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Let's TRADE with Europe!

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Dubai International Registers Record Passengers in August Having bounced back from a three-month slump resulting from a major runway upgrade project, Dubai International registered a record 6.6 million passengers in August.


CONTRIBUTOR Dominique Christou PRESS Maria Demetriadou Pauline Shahabian DESIGN & LAYOUT Elena Stylianou WEB DEVELOPER / IT Soteris Constantinou DIRECTORS Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi

Dubai International

HEADQUARTERS T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly LTD P.O. Box 25255, Nicosia 1308 Cyprus Tel: +357 22 021607, Fax: +357 22 103670 WEBSITE EMAILS

MENA EXCHANGE RATES As of 10/10/2014

Gulf Air Reveals Positive Summer Results

Rise in Passenger Movement at BIA

Gulf Air recently released its August results which, following record summer travel demand, reflect a major turnaround month for the airline.

According to Ebtesam Al Shamlan, director, air transport, Civil Aviation Affairs, Bahrain Ministry of Transportation, traffic at Bahrain International Airport (BIA) in August resulted in a total of 825,903 passengers travelling through the hub.

Currencies shown in blue are fixed against the US Dollar




Bahrain (BHD)



Jordan (JOD)



Oman (OMR)



Qatar (QAR)



Saudi Arabia (SAR) Riyal





Algeria (DZD)



Egypt (EGP)



Iran (IRR)



Iraq (IQD)



Kuwait (KWD)



Lebanon (LBP)



Libya (LYD)



Morocco (MAD)



Syria (SYP)



Tunisia (TND)



Yemen (YER)



he year-on-year change reached 10.8 percent as the hub returned to full operational capacity in August, following a runway upgrade project that reduced the airport to a single runway for 80 days and cut capacity by 26 percent. Aircraft movements during August totalled 31,214 movements, noting a marginal increase while monthly cargo volume also rebounded by 4.3 percent. Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports, said that the numbers are far more indicative of the growth trend expected for the remainder of the year.


he carrier realised an almost break-even situation with operating losses of only BHD42,000 (USD111,000) and a bottom line of just BHD200,000 (USD530,000) net loss. Alongside the enhanced financial results of August, Bahrain’s national carrier recorded a higher seat factor while also delivering a 25 percent higher revenue than in 2013. The results follow recent positive developments implemented by the airline which saw its network enhanced in June with the resumption of operations to Athens and permanent schedule increases on flights between Bahrain and Cairo, as well as Bahrain and Kuwait.


he increase comes as a result of the ministry’s increased efforts to provide services and better facilities for passengers. In addition, national carrier Gulf Air has launched new routes with connectivity to several new destinations, such as Trivandrum in India and Sialkot in Pakistan,” she commented. Al Shamlan stated that predictions indicate that the airport will witness higher growth in passenger movements until the end of the year, as a result of the ministry’s modernisation programmes that will be implemented in the airport in the near future. 11 OCTOBER 2014


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Amadeus Gulf Allows Customers to Reissue Tickets


madeus Gulf has revolutionised the process of rebooking airline tickets with its Amadeus Ticket Changer (ATC) Refund. ATC Refund combines the state-of-the-art Amadeus fares and pricing engine, since its powerful multi-channel ticketing functionality empowers customers and allows them to reissue their tickets quickly and accurately. It can also upgrade a customer, re-route passengers and waive penalties in the event of operational disruptions, as well as minimise revenue leakage from manual pricing errors and non-collection of ticket change fees. Moreover, a refund transaction can be completed in just two entries, cutting the time spent on issuing a refunded ticket.

Arman Sarang, head of products and marketing, Amadeus Gulf

GBTA Reveals Bright Future for Dynamic Pricing

Travelport’s Collaborates with GOGO Worldwide Vacations The research arm of Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), GBTA Foundation released a study titled Dynamic Hotel Pricing – Has Its Time Come?, showing that dynamic pricing has been adopted by a quarter of all respondents.



n addition, two thirds of those surveyed said they expect to enter into a dynamic pricing agreement with at least one hotel in 2015. Dynamic pricing is currently seen as particularly beneficial for trade buyers who book lower room volumes. “Dynamic pricing can allow corporate travellers to obtain a discount on rooms, particularly in a market where companies do not have sufficient volume to negotiate a set rate,” said Joseph Bates, vice president, research, GBTA Foundation, adding, however, that the concept still requires a lot of education to be done. 11 OCTOBER 2014

Joseph Bates

ravelport announced a new deal with vacation package wholesaler GOGO Worldwide Vacations which gives agents seamless access to all GOGO Worldwide Vacation’s hotel package products and destination offerings. For Canadian agents, direct access to GOGO Worldwide Vacations content from Travelport’s popular Galileo Vacations product provides new sales opportunities for booking hotel packages to the world’s most desirable vacation locations. “The Galileo Vacations system gives agents seamless access to GOGO’s worldwide product at very attractive pricing, helping travel agents deliver more value and service to their customers,” said Punam Pathak, president, GOGO Worldwide Vacations.



