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Mary Kammitsi

Currencies shown in blue are fixed against the US Dollar





PRESS Maria Demetriadou Pauline Shahabian




Egypt (EGP)



DESIGN & LAYOUT Elena Stylianou

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

Tsogo Sun Shareholder to Dispose USD1 Billion Stake SABMiller is to sell its 39.6 percent shareholding, valued at approximately ZAR11.7 billion (USD1.09 billion) in Tsogo Sun through a combination of an institutional placing and a buy-back by the hotel group.


he beverages company will dispose of the shares through two transactions: a fully marketed secondary placing of up to approximately 305 million ordinary shares to selected South African and international institutional investors, while Tsogo Sun itself will repurchase at least 130 million ordinary shares for an aggregates consideration of ZAR2.8 billion (USD260 million). As Alan Clark, CEO, SABMiller, noted, the company has been a supportive shareholder of Tsogo Sun since 2002, gaming and hotels are however not its core operations.

Southern Sun Abu Dhabi

Solid Corporate Demand in Riyadh


n the back of strong corporate demand, occupancy levels in Riyadh rose 9.8 percentage points to 68.8 percent in May. As TRI Hospitality Consulting’s HotStats report shows, despite a 3.4 percent decline in average room rates to USD246.84, RevPAR grew 12.6 percent to USD169.40, leading to a 17.8 percent rise in profitability. “Although May typically sees occupancy levels subside due to lower corporate demand, the market remains active with the hosting of several exhibitions, seminars and conferences in various sectors,” observed Peter Goddard, managing director, TRI Hospitality Consulting.


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GDS WEEKLY NEWS ETOA Partners with Amadeus for Technology Workshop

Sabre Continues its Deal with Hilton Worldwide


uropean Tour Operators Association (ETOA) has announced its partnership with Amadeus, the technology provider for the global travel industry, for its new flagship travel technology workshop, Digital. The workshop will take place on September 30 in central London, where the focus will be on sourcing travel technology. The event will bring together ETOA buyers of technology, other similar technology buyers, and technology suppliers, replicating ETOA’s appointments based workshop format in order to ensure time efficiency.


ilton Worldwide has renewed its agreement with Sabre Corporation, which commits Sabre to marketing and selling inventory through its global distribution system (GDS), from the hotel company’s 4,112 properties, whose range includes 92 international territories and more than 685,000 rooms. “Sabre provides tremendous value to Hilton Worldwide with its expansive global reach and access to millions of travellers,” suggested Paula Christy, vice president, distribution channel management, Hilton Worldwide, regarding the agreement’s renewal.

Travelport and Hilton Sign Long-Term Agreement


ravelport has announced a new, multi-year, global full-content deal with one of the largest hospitality companies in the world, Hilton Worldwide. The renewed agreement ensures that the US-headquartered hospitality group’s 4,112 hotels, resorts and timeshare properties will continue to be made available through Travelport’s travel commerce platform to travel agency customers worldwide. “Extending our partnership with Travelport is an important part of our overall distribution strategy and we very much value their extensive worldwide network of travel agency customers as well as the focus and investment they have clearly made in enabling highly efficient hotel distribution to the travel trade,” said Eduardo Schutte, senior vice president, global sales distribution and services, Hilton Worldwide.

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WEEKLY NEWS CRUISING MSC Cruises Offers Telemedicine Onboard


SC Cruises, in collaboration with Instituto Giannina Gaslini in Genoa, Italy, will offer paediatric telemedicine services aboard its fleet. The first cruise line to ever do so, MSC Cruises is installing telemedicine technology established by Carestream Health, to enable the communication between onboard physicians and paediatricians at the Italian institute. This fully-computerised service will allow onboard doctors to conduct specialist procedures, including remote diagnosis, monitoring and radiology, with the highest safety principles. “We are really excited about this collaboration, which is particularly adapted to our family cruises, no matter where in the world,” commented Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises.


Royal Caribbean to Use Google Street View Technology


oyal Caribbean International introduced its collaboration with Google which will see the company launching Google’s Street View technology onboard Allure of the Seas. By using the software, Royal Caribbean International clients will gain an immersive and interactive experience when they are searching for a vacation, according to Deborah Schenker, programme manager, Google UK. With just a few clicks, guests will be able to virtually walk through the various decks of Allure of the Seas, including the Royal Promenade, a boulevard that runs nearly the length of the ship, Central Park, an outdoor park longer than a football pitch, and many more.

