INSIDE • ATM PLUS… Industry & Exhibition news, including: Hospitality • Air Transport • Luxury and Experiential Tourism • Travel Tech & much more…
DUBAI HIGHLIGHTS THE VERY BEST OF ATM 2014
The official magazine of Arabian Travel Market 2014
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Expand your horizons on the plains in of Americaâ€™s North Dakota. Expand your horizons west
Discover this land, like never before.
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Mark Walsh Welcome to ATM Dear industry colleague It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Arabian Travel Market 2014. This year, we are celebrating our 21st birthday, having first opened our doors back in 1993. Monumental changes have taken place in that time, throughout the whole of the MENA region, but perhaps most dramatically here in Dubai, as you can see from the ‘spot the difference’ images of Sheikh Zayed Road – the first taken in ATM’s inaugural year, the second showing the same scene today. It’s almost impossible to believe that more than half of the world’s largest companies now have offices here, and the world’s largest airline also calls Dubai home. This year, we congratulate Dubai on winning in its bid to host World Expo 2020, and have been stunned (although we thought we no longer could be) by the ambitious plans to further develop tourism in the eight years between now and the mega-event. At ATM, we’ve had some exciting developments of our own, with the opening of a new hall (Hall 5), to accommodate the growth of the event. This year, we will have almost 25,000 square metres of exhibition floor space, an eight per cent increase on last year. And with significant increases in registered visitor bookings, we anticipate a record number of visitors looking to do business at the event. With new features this year also including the excitement of Pecha Kucha (20-image/20-second) presentations, our Spotlight On Luxury, live streaming of seminars and a host of new exhibitors, we trust you’ll agree that ATM continues to be the one unmissable travel trade exhibition in the Middle East. We are also constantly aiming to improve our official publications and would love to hear your views on this issue of Inside ATM, which features many articles linked to the topics being discussed in this year’s seminar programme. In the meantime, I hope you have a most enjoyable and successful week of business at Arabian Travel Market.
Mark Walsh Portfolio Director Arabian Travel Market
Letter from the editor As a show magazine, it is important that the content of Inside ATM magazine is closely allied with the issues being debated at this year’s Arabian Travel Market. With this in mind, we are highlighting key sectors such as luxury tourism (page 28), air travel (page 47) and travel technology (page 79), which will form a major part of both the seminar programme and the exhibition itself. The ATM seminars taking place this week, across three theatres – the main Seminar Theatre, Sabre Travel Technology Theatre and Exhibitor Showcase Theatre – are the most comprehensive and wide-ranging to date, covering not just industry sectors, but also a number of geographic regions. Again, Inside ATM is following suit, carrying destination focus articles (page 83), and offering national, regional and global statistics on tourism (page 32), plus the latest developments in the hospitality industry (page 42). ATM is a major travel industry show, with a global reach, but visitor interest in the nations of the MENA region, and in particular our host destination Dubai, cannot be overstated. For this reason, Inside ATM takes a close look at the performance of hotels in the region and at the progress of Dubai’s Vision 2020 project (page 23). With an event programme (page 12), and an exhibition floorplan (page 96), the magazine is designed as an essential editorial companion for ATM. I hope you enjoy your time at the show, you are successful in your business dealings, and you find some useful industry insight in the pages of Inside ATM. Have a great show Mike Hayes
36 12 Event Programme
36 Travel Bloggers
14 Exhibitor News
18 Industry News
23 Vision 2020
47 Air Travel
28 Luxury Tourism
52 Social Media
32 UAE Analysis
57 Brand USA
Keep track of the seminars taking place in all three of ATM’s theatre halls
Showcasing the products, services and destinations on show at this year’s ATM
A round-up of cross-sector travel industry news from the Middle East and beyond
We look at the Dubai government’s plan to double visitor numbers in eight years
Joe Mortimer of Destinations of the World News, on why luxury will never be out of fashion
Inside ATM takes a look at recent figures and comments on tourism in the UAE
Craig Martin on why travel and tourism agencies are waking up to the benefits of travel bloggers
Taleb Rifai of the World Tourism Organisation on why he sees sustainable growth in the region
Market intelligence specialist Hotstats examines performance figures for the region’s hotel offering
Air transport consultant John Strickland talks to Mike Hayes about this week’s aviation debates
Anabelle Bernard Fournier looks at channels for reaching consumers and travel professionals
A lightning tour around one of the world’s premier destinations, from the people promoting a nation
Editor Mike Hayes Art Direction
122 Design Sales Director Parminder Johal Senior Reporter Kate Hamilton
Sub-Editor Suzy Frost Production Manager Julie Ebsworth Digital / Web Production 3S Media
73 64 Sustainable Tourism
Travel Foundation’s Salli Felton on why it’s good business sense to get down to the beach this year
68 Experiential Tourism
Keith Osborne asks how one can qualify and quantify a sector that is so hard to pin down
A perspective on the current state of the global cruise industry from CLIA’s Christine Duffy
79 Travel Technology
Kate Hamilton looks at the many ways travel technology is changing our business focus
Abu Dhabi, Turkey, the Philippines, Qatar, Ajman and the USA all come under the Inside ATM microscope
Including stand numbers, hall entrances, information points and shuttle services
INSIDE ATM 2014 IS PUBLISHED BY LIMETREE MEDIA FOR AND ON BEHALF OF REED TRAVEL EXHIBITIONS. LIMETREE MEDIA LTD 44 CULVERDEN PARK ROAD TUNBRIDGE WELLS KENT TN4 9QY TEL: +44 (0)203598 9652 EMAIL: PARMINDER.JOHAL@ LTMPUBLICATIONS.COM WEB: LTMPUBLICATIONS.COM
All material in Inside ATM is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission of the publishers and Reed Travel Exhibitions. Colour transparencies and photographs submitted for publication are sent at the owners’ risk and while every care is taken, neither the publishers nor their agents accept liability for loss or damage, however caused. The publishers and Reed Travel Exhibitions can accept no liability whatsoever in connection with the contents of this publication. Opinions expressed within the articles are not necessarily those of Limetree Media Ltd nor Reed Travel Exhibitions and any issue arising there from should be taken up directly with the contributor. Arabian Travel Market and ATM trademarks are owned and protected by Elsevier Properties SA and Reed Exhibitions Limited used such trademarks under licence.
> Dario Rustico, Director of Sales & Marketing – CE, Africa, ME & India, Costa
ATM Seminar Programme Seminar Theatre MONDAY 5 MAY
LS 13:00 – 14:30
LS 14:45 – 15:25
LS 15:30 – 16:15
16:30 – 17:30
LS 14:45 – 15:45
LS Session being live streamed
to ATM Livewall
The strategic importance of Airports: a one to one interview with the CEO of Dubai Airports, Paul Griffiths Interviewer: > John Strickland, Director, JLS Consulting Interviewee: > Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports
16:00 – 17:00 WTM Vision Conference – Dubai Delivering the Tourism Vision for 2020 and how Dubai is Format: Introduction and Keynote marketed to the world > Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, World Travel Market Format: Panel discussion > Kinda Chebib, Analyst for MENA research department, Euromonitor Moderator: International (London) > Stephen Marney, Business & Financial Journalist, Arabian Business WEDNESDAY 7 MAY Network Panellists: LS 11:00 – 12:00 Keep it in the family > His Excellency Helal Saeed Al Marri, CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre Format: Panel discussion and Director General of Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing Moderator: > Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai > Gemma Greenwood, Freelance Editor and Editorial Consultant > Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Panellists: Officer, Emirates > Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce > Neil Jones, Chief Sales and Marketing Office, MEA, Marriott Marketing International > Alain Debare, CEO, Action Hotels > Guy Wilkinson, Managing Partner, Viability Management Consultants 10 years on: we examine the success of Air Arabia with its > Ali Abu Monassar, Chairman/CEO, The Vision Destination CEO Adel Ali Management/Signature Luxury Transport Format: interview > Mohamed Awadalla, CEO, TI’ME Hotels Management Interviewer: > John Strickland, Director, JLS Consulting 12:15 – 13:15 The rise and relevance of Wellness Tourism Interviewee: Format: Keynote > Adel Ali, Board Member and Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia > Anni Hood, Wellness Business Advisor and Consultant, Global Wellness Tourism Congress Looking to the future-Senior Executives from Gulf Aviation Format: Panel discussion 13:30 – 14:30 Growth of Medical Tourism in the Middle East: How Travel Moderator: Agents can Reinvent themselves and become a Medical > John Strickland, Director, JLS Consulting Tourism Facilitators Panellists: Format: Keynote > Adel Ali, Board Member and Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia > Jonathan Edelheit, CEO and Co-founder, The Medical Tourism > Michael L. Warner, Customer Leader for Airplane Development, Association Boeing Commercial Airplanes > Raja Azmi, CEO, Flynas 14:45 – 15:45 Preserving Culture in Luxury Tourism > Bashar Jawhari, VP Corporate Strategy & Communications, Abu Format: Keynote Dhabi Airports > H.E. Air Vice Marshal (ret) Mohammed Bin Mahfoodh Bin Saad Ardhi, Chairman, Sundus Investment Projects LLC Visa UAE Tourism Snapshot Format: Keynote 16:00 – 17:00 New Frontiers Award > Marcello Baricordi General Manager – UAE, Visa THURSDAY 8 MAY
TUESDAY 6 MAY
LS 11:00 – 12:00
12:15 – 13:15
13:30 - 14:30
Year in review – sponsored by GT MEDIA Format: Panel discussion Moderator: > Gemma Greenwood, Freelance Editor and Editorial Consultant Panellists: > Mohammed K. Al Dhaheri, Director of Strategy & Policy. Abu Dhabi > Harvey Lines, General Manager, Travel Counsellors > Henning Fries, Group Director Hotels, Al Habtoor Group LLC > Stuart Laird-Smith, Head of Strategy, Africa, Middle East & South Asia, Travelport > Faisal Ahmed Al Nuaimi, Director General, Ajman Tourism Development Department > Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions Luxury on trend Format: Panel discussion Moderator: > Joe Mortimer, Senior Editor, Destinations of the World News Panellists: > Jacqueline Campbell, Managing Director, The Travel Collection > Scott Booth, Associate Research Director, YouGov MENA > Liam Wholey, CEO, Travel Attache > Debbie Duncan-Studart, Travel Counsellor, Abercombie & Kent > Karim Bizid, General Manager, The Oberoi – Dubai > Andre Herrenschmidt, General Manager, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah – Hilton Worldwide Global Cruise Trends… Tailoring cruise vacations to suit every taste Format: Panel discussion Moderator: > Alan Le Coyte, Freelance Travel Consultant Panellists: > Hamad bin Mejren, Executive Director, Business Tourism, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing > Jasem Zaiton, Cruise Manager, dnata – Gulf Ventures > Carol Hay, Director of Marketing UK & Europe, Caribbean Tourism Organization > Daniel Essex, CEO, The Luxury Cruise Portfolio > Helen Beck, Regional Director, International Representatives – EMEA, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Club Cruises
11:00 – 12:00
Sustainability: an emerging mega-trend Format: Panel discussion Moderator: > Sandrine Le Biavant, Director Consultancy, Farnek Services LLC and Farnek Middle East LLC Panellists: > Ashraf Helmy, General Manager, Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort > Fredrik Reinisch, Area General Manger, JA Resorts & Hotels
12:15 – 13:15
Rising Stars Format: Panel discussion Moderator: > Daniel Andrews, Editor, Arabian Travel News Panellists: > Azar Saliba, Hotel Manager, Jumeirah Al Qasr and Al Masyaf Hotels > Sultan Hamad Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director – Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority > Fabio Prestijacopo, VP – Business Support, Destination & Leisure Management Division, Emirates Group > Muhanned Al Bahaggag, Assistant Manager – Public Relations, Oman Air > Cruz Ignatius, Business Partnerships Manager, Kanoo Travel
13:30 – 14:30
A new approach to tourism Format: Panel discussion Moderator: > Gemma Greenwood, Freelance Editor and Editorial Consultant Panellists: > Karim Mekachera, Director Middle East & Turkey Regional Office, France Tourism Development Agency > Vassilis Theocharides, Director, Cyprus Tourism Organisation > Maheen Mohamed, General Manager, Nasser Air Travel (NASA) > Sai Rattan, Senior General Manager UAE, Corporate Sales and Holidays, SNTTA > Leo Fewtrell, General Manager and Managing Partner, DTTAG and Gulf Reps > Bill Horsley, General Manager, Al Futtaim Travel Management Company > Diego J. Lofeudo, Sr. Director of Market Management, Eastern Med, Africa, Middle East and Indian Ocean, Expedia Travel INSIDE ATM
Sabre Travel Technology Theatre
MONDAY 5 MAY
13:00 –14:00 Digital Travel
Format: Panel discussion Moderator: > Paul Richer, Senior Partner, Genesys – The Travel Technology Consultancy Speakers; THURSDAY 8 MAY Panellists: 11:00-12:00 > Ian Humphreys, Regional Director in the Middle East, Caliber Interactive > Doros Theodorou, Commercial Director, TripAdvisor for Business > Jackie Groves, Sales and Marketing Director, intuitive
14:15 –15:15 Stop worrying about post booking challenges
Format: Keynote > Aamir Saleem, Director of Product & Training ME, Sabre Travel Network ME 12:15 – 13:15 Format: Keynote > Vikram Singh, Co-Founder, Madbooker
LS 16:45 – 17:45 The Digital Traveler in MENA
TUESDAY 6 MAY
Life after death – by PowerPoint Format: Keynote > John Quinn, Trainer, Satellite Visual Communications FZCO
13:30 - 14:30
10:30 – 11:30 Context can be king…if you know what to do with it
Format: Panel discussion > Kevin Clapson, Snr Director, Head of Display Advertising EMEA, Tripadvisor > Tim Schofield, DMO Senior Sales Executive, Tripadvisor > Chris Gregory, Advertising Manager MEA, Tripadvisor
11:45 – 12:45 How to Find and Work with Good Travel Bloggers
Format: Panel discussion Moderator: > Michael Hodson, President, The Professional Travel Bloggers Association Panellists: > Laurel Robbins, Social Media Consultant, Speaker and Award Winning Blogger, Laurelrobbins.com > Laurence Norah, Photographer and Blogger, findingtheuniverse.com
Exhibitor Showcase Theatre MONDAY 5 MAY
14:45 – 15:15 The Importance of Payment Strategies
Format: Presentation > Mark Rademaker, Managing Director, Emerging Markets, UATP > Sylvie Legault, Commercial Manager EMEA, UATP
TUESDAY 6 MAY
14:00 – 14:45 Managing your social media in 15 minutes a day
Format: Panel discussion > Michael Hodson, President, The Professional Travel Bloggers Association > Laurel Robbins, Social Media Consultant, Speaker and Award Winning Blogger, Laurelrobbins.com > Laurence Norah, Photographer and Blogger, findingtheuniverse.com
LS 13:00 –14:00 Travel & Technology – Latest Trends
Format: Keynote > Paul Richer, Senior Partner, Genesys - The Travel Technology Consultancy
14:15 – 15:15 In touch with the Multi Device traveller
15:15 – 15:45 Big Data and Big Advertising
Format: Presentation > Maria Gomez, Media Sales and Planner, WEMEA and APEC, Media Solutions, Amadeus. > Mayur Patel, Head of Regional Sales - Asia Pacific, Middle East & North Africa, Travel Intelligence, Amadeus
Format: Keynote > Joakim Everstin, Innovation Manager EMEA, Sabre Travel Network
15:30 – 16:30 The Hyper-Mobile Traveler: Next Generation Guest Satisfaction &
Engagement Format: Keynote > Alana Witte, Director, Middle East & Africa, Revinate
16:00 – 16:30 Transforming your business through Amadeus Travel Wizard -
a touch of genius Format: Presentation > Graham Nichols, Managing Director, Amadeus Gulf > Arman Sarang, Head of Products and Marketing, Amadeus Gulf
16:45 – 17:45 Analytics 2.0 – Use Web Analytics to Supercharge Your Website’s
Performance and Revenue Format: Keynote > Vikram Singh, Co-founder, Madbooker
16:45 - 17:30 Effective use of a blog on your business site
Panel Discussion > Laurence Norah, Photographer and Blogger, findingtheuniverse.com > Michael Hodson, President, The Professional Travel Bloggers Association > Laurel Robbins, Social Media Consultant, Speaker and Award Winning Blogger, Laurelrobbins.com
WEDNESDAY 7 MAY
10:30 –11:30 Appealing to the European Traveller
Format: Keynote > Richard Singer, European Managing Director, Travelzoo Europe
11:45 – 12:45 Digital Debate: The Impact of Mobile in Travel
WEDNESDAY 7 MAY
Format: Panel discussion 11:30 – 12:15 Moderator: > Nick Hall, Managing Director, Digital Tourism Think Tank Panellists: > Tim Schofield, DMO Senior Sales Executive, TripAdvisor > Shakhzoda Akhmadjanova, eCommerce Manager, Ras al Khaimah Tourism > Danish Farhan, Founder and CEO, Xische & Co > Martin Chevalley, CEO of InnSpire 13:15 – 14:15
13:00 – 14:00 Social Media: Controlling Your Message
Format: Panel discussion > Oliver Blofeld, Managing Partner, Insight > James Mullan, Managing Partner, Insight
LS 14:15 – 15:15 I don’t know which way to book
Format: Panel discussion Moderator: > Chetan Kapoor, Research Analyst – Asia Pacific, PhoCusWright Inc Panellists: > Albert Dias, Co-Founder, Musafir.com
Getting the results you want from social media Format: Panel discussion > Laurence Norah, Photographer and Blogger, findingtheuniverse.com > Michael Hodson, President, The Professional Travel Bloggers Association > Laurel Robbins, Social Media Consultant, Speaker and Award Winning Blogger, Laurelrobbins.com TTN Travel Agents Competition Format: Pecha kucha Presentation Moderator: > John Quinn, Trainer, Satellite Visual Communication FZCO Pecha Kucha presentations from: Hong Kong Tourism > Chic Shopping Outlet, Kenya Tourism Board, Travelport
14:30 – 15:00 The rise of the Independent Asian Traveller:
Format: Panel discussion Moderator: > Jon Barber, Senior Manager – Corporate Communication, DAMAC Panellists: > Thierry Dongier, MENA Regional Sales Director- Key accounts, Amadeus IT Group (Dubai Branch) > Faisal Memon, CEO, Illusions Online 15:15 – 16:00 > Diego J.Lofeudo, Sr. Director of Market Management, Eastern Med, Africa, Middle East and Indian Ocean, Expedia Travel > Naeem Darkazally, Vice President – Sales & Marketing, Millennium Copthorne Middle East & Africa
LS 15:30 – 16:30 Middle East Travel: Online Today, Mobile Tomorrow