Nakheel Unveils New Project Nakheel, a Dubai developer, has unveiled its latest project, The Palm Gateway, a three-tower waterfront living and leisure complex with more than 1,300 homes, a beach club, retail, dining, and health and fitness facilities.

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he newest community in Nakheel’s leasing portfolio, which is located at the entrance to Palm Jumeirah, comprises three individually designed high-rise residential buildings with one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments available for lease. The trio of towers will be constructed on the existing Palm Monorail Gateway terminal, where the Monorail is linked to Dubai Tram and Dubai Metro, offering convenient travel for its residents and visitors. According to Ali Rashid Lootah, chairman, Nakheel, the project combines luxury beachfront living, exciting shopping, dining and entertainment, plus some of the best water and city views in the Middle East.

Omran Board Meets in Al Jabal Al Akhdar

Eastern Mangroves Reserve Introduces Eco-boat Cruises Marriott Executive Apartments Dubai Creek



man Tourism Development Company (Omran) held its second meeting this year in Al Jabal Al Akhdar. The board of directors discussed the company’s portfolio and investment opportunities in various projects related to the tourism sector, including joint ventures with the pension funds and other investors. It also focussed on various topics related to resetting the organisational structure of the company to suit the new missions it has been assigned.

Omran Meeting


The Palm Gateway


co-boat cruises are the latest activity to be offered at Abu Dhabi’s stunning Eastern Mangroves Nature Reserve. Introduced by Belevari Marine, a marine leisure and hospitality company in the emirate, guests can hire eco-electric vessels for a relaxing experience in one of Abu Dhabi’s most scenic surroundings. The small circular boats are powered by an electric engine, have fitted seating for up to six people and a central built-in table and a parasol for shade when needed. “The donuts are easy to self-drive and after a five-minute safety and boat handling instruction, guests can take them out for anything from a 30-minute drive up to a three-hour journey,” said Berend Lens van Rijn, CEO, Belevari Marine.

11 OCTOBER 2014


Promoting Egypt as a Safe Destination



s part of the many initiatives to present Egypt as a safe destination, Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino in collaboration with the Egyptian Tourism Authority hosted a group of 40 professionals representing media houses from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. During a press conference at the property, H.E. Hisham Zaazou, minister, tourism, Egypt, gave an update on the tourism situation and the obstacles that Egypt is facing, with a special focus on promoting the classical tours of Cairo and upper Egypt which house one third of the world’s most valuable monuments.

11 OCTOBER 2014

OCEC Focusses on Europe’s MICE Business

Scandinavian Media in Egypt

man Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) has teamed up with the country’s Ministry of Tourism to promote the destination to the European MICE scene during a four-city tour covering London, Paris, Geneva and Brussels. The road show aimed to promote Oman as an international congress destination. “OCEC is being developed in a unique setting that very few convention centres in the world can match,” explained Gillian Taylor, director of business development, OCEC. “We will be able to offer four hotels, a shopping mall and commercial business park in the surrounding precinct, just four kilometres from the newly-expanded Muscat International Airport,” she added, stressing that this is a part of a two-year positioning plan to secure business for the venue before it opens in 2016.


WEEKLY NEWS ow. . n k u o Did y is

Palestine Enjoyed 3.2 Million Visits in H1

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n the occasion of World Tourism Day, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics announced that during the first half (H1) of the year, around 3.2 million visits were made to tourist and leisure sites in the West Bank. These included 1.69 million visits by domestic and 1.47 million visits by inbound travellers. The figures have grown by 26 percent and 19 percent respectively, year-on-year. Most domestic visits were to Nablus governorate which attracted a 22 percent share, followed by Qalqilya and Tulkarm governorates with 17 percent each and Jenin governorate with 14 percent, while Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate had the lowest share. Notably, in June there were 113 hotels in the West Bank comprising 6,621 available rooms with a total of 14,675 beds.


DTCM Presentation

Dubai Promoted in Russia and India



ubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) led delegations of the emirate’s tourism industry on overseas trade missions to promote the destination in two of its key source markets; India and Russia. Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, commented that the two countries are among the five top source markets globally for visitor traffic into Dubai. “Our aim is to raise awareness about Dubai as a luxury as well as value-for-money destination, and communicate the emirate’s variety of family, leisure and entertainment offerings. These events and platforms allow us to connect not only with the travel trade, but also with our key media contacts in countries of high importance to us,” he added.

11 OCTOBER 2014

WEEKLY NEWS Bahrain’s New Visa Policy Launched


ew visa regulations in Bahrain allow nationals from over 100 countries to obtain a visa either online ahead of travel, or on arrival at the airport. This development places Bahrain among the countries with the most flexible visa policies in the region, while the new regulation will also be

accompanied by improvements to the individual screening process. From early 2015, both business visitors and tourists can spend longer periods of time in the Kingdom, as visas will be valid for a month and can be renewed for up to three months. Multiple entry visas will also begin to be issued.

