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02 AUGUST 2014

ISSUE 247

AVIATION AND MEDIA SUMMIT COMES TO RAS AL KHAIMAH THE REZIDOR HOTEL GROUP HAS SIGNED 11 NEW PROJECTS WITH ALMOST 2,200 ROOMS IN THE SECOND QUARTER OF THE YEAR.

06 INTERVIEW WITH KOSTA KOUROTSIDIS

08 IN THIS ISSUE MARKET UPDATE GDS WEEKLY NEWS RENDEZVOUS ACCOMMODATION CLASSIFIEDS AIR INTERNATIONAL AGENT CORNER TRAVEL TALK TRAVEL CHANNELS WHO’S MOVED PHOTO ALBUM NEWS & EVENTS

02 03 04 08 09 12 14 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

REZIDOR BOOSTS SAUDI PIPELINE

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MARKET UPDATE TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATIONS

MENA EXCHANGE RATES Accurate as of

MANAGING EDITOR

31/07/2014

Mary Kammitsi mary@traveltradeweekly.travel

Currencies shown in blue are fixed against the US Dollar

ASSISTANT EDITOR Maria Kazeli SENIOR JOURNALIST Rita Kasziba

COUNTRY

CURRENCY

1USD=

PRESS Maria Demetriadou Pauline Shahabian

UAE (AED)

Dirham

3.67

DESIGN & LAYOUT Elena Stylianou

Egypt (EGP)

Pound

7.15

Saudi Arabia (SAR)

Riyal

3.75

Lebanon (LBP)

Pound

1,512.49

Bahrain (BHD)

Dinar

0.37

Jordan (JOD)

Dinar

0.71

Syria (SYP)

Pound

149.7

Kuwait (KWD)

Dinar

0.28

Qatar (QAR)

Riyal

3.64

Oman (OMR)

Rial

0.38

Tunisia (TND)

Dinar

1.73

Morocco (MAD)

Dirham

8.36

Iran (IRR)

Riyal

26,274.00

Yemen (YER)

Rial

214.91

Algeria (DZD)

Dinar

79.85

Libya (LYD)

Dinar

1.23

WEB DEVELOPER / IT Soteris Constantinou DIRECTORS Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi HEADQUARTERS T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly LTD P.O. Box 25255, Nicosia 1308 Cyprus Tel: +357 22 021607, Fax: +357 22 103670 WEBSITE www.traveltradeweekly.travel EMAILS info@traveltradeweekly.travel sales@traveltradeweekly.travel editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel

Doha: Highest Occupancy in Three Years Hotels in the Qatari capital witnessed exceptional growth in occupancy during May, as TRI Hospitality Consulting’s latest HotStats report showed.

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verage occupancy for the city’s four- and five-star hotels rose 11.2 percentage points to 76.7 percent and, despite a 4.1 percent drop in average rooms rates, RevPAR improved 12.2 percent to USD170.48. The strong top-line performance, coupled with a 2.1 percentage point decline in payroll costs, boosted profitability levels by 23.1 percent to USD184.78. “Historically, Doha’s occupancy levels have ranged from 67 - 68 percent in May, however, this year occupancies are pushing 77 percent,” pointed out Peter Goddard, managing director, TRI Hospitality Consulting, adding that this level has not been experienced in the past three years.

QAIA: Double-digit Traffic Growth

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mman’s Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) witnessed continued increase in passenger volumes and aircraft movements (ACM) in May. During the month under review, the Jordanian airport welcomed 605,564 travellers, marking a year-on-year surge of 13.2 percent, while ACM rose 9.9 percent to 6,323 movements. The positive figures boosted passenger numbers by 13.6 percent to 2,888,458 for the first five months of the year, while ACM was up 8.5 percent to 29,476 movements. As Kjeld Binger, CEO, Airport International Group, pinpointed, the increase in traffic from Doha, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, London, Tripoli, Erbil and Riyadh has significantly contributed to the May results. Additionally, public holidays resulted in a larger number of Jordanians vacationing in leisure destinations, he added.

Queen Alia International Airport

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GDS WEEKLY NEWS Sabre Red App Centre Sees Rapid Growth

Amadeus Qatar Showcases Latest Technologies

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abre Corporation announced that global user adoption for its Sabre Red App Centre has surged over the past year to more than 500,000 downloads from 70,000 users in 112 countries, while it is expected that by the end of the year it will approach one million downloads. The software’s rise has been extraordinary, with developers and travel buyers worldwide creating and adopting apps that are enhancing travel buying and improving the traveller’s experience, explained Daniel Naoumovitch, CEO, Sabre Travel Network Middle East. “Agents in both traditional and online travel agencies are now using the Sabre Red App Centre to search, order and implement unique business applications that drive increased efficiency and revenue as well as deliver better service for travellers,” he added.

Amadeus Egypt Supports Cancer Institute

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t the event entitled Amadeus Advantage, which drew the participation of travel representatives from leading agencies in Qatar, Amadeus Qatar unveiled the company’s latest products and solutions to the country’s travel market, such as its Social Media Suite, e-Travel Management, e-Power Consolidator and the Mobile Traveller. Highlighting the company’s commitment to operational efficiency and revenue generation, Naqqash Jaleel, operations director, Qatar, Amadeus, commented, “At Amadeus, we are constantly working to introduce the latest products and solutions that allow our customers to stay a step ahead of their peers in an increasingly competitive travel market. ”

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uring the month of Ramadan, Amadeus, a technology partner to the global travel industry, has pledged to donate 10 piasters per travel segment booked on its platform to Cairo University’s National Cancer Institute, where the proceeds will go to helping cure children with cancer. Discussing the announced pledge, Khaled Gad, general manager, Amadeus, Egypt, stated, “Cairo University’s National Cancer Institute is doing great things to help cure and prevent cancer in Egypt, especially among the country’s children. Therefore, we at Amadeus Egypt are proud to support the institute and its mission with our donation programme during Ramadan.”

