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27 SEPTEMBER 2014

ISSUE 255

PALESTINE WELCOMED 200,000 HOTEL GUESTS H.H. SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM, RULER OF DUBAI, HAS GIVEN THE GO-AHEAD FOR THE USD1.5 BILLION ROYAL ATLANTIS RESORT ON THE PALM, DUBAI.

06 ETIHAD AIRWAYS’ BUTLERS OFF FOR TRAINING

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

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ROYAL ATLANTIS RESORT ANNOUNCED

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MARKET UPDATE TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATIONS

MENA EXCHANGE RATES As of 26/9/2014

MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi mary@traveltradeweekly.travel ASSISTANT EDITOR Maria Kazeli SENIOR JOURNALIST Rita Kasziba PRESS Maria Demetriadou Pauline Shahabian DESIGN & LAYOUT Elena Stylianou WEB DEVELOPER / IT Soteris Constantinou DIRECTORS Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi HEADQUARTERS T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly LTD P.O. Box 25255, Nicosia 1308 Cyprus Tel: +357 22 021607, Fax: +357 22 103670 WEBSITE www.traveltradeweekly.travel EMAILS info@traveltradeweekly.travel sales@traveltradeweekly.travel editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel

Currencies shown in blue are fixed against the US Dollar

COUNTRY

CURRENCY

1USD=

Bahrain (BHD)

Dinar

0.37

Jordan (JOD)

Dinar

0.71

Oman (OMR)

Rial

0.39

Qatar (QAR)

Rial

3.64

Saudi Arabia (SAR)

Riyal

3.75

UAE (AED)

Dirham

3.67

Algeria (DZD)

Dinar

82.39

Egypt (EGP)

Pound

7.15

Iran (IRR)

Rial

26,677.51

Iraq (IQD)

Dinar

1,159.38

Kuwait (KWD)

Dinar

0.29

Lebanon (LBP)

Pound

1,510.10

Libya (LYD)

Dinar

1.21

Morocco (MAD)

Dirham

8.71

Syria (SYP)

Pound

160.15

Tunisia (TND)

Dinar

1.79

Yemen (YER)

Rial

214.86

Steady Passenger and Freight Traffic Growth in July According to Airports Council International (ACI), Asia Pacific, passenger traffic maintained a steady growth rate for the month of July.

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sia Pacific airports recorded a year-on-year increase of 3.5 percent while airports in the Middle East recorded an increase of five percent. Year-to-date passenger traffic from January to July saw the Middle East continue to lead the region with a strong increase of 8.4 percent, while Asia Pacific posted an increase of 4.2 percent. Furthermore, freight volumes also continued to show signs of strong recovery with improvements in global trade and commerce. For the month of July, Asia Pacific airports recorded a year-on-year growth of 6.8 percent, while the Middle East recorded a 12 percent growth.

HIA Increases Passenger Footfall in July

SEZAD Calls for Investors in Duqm

Hamad International Airport (HIA), Qatar’s new international transit hub, announced a growth in its monthly passenger statistics compared to those at the old Doha International Airport.

Special Economic Zone Authority in Duqm (SEZAD) has called on the business world to invest in SEZAD.

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HIA

his was the message in a keynote speech delivered by Ismail bin Ahmed al Balushi, deputy CEO, SEZAD, in a special seminar organised by the authority in collaboration with Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Al Balushi affirmed to attendees from the business community that the main objectives of SEZAD are to diversify the sources of national economy, provide more job opportunities for locals and develop the Al Wusta Governorate. “At SEZAD we endeavour to translate these aims into reality through a number of mechanisms and initiatives including, but not limited to, preparing the legal and regulatory framework which organises work at SEZAD and streamlines the incentives provided to investors,” said al Balushi.

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he airport saw an 11.4 percent increase in passengers through its doors in July compared to the same month in 2013, with a total of 2,160,843 transferring, departing and arriving travellers. Cargo numbers have also risen at the airport with an additional 12.8 percent traffic in July. “Over the coming months and years we will continue to grow and ensure every passenger has the best possible experience at our airport, whether they be departing, arriving or in transit,” promised Badr Al Meer, chief operating officer, HIA.

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SEZAD Seminar

27 SEPTEMBER 2014


TECHNOLOGY WEEKLY NEWS

Travelport and Premier Inn Distribution Agreement Travelport and Premier Inn have announced a new distribution agreement that will make the hotel chain’s 670 properties across the UK and Ireland available to Travelport-connected travel agencies worldwide.

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ommenting on the agreement, Niklas Andreen, group vice president, hospitality and partner marketing, Travelport, said, “Premier Inn is the largest hotel chain in the UK, and one that we are delighted to be bringing to our travel agency customers worldwide. We know that our agents are demanding more hotel content than ever before to help maximise revenue opportunities, and the ability to provide Premier Inn through their existing booking process is an exciting development.”

Royal Caribbean Adopts New Technology

SAA and Amadeus Announce Partnership

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oyal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, will incorporate a host of new technology features designed to heighten the vacation experience of its tech-savvy modern travellers and deliver a hassle-free cruise. Substantial bandwidth will keep guests connected, whilst user-friendly systems and radio-frequency identification will simplify schedules, speed up boarding processes and enhance service on-board. The technology benefits also extend to the ship’s crew as custom apps will allow staff to keep better track of guests’ preferences.