Sharjah’s Visitors Reach One Million



harjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority unveiled its tourism statistics for the first half of the year. Those showed a significant increase in the number of visitors to the emirate, up 15 percent over the same period in 2013, and for the first time touched the one million mark. Moreover, the data reflected a stable occupancy of nearly 74 percent in hotels, even during the normally low season summer months in Sharjah. In terms of stay, hotel establishments recorded 1,817,416 guest nights. Additionally, European tourists once again came out on top, with Sharjah receiving 409,578 tourists from the region in the first half accounting for 37 percent of the total number of visitors. The second spot was secured by guests from the GCC.

11 OCTOBER 2014


WEEKLY NEWS ACCOMMODATION Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts Prepares Downtown Dubai Property


övenpick Hotel Apartments Downtown Dubai will become the company’s seventh Dubai property when it opens in 2017. The 246 hotel apartments will be developed with varying sizes, ranging between 36m2 for studio apartments and 104m2 for twobedroom units. Guests will be able to enjoy a speciality restaurant, lobby

café, swimming pool, gymnasium, spa and beauty salon. Andreas Mattmüller, chief operating officer, Middle East and Asia, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, commented that there is a growing market for travellers to Dubai who prefer the comfort and convenience of fullyfurnished, fully-serviced, branded hotel apartments.

Rotana Expands its Presence in Turkey Rotana has announced the launch of Tri G, its latest project in the Turkish market, in partnership with Mar Yapi, one of the rising stars of Turkey’s vibrant real estate sector.


he development is planned with a buildable area of 38,500m2 on a 7,000m2 land and will include the Centro Hotels by Rotana brand with 152 rooms on eight floors, a total of 153 residences on 17 floors and 2,500m2 of commercial space, in addition to facilities that will service the hotel rooms and serviced apartments separately. “With its striking design, unique living spaces and extensive range of business and community facilities, Tri G will be a landmark project in the country,” said Nasser Al Nowais, chairman, Rotana.

Tri G


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annah Hotels & Resorts has soft-opened its first hotel in Dubai. Jannah Place Marina Bay, which comprises 133 studio apartments and two-bedroom suites, and several international brand restaurants, while offering views over the Marina and the emirate’s skyline. “The preliminary opening of this hotel marks the onset of a drive by our group to invest in Dubai, which is one of the most important and fastest-growing markets in the region,” said Nehme Imad Darwiche, CEO, Jannah Hotels & Resorts. He added that the group is currently working on launching more hotels in Dubai and other emirates, and also aims to expand regionally and globally.

A Park Inn Hotel to Open in Jumeirah Village Triangle Park Inn by Radisson Residence Dubai Jumeirah Village Triangle

First Dubai Property Announced for Jannah Hotels & Resorts


arlson Rezidor Hotel Group has announced Park Inn by Radisson Residence Dubai Jumeirah Village Triangle, scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2017, bringing the company’s portfolio in Dubai to 14 hotels with around 3,300 rooms in operation and under development. The hotel will be a 29-storey construction comprising 261 studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Guests will benefit from a contemporary lifestyle ambiance and state-of-the-art amenities including an outdoor pool, fitness centre and a multi-purpose meeting room. Dining outlets will include an all-day dining venue, a lobby lounge and a gourmet pantry.

Jannah Place Marina Bay

Hilton Unveils a New Lounge in RAK

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11 OCTOBER 2014


ilton Al Hamra Beach & Golf Resort has launched its newest food and beverage outlet, Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lounge, which is the brand’s second one in the UAE and a first for Ras Al Khaimah (RAK). Commenting on the opening, Pedro Guerra Palos, manager, Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lounge, enthused, “Inspired by the unique and exciting concept of Trader Vic’s, our Mai Tai Lounge is a venue, ideal to sink into our comfortable sofas and sip exotic beverages. Our guests are tempted in by the fusion of elements which create a tropical oasis no one can or wants to resist. Being a top venue in the local dining scene, our lounge brings the spirit of the island into our everyday lives.”


WEEKLY NEWS ACCOMMODATION Hotel Anjum – Makkah Inaugurated in The Holy City


Hotel Anjum - Makkah

R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, president, Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities, along with H.R.H. Prince Mesh’al bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, chairman, Makkah Tourism Development Council, inaugurated a new prestigious addition to the Holy City, Hotel Anjum – Makkah. Abdul Aziz commented that the opening of such a large project, which is worth about SAR1.2 billion (USD320 million), is a concrete evidence of the healthy investment environment in the Kingdom. “Mecca sees remarkable expansions in hotel rooms, [while we are expecting] to see impressive increase in the coming years. We have about 250,000 hotel rooms in the Kingdom, in addition to other accommodation facilities,” he added.

Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel Dubai Targets Russian Market


n an effort to obtain an increased share of the Russian market, delegates from Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, Dubai, joined colleagues from Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing at the OTDYKH leisure travel exhibition in Moscow. The event is a large showcase for all sectors of the tourism industry, with 1,500 exhibitors from 100 countries and an estimated audience of more than 60,000 visitors. Discussing the exhibition, Scott Butcher, general manager, Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, Dubai, noted, “The Russian market is one where shopping is a major draw, as well as other urban attractions, and the package we offer at Park Regis Kris Kin, combining value pricing and strategic access to all of Dubai, is a big draw which we hope to showcase at the OTDYKH leisure exhibition.”


Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel

11 OCTOBER 2014

ACCOMMODATION WEEKLY NEWS Residence Inn by Marriott Manama Juffair Conducts Survey


rankfurt-based Steigenberger Hotel Group is continuing its drive for international growth by bringing top-end German hotel facilities to two new locations in Egypt. From July 2016, Hotel Tahrir Square in Cairo will operate under the Steigenberger name, and the existing Cecil Hotel in Alexandria has been already taken over. This latest expansion means that the number of Steigenberger establishments in the country will increase to seven, plus three luxury Nile ships. Steigenberger Hotel Tahrir Square will have a total of 295 rooms including 12 suites, as well as five conference rooms and a large banqueting hall. Steigenberger Cecil Hotel includes 86 rooms, three à la carte restaurants, three bars, meeting rooms and a gym.

The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC

The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC Enhances Its MICE Offering

Residence Inn by Marriott Manama Juffair

Steigenberger Hotel Group Expands in Egypt


ssociates of Residence Inn by Marriott Manama Juffair were given the opportunity to have their voices heard through a cultural strength survey. The survey, which was conducted over the telephone and took approximately five minutes to complete, was conducted on a voluntary and anonymous basis in a bid to have the voices of the hotel associates heard. More than 20 subjective questions were asked about the associates’ attitude and perception regarding the strength of culture within the property which is defined by its seven core Blueprint elements that the associates live and work by.


nown for its affinity with Dubai’s art-scene, The RitzCarlton, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is bringing additional artistry to its MICE offerings, with a range of new and creative, art-inspired menus designed to further engage guests of its facilities, as well as two new meetings spaces. This month will see the opening of two new 60m2 meeting rooms which will sit alongside and complement the elegant Samaya Ballroom, located on the ground floor. They will offer space for a maximum of 30 - 40 people respectively, and guests have the option to connect the two rooms together.

11 OCTOBER 2014





Book Your Space



11 OCTOBER 2014


FLYDUBAI ANNOUNCES THREE ROUTES IN TANZANIA Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, are the new destinations to be served by flydubai, expanding the airline’s network in Africa to 12 destinations.


ith the addition of these three new destinations in Tanzania we have doubled our network in North and East Africa this year, strengthening our commitment to serving previously underserved markets,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai. In a bid to conquer the African market, the carrier has also recently launched flights to Bujumbura in Burundi, Entebbe in Uganda and Kigali in Rwanda. Tanzania is a country renowned for its natural beauty and its extraordinary wildlife. Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s economic hub and offers a picturesque seaport and a wealth of cultural and historic attractions.

Etihad Airways to Enter New Markets in 2015


tihad Airways is to expand its global route network with the addition of Baku, Tbilisi and Dar es Salaam in the second half of 2015. Caucasus will be a main focus for the airline as it is launching a new service to Baku, Azerbaijan four times a week from October 1, 2015, while Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, will be served three times a week from October 2, 2015. A daily operation to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city, will also be offered from December 1, 2015. “The development of Etihad Airways’ network will be accelerated in 2015, supporting a long-term vision to position Abu Dhabi as a leading international travel hub,” said James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, at a time when the carrier has already announced nine new destinations for 2015.

11 OCTOBER 2014

Baku, Azerbaijan



Qatar Airways and Vueling Team-up

Gulf Air Connects Larnaca and Kuwait



atar Airways and the Spanish airline, Vueling have signed an interline agreement that will enable the Arab carrier to increase the number of passengers to Europe, while strengthening Vueling’s hubs in Rome and Barcelona. The agreement, which came into effect on September 1, will also improve trans-European traffic by providing passengers with an even greater range of options for long-haul connections. Akbar Al Baker, group CEO, Qatar Airways, said, “This agreement with Vueling is the first step in offering our clients seamless access to and from Europe via Rome Fiumicino and [Barcelona] El Prat [Airport]. Both airlines, as well as the teams at Fiumicino and El Prat, will work towards providing the best possible travel experience for all our passengers.”

n response to a rise in passenger demand, Gulf Air has announced the introduction of a new twice-weekly service between Kuwait City and Larnaca, Cyprus, due to start on October 26. Elaborating on the airline’s latest move, Maher Salman Al Musallam, acting CEO, Gulf Air, stated, “Gulf Air’s latest development sees us building upon the positive response we have already seen on our Kuwait – Istanbul route as we strive to give our GCC passengers attractive connections and direct travel options. Launching the new, direct Kuwait – Larnaca route caters to travel demand and is one more step towards offering our passengers simpler travel arrangements while we continue to offer convenient connections between Bahrain and Kuwait.”


lydubai’s inaugural service to Moscow landed recently at Vnukovo International Airport. With the launch of direct daily flights to the Russian capital, flydubai now serves nine destinations in the country, while offering business class and cargo services on each of its Russian routes. “Since launching flights to Russia in 2010, we have consistently seen strong demand for travel between the UAE and Russia and with daily flights to Moscow, flydubai provides passengers with another option to travel between the two countries. The new route will enhance connectivity and strengthen trade, travel and tourism,” commented Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai.


