporate communications department.

Jewel of Muscat JANUARY 30, 2010


Libya Celebrates Cruising Renaissance Libya is experiencing a cruise renaissance, according to local operators and the national tourism board.


yad Sunusi, CEO of Libya Expeditions, said that interest from European visitors had increased immensely in 2009. “Cruise calls to Libyan ports are skyrocketing, with a 65 percent recorded increase in passenger shore excursions in 2009 compared to 2008,” he said. According to the Libyan Ministry of Tourism (LMT), 36 cruise vessels visited and 12,218 passengers disembarked in Libya in 2009. According to Sunusi, the most popular Libyan ports of call were Tripoli and Benghazi. Most shore excursions targeted the Roman cities of Leptis Magna and Sabratha, Greek Cyrene and Apollonia, and the Second World War cemeteries at Tobruk.

Sunusi said that the most visits to Libya were taken as part of 10 to 16 day Mediterranean cruises, with the largest contingents originating in Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

“Cruise lines with Mediterranean itineraries are eager to call on Libyan ports and offer passengers an opportunity to savour the magnificent cultural heritage Libya has to offer,” Sunusi said.

Emirates Updates Um Al Quwain Travel Shop Emirates has refurbished and re-opened its customer service offices in Um Al Quwain. The Emirates Travel Shop in Um Al Quwain is located on King Faisal road and has been outfitted to cater for both leisure and corporate clients.


Khalid Bel Jaflah, Emirates' vice president of commercial operations in the UAE, said that the upgrade was part of the group’s strategy for maintaining market leadership in the emirate of Um Al Quwain. “The new office will allow Emirates staff to continue providing our customers with

high quality services, but now in an enhanced environment offering greater comfort and new facilities,” he said. The new facility includes ticketing and reservation counters, dedicated service points for premium passengers, Skywards members and Emirates Holidays customers.

JANUARY 30, 2010

Tips and tricks from industry experts, bringing you the latest in emerging destinations, technology, marketing and travel trends.

How to Pick the Right Hotel for Every Guest Coyle Hospitality is an international mystery shopper service with a list of clients that includes Hilton, Starwood, and Royal Caribbean. The group recently undertook an industry-wide survey of hotel guests and has shared its insights into what people want from their hotel experiences, whether budget or ultra-luxe. Participants were asked to name their best recent hotel stay and list the factors that set it apart. Data was then collated and analysed to provide the following helpful hints. Keep it Clean According to Coyle, room cleanliness and staff attentiveness were the most mentioned attributes of favoured hotels. Room cleanliness was mentioned in 39 percent of all best experiences, and 42 percent of economy experiences. Guests of upscale and luxury properties mentioned cleanliness at a rate of 28 and 22 percent, respectively. Jim Coyle, president of Coyle Hospitality, pointed out that this did not mean high spend guests were less interested in hygiene, but that they had different key factors for differentiating upscale experiences. In short, a good clean room can make an experience for many travellers, but a failure to clean can be a deal breaker for higher spend segments.

Tailor the Service Expectations of service differed by segment, making it important for hotels to hit the right note when it comes to hospitality. Competent and accommodating staff were mentioned more often by economy guests, at 38 percent, while luxury and upscale guests tended to take this kind of service for granted, mentioning it only 22 percent of the time. However, luxury guests placed the highest premium on staff attentiveness and availability. “Clearly travellers at luxury hotels rely on the staff more to make the experience,” Coyle said. Decorate Appropriately Property design and décor were the top two priorities for respondents in the lifestyle segment and made it into the top ten for upscale guests, but not for luxury clients. Make sure you know what your client base expects, and focus accordingly. A room with a view Guestroom view was one of the top mentioned attributes for all best experiences, irrespective of segment.

Charge to your market Price was shown to be the sixth most important factor for the experiences of economy travellers, whereas higher spend guests were not as affected. Midscale guests mentioned price as the fourteenth consideration when it came to building their best experiences. 12

JANUARY 30, 2010

A three day marketing training workshop organised by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) brought together 70 industry representatives from countries including Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Bahrain, Jordan, Tunisia and Syria. Here are some of the highlights:

Ahmed Al Nuaimi

Amr Abdel-Ghaffar

QTA Chairman “The world has recently seen a number of changes and crises, which have adversely affected the tourism industry and as a result, both government and private sectors have shouldered a heavy burden. Experience has shown that intensifying efforts in tourism marketing and developing promotional schemes have largely contributed to remedying repercussions of any crisis or challenges facing the industry.”

