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23 AUGUST 2014





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Mary Kammitsi

Currencies shown in blue are fixed against the US Dollar





PRESS Maria Demetriadou Pauline Shahabian




DESIGN & LAYOUT Elena Stylianou

Egypt (EGP)



Saudi Arabia (SAR)



Lebanon (LBP)



Bahrain (BHD)



Jordan (JOD)



Syria (SYP)



Kuwait (KWD)



Qatar (QAR)



Oman (OMR)



Tunisia (TND)



Morocco (MAD)



Iran (IRR)



Yemen (YER)



Algeria (DZD)



Libya (LYD)



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 EMAILS

Doha Hotels: 11.5 Percent Surge in RevPAR Doha hotels experienced an 11.4 percentage point growth in occupancy to 75.9 percent in the first six months of the year, pushing RevPAR up 11.5 percent to USD166.66.


s Peter Goddard, managing director, TRI Hospitality Consulting, elaborated, “Doha hotels are yet to show signs of stabilisation in average room rates during the first half of the year, although occupancy levels continue to grow on the back of increased demand from international and regional visitors, particularly Saudi nationals.” Profit margins were boosted by strong food and beverage demand which generated over 45 percent of total hotel revenues and was driven primarily by the local residential population, according to Goddard.

Accor Presents Solid Growth in H1 Business remained favourable in most of Accor’s markets in the first half (H1) of the year, with revenue totalling EUR2.59 billion (USD3.47 billion).


otelInvest, the group’s hotel owner and investor unit, reported good revenue growth in every region except France, with H1 revenue from the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa (MMEA) region growing by 6.7 percent. HotelServices, Accor’s hotel operator and franchiser, recorded a five percent rise in income derived from owned, leased and managed properties and room revenue from franchised hotels. MMEA was once again prominent, where a 10.1 percent year-on-year increase was achieved. The French hospitality company has opened 92 hotels representing 12,284 new rooms in H1, of which 90 percent are under management and franchise agreements.


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Wyndham Worldwide Reports Q2 Earnings

Hoteliers in Cairo experienced improving performance levels, with average room rates (ARR) increasing 5.5 percent during the month of June, according to TRI Hospitality Consulting findings.

Announcing results for the second quarter, Wyndham Worldwide highlighted a seven percent increase in revenues compared with the second quarter (Q2) of 2013.

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Wyndham Worldwide Headquarters


evenues grew to reach USD1.3 billion, reflecting growth in all of the company’s business segments. Reported net income was up USD20 million over the same period of 2013 at USD153 million. “We delivered strong results in the second quarter, improving upon the positive trends from the first quarter,” said Stephen Holmes, chairman, Wyndham Worldwide. “Domestic RevPAR growth continued to accelerate, net vacation ownership interest sales increased ten percent and we are seeing continued strong growth in rental transaction volume.”


he growth in average rates caused RevPAR to rise 2.7 percent to USD57.64. However, overall demand continued to fall, with occupancy declining 1.3 percentage points. Despite a loss in the corporate segment, leisure visitors returned to the capital and helped raise non-rooms revenues, leading total RevPAR to increase by 5.5 percent. “Although June saw an increase in average rates, revenues were not restored during the first half of the year due to the continued pressure on occupancy levels,” said Peter Goddard, managing director, TRI Hospitality Consulting, adding that positive market sentiment is expected to result in a gradual uplift in demand by year-end.

Amadeus Reports Robust Performance in H1 Amadeus registered a growth of 8.9 percent in profit.


ne of the leading technology partners for the global travel industry, Amadeus, has reported results for the first half (H1) of the year, showing a year-on-year growth in profit of 8.9 percent to EUR380.6 million (USD510.3 million), backed by an increase in revenue of 8.5 percent, to EUR1.73 billion (USD2.32 billion). Luis Maroto, president, Amadeus, commented, “Amadeus’ core business continues to deliver strong results despite improved, but still challenging, market conditions. The distribution business outperformed the industry enabling us to continue to gain market share.” 23 AUGUST 2014



Mall of the World to Boost Dubai’s Retail Tourism

Nazek Al Sabbagh


The upcoming project is set to persuade various international brands to enhance their presence in Dubai, thus leading to the advancement of the emirate’s retail, shopping, and family tourism sectors.

ll this according to Nazek Al Sabbagh, owner, Zari O’Breesam, who also predicted global success for Dubai-based brands over the upcoming years, as the ideal business environment established in the UAE allows the private sector to flourish. The eminent businesswoman additionally praised the emirate’s policy of investing in grand retail projects, which appeal to international brands, thereby pushing hotel occupancy to amongst the highest levels globally.