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WEEKLY NEWS

Bahrain’s Three-star Hotels to Redefine Services The ministry of culture in Bahrain has banned the selling and serving of alcohol or hosting any shows with Arab and foreign artists at three-star hotels in the Kingdom.

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ollowing a similar decision implemented in 2009 for one- and two-star hotels, the authority’s decision is aimed at improving hotel tourism in the country, and came after reports for violation of ethics in certain cases and poor quality of rooms and client services that adversely affect Bahrain’s reputation. A statement by the ministry announced that threestar hotels ignored repeated requests to rectify problems with regard to quality and administration, and were violating service ethics by depending more on other facilities than on rooms.

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Asia Pacific Passenger Traffic up Five Percent

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ccording to Airports Council International (ACI) Asia Pacific, traveller movements maintained steady growth for May, as airports in Asia Pacific recorded a yearon-year increase of 5.3 percent, while hubs in the Middle East recorded a surge of 7.5 percent. From January to May, the Middle East continued to lead the region with a strong increase of 10 percent, even though passengers travelling through Dubai dropped by 2.5 percentage points for the month of May compared to the same period of 2013, reflecting the impact of the temporary closure of two runways for refurbishment. For the first five months of the year, the busiest facilities in the Middle East continued to demonstrate robust growth year-on-year with Abu Dhabi growing 19 percent, Doha 15.1 percent and Dubai 9.2 percent.

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WEEKLY NEWS Dubai Expo 2020 Formally Addresses BIE Assembly

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nder the leadership of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman, preparatory higher committee, Expo 2020, the UAE delegation has officially marked its first formal address to the general assembly of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), the governing body of the World Expo. Addressing BIE’s 168 member states in Paris, H.E. Reem Al Hashimy, minister of state, UAE, formally presented the UAE’s overall vision and an update on developments for hosting the event. The importance of Dubai Expo 2020’s strong emphasis on developing partnerships and building around the theme to create a deep-rooted and lasting legacy was also stressed during the formal speech.

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Kenya and UAE Strengthen Trade Ties

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aving established their partnership a long time ago, Kenya and the UAE have progressed towards bilateral trade which, in 2012, amounted to USD1 billion. Recently, this lucrative relationship began to branch out in new directions, with Kenya considering involvement in the Halal market. A conference was held between Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah, and Kariuki Mugwe, consul general, Kenya, in July, when further potential trade relations were discussed. The Kenyan side debated possibilities of partaking in trade fairs organised by Expo Centre Sharjah, mainly focussing on events such as the 3rd OIC Halal Middle East Exhibition & Congress. “[Our shows] will be a great opportunity for Kenyan buyers to source their requirements as well as explore joint ventures and distribution channels,” commented Al Midfa.

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WEEKLY NEWS Arab Aviation and Media Summit Comes to Ras Al Khaimah

Seychelles to Attract 23,000 Middle Eastern Visitors

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fter beating all previous records and welcoming over 230,270 travellers in 2013, Seychelles now aims to lure even more visitors as the destination looks to build on increasing arrivals from the Middle East. As Ahmed Fathallah, regional manager, Seychelles Tourism Office Middle East (STOME), noted, over the years, the Middle East has become one of the country’s top performing markets, attracting 19,392 guests in 2013, up seven percent year-on-year. “This year, our target is to achieve 23,000 visitors from the Middle East,” revealed Fathallah, adding that in order to reach the goal, STOME has been engaged in various marketing and promotional activities from travel agent workshops to roadshows and familiarisation trips.

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reparations are already underway for the fourth Arab Aviation and Media Summit. This year’s event will take place on September 23 in Ras Al Khaimah under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasim, ruler of Ras Al Khaimah and the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, with the support of key partners, including Airbus, Air Arabia and CFM International. The programme, under the theme Aviation & Tourism: Common Vision and Purpose, aims to facilitate insightful discussions on the current trends and challenges faced by the aviation and tourism sectors in the Arab world, while also highlighting the industries’ role in socio-economic growth.

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Bahrain International Airport Holds Gergaon Celebrations

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Gergaon night took place at Bahrain International Airport on July 12, organised by the Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), to comply with the local tradition of hosting such celebrations amidst the Ramadan month. During the event, BAC employees situated in the company’s Ramadan hospitality tent at the departures area, shared traditional gifts and delicacies with travellers and children passing by, to advocate the region’s culture and heritage. BAC has announced that the tent will be offering Arabic coffee and dates throughout Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr, inviting guests to get acquainted with Bahraini customs.

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WEEKLY NEWS

Abu Dhabi to Add Immense Retail Space

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bu Dhabi is set to add 77.8ha of retail space over the next three years, representing eight percent of the total new shopping space, 980ha, opened in 2013 in 180 cities worldwide. The figures are based on a global study conducted by property adviser CBRE, and were revealed by Bassam Saleh, marketing manager, Bawadi Mall, hailed as the largest shopping mall in Al Ain. Aside from the figures revealed, the study also disclosed that a total of 3900ha of shopping centre retail space is currently under construction in major cities worldwide, with Abu Dhabi having more retail space under development than anywhere else in the Gulf.

Abu Dhabi

Wild Wadi Named World’s Sixth Best Waterpark

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ild Wadi Waterpark has been named UAE’s best water park based on travellers’ feedback on TripAdvisor over the past 12 months. The travel website published the results of its Travellers’ Choice Awards for Amusement parks and Water Parks, recognising the Dubai site as the sixth best water park in the world. Chris Perry, general manager, Wild Wadi Waterpark, commented on the accolade, “We are extremely proud to be once again nominated the UAE’s best waterpark and amongst the top 10 parks in the world”.

