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NOVEMBER 2016 ISSUE 09

AFRICA / INDIAN OCEAN

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CHINA EVOLUTION TO LUXURY

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SAUDI ARABIA BUSINESS LEADING THE WAY

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LONDON LONDON AT ITS PRIME


TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

CONTENT

TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATIONS MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi mary@traveltradeweekly.travel ASSISTANT EDITOR Rita Kasziba

How we perceive our ideal luxury travel experiences differs from person to person. While some may want to be pampered in the utmost luxury in the presidential suite of the best hotel in town, others opt for a hidden desert camp where authentic cuisine is being served by locals. At the end of the day, it is all about how the traveller feels when indulging in these so-called high-end offerings. With the colder months approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, the world’s elite begins to plan their next winter break, be a visit to a bucket-list city famous for its culture, dining and entertainment scene, or a more adrenalin-boosting adventure at one of the finest ski resorts. And then there are some firm favourites, like London, China and Saudi Arabia, where an abundance of once-in-a-lifetime memories await globetrotters.

Mary Kammitsi Managing Editor

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AFRICA^& INDIAN OCEAN

ASIA PACIFIC

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MIDDLE EAST

AMERICAS

Pick

OF THE MONTH

SANTORINI

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CONTRIBUTORS Ana Mladenovic Dominique Christou SALES & SALES SUPPORT Maria Demetriadou Magda Christou Raluca Apostolescu DESIGN & LAYOUT Elena Stylianou WEB & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Savvas Kammitsis 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

EMAILS info@traveltradeweekly.travel sales@traveltradeweekly.travel editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel

Discover: SAUDI ARABIA

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EUROPE

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Picture: LONDON

Experience: CHINA

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Ellen Petty

WEBSITE www.traveltradeluxury.travel

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JOURNALIST

WORLDWIDE REPRESENTATIVES

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INTERVIEW EVENTS

Breath-taking sceneries, stunning beaches, ancient cities and world-class hotels and restaurants continue to attract an increasing number of discerning globetrotters to the Greek islands. While many recognise the destination’s signature white-painted houses with a flash of blue, visitors are still surprised to find out that the whole complex of Santorini islands is an active volcano with its crater in the sea. The last eruption occurred over 3,600 years ago, thus, visitors can lay back and enjoy a holiday of their lifetime.

Representative for North, South & Central America, and the Caribbean: Neil Strickland GlobeTM Tel: +19542969515 neil@globetm.com Representative for Indian subcontinent: Faredoon Kuka RMA Media Tel: +912229253735 kuka@rmamedia.com Representative for UK & Ireland and Scandinavia: David Simpson Simpson Media Tel: +447900885456 Email: david@simpson-media.com Cover by Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites & Residences, London

NOVEMBER 2016


ACCOMMODATION AFRICA / INDIAN OCEAN TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

TAILOR-MADE EXPERIENCES AT BELMOND KHWAI RIVER LODGE IN BOTSWANA

AFRICA & INDIAN OCEAN

MARCH 2016

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TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY AFRICA & INDIAN OCEAN ACCOMMODATION

Abercrombie & Kent Launches Egypt Trip

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bercrombie & Kent has revealed its week-long Treasures of Egypt itinerary which includes luxury accommodation and a three-night Nile cruise aboard Sanctuary Sun Boat IV. Travellers will have the opportunity to learn about the country’s history from an English-speaking Egyptologist who will accompany guests on all excursions, including trips to the Pyramids, Sphinx as well as the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities and Mummy Room in Cairo. Additionally, tourists will visit temples and ancient tombs along the river between Aswan and Luxor. According to the tour operator, in order to avoid crowds at major sights, this is an excellent time to head to the country.