How airlines and other travel companies have approached and are succeeding on mobile Format: Keynote > Kara Moddemann, Industry Manager - Travel, Middle East and North Africa, Google Mobile in Today’s Online Experience Format: Panel discussion Moderator: > Michael Hodson, President, Professional Travel Bloggers Association Panellists: > Laurel Robbins, Social Media Consultant, Speaker and Award Winning Blogger, Laurelrobbins.com > Laurence Norah, Photographer and Blogger, findingtheuniverse.com
15:30 –16:30 Optimizing Your Direct Revenue & Building Your Brand Online
Format: Keynote > Ivan Jakovljevic, Head of Travel, Middle East and North Africa, Google
> Matthew Powell, Director – Regional Product, Africa, Middle East and South Asia > Sameer Poonja, Head – Digital Technologies, Emirates Group > Samir Abi Frem, Coporate VP-IT, Rotana Hotels Management
The world’s fastest growing source market Format: Presentation > Mario Hardy, Chief Operating Officer, PATA > Duncan Alexander, Director, The Travel Marketing Store & PATA West Asia Don’t be afraid of Twitter (and other Social Media platforms) Format: Panel Discussion > Laurence Norah, Photographer and Blogger, findingtheuniverse.com > Michael Hodson, President, The Professional Travel Bloggers Association > Laurel Robbins, Social Media Consultant, Speaker and Award Winning Blogger, Laurelrobbins.com
16:15 – 16:45 The Future of Online Travel
Format: Presentation > Thierry Dongier, MENA Regional Sales Director - Key Accounts, Amadeus IT Group (Dubai Branch) > Shibu T.George, Business Solutions Manager (e-commerce & mobile), Amadeus IT Group (Dubai Branch)
NEWS / ATM
News from the halls ARABIAN TRAVEL MARKET COVERS ALL SECTORS OF THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY, FEATURING DESTINATIONS, ORGANISATIONS, PRODUCTS AND SERVICES FROM AROUND THE WORLD. WHETHER IT’S A NEW HOTEL OPENING, AN INNOVATIVE CAMPAIGN OR RECOGNITION FOR WORLD-LEADING SERVICE, THIS YEAR’S ATM EXHIBITORS INVARIABLY HAVE A GREAT STORY TO TELL…
Sofitel opens in Dubai
Sofitel Luxury Hotels is continuing to grow its impressive portfolio in the Middle East as it prepares for the opening of its latest hotel. Located in the heart of Dubai, Sofitel Dubai Downtown offers amazing views of Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building – and the Arabian coast. Situated just a few hundred metres from The Dubai Mall, and all of the major business and leisure destinations that Dubai has to offer, Sofitel Dubai Downtown boasts 350 spacious rooms, including 76 suites with panoramic views of either Burj Khalifa or the coastline. “We are very proud to offer to the distinguished luxury traveller a piece of France in Dubai with the opening of Sofitel Dubai Downtown” said Klaus Assmann, general manager of the hotel. “Sofitel’s Luxury Hotels portfolio grows continuously around the globe and we are proud to link French culture with the local culture in each property we operate. As we daily strive for excellence and exceeding our guest’s expectations, I am certain that this new hotel will attract discerning travellers from all over the world.” sofitel.com
Corporate travel from FAL Aviation UK FAL Aviation UK, based at Lydd Airport in Kent, offers a vast array of services including aircraft refuelling, chauffeur-driven limousines, helicopter transfers and luxury in-flight catering. In addition, accommodation and conference facilities can also be arranged too, while aircrews are also very well looked after, with designated crew rest rooms, showers, transport, accommodation arrangements and flight briefing areas. FAL Aviation is focused on the needs of the business and VIP traveller and, as a result, it offers corporate travel to suit every need. lydd-airport.co.uk
CITYMAX HOTELS CONTINUES TO EXPAND Now into its fourth year of operation as part of the multimillion-dollar Landmark Group, Citymax Hotels currently operates three hotels with a total of more than 1,200 rooms in Dubai and Sharjah. A home-grown mid-market brand, Citymax Hotels prides itself in offering services beyond those expected of a budget hotel group. With successful restaurant growth, introduction of a mobile responsive website, development of sports partnerships and catering to high demand for accommodation throughout the city, Citymax Hotels is currently building three new properties in the UAE, located in Al Barsha, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. “The established Citymax Hotels business model is proving to be much sought after in the UAE,” said CEO Praveen Bhatnagar. “Our business model and hotel design offers spatial planning with a look and feel driven by functionality and operational efficiency, ensuring cost-effective construction and operation. Consistency of the Citymax Hotels design ensures guests quickly understand the function of each hotel thereby avoiding over complication and disorientation upon arrival. The design is contemporary, yet simple and without unnecessary luxury, exceeding guest expectations of a budget hotel.” citymaxhotels.com
NEWS / ATM
Cruise lift for award-winning Philippines The Department of Tourism (DOT) has geared up its promotion of the Philippines as a destination for the lucrative cruise ship market. In 2013, a total of three luxury liners made their maiden calls on Manila and other top tourist destination shores of the country. Tourism assistant secretary Benito Bengzon Jr said that the inclusion of the Philippines in the South-east Asian programmes of major cruise lines is considered a milestone for the country’s cruise industry. “This is definitely a clear indication of the country’s improving image as a port of call for cruise ships in the region. And it should encourage us in the government and our partners in the private sector to invest more in developing our ports to attract cruise companies,” he
added. For 2014, the DOT is anticipating a total of 23 vessel calls bringing a total of 24,000 cruise passengers to the Philippines. Meanwhile, the Philippines continues to be a favourite destination among the Chinese, regardless of how they arrive, and the country has just been voted as the “best tropical island destination” by the Shanghai Morning Post. “The recognition complements the strong market performance, and brand recognition for the Philippines as an exciting and fun destination for the ever-growing Chinese outbound travellers,” commented Gerard Panga, Philippine Department of Tourism attaché to China-Shanghai office. experiencephilippines.org
OLAZÁBAL OPENS GOLF RESORT
Two-time Major champion and Ryder Cup legend, José María Olazábal has unveiled the new Velaa Golf Academy in the Maldives. The resort, which is located on a private island in the northern part of the Noonu Atoll, is home to 48 private pool villas and was created out of the passion for the region by the owner, Jiri Smejc, and his wife, Radka, in a bid to create the most private place on earth. “I have never seen such a luxurious location,” commented Olazábal on his visit to Velaa Private Island. “I have had the pleasure of working on some remarkable projects, but what Jiri and Radka have created here is simply awe-inspiring.” The course comprises six immaculately conditioned green complexes; all surrounded by uniquely shaped bunkering and eye-catching water features, while nine tee options give players a range of hole choices at a variety of lengths, with the option for guests to book private tuition and reserve the academy for exclusive use at select times. velaaprivateisland.com
Hotel N’vY opens to the public After five months of renovation work and a CHF16 million investment, the Hotel N’vY opened in Geneva in December 2013, where the Hotel Epsom once stood. The Hotel N’vY boasts three eateries, a lounge bar and a resident DJ, and is open both to hotel guests and to a local clientele. All of the 153 and, in certain rooms, the frosted glass bathroom partitions offer a complete view of the room as you walk in. In the Executive rooms, the bathroom is located window-side, separated by a glass partition only; meaning that you can even watch television from the bath. hotelnvygeneva.com/en
NEWS / ATM
RezLive.com proves popular UK
KNIGHTLY APARTMENTS EXPANDS LONDON PORTFOLIO
RezLive.com is an award winning B2B global reservation system offering hotels, sightseeing and transfers under one interface. Part of Asia and the Middle East’s leading travel group, Travel Designer Group, RezLive.com is backed by travel expertise, innovation and cutting-edge technology. Through its offices in India, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mauritius, Libya, Philippines and Saudi Arabia, it is empowering over 4,500 satisfied travel partners. RezLive.com is considered as one of the largest consolidators of products online for better inventory and rates, and the association with regional travel partners enables RezLive.com to become the global gateway to the world of travel. rezlive.com
Radisson Blu undergoes refurbishment
Knightly Apartments has added a new fully refurbished twobedroom apartment with lift near Oxford Circus. It features a fully equipped kitchen, complete with washing machine, dishwasher and coffee machine, as well as a range of entertainment equipment. Located one minute’s walk from Oxford Circus, this apartment is in a perfect location for any corporate client visiting London on business. Knightly Apartments offers a range of 26 high-quality, fully-serviced apartments in the most prestigious areas of London to the corporate and leisure market. Locations include Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, St James’s, Marylebone, Covent Garden, Soho, St John’s Wood, Little Venice and Regents Park. “Location is the most important factor in selecting our apartments,” explains Solly Godsi, Knightly Apartments’ director. “We have a strong preference for penthouse apartments and duplexes, which give our clients a feeling of staying in a home away from home. Underground stations are typically only a couple of minutes away but, for most of our clients, what they really love about our apartments is that they can just walk to almost anywhere they are going.” knightlyapartments.com
The Radisson Blu Resort Sharjah, located on the private beach on the Arabian Gulf, has recently undergone a series of refurbishments. Part of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel group, Radisson Blu Resort features luxuriously designed room styles, its own restaurants, a range of meetings and events facilities, as well as fitness and spa suites. Speaking of the developments, executive assistant manager, Kamal Rijhwani, commented: “We have undergone soft refurbishment of all of our 306 rooms and now offer 32-inch LCD flat-screen television sets, a contemporary glass-door mini bar, high-class themed and individually customised headboards, uniquely styled carpets, movable night and study LED lamps, a modernised cupboard and luggage rack and blackout curtains with inimitably styled windows. A new addition will be the window locks, which will be provided in all rooms to allow the circulation of fresh air.” radissonblu.com
THE ULTIMATE LEISURE AND ENTERTAINMENT DESTINATION 21
5 ATTRACTIONS 1 2 3
FERRARI WORLD ABU DHABI YAS WATERWORLD
YAS LINKS GOLF COURSE YAS PLAZA HOTELS
YAS MARINA CIRCUIT 9 du ARENA
10 YAS CENTRAL 11 YAS KARTZONE
12 YAS DRAG
13 YAS MALL *
14 IKEA 15 ACE 16 SEAWINGS
17 O1NE YAS ISLAND
* UNDER CONSTRUCTION
18 YAS VICEROY ABU DHABI
21 CROWNE PLAZA ABU DHABI YAS ISLAND
23 CENTRO YAS ISLAND
YAS EXPRESS BUS STOPS
19 PARK INN BY RADISSON YAS ISLAND
22 STAYBRIDGE SUITES ABU DHABI YAS ISLAND
24 YAS ISLAND ROTANA
AN ALL-INCLUSIVE 25 KM 2 ISLAND WITH A FREE SHUTTLE CONNECTING ALL MEGA ATTRACTIONS
20 RADISSON BLU YAS ISLAND
UAE’S HAPPENING ISLAND FEATURING MULTIPLE ATTRACTIONS LOCATED ONLY 7 MINUTES FROM ABU DHABI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, 25 MINUTES FROM THE HEART OF ABU DHABI CITY, AND 45 MINUTES FROM THE CITY OF DUBAI, GUESTS WILL DISCOVER WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS AS THEY EXPLORE THE VARIOUS ACTIVITIES YAS ISLAND HAS TO OFFER.
FERRARI WORLD ABU DHABI
The world’s first indoor Ferrari branded theme park, featuring its record breaking roller coaster, Formula Rossa which speeds up to 240 kmph.
ROOMS WITH ISLAND VIEW
UNIQUE WATER ADVENTURES AT YAS WATERWORLD 2
YAS LINKS GOLF COURSE
Experience the largest Emirati themed waterpark in the UAE and the world’s first aqua park with a rollercoaster ride.
PURE RELAXATION – YAS BEACH
VISIT US DURING ARABIAN TRAVEL MARKET:
An award winning golf course, designed by Kyle Phillips (a world leading golf course designer).
Yas Island offers six hotels (three and four stars) on Yas Plaza, all hosting gourmet restaurants, entertainment, fitness and wellness venues.
Let your soul wander, swim, paddle board or kayak away on the shores of Yas Island’s only beach.
WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE REDEVELOPED YAS MARINA, IT IS NOW TWICE THE FUN! 7 Dock – dine – discover, at yas marina with an array of seamless waterfront terrace of restaurants where every meal is served with an iconic view.
HOME TO THE FORMULA 1™ ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 8
ONE-OFF VENUE FOR WORLD CLASS LIVE CONCERTS 6 9
YAS VICEROY, YAS ISLAND’S SIGNATURE HOTEL 18
Imagine driving a Formula Yas 3000 or Aston Martin GT4 on the same circuit as the pros – you can.
Staged by the du Forum and du Arena.
The world’s only hotel with a Formula 1 track running through it.
FIND US AT FACEBOOK.COM/YASISLAND
NEWS / GENERAL
Industry News A ROUND-UP OF CROSS-SECTOR TRAVEL INDUSTRY NEWS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST AND BEYOND THAILAND UAE
WTTC reports jobs boost from UAE tourism
THAI TOURISM LOOKS TO EUROPE The number of international tourist arrivals to Thailand in March fell by 9.39% year-on-year to 2.1 million due mainly to political unrest, the country’s tourism department has said. The six markets with the biggest declines were Africa (-17.8%), South Asia (-17.7%), the Middle East (-14.8%), East Asia (-14.67%) Oceania (-10.7%) and the Americas (-5.06%). However, the number of European visitors increased 2.25% to 680,728 visitors on the back of an improving economy. The two main growth drivers were the Russian market, which rose by 9.86% to 211,677 visitors, and Finland, which grew by 48.3% to 25,897. The Tourism Authority of Thailand projects that the total of foreign tourist arrivals this year will reach 28 million, while tourism revenue will be 2 trillion baht. The department also said that 50 countries still maintain travel advisories even though the state of emergency was lifted last month.
Tens of thousands of jobs will be created in the UAE travel and tourism sector this year as investment reaches Dh23 billion, according to a forecast by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The international organisation of travel industry executives estimated in a report that spending in the sector would rise by 9.7%, from Dh21bn last year. The number of jobs directly and indirectly supported by the industry is estimated to reach 523,000 by the end of 2014, a 5.3% rise on last year. “In 2013, travel and tourism’s total contribution to the global economy rose to 9.5% of total GDP, not only outpacing the wider economy but also growing faster than other significant sectors such as financial and business services, transport and manufacturing,” said David Scowsill, the president and chief executive of the WTTC. “The outlook for travel and tourism in 2014 is also very positive, with travel and tourism GDP growth forecast to reach 4.3%. Much of this growth is being driven by higher consumer spending as the recovery from recession gathers pace and is becoming firmly established.”
NEWS / GENERAL
Positive outlook for Dubai Jones Lang LaSalle’s recent report, Dubai Real Estate Market Overview Q1 2014, he said that the emirate’s residential property market maintained its momentum with average prices increasing 33% year-on-year, with average rents improving 23%. JLL also reported that the retail market continues to improve, registering rental growth in both primary and secondary malls. Street shops are continuing to witness popularity with a number of new project launches, while the hotel sector maintained its strong performance supported by a growing number of tourist arrivals. Year-to-February saw occupancy rates reach 88% and Average Daily Rates rise to $298.
MIDDLE EAST AVIATION INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO GROW
The aviation industry in the Middle East has experienced an impressive level of growth in recent years, with low-cost carrier (LCC) traffic doubling in the last five years alone. Local companies are now looking to build upon this growth even further, with existing airlines hoping to expand their business models in the region. There are currently three carriers in the LCC market that are based in the Gulf – Air Arabia, flydubai and Jezeera Airways – and even though the former two are already big players, with services to Europe, Central Asia and India, this doesn’t deter them from looking ahead to even bigger fleets and more routes in the future. Flydubai is planning to add new aircraft to its fleet in order to create new routes based on growing demand, with a second order of planes being placed already, while Air Arabia is looking to create new services to major Arab cities in an expansion of its routes. Elsewhere, flynas, a Saudi Arabian company, wants to develop longhaul flights to the UK, something that would be a real step forward for Mideast aviation because LCC long-haul models were once seen as infeasible. Boeing expects the worldwide market for commercial aircraft financing to remain strong as airlines continue to receive expected record levels of deliveries of new, fuel-efficient airplanes in 2014.
The hotel sector is expected to maintain its positive performance and growth, as the government introduces new initiatives in order to attract further tourists and diversify the hospitality sector. The industrial market continued to perform well in the quarter. The area to the south of Dubai continues to attract most attention, given improvements to the surrounding infrastructure, good connectivity, and proximity to the Expo 2020 site, the report said.
WTTC’s Scowsill blasts short-sighted governments
Governments should take more account of travel and tourism when framing policy, said WTTC chief executive and president David Scowsill in a recent speech in Hainan, China. Scowsill said that China has become the second-largest travel and tourism economy in the world, and now supports 65 million jobs and contributes 9% of China’s GDP. Furthermore, the Chinese travel and tourism industry is forecast to grow at over seven per cent per year for the next ten years. Looking beyond China though, the contribution of travel and tourism to the global economy is also indisputable. WTTC forecasts that travel and tourism will grow globally by over four per cent each year for the next ten years. By 2024 the global industry will be worth over US$3 trillion. Scowsill went on to say that it should come as no surprise to hear that governments need travel and tourism. He said the WTTC research recently released would demonstrate the intrinsic link between the tourism industry and increased global commerce. Yet too many governments around the world, he said, still fail to acknowledge the vast potential of this industry, leading to destructive border policies, punitive taxes and poor long-term infrastructural planning.