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WEEKLY NEWS Boeing Predicts Demand for 36,770 New Planes


oeing projects a heightened demand for airplanes over the next 20 years, which is increased by 4.2 percentage points from 2013’s forecast. The company recently released its annual Current Market Outlook, estimating that the total value of the 36,770 new aircraft will reach USD5.2 trillion. Fueling this year’s forecast is the single-aisle market, which is projected to be the fastest growing and most dynamic segment due to the continued emergence of lowcost carriers, which will require 25,680 new airplanes, making up 70 percent of the total units in the forecast. “There is no question the market is converging to [the 160-seat] size, where network flexibility and cost efficiency meet,” commented Randy Tinseth, vice president, marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

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New Tourist Projects in Oman


n order to lure more tourists during Khareef, the governorate of Dhofar has completed a number of projects this year while, in cooperation with the ministry of tourism, the authority is also working on other tourist sites where work is scheduled to be completed this month, before the start of the Salalah Tourism Festival which will kick off on the second day of Eid Al Fitr. The initiatives include information and help points, entertainment and food and beverage venues, as well as upgrading of the Al Meghaisel and A’Dahareez beaches. Moreover, with visitors and tourists’ safety topping the list of priorities, the ministry of tourism signed an agreement with a specialised company to provide rescue and relief services, in cooperation with the Civil Defence and Royal Oman Police.



Jeddah’s Tourism on the Rise


reen Globe, the tourism sustainability organisation, has awarded its Green Globe Certification Standard to Mövenpick Hotel Doha, for the third consecutive year. The areas for which the property proved its excellence included energy-saving measures, water usage, waste production management, employee’s instruction schemes, and execution of practices to ensure customer satisfaction. The development additionally implemented measures regarding environmentally-friendly communication programmes. “Our hotel is committing today, to do the right thing for tomorrow,” commented Fabien Chesnais, general manager, Mövenpick Hotel Doha.

Rosewood Corniche, Jeddah

Mövenpick Hotel Doha

Third Green Globe Certification for Mövenpick Hotel Doha

Jeddah continues to attract an increasing number of business and leisure travellers, ensuring consistent demand for the city’s hotels.


s Hans-Peter Leitzke, managing director, Rosewood Corniche, Jeddah, explained, the destination has in recent years emerged as one of the Middle East’s most important business hubs as well as a top leisure and shopping spot for both Saudi residents and visitors. As Leitzke noted, featuring only 127 rooms and suites, Rosewood Corniche, Jeddah is ideally positioned to provide the right atmosphere for business, religious, and leisure travellers alike. “The world-class facilities, refined food and beverage offerings, and personalised services we offer through each of our dedicated staff members are inimitable. All rooms and suites enjoy 24-hour butler service and out butlers take care of all guest requests,” conRosewood Corniche, Jeddah cluded Leitzke.


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ACCOMMODATION WEEKLY NEWS Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Debuts in Saudi Arabia


Helicopter Safari by Four Seasons

yndham Hotel Group has introduced its Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham brand to the Saudi market after rebranding Ramada Hotel & Suites Al Khobar as Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham

Al Khobar. “Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham is an extended stay brand that provides a comfortable and convenient atmosphere for guests who are on the road for days or weeks at a time,” explained Khaled Bahgat, general manager, operations, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Al Khobar, adding that the hotel had gone through a complete renovation before retuning under the new brand.

New Wellness Experience at Talise Spas



our Seasons’ Extraordinary Experiences collection, which allows travellers to customise their holidays through a variety of adventures, ranging from extreme nature excursions to exclusive dining experiences, has made a new addition to its list. Four Seasons Resorts and Residences Jackson Hole in Wyoming, US, now offers wildlife enthusiasts the opportunity to embark on a helicopter safari. The trip, which takes place on a luxurious Bell 407 helicopter, features a Four Seasons biologist who elaborates on the fauna and animals visible above the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.

umeirah Group has launched a new signature wellness experience across all its Talise spas in Dubai. For the first time, guests will be offered two new unique treatments, Talise Therapeutic and Muscle Re-lease at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and Madinat Jumeirah. The customised treatments, which fuse ancient healing philosophies with contemporary therapeutic technology, have been designed to combat stress and stiffness, and reflect Talise's core belief that wellness is not an exclusive concept but is accessible and suitable for everyone. A Talise Spa

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels: 50 MEA Hotels by 2017


illennium & Copthorne Hotels is to significantly expand its presence in the region with 50 properties by 2017, Naeem Darkazally, vice president, sales and marketing, Millennium & Copthorne Middle East & Africa (MEA), revealed. “We have ambitious plans to develop and grow all our Millennium & Copthorne brands across the region in the next three years,” reiterated Darkazally. “Initially, we will open 10 hotels in the next 12 to 18 months in the UAE, Kuwait and Muscat. [...] Saudi Arabia will also see 20 hotel openings in the coming years.”