SLH Adds Dar Ahlam to its Collection

The Ritz-Carlton to Enter Sharm El Sheikh

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ocated on the edge of the Moroccan desert, Dar Ahlam has joined Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH)’s exclusive portfolio. Overlooking the Atlas Mountains, the 19th century Kasbah offers guests peace and privacy throughout the property. The luxury offering features 14 rooms fitted with fireplaces and a décor that changes with the seasons, with selected suites boasting outdoor terraces or private swimming pools. With no permanent restaurant at the hotel, dining experiences are personally created for guests, ensuring that no meal is repeated twice. Dar Ahlam also offers a nomadic journey from Agadir to Ouarzazate, with opportunities to stay in luxurious houses and bivouacs.

Dar Ahlam

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atif Group of Companies signed a management agreement with Marriott International to bring The RitzCarlton, Sharm el-Sheikh Resort to the Sinai Peninsula. Located in Sharks Bay, the hotel is expected to welcome its first guests in 2020. The USD600 million project will boast 252 rooms, including 12 villas, three restaurants, a number of pools, destination spa with private treatment suites and a range of water sports activities as well as what is hailed as the biggest shopping complex in Sharm El Sheikh. “We believe in Egypt,” reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the North African country Alex Kyriakidis, president, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, saying that the deal furthers the hotelier’s vision for growth and prosperity in an enigmatic destination.

Sharm El Sheikh

NOVEMBER 2016


TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY AFRICA & INDIAN OCEAN ACCOMMODATION

Exploring Nature by Foot in Tanzania

Rwanda’s Luxury Investment Opportunities Promoted

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frica Hotel Investment Forum was recently held in Rwanda, providing the country a platform on which to highlight its vast investment opportunities within the hotel and tourism industry, especially along Kivu Belt, a sought-after luxury hotspot. The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) announced a number of prospective projects, including a hot spring eco-tourism resort in Rubuvu, a five-star conference and leisure property in Rusizi and a five-star golf resort, amongst others. The African country’s western province is a popular destination amongst travellers due to its proximity to Volcanoes National Park, home to mountain gorillas.

Sanctuary Swala

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anctuary Swala guests can now join guided walking tours in northern Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park. Led by a professional guide, the programme allows naturelovers to explore the secluded parts of the area with a wealth of information being provided about the smallest tracks as well as the animals inhabiting the zone. Those who sign up for the adventure can expect to encounter zebra, waterbuck, impala, ostrich, elephant and various birds. The natural setting of the bush gives a thrilling aspect to the sightings, much more than a usual vehicle safari. For maximum safety, an armed ranger is always present.

Rwanda

Refurbished Lanzerac Hotel Unveiled Lanzerac Hotel & Spa

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anzerac Hotel & Spa has launched its newly renovated facilities and guest rooms, each with unique, individual décor, ready for the South African summer season. The new interiors blend the estate’s rich heritage and contemporary present in a diverse range of designs which include antique furnishings and artwork. The spacious suites feature his and hers vanities, Victorian style baths, multimedia entertainment systems and private terraces, amongst others. Set on an existing winery, the property offers vineyard and cellar tours as well as wine tasting experiences. The revamp of Lanzerac Spa is also ongoing and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

NOVEMBER 2016


DEEP-ROOTED TRADITIONS CREATE THE TRUE RAFFLES GRAND HOTEL D'ANGKOR EXPERIENCE

ASIA PACIFIC


TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

ASIA PACIFIC

EXPERIENCE: CHINA

EVOLUTION TO LUXURY With a rich and diverse cultural history, China is home to some of the finest ancient treasures and modern wonders. How has the world’s most populous country evolved to attract affluent travellers?

ELLEN PETTY WRITES

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he country is opening its doors quickly for the luxury market and it is quickly getting more equipped,” stated Olivier Marchesin, managing director, EXO Travel China, adding that the rapidly developing destination has risen the ranks thanks to its diversity that encompasses all environments from modern cities to rural villages and from dramatic mountains to barren deserts.