NEWS / GENERAL
OMAN ROADSHOW TO ACCELERATE NUMBERS SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose by 17.5% in March this year compared to the same period in 2013, recent data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) showed. The month recorded 133,048 tourists arriving in the country compared to the 113,208 during March 2013. Arrivals from North America rose by 10.7%, with 18,440 visitors for the first three months of the year alone, while 143,760 tourist arrivals were recorded from Western Europe. Sri Lanka met its tourist arrival target of 1.2 million for 2013, thanks to a 26.7% increase from the 1,005,605 tourists who arrived during 2012.
The Oman Ministry of Tourism recently conducted a roadshow in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where the leading travel agents and corporate clients met top industry partners from Oman in a bid to show the commitment to promote Oman across the GCC countries as a tourist destination for regional travellers. The move complements recent industry reports showing that Oman’s tourism industry increased in 2013. Almost 2.1 million global tourists visited Oman last year and the road shows, which will be composed of meetings and presentations across the GCC, will enable the Oman Ministry of Tourism to generate more awareness about its travel offerings to travel agents as well as tourists. “It is part of our well-devised strategy for 2014 to promote Oman as an ideal destination for short breaks targeting GCC tourists through roadshows to be held in several cities,” said Salim Al Mamari, director general of tourism promotion, Oman Ministry of Tourism. “Such events enable us to reach out to existing and potential visitors and spread awareness about the Sultanate’s developed tourism sector. We are well aware that many tourists in the region are constantly on the lookout for new yet cost-effective holiday destinations where they can spend quality time relaxing with family and friends. These roadshows will convey this message while highlighting the hospitality aspect of the country’s offering. We are confident that the roadshows will contribute in increasing the tourist footfall in Oman for the upcoming tourist season.” Oman Air, the national airlines of Oman, will be present at all roadshows as the only airline partner for Oman Ministry of Tourism.
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DUBAI VISION 2020
Dubai building towards 2020 DUBAI’S ONGOING SUCCESS STORY NOW MEANS MORE THAN TEN MILLION VISITORS A YEAR COME TO THE EMIRATE. AS IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH, THE NEWS THAT DUBAI WILL HOST THE WORLD EXPO 2020 HAS CAUSED THE GOVERNMENT TO ANNOUNCE A REDOUBLING OF ITS EFFORTS TO BRING VISITORS TO THE SUN-DRENCHED DESTINATION. INSIDE ATM INVESTIGATES THE NEW TOURISM VISION.
DUBAI VISION 2020
For anyone arriving in Dubai today, it must be incredible to think anyone could have doubted its potential to become a tourism destination of world renown. On the coast, hotels such as Burj al Arab, Jumeirah Beach and Atlantis offer as much by way of being tourist attractions as they do for accommodating guests. The same goes for architectural marvels inland, such as Marriott’s Marquis hotel, the twisting Infinity Tower and the incredible Burj Khalifa. Sport and leisure developments abound, with waterparks, a vast indoor ski slope, the world’s largest shopping mall, and a city-within-a-city dedicated to a multitude of sports activities and development. To cap it all, Dubai’s insanely ambitious Palm Islands and its island development, The World, have been architectural talking points around the globe for over a decade. These are just a few of the reasons why Dubai now plays host to more than ten million visitors each year. Yet when, late last year, Dubai fended off strong competition from Turkey, Brazil and Russia to be named host of World Expo 2020, it was as if a sleeping giant had been awoken. The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) is the body responsible for promoting Dubai to tourists worldwide, and few could argue with the job it has done so far. In Dubai, however, preparing for a major event is not seen as something to be taken lightly; it is seen as an opportunity to show the world that, with belief, commitment and no small amount of cash… anything is possible. To be fair, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minsiter and Vice President of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai, had launched Dubai Vision 2020 before the Expo 2020 victory was announced, but the two seem so inextricably
linked, one must assume there was extreme confidence that Dubai’s bid would be successful. Last year, Sheikh Mohammed said: “Today we approved Dubai Vision 2020 for the tourism sector. The goal is 20 million tourists and AED300 billion in tourism revenues annually by 2020. We’ll achieve this through three key areas of focus: family tourism, global events and attractions, and Dubai’s status as a business destination. “The vision is clear, infrastructure is ready and confidence in our human resources is high. The future does not wait for those who hesitate. We want everyone to work as one team to achieve the goal, with positive energy, strong determination and the belief that anything is possible.” The benefits of Dubai as a family destination are many, with high-quality accommodation available throughout, excellent beaches, many child-friendly leisure parks (as well as childrens activities in most of the large hotels) and very low crime levels. To drive visitor numbers up, DTCM will be targeting regions such as Latin America, China and emerging economies within Africa. Packages aimed at family visitors will include combinations of city, desert and coastline, promoting historic and cultural aspects of
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
DUBAI VISION 2020
Dubai, as well as sports and leisure facilities. A boost came last month, when Dubai was named among the top 25 destinations worldwide in TripAdvisorâ€™s Traveller Choice Awards 2014, which highlighted no fewer than 646 activities to try while in the emirate. In terms of Dubai as a business destination, a report from CB Richard Ellis in 2011, put the emirate in the top ten most popular locations for the worldâ€™s largest businesses, with 56 per cent of those surveyed having offices there. But how, when it is already riding so high, can Dubai aim to almost double its visitor numbers, along with trebling its tourism revenue in just six years? According to Hamad Mohammed Bin Mejren, executive director, Business Tourism, at the DTCM, recently announced that tourist arrivals in Dubai rose to 11 million last year, representing a growth of ten per cent on 2012. He revealed that part of the plan within Dubai Vision is to maintain the annual growth rate by not less than nine per cent per annum until 2020.
Burj al Arab
DUBAI VISION 2020
Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Atlantis Hotel Palm Jumeirah He also announced that, following Sheikh Mohammed’s approval of the plan, there had been strong and positive cooperation between his organisation and Dubai’s private and public institutions, in terms of preparing Dubai’s infrastructure to accommodate the greater number of visitors anticipated in the years ahead. Bin Mejren revealed that there would be an overall increase of some 84,000 hotel rooms (to 113,000) by 2016, with 29,000 expected to be available between this year and 2016, and confirmed that last year’s returns from the hotel sector were up by more than 16 per cent on 2012, standing at AED21.84 billion. Speaking about Dubai’s aviation and airports advantage, he said: “Dubai is linked to around 145 world airlines, which connect Dubai with direct flight routes to as many as 260 destinations all over the world. “That figure shall go up up on the completion of Al Maktoum airport, when Dubai could house 160 million travellers annually, and 12 million tons of cargo.” There is no denying the commitment of Dubai’s tourism-related organisations – be they public or private entitities – to make Dubai Vision 2020 a reality. Just last month, the largest incentives
group in history arrived from China, comprising no fewer than 14,500 delegates, and spent ten days in the emirate. To turn the Sheikh’s Vision into a reality, the marketing of Dubai as a destination for both leisure and business tourism cannot be overstated. Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of the DTCM, said recently that Dubai needs to “adapt our marketing approach in order to showcase Dubai to a wider audience and grow the conversion rate of awareness to bookings.” Almarri spoke of a range of initiatives that would be enacted to attract a greater number of visitors to the city and encourage them both to stay longer in Dubai and spend more during their stay. He said: “Our role at the DTCM is to act as a facilitator of growth, harnessing the collective power of stakeholders in the city and deepening engagement with parties outside of Dubai, so that we deliver the vision.” Whether or not it is truly possible to grow visitor number to 20 million in the next six years, time will tell – and given that it took eight years to grow the number from three million to eight million, it does seem like a Herculean task. But one is tempted to say ‘only in Dubai…’
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LUXURY TRAVEL / GLOBAL
Luxury On Trend
JOE MORTIMER, SENIOR EDITOR OF DESTINATIONS OF THE WORLD NEWS, DESCRIBES WHY LUXURY TRAVEL WILL NEVER GO OUT OF FASHION
There is no value in trying to define luxury travel; the idea that there is a single way to surmise such a huge and subjective concept is a myth. There are, however, some common threads that loosely connect the vast and varied collection of affluent individuals who travel in luxury, and factors that determine what it is that makes certain destinations popular among the jet set. Since the turn of the millennium, the number of luxury travellers has increased exponentially; the rich, as they say, are getting richer. The number of billionaires worldwide has more than tripled in 14 years, from 470 in 2000 to 1,645 today, with a combined wealth of US$6.4 trillion, according to Forbes magazine. Of course, you don’t need a 10-figure bank balance to travel in luxury: there are more than 31 million millionaires worldwide and millions more who come very close. Money doesn’t account for taste, but it does facilitate choice, which means this supposedly niche group of discerning travellers is more diverse and challenging to luxury travel providers than any other. But, while their tastes and travel aspirations vary dramatically, there are some fundamental qualities that unite them, notably their appetite for quality, efficiency and attention to detail. In the world of high fashion, everything is bespoke and tailored
to individual clients. Customers are treated like royalty before, during and after their transaction with the brand, and the bigger the customer, the closer they get to the man with the sketchpad. And the better the designer knows the client, the better they understand their tastes and personal style, which enables them to create outfits that they know will appeal. Furthermore, a good designer plays the role not only of creator, but also of influencer, leading customers towards garments and colours that bring out their best, not only for their aesthetic appeal, but their emotional connection. It’s this personal touch that makes the wealthiest individuals buy haute couture outfits or tailor-made suits rather than off-the-shelf products. That same is true of travel. You don’t book a four-week US$100,000 African luxury safari through Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Botswana from a brochure or online. Not when there are lions involved. The technological revolution might be changing the way the rest of the world travels (and shops), but the upper crust will always rely on trusted, professional travel planners,
LUXURY TRAVEL / GLOBAL
Money doesnâ€™t account for taste, but it does facilitate choice, which means this supposedly niche group of discerning travellers is more diverse and challenging to luxury travel providers than any other
LUXURY TRAVEL / GLOBAL
who anticipate their clients’ needs, know the best suites in the best hotels, and open doors that are otherwise inaccessible to the masses. Take UK-based luxury travel firm Abercrombie & Kent, which opened its second international Travel Boutique in Abu Dhabi in January to provide face-to-face customer service to the UAE’s most discerning travellers. Since its launch in 1962, the company has acquired its own destination management companies, owns 13 luxury safari lodges in Africa, and owns and operates a fleet of several hundred vehicles. With all this hardware at its disposal, the company is well-placed to organise bespoke programmes taking in multiple destinations and guaranteeing reliable transportation and professional specialist guides, building an itinerary around the specific wishes of its clients. Dubai-based luxury travel specialist The Travel Attaché promises clients exclusive opportunities such as after-hours access to the Sistine Chapel or afternoon tea with an Italian countess at her private palazzo, while guests of the Capella Washington, D.C, represented in the Middle East by The Travel Collection, can score themselves a walk-on spot in a performance of The Nutcracker in front of an adoring audience at the Washington Ballet. This is the kind of exclusive, insider access and bespoke experience that the privileged few can expect. And demand.
Build It And They Will Come Discerning travellers need bespoke service, one-of-a-kind
experiences and stylish travel plans, but they also need a destination with first-class infrastructure to meet their high expectations. There are two kinds of luxury travel destinations: those that have a timeless appeal (think Monaco, the Amalfi Coast, South of France, New York and the Caribbean) and the darlings of the moment, which can slip in and out of favour in just a few years. There are various influencers that account for the latter – everything from glossy travel magazines, Hollywood movies and celebrity gossip to current affairs and the pervading investment climate. (Also, have you ever noticed how many places on the jet-set itinerary offer tax exemption for residents and property owners?) The number of destinations that are able to appeal to luxury travellers with the provision of five-star hotels, gourmet dining and luxury shopping – first-class infrastructure to supplement the existing natural appeal of a destination – is also at an all-time high. Fourteen years ago, you wouldn’t have found luxury hotels in Panama City, five-star river cruises in Myanmar, or cold champagne served in luxury yurts on the plains of Mongolia. Until a decade ago, the only bubbles available in most Vietnamese beach resorts were found in a can of Coca-Cola, but today, a swathe of luxury resorts has emerged along the jungle-fringed beach that runs the length of the South-east Asian country. Names like Six Senses, Anantara and Banyan Tree can all be found here, opening up the country to the class of affluent traveller who expects bathroom amenities by designer brands and French champagne wherever in the world they are ensconced. This is a classic case of supply
LUXURY TRAVEL / GLOBAL
Destinations of the World News Stand: HC5782 Destinations of the World News is the leading luxury travel magazine in the Middle East, exclusively available in first and business class airport lounges, five-star hotels, or by private subscription. Destinations of the World News and exclusive online content can be found on DOTWNEWS.COM, the region’s premier travel news portal.
creating demand and indicative of the thirst for new experiences and destinations among the world’s elite. Meanwhile, the tried-and-tested luxury travel destinations will always remain en vogue: cities like London, New York, Tokyo and Paris; ski resorts like St. Moritz, Courchevel and Kitzbühel; yachting hotspots like the French Riviera and the Amalfi Coast; and beach destinations like the Maldives, the Caribbean and in recent years, the UAE – all places where the right combination of natural wonder, luxury infrastructure and exclusivity keep people coming back for more. No two customers are ever the same at the top end of the luxury travel business, but bespoke service, uncompromising quality and flawless attention to detail can have a considerable effect on the quality of the impression you make. Whether you are a travel agency, a hotel or a tourism board, getting these three things right goes a long way towards securing a happy customer. n To hear more about the latest trends in luxury travel, join a panel of industry experts at the Luxury on Trend seminar on May 6th at 12.15 in the Seminar Theatre, Hall 1.
TOURISM ANALYSIS / UAE
IF YOU BUILD…
TOURISM will come...
TOURISM ANALYSIS / UAE
AT THE WTM VISION SEMINAR, ANALYSTS EUROMONITOR WILL DELIVER ITS TRAVEL INDUSTRY FORECAST REVIEW FOR 2014. HERE, INSIDE ATM COMPLEMENTS THE STATEMENT WITH A LOOK AT SOME RECENT PUBLISHED FIGURES AND COMMENTS ON TOURISM IN THE UAE.
There is no doubt that the oil-rich countries of the Middle East are bringing something new and exciting to the global party. As much as anything, it is an indefatigable will to succeed and an undeniable vision of how to meet the needs of high-end global travellers. And, again on a global scale, the fact that travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP stands at almost ten per cent (in excess of US$6.6 trillion) – and offers one in 11 of all the world’s jobs – has certainly spurred on the UAE to drive more resources into stimulating this high-performing industry. When Dubai’s real GDP fell sharply in 2009 – its first contraction since 1988 – there were major fears that the global economic downturn was going to kill off the emirate’s ambitions to become a world-leading tourism destination. Many commentators believed that not even Dubai’s oil revenues could respond to the property crash that came as a slap in the face to so many in-progress developments. By 2012, things had changed and real GDP rose by 3.9 per cent on the back of expanded oil production and increased capital inflows. The story of Dubai’s rise was back on track. Not even the extreme upheaval of the Arab Spring could halt the
Primarily in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but to varying degrees throughout the UAE, tourism has become a primary focus for the UAE governments
emirate’s progress; in fact, the UAE on the whole was – and still is – seen as a ‘safe haven’ destination in the Middle East, actively encouraging greater visitor numbers from neighbouring countries. Primarily in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but to varying degrees throughout the UAE, tourism has become a primary focus for the UAE governments, with air and seaport development going hand in hand with new sports, leisure and hospitality constructions. At one point, the increase in available rooms moved ahead of bed nights, but that trend has recently turned around and, in the tourism hotbed of Dubai, occupancy in January stood at over 86 per cent. Abu Dhabi also started the year strongly, with January occupancy reported at almost 75 per cent. (See hotels and hospitality article on page 42.) And in a show of great confidence in the continuing strength of the UAE as a tourism destination, there were over 16,000 rooms under construction in February, according to a report from hotel research firm STR Global. Chiheb Ben-Mahmoud, executive vice president at the global real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle and head of the company’s hotel advisory practice in the Middle East/Africa, said he believes Dubai’s successful bid to host World Expo 2020 will give a boost to tourism beyond the borders of the emirate. He said: “Winning World Expo 2020 will be the single biggest driver of activity in
TOURISM ANALYSIS / UAE
the UAE tourist market over the next five years,” adding: “We now expect an additional surge in proposed supply in all sectors of the market.” That said, there is no doubting that Dubai will be the big winner between now and the event itself. The emirate is already gearing up to receive 25 million visitors during Expo year, and its Vision 2020 tourism scheme – launched by Dubai’s ruler, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, in 2013 – anticipates an overall uplift in visitor numbers of no less than nine per cent per annum over the next six years. If this happens, 20 million arrivals a year will soon become more a reality than a dream for Dubai’s tourism authorities Speaking to Gulf News in a recent interview, Najeeb Mohammad Saleh, head of planning research section, planning department at Dubai Municipality, revealed the ways in which Dubai will cope with the influx of residents and visitors in 2020, and what measures are being taken to ensure that tourism in the city is both efficient and sustainable. He said: “When we started to prepare the plan, we first took into consideration how the city is going to grow and what its growth rate would be. We looked at three different scenarios – low, medium and rapid… We have adopted the medium-growth scenario, and expect the population by 2020 to be about 2.8 million.” One hugely important element affecting potential growth in the UAE is the development of the air transport industry. (See air transport article on page 47.) In Dubai, the opening of its Al Maktoum Airport late last year, was a powerful sign of its intention to grow visitor numbers at a relentless pace. This airport alone will have the capacity to handle some 200 million passengers a year. Meanwhile, the construction of the Midfield Terminal Complex, the new gateway to Abu Dhabi, is ongoing, and is planned to accommodate an anticipated 30 million annual passengers by 2017. Although outside of the UAE, the enormous airport development in neighbouring Qatar could nonetheless have a knock-on effect for tourism within the nation. The country’s much-delayed Hamad International Airport is now expected to open towards the middle of this year. When finished, its passenger facilities will be as much as 12 times larger than those at the old Doha International Airport, reportedly being able to handle up to 55 million passengers a year, and deal with the simultaneous arrival of six superjumbos.