Quantum of the Seas 27 SEPTEMBER 2014

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has Inn he r e i t Prem otels in ? t h s a e fiv le E Midd

outh African Airways (SAA) and Amadeus have announced a landmark agreement that will see the airline and its franchisees migrate to Amadeus Passenger Revenue Accounting. The move will enable SAA to manage complex revenue accounting processes. The solution provides realtime sales and usage data for all types of revenue. Interline information is also processed instantly, which streamlines revenuesharing between airline partners and accelerates the interline cash flow cycle. Wolf Meyer, chief financial officer, SAA, said, “As a large airline with complex revenue streams, including ancillary service sales, it is increasingly important for us to gain an immediate and accurate view of company revenues.”

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WEEKLY NEWS

DWC Expansion Plan Confirmed Dubai Airports has welcomed the approval for the AED120 billion (USD32 billion) expansion of Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) which will ultimately accommodate more than 200 million passengers a year.

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DWC

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nticipated to be the biggest airport project in the world, the development will be built in two phases. The first phase will take between six and eight years to complete and includes two satellite buildings with a collectively capacity of 120 million passengers annually and the ability to accommodate 100 Airbus A380 aircraft at any one time. The entire development will cover an area of 56km2. With passenger traffic expected to reach almost 100 million at Dubai International by the end of 2020, the further development of DWC will pave the way for Emirates to relocate its intercontinental hub operations to DWC by mid-2020.

Oman’s Economy Still Tied to Oil

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n analysis issued by Oxford Business Group indicates that despite Oman’s finances looking healthier, the country still remains vulnerable to price shocks in the energy sector. According to data by the National Centre for Statistics and Information, the Sultanate’s economy posted solid growth for the first quarter of the year, with nominal GDP rising 4.6 percent year-on-year, and the services sector seeing wholesale and retail trade, its largest component, rising 7.1 percent. Another positive development is that the Omanisation programme, a policy to replace migrant workers with nationals, is gaining traction, too, as the number of expatriate workers in Oman has been steadily declining.

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WEEKLY NEWS Dubai Parks & Resorts Unveiled

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eraas Holding has unveiled the blueprint for Dubai Parks & Resorts, a mega leisure destination set to take shape in Jebel Ali. Phase one of the AED10 billion (USD2.7 billion) investment, scheduled for completion in 2016, will comprise three theme parks; Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, and LEGOLAND Dubai, as well as grand entrance plaza Riverpark, and Lapita, a family-themed hotel. “The project will feature leading intellectual properties from elite industry players to create leisure and entertainment concepts that are expected to draw more than five million residents and tourists annually,” commented H.E. Abdulla Al Habbai, chairman, Meraas Holding.

27 SEPTEMBER 2014

Importance of Russian Tourists to Yas Island

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n line with plans to tap into the lucrative Russian tourist market, Yas Island reached out to new businesses and raised its awareness at the recent 20th International Trade Fair for Travel and Tourism, known as OTDYKH 2014, in Moscow. “With over 50 million outbound travellers each year and growing, Russia and the CIS are immensely important markets for the global tourist industry,” said Karim El Guanaini, vice president, Yas Island Destination Management. Russians who want to holiday in the UAE can easily travel on daily connections to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and statistics show that this is exactly what more and more are doing. Around 16,800 visitors came from Russia to Abu Dhabi alone in 2012, according to the Tourism Decision Matrix. This figure is expected to grow by 29.5 percent annually to reach 61,100 by 2017.

Growing Number of Hotels in Saudi Arabia

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mar Al Mubarak, director general, licensing, Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA), recently reported that the number of hotels and furnished apartments in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was 230,000 at the end of March. The Saudi hospitality sector has witnessed rapid growth in investment and this growth is expected to continue in the near future, with 149 new hotels under construction in different parts of the Kingdom. More than 77 percent of hospitality investment in the Kingdom is localised in the two holy cities of Mecca and Madina, and more investments are expected to arrive in both holy cities. Future investment is also expected in other major cities, especially in the three-star hotel category, resorts and high-class furnished apartments.

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WEEKLY NEWS Palestine Welcomed 200,000 Hotel Guests

Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort Attracts Record GCC Visitors

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uring the second quarter of the year, 207,083 travellers stayed in hotels in the West Bank for 493,104 nights, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Of these nights, 36 percent were by guests from European Union countries, eight percent by Palestinians, and 11 percent from the US and Canada. The percentage of hotel visitors during the second quarter increased by 39 percent compared to the first quarter of the year and by 35 percent compared with the second quarter of 2013. In terms of occupancy, the region’s units registered a rate of 31 percent, signalling a growth of 17 percent year-on-year.

tephan Killinger, president, Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort, in Morocco, has revealed that revenues from GCC families are increasingly outstripping those from European families at the resort. Killinger attributed this trend to the higher spending power of GCC families as well as the number of people in each family. In addition, more air links between the two regions have contributed to a dramatic growth in the number of GCC tourists coming to Morocco. Seaside resorts are generally a preferred choice for Gulf tourists as they offer a wider number of entertainment options and a culturally diverse ambience. Killinger also reported that the resort recorded its highest ever GCC footfall during the first eight months of the year, with simplified visa formalities for Gulf nationals encouraging more people to visit that part of the world rather than Europe.

Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort

Sharjah Eyes Indian Market

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harjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has turned its focus once again on the booming Indian tourism market, hosting a promotional road show that visited Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. India is one of the most promising tourism markets for the emirate which every year attracts thousands of tourists and visitors from the country. In 2013, arrivals reached 123,010, an increase of 41 percent year-on-year. “This is an ideal time to visit Sharjah which is known the world over for its celebration of culture, family and tourism festivals, 19 museums, art and culture events, luxurious hotels and beach resorts, diverse landscape and various other tourist attractions,� said H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, director general, SCTDA.