Ghaith Al Ghaith Arrives in Moscow

Moscow Welcomes First flydubai Flight

11 OCTOBER 2014

AIR WEEKLY NEWS RJ Welcomes a New Dreamliner

Emirates’ Airbus A380 to Make One-off Trip to Manila


mirates has taken its flagship aircraft, Airbus A380 to Manila to celebrate the airline’s move to the International Terminal at Ninoy Aquino International Airport and reaffirm its commitment to the Philippines. In 2013, Emirates welcomed over 820,000 passengers on its three daily Dubai – Manila services with a very high average seat factor, demonstrating the consistent strength of passenger demand. Barry Brown, divisional senior vice president, commercial operations east, Emirates, confirmed that the Philippines is one of the carrier’s major markets where demand continues to grow. “Since we connected the two cities 24 years ago, Emirates served over 6.6 million passengers and carried over 150,000 tonnes of cargo,” he noted.


oyal Jordanian Airlines (RJ) fleet has welcomed a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the second of five to be delivered by the end of the year. The aircraft, to be named after H.R.H. Princess Iman bint Abdullah II, offers wider cabins, a modern in-flight entertainment system and several other high-tech features for which this Dreamliner series is widely acclaimed. It is to be deployed on the airline’s long- and medium-haul routes, replacing the airline’s Airbus 340s and 330s. To celebrate the occasion and show off its full grandeur, the new aircraft flew over Amman at low altitude on October 2.

Qatar Airways Showcases Its Acclaimed Hospitality


atar Airways presented its award-winning hospitality and became proud partner of the Qatari village at the Qatar Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe in Paris, which took place from October 4 – 5. In collaboration with the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC), Qatar Airways demonstrated its latest onboard product; the Airbus A380 first class seat and highly tailored service. Akbar Al Baker, group CEO, Qatar Airways, commented, “Qatar Airways has a long tradition of commitment to supporting events which gather excellence in sport and we are pleased to be heralding the great sportsmanship displayed in this pinnacle equestrian event.”

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Qatar Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe


WEEKLY NEWS AIR Emirates Deploys Airbus A380 to Tehran kno u o y d Di


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mirates celebrated the launch of its fourth daily nonstop passenger service to Imam Khomeini International Airport, Tehran, with the landing of a one-off Airbus A380 service. According to Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, divisional senior vice president, commercial operations centre, Emirates, Iran is one of the most active aviation markets in the world and an integral part of Emirates operations. “Air links are important enablers of trade and tourism and with our fourth daily service, Emirates is helping to contribute to the economy and meet the increased demand on this busy route, both passenger and cargo,” he said. The Emirates A380 flight on the route offers 14 private suites in first class, 76 full-flat bed seats in business class and 429 seats in economy class.

Expansion of BusinessConnect Programme


tihad Airways has extended BusinessConnect, its loyalty programme for businesses, to 12 new markets including Cyprus, Egypt, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Russia, Serbia, Singapore and Vietnam. The mileage earning scheme is targeted at the small to mediumsized enterprise (SME) sector, offering opportunities and benefits for companies which fly with Etihad Airways. Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer, Etihad Airways, said, “BusinessConnect, now available in 40 countries, is the smartest and most rewarding loyalty scheme for SMEs. It is a fantastic way for companies to optimise their travel spend, for staff and companies to each earn Etihad Guest Miles, whilst adding convenience and value to the business and corporate travel experience. In short, it makes business sense all round.”

Kuwait Airways Attains ACC3 and RA3 Certification


uwait Airways has secured the ACC3 certificate to transport and load air cargo or mail to and from European countries. The company has also attained the European Accreditation Certificate RA3 which refers to the validity of aviation security procedures towards the requirements for loading and transporting cargo to the European Union. The European RA3 accreditation gives Kuwait Airways the ability, as an agent, to load and transport shipments to European countries as well as the ability to organise and document valid aviation security measures on flights to countries of the region. The RA3 certification, granted by authorised notaries, gives the airline unique capabilities not available for other providers of air transport services in the region.