‘Safe haven’ destinations within the MENA region – and especially those hosting major events, such as Qatar and Dubai – are clearly prepared to invest heavily, with sustained growth in visitor numbers the ultimate goal. Both destinations, however, must fear the resources that neighbours Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia can bring to bear on tourism. Abu Dhabi, in particular, is already flexing its touristic muscles, with developments such as the sprawling Yas Island and next year’s opening of the Mina Zayed cruise terminal. In fact, the rise of Abu Dhabi as a tourism destination (the emirate’s tourism authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, is targeting over three million visitors this year) has put the UAE into the world’s top ten in terms of visitor growth. As tourism’s contribution to the UAE’s GDP continues to increase, the regional and federal governments will commit more resources to its continued expansion. The world’s more mature markets – so often beset by financial constraints and political backbiting – will need a new model for growth if they are to keep up.
TOURISM ANALYSIS / UAE
UAE: Tourism Snapshot • The first quarter of 2014 has already marked record highs in tourist footfall at Fujairah City Centre. In 2013, Fujairah has seen a 17 per cent increase in the number of tourists. To accommodate the rising number of tourists, Fujairah City Centre has enhanced their shuttle service, which transports tourists from five major hotels to the mall. Between November 2012 and April 2013, an average of 1,000 tourists visited Fujairah City Centre every Wednesday from the cruise liners docked by Fujairah Port. Source: Jordan Society of Tourism & Travel Agents • Ajman has recently seen the opening of its first Starwood hotel, as the emirate builds up its hospitality sector. The 205-room Ajman Saray on the Ajman beach opened in February, and is part of Starwood’s upscale Luxury Collection brand. “Ajman is still not a very known destination,” said Michele Frignani, general manager of Ajman Saray. “But it has pristine beaches, is close to the Sharjah and Dubai airports, and a free zone that is expanding rapidly.” Source: The National • Before the end of 2013, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) recorded an impressive ten per cent increase in tourist arrivals, specifically 1,391,632 international tourists visiting the emirate from January to September 2013 as against 1,263,908 over the same period in 2012. Source: Khaleej Times • Ras Al Khaimah has benefited from increasing tourist arrivals in recent months; in 2012, visitor numbers reached 1.1 million and in the first six months of 2013, the city hosted 628,805 guests — making it likely that the emirate will meet its target of 1.2 million visitors by the end of the year. The rise in the number of guests has also seen profits surge, with hotels in the emirate reporting US$90.847 million in revenues in the first seven months of 2013. Source: Hotelier Middle East • Umm Al Quwain Beach Hotel has unveiled plans to enhance the property’s offering. Kamal Afana, the hotel’s general manager, revealed that work is focusing on upgrading the guest rooms. As Afana noted, the emirate has now become known as an ideal destination for relaxation and leisure activities. This rise in popularity has led to a growing demand for accommodation from various markets, which, according to Afana, has driven a ten per cent improvement in business results at the hotel over the past months. He added that taking advantage of its close proximity to Dubai, Umm Al Quwain is also set to benefit from the lead up to the muchanticipated Expo 2020. Source: Travel Trade Weekly (MENA)
Make your voice heard Destination marketing and the influence of travel bloggers CRAIG MARTIN, PRESIDENT OF THE PROFESSIONAL TRAVEL BLOGGERS’ ASSOCIATION, REVEALS WHY TRAVEL AND TOURISM AGENCIES ARE WAKING UP TO THE USE OF PROFESSIONAL TRAVEL BLOGGERS AS A MARKETING TOOL WITH PERSUASIVE POWER AND A WELL-TARGETED AUDIENCE.
There have never been more options to communicate your message to potential visitors, but how can you stand out in a sea of social media voices? How can you measure the ROI of a content-driven campaign? These are the questions the Professional Travel Bloggers’ Association is answering at Arabian Travel Market this year. Travel bloggers fill a gap between traditional editorial media and purely consumer-driven content. They create meaningful relationships with worldwide audiences that are equally passionate about their areas of interest, whether that’s fine dining, adventure sports, or cultural tourism. These relationships help drive your brand story, while creating long-term value through articles, photos and video.
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There is value in niche markets, and bloggers exist in almost every niche: from wine tourism to travel fashion; consumer avionics to UNESCO heritage discussions. Clever destinations use this to their advantage when launching or consolidating their market position, by bringing in the voices that speak to their target demographics. Including a blog component in any campaign launch adds content and buzz across multiple social networks. Great bloggers are always more than just their website. They use multiplatform storytelling techniques to reach their audience, so they are found on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and more. This flexibility and diversity works in your favour, helping you to build a profile in those areas that
are most important to your social strategy. The Professional Travel Bloggers’ Association’s database of bloggers allows you to filter any results by reach in most social platforms, with figures pulled directly from those services each day. In the travel industry, relationships are key to ongoing success. Working with travel bloggers is no different: the best results come from long-term partnerships, either formal or informal. Your first contact with a travel blogger, however, is likely to come in one of two ways: following research into your needs, you reach out to the right people; or you meet briefly by email or in person at an event like Arabian Travel Market. Take this as an opportunity to understand their angle, their audiences, and how that fits with your market outreach and
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key demographics. You might find it’s a match made in heaven, and start working together on a small campaign, moving onto larger things as time goes on. There are several members of the PTBA attending ATM this year. Introduce yourself and have a chat, or join our free trial Industry Membership at http://travelbloggersassociation.com. Craig Martin is the president of the Professional Travel Bloggers’ Association, http://travelbloggingassociation.com. Like most of us, he likes to stay busy: a board member, a director of two companies, and a full-time traveller. A Kiwi, he loves wine, coffee and hiking, and can be reached on twitter at @craig_martin.
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MENA OVERVIEW / UNWTO
The future of Middle East tourism TALEB RIFAI, SECRETARY-GENERAL, WORLD TOURISM ORGANIZATION (UNWTO), LOOKS PAST THE RECENT AND ONGOING TROUBLES IN THE REGION TO SEE SUSTAINABLE GROWTH IN TOURISM BASED ON GENUINE GLOBAL INBOUND DEMAND – AND AN UNBREAKABLE WILL AMONG LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO RAISE THE BAR FOR QUALITY AND SERVICE.
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MENA OVERVIEW / UNWTO
In the coming years, the Middle East will be welcoming millions of visitors to participate in international mega-events that will be held in key cities in the region, including the Expo 2020 in Dubai and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar
International tourism continues to forge ahead as one of the biggest and fastest growing economic sectors; a multibilliondollar activity that contributes to one in every 11 jobs in the world and accounts for as much as 30 per cent of the global exports in services. Despite the lingering economic challenges and geopolitical shifts, tourism continued to progress in recent years. The number of international tourists worldwide grew by five per cent in 2013, surpassing UNWTO’s early year forecasts. This performance is a clear testimony of the sector’s remarkable capacity to adjust to constantly changing market conditions and affirms its role as a key driver of economic growth and job creation. Prospects continue to be high for 2014, with the number of international tourists projected to increase by 4-4.5 per cent. This growth has been particularly strong in emerging destinations, including the Middle East. Indeed, the story of tourism in the region is one of resilience to external shocks and growth – international tourist arrivals increased fourfold between 1990 and 2010 to reach over 79 million, while exports from tourism grew even faster, from US$9 billion in 1990 to $60 billion in 2010. Recent years have, no doubt, brought added challenges to the region, but they have also opened the possibilities for new advancements in the sector. Despite the ongoing troubles in certain regions, long-term prospects for tourism in the Middle East remain very positive. According to UNWTO’s Tourism Towards 2030 forecasts, the Middle East will continue to be one among the fastest growing tourism regions in the coming decades, tripling its present volume of arrivals by the year 2030 to receive 149 million tourists.
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The next decades look certain to provide opportunities for tourism in many countries in the Middle East, which will continue expanding or bounce back as countries in the region reinvent themselves and invest in sustainable growth. UNWTO believes there is a strong pent-up demand for tourism to the region from both intra- and inter-regional generating markets, which will be released as uncertainty fades away in key destinations and consumer confidence returns.
Key factors driving tourism’s growth in the Middle East Several factors have contributed to the exponential growth of the tourism sector in the Middle East, including a clear understanding by national governments of the intrinsic connection between air transport policies and tourism growth. Developing key international aviation hubs has bolstered connectivity and mobility to and from the region, with a particular focus on the booming tourism markets in Asia and Africa. The exponential growth of tourism in the Middle East takes place against the backdrop of the increased political recognition of the sector, which is now firmly positioned in national economic strategies and a vital part of respective country branding. Such support has translated into advancement in areas that are key for the growth of tourism, such as hospitality and transport infrastructure, visa facilitation, marketing or the promotion of the links between tourism and events. Across the Middle East, tourism has become a major part of the region’s economy and a lucrative sector that has diversified its economy beyond oil.
MENA Overview / UNWTO
What is the UNWTO? The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. In the coming years, the Middle East will be welcoming millions of visitors to participate in international mega-events that will be held in key cities in the region, including the Expo 2020 in Dubai and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The positive spin-offs of these mega-events are expected to be enormous on the host destinations, but also on the region as a whole, particularly in attracting visitors from long-haul emerging markets and creating a legacy in terms of know-how, infrastructure and image that will remain in evidence beyond the events themselves.
As the leading international organisation in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. UNWTO encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, to maximise tourismâ€™s socio-economic contribution while minimising its possible negative impacts, and is committed to promoting tourism as an instrument in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), geared towards reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development.
The challenge of sustainability The Middle East has already firmly established itself as a major tourism destination. The next decades will be crucial for the region to consolidate its growth in a sustainable manner, making it a major contributor to the well-being of local communities and promoting policies and business practices which are socially, ethically and environmentally responsible. The hosting of mega-events and the exponential growth of the aviation and hospitality industries in the region offers an excellent opportunity for destinations in the Middle East to position themselves at the forefront of sustainable tourism development and set new and innovative solutions to preserve our planet and our common natural and cultural heritage.
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UNWTO generates market knowledge, promotes competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments, fosters tourism education and training, and works to make tourism an effective tool for development through technical assistance projects in over 100 countries around the world. UNWTOâ€™s membership includes 156 countries, six Associate Members and over 400 Affiliate Members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.
HOSPITALITY / MENA
IN DUBAI HOTELS IN DUBAI REPORTED THE HIGHEST PROFIT LEVELS IN THE REGION IN 2013 FOR THE FOURTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR, ACCORDING TO THE LATEST REVIEW FROM HOSPITALITY MARKET INTELLIGENCE SPECIALISTS, HOTSTATS
During the month of December, Dubai continued to record strong performance levels reflecting the continued growth experienced throughout the year. Although the market witnessed a 4.5 percentage point decline in occupancy to 79.5 per cent, a 9.1 per cent rise in Average Room Rates (ARR) to US$368.22 drove Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) growth of 3.2 per cent to US$292.70. Average rates and RevPAR for the month exceeded levels witnessed throughout the year and helped push year to date figures up 6.5 per cent and 7.6 per cent, respectively. Bottom line performance levels in December were boosted by a 2.8 per cent rise in Total Revenue Per Available Room (TRevPAR) which was driven by increased MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) revenues and coupled with lower operating costs. Gross Operating Profit Per Available Room (GOPPAR) for the month increased 3.9 per cent to US$260.00 and helped drive year to date figures up 10.3 per cent to US$ 206.05. â€œOccupancy levels in December 2013 were marginally lower than December 2012, which is attributed to an increase in supply compared to the same period last year;
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however average rates were maintained by the minimum stay agreements imposed by hotels during the festive season. A combination of stable demand and increased confidence in the market resulted in hoteliers applying more aggressive yielding strategies, which resulted in average rates rising 6.5 per cent to US$324.44 in 2013,â€? commented Peter Goddard, managing director of TRI Hospitality Consulting.
Jeddah hotels registered positive figures in all key performance indicators Jeddah witnessed growth in all key performance indicators for the month of December as corporate demand surged in the city. The combined effects of a 5.2 percentage point rise in occupancy to 73.3 per cent coupled with a 1.9 per cent increase in ARR drove RevPAR up 9.7 per cent to US$171.05. The growth in average rates were attributed to increased demand from corporate and MICE segments, which comprised 54.5 per cent of the market mix in December. TRevPAR growth of 11.8 per cent was propelled by a doubledigit rise in food and beverage revenues that exceeded year
HOSPITALITY / MENA
MENA CHAIN HOTELS MARKET REVIEW DECEMBER 2013 $ Dollars
Cairo Doha Dubai Jeddah Sharm El Sheikh
36.8 63.3 79.5 73.3 49.9
109.42 226.99 368.22 233.44 40.19
40.22 143.71 292.70 171.05 20.05
84.89 426.34 532.18 292.33 45.07
24.3 22.4 17.6 22.6 20.9
35.59 188.29 260.00 142.32 14.81
MENA City Markets achieved REVPAR , TREVPAR and GOPPAR December 2013 532.18
TrevPAR GOPPAR 292.70
Sharm El Sheikh
Considering the extent of new supply that came online in 2013, Doha was able to maintain occupancy levels consistent with 2012 at 64.3 percent, as the city attracted an increasing number of leisure visitors
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Hospitality / MENA
to date consumption and remained relatively unchanged from the previous year. The growth in top line revenues coupled with a decline in payroll costs resulted in GOPPAR levels increasing 31.7 per cent to US$142.32. “Jeddah was able to offset seasonality issues resulting from reduced leisure tourism during the winter months by attracting an increasing number of MICE visitors. Although December typically registers the lowest occupancies, this year demand was buoyed by events such as the Jeddah International Trade Fair, which, according to preliminary figures, attracted 16,000 visitors. In addition to the surge in profitability during December, GOPPAR increased 10.7 per cent during 2013, due to a rise in leisure demand as more Saudi nationals chose to travel within the Kingdom as a result of ongoing security concerns in key regional destinations such as Egypt, Lebanon and Syria,” commented Peter Goddard, managing director of TRI Hospitality Consulting.
Doha hotels experienced stronger demand, however rates and profits continue to fall Doha Hotels continued to struggle to elevate key performance indicators, which remained under pressure during December, despite a 3.1 percentage point rise in occupancy to 63.3 per cent. Ongoing rate reductions resulting from high levels of competition fuelled a 20.8 per cent decline in ARR to US$226.99, which in turn drove RevPAR down 16.8 per cent to US$143.71. An increase in food, beverage and MICE revenues
was insufficient to negate the decline in TRevPAR and GOPPAR by 4.5 per cent and 11.6 per cent, respectively. “Considering the extent of new supply that came online in 2013, Doha was able to maintain occupancy levels consistent with 2012 at 64.3 per cent, as the city attracted an increasing number of leisure visitors. The fall in RevPAR during 2013 was driven by a 5.4 per cent decline in average rates, as fourand five-star hotels sought to maintain market share through rate competition. A growth in non-room revenues positively impacted TRevPAR levels, however it was not sufficient enough to stop the decline in profitability in 2013,” commented Goddard.
Hotel performance in Cairo and Sharm El Sheik was kept subdued by civil protests due to local political issues Egypt witnessed the lowest hotel performance amongst the five cities surveyed in the region, both in terms of December figures and 2013 year-end results, as the country remained under the grip of civil unrest and political uncertainty. The capital city of Cairo reported mixed results in December, with occupancy reaching 36.8 per cent for the month, down by 5.3 percentage points from the previous year. However, ARR levels remained stable despite the turmoil, increasing 7.2 per cent to close the month at US$109.42. December saw a rise in demand from
Occupancy (%) – The proportion of the bedrooms available during the period which are occupied during the period. Average Room Rate (ARR) – The total bedroom revenue for the period divided by the total bedrooms occupied during the period. Room Revpar (RevPAR) – The total bedroom revenue for the period divided by the total available rooms during the period. Total Revpar (TRevPAR) – The combined total of all revenues divided by the total available rooms during the period. Payroll % – The payroll for all hotels in the sample as a percentage of total revenue. GOPPAR – The total gross operating profit for the period divided by the total available rooms during the period.
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Hospitality / MENA
leisure visitors which became the highest-yielding segment, with rates increasing 40 per cent from the previous year. Although RevPAR suffered a decline of 6.3 per cent, TRevPAR saw a minor increase of 0.4 per cent and in conjunction with decreased operating costs, boosted profitability by 3.9 per cent. Sharm El Sheikh, on the other hand, recorded a decline in all performance indicators and posted the lowest profit levels in the region, as a market-wide price war reduced rates and impacted profit margins. The combined effects of 7.3 percentage point decline in occupancy coupled with an 8.1 per cent drop in average rates drove a double-digit decline in RevPAR by 19.8 per cent. Although December was a particularly challenging month for Sharm El Sheikh, performance across the year was comparatively stronger, with ARR increasing 7.2 per cent and alleviating the impact of lower occupancies on RevPAR. A decline in non-room revenues coupled with increased payroll costs left profitability 10.7 per cent lower in 2013. “Intensified protests sparked by continued civil and political issues caused performance in Cairo Hotels to deteriorate halfway through 2013. The capital was immediately affected by the protests in July that kept hotel performance subdued
for the remainder of the year. However, December saw signs of improvement as growth in rates and profits resulted from increased leisure demand. Although performance in Sharm El Sheikh also began to weaken in July, the impact of the political uprisings became evident in September when bookings from tour groups and charters were cancelled as a result of government travel warnings in key source markets. In 2013, hotel performance within the Red Sea destination was more resilient than Cairo due to its distance from the turmoil and the more secure demand provided by pre-booked tour groups,” commented Peter Goddard, managing director of TRI Hospitality Consulting. ■ We would like to thank HotStats for allowing Inside ATM to reproduce their MENA Chain Hotels Market Review – December 2013 For further information visit www.hotstats.com or contact Tony Oliveira, email@example.com, and for the latest updates follow HotStats on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Intensified protests sparked by continued civil and political issues caused performance in Cairo Hotels to deteriorate half way through 2013
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AIR TRANSPORT / GULF REGION
An Industry With Altitude The future of air transport in the Gulf
AIR TRANSPORT IS AT THE HEART OF THIS YEAR’S ATM SEMINAR PROGRAMME, LOOKING AT THE WAYS IN WHICH AIRPORTS, AIRLINES AND AIRCRAFT MANUFACTURERS WILL BE BOTH SHAPING AND RESPONDING TO THE GROWTH OF TOURISM IN THE GULF. AIR TRANSPORT CONSULTANT JOHN STRICKLAND TALKS TO MIKE HAYES ABOUT THE FASCINATING DIRECTION THIS WEEK’S DEBATES MIGHT TAKE.