Wild Wadi Waterpark

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Arab Travellers Prefer Resorts Away from MENA

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ccording to data published from Marriott International, the majority of its Arab clients prefer travel destinations outside the MENA region. 56 percent of the bookings made through the hospitality company’s Arabic language website, which was launched in 2013, targeted resorts located outside the Arabic-speaking areas, with the US and the UK leading the list of preferred destinations. Commenting on the development, Alex Kyriakides, president, Marriott International Middle East and Africa, observed: “We expect to see a continued increase in the number of bookings to the US thanks to the opening of our latest property the Marriott Marquis located in Washington DC.”

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RENDEZVOUS TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How have your key performance indicators changed over the past months as compared to the corresponding period in 2013? KOSTA KOUROTSIDIS: In general the first quarter was a very difficult period for the hospitality sector in Lebanon but then the situation has changed for the better and we noticed at Radisson Blu Martinez Beirut an increase in room revenue. We attribute this increase to our loyal customers who believe in our hotel, our services and the business offerings we provide them. We could as well say that the stability we have witnessed in the past few months encouraged people to visit the country and we hope this will continue.

Q & A with

Kosta Kourotsidis GENERAL MANAGER, RADISSON BLU MARTINEZ HOTEL, BEIRUT

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Radisson Blu Martinez Hotel, Beirut has recently revealed its renovated lobby and meeting rooms. Please tell us about these newly revamped facilities. KOSTA KOUROTSIDIS: We are always

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TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: In recognition of its service excellence, the hotel has recently been awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, which ranks hotels based on customer reviews. In your opinion, how important is it with today’s stiff competition to engage with existing and potential guests on this kind of websites? KOSTA KOUROTSIDIS: […] The competition nowadays is very stiff and we were very pleased to receive this award that shows customers’ satisfaction with our services. And to keep on receiving positive feedback from our visitors on TripAdvisor and other communication tools, whether it is a website or our one of the social media channels, we deal with every single post as a top priority, we answer all the reviews and comments whether negative or positive. Responding to our guests’ reviews and ratings is crucial to show that their opinion really matters to us.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Located in close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, Radisson Blu Martinez Hotel, Beirut offers easy access to the capital’s main tourism attractions and business and governmental quarters. How would you describe your clientele? KOSTA KOUROTSIDIS: Our direct clientele visits the country and stays with us for both business and leisure, depending on the season, although business travellers represent the largest share. Their interests are different but both sectors want to stay in a five-star yet affordable hotel in Beirut, benefit from 24-hour high-speed wireless Internet access, be close to all of the city’s attractions such as shopping centres, business district, beach escapes, nightlife area and so on. MICE business is also a key market to us, especially corporate guests who come to us to organise their business gatherings and workshops. In line with our plans to attract different clienteles, we are working on offering specially tailored packages for business and leisure travellers, as well as for those who visit the country for medical or shopping purposes, while also providing transportation and other services to make their stay more convenient.

the hotel had planned a full renovation of its meeting rooms and has equipped them with the latest trends and technological services that turn our guests’ experience into a more interactive and practical one.

FOLLOWING A PERIOD CHARACTERISED BY VARIOUS CHALLENGES, THE LEBANESE TOURISM INDUSTRY LOOKS TO REGAIN ITS FORMER GLORY AND AS KOSTA KOUROTSIDIS, GENERAL MANAGER, RADISSON BLU MARTINEZ HOTEL, BEIRUT, SAYS, SHOW VISITORS TO HIDDEN ATTRACTIONS AND GEMS OF THE COUNTRY. working on upgrading our business offering to maintain a high level of service and a comfortable hotel experience for every visitor. We have recently renovated the lobby and introduced a new menu for those who wish to spend their vacation here while also enjoying access to high-speed Wi-Fi and delicious snacks in our lobby. With the majority of our visitors being businessmen coming to Beirut for various business purposes, in order to cater to their needs and requirements,

WE ARE VERY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Following the challenges of past years, the Lebanese tourism industry looks to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe. What are your predictions for the next months? KOSTA KOUROTSIDIS: With the launch of the latest campaign by the Ministry of Tourism, Live Love Lebanon, highlighting the various aspects to visit in the country rather than the usual cities or places most people know, we expect to have a good summer. As for the usual activities, the summer season in Lebanon is always full of international and local festivals in different regions […]. Therefore, the Lebanese are getting ready for the summer in every way; and in my modest opinion and knowing the Lebanese mentality, it is going to be a very active and bright summer season. We are very optimistic about the second half of the year and we are expecting high numbers of tourists in the coming months. 2 AUGUST 2014


ACCOMMODATION WEEKLY NEWS

Summer of Renovations for Citymax Hotels After a rewarding business year Citymax Hotels will be taking the opportunity during the summer to enhance its offering.

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aving introduced Lavazza Tierra coffee in Citymax Hotels Al Barsha during summer 2013, the design and concept will now be rolled out in Citymax Hotels Bur Dubai as of September. At the Al Barsha property, The Huddle Sports Bar will enjoy a soft makeover to increase the number of dining tables and its menu will be refreshed, while Maxx Music Bar & Grill will welcome a dining area. Meanwhile, at Citymax Hotels Sharjah Sizzling Wok restaurant is already open offering pan-Asian cuisine.

Coral Beach Resort Sharjah Undergoes Complete Revamp

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ospitality Management Holdings (HMH), a fully-integrated hotel management company, has stated that Coral Beach Resort Sharjah is undergoing an AED15 million (USD4.1 million) upgrade, in an effort to reinstate the hotel as a premiere resort in Sharjah. The extensive three-phase refurbishment will enhance the entire property with the revamp of guestrooms, bathrooms, corridors, lobby, hotel entrance, banquet halls, swimming pools, kids' club, tennis court, landscape, main kitchen, and stores. The resort will remain open throughout the refurbishment and will continue to operate on a reduced scale.