Regional Representative for the Middle East, UNWTO “International tourism is one of the most important social and economic phenomena in this day and age as a billion dollar industry generating economic growth, investment, employment and foreign trade. Our region’s remarkable performance in the tourism industry over the past decade is the result of sustained efforts on behalf of national tourism administrations to improve domestic tourism infrastructure and strengthen promotion and marketing activities. We expect that the Arab world will far surpass anticipated growth in international tourism, and as such, the UNWTO understands the importance of supporting national administrations dedicated to tourism marketing.”

Ahmed Al Nuaimi

Both government and private sectors have shouldered a heavy burden

Nawal Brada Second Secretary of the Tourism Department, Arab League “This is an ideal time to discuss the issues around this topic (tourism marketing). In recent years, the demand and offers have changed as related to tourism. The promotional activities around tourism in our country and the region can no longer be based on the past but need to look forward into the future.”

The demand and offers have changed

The Arab world will far surpass anticipated growth in international tourism

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 JANUARY 30, 2010


Lama Semaan

Nasser Diab

Lama Semaan has been appointed director of catering and sales events at The Westin Dubai and Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina Complex. Semaan has previously worked at the Turquoise Aquamarina Mikana Catering Company, Millennium Hotel Dubai, Al Murooj Rotana Dubai and W Hotel Qatar. She is fluent in Arabic, English and French.

Nasser Diab has been appointed as general manager of Omanexpo, an exhibition management company based in Oman. Diab previously worked in Dubai as the Middle East director of The Expo Hut. He has 17 years of experience in event management and marketing, new business development, corporate branding and project management. Diab is also a member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE).

Lama Semaan Tapasya Chona

Tapasya Chona Rezidor Hotel Group has appointed Tapasya Chona as the new regional responsible business coordinator for the Middle East. Chona has more than 10 years in the hospitality industry. She has previously worked with the Jumeirah Group and Radisson Blu. Her new role will involve the coordination of responsible business activities across Rezidor’s 25 Middle East hotels, focusing on health and wellbeing, social and ethical issues and environmental management.

The Ritz-Carlton, Doha Pep Lozano has been appointed as the new general manager of The RitzCarlton, Doha in Qatar. Lozano has previously worked at Ritz-Carlton properties in Spain, the US, Germany and Portugal. He speaks fluent English, Spanish and French. The Ritz-Carlton Doha has also appointed Belal Al Kadry as director of sales and marketing. Al Kadry has a degree in hotel management and marketing and has worked with several major hotel brands across the Middle East, including Sheraton, Hilton, Le Méridien and Marriott. 14

Pep Lozano

Nasser Diab

Tom Klein GDS provider Sabre Holdings has appointed Tom Klein as its new president. Klein previously held the position of executive vice president at Sabre, where he was responsible for Sabre Travel Network and Sabre Airlines Solutions. In his new role, Klein will be responsible for the entire global Sabre Holdings portfolio. JANUARY 30, 2010

Q&A with Lawrence Franklin Lawrence Franklin is the director of policy and strategy at Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA). Here, he discusses the state of tourism in Abu Dhabi and outlines some ambitious plans for the future. Travel Trade Weekly: How has tourism improved in recent years? What are the main factors that have increased visitor numbers in Abu Dhabi? Lawrence Franklin: We are pleased to report a two percent year on year growth in our hotel guests - a very solid performance in the face of global declines. Over the longer term we have recorded very strong growth in guests, especially over the past five years, with double digit increases every year. Numbers have doubled since 2004 from 680,000 to 1.5 million. The same impressive growth has also been a feature of passenger volumes at our international gateway Abu Dhabi International Airport. A wide range of positive factors have come into play, which all contribute to rapidly developing momentum. Some of the key factors include: the unwavering commitment of the government to a visionary plan; a level of commitment that would be the envy of tourism agencies and industries elsewhere; and a strong and vibrant economy which is particularly critical for attracting and supporting business tourism including more traditional MICE.