John Strickland will be hosting one-to-one talks and panel debates during this year’s Arabian Travel Market, with, one suspects, a recurring question of ‘what next?’ The air transport industry as it is shaped today began with the launch of Emirates 30 years ago, has now opened up to other longhaul giants, such as Qatar and Etihad, as well as the more recent phenomenon of low-cost carriers, such as Air Arabia, flydubai and flynas. In the first of John’s seminars, he will be speaking with Air Arabia’s CEO Adel Ali and will hope to tease out, among other things, the airline’s plans for future expansion. John says: “Low-cost airlines were not really known in the Gulf when Air Arabia arrived, so the company is something of a trailblazer. It’s the biggest and most established low-cost airline in the Gulf, having just celebrated its tenth anniversary, and it has been
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successful across a range of markets. “The success of Air Arabia has been based on a good original business plan, which would largely have come from looking at similar successful models in other parts of the world, plus very experienced management – Adel Ali himself has enormous experience in the industry and was backed by a team who really did their homework into how to make the company work. John intimates that the model of operating across different markets, could be one of the keys to success with Air Arabia. He says: “Adel Ali is Group CEO, because of course he is heading up a group of airlines, which may share the same name and brand, but operate in different markets. “This presents different challenges and different opportunities, with the operation ranging from Sharjah, which is Air Arabia’s home base in the UAE, through to Egypt and Morocco.”
AIR TRANSPORT / GULF REGION
Later this year, Air Arabia will open up a base in Ras Al Khaimah, demonstrating again that their vision of growth includes working across multiple markets.
This month) (May just announced), Air Arabia will open up a base in Ras Al Khaimah, demonstrating again that its vision of growth includes working across multiple markets. For John’s second ATM session, there will be a panel debate about the future challenges and opportunities for the air travel industry within the Gulf region. With airlines, airports and aircraft manufacturers represented, the debate promises to be both lively and insightful, bringing together as it does the essential building blocks of the industry. Raja Azmi, CEO of the Saudi-based airline flynas will be on the panel, and John plans to explore the company’s decision to enter the long-haul market. Flynas has entered the UK and Malaysian markets. John points out that low-cost carriers in the Gulf do not necessarily follow the same model as no-frill airlines elsewhere. He says: “Low-cost in the Middle East has to tick the same boxes as the likes of Ryanair and easyJet, but most important is the operational model – making sure that you do things at the lowest possible cost and that you use your planes and your crew to high levels of efficiency and productivity. “We have seen a different approach in the Gulf. While the core cost elements tend to be there, in terms of using lower and simpler pricing and using the internet as a tool for bookings, some of the
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aspects of the service can be different.” In terms of differentiating oneself from competitors, flynas has, like flydubai, taken the decision to offer a business class, with extra services such as flexibility in changing and cancelling bookings, a large hold baggage allowance and seats with more legroom – and John will no doubt discuss the rationale behind this move. Also taking part in the discussion will be Bashar Jawhari, vice president, corporate strategy and communications, at Abu Dhabi Airports, and Michael Warner, customer leader for airplane development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Speaking about how both the industry and this particular seminar should work, John says: “You can’t have any one of the three without the other two – you need an aircraft manufacturer to produce planes, an airline to fly them and airports to and from which to operate – and I want to look at how the dynamics of the three parts of that triangle work. “I want to know what the future holds, where the opportunities are for growth. “We’re getting new business models like flynas, expanding and diversifying business models like Air Arabia, airports adding more capacity – to meet the needs of their current airline customers and encourage new airlines to come in – and then aircraft manufacturers like Boeing, who are launching next generation airliners and see the
AIR TRANSPORT / GULF REGION
In terms of differentiating oneself from competitors, flynas has, like flydubai, taken the decision to offer a business class, with extra services such as flexibility in changing and cancelling bookings, a large hold baggage allowance and seats with more legroom
Gulf as one of the most important and rapidly growing markets over the next 30 years. “We’ll be looking to these very senior professionals to give their comments on how they see the future. “It will be very interesting to hear from Boeing, for example, which is a global aircraft manufacturer that produces a major market forecast every year. I want to ask them, from a manufacturing point of view, what drives the importance of the Middle East as a market, why they see it as important and what that means for business. “Late last year, Boeing logged enormous aircraft orders for new aircraft types at the Dubai Airshow. The company announced a new version of their already highly successful Boeing 777, which is a long-haul aircraft – the 777X – and it’s been the carriers of the Gulf who have led the initial orders for that aircraft – Qatar, Emirates and Etihad have all ordered the type. Low-cost carrier, flydubai also ordered next generation Boeing 737 Max aircraft. “I want to explore all these areas with Boeing and find out why the new aircraft are so important.”
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While there is airport representation in the second seminar, the third brings airports to the fore, the subject of conversation being the airport industry in Dubai. “We’re going to look at why Dubai Airport has been so successful,” says John. “Does it tie in with the growth of Emirates over the past 30 years? And is it connected to Dubai’s centuries-old philosophy of being an international trading centre? “The way the country has developed, tourism has brought many people through the airport, attracting other airlines in, because, although Emirates is the biggest player, it’s not by any means the only player in Dubai airport. “We’ll also examine, why the new Dubai World Central Airport is being opened when the current one still has capacity available. And what is all that extra capacity going to mean – because the new airport is going to have capacity for 200 million people a year. “Clearly, this touches on the issue of government philosophy in the region, where aviation is seen as a key strategic part of the economy – not something to be fettered, as it is, for example, in
AIR TRANSPORT / GULF REGION
Europe. Instead it’s seen as something very positive – a key catalyst to tap into these new developing markets in a way that carriers in to the broader economic growth of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other Europe and the US, for example, are not. Gulf states.” “So we have a ‘perfect storm’ – in a positive sense – where the Reflecting on the likely direction of the three discussions at ATM, capabilities of these modern aircraft with very high capacity (like John says: “I think there’s a coherence to this, in terms of the growth the Airbus A380) or long range (like Boeing’s 777), permits these that’s going on. Critics will say yes, but it’s all government funded, – destinations to be served non-stop or with one stop and this yet we’ve seen many government-backed airports in other parts of combines with very coherent timetabling that makes commercial the world built, but never have any customers. sense to the airlines and travel sense to customers. “Even in Europe, we’ve seen airlines that have been government “That’s really what’s driving this, and if you study the macrofunded but have only managed to turn in losses and deliver poor economic issues, the aircraft types and indeed the very good service. They have either struggled on in this way, or have shrunk management in the leading airlines, you will find a high degree of and disappeared. coherence, rationale and logic to what we are seeing, which is the “What we’re seeing here is airports that airlines – whether they’re continuing growth of Gulf air transport. from this region or not – want to fly to, along with customers who About John Strickland want to travel in and out of the John is a respected air transport consultant with Gulf. And, let’s not forget, airlines over 30 years’ experience in the airline industry. that are recognised as worldHe is director of London-based JLS Consulting. leading in service quality and are delivering profits. John has a deep understanding of airline business “Now we must consider the strategy. Offering an independent perspective, he shifting world economic dynamics, is sought after by global media to commentate on the air transport sector. and the growth markets in regions such as Latin America, Africa and Fluent in French, he is in frequent demand as an informative conference Asia, that the Gulf nicely sits in speaker and consummate event chairman. the middle of. “Gulf airports and Gulf carriers Visit: jlsconsulting.co.uk are positioned practically ideally
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Tourism Social Media In Practice IF YOU’RE NOT YET CONVINCED THAT SOCIAL MEDIA IS A MUST FOR REACHING TODAY’S CONNECTED AND SOCIAL TOURIST, ANABELLE BERNARD FOURNIER OF STIKKY MEDIA GIVES SOME INSIGHT INTO ITS VARIOUS CHANNELS AND THE BENEFITS OF EACH TO SWITCHED-ON TRAVEL AND TOURISM PROFESSIONALS.
In the past few years, we’ve given you some general information about social media in the tourism industry. We gave you some industry statistics to show you how important social media is to travellers, and we’ve explained why visual social media channels are important to the tourism industry. However, given that marketing teams are already busy doing their traditional marketing activities and may not have the time to look into how to use each social media channel to its fullest potential, the following pages should help a little with that.
Social media and the tourism marketer Social media has become an essential tool for the contemporary marketer. It is now naïve to consider social media a fad; indeed, it has made its way into our every day activities and how we
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communicate with each other. According to Hubspot, social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail or PPC (pay per click). Social media lead conversion rates are 13 per cent higher than the average lead conversion rates, and 74 per cent of marketers say that Facebook is important to their lead generation strategies. Not surprising, since, according to Nielsen, 46 per cent of online users count on social media to make a purchase decision. Although these numbers are not specific to the tourism industry, they give a clear picture of a profession changed because of social media tools. No company can afford to ignore a tool that provides such positive results. According to Scott McDonald, online marketing specialist
It is now naïve to consider social media a fad; indeed, it has made its way into our every day activities and how we communicate with each other at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada, social media is “simple, easy and immediate.” “The world is a big place,” he tells me, “and social media is worldwide. I would be lost if I had to use traditional media in international markets.” McDonald explains that for an industry that relies on targeting specific demographics, social media is incredibly costeffective and easy to target to the right people. “It lets you plug yourself into a community and make your connections,” he adds. When I ask him about his favourite social media networks for marketing the Gardens, he tells me without hesitation: “Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram”.
Blogging: Under your control Blogs are the most important online tools for the tourism marketer. As McDonald explains, it is “something that we own and control.” Blogs have several purposes for marketing. The first is improving your destination’s SEO profile on Google and other search engines. By blogging frequently about relevant, interesting and timely topics related to your destination, you will increase your visibility on search engines and increase the likelihood of travellers finding your website.
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But McDonald also uses it “to get noticed with the travel trade”. He explains that when he contacts tourism agencies around the world, the first question they ask him usually is “do you have a blog?” An active blog provides timely information to potential partners; it also shows that you care about the reputation and visibility of your destination.
Facebook: Reach the older crowd A recent study by iStrategy Labs has found that there are 25 per cent less active teenagers on Facebook today than there were in 2011. If you are looking to Facebook to attract the younger crowd, you may be looking in the wrong place; McDonald uses it to reach the 45+ demographic, mostly women. “Seventy-five per cent of our Facebook followers are women,” he says. “They want to share pictures with their friends, and they like to share the beautiful pictures of our garden.” According to McDonald, followers on Facebook are indeed mostly interested in photos; “We’ll get thousands of likes and shares with some of them.” It makes sense that pictures would be the most effective type of content on Facebook for tourism destinations. Photos showcase the best of your destination and keep it top of mind
By blogging frequently about relevant, interesting and timely topics related to your destination, you will increase your visibility on search engines and increase the likelihood of travel lers finding your website.
when tourists are making their travel plans. A steady stream of high-quality photos with some other types of content works best for the Facebook audience.
Twitter: Engage the local community The next tool on McDonald’s list is Twitter. “We use it as a social listening tool,” he explains. “It tells us what people on the move are saying about our garden and about Victoria in general.” Because Twitter moves so fast, it’s better to use it as a customer service tool than a broadcasting one, like Facebook. Actively answering questions and responding to comments about your destination on Twitter will yield the best results. “Many travel decisions are made on Twitter in hotel rooms,”
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McDonald says. “It’s very useful at the local level and comes into play when tourists are actually in town.” Hashtags (the clickable words preceded by “#” on Twitter) are an especially useful tool when listening to conversations on that channel. Hashtags connect you to local conversations about events, destinations and people that you would not be able to hear otherwise.
Instagram: Attracting Millenials on the move The last tool McDonald uses in his daily marketing work is Instagram. “It connects seamlessly with Twitter, and I get great engagement with our ‘customers of tomorrow’,” he explains. “The teenager shows an Instagram photo of the Gardens to the
Social media enables the tourism marketer to engage in niche marketing and micro-engagement. It’s easier and cheaper to create and broadcast several targeted messages through social media than on traditional channels.
decision-maker in the family, and that person eventually decides to visit us next time they’re in Victoria.” Instagram is also the perfect tool to attract busy Millenials on the move. “They like things quick and fast, and they tend to make decisions on the fly,” McDonald says. Photos are attractive and can say much more about your destination than a brochure or a blog review. McDonald says that his use of Instagram for marketing the Butchart Gardens is only going to increase. Instagram photos can also be posted to Facebook, increasing your reach across demographic groups and reducing the photography workload.
The future of tourism marketing is social “If only for its cost effectiveness,” McDonald explains, “social media is going to become the only tool to manage your brand. If we get extra marketing budget, we’re going to put it on social media work rather than traditional campaigns. Nobody reads newspapers or watches ads on TV anymore.” Social media enables the tourism marketer to engage in niche marketing and microengagement. It’s easier and cheaper to create and broadcast several targeted messages through social media than on traditional channels. Social media keeps your destination top of mind and lets you manage your brand more effectively than with traditional communication strategies. However, McDonald has a warning: “You can’t hire an agency or a part-timer to do social media. It requires dedication, consistency and passion. Your social media marketer needs to live and breathe the brand and must be able to transmit his or her knowledge through short, microtargeted text and visual messages.” Today’s connected and social travellers make decisions based on a destination’s social media activity. By adding a social media specialist to your marketing team, you can harness its growing power to increase brand awareness of and visitors to your destination. Stikky Media is a digital marketing agency based in Victoria, British Columbia, providing social media marketing, search engine optimisation and other digital marketing services to clients worldwide. VIsit them at www.stikkymedia.com
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Something a little less ordinary Publishing concepts for individuals
See us at Stand MTP7 e: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com t: 44 (0)203 598 9652
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USA: Destinations with a Brand new approach to tourism Welcome to Arabian Travel Market 2014. On behalf of Brand USA, we are honoured to be a part of ATM again, following the great success of our first official attendance last year.
generated 1.1 million incremental visitors to the Untied States, which is a 2.3 per cent increase over growth that would have occurred without the Brand USA marketing initiatives.
Having a major presence at such a prestigious show in the Middle East – one of the fastest-growing markets for inbound travel to the United States – is incredibly valuable, both for Brand USA and our partners.
Now in our third year of operation, we have partnered with hundreds of leading companies – both within and outside of the travel industry – to showcase the United States in all of its diversity, full of incredible destinations and experiences.
This year, we are keen to further develop the relationships we made in 2013, and inspire travellers from this part of the world to visit the United States and explore its boundless possibilities – as the marketing message says, we invite tourists from the region to “Discover this land, like never before”. Our first consumer campaign, in 2012, increased intent to visit the USA within the markets of Canada, Japan and the UK. Last year, we followed that success with a global campaign, and have seen a significant positive impact on international arrivals and the wider economy. Our 2013 report showed that our campaigns had
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At this year’s ATM, members of the Brand USA leadership team will be on hand to share with you our marketing plans for the coming year, introduce you to relevant travel partners and share some of the exciting destinations you can explore in the USA. We look forward to meeting with you, and wish you all the best during your time at ATM. Christopher L. Thompson President and CEO Brand USA www.DiscoverAmerica.com
Viva Las Vegas!
Las Vegas has always been a major tourist attraction and the new $550 million LINQ retail, dining, entertainment and hospitality district located at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip is set to revitalise the central resort corridor even further. Located at the heart of the Strip, the LINQ will span more than 200,000-square-feet of gross leasable space and will feature over 30 unique retail, dining and entertainment experiences. Another new attraction on the Strip is Vegas’ first stand-alone boutique hotel. The Cromwell Hotel and Casino will offer an exceptional Las Vegas hotel experience. The newest Caesars Entertainment resort will feature 188 rooms and suites, the first restaurant from celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, the return of Drai’s After Hours and the introduction of Drai’s Beach Club and Nightclub. Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment has launched a new website (www.anthologysuites.com) that features a collection of nearly 2,000 luxury suites and villas across its entire Las Vegas
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portfolio of resorts. For the first time, guests will have access to booking opulent villas and celebratory suites that were previously only available to the highest levels of casino guests. Guests of the Anthology Suites will also have additional guest perks, such as VIP check-in, and select rooms will also include complimentary limo transportation from the airport and 24hour butler service.
EVENT ORGANISING One of the main challenges in holding an overseas event is finding a reliable partner at the chosen destination which will completely understand your needs while providing a sensitive approach to the cultural needs of the location. Travel Options / Incoming USA offers multicultural, multilingual and well-trained staff making it a reliable event partner. Its dedicated team consists of dynamic planning experts who will lead your event programme to great success.
No trip to the United States would be complete without a trip to a theme park and where better than Universal Studios Hollywood. Go behind the scenes on the world famous Studio Tour to explore where Hollywood movies are made, visit the sets of some of your favorite shows and movies, then get ready to face action head-on in thrilling rides, shows and attractions that put you inside some of the world’s biggest movies. And you can now join the mischievous Minions on an epic adventure you’ll never forget in the all-new 3-D ride, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. A VIP experience is available so that you can experience an extensive guided tour of Universal Studios Hollywood and its motion picture studio, with access to areas of the studio lot that the general public never sees. Your VIP guide will also escort you to the Park’s most popular rides and attractions, taking you in via special exclusive VIP entrances. Afterwards, enjoy time to explore the vast Park on your own, when you can skip the queues at every attraction, get the best seats in the house for every show and enjoy a gourmet lunch.
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Thanks to the firms creative approach and operational know-how, Travel Options / Incoming USA will tailor-made any request to fit your client needs, budget and philosophy. In addition, its Concierge Marveluxe team is dedicated to satisfy the travel needs of all your VIP clients in order to turn their travel experience to a memorable one. www.trvloptions.com / www.incomingusa.com
Meanwhile, Universal Orlando Resort sees the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley this summer. The spectacularly themed environment – based on the signature areas of London, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley – will double the size of the sweeping area already dedicated to Harry Potter’s adventures at Universal Orlando, expanding it across both Universal theme parks. And – just like in the books and films – guests will be able to travel between the two areas aboard the iconic Hogwarts Express. There will also be shops, dining experiences, and a new ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – a multi-sensory, multidimensional journey that will take theme park attractions to a new level. More news from Orlando… Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort welcomed its first guests at the end of March . This brand-new value and moderately-priced property is the fourth on-site hotel at Universal Orlando Resort and evokes the classic, retro-feel of iconic beach resorts from the 1950s and 60s.
stars Relax like the
Los Angeles has recently announced the openings of two hip new properties. The 180-room Ace Hotel is located in the revitalised Historic Core near many landmarks, including Grand Central Market, Walt Disney Concert Hall and a selection of fabulous restaurants, while The Line is situated in the heart of Koreatown – a trendy area brimming with restaurants and nightclubs. The Line has a loft-like, urban feel with the use of industrial materials and cement surfaces, coupled with streamline furnishings and occasional burst of color.