Coral Beach Resort Sharjah

Kempinski Seychelles Resort, Baie Lazare

Kempinski Seychelles Resort Eyes Middle East Market

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ith Seychelles’ popularity among Middle Eastern travellers on the rise, Kempinski Seychelles Resort, Baie Lazare aims to attract more guests from the region. As Natalie Litowtschik, assistant director of sales, Kempinski Seychelles Resort, Baie Lazare, revealed, MENA is already in the property’s top three source markets and the management has high expectations for the future due to the Indian Ocean destination’s close proximity and the excellent air links. “The resort offers 63ha of landscaped gardens, five different room and suite types, four food and beverage outlets, 900m white sandy beach and a variety of sports activities, such as fishing, diving, surfing, paddling, snorkelling, tennis, volleyball, badminton, yoga, Pilates and powerwalk to fit everybody’s taste. Many MENA guests are also keen on enjoying our spa on a daily basis during their stay,” added Litowtschik.

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WEEKLY NEWS ACCOMMODATION

REZIDOR BOOSTS SAUDI PIPELINE The Rezidor Hotel Group has signed 11 new projects with almost 2,200 rooms in the second quarter of the year.

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Park Inn by Radisson Al Khobar

Radisson Blu Hotel Dhahran

ll new rooms were under fee-based contracts in line with the company’s asset-light, profitable and sustainable growth strategy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while four signings represented upcoming hotels in Saudi Arabia, a key focus country for the group. In the second quarter of the year The Rezidor Hotel Group opened five hotels with a total of almost 800 rooms, among which was Radisson Blu Hotel Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. “Due to its fast economic growth and ambitious public spending initiatives, Saudi Arabia is a powerhouse in the Middle East. We have accelerated our development in the Kingdom together with strong regional partners, and are actively seeking further growth opportunities”, commented Wolfgang Neumann, president, The Rezidor Hotel Group.

Hotels of the Future to be Exhibited at The Hotel Show

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ith hotel developments increasingly having to adhere to green build techniques and sustainability becoming a growing global concern, this year’s The Hotel Show will focus on a number of issues related to this subject. Running between September 28 – 30 in Dubai, the event will introduce a new feature, namely, Future Hotel, showcasing the products of internationally renowned brands, design concepts and future trend predictions for building design in partnership with Italian architecture studio, WT Prjects. “The Hotel Show is committed to highlighting how design can support the environment and we encourage exhibitors to use the event as the international platform [...] to share knowledge, expertise and ideas through our international speaker line-up,” commented Christine Davidson, event director, The Hotel Show.

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ACCOMMODATION WEEKLY NEWS Grand Hotel Villa de France Opens in Morocco

Raffles Praslin Seychelles: UAE in the Top Five

Viceroy Maldives

Viceroy Maldives: Eid Boosts Occupancy Levels

Raffles Praslin Seychelles

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e Royal Hotels & Resorts has made a new iconic addition to its luxury hotel portfolio. The Grand Hotel Villa de France, situated in the coastal city of Tangier, Morocco, marks the group’s second development in the country. The 58-key property is a refurbished 19th-century building adorned with classical Western architecture, offering majestic views to Tangier’s old bay, or as the locals call it, the medina. Room 35 has been converted into a museum dedicated to the famous painter Henri Matisse, who once resided on the premises.

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ver the years, the UAE has established itself as one of the top five source markets for Raffles Praslin Seychelles, leading to a 20 percent rise in room nights and a 30 percent surge in revenue for the month of May. “We appeal to the Arab travellers by offering luxurious facilities, utmost privacy and truly personalised service,” said Marilyne Morin, director marketing and communications, Raffles Praslin Seychelles, further noting that in order to meet the specific needs of the Arab clientele, the resort employs Arabic-speaking team members as well as female butlers.

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iceroy Maldives, located in the Shaviyani Atoll, 192km from the capital island of Malé, remains a popular choice for Middle Eastern travellers. “The Middle East market is very important to us, in particular the GCC, as geographically it is a short flight and visas are issued on arrival for GCC countries, which makes it easy for people to make last minute bookings,” explained Tricia Warwick, regional vice president, sales and marketing, Viceroy Hotel Group, adding that for the Eid holidays, the resort was already 70 percent booked by June.

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives: MENA is a Major Source of Business

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aj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives continues to experience significant demand from MENA, Ranjot Phillipose, general manager, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives, revealed. “For our guests from the region we are an ideal choice as we are very close to the airports and guests can reach us quickly and easily as they are usually in the Maldives for a short break and do not want to take a seaplane again,” explained Phillipose, adding that the resort, which only serves Halal food, offers a variety of room and suite options for the MENA clientele.

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CLASSIFIEDS RECRUITMENTS

FREE

RECRUITMENT LISTINGS IN TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY classifieds@traveltradeweekly.travel

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RECRUITMENTS CLASSIFIEDS

NEWLY-OPENING 5-STAR DESERT RESORT HAS SIX OPENINGS Newly-opening 5-star desert resort near Al Ain, UAE, is seeking for the following posts. All must have a minimum of 5 years of experience in the same position in 5-star chain hotels.  Food and beverage manager  Chief engineer  Waitress / waiters  Security manager  Front office desk agent  Guest relations officers

CAPITAL CLUB DUBAI VACANCY

Website: www.gloriahospitality.com Email address: gloriahotels@eim.ae Telephone Number: +971 2 644 4739 Fax Number: +971 2 644 4759

IN-HOUSE GRAPHIC DESIGNER (BEACH HOTEL IN RAS AL KHAIMAH) Must be fluent in Arabic and English, reading and writing.