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needs of discerning visitors with its increasing number of high-end properties, accredited to a rise in investment due to enhanced market access. Highlighting China’s overall development, apart from the steady country-wide augmentation of the five-star accommodation segment, Marchesin enthused, “The infrastructure, including the very efficient bullet trains, means that more provinces are more accessible to visit in comfort and style.”

Confident of China’s understanding of the high-end segment, Janet Chan, director of sales and marketing, Raffles Beijing, continued, “The services and products are definitely on par with international standards.”

Being such a vast location, it comes as no surprise that hotel openings lead the way in terms of tourism developments. .

Alleen Wu, director of public relations and communications, Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake, elaborated that the Asian destination meets the

“Banyan Tree Hangzhou and Banyan Tree Yangshuo have put a renewed emphasis on these destinations,” explained Guy Rubin, managing partner, Imperial Tours.

NOVEMBER 2016


EXPERIENCE: CHINA

ASIA PACIFIC

TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

Speaking of China’s pursuit of adapting to changing market patterns, Beth Sherer, product manager, Asia, Abercrombie & Kent, noted, “We have also seen an availability of more high-end vehicles outside of the major cities, better restaurants, and a reemphasis on customer service in cities such as Chengdu, Guilin and Xi’an.” STANDOUT SERVICES As well as attractions such as the Great Wall of China, indigenous pandas and the terracotta warriors, Sherer highlighted that authentic experiences like noodle-throwing and dumpling making are some of the most popular activities. As she further revealed, clients are increasingly showing a particular interest in the cities’ burgeoning art scene, with more and more visitors enquiring about gallery tours and one-on-one meetings with artists. Besides the destination’s unique offerings, Catherine Zhang, director of marketing communications, Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, stressed the importance of personalised services with knowledgeable staff on hand – like the property’s Piccolo Girls – to operate age-old elevators, take guests on tours of the hotel and provide a historical overview of the city. Raffles Beijing also understands the significance of what Chan described as the human touch, through the provision of a dedicated Raffles ambassador, who endeavors to personally assist each and every guest. Furthermore, whilst underlining the high level of service offered to visitors and the understanding of their motives, Sherer explained, “Resident tour directors and local guides [...] have the ability to relate to the American clientele, service their needs, and ensure that they have a nuanced understanding of Chinese culture and tradition throughout their experience.” GOING FORWARD As Rubin highlighted, the majority of leisure travellers in the luxury segment are visiting China for the first time, with a mere 10 percent returning, thus, the tendency to focus on cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an. This provides an explanation for the fact that despite the impressive range of luxury hotels in these popular destinations, there is a great demand for more accommodation and international dining options outside of the top cities, revealed Sherer. Underlining the Chinese authorities’ strong focus on tourism, Marchesin elucidated, “Currently, the central government is concentrating on the global phenomenon of the Chinese outbound tourist. However, there is a need for a workforce, more advanced and equipped with the knowledge and tools for luxury inbound tourism.” Echoing this sentiment, Chan added, “Human resources can still be a challenge as the demand for manpower along with all the developments exceeds the [volume of] qualified staff, hence most hotels provide a lot of training on the job to ensure the service which luxury travellers expect is being delivered.” However, according to Rubin, what China really lacks is a consumer-focussed public relations campaign. Marchesin corrobarated, “A lot more promotion is required to raise awareness of the luxury offerings in China. There is a lot to shout about, but you only hear whispers.” Rubin concluded, “China is ridiculously well-endowed as a destination, far in excess of the market share it generates at the luxury level. [...] We just need someone to tell that story on a global level.” 

NOVEMBER 2016

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TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

ASIA PACIFIC

BITS OF BLISS

Jizhaigou Valley to Home Luxury Hotel

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he Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has signed an agreement with Sichuan Jiuzhai Luneng EcoTourism Investment Development to open its first all-villa property in one of China’s earliest UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Jiuzhaigou Valley. Situated 2,300m above sea level, The Ritz-Carlton, Jiuzhaigou will offer 87 villas with panoramic views over the valley and the snow-capped Min Mountains. The three restaurants and lounges will feature terraces with fire pits for evening relaxation. Other facilities will include a mountain spa and a kids' club, media room and various activity centres.