But, if you’d rather stay somewhere more traditional, you can rest assured that the iconic InterContinental Los Angeles is more than just a Hollywood landmark. Located just minutes from Century City’s major entertainment studios, the shopping Mecca of Rodeo Drive and, of course, the Pacific Ocean’s sunsoaked beaches, the InterContinental is the perfect place to call home while discovering the very best that LA has to offer. The property features 361 luxury guest rooms and suites, all of which offer unbeatable panoramic views, and the facilities and amenities that you would expect from a world-famous hotel.
Team America TeamAmerica is a full service receptive tour operator with a portfolio consisting of over 800 global accounts in 65 countries. With local offices in New York, Miami Beach and Los Angeles, the company offers extensive allotments of rooms within the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico, as well as a host of land services to satisfy every need. Staffed with a multilingual team and located in the heart of Manhattan, its stateof-the-art Headquarter Concierge Centre welcomes clients seven days a week, providing personalised assistance away from home. In addition, TeamAmerica’s dedication to offering the highest calibre of customer service has inspired its growing number of global sales support offices located in key cities such as Milan, San Remo, Moscow, Barcelona, Sao Paulo, Tel Aviv, Sofia, London and Melbourne.
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Taking a bite of the Big Apple
In 2013, New York City welcomed a record 54.3 million visitors, generating $39.4 billion in direct spending and $58.7 billion in total economic impact. Tourism, now the city’s fifth largest industry, employs more than 370,000 people in the hospitality and leisure sector. Home to more than 98,000 hotel rooms (and anticipated to reach 100,000 rooms by the end of the year), New York City offers visitors more options to experience—and stay in—many of the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods across all five boroughs. In addition, the city is the nation’s number one port of entry, has the highest number of international visitors and is the number one city destination for tourism spending. The city is on track to achieve 55 million annual visitors by 2014, one full year ahead of the original 2015 timeline. And, if you want to stay somewhere a bit different when visiting the Big Apple, there are 18 city hotels in the city’s Design Collection, which showcase unusual design. Visit www.nycgo.com/designcollection for more information but, whether you are planning on staying in a Design Collection hotel or elsewhere, make sure that you book early as hotels in New York are in great demand. Sunday nights seem to offer the most availability according to NYC & Company, which has launched its Sunday Night Stays programme in a bid to stimulate bookings on this underused day of the week.
Exploring the Sunshine State And, talking of theme parks, Florida welcomed a record 15.2 million international visitors in 2013, and its appeal to first-time tourists continues to grow. The Sunshine State’s 825 miles of shimmering beaches, mild climate and natural beauty are attracting visitors who want to experience luxurious resorts and spas, fine dining, top-tier shopping, international flair and the world’s most famous theme parks. Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and LEGOLAND have all been adding to their offerings, with new rides, hotels and shows all recently opened to the public. Meanwhile the Kennedy Space Center recently opened a $100 million home for Space Shuttle Atlantis. The historic NASA spacecraft, exhibited as if in orbit, flew 33 missions into space, including flights to the Hubble Space Telescope and to the International Space Station. To the south, visitors find glamour and style in Miami and tropical refuge in the Florida Keys. New resorts, restaurants and attractions open continuously around Florida, along with new programmes to enhance hospitality and visitor experiences. One particular development to watch for is All Aboard Florida, a highspeed train that will provide intercity rail service between Miami and Orlando , with stops in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
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Dallas/Fort Worth tops customer service
THE ALLURE OF SAN FRANCISCO Part of San Francisco’s magic is its manageability. The city is conveniently confined to a 49-square-mile peninsula, meaning that it is easy to navigate from a visitors, perspective – of which San Francisco hosts more than 16 million a year. Its attractions range from Fisherman’s Wharf to Twin Peaks, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Golden Gate Park. Its shopping hub, Union Square, anchors a who’s who of world famous stores, while over 3,000 restaurants are cooking up everything from Afghan to Vietnamese.
Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Dallas/Fort Worth international airport (DFW) is the world’s fourth busiest, serving 60 million customers a year, while also ranking among the top ten airports worldwide for customer service for seven consecutive years. In a bid to maintain such high customer service standards, DFW recently unveiled 30 automated passport control (APC) kiosks, which reduce waiting times for both US and Canadian citizens who arrive at DFW from international destinations. The system alleviates lines by allowing returning travellers to enter their own passport information on touch-screens and register their return to the country electronically.
San Francisco has more cultural attractions per capita than any other American city. The arts and cultural community is home to vibrant alternative theatre, dance, visual arts, cabaret and music as well as an opera, symphony and ballet of preeminent stature. It supports several major museums and a galaxy of private galleries and speciality museums. Getting there has never been easier, with San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offering nonstop flights to more than 31 international points on 30 international carriers. The Bay Area’s largest airport connects non-stop with 76 cities in the US on 15 domestic airlines.
While at DFW, travellers can take advantage of its customer rewards programme, Thanks Again, that allows passengers to earn airline mileage rewards for purchases at the airport. Passengers are also encouraged to use the official DFW mobile app, which provides the latest information and updates regarding flights, parking, shops, restaurants and airport services. These new features, combined with DFW’s consistent ranking as one of the best airports in the world for customer service, promise to make a trip through Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport as hassle-free as possible.
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The New L.A. Story
No American vacation would be complete without a trip to Los Angeles. Whether you want to catch a glimpse of stardom or just get a taste of the A-list life yourself, LA is filled with the lifestyle, playgrounds and landmark attractions of the rich and famous. For the shopping enthusiast, LA is where the trends begin. From digging through vintage stores to shopping for luxury goods, top shopping centres include the Fashion District in Downtown LA, The Grove, Beverly Center, Hollywood & Highland, Glendale Galleria, Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place. Rodeo Drive is a must-see for the jet set, while bargain hunters have several outlets to choose from.
Universal Studios Hollywood offers entertainment for all, and has recently opened Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, a 3D UltraHD motion simulator ride that will bring the blockbuster to life. Along with the new attraction, Universal Studios Hollywood will also welcome Super Silly Fun Land, an all-new elaborate kids’ play zone. Getting in and out of the city is a glamorous affair too, thanks to the new Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), which recently underwent a $1.9-billion renovation at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
When in California… The choice of accommodation in California is second to none, but there are some hotels and resorts that really stand out from the crowd. Adjacent to the resort community of Santa Barbara, Bacara Resort & Spa is located along California’s most spectacular stretch of Pacific paradise, between the ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. With 78 acres of oceanfront property – including two miles of natural beach – Bacara is the perfect vacation destination place.
and 10 suites and enjoy the wide range of resort amenities.
Meanwhile, sprawling across 15 acres of pristine southern California coastline, Balboa Bay Resort is a 4-Diamond Resort distinguishing itself as the only full-service waterfront property in the coast of Newport Beach, located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, CA. Stay in one of the comfortable 159 guests rooms
Finally, set against the rolling vineyards of California’s Wine Country in Napa Valley, The Meritage Resort and Spa offers wine tasting, award-winning cuisine, rejuvenating spa treatments, bowling and luxurious accommodation. Steam grottos, soaking pools, waterfalls and revitalising spa treatments complete the package.
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For a San Diego luxury hotel unlike any other, Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa blends charming influences with modern comforts. Featuring 10 acres of rancho-style architecture, 210 elegantly appointed rooms and lush gardens Estancia La Jolla offers a relaxed, serene setting that celebrates the idyllic coastal climate for all who visit.
GREEN HOLIDAYS ON CLEAN BEACHES SALLI FELTON, ACTING CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE TRAVEL FOUNDATION, EXPLAINS WHY THIS SUMMER IT MIGHT MAKE GOOD BUSINESS SENSE FOR THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY TO ROLL UP ITS SLEEVES AND GET DOWN TO THE BEACH.
Every year in July the Travel Foundation, a UK sustainable tourism charity, organises the Make Holidays Greener campaign. The aim is to encourage businesses to use that month to tell their staff and customers what they are doing to become greener, and to pledge to take an extra step that will help the destinations that they sell. The campaign has been running since 2010, but this year we’re doing something a little bit different. This July we want to show what tourism can achieve when we act together on a single issue. So we’re encouraging everyone to get involved in beach clean-ups, and remove as much litter as we can from our coasts. Here are some reasons why we chose this idea in particular: • Beaches are a key part of the vast majority of summer holidays. They are also a global “place” where tourism meets nature, and so represent many of the issues that brings. • Clean-ups are an easy concept to understand, and can help raise awareness of green issues. This was the main reason why, in our ring-around to test a few different ideas, travel companies came down in favour of running a clean-up. • They can unite different travel companies to take action for the benefit of their resort. • We will be able to show the physical result of everyone working together, as we tot up the amount of litter bagged across the globe. Tourism is better placed than any other industry to mobilise this kind of action – and of course it will benefit from cleaner beaches. Furthermore, it is well placed to encourage more substantial changes for longer term impact. Much (although by no means all) of the litter on beaches is left by tourists on holiday. The industry has influential and productive relationships with destination communities and suppliers (hoteliers are often beach owners), and is usually represented on destination management councils. Perhaps we can succeed in banning plastic bag use near certain beaches, or in introducing more litter bins and ashtrays for safe disposal? To some, a beach clean-up may seem too small a gesture – and if this is all tourism does to benefit a destination in 2014, we agree! But it will be a great way to engage customers, staff and local communities alike about the health of our oceans, and every tonne of rubbish that is taken out of the environment is good news for birds, turtles, dolphins and other marine life.
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Beaches are a key part of the vast majority of summer holidays. They are also a global “place” where tourism meets nature, and so represent many of the issues that brings
TOP 10 WAYS THAT YOUR BUSINESS CAN HELP PROTECT OUR BEACHES AND SEAS THIS JULY 1. Join the Big Holiday Beach Cleanup! Set up your own beach clean and get your staff and customers involved. If you don’t sell beach holidays, why not organise a mountain or lake clean-up. Or ask your staff to collect at least three additional pieces of litter/plastics and put them in the correct bin. 2. Raise awareness of the beach environment: Create beach activities for your customers, for example a beach treasure hunt; a sand sculpture or beach art competition; or a guided walk based on what’s special about your beach, whether it’s the longest beach in the area, is home to interesting wildlife, or has myths and legends associated with it. 3. Get staff involved: Ensure your staff understand what you are doing to protect seas and beaches and how they can help. If you have beach staff, train them to get involved and provide them with basic equipment e.g. litterpicks, gloves and waste bags. 4. Communicate with customers: Let customers know what you are doing and provide them with tips on how they can help. If you can, provide interpretation at beaches and in pre-departure or welcome packs to increase awareness and positive behaviours. 5. Promote locally produced food and drink at the beach: This helps local businesses to thrive and can reduce negative impacts on the environment. You could work with beach businesses (e.g. hotels, bars, restaurants and beach management) to organise local food events on the beach, including traditional food to reflect the area, cooking demonstrations and tasting opportunities. 6. Protect turtles: Ensure you have guidelines in place to protect any known turtle nesting beaches. 7. Check your marine excursions: Ensure your marine operators abide by a code of conduct on marine life excursions, including avoidance of anchoring on reefs. 8. Reduce plastic waste: Plastic breaks down into small particles that are ingested by wildlife and contaminate the food chain. Disposable plastics, including bottles, bags and cups, are the main source of plastic pollution. Replace bottled water with drinking water dispensers and durable cups/bottles. Provide straws only when requested by guests. 9. Reduce unsightly and unhealthy beach litter: If you own or manage a beach, ensure you provide enough bins and recycling facilities. Consider carefully how many bins you need and research the types, formats and volumes of litter throughout the year. A typical beach user will create about one litre of general waste per day. 10. Reduce cigarette butt litter: If you own or manage a beach, introduce smoking zones with signposting or ropes. Provide beach users with ashtrays, ideally made from sustainable materials.
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Businesses and communities across the world should get involved, because beach litter is a global problem. Plastic litter can be found on the shores of very remote uninhabited islands, and even polar regions. UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) has estimated there are, on average, over 13,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square kilometre of ocean. Focusing on the Middle East, one study of beaches along the Omani coast in the Gulf of Oman found up to 6 items of debris per metre, and a study along the Jordanian coast of the Gulf of Aqaba recorded up to 5 items per metre. The plastic debris appeared to be mainly of local origin and was fishing-related in about one quarter of cases. A few facts and stats to show the importance of keeping our seas and beaches clean: • Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them. The bags block their stomachs, often leading to death from starvation. A high proportion (about 50 to 80 per cent) of sea turtles found dead are known to have ingested marine debris. • Seabirds mistake floating plastic litter for food. More than 90 per cent of fulmars found dead around the North Sea have plastic in their stomachs. • Plastic litter on beaches has increased by 140 per cent since 1994. • Plastic never biodegrades. It breaks down into small pieces but does not disappear. • Microplastic particles are now found inside filter feeding animals and among sand grains on our beaches. • Some areas of ocean contain six times more microscopic plastic particles than plankton. • The ocean supplies much of the air that we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. • Cigarette butts are the most common litter found on a beach. Butts are made from a type of plastic (not natural fibres) so can take years to degrade and, when they do so, they release harmful toxins into the environment. • At least 267 different species are known to have suffered from entanglement in or ingestion of marine debris including seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales and fish.
At least 267 different species are known to have suffered from entanglement in or ingestion of marine debris including seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales and fish.
You are in a great position to mobilise your staff and give something back to the people and environment you rely on to make a living. Your first step is to visit thetravelfoundation.org. uk/greenerhols to find out how you can get involved in the Big Holiday Beach Cleanup this July. Visit travelfoundation.org.uk for more information.
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MEMORIES are made of this… WHETHER IT’S A VOLUNTEERING TRIP TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF LOCAL PEOPLE, A WINE TASTING TOUR OF FRANCE, OR PAYING A SMALL FORTUNE TO BE WHISKED IN COMFORT AROUND THE SITES OF A DESTINATION’S MOST IMPORTANT ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDS, IT IS LIKELY TO FALL INTO THE CATEGORY OF ‘EXPERIENTIAL TOURISM’. SO, HOW TO QUALIFY AND QUANTIFY A SECTOR THAT OFFERS SO MUCH, YET IS SO HARD TO PIN DOWN? WELL-TRAVELLED JOURNALIST KEITH OSBORNE OFFERS THE BENEFIT OF HIS EXPERIENCE…
The phrase ‘experiential tourism’ has been a buzz phrase in the global tourism industry for a number of years now. Some are happy to simply dismiss it as a term without meaning, insisting all travel is an experience of some sort – but it has certainly become widely utilised to describe a particular type of holiday or journey. If asked, most industry professionals will give you their own succinct definition of experiential travel but it’s unlikely you’ll find two that are identical, because the concept covers so many aspects that it’s almost impossible to summarise it in just a few words. Understandably, one’s own definition is likely to centre on those aspects which your product best delivers. What is generally agreed upon is that – however one refers to it – it is a sector that has been growing steadily over the past few years. In 2010, Deloitte’s Hospitality 2015 report stated “in the upscale to luxury segments, the experiential dimension will define a successful brand as much as the finer points of product design” and under a year from its next market update, it’s clear that many companies, large and small, are now focusing on offering an ‘authentic’ travel experience for their customers as a point of differentiation from more mainstream providers. In common with other industries – cars and fashion most readily spring to mind – innovations tend to start at the top end and take time to filter down to more affordable levels. In 2012, the Luxe Redux report from Boston Consulting Group identified that “spending on experiential luxury makes up almost 55 per cent of total luxury purchases worldwide and has grown 50 per cent faster than gains in sales of luxury goods.” It has been the affluent and seasoned travellers of the boomer generation, aged from their mid-40s to mid-60s, who have been the first to start looking beyond the traditional holiday and travel formula to demand a more meaningful involvement with their destination. This is a demographic group with time and
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money to spare, who are adopting a ‘forever young’ attitude to life, reluctant to conform to old-fashioned ideas of how people of their age should think and spend their time and disposable income. In considering how the travel industry could capitalise on this sociological change, Deloitte’s suggested that “products and services should be targeted to the attitude of ‘agelessness’ and interest in experiential travel shown by the boomers, appealing to their sense of adventure, independent spirit and desire to explore off the beaten tourist track.” There’s a younger group that has also embraced the ideals of experiential travel, one that is referred to by many names, most commonly Millennials and Generation Y. This group, born from the early 1980s onwards, has grown up with an ever-shrinking world of budget airlines and tech-savvy, self-organised trips and is now moving on from cheap package tours and mini-breaks to something more immersive. “Gen Y and people like them, including myself, are global citizens in many respects, who are deeply interested in collecting experiences,” said Arne M. Sorenson, president and chief executive of Marriott International at the American Express Publishing 2014 Luxury Summit earlier this year. “They are curious about things around them and connected all the time through technology. What is important to me is not the status of the travel, but it is the richness of the experience that I keep. That is what we think Gen Y is interested in. It’s not just about staying at a five-star hotel, but it is also how do I get an experience that resonates so that I can share it with my friends through social media and talk about it.” Even younger are some of the growing band of ‘voluntourists’, combining travelling with volunteer work directly in communities around the world. Many of these travellers are taking a year out before or after university, though the sector
also offers trips for those taking a career break, families and even honeymooners. The Hospitality 2015 report was published just months after the founding of AFAR magazine in the USA by Greg Sullivan and Joe Diaz, a publication that has gone from strength to strength, inspiring and reflecting the growth in the experiential tourism sector since 2009. The sector encompasses a number of categories, with opportunities for operators to add the ‘experiential’ ingredients to their portfolios in cultural tourism, eco-tourism, educational travel, experimental tourism, heritage tourism and nature tourism. These include off-the-beaten-track destinations, involvement with and respect for the indigenous culture, engaging with local people and being sensitive to the environment. Hobby tourism, too, lends itself well to offering experiential tourists a more personal and immersive reward, in areas including diving, photography, yoga, wine-tasting and painting. Giving clients access to local experts and behind-the-scenes locations offers an exclusive aspect that may not be available from your competitors. If you’re thinking about entering the experiential tourism sector, there are a few key points that you need to consider carefully to successfully hook your audience and bring on board the communities with which you will be working. Planning and
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preparation are essential, including research to identify gaps in the market, consultation with local people on the resources available (natural and human) and how they need to be cared for and establishing what customers will be seeking and how you can provide that to them in a way that gives them the satisfaction they are looking for. It’s important not to rush into the consultations for and development of your products and to remember some of the keywords that attract travellers to the sector, for example “engaging”, “sensory”, “blending in”, and perhaps most resonant for the target market, “authentic”. Generally – although not exclusively – the experiential tourist would rather be shown something directly and be allowed to interpret it for themselves, providing their own unique memories of time and place. Antonio del Rosal, Latin America executive director of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, which represents 750 operators, agents and destinations, pointed out at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s 2012 Sustainable Tourism Development Conference in Guyana that the clientele in this sector can be tough to please but is prepared to pay a premium. “They say they don’t want luxury, but they want hot water and a good meal. They say they welcome risk and excitement, and yet they emphasise safety,” he said, before pointing out that as much as 90 per cent of the revenue stays in the destination through adventure travel, compared with as little as five per cent for traditional beach holidays. This is an important consideration for customers who care a great deal about the economic and
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environmental impact of their trip on the local area. Currently, the Middle East seems strangely underrepresented in the experiential travel market. However, there are operators offering travel packages that fit within the sector around the region in countries such as the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Oman. Perhaps it is a question of perception. So much media coverage of the Gulf states especially focuses on their major infrastructure developments and monumental new architecture, rather than their history. It could be argued that millennia of history, established traditional cultures and wealth of exceptional natural features have been somewhat overlooked over the last few decades as the kingdoms and emirates of the Middle East have transformed themselves with ever-more ambitious projects to attract commercial and tourist traffic. But given the size of the region and its undoubted expertise at high-end travel in particular, there definitely appears to be room for more players and a wider range of experiences to offer. The geographical variety of dramatic mountains, desert and coast, distinctive cultural traditions, historic heritage sites and landmarks, plus a highly developed appreciation of what today’s travellers and holidaymakers want, make the region’s various destinations ideal for an international audience of discerning and adventurous tourists.