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WEEKLY NEWS Saudi Tourism Up During Summer

Crystal Lagoons in USD4 Billion Project

TDIC Reveals Mamsha Al Saadiyat

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rystal Lagoons has unveiled its latest Middle East mega project with the development of an 8ha lagoon as the leisure centrepiece of a 240ha mixeduse project in Jeddah, under development by the Prince Sultan Cultural Centre. Valued at USD4 billion, the project will include a dedicated medical city, cultural centre, educational facilities, luxury hotels, residential villas and apartments supported by extensive leisure facilities, including the country’s firstever Jack Nicklaus nine-hole golf course. With phase one scheduled for completion in 2015, the project has already broken ground and is scheduled to be up-and-running within the next three to five years.

Crystal Lagoons Saudi Project

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recently released report by the Saudi Tourism Information and Research Center (MAS), revealed that the number of domestic tourist trips from June to August exceeded 5.8 million, compared to 5.5 million trips during the same period in 2013, a growth of 5.4 percent. Expenditure on these trips was up 24 percent at over SAR6.2 billion (USD1.65 billion), compared to the SAR5 billion (USD1.3 billion) spent during the same period in 2013.

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ourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) revealed Mamsha Al Saadiyat, a 1.4km beachfront mixeduse project that will offer residents a beach-inspired lifestyle as well as easy access to diverse retail, dining and entertainment features. It is the first residential development in the Saadiyat Cultural District and will feature nine low-rise residential buildings, including apartments and townhouses. The project will be developed in phases and will also encompass a serviced-apartment building and a retail village. Ali Al Hammadi, CEO, TDIC, said that the development will further enhance the appeal of both, the Cultural District and Saadiyat as a whole, as a one-of-a-kind development, both regionally and internationally.

The Wave, Muscat Partners with Uniboats

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man’s leisure and lifestyle destination, The Wave, Muscat, home to the 400 berth Almouj Marina, Oman’s largest private yachting hub, has provided a unique platform to power Uniboats, an independent water sport equipment supplier. Having started operations at Almouj Marina, Uniboats now has access to over 3,000 permanent residents and visitors who are able to book boat tours and excursions, water sports lessons and rent jet skis. “The Wave, Muscat is committed to providing the platform for small and medium enterprise to develop within an integrated tourism complex,” commented Hawazen Esber, CEO, The Wave, Muscat.

27 SEPTEMBER 2014

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WEEKLY NEWS CRUISING

Cunard Line Announces 2016 World Cruises Cunard Line has already officially announced its world cruises for 2016 with sales having commenced on September 10.

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unard Line will operate world voyages on all three of its Queen ships, Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2, and Queen Elizabeth. All three ships will sail from their homeport of Southampton on January 10, 2016, returning together four months later on May 10. Between them, the ships will visit no fewer than 92 ports in 49 countries with overnight stays in some of the world’s most iconic cities including Cape Town, Dubai, Rio, San Francisco, Singapore, and Sydney.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman Promote Cruise Tourism

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ruise Arabia, the collaborative initiative formed by Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) to promote the Arabian Gulf as a cruise destination, participated in Seatrade Med in Barcelona, Spain from September 16 – 18. Cruise Arabia partners showcased cruise tourism opportunities in the Gulf and the diversity of what the region has to offer as a destination, ranging from city skylines to desert landscapes and beaches, sophisticated malls and traditional souks, natural wilderness and adventure experiences, as well as its art, culture and heritage.

Princess Cruises Unveils New Night-time Experience

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rincess Cruises will debut a new outdoor nightclub onboard its ship, Regal Princess, on its inaugural Caribbean season in November. The Night Sky Lounge will be transformed from the ship’s top-deck Retreat Pool and enable guests to enjoy a nightclub experience under the stars. The club will operate on one night during each cruise, with atmospheric pool and furniture lighting, glowing drinks and a state-of-the-art audio system.

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ACCOMMODATION WEEKLY NEWS

ROYAL ATLANTIS RESORT ANNOUNCED

Royal Atlantis Resort

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, has given the go-ahead for a number of development projects by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) over the coming three years, including the USD1.5 billion Royal Atlantis Resort on The Palm, Dubai.

Saraya Bandar Jissah Launches Sales

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he company developing Oman’s newest integrated tourism complex, Saraya Bandar Jissah, has released the first of its residential units for sale. This first zone, named Zaha, offers properties in close proximity to the development’s recreational club and features a variety of picturesque views of the landscaped park, flowing lagoon and sweeping seascape beyond. The USD600 million project comprises 398 villas, townhouses, duplexes and apartments spread over five zones, as well as two luxury five-star hotels operated by Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts and expected to open in 2017.

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onsisting of 800 rooms and suites plus 250 luxurious hotel apartments, the project will also house recreational, entertainment and services facilities built to the highest international standards. In his briefing, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, CEO, ICD, said the first phase of the Dubai Waterfront mixed-use project is expected to be completed by end of 2016. The first three phases of the project will cover an area of approximately 820,000m2 and will include parking for 6,000 vehicles.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Inspects Project Design

27 SEPTEMBER 2014

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WEEKLY NEWS ACCOMMODATION

One&Only Marriott Bahrain Executive Apartments Dubai Creek

One&Only Resorts Expands in Bahrain

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erzner International Holdings, an international developer and operator of destination resorts and luxury hotels, has entered into an agreement with Sevens Holding to develop and operate a new One&Only resort in Bahrain. The resort is scheduled to open in 2016, welcoming guests to 150 luxurious guest rooms and suites, as well as villas and estates and world-class dining and retail options. It will be located in Seef and command a private beachfront. With extensive meeting facilities available, the resort is set to become a destination for both business and leisure.