Jizhaigou Valley

Camper & Nicholsons Introduces Vietnam to Welcome Mutiara Laut Yacht Fourth Melia Property

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amper & Nicholsons International has been appointed as the central agent for the prestigious Mutiara Laut sailing yacht that operates in Indonesia. The 46m two-mast schooner, with its six double staterooms and a 60m2 deck exhibits an elaborate interior and exterior design, combining Balinese heritage, local crafts and textile with European charm. Available for charter to the most remote and exotic areas of the country, the yacht promises to cater to all guest requirements with various water toys and scuba diving equipment.

The Hamptons Ho Tram Complex rendering

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eliá Hotels International has revealed plans for Meliá Ho Tram, the group’s fourth property in Vietnam. Managed under the Meliá Hotels & Resorts brand and owned by Tanzanite International, the resort is located within The Hamptons Ho Tram complex 95km from Ho Chi Minh City. Scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2018, the property will feature a total of 156 suites and 98 villas. “The expansion of our Vietnam portfolio in one of the most dynamic regions in the world is a strong indication that our growth strategy is paying off,” said Bernardo Cabot Estarellas, senior vice president, Asia Pacific, Meliá Hotels International.

NOVEMBER 2016


A SPECIAL DAY MADE EVEN MORE MEMORABLE AT MACHU PICCHU IN PERU

AMERICAS


TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

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ACCOMMODATION

New Luxury in Anguilla

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ituated on Merrywing Bay on the tranquil island of Anguilla, The Reef by CuisinArt is set to make its debut in November, revealing a contemporary beachfront oasis with 80 suites, directly on the Caribbean Sea. The new destination will feature a bar, fitness centre, library and a boutique in addition to water sports, two tennis courts and dining outlets. “The property, replete with exciting ensuite amenities and distinctive features, will truly epitomise a chic beachside resort with an urban flair,” said Stephane Zaharia, general manager, The Reef by CuisinArt.

The Reef by CuisinArt rendering

New York Welcomes Second Four Seasons Address

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our Seasons Hotel New York Downtown has opened its doors to guests in the city’s vibrant Tribeca neighbourhood. The 189-room hotel has been designed to reflect Manhattan’s chic style, with tasteful colour schemes, natural light and marble bathrooms. The property features a spa, state-of-the-art fitness centre, lap pool and CUT by Wolfgang Puck, the celebrity chef’s first Manhattan restaurant. The Greenwich Ballroom is a 175-capacity event space, and additionally, the address also boasts 157 private residences, ranging from one- to fivebedroom units.

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown

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NOVEMBER 2016


ACCOMMODATION

AMERICAS

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The Peninsula Chicago Showcases Art

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he Peninsula Chicago hosted a one and a half month long art exhibition from acclaimed contemporary collector, Beth Rudin DeWoody. Whoville is the latest project within the framework of the hotel’s ongoing partnership with Circa 1881 which aims to present rotating art exhibitions in the property’s public spaces. Beth Rudin DeWoody, collector, commented, ”Collaborating with Circa 1881 on this exhibition has provided an exciting opportunity to share my collection with The Peninsula Chicago guests and the greater public.”

Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection

Montage Plametto Bluff Reopens Following Expansion

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enovated in partnership with Crescent Communities and The Athens Group, Montage Hotels & Resorts has announced the completion of Montage Plametto Bluff following a USD100 million investment. The Bluffton luxury property now features 200 cottages, rooms and suites as well as six dining experiences, three swimming pools, and various children programmes. Nearly 1,500m2 of meeting and event space is also available along with 35 private residences designed with traditional South Carolina Lowcountry architecture, preserving the natural environment and encouraging an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. The most significant part of the expansion was the creation of a new inn which includes guest accommodation, lobby lounge and a spa.