...itâ€™s not too late to book yours
Review edition out in June
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VIEW FROM THE
TOP…DECK A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE CRUISE INDUSTRY BY CHRISTINE DUFFY, PRESIDENT & CEO, CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION (CLIA)
As the cruise line industry continues to strengthen its global presence, CLIA and its cruise line members are looking forward to a positive year of growth with a 2014 passenger forecast of 21.7 million worldwide guests on CLIA’s 61 member lines. Consumer interest in cruising is strong, coinciding with significant cruise line investment. The years to come will bring new ships to more exotic locations, including the Middle East. Member lines will introduce 24 new ships in 2014-2015, adding a total passenger capacity of 37,546, representing a capital investment of approximately US$8 billion in ocean-going and river cruise categories. Twelve new
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CLIA ships (confirmed orders and options) for 2016 to 2018 represent an additional 33,192 passenger capacity and an investment estimated at US$7.9 billion in ship development. Globally, the 2014 CLIA fleet comprises 410 ships, up from 393 ships last year. The fleet covers all line categories: contemporary, premium, niche and destination focused, river cruises, expedition and adventure. The cruise industry has experienced growth in the number of passengers every year since 1995 – that’s almost 20 years of continuous growth – with all expectations that this is to continue for the next 20 years. CLIA’s cruise line members represent over 95 per cent
of the global cruise capacity. CLIA is also the association for 13,500 global travel agency members who reach over 50,000 individual travel agents in North America, the UK & Ireland and Australasia. Our 250 Executive Partners represent port authorities, destinations, maritime and industry suppliers.
Globalisation The cruise industry is truly a global one, so much so that just over a year ago, CLIA began its globalisation initiative – bringing 11 existing regional cruise associations together under one unified structure; today that number is up to 14. CLIA’s new structure provides a balance and connection between global and local issues and allows regions around the world to work more closely together under a “One Industry, One Voice” approach to policy development, advocacy, communication, issues management and industry promotional activities. New for 2014 is the formation of a CLIA Global Ports Committee as well as new regional committees in the Americas, Australasia and Asia, in addition to the regional committee already operating in Europe. CLIA is now focusing more on engaging directly with port communities around the world, both on operational and strategic issues. Port partners will now have increased opportunities to engage with CLIA member lines through this newly established Committee structure, to discuss port and cruise line related issues of interest. This will help to more fully integrate port development and operations within the larger cruise industry.
Region by Region Growth The 21.7 million passengers CLIA forecasts will take a cruise in 2014, is nearly double the number of passengers carried just a dozen years ago. North America is the world’s biggest cruise market (55.1 per cent passenger source share) – with the industry seeing significant growth of internationally sourced passengers – especially Europeans at 6.4 million. The leading cruise destination in terms of ship deployments
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remains the Caribbean, accounting for 37.3 per cent of all global itineraries, followed by the Mediterranean (18.9 per cent), Northern Europe (11.1 per cent), Australia/New Zealand (5.9 per cent), Alaska (4.5 per cent), Asia (4.4 per cent) and South America 3.3 per cent). In 2014, markets experiencing increased ship deployments include the Caribbean (+12 per cent), Northern Europe (+5.2 per cent), Asia (+31.6 per cent) and Australasia (22 per cent).
Economic Impact Globally, the positive economic impact of the cruise industry is being realised in all areas in which the industry operates and across major economic markers: US$100 billion in gross output, US$33 billion in wages and 775,000 jobs around the world, according to a 2012 CLIA economic impact study.
New Builds The expected 36 new ships to be built through 2018 run the gamut from 5,400-passenger luxury ocean liners to more intimate vessels sailing to exotic destinations around the world, including river cruise ships, which are the fastest-growing segment in the cruise industry and bring passengers to noncoastal destinations in major cities across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. Cruise lines that will debut new ships over the next few years include AIDA, AMA Waterways, American Cruise Lines, Avalon Waterways, Compagnie du Ponant, Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Holland America line, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, P&O, Pearl Seas Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn Cruise Line, Scenic Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Star Cruises, Tauck River Cruising, TUI and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection. As the number and types of ships continue to expand, cruise lines are working with ports and destinations to create exciting new itineraries and shore excursions, drawing in new travellers as well as repeat cruisers.
The planned collaboration of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman to promote the region as a cruise destination will also certainly help to boost cruise business to the Middle East. Significant port expansion is planned in the Middle East to prepare for the anticipated growth in the region. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Qatar, Oman and Ras Al Khaimah are destinations with port expansion plans under way according to recent industry forums held in the region. The planned collaboration of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman to promote the region as a cruise destination will also certainly help to boost cruise business to the Middle East.
Cruise Industry Trends In fact, the Middle East is one of the hot destinations for 2014, according to CLIA cruise line members. Other popular destinations/itineraries include Trans Pacific, World Cruises, US Rivers, South America, Antarctic, Canada/New England, Africa and Exotic Rivers. The trend to visit exotic and new locations by cruise ship will continue to impact on ship deployment and interest from the worldwide traveller. A number of other top 2014 cruise trends have been identified by CLIA, its member lines and travel agents. The industry is looking to expand first-time-passenger growth from younger generation travellers, especially the 95 million-strong Millennial market – those consumers born between 1980 and 2000. With a strong desire for travel and shared experiences, they represent a significant future market and provide cruise lines with a vast population of travellers to tap into. In addition to Millennials, multigenerational and celebration travel has increased across all passenger source markets. The children of families that cruise together tend to continue cruising so the multigenerational trend is favourable for the
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future of the industry. Another trend is active vacations for cruise customers. Cruise lines are responding by offering more high-energy activities on board and extreme- and soft-adventure excursions on shore. They are also creating itineraries with longer stays in ports for added sightseeing and destination immersion. There is a growing demand for luxury cruising in the form of luxury category ships and onboard upgrades. More all-inclusive options and packaging in accommodations, services and amenities are being offered. Technology is now playing a significant role in attracting the new-to-cruise market as well as retaining the cruise loyalist. CLIA member lines are making big investments to improve technology to lower the cost of onboard communications and provide more efficient passenger servicing. Despite customer desire to “unplug” from work, they do want to stay connected to their social networks, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Many member lines are also introducing innovative mobile apps that put shipboard activities and communications in the palm of cruise guests’ hands. There are significant reasons to be optimistic about the future of the cruise industry, such as year-on-year passenger growth, guest satisfaction rates that are among the highest in the entire travel industry, and a robust investment in dynamic and spectacular ships that are rivalling anything imagined a decade ago. That said, although the many innovations and achievements in cruising are very impressive, CLIA believes that, for the cruise industry, the best is yet come.
There is a growing demand for luxury cruising in the form of luxury category ships and onboard upgrades. More all-inclusive options and packaging in accommodations, services and amenities are being offered.
About Christine Duffy and CLIA Christine Duffy is president and chief executive officer of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the trade association representing the US$32 billion global cruise industry. CLIA is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA represents the interests of cruise lines and travel agents before regulatory and legislative policy makers. CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cruise holiday vacations with thousands of travel agency and travel agent members. CLIA’s Executive Partner programme includes the industry’s leading providers of supplies and services that help cruise lines provide a safe, environmentally-friendly and enjoyable holiday vacation experience for millions of passengers every year. For more information on CLIA, the cruise industry, and CLIA member cruise lines and travel agencies, visit www.cruising.org. CLIA can also be followed on the Cruise Lines International Association’s Facebook and Twitter fan pages, and Duffy can be followed @CLIACEO and cruising.org/ceoblog.
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Planes to Paris. Hotels in Honolulu. Trains through Tokyo. Offer customers the
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WHERE THERE’S SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE. Luxury beckons at the all-new Rixos Bab Al Bahr. The leading Turkish hospitality chain Rixos Hotels introduces the ﬁrst ‘All Inclusive – All Exclusive’ resort in UAE, nestled on the serene beach of Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. Discover the ‘All-Inclusive’ holiday experience that offers complete value for money. Pay once and enjoy a comfortable stay in luxurious rooms and suites, 24-hour unlimited food and beverages as well as world-class entertainment for all ages. Surrender to pure indulgence at the resort’s magniﬁcent spa or feel the rush of adrenaline with high-octave activities. Discover the nuances of leisure for the young ones with exclusive clubs for kids and teenagers.
So, where are you? To enjoy the inaugural offer of AED 1,800 per night*, call +971 7 244 4400 or email email@example.com
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Al Marjan Island, P.O. Box: 14744, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE P: +971 7 244 4400
HOTSPOT TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED THE WAY THAT MOST MODERN BUSINESSES OPERATE AND COMPETE FOR NEW CUSTOMERS. IN THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY, AS KATE HAMILTON REPORTS, YOU NEED TO STAY AHEAD OF THE GAME MORE THAN MOST.
From online shopping to social media, today’s consumers can do their research and buy goods and services before they’re out of their pyjamas. And there is no industry that the internet has changed quite as dramatically as the travel sector. Entire holidays are now routinely booked online – from airport parking to the transfers at the other end. But, since the industry has changed so much in such a short space of time, is it likely to keep on changing? The simple answer is yes and, as a result, industry players need to keep their fingers on the technology pulse in order to stay ahead of their competitors. “The internet had a huge impact on the travel industry early on, as consumers swarmed to online travel agencies to find the best prices on flights and hotels, and took to online travel guides to plan their trips in advance,” said Chris Minas, founder of Nimbletank, in a recent interview. “Now, mobile is the latest sales channel upending travel, not least because travel pairs so well with mobile devices, allowing travellers to continue and amend their trip-planning once they’ve taken off. And, as consumers increasingly research, book, purchase and review everything related to their travel experiences on mobile devices, often on unreliable wireless networks, those in the travel industry must adapt.” According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), only 48 per cent of travel companies have a mobile-optimised website – with a third of travel brands currently having no mobile presence
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at all. “It is clear from these numbers that brands are failing to provide an important research and experience channel for their customers through mobile,” continues Minas. “According to the 2013 SITA Air Transport World Passenger IT Trends Survey among global travellers, only five per cent said they were using check-in and booking services on their phones, and 78 per cent cited usability concerns and the limitations of the device as a reason they might not use mobile for travel.” If mobile is poorly used, tablet is even less so. In fact, only six per cent of travel firms boast sites that are specifically designed for tablet devices. Many brands use the argument for apps versus tablet and mobile optimised sites as their excuse – with the lack of advertising opportunity the number one reason for not pushing mobile and tablet further. “My message to the travel industry is to get it [advertising] right on tablet now, not just for browsing but for transactions too,” explains Emma Jowett, head of travel and education for Yahoo. “The travel industry in many ways leads other sectors in terms of acquisition marketing but, in a world where the cost of every conversion is scrutinised, it can seem like a daunting prospect to spend ad budget further up the purchase funnel. Together, native advertising, optimising sites for mobile and tablet, and making the most of images are a huge opportunity for the travel industry. Used effectively, brands can own the whole travel cycle, from inspiration
Call-to-Action is a new Facebook tool designed to fill the gap. Launched at the beginning of the year, page administrators can now add a button to their Facebook adverts, and choose from five actions: shop now, learn more, sign up, book now, or download.
to purchase.” All well and good if you want to interact directly with the consumer – but what about agents? Travel companies need to work out how to use technology to their best advantage when dealing with third parties too. Travel technology company Sabre has partnered with TripAdvisor to create an app that gives travel agents access to aircraft seat and in-flight amenity information at the point of sale. Agents using the Sabre GDS can buy The SeatGuru App from the Sabre Red App Store and plug it directly into their workstation. They can then use it to give customers better insights and information about different airline products, meaning the traveller should be able to make a more informed choice about their purchase. The information comes from seat maps, product guides and reviews submitted to Tripadvisor-owned SeatGuru by travellers. Agents also have access to information about in-flight
26 airlines have now signed up to use this solution when it goes live in Travelport’s Smartpoint agency desktop later this year. 80
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amenities including entertainment options, wifi access, power and USB ports and meals. Meanwhile, since launching its Merchandising Platform a year ago, Travelport has had significant progress in the agency sector. Developed in order to allow airlines to distribute and differentiate all of their fares and ancillaries via the travel agency channel, agencies can connect to Travelport while fully comparing the available offers from those airlines. Travelport has also enjoyed worldwide recognition and support for its highly progressive Rich Content and Branding retail solution. Rich Content and Branding allows airlines to more effectively control how their flights and ancillaries are visually presented and described on travel agency screens, bringing them more in line with the airline’s own website experience. Twenty-six airlines have now signed up to use this solution when it goes live in Travelport’s Smartpoint agency desktop later this year. Delta, Peruvian Airlines, Ryanair, British Airways, Iberia, easyJet and Hong Kong Airlines are just a few of the high-profile carriers who are currently on board. Despite such recent innovations, many people believe that travel
agents are still lagging behind on the technology front. The good news, however, is that there is still plenty that can be done in order to profit from the digital world. Agents can now use Facebook in order to boost bookings, but Lee McCabe, head of travel on the social media site, believes they are still missing a trick. “I’ve had great feedback from the trade, but there’s still a lot to do,” he says. “The online travel agents get it, hotels and airlines are starting to get it, car hire and cruise companies as well. But with travel agents we are still only scratching the surface – they need to work their communities.” Call-to-Action is a new Facebook tool designed to fill the gap. Launched at the beginning of the year, page administrators can now add a button to their Facebook adverts, and choose from five actions: shop now, learn more, sign up, book now, or download. Agents can reach a whole new audience via targeted Facebook ads. For example, a travel brand can easily target people who have searched for holidays on its website but never actually booked anything – with a specific message appearing in their news feed stating “come back for 10% off your next reservation”. And don’t be fooled into thinking that social media comes to an end once people have made their actual booking. Brands have a huge amount to gain if they harness the tools correctly. For example, Dutch airline KLM has recently introduced new technology to allow social media users to find people on their flight who have similar interests. The new Meet & Seat system provided by Gigya allows passengers to allocate themselves a seat next to people with similar interests. When customers choose to opt in to Meet & Seat, KLM then prompts them to log in socially and share their Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn profile. The airline said it hopes to build a sense of community among its customer base. “Gigya’s social login and consumer management technologies equipped our business with the tools to create a personal in-flight experience,” comments Rob Zwerink, director of E-development at KLM. “In the future, we look forward to collaborating more with Gigya, to understand our customers better and leverage this knowledge to create even deeper, more personal experiences.” So from mobile to social media, and all of the cogs in between, modern technology is not to be taken lightly from a travel business perspective. The latest advances should perhaps be taken more seriously today than the internet was 20 years ago. And, for those who say it’s all too complicated, the truth is that the number of channels through which travel companies will be able to reach potential clients is going to grow – and the ways in which to use those channels is only going to become more complex. At the same time, the opportunities will continue to grow – so, harsh though it may sound, it’s time to get on board, use the technology, or think about a new line of work.
Useful contacts Sabre – sabre.com Travelport – travelport.com Nimbletank – nimbletank.com IAB – iab.net Gigya – gigya.com Find information on seminars within the Sabre Travel Technology Theatre at arabiantravelmarket.com
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P Box: 9488, Dubai, UAE, Ph: +9714 3312288, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: www.visitkorea.or.kr 37-end - ATM 2014 Show Magazine.indd 82
FEATURE / YAS ISLAND
A dream realised in Abu Dhabi OFFERING UNPARALLELED LEISURE AND ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCES AND CONVENIENTLY SITUATED BETWEEN ABU DHABI AND DUBAI, YAS ISLAND HAS BECOME THE REGION’S PRIME LEISURE AND ENTERTAINMENT DESTINATION.