Abu Dhabi Sets Beach Water Quality Standards


bu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) has published a guideline entitled Management of Beach Water Quality for Human Health at Abu Dhabi Hotels, with the support of Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD). The guide outlines procedures now mandatory for the emirate’s 24 beachfront resorts. “By unifying the monitoring procedures and sampling methods across the emirate through these newly published guidelines, we all now have more reliable data about our beaches to base decisions on,” confirmed Shaikha Ahmed Al Hosani, director of environmental monitoring and analysis, EAD.

23 AUGUST 2014

WEEKLY NEWS Qatar Summer Festival Contributes to Tourism Promotion

ICAO to Establish Safety Measures



atar Tourism Authority (QTA) has announced the start of the Qatar Summer Festival which aims to promote the country as a unique family holiday destination. Rashed Al Qurese, director of marketing, QTA, extended a welcome to visitors, commenting that the festival is part of QTA’s National Tourism Sector 2030 Strategy to promote Qatar as an international tourism destination with deep cultural roots. The festival includes family games and rides, dancing fountains, activities such as bike riding and kayaking, and an inflatable aqua park on the beach. Data for the first quarter showed that approximately 380,000 people visited Qatar during the period, representing a nine percent year-on-year increase. Saudi Arabia was the largest single source of visitors, whilst arrivals from Kuwait rose by a staggering 42 percent.

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he International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association, Airports Council International, and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation have released a joint statement which condemns the use of arms against civil aviation, following the downing of Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH17. The declaration stresses ICAO’s pivotal role in future attempts to prevent repetition of such acts, through its highpriority collaboration with all member states. ICAO will also be responsible for composing a Task Force comprising of industry experts, to confront the issue of effectively gathering and distributing information.


WEEKLY NEWS Seawings to Fly THOE Guests

DUBAI TO WELCOME LEGOLAND IN 2016 LEGOLAND Dubai remains on track to open in the emirate in 2016, as its developer Merlin Entertainments recently confirmed.



n its financial report for the first half of the year (H1), the UK-based visitor attraction operator confirmed the Dubai target opening date, whilst also reporting that discussions are ongoing with a number of parties over potential LEGOLAND projects, primarily in South Korea, the US and China. Merlin Entertainments overall posted strong H1 results, which were attributed to further growth from the existing estate and continued roll out of its international brands, as well as strong performance from LEGOLAND which benefitted in part from the effective marketing surrounding The LEGO Movie in the first quarter.

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LEGOLAND California

leindienst Group, a UAE real estate developer, has announced that its flagship project The Heart of Europe (THOE) has partnered with Seawings to promote tourism to The World islands. Seawings will provide THOE’s clients and guests with the opportunity to see the finest views Dubai has to offer from 450m in the air, while the two entities will also collaborate on flying guests from around the GCC to the project via seaplane. THOE is an iconic holiday destination located on The World in Dubai, made up of six stunning man-made islands, each capturing a different facet of Europe’s character.

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23 AUGUST 2014


Morocco Welcomes Gulf Tourism

Middle East’s Spending Power Grows


azagan Beach & Golf Resort revealed dramatic increases in visitors, originating mainly from the Gulf, as a result of more competitive summer and Ramadan packages offered by the property. All this according to Stephan Killinger, president, Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort, who added that “[The management is] collaborating with eight airline service providers to reward our visitors on every mile they cross to reach us.” The General Directorate for National Security in Morocco and the Ministry of Tourism Morocco, have reported that 3.57 million tourists vacationed in the Kingdom between January and May, an increase of nine percent compared to the same period in 2013. Revenues from foreign tourists rose by three percent, achieving MAD21.7 billion (USD2.6 billion).

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isa has released its Visa Everywhere Travel Report for the World Cup in Brazil, with analysis of travel data and cross-border spend on all Visa products, including credit, debit and prepaid payment cards. The survey showed that Middle East visitors splurged over USD5.7 million during the tournament, 70 percent of which came from fans from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. During the event, Visa cardholders from the UAE spent USD2.5 million, ranking it the 27th largest spending nation in the report. Saudi Arabia and Qatar ranked 47th and 49th respectively, with spends of USD840,000 and USD639,000. All three countries witnessed triple-digit increases in international spend compared to the same period in 2013.,

Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort

Aviation Sector in Dubai is Thriving


H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), is positive that completion of the runway refurbishment at Dubai International Airport will bring a significant surge in air traffic. “We are confident about the airport handling over 70 million passengers this year which will bring us further closer to becoming the world’s number one airport for international passengers,” said Al Maktoum, adding that the next project is a fourth concourse, due to open in the first quarter of 2015. The development of Al Maktoum International Airport with an eventual capacity of 160 million passengers is also progressing, further evidence of the boost being given to Dubai’s aviation industry.