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RENDEZVOUS TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How has business been over the past months? Did you experience a rise in visitation figures? How does Yas Island try to attract more sports tourists? CLIVE DWYER: Yas Island has seen excellent results from its summer campaign promotion. This year, we launched the Yas Island Cool for Summer campaign from May 1 - September 30. The campaign brings together Yas Island operators to offer great deals on accommodation, dining, theme parks and activities. Through effective marketing and packages, we aimed to make it easy to plan a summer vacation or day out on Yas Island. Since the campaign’s launch, we have seen significant increases in summer visitation compared to previous years from local, regional and international markets. [...] Occupancy rates in Yas Island’s hotels are significantly higher this year compared to 2013. Yas Island Rotana, for example, has recorded occupancy in the mid-80 percent range over the first half of the year, including a healthy rise in June and July, while Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi has welcomed 15 percent more visitors compared to the same period in 2013. Certainly, having the world’s only indoor theme park, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, really adds to our summer experience; the rides are hot but the temperature is cool. [...] TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: The Middle East has begun to gain popularity as a fast-developing sports tourism destination. Based on your opinion, what makes the UAE an attractive destination for sport enthusiasts? CLIVE DWYER: It is wonderful to see the attention now on the Middle East, and the Gulf region in particular, for its events and opportunities for sports enthusiasts. There is no doubt the geographically central location of the UAE is a factor, coupled with the superb airport and accommodation facilities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The safety and security of the region is also an important factor, as demonstrated by the Pakistan cricket events regularly being held in the UAE. A strong local community interest in sports and an equally enthusiastic expat community in the UAE make for incredibly successful sporting events. [...] Of course, venues are crucial, and 11 OCTOBER 2014

Q & A with

Clive Dwyer


UAE’S CENTRAL LOCATION AND OUTSTANDING FACILITIES ALREADY MAKE IT A PRIME SPOT FOR SPORTS VISITORS FROM EUROPE, NORTH AMERICA AND ASIA. CLIVE DWYER, DIRECTOR OF DESTINATION MANAGEMENT, YAS ISLAND, ANTICIPATES TREMENDOUS GROWTH IN TERMS OF SPORTS TOURISM. we are blessed in the UAE with a range of first-rate venues, but having the tourist experience closely linked to sporting experiences is truly unique. The world-class golf, motorsports and water sports facilities on Yas Island are all literally minutes away from hotels, theme parks, and over 57 restaurants and nightlife options. The Yas Island package is unparalleled; with one destination boasting so many different things within a few

square kilometres, with no traffic concerns and seven minutes from an international airport; it is truly one of a kind. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Overall, how important is sports tourism for the destination? CLIVE DWYER: Yas Island is the ultimate destination for leisure and entertainment, and a significant and successful part of our offering is sports.

Already home to the iconic Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit provides a host of opportunities to get into the drivers’ seat of your favourite cars or see the history and experience the thrills of a Ferrari engine at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. For golfers, Yas Links Abu Dhabi [...] offers an exceptional 18-hole championship course, on par with the most challenging courses around the world for pros and scratch players alike. Even in the summer months, Yas Links Abu Dhabi continues to be one of the most popular courses in the UAE, with 40 new memberships since June. A warm climate makes Yas Island a favourite for water sports, with kayaking, kite-surfing and stand-up paddle boarding all available at Yas Beach. Of course, you cannot miss TrainYas by ActiveLife every Tuesday where you can make the famous Formula 1 track at Yas Marina Circuit your personal training ground. Finally, Yas Marina recently announced its second development phase that will include an indoor gym, physiotherapy centre, water sports centre and rejuvenating spa, set to open by year-end to enhance both mental and physical fitness. We are also excited to see rugby, football and netball facilities opening on Yas Island to further complement the sporting experience. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: With a number of prestigious competitions taking place, the region continues to strengthen its position as a sport hub. How can these events promote UAE and the region in general? CLIVE DWYER: The continued rise of world-renowned sports events taking place in the UAE and the Gulf translates into greater international awareness and understanding of the region. UAE tourism bodies could never buy this sort of media exposure through mainstream advertising. [...] This, coupled with the powerful word-of-mouth testimony of sporting event visitors, guarantees a continued growth in the international interest and subsequent visitation. It is really interesting to see how many people visit Yas Island during the year just to see the famous race track that they have only ever seen on television. This valuable promotion can only get better.


WEEKLY NEWS INTERNATIONAL BWI Adds to Philippine Portfolio



tarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Blue Ocean Park have announced the debut of the Westin brand in Mauritius with the opening of The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Mauritius. The beachfront resort offers a variety of food and beverage outlets, 190 guest rooms including 38 suites, a spa and club lounge. Additionally, the property boasts two swimming pools, a fitness studio and The Westin Kids Club. The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Mauritius features nearly 340m2 of modern event space, including a ballroom, two meeting rooms and a fully-equipped business centre. This debut hotel for the Westin brand is the third Starwood hotel to open in Mauritius after St. Regis Mauritius Resort.


The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa

Westin Debuts in Mauritius

est Western International (BWI) has signed a new management agreement to expand its collection of hotels in the Philippines. The hotel group has penned a contract with Hilcres Consolidated Corporation to operate BEST WESTERN Bendix Hotel, a brand new midscale hotel in Angeles City. Scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2015, the property will offer 60 spacious guest rooms. “Our existing properties in Manila, Makati City, Cebu and Boracay have been extremely popular with domestic and international visitors alike. And I am confident that BEST WESTERN Bendix Hotel, with its comfortable rooms, excellent connectivity and modern amenities, will be equally well-received,” said Glenn de Souza, vice president, international operations, Asia and the Middle East, BWI.