Work for one of the top 10 most exclusive private member’s Clubs in the world: Capital Club Dubai. Accepting applications for Membership Managers to lauren.ruttle@capitalclubdubai.com Must have sales experience in luxury goods and/or hospitality, a strong UAE business network and a 5* professional attitude.

2 AUGUST 2014

Bin Majid Hotels & Resorts information: If you are looking to start a career at a fast-paced innovative company with loads of opportunities, then look no further than Bin Majid Hotels & Resorts. We are growing dynamically and are looking for motivated, talented and proactive individuals to join our team. Must be fluent in Arabic and English, reading and writing. Please send your CV to: vanessa.chinopoulou@binmajid.com

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WEEKLY NEWS AIR

Hungary to Join Emirates Network Emirates is to commence daily services to Budapest, effective from October 27.

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perating a wide-body Airbus A330200 aircraft in a two-class configuration, the Dubai-based carrier will offer 278 seats per day to the Hungarian capital, its third new European destination in this financial year. The new route, which also coincides with the opening of the airline’s customer contact centre in the city, will enhance connectivity and mobility between Central Europe and the Middle East and Far East, Tim Clark, president, Emirates, highlighted. “These vital connections will inject new demand for travel, help boost bilateral trade with markets in the East, and magnify the competitiveness of the Hungarian economy. Ultimately, our global network benefits our customers.”

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Mahan Air Steps Up Yerevan Flights

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ahan Air, the Iranian private airline, has announced a new schedule for operations to Yerevan. The company has increased the frequency of flights between Tehran and the Armenian capital city from two to three per week, and is executing the route on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays on its Airbus A310 aircraft. The new itineraries came into operation on July 18. The additional flights were welcomed by Armenian transit passengers who travel to the far east via Tehran.

Etihad to Link Abu Dhabi and San Francisco

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tihad Airways is to expand its US network to six destinations with the launch of a new San Francisco route. Effective from November 18, the Abu Dhabi-based airline will operate daily services to San Francisco International Airport using a three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, offering a total of 346 seats. As James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, noted, the US has been placed at the heart of the carrier’s network development this year with flights launched to Los Angeles in June and operations commencing to Dallas in December.

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San Francisco

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AIR WEEKLY NEWS Qatar Airways Introduces QMICE for MICE Planners

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atar Airways has initiated QMICE, a new scheme aimed at MICE organisers, which offers facilitation of the planning procedures and provides various relevant benefits. The QMICE process allows meeting and incentive planners who handle events of 20 to 300 participants to book seats at pre-arranged fares, through the online submission of a group fare request, with a minimum of 20 passengers. Additional promotions include bookings from various locations, dates and flights, for less than 10 passengers per departure, and information on estimated charges a year prior to departure. Moreover, conference and exhibition operators whose clientele surpasses 300 people may receive discounts of up to 25 percent on Qatar Airways and oneworld flights. Additionally, QMICE enables prearrangements of Al Maha Meet and Greet, Doha Stopovers, Doha City Tours, and visa arrangements for Qatar.

Turkish Airlines Now Flies to Montreal

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urkish Airlines has marked Canada’s second-largest city, Montreal, Quebec, as its 10th destination in the American continent. The airline will be commencing operation on a regular flight schedule of three times a week (Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays) between Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. Passengers can experience the city’s distinct cultural underground, such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Montreal World Film Festival. Additionally, Miles&Smiles members can enjoy a 25 percent discount in the miles required to redeem award tickets or upgrades for the newly commenced route. 2 AUGUST 2014

Montreal

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WEEKLY NEWS AIR Etihad Cargo: Freighter Operations to Hanoi

Airbus Delivers 50th A380 to Emirates

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mirates and Airbus commemorated the airline’s 50th Airbus A380 aircraft acquisition, in Hamburg, Germany. The company expects to reach a total of 90 in its fleet by the end of 2017. Tim Clark, president, Emirates, commented on the acquirement, “The A380 has helped us serve customer demand on trunk routes, operate more efficiently at slot-constrained airports, and also introduce new concepts on-board that have redefined the flying experience.” The airplane performed its inaugural flight from Hamburg to Dubai, carrying the largest quantity of relief goods ever delivered by a single Airbus Corporate Foundation vessel. The 41 tonnes are to be distributed in to a United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai.

Ethiopian Airlines Expands its Fleet

tihad Cargo has started freighter flights between Abu Dhabi and Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, with a dedicated cargo service operating between the destinations every Thursday and Sunday using an Airbus A330-200F freighter, with a capacity of 60 metric tonnes. Flights en route to Vietnam’s capital city stop briefly in Mumbai, while the return service is direct to Abu Dhabi. “Vietnam is an important market for Etihad Cargo, and our new twice weekly Hanoi freighter service will build on our existing daily belly-hold operations to Ho Chi Minh City further south,” commented Kevin Knight, chief strategy and planning officer, Etihad Airways. The service is set to allow the carrier to capitalise on the strong import and export demand to and from Vietnam and the rest of Southeast Asia, while providing its customer base with more choice for transporting goods around the world.

flydubai Opens its Business Lounge

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thiopian Airlines, hailed as Africa’s fastest growing airline, announced the addition of an eighth Boeing 787 Dreamliner to its expanding fleet. The latest additional aircraft will support the increased frequency of flights between London Heathrow and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city, while the company's existing fleet is utilised for long haul routes between Africa, the US, Canada, and China. Commenting on the addition of the latest aircraft, Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO, Ethiopian Airlines, noted, “The 787 is truly without peers in its category, both in terms of passenger comfort and operational excellence.”