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WEEKLY NEWS Report on Oman to Chart Developments in Non-oil Growth

O Jana Treeck (left) and Kenneth Macfarlane, country senior partner, PwC Oman

xford Business Group (OBG) is to prepare a study exploring Oman’s ongoing drive to create an investor-friendly environment, encourage entrepreneurial activity and develop the Sultanate’s workforce. The Report: Oman 2015 will look in detail at the country’s infrastructure and transportation projects whilst also charting Oman’s efforts to adopt a bigger regional role by integrating more fully within the GCC. “We are now witnessing the results of the Sultanate’s bid to expand its economy on the back of significant hydrocarbons wealth, with major capital works projects under way and smaller businesses taking root,” commented Jana Treeck, regional director, OBG, adding that Oman’s non-oil growth had become a key focus of the group’s research in recent years.

QAIA Enjoys Robust Growth During H1

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irport International Group (AIG), the Jordanian company responsible for Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA), has released traffic statistics for the first half of the year (H1), which show continued growth in terms of passenger and aircraft movement figures. Passenger traffic surged by 12.9 percent and aircraft movement rose by 8.6 percent during H1 which ended positively in June when QAIA welcomed 687,804 passengers and 6,573 aircraft, an increase of 10.5 percent and 9.2 percent respectively over the same month in 2013. “We look forward to what the remaining six months of the year will bring, in line with our commitment towards helping QAIA reach its full potential as Jordan's prime gateway to the world,” said Kjeld Binger, CEO, AIG.


23 AUGUST 2014


Accor Signs Agreement with Hiranandani Group Accor HotelServices Middle East, a hotel operator and brand franchisor, has signed a management agreement with Hiranandani Group, one of India’s biggest real estate developers, to develop an ibis Styles hotel in Dubai Business Bay.


n an effort to meet increasing demand, Accor will offer the first three-star hotel alongside the Business Bay Canal, with 350 rooms and a view over Downtown Dubai. Discussing the recent agreement, Christophe Landais, chief operating officer, Accor HotelServices Middle East, stated, “We are pleased to develop this new ibis Styles hotel with the Hiranandani Group and we look forward to a long-term partnership. The hotel’s modern design, attractive facilities and great location will help to service the needs of Dubai’s leisure and corporate guests.”

Dubai Business Bay

TIME Renero Resort Azzurra

TIME Hotels Management Acquires Red Sea Resort


AE-based TIME Hotels Management has recently secured a contract for luxury properties TIME Renero Resort Azzurra and TIME Suites Azzurra, both integral components of the 4,000ha Sahl Hasheesh development near Hurghada, Egypt. The hotel boasts 87 rooms and 110 suites, all with panoramic sea views, and the residences comprise 287 units, featuring several private villas with their own infinity pools, terraces and private courtyards. “Not only does this [addition] broaden our reach across the region, it also widens the appeal of the TIME brand, adding our first beach resort to our portfolio,” observed Mohamed Awadalla, CEO, TIME Hotels. The resort also features seven swimming pools, a full service spa and gym, five sun terraces, a lounge and reading room, and a kids’ club.

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WEEKLY NEWS ACCOMMODATION Jumeirah Group Leads Charitable Missions


ction Hotels has announced that a memorandum of understanding has been signed with Accor for the management of the new 160-room freehold hotel to be built in the prime business district of Sharq in Kuwait City. The four-star property will bear the Novotel flag, Accor’s mid-scale brand. Novotel Kuwait adds to Action Hotel’s existing portfolio in the country and will increase the company’s local room count to 2,660. Construction is set to commence in the first half of 2015 with completion expected in 2017, at a total cost of approximately USD29 million. H.E. Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, chairman, Action Hotels, said, “We are pleased to partner with Accor for the development of Kuwait’s first Novotel. [...] We strongly believe that the Novotel brand, which is at the forefront of the mid-market hotel segment, will drive superior returns.”

Wild Wadi Waterpark


ild Wadi Waterpark organised a charity campaign which saw more than 15,000 items of clothing collected for the Beit Al Kheir Society, a nonprofit organisation which aids disadvantaged UAE families. The initiative enabled 5,256 visitors to contribute to the cause by trading three items of clothing for a free entry to the water park, filling 15 containers with donations. “We have been overwhelmed with the support we received from the community [...] and we are looking forward to making this an annual campaign,” said Chris Perry, general manager, Wild Wadi Waterpark.