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RENDEZVOUS TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Over the past years, Wyndham Hotel Group has significantly extended its presence in Saudi Arabia. Which brands will drive the company’s expansion in the Kingdom over the coming years? BANI HADDAD: Just a few months ago [in May] Wyndham Hotel Group opened its first Super 8 in Riyadh. This marked not only the brand’s debut in Saudi Arabia, but also the first Super 8 opening anywhere in the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean region. With over 2,400 hotels globally, Super 8 is the largest economy hotel brand in the world and we have received tremendously positive feedback so far on our first opening in this region. We very much look forward to expanding the brand’s network within Saudi Arabia. In addition to the introduction of our Super 8 brand to Saudi Arabia, we also recently launched the Days Inn brand to the country, with our first Days Inn ho-

Q & A with Bani Haddad


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are the main trends determining the company’s expansion strategy? BANI HADDAD: Our development efforts in Saudi Arabia aim to fulfil two major market gaps - the need for a branded, quality serviced apartment or extendedstay option in all primary and secondary cities and the need for dependable accommodation along the country’s highways. We are confident that with the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham and Super 8 brands we have the right solution to meet these needs.


tel opening in Riyadh in 2013. Since its opening, Days Hotel Olaya Riyadh has proven to be the destination of choice for price-conscious travellers who are not willing to compromise on the quality of the room they choose. Through previously-signed multi-unit development agreements, we anticipate a further nine Days Inn hotels to open in the Kingdom over the next six years, along with a further 19 Super 8 hotels over the next five years. These developments, complemented by our existing presence of nine Ramada hotels, make Wyndham Hotel Group a leader in the midscale, budget and economy sectors in a country where the largest demand comes from precisely these segments. The other exciting news is the [recent conversion] of an existing Ramada Hotel & Suites branded property to a Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham hotel. The


property which is located in Al Khobar [went] through a full renovation to fit the brand’s extended-stay positioning [before] reopening in July. Hawthorn Suites Al Khobar is our first extended-stay hotel in the Kingdom and we see significant potential for the brand in the future due to the volume of domestic travel and the requirements of local travellers for large, serviced apartments. We are also looking forward to opening the country’s first Wyndham Grand at the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh towards the end of 2015.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What were the main reasons and motivations for the group to expand in Saudi Arabia?


Ramada Madinah Al Hamra

BANI HADDAD: As the largest country and economy in the GCC, Saudi Arabia is a very important market. It is also a growing market, with a rising number of domestic travellers with increasing purchasing power. If you add this to religious tourism, as well as the significant corporate demand in all primary cities, the market attractiveness speaks for itself, especially for a company like Wyndham Hotel Group, which has such a wide range of brands.

Ramada Al Hada Hotel & Suites

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Crowne Plaza Riyadh Minhal Adds to Inventory

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rowne Plaza Riyadh Minhal’s ongoing expansion is set to add 85 club rooms and suites to the property, bringing its total room count to 308 units. As Chakib Lahlou, area director, sales and marketing, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, explained, the development also includes the construction of 16 meeting rooms, all equipped with the latest technology, enabling the hotel to cater to the growing MICE demand in the Saudi capital. “We have noticed a major increase in the number of visitors to Riyadh and the city is full every week from Saturdays to Wednesdays. To overcome the lower occupancy during weekends and other low demand periods, numerous packages are in place enabling weekenders to experience our facilities and services,” added Lahlou.

Crowne Plaza Riyadh, Minhal

Announcement Ceremony

Dusit International to Debut in Tunisia

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usit International’s strategic expansion continues to gather pace with the company’s first property in Tunisia set to be unveiled in mid-2018. The Thai hospitality company partnered with local firm, Société de Tourisme Samara to bring the resort, which will be converted from an existing hotel, to the historic city of Sousse. Dusit Thani Samara Sousse will be housed within a mixed-use development comprising a 26,000m2 shopping mall and an additional 350 residential apartments. Designs for the 307-key, luxury resort incorporate diverse food and beverage venues, a 1,600m2 spa and direct access to its own private area on Samara Beach. “We feel it is an excellent time to enter this new market, as prospects are exciting and political stability is back in place here in Tunisia,” commented Chanin Donavanik, CEO, Dusit International, adding that the market is set to recover sharply.



Marriott Khalidia Executive Hotel Apartments Apartments Dubai Creek

Khalidia Hotel Apartments Explores New Markets


halidia Hotel Apartments, Dubai, the boutique property offering fully-serviced units with private balconies, continues to expand its market reach. As Mohammed Iqbal, general manager, Khalidia Hotel Apartments, Dubai, explained, after firmly positioning the hotel in the GCC and the Middle East, the management has made concerted efforts to penetrate the promising markets of India, China and the CIS countries. “Our next target is to enter into areas like the Philippines, South Africa, Central America as well as Nigeria,” revealed Iqbal.

Jumeirah Emirates Towers Unveils Refurbished Suites

Ramada Downtown Dubai Hosts Russian Partners



umeirah Emirates Towers has revealed its newly refurbished collection of royal and presidential suites. The new collection of revamped suites, reflect the hotel’s combination of luxury, high quality, and innovation, where all units offer a personalised butler service and views of the evolving Dubai skyline. The unveiling completes the 400 rooms and suites renovation which commenced in 2012, with a number of refurbishments scheduled for this year.