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n a bid to further enhance its business class offering for passengers, flydubai has announced the opening of its business lounge. The new business lounge occupies two levels at the recently expanded Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport, and offers its business class passengers comfortable seating in a contemporary environment. Moreover, business class lounge access is also available to passengers travelling to Dubai from across the flydubai network before their flight. Commenting on the opening of flydubai’s business lounge, Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, noted, “We are pleased to announce the opening of the first flydubai business lounge which offers passengers greater comfort and convenience during their journey.”

2 AUGUST 2014


RENDEZVOUS TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How has your strategy changed over the past years to adapt to the new market conditions and ensure that the hotel stays ahead of the competition? GERHARD HECKER: Retaining customer loyalty is paramount to us; Dubai is a competitive market and our loyal guests have preserved our presence in the city for almost 11 years. Every Dubai hotelier is acutely aware that new properties are entering the market at a staggering rate. We are ready to face the ever-changing competition in the market by building on our existing strengths of service and quality but also by continually renovating our facilities and upgrading our service offerings with new restaurants, menus and entertainment. Our ethos has remained the same since we opened, and is practiced throughout the group, to provide a personal approach, the Shangri-La way of treating a guest like family. Our team is skilled in perfecting the finest details for a guest’s stay, and tailoring each experience to ensure it is unique and unfor-

Q & A with Gerhard Hecker GENERAL MANAGER, SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, DUBAI

gettable. Small touches like a personal greeting to welcome our returning guests, a member of the senior leadership team always being made available, our Essence 20 percent discount scheme at our managed restaurants in the region and the exceptional groupwide Golden Circle loyalty programme, we have never forgotten the importance of saying “Thank you”. I welcome the competition in the market as it helps all hotels to strive for perfection and to be the industry leader for the benefit of the region and our guests. There is some exceptional work being done in Dubai’s hotels and I can only see that standards are set to rise. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How have 2 AUGUST 2014

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Over the coming years a large number of new rooms are expected to enter the market. How do you think this accelerated growth will impact demand and supply? GERHARD HECKER: Dubai’s expansion plans for 2020 are ambitious, but I believe that the market requires the increased rooms and hotel offerings. The vision for Expo 2020 with some 25 million expected visitors as well as the addition of a new airport and increased air traffic all point to a need for a greater diversity of hotel offerings and an increased inventory of rooms in the city. The market of course will be competitive however this can only work in the favour of the guest as this drives exacting standards and further choice. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Tell us about your plans for the coming months.

OUR ETHOS HAS REMAINED THE SAME SINCE WE OPENED, AND IS PRACTICED THROUGHOUT THE GROUP

from the neighbouring regions. With Dubai International becoming the busiest airport globally, I see Dubai having international appeal as a leisure and tourist destination, and being able to penetrate markets such as Europe, Asia, Australasia and increasingly the Americas over the coming years.

SINCE THE INAUGURATION OF SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, DUBAI, MORE THAN A DECADE AGO, SEVERAL PROPERTIES HAVE OPENED ON SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD. GERHARD HECKER, GENERAL MANAGER, SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, DUBAI, TALKS ABOUT HOW COMPETITION DRIVES INNOVATION AND RESULTS IN THE DESTINATION’S GROWTH. your markets changed over the past years? GERHARD HECKER: I believe the aviation and hotel industry go hand in hand, and so the success and rapid growth of our nation’s airlines have been very exciting and of great benefit to Dubai’s hoteliers. Due to our Sheikh Zayed Road location, just 15 minutes’ drive from Dubai International, Emirates’ recent venture with Qantas has meant that we are the perfect hotel for stopover trips between Australia

and Europe. We have seen increased business from Australia as a result, as passengers look to break up the journey with 24 hours in Dubai to explore the sights and to recover from the long journey. The increasing growth of flydubai has also ensured that Dubai is now within an easier and more affordable reach than ever before for our Gulf neighbours. At Shangri-La we have always been loyally supported by our GCC guests, and so with an increased flydubai service we look forward to welcoming more guests

GERHARD HECKER: Our executive room and service offering, the Horizon Club, continues to remain popular amongst our guests. As a result, we will be adding an additional Horizon floor which will open this summer, boasting spectacular views of the cityscape and the Arabian Gulf and beautifully designed bedrooms and suites up to 83m2. Guests staying in these rooms will also be able to enjoy an exclusive health club and infinity pool and private executive lounge. In the coming months a second new restaurant, yet to be announced, will be completing our portfolio of award-winning and internationally regarded restaurants…watch this space.

I WELCOME THE COMPETITION IN THE MARKET AS IT HELPS ALL HOTELS TO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION

17


WEEKLY NEWS INTERNATIONAL

IHG Expands in Yorkton, Canada

Mondrian London at Sea Containers to Launch in September

M

organs Hotel Group has commenced reservations for its first non-US based boutique hotel, Mondrian London at Sea Containers, which will open on September 30. Situated on London’s South Bank, and surrounded by distinct attractions, such as the Tate Modern museum, the iconic Sea Containers House which hosts the development has been revamped by prominent designer Tom Dixon. The project’s Anglo-American theme characterises everything from the building’s structure to the menu, crafted by Seamus Mullen. The 359-room project features a variety of facilities such as 500m2 of meeting venues, which include a 56-seat private screening auditorium, and seven multipurpose rooms, including terraces and views of theThames. The development also boasts an AGUA Bathhouse & Spa comprising six treatment suites and Spa & Glamour Lounges, where guests can enjoy exclusive products and treatments new to the spa community.

I

nterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has initiated its further development in North America with the launch of a Holiday Inn Express Hotel Yorkton, in Saskatechewan, Canada. Conveniently located just a kilometre off downtown Yorkton, the new hotel boasts 103 rooms and 21 suites. Described as the smart choice for value-conscious business and leisure travellers by Heather Balsley, senior vice president, Americas, Holiday Inn brand family, IHG, the four-storey property combines facilities to suit both types of guests. These include a 24hour fitness centre, an indoor heated pool and hot tub, and a spacious business centre, comprising more than 100m2 of meeting space.