Action Hotels Brings another Four-star Hotel in Kuwait

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New Asian Restaurant in Sharjah


izzling Wok, the homegrown restaurant brand of Citymax Hotels Bur Dubai, is now open at a second location in Citymax Hotels Sharjah. The venue offers an eclectic menu with all-time favourites from Pan-Asian cuisine based on authentic recipes from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and Singapore.


Sizzling Wok

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Chameleon Club Dubai Relaunched


hameleon Club Dubai, located in the penthouse of Byblos Hotel, Tecom, has been refurbished and relaunched this season in an effort to bring a new dimension to Dubai’s party scene. Initially opened in 2011, the club has upgraded a number of facilities, including a wider dance floor and a newly renovated VIP zone. The club operates as a restaurant and preclubbing lounge where guests can indulge in international cuisine with food served throughout the night. The club’s management cited a passion for adapting to new trends and creating an unforgettable clubbing experience as the reason behind the refurbishment and subsequent relaunch.

Chameleon Club Dubai

Millennium Resort Mussanah: Maximum Occupancy

Jordan Marriott Hotels Hosts Charitable Mission



uring Eid Al Fitr, Millennium Resort Mussanah, Oman, recorded maximum occupancy with its 304 rooms and apartments in high demand during the extended holiday period. The resort experienced an increase of 23 percent over the same period in 2013, and 80 percent over 2012. Maurice De Rooij, general manager, Millennium Resort Mussanah, noted, “We are pleased that so many guests chose to celebrate Eid Al Fitr with us [...] and experience the evergrowing variety of recreational activities that we offer for the whole family.”

Millennium Resort Mussanah

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arriott International has stepped up its humanitarian initiative, Spirit to Serve, in Jordan. Jordan’s Marriott hotels hosted Flying Doctors of America, a US-based organisation which offers medical assistance to developing countries, during a five-day mission which provided over 400 free medical consultations and services at the Syrian refugee camp. “It is our pleasure that we had the chance to contribute in a cause that makes a difference in people’s lives”, commented Philip Papadopoulos, country general manager, Jordan, Marriott International. Jordan’s Marriott hotels also held a dinner to extend their thanks to the Flying Doctors of America for the opportunity to participate in this good cause.







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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


Website: Email address: 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 Must have sales experience in luxury goods and/or hospitality, a strong UAE business network and a 5* professional attitude.

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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:



Qatar Airways Boosts Perth Route Qatar Airways will increase capacity on its Perth route with an aircraft upgrade to a Boeing 777-300 from October 1, as the destination has seen exceptional growth since its launch.

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he move will bring a 30 percent increase in seats on the direct daily flights to Perth Airport, equating to 1,064 additional seats per week. According to Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, adding Perth to the airline’s network of destinations two years ago has proven to be a very sound move. “Just two years later, we are already increasing our capacity to meet the needs of our Australian passengers who are extremely keen and avid travellers, with a great sense of adventure. We are very pleased that they continually choose to fly with us and have the opportunity to enhance their overall travel experience with our five-star service and product,” he added.

Gulf Air to Serve Moscow


ulf Air is to launch direct services to the Russian capital from October 28. The airline will operate four flights per week to Domodedovo International Airport, Moscow’s largest hub in terms of passenger and cargo traffic. Maher Salman AlMusallam, acting CEO, Gulf Air, commented that adding Russia to its flight schedule for the first time, further demonstrates the airline’s strategy of strengthening its network with key global destinations that provide strategic business and tourism links. “We are confident this new route will be a success for our passenger operations, and we look forward to facilitating business and leisure traffic between the two countries and beyond,” he said. Gulf Air flights to Moscow will be operated by an Airbus A320-ER aircraft in a twoclass configuration of 14 Falcon Gold seats and 96 seats in economy.



23 AUGUST 2014

AIR WEEKLY NEWS flydubai Launches Flights to Iran

Etihad Airways Sets New Record


lydubai has commenced services to Tehran and Mashhad, the carrier’s first two destinations in Iran. On August 10 the flights were inaugurated with the Mashhad route launching first, while the plane to Tehran took off on August 11. flydubai now serves Iran with four flights per week. Commenting on the announcement, Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, said, “Our approach to opening up previously underserved markets, including Iran, presents much opportunity for flydubai and enables a greater number of passengers to benefit from Dubai’s efficient aviation hub.”


bu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has enjoyed the busiest four days in its history with 181,333 passengers flying with the airline during the post Eid Al Fitr period. The figure represents an increase of 36 percent over the same days at the end of Eid Al Fitr in 2013, when 133,007 passengers took an Etihad Airways flight. Load factor for the period also rose from 79.3 percent in 2013 to 88.1 percent this year, with the busiest routes for passengers carried between July 31 and August 3 being Bangkok, London and Manila. Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer, Etihad Airways, commented that carrying more than 180,000 passengers during the specific season was a fantastic achievement for the airline.