Numbers have doubled since 2004 from 680,000 to 1.5 million Travel Trade Weekly: What are some of the key principles of your strategy for the future of the tourism industry in Abu Dhabi? What are your main priorities? Lawrence Franklin:Our key principles are laid down in the 2030 Policy Vision and framed by our mission statement: to build a destination of distinction which enriches the JANUARY 30, 2010

lives of visitors and locals alike and is a model of triple bottom line sustainability. We recognise that we are on a journey. Our first key task after ADTA was created in 2004 was to put the building blocks in place; infrastructure development, licensing and regulations, events and experience development, promotion and distribution structure, industry and institutional capacity. We are now in a consolidation phase, creating stronger partnerships with industry and other stakeholders, building our leisure tourism portfolio, expanding our marketing, developing the value proposition. ADTA recognises that, like tourism sectors the world over, the key ingredient for long term sustainability is to be recognised by the local populace as an industry which adds value, provides opportunity, especially for employment, and plays its part in preserving and celebrating a culture and a legacy from the late UAE president and ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Lawrence Franklin

We will provide seed funding for business tourism events which align with our emirate’s economic vision we will provide seed funding for business

Travel Trade Weekly: How has business tourism events which align with our emirate’s tourism fared in Abu Dhabi? What is the economic vision. expectation for this sector in the future? Lawrence Franklin: Business tourism has Travel Trade Weekly: What effect has benefited greatly from the long term the introduction of last year’s new hotel underlying strength of our economy, the classification system had? creation of world class infrastructure at Abu Lawrence Franklin: The effect has been Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC) and a wide range of new and existing hotels. The recent evidence shows that the sector, particularly MICE, has grown from around eight percent of the hotel guest market in 2008 to 10 percent in 2009. We expect the sector to continue to perform well and we are ready to aggressively compete for business. Our recently launched Advantage Abu Dhabi programme is a case in point, wherein

overwhelmingly positive. It has created greater certainty for visitors and operators and has been the catalyst for a range of improvements to existing properties, from small to major. It also makes our destination easier to sell for the global tourism industry, with no concerns that customers may not be getting what they expect. This system is another example of our commitment to building a destination of distinction with systems to match. 15

E-Marketing Conference for Travel Industry to be Held in Beirut The MĂśvenpick Beirut hotel, Lebanon, will host the E-marketing Arts for Tourism conference from February 25 to 26. The conference will focus on educating participants in best-practice approaches to various areas of online marketing, including: search engine optimisation, online public relations, search engine

marketing, online ad campaigns, and the use of social networks. Speakers at the event include: Mohamed El-Sayad, general manager of the Microsoft Network (MSN) Arabia; Damian Cook, managing director of e-Tourism Africa; Boris Kapitanovi, director of the Iventera travel technology provision firm; and

Michael Jackson, a business marketing and communications consultant who has worked with Nike, Microsoft and Virgin Atlantic. The event is being held in partnership with the International Organisation for the Electronic Tourism Industry and Memphis Tours Egypt.

Events Gulfood Exhibition 2010 Dubai, UAE, Feb 21-24 ( Food and beverage exhibition.

Middle East Exclusive 2010 Dubai, UAE, Feb 2-4 ( Luxury brand and travel retail exhibition. SME Expo and Conference 2010 Dubai, UAE, Feb 2-4 ( Exhibition and conference for small and medium enterprises.

Jordan Travel Mart ( JTM) Dead Sea, Jordan, February 21-23 ( Showcase of the Jordanian tourism industry.

Business Travel and Meetings Show 2010 London, UK, February 9-10 ( Formerly the Business Travel Show, this event caters to consumers and suppliers of corporate travel services.

Meetings Africa 2010 Johannesburg, South Africa, February 24-26 ( Business tourism exhibition showcasing meeting venues, destinations and industry support services.

Travel Technology Europe London, UK, February 9-10 ( Educational and trade event centered on sales, operational, and marketing technology.

ITB Berlin Berlin, Germany, March 10-14 ( A combination of trade exhibition, public exhibition and professional convention for the travel trade industry.

EMITT Istanbul Istanbul, Turkey, Feb 11-14 ( Exhibition for travel professionals in the east Mediterranean and Eurasia.

Britain and Ireland Marketplace 2010 London, UK, March 16 ( Workshop for tour operators, wholesalers and intermediaries to meet suppliers from the UK and Ireland’s hotels, attractions, ground handlers and other tourism services

ETOA Hoteliers European Marketplace London, UK, Feb 12 ( Workshop event for tour operators, online intermediaries, wholesalers and hoteliers.

GIBTM Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 29-31 ( International event for the business travel and meetings industry in the Gulf and Middle East region.

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JANUARY 30, 2010

Travel Trade Weekly - Issue 12  
Travel Trade Weekly - Issue 12  

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