Mondrian London at Sea Containers, London

OZO Colombo Grand Opening kn Did you

ow. .

the bo is r ty m o l e Co rop OZO OZO p e the c d n r i i th open s hed in c n to u a dl bran 2010?

OZO Colombo

18

O

NYX Hospitality Group inaugurated its first Sri Lankan OZO hotel, OZO Colombo, with its grand opening taking place in the presence of H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa, president, Sri Lanka, and 150 distinguished guests from the tourism industry. Located on the coastal Marine Drive, a few minutes off Colombo's centre, the project features 158 rooms and suites. In addition to this, the rooftop pool and ON14 Rooftop Bar & Lounge offer guests picturesque views of both the Indian Ocean and Marine Drive. Business guests can also make use of the hotel’s various amenities, including the fully-linked meeting rooms such as AQUA. 2 AUGUST 2014


AGENT CORNER

Agent’s Insight NAME:

Dianne Bernardo

POSITION:

Sales manager

COMPANY:

Muscat Desert Adventures

LOCATION:

Oman

WEBSITE:

www.desertadventures.com

Seychelles Welcomes Middle Eastern Agents

Who are you? I am Dianne Bernardo, sales manager at Muscat Desert Adventures. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? It is like exploring the destination of Oman. There are the challenges of the different personalities you are communicating with. When is the best time to visit Oman? From September to May. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? Personally I want to travel to Europe. Why should people come to you for travel advice? For the excellent cooperation with all hotels, instant response, innovative programme ideas, perfect planning, good performance which exceeds expectations, cooperation with professional team-building companies, quality service, modern fleet and lastly multi-lingual staff. 2 AUGUST 2014

F

ollowing the success of a similar initiative earlier this year, Seychelles Tourism Office Middle East (STOME) and Emirates Holidays have organised a familiarisation trip for the region’s top-selling agents. The five-day tour allowed the professionals to experience the Indian Ocean islands and their offerings first-hand, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to successfully sell the destination to their clients. “Having the top-selling agents gave us an opportunity to further increase their destination knowledge and to produce more,” explained Ahmed Fathallah, regional manager, STOME, adding that the tourism body will continue to arrange fam trips along with its partners in the region.

19


TRAVEL TALK

What is great about the fit for our hotels and the Saudi market is our emphasis on high-quality

RICHARD POWER Director of communications, Rocco Forte Hotels.

“We know that tourists in Saudi Arabia who travel, both domestically and regionally, like to do so in style. [...] We also know that there is a last-minute culture in Saudi Arabia when it comes to booking travel and accommodation arrangements, compared to European travellers, who often organise holidays three to six months in advance. I think what is great about the fit for Rocco Forte Hotels and the Saudi market is our emphasis on high-quality service, which means that all visitors will have a tailor-made stay with us.”

We believe that Sky5 will quickly become a new hotspot of the city

MOHAMED SOUSSAN General manager, Ayla Hotels.

“Sky5 is a new addition to Ayla Hotel Al Ain’s dining options and Al Ain’s [dining] scene. The view from the top of the hotel is truly breathtaking and it is our pleasure to share it with Al Ain residents. This is a great spot for families and friends to gather after Iftar, to enjoy our recognisable tastes and flavours in a relaxed atmosphere with amazing service. We believe that Sky5 will quickly become a new hotspot of the city.”

Golden Sands Hotel Apartments caters to both business and leisure travellers

NIVES DEININGER Director of sales, Golden Sands Hotel Apartments, Dubai.

“Golden Sands Hotel Apartments caters to both business and leisure travellers. From the business segment, the majority of the guests are either midlevel employees in major multinational companies or general managers and managing directors of small- and medium-sized enterprises setting up their own offices in Dubai. As for the leisure travellers, most of our clientele is from Australia, Europe as well as GCC families and guests from the subcontinent who usually visit Dubai during holidays to be with their families.”

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

20

2 AUGUST 2014


TRAVEL CHANNELS

DWC Business Park Collaborates with Groups In a bid to promote its Business Park Free Zone to the UAE’s growing business community, Dubai World Central (DWC), the purpose-built aerotropolis, has partnered with various business organisations in the UAE.

D

WC Business Park, through its recent collaborations, has hosted various business activities and functions, and has also sponsored different events for business groups. DWC’s major component, the Business Park, has also organised various networking events for its partners, clients, and members of different international business councils, giving all attendees a venue to explore various opportunities at the Business Park. Overall, these DWCled activities provided insights into UAE’s business landscape and DWC Business Park’s features and facilities.

DWC Business Park Event

Etihad Airways Partners with Google

Passenger and Freight Air Traffic Continue to Grow

A

ccording to Airports Council International, both passenger and freight air traffic has indicated growth for May. Global passenger traffic grew by 4.7 percent, which is slightly above the witnessed trend of 4.5 percent year-on-year for the last 12 months. Many regions posted strong gains in passenger traffic, where among the growth leaders, the Middle East and Latin America experienced major gains of 7.5 percent and 6.7 percent respectively. Improvements in world trade and a recovery in global demand have pointed to signs of a stabilised growth in air freight markets as well, achieving year-on-year growth of 4.2 percent for the same month.In these markets, Europe and Asia Pacific experienced the strongest gains.

SCTA to Establish 361 Tourist Information Centres

T

I

n an effort to make it more convenient for travellers to view its airline flight schedules and fares, Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, announced a partnership with Google. Using the search engine’s flight tool, travellers in the US, UK, the Netherlands, Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Ireland will be able to explore and compare flights to and from any of Etihad Airways’ 103 destinations. This partnership will also allow these travellers to view live ticket prices for more than 1,400 of the airline’s weekly flights.