InterContinental Abu Dhabi Introduces Bayshore

Mandarin Oriental to Enter Dubai

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nterContinental Abu Dhabi has announced the launch of Bayshore, Abu Dhabi’s most private beachfront destination. Located within InterContinental Abu Dhabi’s marina, Bayshore is set to become the capital’s most desirable beach and health club. The brand new destination combines health, relaxation and entertainment with 300m of natural beachfront, an infinity pool, swimup bar, separate children’s pool and play area, premium health and sports facilities, day spa and restaurant. In addition to the Bayshore facilities, members also have access to additional health club facilities in the main hotel, including a gym, steam, sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and swimming pool.

andarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced that it will manage a luxurious urban resort in Dubai, which is currently under development and due to open in 2017. Mandarin Oriental, Dubai will feature 200 luxurious rooms and suites, including 12 spacious and exclusive over-the-water villas.. Edouard Ettedgui, group CEO, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, said, “We are delighted to bring Mandarin Oriental’s renowned levels of hospitality to Dubai […]. The exclusive and creative design and all-encompassing luxury facilities of Mandarin Oriental, Dubai, underpinned by our legendary award-winning service, will provide an outstanding destination for future guests.”

Marriott Executive Apartments Dubai Creek

Accor Gears for New ibis Styles in Oman

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ccor HotelServices Middle East has signed a management agreement with Action Hotels to develop an ibis Styles hotel in Sohar, Oman. The 128-room property is currently in the design process, with completion expected by mid-2016. “This signature further demonstrates Accor’s commitment to strengthening our offering in the economy segment, in which we hold a leadership position. ibis Styles in Sohar is the 12th ibis-branded hotel under development in the Middle East, in addition to the 14 currently in operation,” said Christophe Landais, chief operating officer, Accor HotelServices Middle East.

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ACCOMMODATION WEEKLY NEWS BWI Headed by a Powerful Man

La Cigale Launches in Tunisia

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a Cigale Tabarka - Hotel, Thalasso and Spa, Golf opened its doors recently with a ceremony which welcomed VIP guests and Tunisian dignitaries. Previously known as Tabarka Beach Hotel, the property closed in mid-2012 to undergo a significant refurbishment which has seen the public areas and restaurants refined, the creation lobby and dining outlets, and swimming pools overlooking the beachfront. Ideally situated in the coral city of Tabarka, the hotel is a fusion of modern style with an oriental flair and offers 248 units that are expected to be fully renovated by 2015. The hotel’s Thalasso centre is set to open in December, with a golf course and two football pitches following in 2015.

La Cigale Tabarka - Hotel, Thalasso and Spa, Golf

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lenn de Souza, vice president, international operations, Asia and Middle East, Best Western International (BWI), has been ranked 19th in the 50 most powerful people in the Middle East hotel industry, according to this year’s edition of Hotelier Middle East’s annual Power 50 list. The ranking reflects BWI’s continued expansion in the Middle East, and de Souza’s key role in driving it. The company now operates six hotels in the region and has a further 14 in the pipeline. A Singaporean national, de Souza has a lifetime of experience in the hotel industry and was instrumental in setting up BWI’s Asia and Middle East head office in Bangkok in 2002.

Al Bustan Centre & Residence

Al Bustan Centre & Residence Prepares for Eid Al Adha

27 SEPTEMBER 2014

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l Bustan Centre & Residence is expecting a 15 percent to 20 percent increase in occupancy during Eid Al Adha celebrations this year compared to 2013, due to a series of festive activities being rolled out in Dubai. The residential, shopping and entertainment complex is expecting an upswing in occupancy levels with large numbers of families from the GCC region keen to take advantage of the festive ambience and diverse holiday offerings that await them in Dubai, according to Moussa El Hayek, chief operating officer, Al Bustan Centre & Residence. He added, “Our property has always been a preferred holiday destination among GCC families and travellers for more than a decade.”

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27 SEPTEMBER 2014


AIR WEEKLY NEWS

Gulf Air to Launch Kuwait - Istanbul Flights From October 2, Gulf Air will run direct twice weekly services between Kuwait City and the Turkish city of Istanbul.

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he carrier’s services between Kuwait International Airport and Istanbul Atatürk Airport will be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft in a two-class configuration featuring 16 Falcon Gold seats and 120 economy class seats. Ahmed AlMatrook, senior manager, sales, GCC and MENA, Gulf Air, commented, “We are pleased to give travellers the chance to visit some of Istanbul’s most notable landmarks. Launching the new direct Kuwait - Istanbul route caters to travel demand and we want Gulf Air passengers to avail this route at competitive prices while we continue to offer convenient connections between Bahrain and Kuwait.”

Istanbul

Emirates and Jetstar Expand Codeshare

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mirates and Jetstar have strengthened their relationship with the expansion of their codeshare agreement and frequent flyer programme to 30 routes across the Asia Pacific region. The additional destinations, which complement the current 25 routes announced in February, include operations to New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar and Indonesia. Emirates customers travelling on Jetstar will enjoy a range of full service fare features such as food and beverage options and the same luggage allowance they would have on Emirates. “We are delighted to add Emirates Skywards as a loyalty option for Jetstar customers while also adding more routes to our codeshare partnership,” said Lisa Brock, chief commercial officer, Jetstar Group.