Hotel Indigo Brand Debuts in Paris

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Hotel Indigo Paris – Opera



nterContinental Hotels Group has announced the debut of its boutique brand, Hotel Indigo, in France, with the opening of the 57-room Hotel Indigo Paris – Opera, marking the brands 60th Hotel Indigo property globally. “Hotel Indigo Paris – Opera is located right at the heart of the action. Paris is brimming with history and culture, and this neighbourhood provides the perfect base for exploring our enchanting city. We look forward to welcoming guests and helping them to explore both the famous landmarks and hidden gems located on every corner,” commented Vincent Poulingue, general manager, Hotel Indigo Paris – Opera. 11 OCTOBER 2014


Agent’s Insight NAME:

Jose Torres


General manager


Journey Travel Company




Promoting Oman to Indian Travel Agents

O Who are you? I am the general manager and founder of Journey Travel. The company is a tour operator already 10 years in the market. We specialise in the Eastern Europe market, offering group, private and luxury programmes. We offer personalised itineraries and innovative tours specifically designed for this market, with the main goal of ensuring that our clientele experience the warmth of Peru with the safety and quality that they deserve.

man Tourism recently conducted Discover Oman Specialist Training Program, as part of which the authority presented its largest familiarisation initiative and hosted 60 Indian travel agents and tour operators from Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Hyderabad. The venture was intended to arm travel agents with all the information and experiences required to be true Oman specialists and promote the destination effectively to leisure and MICE groups. The group also attended business-to-business sessions and had the opportunity to network with a wide selection of suppliers.

What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? Working in this industry allows me to travel abroad. I love meeting new people, learning from other cultures, other lifestyles. The most important to me is the creative marketing work. When is the best time to visit Peru? Best time to visit Peru is from April to November because it is the dry, but cool season. The rainy season is from December to March. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? I am thinking about Japan, or Morroco and Egypt. Why should people come to you for travel advice? Choosing us, people get information, advice and tips from experts to make their trip the best experience. We also offer quick and kind attention. We try to find a good balance between price and quality for our customers. 11 OCTOBER 2014



I am very proud to represent Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain

BARTLOMIEJ MART Director of rooms operation, Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain

“I am truly honoured to receive this award, [the Excellence in Delivering the Guest Experience EDGE Award, given by Marriott International to full-service rooms operations leaders who excel in delivering the guest experience vision,] and humbled by the accolades that I have been receiving from my co-workers and Marriott International executives. I am very proud to represent Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain with this prestigious award.”

Seatrade Med provides an ideal opportunity to engage with the European cruise industry

HAMAD MOHAMMED BIN MEJREN Executive director, business tourism, Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing

“It is a chance to enlighten this critical audience about the extraordinary experiences of cruise travel in our region [...]. As the home port for cruise tourism in the region, Dubai is firmly committed to working with our partners in Oman and Abu Dhabi to promote the strengths, richness and diversity of cruise travel experiences in the Arabian Gulf. [...]. We expect the upcoming cruise season to surpass [2013’s], especially with the new multi-entry UAE visit visa for cruise tourists that was announced last August [..].”

Oman is undergoing rapid tourism growth with cruise shipping being a major contributing component

KHALID AL ZADJALI Director of tourism events, Oman Ministry of Tourism

“It gives us immense pleasure to join hands, once again, with the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority to promote Cruise Arabia. We are convinced that this partnership will create strong synergy in promoting cruise tourism in the UAE and Oman, enabling tourists to explore the rich and ancient culture of the region, blended with modernity at all levels.”

TRAVEL TALK IS YOUR SPACE – this is a casual forum for travel industry professionals to discuss current issues and share stories. We want to hear from you, so send your comments, questions, frustrations and observations to


11 OCTOBER 2014


First International Congress on Tourism and Pilgrimages The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain, and the regional government of Galicia have joined forces to organise the first International Congress on Tourism and Pilgrimages.


he collaboration is in light of the growing importance of pilgrimages and spiritual routes to tourism development around the world as, according to UNWTO estimates, up to 330million tourists visit the world’s key religious sites every year. The first International Congress on Tourism and Pilgrimages took place in Spain, in September, and it aimed to highlight the positive contributions of pilgrimages and spiritual routes to sustainable and responsible tourism.

Kuwait Airways Welcomes First Female Pilot

JLL: Sustainability is the Key


onsistent with its commitment to best practice reporting and transparency, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has released its 2013 sustainability report, We are JLL. We take responsibility. The report presents a summary of JLL's performance and highlights an increased demand from clients, employees and shareholders to integrate sustainability into real estate decisions. Alan Robertson, CEO, JLL, Middle East and North Africa, commented, “Sustainability is gaining momentum globally and areas in our region, such as the UAE, have the opportunity to be the flagship of sustainable development.”

HKTB Hosts Mega GCC Fam Trip


asha Abdulaziz Al-Roumi, chairperson, Kuwait Airways, introduced the airline’s first female pilot to H.H. Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, emir of Kuwait. Munira Mohammad Bu’erki, trainee pilot, Kuwait Airways, is the first woman to be assuming the role for the country’s national carrier, after attaining her pilot certification. From her side, Bu'erki expressed her thankfulness for meeting AlSabah and receiving congratulations, while at the same time she extended her thanks to Al-Roumi for providing her with the opportunity to prove her skills.