Emirates Implements Innovation

ExecuJet Middle East Reopens for Business


23 AUGUST 2014



mirates has become the first airline to introduce audio description on movies for visually impaired customers, providing a recorded narration explaining the scene during gaps in dialogue. The technique is offered on 16 Walt Disney films and follows on from the closed captions technique introduced on over 50 movies for passengers with hearing difficulties. “In future, we want to add more content with audio description, so visually impaired passengers can be entertained with an even wider choice of content,” noted Patrick Brannelly, vice president, corporate communications product, publishing, digital and events, Emirates.

xecuJet Middle East, part of the ExecuJet Aviation Group, is once again offering full aircraft handling and line maintenance services at Dubai International, following the reopening of the facility to all business aviation traffic. ExecuJet’s fixed-based operations facility at Dubai International includes eight lounges and a spacious arrivals zone with guest 'meet and greet' areas, dutyfree shopping, VIP parking and convenient limousine drop-off and pick-up access. “We are pleased to welcome business aviation clients back to Dubai International,” said Mark Hardman, operations director, ExecuJet Middle East. “The airport remains the ideal drop-off and pick-up location for clients with limited time in Dubai, as well as those connecting to commercial flights out of the country.”


WEEKLY NEWS AIR Emirates Steps-up Connectivity to Morocco

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eginning September 1, Emirates is to step up services to Morocco with a second daily flight to Casablanca, boosting the route to 14 weekly flights. Moreover from October 26, the carrier will upgrade this additional daily operation from an Airbus A340-500 to a Boeing 777-300ER, which will see both daily services being served by the Boeing aircraft. The additional connection, coupled with the aircraft upgrade, will double Emirates’ weekly passenger capacity to Morocco, equating to an extra 2,520 seats per week in each direction. “The strengthened service will foster new business and tourism ties to one of our key destinations within Africa and open up a wealth of choice for passengers travelling from Casablanca to Dubai,” commented Adil Al Ghaith, vice president, commercial operations, Northern and Western Africa, Emirates.

Air Arabia Marks Second Turkish Route


ir Arabia has started its nonstop services to Antalya in the southwest of Turkey. The new three-times-weekly flight from the carrier’s primary hub in Sharjah marks its second destination in the country and 97th worldwide. The launch of Antalya complements Air Arabia’s seven weekly flights to the historic city of Istanbul, a route introduced in 2006. In June 2009, the airline expanded Turkish operations to connect Istanbul to its Casablanca hub in Morocco. Currently, the low-cost airline operates over five weekly direct services between Istanbul and the Moroccan destination.

Gulf Air Upgrades Operational Performance


ulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier, is moving from a paper-based flight manual to an advanced technological process, by rolling out the new generation iPad Electronic Flight Bags across the entire fleet. The electronic information management device offers advanced information management and delivers more accurate performance calculations, creating significant time and cost savings while increasing safety and streamlining the management of flight information. Introducing the new device, Nasser Al Salmi, chief operations officer, Gulf Air, said that the airline is committed to all new technology that provides integrated solutions for managing information in the air and on the ground.


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RENDEZVOUS TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How important is the Middle East market to the airline’s business? EMRE PEKESEN: With the addition of Bahrain, we now fly to Bahrain, Beirut, Dubai, Erbil, Kuwait, Qatar and Tehran, a total of [seven] destinations in the Middle East which has given us the opportunity to offer long-haul flights to these destinations to our guests in the UK and bring the low-cost model to these burgeoning markets with great potential. Thus these regions of the Middle East can not only benefit from our good-value flights but also the wide variety of ancillary services that we offer our guests. Our guests can personalise their travel experience via our ancillary services, including our most-recent Smart Flight Packages [...]. As the first-of-itskind in Turkey and one of the first examples amongst airlines around the world we are proud to introduce this experience to the Middle East. We have established Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport as an important hub linking all the regions that we fly to, including Europe and the Middle East, making the city a vital bridge between these two major regions of the world. These new markets that we are penetrating in the Middle East represent a significant importance and opportunity for our business for a number of reasons; the growth potential of aviation in this market, flexibility in visa regulations, geographical and cultural closeness to this market and the increasing trade between Turkey and the Middle East, as well as destinations which have no night curfew thereby giving us the ability to fly at night and increase our utilisation. Also, with the exception of one or two places in the Middle East, they are still not knowledgeable about the low-cost concept as full-service airlines


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Please tell us about Pegasus Airlines’ future development plans for the Middle East. EMRE PEKESEN: This is an incredible time for us and with our increased capacities and efficiencies we will be continuing to expand our international networks, and this also includes the Middle East. Although there are some issues with flights in the Middle East as far as rights go, we strongly believe in the potential of this region and so will certainly be looking to expand into it further as liberalisation takes place in time. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How can this region drive your business strategy?