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WEEKLY NEWS AIR

Cebu Pacific to Fly to Riyadh

Etihad Airways’ Butlers Off for Training

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The Residence by Etihad

ow-cost Philippines airline, Cebu Pacific will launch thrice weekly nonstop flights to Riyadh, from October 1, using a newly-delivered Airbus A330-300. With Dammam, Kuwait, Dubai and now Riyadh, Cebu Pacific’s network in the Middle East is made wider, and the carrier offers the most number of seats on the direct Manila-Riyadh route, according to Alex Reyes, general manager, long-haul division, Cebu Pacific. “We have long wanted to serve the substantial population of global Filipinos in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It will be our utmost pleasure to bring them home more often, on our extensive network,” added Reyes.

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he first 13-member group of Etihad Airways’ unique inflight butler trainees has departed Abu Dhabi for specialist training at the Savoy Butler Academy in London. The team of in-flight chefs or food and beverage managers was carefully chosen to provide superior service to guests of The Residence by Etihad, a three-room cabin featuring a living room, private shower-room and double bedroom, soon to be introduced on Etihad Airways’ fleet of 10 Airbus A380s. “This marks their initiation into a very select group of highly-trained hospitality professionals, and is testament to Etihad Airways’ aim to be the best and to provide levels of discretion, dedication and sophistication hitherto not experienced by the modern airline traveller,” said Aubrey Tiedt, vice president, guest services, Etihad Airways.

Air Malta Boosts Djerba Services

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ir Malta has increased its schedule between Malta and Djerba with an additional weekly frequency and now operates three weekly flights to and from the Tunisian city. Commenting on this announcement Joe Galea, deputy chief commercial officer, Air Malta, said, “This decision was taken following the increase in demand registered since we re-started air services to Tunisia last month. [...] The increase in frequency to Djerba is an another important step in our efforts to continue assisting and facilitating travel between both countries following the increased passenger demand from this airport due to the situation in Libya.”

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AIR WEEKLY NEWS Air Seychelles to Serve Dar es Salaam

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ir Seychelles has announced the launch of twice-weekly flights to Dar es Salaam to commence on December 2, marking the next stage of growth in the airline’s regional strategy. Manoj Papa, CEO, Air Seychelles, said, “These flights will serve as an attractive travel proposition for business and leisure travellers in Tanzania, offering a direct link to our archipelago and convenient onward connections to Abu Dhabi and beyond, including the Indian Subcontinent.” Joël Morgan, chairman, Air Seychelles, added that the new route would support the airline’s aim to improve regional connectivity as well as enhance commerce and leisure travel to the archipelago.

Qatar Airways to Start Nonstop Services to Phuket

BAC Introduces Mobile Charging Stations at BIA

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atar Airways will upgrade services to Thailand with the introduction of direct flights to Phuket, effective October 26. The airline currently serves the Doha – Phuket route daily via a linked service through Kuala Lumpur. “With the upcoming winter holidays, this is a great opportunity for travellers from the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the Americas to plan their break with a beach vacation to Phuket,” said Akbar Al Baker, group CEO, Qatar Airways, adding that visitor numbers to the island are on the rise and the carrier will look to take advantage of the nonstop connections in the future. Qatar Airways started operations in Thailand more than 14 years ago with nonstop flights linking Doha with Bangkok, and the carrier now serves the Thai capital three-times-daily and will increase that to four-times-daily from December 16.

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Phuket

Bahrain International Airport

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n line with its continuous efforts to improve passenger services and further enhance travel experience, Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), the manager and operator of Bahrain International Airport (BIA), recently installed eight mobile charging stations at both the arrivals and departures areas of the BIA terminal. The new mobile charging stations are fully equipped with universal chargers compatible with all mobile phones and smart devices, and are designed to accommodate multiple users simultaneously. Discussing the recently installed stations, Mohamed Khalil, chief commercial officer, BAC, commented, “Our new mobile charger service is available to all passengers for free and is being introduced as a means to increase passenger ease and comfort when travelling through BIA.”

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WEEKLY NEWS AIR

Brussels Joins Emirates’ Network

Etihad Airways Doubles Karachi Flights

Arnaud Feist, CEO, Brussels Airport, welcomes Emirates to Belgium

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s of November 18, Etihad Airways will introduce an additional daily flight between Abu Dhabi and Karachi to offer a double daily service. Adding 1,904 seats per week to the route, the flights will enable Etihad Airways to provide its guests with more choice and greater flexibility when travelling to and from Abu Dhabi. Kevin Knight, chief strategy and planning officer, Etihad Airways, said, “The addition of the new flights will strengthen Etihad Airways’ presence in the Pakistani market and foster the growth of commercial and cultural relations between Pakistan and the UAE.”

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mirates has added Brussels, Belgium to its expanding list of destinations. The new daily Boeing 777-200LR service will see up to 16,000 Emirates customers travelling between Dubai and the European capital each month. “We have had lots of customers asking us to fly to Brussels over the years so this really is fantastic news for them. Belgium’s tourism is thriving and we believe that we can drive demand even higher by providing great competition with our multi-award winning product and service,” said Thierry Aucoc, senior vice president, commercial operations, Europe and Russia, Emirates. Passengers arriving at Brussels Airport benefit from the airport’s train station that offers convenient city centre connections as well as links to neighbouring Belgian cities such as Antwerp and Ghent.