HKTB Familiarisation Trip

H Kuwait Airways Delegation Visits the Emir

11 OCTOBER 2014

ong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) hosted more than 40 trade representatives from the GCC in September, having successfully rounded up the largest GCC familiarisation trip for the organisation. The group of GCC travel trade experts met with over 70 local peers to discuss potential business opportunities and visit key attractions of the city. Peter Hoslin, regional director, Europe and new markets, HKTB, stated, “The HKTB is delighted to have the GCC delegation in town to develop business with Hong Kong travel trade direct for the very first time and foster a closer partnership.”





Paul McDonald joined the team at Grand Hyatt Muscat from Abu Dhabi. Boasting over 11 years of experience with Hyatt hotels, he had began his career with Grand Hyatt Dubai in the front office department in 2003, and he was later promoted to associate director of sales in 2008. Later, he moved onto becoming the revenue manager for Park Hyatt Dubai in 2009. Having also served at Hyatt Regency Auckland New Zealand for a while, McDonald moved back to Abu Dhabi in 2012 as the revenue manager of Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, before being reassigned to Grand Hyatt Muscat. He has consequently acquired extensive experience in sales and revenue management, as well as in-depth understanding of the systems at Hyatt.

Tarek El Sinnary joined the dynamic team of TIME Hotels as corporate director of revenue. With extensive market knowledge from the Middle East and Africa, El Sinnary will bring to the group his diverse revenue management skills to lead the growing TIME Hotels to a strong market presence. With an array of industry experience between the members of the management team, TIME Hotels aims to be able to professionally evaluate a particular situation, identify the optimum strategy and provide a complete management solution.

El Sinnary will bring to the group his diverse revenue management skills



Betsy Cordova Lopez has been appointed as business development manager at Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel in Dubai, moving from Dubai Courtyard by Marriott. She is hoped to add another dimension to the sales team at the hotel, ensuring Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel can compete in new markets and effectively communicate to both the travel trade and corporate sectors. Lopez worked in Canada, UK, Spain and Peru, before moving to the UAE in 2013 as a trainee in the regional general manager’s office at The Address Downtown Dubai. Moreover, she studied at Swiss Hotel Management School where she won an outstanding student award, and has also worked with Cordon Bleu and Prom Perú, the national tourism organisation of promoting travel to Peru.

Tarek Ammache has been welcomed by Holiday Inn Beirut Dunes as the property’s new general manager. With many years of experience in the world of hospitality business, Ammache is considered a seasoned hotelier as during his career, he handled several top positions in Paris, France, Saudi Arabia, Beirut and lately Iraq. Upon accepting his new role as the general manager, Ammache is hopeful for a very bright future for Lebanon.

TAREK AMMACHE Ammache is a seasoned hotelier as he handled several top positions

11 OCTOBER 2014


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Emirates hosts Arab Idol finalists on a VIP trip to Dubai

ICC Umpires have a successful ‘innings’ at Emirates cabin crew training

Oman Air staff benefit from free health assessment campaign

11 OCTOBER 2014

Etihad Airways cadet pilots begin specialised training programme in Ireland

Michael Steer enjoyed a comfortable win in the fourth Volvo World Golf Challenge Bahrain Qualifier at the Royal Golf Club

Qatar Airways staff and children from Our Father's Kitchen Programme spend a day of fun and festivities at Bora Amusement Park



Celebrating National Day

EVENTS 8th UNWTO/PATA Forum Guilin, China October 13 – 15 A platform for governments, industry and academics to share views and analyse global trends.

IMEX America Las Vegas, US October 14 – 16 Setting the pace for incentive and MICE travel, the event is growing year-on-year.

National Museum RIyadh


o mark the 84th anniversary of the National Day, National Museum at the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center in Riyadh featured a number of events and activities, on September 23. The schedule included laser shows, children's painting exhibition on the occasion of the National Day, photography studio with landscapes illustrating the cultural heritage of the Kingdom, distribution of publication material, as well as gifts and posters illustrating the National Day, all with an aim to promote the concept of celebration and the cultural and national importance of the occasion.

HANGZHOU INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL FAIR Hangzhou, China October 17 - 19 The first Hangzhou International Travel Fair is to provide the ideal business-to-business networking platform for international and domestic tourism.

INTERNATIONAL GOLF TRAVEL MARKET Lake Como, Italy October 27 – 30 The meeting place for the global business-to-business golf travel community.

SPORTS & EVENTS TOURISM EXCHANGE Durban, South Africa October 28 -30 A dynamic business-to-business event that is aimed at positioning South Africa as a sports and events tourism destination. Riyadh


11 OCTOBER 2014

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 257  

Travel Trade Weekly Middle East & North Africa is the first and only weekly virtual publication of its kind in the MENA region. It is distri...