Jumeirah Emirates Towers

amada Downtown Dubai welcomed a group of agents from Natalie Tours, the Russian and CIS tour operator that brings in more than 250,000 tourists annually to the UAE. The agents visited Dubai for a familiarisation trip that included a lunch and a tour of the hotel. According to Samir Arora, general manager, Ramada Downtown Dubai, the group was especially impressed with the suite accommodation, the facilities available for families and the central location of the property. “With increased connections between Dubai and Russia, Ukraine and other CIS countries from airlines such as flydubai, we are optimistic that we will see a boost in traffic from these countries,” added Arora.

Marriott Golden Executive Sands Hotel Apartments Apartments Dubai Creek

Golden Sands Hotel Apartments Holds European Roadshow



olden Sands Hotel Apartments, Dubai, participated in a five-day roadshow across three major European cities to promote the property’s offerings and showcase the emirate’s fast-paced development. Organised by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, and co-sponsored by the hotel, the programme was rolled out in Paris, Zurich and Milan and attracted some120 guests in each city as Mohammad Khoori, general manager, Golden Sands Hotel Apartments, explained. The initiative came on the back of increased visitor numbers, since between 2002 and 2012, European arrivals to Dubai more than doubled.

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Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts announced the management takeover of a 184-room property, formerly Husa Casablanca Plaza, and the birth of the newly rebranded Mövenpick Hotel Casablanca.


ith a presence already in Tangier since 2001, the hospitality group marks its third venture in the vibrant and colourful destination of Morocco with the scheduled opening of Mövenpick Hotel Marrakesh in early 2015. Renovated in 2011, the five-star hotel will undergo further improvements to certain areas, while it will remain in full operation, in order to reflect the high Swiss standards Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is renowned for, as Alan O’Dea, senior vice president, Africa, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, said.

Corinthia Hotel Khartoum Upgrades its Services


Marriott Executive Apartments Dubai Creek


Corinthia Hotel Khartoum

n a bid to enhance guest experience, Corinthia Hotel Khartoum has given a facelift to a number of its facilities. “At the Corinthia Hotel Khartoum we strive to offer personalised services where we recognise our clients as individuals,” explained Nicholas Borg, general manager, Corinthia Hotel Khartoum. “We achieve this by familiarising ourselves with each client’s needs, which includes getting acquainted to [their] business, as well as their business objectives, so that we can tailor our service delivery to each specific requirement.” The hotel has recently updated its menus and food and beverage services, while the new personalised culinary and butler experience adds another tailormade dimension to guests’ experience.

Mövenpick Hotel Casablanca

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels: Nine New Saudi Hotels


illennium & Copthorne Hotels continues to strengthen its presence in Saudi Arabia with nine new hotels currently under construction. As Naeem Darkazally, vice president, sales and marketing, Millennium & Copthorne Middle East & Africa, explained, besides those properties, which collectively represent over 4,000 rooms, further 14 projects are under final negotiations. In 2015, five properties are expected to open, including Millennium Hotel Hayel, Millennium Hotel Jizan, M Hotel Makkah, Studio M Riyadh and Millennium Hotel Tabouk, while Millennium Al Baha Hotel is scheduled for completion in 2016. Grand Millennium Hotel Riyadh is to launch in 2017, and will be followed by Millennium Hotel & Apartments Jeddah and the 1,400-key Millennium Hotel Makkah in 2018.

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Book this space!


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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


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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:



Kuwait Airways Partners with Turkish Airlines Kuwait Airways carried out a reception to celebrate the ground handling pact with Turkish Airlines for the latter’s aircrafts at Kuwait International Airport (KIA).


resent at the event was Fawzi Khorshid, director of ground handling, Kuwait Airways, who expressed his pleasure for the collaboration between the two leading airlines at KIA. As Khorshid outlined, the benefits to which all clients of Kuwait Airways are entitled include classified areas for luggage check in, supplied with the latest technologies, and systematic maintenance services of aircrafts for which the airline provides ground handling services, to secure prompt flight departure. The four daily flights to and from KIA operated by Turkish Airlines, which are set for a seasonal increase, will enjoy Kuwait Airways’ dedicated efficiency measures.

Emirates Goes Double Daily to Mauritius

Celebrating the partnership

Etihad Touches down in Yerevan


mirates is to serve Mauritius with an added daily Airbus A380 service from December 1. The second A380 operation, which will replace the existing Boeing 777, will increase Emirates’ capacity on the route by 19 percent. The ongoing A380 service into Mauritius has enjoyed exceptional popularity since its launch on December 16, 2013, with more than 150,000 passengers having flown to the paradise island during that time, revealed Orhan Abbas, senior vice president, commercial operations, Latin America, Central and Southern Africa, Emirates. Commenting on the enhancement, Michael Yeung Sik Yuen, minister of tourism and leisure, Mauritius, said that the new milestone will promote the island and the airport as a premier league destination in the Indian Ocean, being the only airport that will offer Emirates’ services using entirely A380 aircraft.



tihad Airways has commenced direct services between Abu Dhabi and Zvartnots International Airport, connecting the UAE capital and Yerevan four times a week. The new route is operated by a two-class Airbus A320 aircraft, configured to carry 136 passengers, offering a total of 1,088 seats per week. According to James Mueller, senior vice president, Etihad Airways, the new services, which reinforce the airline’s commitment to emerging markets, will cater for the significant and growing demand for travel between the UAE and Armenia, as well as cities with large Armenian populations around the globe. As Sergey Avetisyan, deputy minister of economy, Armenia, highlighted, the route will also contribute to inbound tourism and stimulate economic and commercial ties between the UAE and Armenia.