Mahan Air Invests in China and Germany

flydubai Reaches New Heights

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ahan Air is continuing its network expansion with the introduction of services to Beijing starting on October 28 and to Munich from November12. The Chinese capital will be served three times weekly on an Airbus A340 and is Mahan Air’s third destination in the country. The airline hopes the new route will add to its success in Shanghai and Guangzhou where it has been operating since 2011. Munich will be the airline’s second hub in Germany after Düsseldorf which Mahan Air has been serving for more than a decade. The flight will be operated twice weekly, increasing to three times a week as of March 2015.

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ubai-based carrier flydubai has announced the addition of three new routes in East Africa with the September launch of flights to Bujumbura in Burundi, Entebbe in Uganda, and Kigali in Rwanda. The new routes bring the total number of destinations in the carrier’s network to 80. In addition to operating between Dubai and these three new cities, flydubai has also obtained the rights to carry passengers between Burundi and Uganda. Commenting on the launch of the new routes, Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, noted, “We are delighted to announce the launch of three new East African destinations which also sees flydubai become the first national carrier from the UAE to fly to Rwanda and Burundi, underlining our commitment to opening up underserved markets.”

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RENDEZVOUS TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Hues Hotels & Resorts currently operates two hotels in Dubai and Sharjah. Can you tell us something about the ethos and philosophy behind these hotels? DAOUSSER CHENNOUFI: Hues has been trying to create unique conceptual properties, based on contemporary interiors, trendy colours, unusual details, which would all create a special feeling and ambience as soon as you get in the hotel. The spaces we use embrace simplicity in adornment. This is our meaning of luxury. Also, we have introduced the concept of a luxury boutique hotel to Dubai, and we have become the leaders in this hotel category. Boutique hotels are more attentive to details and considerate to guests, while having all the facilities of a five-star hotel. To us, the content and value of the hotel is more important than size.

Q & A with

Daousser Chennoufi CO-OWNER, HUES HOTELS & RESORTS

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Dubai attracts a huge range of visitors from all over the world, from the executive business traveller to the tourist on a budget. Who is your main target market and what are your forecasts for this segment? DAOUSSER CHENNOUFI: Generally the segment of travellers that we are focussed on, are those people who prefer boutique hotels rather than big hotels, as they already know the added value that a boutique hotel has. More specifically, we have been capitalising on the travel trade market which represents almost 80 percent of our overall influx. 27 SEPTEMBER 2014

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: As you know, there is a long-term initiative by the Dubai Government to build a green economy and to keep Dubai a healthy city with a clean and pollution-free environment. How important is the green issue to Hues Hotels & Resorts? DAOUSSER CHENNOUFI: In the hotel business, initiatives that are environmentally sustainable are becoming widespread. Our hotels were built on energy saving materials, and this year Hues Boutique Hotel has participated in the Dubai Green Festival, actively supporting and implementing green programmes in our spa, by using organic products, and in our food and beverage outlets by offering our guests organic meals. However, we are planning to take much more environmentally- friendly initiatives during this year to become as eco-friendly as we can be.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What would you say are the unique features and facilities of the hotels underpinning the tagline Not Your Ordinary Stay? DAOUSSER CHENNOUFI: It starts from how close we are to our guests and their needs, due to the boutique concept. Besides, usually people do not expect from a small hotel anything extraordinary, as such a hotel most likely will not have a specific identity and character. And for us, a character is one of the key points. The atmosphere in our hotels is very vibrant, you can notice a lot of intelligent touches from the materials used to the outlets we have; it is kind of a freestyle, by which I mean it is not formal, not traditional at all, so that the guest can feel really relaxed.

However, we started to tackle the corporate market as well, since we are truly confident that both our hotels can satisfy all the requirements for this market. Therefore, we are forecasting to allocate to the corporate market at least 25 percent of our entire inventory by 2015.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are your plans for the coming months and 2015?

IN A WORLD OF LARGE, ULTRA LUXURIOUS HOTELS, DAOUSSER CHENNOUFI, CO-OWNER, HUES HOTELS & RESORTS, DUBAI EXPLAINS THIS UNIQUE BRAND OF BOUTIQUE-SIZED LUXURY AND SERVICE, PINPOINTING WHICH MARKETS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE ATTRACTED BY IT.

DAOUSSER CHENNOUFI: Hues Hotels & Resorts plans to provide a broader range of excellent hospitality options including resorts, hotel apartments and larger hotel properties. And I can tell you now that by the end of January 2015 we are planning to launch a bigger Hues Hotel in Sharjah, with the authentic Hues style, which will be able to complement with its services and facilities our first Sharjah hotel, 72 By Hues.

Hues Boutique Hotel

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WEEKLY NEWS INTERNATIONAL Millennium & Copthorne Focusses on Chinese Potential

Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel

StayWell Hosts Global Management Gathering

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tayWell Hospitality Group hosted its global management gathering at Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel in Dubai, marking the first strategic planning opportunity with all regions present. Key executives and business leaders held brand development workshops and unveiled development plans and strategy for the StayWell and Mantis South Africa joint venture. Innovation and evolution were top of the agenda. “The Dubai gathering was an important part of StayWell Hospitality Group’s strategic growth, in having a platform to bring together all the key stakeholders who are working alongside us to bring the business vision to reality,” said Simon Wan, CEO, StayWell Group.