Pegasus Airlines

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charging full fares still dominate in the region. The penetration of low-cost carriers (LCC) is just 13.3 percent in the Middle East. We can draw a great big loop around Turkey; all of it untouched territory. In all these regions, including the Middle East, the concept of consumer choice is only just kicking off. We are focusing on growth in this region as a result of our LCC model and new opportunities that we are creating which put us in an ideal position to enter these new markets.

EMRE PEKESEN: [Over the years], the Middle East has also accepted Turkey as a travel destination, adding to the number of guests arriving in Turkey for business. Leisure traffic in the Middle East has diverted away from Egypt and the UAE to Turkey for both summer holidays and city breaks with Istanbul seeing the bulk of this traffic. This of course has benefits on both sides. By making the most of the availability of low-cost flights, guests want to have the choice of taking longer holidays as well as different holidays. Thus we are trying to establish a hub for flights in Turkey, by watching developments closely, whereby the Middle East is making use of our increased flights in Europe via this hub or bridge and we are also taking a share of the travellers coming to Turkey to holiday from the Middle East. We continue to seek out and develop new destinations as and when we obtain the rights. Demand to and from the Middle East remains strong and consistent. This situation encourages us more than ever to continue to position ourselves as a regional carrier with a strong and growing presence in the Middle East region.



Best Western to Open a New Hotel in Thailand


est Western International (BWI) is due to open a hotel in Phuket in October, located a short way from the heart of the city’s main touristic area. The new BEST WESTERN Patong Beach will feature a restaurant with local and international cuisine, outdoor infinity pool, and fully-equipped fitness and business centres. BEST WESTERN Patong Beach will become BWI’s 13th hotel in Thailand and its third in Phuket, joining the BEST WESTERN PREMIER Bangtao Beach Resort & Spa and BEST WESTERN Phuket Ocean Resort. Glenn de Souza, vice president, international operations, Asia and Middle East, BWI, stated, “With modern design, a full range of facilities and Best Western’s legendary service, BEST WESTERN Patong Beach will reinvigorate the midscale sector in Phuket.”

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Patong Beach

Westin Well-Being Movement Continues Apace

Radisson Hotel & Convention Center Edmonton

Radisson Broadens Presence in Canada


adisson, one of the leading brands in the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group portfolio, has expanded its footprint in Canada with the acquisition of Radisson Hotel & Convention Center Edmonton, in Alberta. The property, scheduled to open in September, boasts 168 rooms, 40 suites, two restaurants and a conference centre. The amenities in the development will include complimentary Wi-Fi, a fully-equipped fitness centre, swimming pool, steam room, hot tub, and a 24-hour business centre. “Hotels with robust offerings like Radisson Hotel & Convention Center play a key role as we continue developing Radisson as a powerful, globally consistent, first class-brand,” observed Javier Rosenberg, chief operating officer, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.



estin Hotels & Resorts unveiled the next stage of its yearlong Westin Well-Being Movement with the announcement of two new nutrition-focussed partnerships with SuperChefs and The Juicery. “As we continue to roll-out innovative wellness options, we saw this as a perfect opportunity to introduce two new programmes that are carefully customised to help guests continue their healthy eating habits while travelling,” said Brian Povinelli, global brand leader, Westin & Le Méridien Hotels. Westin has also appointed its next expert to the Westin Well-Being Council, internationally-renowned dietician, Ashley Koff. Dedicated to imparting the value of quality nutrition choices in achieving optimal health, Koff commented, “Westin is the first global hotel brand I have encountered that takes such a thorough approach to the well-being of its guests.” 23 AUGUST 2014


Agent’s Insight NAME:

Abhijit Das Gupta


Senior general manager


Indian Holiday




dnata’s Philippine Operations Awarded RA3

Who are you? I am the senior general manager of Indian Holiday. The company has been a leading tour operator in the country for the past 24 years and works with clients from all over the world, handling all kinds of tourism- and events-related services in India and neighbouring countries. I am spearheading the sales and marketing department of the company and looking after the overall operations/business development of the organisation. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? I am very passionate about the travel tourism industry. The most important thing is that you learn new things, products and ideas every day. This industry is highly competitive, but still with new ideas, skills and sincerity you can achieve a good level in the market. When is the best time to visit India? The best time for any tourist to come to India is from October to March. However, during the summertime, which is May, June, July and August, lots of people travel to the Himalayan regions across North India. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? I have not decided yet but would first love to finish with all the destinations in India. Why should people come to you for travel advice? Indian Holiday offers personalised services, not only while drafting a package, but also during the entire tour. We offer all services under one roof at highly competitive rates. 23 AUGUST 2014


nata, one of the world’s leading combined air service providers, has received Third Country EU Aviation Security Validated Regulated Agents (RA3) certification, for its ramp services at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila. The certification ratifies that dnata’s policies abide by EU requirements, and facilitates the smooth transportation of cargo between the Philippine capital and the EU, since security controls applied on its ramp services are of an acceptable standard to EU authorities. “[In 2013] dnata supported the transport of more than 11,000 tonnes of cargo. With the RA3 certification, our customers can be confident their goods will arrive smoothly and securely at destinations throughout Europe,” attested Margaret Yu, general manager, Philippines, dnata.



RASHED AL QURESE Director of marketing and promotions, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA)

We seek to stimulate the tourism sector and enhance its role in the national economy

We are building on the distinctive Nobu aesthetic

“Qatar Summer Festival 2014 is part of QTA’s efforts to make Qatar the best tourist destination for families in the region. Through the summer festival we will offer quality performances to present Qatar’s various entertainment options and warm hospitality. Through our efforts we seek to stimulate the tourism sector and enhance its role in the national economy. We support owners of tourist facilities and all other stakeholders in the tourism sector, adding value to their efforts and helping them promote their offerings at home and abroad.“

“The design of Nobu Hotel Riyadh is a progression of various concepts that Rockwell Group has developed with Nobu in the past, emphasising natural materials and craftsmanship and visually connecting different spaces to create a fluid environment and experience. We are building on the distinctive Nobu aesthetic while anchoring the hotel in its specific Saudi Arabian context, which was accomplished by weaving together abstract references to Japanese and Saudi cultural and natural elements and setting up these dynamic design dualities.“

DIEGO GRONDA Managing and creative director, Rockwell Group Europe

The Seychelles has a strong and growing appeal as a premium leisure destination

AHMED FATHALLAH Regional manager, Seychelles Tourism Board Middle East

“Our recent campaigns [and] activities have stepped up the demand to the destination. The Seychelles has a strong and growing appeal as a premium leisure destination, with increasing numbers of UAE residents holidaying in the islands of Seychelles. Working closely with our partners to achieve our continuous efforts in raising the tourism portfolio of the Seychelles is a must. Our annual Iftar event is the perfect platform to meet our partners and thank them for their continuous support.“

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


23 AUGUST 2014


GBTA’s 2014 Outlook: Asian Continent on the Rise The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has released its annual BTI Outlook which predicts spending on global business travel to reach nearly USD1.2 trillion this year, an increase of almost 7 percent on 2013.


urrently Asia Pacific owns the largest share of the market at 38 percent and is expected to gain another five percent by 2018 while the US and Western Europe will lose three percent and two percent, respectively. The report reveals that business travel in Asia Pacific is led by China which has been growing at an average annual rate of 16.1 percent since 2000, compared to an annual growth rate of just 1.1 percent in the US over the same period. ”This report underscores that China, along with the other BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia and India are leveraging their business travel expenditures into more economic opportunities,” said Michael McCormick, chief operations officer, GBTA, adding, “We expect to see this shift in business travel spending to continue.”

Impact on Travel Industry as China’s Economy Overtakes US

SCTDA Hosts Suhoor Banquet


E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, director general, Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), reaffirmed his commitment to working with the hotel industry at a suhoor banquet held for representatives from the industry, the staff of SCTDA, and members of the media. The banquet was held at Al Majaz Waterfront and gave SCTDA the opportunity to strengthen relations with its partners. Having witnessed strong growth in the hotel industry in Sharjah, Al Midfa emphasised that the efforts and support of the tourism industry partners have played a major role in the success and growth of the sector, and in the development of the emirate’s tourism product.

Tourism Key in Development of Ethiopia


aroline Bremner, head of travel and tourism research, Euromonitor International, has been examining developments in the Chinese travel industry, in a year which will see the Chinese economy overtake that of the US. Bremner confirms that travel is a core aspect of the Chinese lifestyle with 2.7 billion domestic trips undertaken this year, making China by far the largest domestic tourism market in the world. Bremner also reported that China is set to become the largest outbound source market by 2017, with 105 million trips. Bremner contends that China is at the intersection of online, social, mobile, and mobile payments trends and, together with its tourism potential, the country will fundamentally impact global travel patterns.