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Etihad Airways and Air New Zealand Agree Maintenance Deal


odeshare partners Etihad Airways and Air New Zealand have now signed a wide-ranging agreement to provide reciprocal line maintenance services in Melbourne and Los Angeles. The maintenance services to be performed may include transit, daily and weekly checks, scheduled engineering services and fault repairs for the aircraft systems and passenger cabins. Jeff Wilkinson, senior vice president, technical, Etihad Airways, said that the successful codeshare partnership with Air New Zealand goes back three years and it is a delight to build on this foundation by working together in the technical area. “Etihad Airways’ Melbourne line maintenance facilities, services and personnel are world-class, and we look forward to servicing Air New Zealand’s aircraft while they perform similar line maintenance for us at their modern facility in Los Angeles,” he added.

Qatar Airways Links Doha and Dallas/Fort Worth


atar Airways has commenced daily nonstop services between Hamad International Airport and Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport, expanding the carrier’s global network to seven gateways within the US. Along with Houston, Qatar Airways’ other destination in Texas, Dallas/Fort Worth, the home of oneworld alliance partner, American Airlines, will serve as a crucial junction between the carrier’s global network via Doha and other key destinations across its route map. “Together [with American Airlines], we can proth Wor r t r vide North Texas and the o ata as/F Dall esents Qh new surrounding region with repr ys’ 10t this f a o unparalleled service and w n r i o i A inat dest year? better connections to Doha and around the world,” noted Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways. According to Sean Donohue, CEO, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, pinpointed, the new nonstop service will add almost USD200 million annually to the region's economy.

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Qatar Airways Touches Down

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WEEKLY NEWS AIR Qatar Executive Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Etihad Cargo Adds to Swiss and US Services


atar Airways’ business jet arm, Qatar Executive, has celebrated its fifth anniversary. Launched in 2009 as Qatar Airways’ corporate jet subsidiary, Qatar Executive has been part of the airline’s ongoing global growth strategy, and continued commitment to the Middle East business travel community. The once modest charter operation has since evolved into a successful business which has developed into a world-class corporate jet company. To date, the company has almost tripled its private jet fleet. Discussing the growth of the company, Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, noted, “In just five years, Qatar Executive has become a benchmark company in the business aviation industry, as a result of our dedication and commitment to the global travelling elite.”

Etihad Airways and Philippine Airlines Strengthen Ties


tihad Airways has entered into a strategic partnership with Philippine Airlines, heralding a new era of cooperation between the carriers. The deal, which builds on the original codeshare agreement, covers codeshare flights, loyalty programmes, airport lounges, joint sales and marketing campaigns, a Philippines domestic air pass, cargo, and the coordination of airport operations to provide a better guest experience at the Abu Dhabi and Manila hubs. According to James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, the broad scope of the commercial agreement reflects not only the strength of the relationship between the airlines but also the close ties between the UAE and the Southeast Asian country.


tihad Cargo has further extended its reach in Switzerland and the US by adding bellyhold capacity on flights between Abu Dhabi and Zurich and Los Angeles respectively. The move follows the recent inauguration of passenger services to the two cities by Etihad Airways. The new Abu Dhabi – Zurich operation offers cargo customers 260 tonnes of weekly bellyhold uplift capability while flights between the UAE capital and the American city provide 130 tonnes of weekly bellyhold volume. Kevin Knight, chief strategy and planning officer, Etihad Airways, described Switzerland and the US as two key markets for the company.

RJ Introduces e-Freight System


oyal Jordanian Airlines (RJ) in collaboration with global IT provider, CHAMP Cargosystems, has launched its e-freight system. The new offering enables cargo agents to seamlessly conduct cargo bookings and create airway bills through a system website. e-freighting is one of the initiatives of the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s Simplifying the Business programme, an industry-wide initiative aimed at replacing paper usage with electronic data and messages. Muath Majali, vice president, cargo sales and service, RJ, described the cargo sector as the second fundamental arm of the company and reiterated RJ’s eagerness to offer state-of-the-art services to ease freighting activities.