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illennium & Copthorne Hotels participated in Chinese Visitor Week in Abu Dhabi in a bid to increase its share of soaring volumes of Chinese visitors to the UAE and wider Middle East. Naeem Darkazally, vice president, sales and marketing, Millennium & Copthorne Middle East & Africa, explained that the hotel chain already enjoys brand awareness amongst Chinese tour operators, due to its existing portfolio in China and throughout South East Asia. Darkazally also claimed that the urban locations of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels in the Middle East mean they are well-placed to support both the Chinese MICE and leisure markets.

Seychelles’ Hidden Gem

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nchanted Island Resort, Seychelles, the first international property managed by UAE-based hospitality group JA Resorts & Hotels, hosted its much awaited inaugural event on August 29. “Enchanted Island Resort is a hidden gem where guests can enjoy their privacy and relax in a true paradise hideaway setting,” commented David Thomson, chief operating officer, JA Resorts & Hotels. Home to 10 boutique-style villas, the island paradise initially opened in January within one of the Indian Ocean archipelago’s protected National Marine Parks. Located just a 15 minute motorboat ride from the main island of Mahé, the resort is spread over 20,234m2 with the villas designed to reflect the island’s traditional Creole-Seychellois architecture. Each villa has a private infinity pool, outdoor deck, complimentary Wi-Fi and a dedicated 24/7 butler service.

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27 SEPTEMBER 2014


AGENT CORNER

Agent’s Insight NAME:

Najma Poona

POSITION:

Managing director

COMPANY:

Global Incentives Tourism

LOCATION:

UAE/Kenya

WEBSITE:

www.travelhtt.com

Who are you? My name is Najma Poona, managing director of Global Incentives Tourism, which has offices in Dubai and Kenya. Originally from Kenya, I have been in the tourism industry for 25 years. What is your favourite thing about working in the travel industry? My passion about being in the travel industry is the opportunity to explore new destinations, offer my clients unique and interesting products and meet a diversity of people from around the world from different backgrounds. When is the best time to visit Kenya? The best time to visit my country Kenya is anytime, because we do not have any seasons or extreme weather. It is an all year destination making it ideal for anyone to come down for a safari anytime. Where would you like to travel to for your next holiday? I would love to go to Vietnam or Turkey. Why should people come to you for travel advice? We give very personal attention to our clients and will only sell what we know to ensure our clients have a memorable experience. Our teams love what they do and so no query is too small or too big. 27 SEPTEMBER 2014

d

nata has signed an agreement to purchase the entire issued share capital of Stella Travel Services, one of the UK’s leading travel businesses, which includes five brands; TravelBag, Travel2, Sunmaster, Global Travel Group and Triton Rooms. “The partnership between Stella Travel Services and dnata will accelerate the growth of two global brands,” said Andrew Botterill, CEO, Stella Travel Services. “dnata is a growing, diverse group, able to support our long-term ambitions. Destinations in the Middle East and Indian Ocean have driven strong growth for our company in recent years. dnata's expertise in these regions will help continue this trend for years to come.” Completion of the acquisition remains subject to merger control clearance and, until then, dnata and Stella Travel Services will continue to operate independently.

Iain Andrew, divisional senior vice president, travel services, dnata

dnata Acquires Stella Travel Services

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TRAVEL TALK

We have now effectively levelled the playing field

LOIS WILCOX Exhibition manager, Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings Expo (IBTM) Arabia

“The unique concept for the Middle East’s leading MICE event is now similar to IBTM America, IBTM India and IBTM Africa, although the latter two are table-top events, the content and concept is virtually the same. All exhibitors now have an equivalent amount of floor space and their meeting pod is exactly the same price, size and design, with the exception of their respective corporate branding. We will also have networking functions and a Knowledge Forum for all attendees, creating a community, providing as many business opportunities as possible.”

Arabian Ranches Golf Club will be a new option for Troon loyalists in the region

BRUCE GLASCO Chief operating officer, managing director, international division, Troon

“[Arabian Ranches Golf Club] is a truly stunning venue and we are excited to have been chosen to manage what is set to be an exciting new era for golf here at Arabian Ranches. We have worked closely with Emaar Properties over the years and we are delighted that such an organisation has put its faith in Troon to deliver. It is ultimately testament to the reputation and performance of our team in the Middle East, who have maintained consistently high-standards for golfers.”

Peer reviews online are a key selling tool

JEAN-PIERRE SIMON Regional general manager, Northern Emirates, Coral Hotels & Resorts

“We are delighted to [have been ranked among the best-rated hotels on HolidayCheck Switzerland as] further evidence of the popularity of the Coral Beach Resort – Sharjah with travellers to the emirate, following the presentation by TripAdvisor earlier this summer. Sites such as HolidayCheck are growing in importance with their hotel listings complemented by comments from those who have actually experienced the product and also offer tips on the destination and sights not to be missed. It all helps us to position Coral Beach Resort – Sharjah as an ideal family destination.”

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

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27 SEPTEMBER 2014


TRAVEL CHANNELS

Tourism Youth Students Participate in Workshop The career ambitions of some young Emiratis on September’s Tourism Youth Summer Camp have taken off following a workshop in which the students came face-to-face with Etihad Airways’ national pilots.

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he youngsters were briefed by Etihad Airways officers and cadets on their own careers, the airlines’ fleet and destination network and the many career disciplines open to them in the airline. The youngsters also heard of the vital link between air connectivity and tourism development. The workshop brought immediate results with a number of participants saying they were now going to put airline careers on their agenda. “This was the first workshop of its kind for the programme and gave the students an overview of a sector they knew little about,” said Fatima Al Melhi, head of industry and tourist guide training unit, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority.