23 AUGUST 2014

uring an official visit to Ethiopia by Taleb Rifai, secretary general, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), government officials of the country outlined a number of strategic measures currently being implemented to further develop the tourism sector, through the recently established Tourism Transformation Council. Mulatu Teshome, president, Ethiopia, expressed his full support for the tourism sector and the commitment of the Ethiopian government to making sustainability a priority in future tourism development. “Ethiopia is endowed with rich historical relics which, combined with the hospitality of our people, make it viable for tourism. The government has lined up able professionals to work within the industry and there is the right political will in place to contribute towards tourism”, said Teshome.

Rifai (left) and Teshome





Mohamed Anwar has been appointed as a sales director at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek. Anwar has 13 years’ experience in the revenue, sales and marketing field. He started his career in Dubai in 2002 at the regional office of InterContinental Hotels Group Middle East. After four years, he joined Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai and steadily grew in his career specialising in sales and marketing, with experience in several hotels in the bustling emirate. His last assignment was with Mövenpick Tower & Suites Doha. In his new role, Anwar will work on maximising hotel revenue and guest satisfaction.

Anwar will work on maximising hotel revenue

Pastrana has implemented awardwinning strategies

Vincent Miccolis has been appointed by The Ascott Limited as its area general manager for the GCC. With extensive industry experience, having worked for more than 20 years with several prominent hospitality brands across Europe, Miccolis will oversee Ascott’s operations and drive the growth of the company’s serviced residences in the region. Miccolis has been with Ascott since 1997 and held senior roles in London, Brussels, Marseilles and Paris. The Ascott Limited recently added two more properties in Jeddah, increasing its network to over 1,700 apartment units across 11 properties in five countries.

Wai-Kei Wong is the new executive assistant manager at the upcoming Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi, due to open in the fourth quarter of the year by Zaya Retreats. He will be responsible for the entire guest experience, from the welcome boat trip to the resort to the minute they are leaving the island and everything in-between, making sure that the guest never regrets choosing Nurai Island as their getaway. Wong will be assisted in his role by a group of other highcalibre professionals, aiming to transmit true emotional luxury to each guest visiting Zaya Nurai Island.

Miccolis has over 20 years of industry experience



Cristalyn Pastrana has been promoted to director of marketing and communications at Sheraton Bahrain Hotel. Pastrana joined the property in January 2012 as marketing communications manager. During the past two years, she implemented remarkable marketing and public relations strategies and also focussed on the digital marketing and social media segment that has resulted in Sheraton Bahrain Hotel winning multiple awards. In her new role, Pastrana will continue to oversee all aspects of marketing, public relations, branding, digital strategies and social media for the hotel.


Wong will be responsible for the entire guest experience

23 AUGUST 2014


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Al Habtoor Group extends sponsorship for the UAE Basketball Association

Emirates crew assists a passenger to propose to his loved one

Coral Beach Resort Sharjah hosted an Iftar gathering in honour of the 10 best performing members of Coral Secretaries Club

23 AUGUST 2014

Indian national wins USD1 million at Qatar Duty Free

Emaar pays homage to Arabian wildlife with Donald Greig’s sculpture Camels in Downtown Dubai

Jumeirah Frankfurt launches velotaxi service

Team Europe wins Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup 2014



RTE Talks Visits Ecuador

EVENTS THE CHINA GUILIN INTERNATIONAL TOURISM EXPO (CGITE) Guilin, China, August 29 – 31, 2014 CGITE is a key strategic platform catering to the booming Chinese tourism market.



eed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) hosted a road show around Ecuador to help educate the country’s travel and tourism industry on new technology trends and innovations. The RTE Talks road show included three events in the major cities of Guayaquil, Cuenca and Quito and the initiative aimed to update and inform the Ecuadorian tourism and MICE industries on how to best to utilise new technologies. The by invitation only RTE Talks were expected to attract up to 30 suppliers from hotels, destination management companies and venues, along with 15 buyers from a range of tour operators and incentive houses, all from the local market.

now k u o y Did


s vent 23 e h act s n ru hic RTE year w tplace e y k r r e a rism ev m e h , tou ries l t e v as a t r he t n ndus for t MICE i and sig d e an gotiat ts? e to n contrac

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 2 – 3, 2014 The event returns to Brazil after touring the region, focussing on the development of the cruise industry in Latin America.

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

FOOD & HOSPITALITY OMAN Muscat, Oman September 9 – 11, 2014 A business and networking platform to promote the latest products and services in the food and beverage sector.


Quito, Ecuador


Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, September 24 Arab media and top executives gather to have insightful discussions on the current trends.

23 AUGUST 2014

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 250  

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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