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RENDEZVOUS TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Indonesia has long established itself as one of the most popular Asian destinations for Middle Eastern travellers. How have guest numbers from the region grown over the past years? NIA NISCAYA: International tourists from the Middle East increased 35.02 percent from 98,270 in 2012 to 132,679 in 2013, [and the figures have grown] 53.53 percent until this April. The main reason behind this growth is the increased seat capacity from Saudi Arabian Airlines and flynas from the total of 1,789,528 seats in 2011-2014 to 2,031,276 seats today with direct services between Jakarta and Jeddah. Furthermore, another reason is Indonesia’s mild weather and splash of green view, especially in the mountain area. Also, Indonesia and MENA countries have similar culture and religion, so it is suitable for tourists from the MENA area and they love it.

Q & A with Nia Niscaya


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What makes the MENA region a key market for Indonesia? NIA NISCAYA: The high growth rate of tourist arrivals, good connectivity between Indonesia and MENA and the type of travellers from MENA countries, who are considered high spending visitors who usually travel with their families, make MENA an important market for the country. Indonesia’s tourism product is perfectly convenient and suitable for these travellers.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What other aspects make Indonesia an attractive destination for Arab holidaymakers and businessmen? NIA NISCAYA: Indonesia offers many excellent opportunities. Besides, it is rich in nature and culture and 90 percent of Indonesians are Muslims. Indonesia possesses conditions that make it a convenient destination for Muslim travellers. Muslim-friendly facilities such as Halal food restaurants, apartment hotel services, Qibla and Istinja facilities are easy to find. Also, most of Indonesia’s tourism products and destinations are Sharia-compliant. Indonesia also provides a modern lifestyle with shopping centres and outlets of famous international lifestyle brands. Furthermore golf facilities, family entertainment and MICE facilities are also available in Jakarta, Medan, Bandung, Bali, Surabaya, and in other destinations. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: The tourism board has recently revealed plans to attract some 214,000 visitors from the Middle East. What kind of initiatives are being implemented in order to lure more guests from the region? NIA NISCAYA: Our country’s main targets in the MENA region are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, while Qatar and Kuwait are our potential markets. In fact, 26 JULY 2014


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Please tell us about the tourism ministry’s main activities for the current year.

INDONESIA REAPED SOME USD10.1 BILLION IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNINGS FROM 8.8 MILLION OVERSEAS TOURISTS IN 2013. HERE, NIA NISCAYA, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION, MINISTRY OF TOURISM AND CREATIVE ECONOMY, INDONESIA, TALKS ABOUT THE MENA MARKET’S INCREASING IMPORTANCE. we have started tapping into Qatar and Kuwait in 2010 and 2012 respectively. We have a grand marketing strategy, namely 16-16-7. It consists of 16 focus market countries, including the Middle East and 16 priority destination areas beyond Bali […]. The number seven represents our seven primary products namely culture and heritage, nature and ecotourism, culinary and shopping, health and wellness, sport and recreation, MICE and cruise tourism.


NIA NISCAYA: We promote Indonesian tourism through several activities, and we also participated in the annual Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. We also try to organise regular sales missions to Saudi Arabia’s three key cities, and we are planning to expand our activities to also to Riyadh and Dammam. Our main theme for the current year is MICE. In fact, Indonesia has a host of world-class MICE related events, including a World Trade Organization meeting, as well as gatherings for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation officials. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How popular is the MENA region among Indonesian travellers? NIA NISCAYA: Over the years, the number of Indonesian travellers visiting MENA countries has been growing noticeably, with many of these travellers flying to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and Umrah. Based on our statistics, both Indonesia and Saudi Arabia could attract more visitors and we believe that cooperation is the key word to increase arrivals to the two countries.



Crystal Lagoons Enters Southeast Asia


rystal Lagoons is expanding its global presence in key Southeast Asian markets with the upcoming launch of a 6.3ha project on the Indonesian island of Bintan. Located at the heart of the Treasure Bay Bintan project, the 338ha mixed-use community will feature a sparkling crystalline lagoon as the leisure centrepiece of its Southern Precinct district. “This will be a first-of-its-kind tourism project not only for Indonesia, but for Southeast Asia, and with infrastructure investment and the tourism dollar supporting economic growth in key regional markets, we add further value to the tourism proposition of a destination through the application of our revolutionary technology in order to create unique leisure-centric destinations,” said Kevin Morgan, CEO, Crystal Lagoons.

est Western International (BWI) has launched a new upscale resort on the Coral Coast of Western Australia. Located in the town of Kalbarri, 600km from Perth, BEST WESTERN PLUS Kalbarri Edge Resort offers 72 units, a restaurant, swimming pool, gym and outdoor dining and barbeque areas. “Our upscale BEST WESTERN PLUS brand has been delighting guests in Asia and the Middle East for several years now, and we are delighted to expand this popular product in Australia,” commented Glenn de Souza, vice president, international operations, Asia and Middle East, BWI, adding that the brand is set to appeal to the increasing number of tourists visiting the area, famed for its pristine, unspoiled landscape.

DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta - Diponegoro

DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta – Diponegoro Opens


ilton Worldwide celebrated the official launch of its first DoubleTree by Hilton branded hotel in Indonesia’s vibrant capital city on June 18. The new, upscale DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta - Diponegoro is a 253-room hotel with three dining outlets, a spacious outdoor pool and generous meeting facilities, ideally suited to business and leisure travellers, while it is 4.2km away from the Central Business District, near multinational companies, embassies, government offices as well as the city centre’s popular shopping, dining and entertainment landmarks. Earlier that day, Hilton Worldwide also announced its global partnership with national carrier, Garuda Indonesia, benefitting members of both GarudaMiles and Hilton HHonors when they stay at any of the hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio.


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Agent’s Insight NAME:

Leon Almeida


Contracts manager


Destinations of the World




Who are you? I was born and raised by my loving parents in sunny Dubai and my hobbies are fine arts, collecting comics and playing football. Destinations of the World (DOTW) is a 19-year old dedicated business-to-business (B2B) travel industry wholesaler that now has 22 offices in strategic locations around the world with over 300 multilingual professional staff. The core practices are fully supported and disciplined by DOTW’s pioneering technology and its dedicated employees. The company’s constant investment in people and technology is the main reason why until this day we are able to successfully connect travel professionals and build loyalty amongst our suppliers and customers. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? Meeting other travel professionals from all over the world and learning more about the UK and Ireland, its culture and an array of products. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? My next holiday destination is Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US. Fort Lauderdale is famous for its beaches, arts, culture and events. Why should people come to you for travel advice? I work very closely with VisitBritain to gain first hand information about Britain and travel on regular familiarisation and contracting trips to ensure that DOTW’s B2B portal has all the necessary products for our worldwide clientele. 26 JULY 2014



Since last April we have broadened our horizons to the GCC markets

SUMATHI RAMANATHAN Regional manager, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, VisitBritain.

“We recognised the importance of the travel trade and we are forming strong partnerships in the region. Our strategy in the region was very UAE- and Dubai-focused. Since last April we have broadened our horizons to the GCC markets so we have six gateway cities, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Kuwait City, Riyadh and Jeddah so we have started branching out actively.”

Saudi Arabia is a huge market

RICHARD POWER Director of communications, Rocco Forte Hotels.

“People are becoming increasingly aware that Saudi Arabia is a huge market, and holds such potential. Sir Rocco Forte has strong ties to the Middle East, through his previous role with the Forte Group, and he wanted to return to the region and thought that Jeddah would be a great option, due to its fantastic location which attracts both commercial and leisure tourists. We receive many guests to our existing hotels in Europe from the Kingdom, and so we know that there is a familiarity and loyalty to the Rocco Forte Hotels brand – even without a presence in the GCC, currently.”

You will also hear from us soon regarding an exciting food and beverage concept

FLORIAN WILLE Residence manager, Kempinski Residences & Suites, Doha.

“In the coming months, we will focus on healthy and balanced lifestyle. We are planning to introduce the use of fresh, locally sourced products from farms in Qatar and take it even further. You will also hear from us soon regarding an exciting food and beverage concept which we believe will shake up Doha’s dining and lounging scene.”

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


26 JULY 2014


Etihad Airways Received 100th and 101st Aircraft Etihad Airways celebrated a major milestone as the airline took delivery of its 100th and 101st aircraft on the same day.


he 100th aircraft, a new Airbus A321-231, which arrived from Hamburg, was welcomed by more than 500 Etihad Airways employees. For an airline which launched operations just 10 years ago, receiving the 100th aircraft is a significant achievement, said James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways. “Etihad Airways continues to grow, to prosper and to lead the way in innovation and service. Today, we fly the most technologically advanced and fuel efficient aircraft available, setting new standards in comfort and reliability,” added Hogan.

Etihad Welcomed New Aircrafts

SCTDA Hosts Orientation Programme for Tourism Industry Partners

IATA Reports African Air Market’s Potential Benefits


he International Air Transport Association (IATA) has issued a report carried out by InterVISTAS, an independent consulting company, analysing how the enactment of the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision by 12 African air markets would provide benefits. The decision’s main aim was the liberalisation of air markets through the removal of restrictions from air services, and would provide advantages in the employment and economic progress areas. “It is unfortunate that African states are opening their air markets to third countries but not to each other”, commented Iyabo Sosina, secretary general, African Civil Aviation Commission, adding that Africa is a huge potential aviation market.

Students Donate to Al Ain Zoo


harjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) hosted a two day orientation tour, titled Sharjah My Destination, on June 24 – 25, as part of its strategy to enhance the skills and expertise of tourism industry partners. The tour featured visits to tourist attractions and cultural centres across Sharjah, as H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, director general, SCTDA, emphasised the importance of such orientation programmes and training workshops in view of the growing number of tourists visiting Sharjah, and due to the role employees in this sector play in promoting the tourism product.