2 AUGUST 2014

he Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) signed a contract with a national company to operate tourist information centres (TIC) across Saudi Arabia. In terms of the deal, valued at almost SAR12 million (USD3.2 million), 361 centres are expected to be launched over the next three years, providing citizens and visitors with extensive information about tourism destinations, sites, activities and events. As Hamas bin Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, vice president, marketing and programmes, SCTA, explained, the TCIs and tourist information agencies will be set up in prime locations and transit points, such as airports, railway stations, shopping centres, and at the entrance of major tourist destinations. In addition, travellers will also be able to receive information via electronic kiosks in various sites as well as hotels and markets.

SCTA Presented TIC

21


WHO’S MOVED

HUDA MALHAS

BELHASSEN FTOUHI

Huda Malhas has been selected for the position of director of marketing communications for the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Malhas moves to the company’s corporate office in Dubai from Lebanon where she served as director of marketing and sales at Four Seasons Hotel Beirut for five years. She joined Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in 2004 as director of catering at Four Seasons Hotel Amman, and was later promoted to director of marketing. In 2009, Malhas was transferred to Beirut as one of the first members of the planning committee. In addition to overseeing sales, marketing, reservations, catering and revenue management, Malhas was also responsible for management of the property’s spa.

Belhassen Ftouhi has been named operations manager at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi. Ftouhi brings a wealth of experience to the role, which will see him play a major part in running the Troon-managed facility. In his day-to-day position, he will oversee daily operations and maintenance of the club, membership and customer services, cost management, marketing, recruitment, development and training. Ftouhi began his career in the consumer and hospitality services industry in 2003 as a flight attendant for Tunisair, while he later served as food and beverage manager at Monte-Carlo Beach Club, Saadiyat.

Ftouhi will oversee daily operations and maintenance of the club

22

FLORIAN VILLE

Florian Ville has assumed the position of residence manager at Kempinski Residences & Suites Doha. Ville has spent more than 20 years in the luxury hotel business working for companies such as Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, before joining Kempinski Hotel Corvinus in Budapest, Hungary as director of finance. In May 2011, he was named executive assistant manager at Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre, Manama, where he played a key role in the launch of both the Grand and Ixir towers in September 2011 and March 2013 respectively.

Ville has spent more than 20 years in the luxury hotel business

FELIX FRANCIS

Felix Francis has been appointed food and beverage manager at Carlton Tower Hotel, Dubai. Francis possesses 17 years of food and beverage expertise, having previously worked with a number of renowned properties around the globe, including InterContinental Hotels Group in Sri Lanka. His career in the Middle East includes roles at Holiday Inn Express Bahrain; Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai; Jebel Ali International Hotels (currently known as JA Resorts & Hotels) and Emaar Hotels & Resorts. Starting as a management trainee, his dedication and capabilities finally took him to the position of food and beverage manager at Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, from where he moves to Carlton Tower Hotel, Dubai.

2 AUGUST 2014


PHOTO ALBUM

Take a Shot! Share with us the latest images of your activities and let your colleagues know what you have been up to. Send your photos to editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel Because a picture is worth a thousand words...

Hilton Abu Dhabi crafts a chocolate replica of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Thanyapura Phuket launches global Laptops-For-Kids charity

Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort launches Champions of Mazagan sports initiative

Bahrain Airport Company hosts Ramadan Ghabga for airlines

2 AUGUST 2014

Etihad Airways arrives in Perth

The Torch Doha hosted football fans during the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals

Etihad Airways marks Zayed Humanitarian Day

23


NEWS & EVENTS IATA Safety Workshop in Abu Dhabi

EVENTS MALAYSIA PREMIUM TRAVEL FAIR 2014 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 8 – 10, 2014 (www.mptf.com.my) A niche event targeted at the fast-growing tourism sector, proving a perfect opportunity for its 25,000 expected visitors.

THE CHINA GUILIN INTERNATIONAL TOURISM EXPO (CGITE) Participants at the IATA Integrated Management System Workshop

O

n behalf of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Etihad Airways hosted a global airline safety workshop in Abu Dhabi. The three-day event saw officials from IATA and a number of its airline members discussing the importance of moving toward an integrated management system (IMS) to enhance the safety standards of carriers. Participants agreed that introducing such a system would help to ensure compliance with global regulations, while also consolidating key airline management systems to create a single platform that covers areas, including health and safety, security, environment and personnel. “Safety is our number one priority,” stressed Paolo La Cava, vice president, corporate safety and quality, Etihad Airways. “The global airline industry is making considerable progress in establishing an IMS, which will enhance risk mitigation and the assessment of operational hazards.”

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re , mo 013 billion 2 n e I thre afely than le flew s lion l peop 6.4 mi on 3 ights? fl

24

Guilin, China, August 29 – 31, 2014 (www.cgite.com.cn) CGITE is a key strategic platform catering to the booming Chinese tourism market.

INCENTIVE, BUSINESS, TRAVEL & MEETINGS EXPO (IBTM) INDIA Chennai, India, September 3 – 5, 2014 (www.ibtmevents.com) An invitation-only event for India’s inbound, outbound and domestic, business travel sector.

SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL GOLF & TRAVEL (SIGT) Shanghai, China, September 5 – 7, 2014 (www.shanghaigolfshow.com) SIGT will be a meeting place where golf industry people and golf enthusiasts can interact.

KERALA TRAVEL MART (KTM) Kochi, India September 18 - 20, 2014 (www.keralatravelmart.org) KTM brings together the business fraternity and the entrepreneurs behind Kerala’s products and services.

2 AUGUST 2014

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 247  

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...

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