Recognising the demand for accommodation paired with unparalleled leisure and entertainment opportunities, Yas Island presents a winning combination offering a different pace of life for the most discerning of travellers to choose from, with a 240km/hr roller coaster ride, to world-class dining, to outdoor watersports activities, all within close proximity to each other. Yas Island is home to seven leading hotels and a variety of high-profile sport and leisure attractions, including the 192-berth Yas Marina, the world-famous Yas Marina Circuit, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the largest indoor theme park on the planet, and Yas Waterworld the largest Emirati-branded theme park in the UAE. For golfers, Yas Links, which is ranked the world’s 24th best golf course outside of the United States of America, is an 18-hole championship course catering to business and leisure travelers alike. Home to two music and entertainment venues, du Forum and du Arena, Yas Island has brought some of the biggest names in pop and rock to the region, including The Rolling Stones. Yas Island also presents a winning combination of world-class facilities for corporate events, paired with unrivalled attractions to business leaders from across the globe. Exceptional incentive opportunities are complemented by state-
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of-the-art business facilities that range from small meeting rooms to grand spaces for large-scale conferences and events. Functions of all sizes can be overseen by experienced event management teams at Yas Island’s many destinations, where a variety of corporate functions, from workshops and conferences to gala dinners and team-building sessions, can be arranged on the client’s behalf. This also includes incentive activities, which could be a round on Yas Island’s championship-standard golf course, Yas Links, or a session on the track at Yas Marina Circuit’s Kartzone. In November, the FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS GRAND PRIX offers a unique opportunity to reward top achievers with tickets to watch the world’s elite drivers compete on the famous race track, where a busy racing schedule keeps the circuit buzzing throughout the year. During Arabian Travel Market, Yas Island will also be kicking off
FEATURE / YAS ISLAND
its summer campaign. Yas Island is creating the ultimate summer escape with a lineup of shaded, unforgettable activities and deals available from 1st May until 30th September - all in one destination. For those here on a short or long stay, Yas Island’s proximity to the airport is another advantage. Teams can exit Abu Dhabi International Airport, a global aviation hub with connections to more than 100 destinations worldwide, and be at their hotel on Yas Island in less than 10 minutes, making it the ideal meeting spot for global teams or regional companies looking for somewhere special close to home, and for a family vacation. Yas Island’s close proximity to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi gives easy access to thriving modern cities that have become some of the region’s most important economic and tourism hubs. With so much in store for the business and leisure traveler alike, be sure to make Yas Island part of your ATM experience. For more information visit: yasisland.ae
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DESTINATIONS / TURKEY
A mesmerising mix of the exotic, the historic and the picturesque, Turkey has it all. With a rich culture influenced by the Middle East, the Mediterranean, the Balkans and Central Asia, it’s no wonder Turkey is one of the world’s top ten destinations for international visitors. One of the most popular destinations in the country is Istanbul, which stretches across a narrow strait that connects Asia and Europe – making it the only city in the world spanning two continents. Istanbul’s impressive architecture and deep roots to the Ottoman Empire, with historic sites such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Bosphorus, give the city an exotic atmosphere. Matching Istanbul in terms of popularity is Antalya, fast becoming one of the most visited
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cities in Turkey. Antalya nestles along the Turkish Riviera, popularly known as the Turquoise Coast due to the hues of the horizon and the sea on the Mediterranean coastline. The abundant natural and archaeological attractions make this stretch of Turkey’s coastline a popular national and international tourist destination. The city is known for its stunning beaches and the Baba, Akdag and Bey Mountains. Another popular tourist city is Bodrum, located in the southern Aegean region. The city was once home to the Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. With an attractive landscape, scenic beaches and resorts, Bodrum remains one of the top three destinations to visit in Turkey. The town combines historic architecture with all the usual
DESTINATIONS / TURKEY
tourist attractions. There are large numbers of shops and places to eat, from humble cafes to restaurants serving exquisite Turkish and international cuisine. Extending from just east of Istanbul to the frontier with Georgia, the Black Sea is renowned for its uninterrupted mountains, which are heavily forested on the lower parts and covered with alpine meadows, glacial lakes and glaciers on the highest parts. Today Turkey boasts a rich history, a thriving arts and culture scene, not to mention some of the world’s best cuisine. With a wide range of specialities, Turkish food has been influenced by neighbouring cuisines, including those from Western Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. Each region has its own delicacies and spices making a tour to the country a must.
TURKEY’S TOURISM STATISTICS Turkey is consistently ranked in the world’s top 10 tourism destinations, in terms of international arrivals. Last year, the country welcomed over 35 million foreign visitors, placing it at number six in the worldwide rankings. Figures from the Turkish Statistical Institute show that tourism spending in the country in 2013 rose by 11 per cent to just over US$32 billion, equating to per capita spending by international visitors of $824 per capita. Ministry of Culture and Tourism figures show that German nationals constituted the largest visitor group, with 5.4 million visiting in 2013, followed by 4.2 million Russians and 2.5 million British visitors. The most popular port of entry to Turkey last year was Antalya, which saw over 11 million arrivals pass through. The financial capital of Turkey, Istanbul, was also popular as a port of entry, with 10.4 million arrivals.
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DESTINATIONS / PHILIPPINES
Philippines The Philippines is an archipelago, comprising over 7,000 islands, and, from a touristic point of view, it has it all… white-sand, palmfringed beaches, warm waters full of incredible sea life, lush jungles and tropical vegetation and, at the heart of it all, the buzzing eclectic capital city of Manila. The island of Boracay is one of the most visited in the country. Its beaches are a match for any in the Caribbean, or those in nearby Malaysia or Thailand, and beachfront hotels offer high-quality and reasonably priced accommodation. Boracay is equally attractive to families, with plenty to do (including sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling and water-skiing) and young holidaymakers more drawn to the pulsing nightlife of countless bars and restaurants that stay open until dawn. Cebu, at the heart of the archipelago, is the most densely populated island in the Philippines, and boasts the busiest port and second-busiest airport, after Manila. The islands to the north of Cebu are gaining renown among domestic and international high-end tourists, and top-class hotels and resorts abound on the islands of Bantayan and Mactan, among others. Diving is a major pastime for visitors to the Philippines, with stunning clear waters and a diverse marine life, including manta rays, sharks, sea cows and rare whale sharks. In Palawan, along with the opportunity to visit the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park – a UNESCO World Heritage site – divers can explore the waters around Coron Island, famous for its wildlife sanctuary and no fewer than 12 World War II shipwreck dive sites. For those seeking less exotic amusement, the capital city of Manila has plenty to offer, but being more or less a collection of towns without a true centre, it can be somewhat confusing to navigate. For visitors, Makati, at the heart of the modern city, is a good place to start. The surroundings are probably the most orderly in Manila, and luxuries such as shopping in excellent malls, eating and drinking in convivial surroundings – until as late as you like – are readily available.
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DESTINATIONS / PHILIPPINES
of the country devastated.
The government of the Philippines last month revealed its Revised Philippine Development Plan, intended to boost infrastructure in the country and help to lift the population out of poverty.
Although the Philippines has seen strong growth in international tourism arrivals, the country’s overall figures are weak, compared with neighbouring nations, such as Vietnam and Indonesia.
The timing comes as the Philippines has enjoyed another year in which economic growth has run at more than seven per cent – among the highest rates in Asia. Although the original target of lifting close to ten per cent of the population out of poverty has now been reduced to around five per cent, socio-economic planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan said, as he introduced the revised plan: “It does not mean that we can do nothing but wait until the benefits of economic expansion ‘trickle down’ to the poor.”
Improving air connectivity and the highways network are expected to have a positive effect on tourism development and improve figures.
The revised plan is based on the economy continuing to grow by 7.5 to 8.5 per cent annually to 2016, and will see five per cent of GDP dedicated to infrastructure spending, including reconstruction work following the terrible damage inflicted by the super typhoon Haiyan and the powerful earthquake that left large areas in the centre
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Early numbers for 2014 tourism are positive, with just over 884,000 visitors recorded from the beginning of January to the end of February, representing a 3.49 per cent increase on the same period last year. Visitors from Asia, accounted for just over 60 per cent of all arrivals, with nationals from Korea, China and Japan at the forefront. In terms of growth, member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations recorded a seven per cent increase in visitor numbers, while tourists from the Americas and from Europe respectively delivered 18.33 per cent and 11.35 per cent of the total visitor number.
DESTINATIONS / QATAR
It’s true to say that eight years is a long time in human terms, but in a country’s development, it’s the blink of an eye. And in eight short years, Qatar aims to close in on greatness. With the Fifa World Cup 2022 this close, Qatar is having to develop at breakneck speed, ensuring everything from hotels to shopping malls, universities to – of course – football stadia, are completed before the largest mega-event on earth sees over three billion pairs of eyes turn in its direction. Already the richest per capita nation in the world, Qatar is literally pouring its oil and gas resources into a dizzying array of development, incorporating infrastructure, transport, aviation, and real estate. It could effectively be seen as a demonstration of how to shift a nation’s GDP priorities from underground to overground. Very much overground, in fact, as the view of Doha – perhaps from an authentic wooden dhow in the bay – is one of stunning skyscraper architecture and a glamour that, while on a much smaller scale, could even surpass that of Dubai. In similar fashion to Dubai, the ever-growing city hosts the vast majority of the indigenous population; yet there is another side to Qatar, including stretches of beautiful beach on the western coast – in Dukhan for example – and the truly spectacular dunes of Khor al-Adaid in the south of the country. And escapes from the uber-modern skyscrapers flying up in Doha are also to be found in the deeply traditional nature and pastimes of the Qatari people. Camelracing and falconry are extremely popular, as are visits to the souq to haggle for local goods. The world-class collection of antiquities in the Museum of Islamic Art, gives a further insight to the 1,400 years of proud culture that is firmly carved into this super-rich, super-high-rise nation.
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DESTINATIONS / QATAR
TOURISM OVERVIEW Recent figures from the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), compared performance in the third quarter of 2013, with the same period in the previous year. Over 600 rooms were added to Qatar’s inventory; a growth of almost five per cent. Nonetheless, average hotel occupancy rates recorded a rise, from 50 per cent to 57 per cent. In terms of revenue, four and five-star hotels saw a 13.81 per cent increase. Hotels with four and five-star ratings make up the vast majority of Qatar’s accommodation offering, and there have been calls for more budget hotel rooms. Total visitor numbers saw strong growth, with regional visitors increasing by 20 per cent. Strongest growth was seen in visitor numbers from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Overseas tourism also increased, with an 18.27 per cent increase in Asian visitors accounting for much of the 13.36 per cent overall growth. The increase in room inventory did not have an adverse effect on room rates; among four and five-star hotels, average room rates saw an increase of 8.82 per cent, while total revenue per available room per day grew by 4.41 per cent. This increase is extremely welcome, given that industry experts predicted a fall in revenue in the forecast period. The strong showing for tourism in the forecast period is attributed in part to activities such as the Eid Festival, and performances of Cirque du Soleil at the Aspire Dome.
As reported on marhaba.com… The scene is set for continued growth, as new infrastructure readies to accelerate the growth of the sector. Doha Exhibition and Conference Centre is under construction and Hamad International Airport is set for an early 2014 opening. QTA is readying the launch of a new phase in Qatar’s tourism industry with the release of the National Tourism Strategy, later this month, which will serve as the road map for the sector’s development in the coming years. QTA has a key role to play in coordinating the development of a sustainable tourism sector in Qatar, and growing tourism’s contribution to a diversified national economy.
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DESTINATIONS / USA
IT’S 4,500 KILOMETRES FROM EAST TO WEST, TAKING IN EVERYTHING FROM COSMOPOLITAN CITIES TO WILD MANGROVE SWAMPS, DIZZYING ROCKY PEAKS TO DRIED DESERT WASTELAND, MINDBLOWING THEME PARKS AND SERENE ISOLATED BEACHES. HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE USA’S HIGHLIGHTS…
New York City There are so many options to choose from in the Big Apple, it’s hard to know where to start the journey. With some of the world’s best shopping, legendary restaurants and bars, sporting arenas that attract A-list celebrities and streets and squares made famous the world over in countless Hollywood movies. Take a stroll in Manhattan or Brooklyn, watch a show on broadway, or make your way to Soho for the latest fashions.
Pacific Coast Highway One of the most breathtaking driving experiences on the planet, the twisting, cliff-hugging, route 66 through some of the country’s most beautiful coastal scenery, is officially around 200 kilometres long. However, the journey can easily be extended to incorporate all of California State Route 1, which runs to over 1,000 kilometres. Taking in San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, the historic city of Monterey, the hair-raising twists and turns of Big Sur, there are opportunities to spot whales and seal colonies along the way.
Yellowstone National Park It’s a wildlife extravaganza in Yellowstone, home to grizzly bears, wolves, eagles, bison and elk. America’s first national park also boasts some of the world’s most fascinating geysers, including Old Faithful, with its spectacular regularly erupting plume of boiling water. With hiking, fishing, biking and riding just some of the options, Yellowstone is a must-see for anyone spending time in the western US.
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DESTINATIONS / USA
Boston This vibrant, cosmopolitan city has something for everyone, being renowned for its cultural facilities, world-class educational institutions and love of sports, as well as being at the forefront of American history as one of the oldest cities in the US. The city has a wonderful relaxed atmosphere, but there’s no lack of buzz when it comes to its superb shopping and fine dining options, as well as local, artisan and ethnic artworks.
Niagara Falls If you’ve never visited, you may think of Niagara Falls as a romantic honeymoon destination, but it is really home to one of the natural wonders of the world. Getting close enough to touch Niagara Falls, on one of the Maid of the Mist boats, is a genuinely awesome experience, with many millions of litres of water rocketing down every minute – almost three million litres a second, in fact.
Las Vegas Obviously, there’s gambling, but don’t leave Vegas without checking out the shopping and fine dining options. As for things to do in the evening – that don’t involve losing your shirt – you can regularly see the world’s top entertainers performing here at legendary venues such as Caesars Palace. That’s why the city’s been dubbed the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’.
The Rocky Mountains The great outdoors has never looked so good, with towering mountains reaching up to clear blue skies, and more wildlife than you’re likely to see anywhere else in the US. This is also the place adrenaline junkies head for, to try their hands at pastimes such as whitewater rafting and kayaking, hiking and mountain biking, snowboarding and skiing. You can even jump on a horse and drive cattle.
New Orleans Known as The Big Easy, New Orleans is one of the world’s most fascinating cities. Steeped in a history of influences from Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and beyond, it’s home to a truly unique melting pot of culture, food and music. From bowls filled to the rim with gumbo, to late nights in jazz clubs, strolls through historic neighbourhoods, and raucous festivals this is one of America’s most culturally and historically rich destinations.
The Grand Canyon Grand Canyon National Park encompasses canyons, river tributaries, and surrounding grounds. The Grand Canyon is situated in Arizona’s northwestern quadrant. With five million visitors making the trip to the canyon each year, Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. In addition, the park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
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DESTINATIONS / AJMAN
Although the smallest of the United Arab Emirates, with an area of just 260 square kilometres, Ajman’s ambitions are as bold as its much larger neighbours. A mere ten kilometres to the south, the glitz and glamour of Dubai are to be found, but in recent years, a significant number of Dubai residents have come across the border – opting for Ajman’s quieter and more serene pace of life. For those in search of untamed landscapes, Ajman offers the Hajar Mountains – a hiker’s dream and a refreshing escape from the city. A two-hour drive, through some fabulous rolling dunes, gets you to the foothills of the mountains and the gateway to the enchanting enclave of Masfout, with its cooler climes and a sense of ancient history. Many of the archaeological finds made here date back up to 5,000 years. Then, there are more recent treasures, such as Masfout Castle, built in the 19th century to protect the locals from bandits. Those less inclined to pull their boots on can go barefoot, for a stroll on one of Ajman’s white-sand beaches – the emirate has 16 kilometres of coastline, so picking a quiet spot is never difficult. If your luck is in, you may even spot a dolphin or two. At the daily fish market, you can not only see the day’s catch come in, you can buy your fish and get it cooked in front of you. Ajman City itself is growing fast; from a population of only 36,000 in 1980, it has exploded into life with well over 200,000 people now living there. And with the population has come the need for quality eateries and a burgeoning designer shopping experience. That said, there are still superior cultural experiences to enjoy in the city – such as Ajman National Museum, a major tourist attraction, built in the 18th century and housing many fascinating items depicting the emirate’s ancient history. Moving back to the coast, high-quality accommodation is available at a fraction of the price you would pay in Dubai. Ajman’s burgeoning tourism development programme was largely halted by the global economic crisis, but there is now a renewed sense of enthusiasm in the
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DESTINATIONS / AJMAN
emirate, and the Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD) is extremely active in its efforts to promote the emirate as a unique tourist destination in the Gulf region. Currently, five-star hotels such as Kempinski Hotel Ajman tend to sprawl along the coast, and this particular example boasts over 500 metres of private beach. A recent boost came from the Starwood hotel group, which chose Ajman as the location of its latest Luxury Collection hotel, the Ajman Saray. The hotel opened earlier this year, and is the only Luxury Collection-branded hotel in the UAE, outside of Dubai. General manager of the Saray, Michele Frignani, said of its location: “It has pristine beaches, is close to the Sharjah and Dubai airports, and a free zone that is expanding rapidly.” He added: “Weekend escapers from the neighbouring emirates and domestic tourists will form a majority of the guests.” In terms of the price and the quality of Ajman’s accommodation, it is rapidly moving to align itself with the very best in the region, and for that reason it is now on the radar for a growing number of travel professionals. To put things in perspective, recent government figures show that between 2009 and 2013, the number of occupied hotel rooms jumped from 186,500 to over 602,000. Other figures show that Ajman’s hotel portfolio has increased from just nine in 2005, to around 30. Nevertheless, tourism accounts for only four per cent of Ajman’s GDP – demonstrating the potential for further strong growth in the emirate, especially while it feeds off the energy of Dubai as it moves towards World Expo 2020.
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Embrace nature in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, California.
Discover this land, like never before.
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KATARA HOSPITALITY, PRESERVING ICONIC TREASURES There is much more to being a world-class hospitality organisation than just owning, managing or developing hotels. At Katara Hospitality, our appreciation for the past powers our aspirations for the future. Decades of experience,
an innovative mindset and meticulous attention to detail enable us to craft unique masterpieces that set new standards for others to follow. With us, it is all about our boundless passion for creating legendary hospitality, building on our heritage.
Katara Hospitality Building Marina District, Lusail City, PO Box 2977 Doha, Qatar T +974 4423 7777 F +974 4423 7860 email@example.com www.katarahospitality.com
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