Blood Donation Drive at Hawthorn Suites

Tourism Youth Students

SCTA Begins Second Phase of Restoration Project

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audi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA) has commenced implementation of the second phase of the Qasr Bin Ruqoosh restoration project in Al Baha, according to Awad Al Zahrani, director general of museums, SCTA. Al Zahrani indicated that SCTA’s attention towards restoration and rehabilitation of historic palaces springs from its belief in the importance of preserving the national architectural heritage, and the Qasr Bin Ruqoosh restoration project comes within this framework. Qasr Bin Ruqoosh is important because it complements the architectural elements in the region and will be a distinctive landmark after its rehabilitation.

Growth Potential for Sukuk Market in the Gulf

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awthorn Suites by Wyndham Dubai held its first blood donation drive, in association with Dubai Blood Donation Centre in Latifa Hospital. The managers and staff of the hotel participated enthusiastically in the activity to give back to the community and help save lives.

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he global Sukuk industry is expected to be one of the fastest growing segments of the Islamic finance industry with huge growth potential in the GCC and particularly Dubai, where Sukuks are to play an important role over the next decade in securing funds for the substantial line-up of new projects. This was revealed by a Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry report, ahead of the 10th World Islamic Economy Forum which will be held in Dubai from October 28 - 30. “Islamic economy has become increasingly relevant in the modern world, offering new hopes of revival for the fragile global economy,” commented H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, chairman, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, noting that the forum will put the spotlight on the massive opportunities available in various segments of the growing sector.

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WHO’S MOVED

GIANNI TRONZA

SONIKA ADLAKHA

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Gianni Tronza has been appointed general manager for Switzerland at Etihad Airways. A graduate of the Swiss Business School and SAWI, Tronza completed his studies at the University of Lancaster in the UK and also holds a bachelor degree in business administration and a degree in marketing. He brings a wealth of industry experience to the airline, having previously worked at American Airlines for over 15 years, where he held various senior positions, including regional sales director. Prior to joining American Airlines, he worked in managerial positions at Crossair and British Airways.

MATTHEW JENNINGS

Tronza will be based in Zurich and lead commercial operations in the country

Sonika Adlakha has been appointed as the new director of sales at Al Nahda Resort & Spa with responsibilities for The Jungle Restaurant, Bahja Hall and Dunes by Al Nahda. She brings extensive experience in the hospitality industry having previously worked at InterContinental Hotels Group, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in India and, most recently, Las Vegas Sands Corporation. As Al Nahda Resort & Spa winds up its renovation programme, Adlakha will be responsible for driving visitors to experience the 109-key resort’s new rooms, which have undergone extensive upgrades, as well as developing sales strategies for the upcoming 30-tent desert resort, Dunes by Al Nahda, due to open later this year.

Matthew Jennings has been chosen to fill the newly-created post of senior manager of public affairs at Etihad Airways, based in Washington, D.C. He will be responsible for engaging with key stakeholders, including US policymakers, about the airline and the benefits the carrier’s growing presence brings to the local economy and American consumers. Jennings joins Etihad Airways from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) where he was head of legislative affairs. Whilst at the association, he created and led legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of IATA’s 230 member carriers on key global aviation issues.

Jennings will be responsible for engaging with key stakeholders

ANDREAS FLAIG

Andreas Flaig has been announced by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group as the new executive vice president, development, Asia Pacific. Based in the Singapore office, he will use his key strength in development strategies to grow the group’s hotel portfolio and enhance its presence in the region. He will also oversee the regional teams based in Singapore, China, India and Indonesia, securing new management contracts as well as franchise and conversion opportunities. Flaig has been in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years, 16 of which were spent in Asia, and his expertise is in hotel development, investment, and asset management while one of his key strengths is in development strategies.

27 SEPTEMBER 2014


PHOTO ALBUM

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

Indian night at Le Royal Hotels and Resorts-Beirut

SHAVE by Etihad Airways concept launched at the airline's Abu Dhabi arrivals lounge

Holiday Inn Dubai Al Barsha hosted the hotly contested finale of the karaoke competition Spice Stars1

Etihad Airways celebrates social media success

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Dubai won its first Count On Me service excellence award

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NEWS & EVENTS Google and Yahoo! Executives to Speak at WTM

EVENTS THE HOTEL SHOW Dubai, UAE September 28 – 30 www.thehotelshow.com Celebrating 15 successful years, The Hotel Show presents a full view of the hospitality industry.

AFRICA HOTEL INVESTMENT FORUM

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he Travel Tech Show at World Travel Market (WTM) this year will be 20 percent bigger than 2013’s inaugural

event. Anna Chomse, industry head, Google Travel, and Andrew Jones, head of search account management, Yahoo!, will both offer valuable knowledge to keep the industry up-to-date, analysing the right tactics to increase search engine optimisation. “Anna and Andrew are just two of many senior executives sharing their expertise at WTM. It is an indication of the high calibre of speakers that WTM and The Travel Tech Show at WTM can attract and demonstrates why our seminars are must-attend events,” said Jo Marshall, sales manager, The Travel Tech Show at WTM.

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia September 29 – October 1 www.africa-conference.com A major hotel conference in Africa, attracting international hotel owners and investors.

UKRAINE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL MARKET Kiev, Ukraine October 1 – 3 www.ukraine-itm.com.ua Offers a wide range of offers as well as over 200 hours of seminars, conferences, presentations and workshops.

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

IMEX America Las Vegas, US October 14 – 16 www.imexamerica.com Setting the pace for incentive and MICE travel, the event is increasing annually.

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Travel Trade Weekly Issue 255  

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...