Sharjah Cultural Centre

26 JULY 2014


ollowing a two month campaign as part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program, students from Dubai International Academy presented Al Ain Zoo with a generous donation, in a bid to assist the zoo in protecting endangered animals. During the two month campaign, the students developed initiatives and coordinated a series of school events, and raised AED1,500 (USD408) towards Al Ain Zoo’s conservation program of the Arabian leopard. Discussing the donation, Muna Al Dhaheri, chief of conservation and education, Al Ain Zoo, commented, “We are grateful for this wonderful initiative that reflects constant support for our animal conservation effort.”






Sarah Nabil has been promoted to director of public relations at Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano. After graduating from Alexandria University, Nabil began her career at a diving centre in Dahab. She then took on a challenge to work as executive secretary of the general manager and public relations coordinator for a resort in the town before joining Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano where she first worked as administrative assistant to the director of food and beverage and later as a catering sales assistant. In 2008 she returned to the public relations department as assistant manager, rising to the role of public relations manager, before taking on her new role as director of public relations.

Robert Douglas has been named general manager for Armenia at Etihad Airways. In his position, Douglas will lead the airline’s Armenian sales and marketing operations from its new Yerevan office. Douglas' aviation career spans more than 30 years. Prior to joining the Abu Dhabi-based carrier in 2005, Douglas worked in more than 10 countries with British Airways and partner airlines. He moves to Armenia from Jakarta, where he served as Etihad Airways’ general manager for Indonesia since 2007. Previously, he held the position of area manager for Northern India and Nepal. Douglas’ appointment coincides with the launch of Etihad Airways’ new services to Yerevan.



Marc Bennett has joined Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM)’s management team as the new senior vice president of international operations. With over 18 years of experience in the leisure and hospitality industry, Bennett will be in charge of branding, promotion and marketing and he will oversee tourism sector relations, strategic alliances and the destination’s overseas offices. He joined DCTCM from Emirates, where he was responsible for spearheading all business units within the destination and leisure divisions including Emirates Holidays, Arabian Adventures, Congress Solutions International, and Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa. Prior to that, Bennett held senior roles with TUI Travel and Thomas Cook Group.

Angela Christodoulopoulou has been named director of sales and marketing at Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach Residence and Ramada Sharjah. In her position, Christodoulopoulou, who has 20 years of experience in the industry, will lead the sales and marketing team in developing strategies directed towards achieving set sales targets and maximising revenue for both properties. In addition, she has been tasked with further strengthening the existing ties with the hotels’ key partners and generating leads for new business deals. Prior to joining the two properties’ team, Christodoulopoulou served as director of sales and marketing for Park Hyatt Dubai, while before moving to the UAE, she was with Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki in Greece.

26 JULY 2014


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 Because a picture is worth a thousand words...

David Cameron, prime minister, UK (left), Tom Enders, CEO, Airbus Group and Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways at the Farnborough Airshow 2014

Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road organised an Iftar for the Special Needs Future Development Center

Iftar for Cabs 2013- Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi team with Cab Drivers

26 JULY 2014

Emirates celebrates with 2014 FIFA World Cup winner Germany

Etihad Airways honoured for leading financial planning department of the year

Emirates takes delivery of 50th Airbus A380 aircraft

Farnborough International Airshow 2014

Hussain Sajwani, CEO, DAMAC Properties (left), handed over AED1 million (USD272,250) to the UAE water aid campaign


NEWS & EVENTS Turkish Airlines Holds Roadshow in Dubai

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


urkish Airlines, in partnership with Andalusia Tourism Board and Costa del Sol Tourist Board, held a roadshow for Dubai-based travel agents at Al Ghurair Arjaan by Rotana, Dubai. Participants of the event not only enjoyed a presentation of the destinations’ highlights, but were also introduced to the news that Turkish Airlines is increasing its operations between Istanbul and Malaga to 10 weekly services during the summer peak season between August 4 – 29. “To further highlight our connections throughout Southern Europe we are working closely with tourism authorities to showcase destinations that appeal to travellers from the Gulf,” commented Emre Ismailoglu, general manager, Dubai and Northern Emirates, Turkish Airlines, noting that earlier this year the company organised a familiarisation trip to Malaga, offering agents from the UAE the opportunity to explore Andalusia and its many attractions.

SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL GOLF & TRAVEL (SIGT) Shanghai, China, September 5 – 7, 2014 ( 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 ( KTM brings together the business fraternity and the entrepreneurs behind Kerala’s products and services.

WORLD ROUTES 2014 Chicago, US, September 20 – 23, 2014 ( An essential global gathering for aviation organisations from across all countries and continents.

CITYSCAPE GLOBAL Dubai, UAE, September 21 – 23, 2014 ( Cityscape Global’s mission is to enhance and support the vision for real estate growth worldwide to an international audience.


26 JULY 2014

Travel Trade Weekly Issue 246  

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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