Montage Plametto Bluff

Solage Resort Joins Auberge Portfolio

Solage Resort

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uberge Resorts Collection will manage Solage Resort, following its acquisition in a joint venture with Flynn Properties. Speaking of their second collaboration, Craig Reid, CEO, Auberge Resorts Collection, said, “Together, Flynn Properties and Auberge will bring commitment, creativity and expertise to Solage, which will allow us to enhance the style and contemporary hospitality that has come to define the resort.” The company’s third property in Napa Valley features 89 design-focussed rooms, a Michelin star restaurant as well as panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and vineyards. Guests can also enjoy the resort’s spa with geo-thermal pools, gym, swimming pool and a yoga studio with daily classes.

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ACCOMMODATION

AMERICAS

The Peninsula New York Welcomes New Suite

Benchmark Reveals Four Separate Brands

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ollowing the merger of Benchmark Hospitality International and Gemstone Hotels & Resorts, the united organisation has launched its new corporate identity as BENCHMARK. Under the new name, four distinct brands have been introduced, the first of which is Benchmark Resorts & Hotels that encompasses the company’s US and Caribbean portfolio. Gemstone Collection will incorporate BENCHMARK’s Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels into its existing collection, while Benchmark Conference Centers will offer purpose-built properties and the Owner Advisory Group will provide a platform to optimise profitability and valuation. “Our goal was to create an identity that reflects the global leadership, exceptional properties, and dynamic synergies and opportunities the merged company now brings to its owners, guests and employees,” stated Alex Cabañas, CEO, BENCHMARK.

Fifth Avenue suite

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he Peninsula New York has unveiled the Fifth Avenue suite, the latest addition to the hotel’s room inventory. Located on the 17th floor and boasting views of the metropolis’ famed Fifth Avenue, the new suite is the second largest unit of the property at over 232m2. Guests can benefit from an elegant dining area, living room, gourmet kitchen and custom handcrafted touches by worldrenowned artisans. Through the company’s signature tablet technology, Fifth Avenue suite offers easy access to all essential functions, entertainment and guest services in 11 languages.

Forest Suites Resort at Heavenly Village

Beverly Wilshire Upgrades THE Blvd THE Blvd

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HE Blvd restaurant at Bevely Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel has reopened following a renovation project. The development included the addition of art deco touches reminiscent of when the property opened in 1928, and much to the delight of guests, a vibrant new menu has been also introduced boasting local California flavours with Mediterranean influences. With expanded seating in the main dining room and the illuminated onyx bar area, more foodies can now enjoy the lively atmosphere of the 144-seat restaurant over breakfast, lunch, shopping breaks or a night out on the town. On selected Saturdays, guests can look forward to a pop-up bakery, which will feature a variety of seasonal and inventive baked goods.

NOVEMBER 2016


TRANSPORTATION

AMERICAS

Pullman Rail Journeys Adds Unique Experiences

TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

Delta Private Jets and American Express Expand Deal

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ullman Rail Journeys has announced a new line-up of destination packages with a focus on tailored, one-of-a-kind trips aboard its fully restored mid-century dome and sleeper cars. The carriages are designed to reflect the ambiance and tradition of the golden age of rail travel while providing comfort and first-class service. To ensure the ultimate experience, the company also arranges hotels, meals, transfers and a selection of all-inclusive adventures. All Pullman Rail Journeys depart from Chicago’s Union Station and enable guests to enjoy a host of special occasions such as the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Christmas at The Greenbrier as well as Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve in New York City.

UnCruise Adventures: Refreshed with New Itineraries

ith a shared focus on exceptional service and innovative solutions, American Express and Delta Private Jets have joined forces to offer a new suite of travel benefits opening a new gateway of custom travel opportunities for members. The new Premium Private Jet Program offers a reduced fee for platinum card holders who purchase the Delta Private Jets Card Membership, along with a range of perks, ensuring control, convenience and style in the air. “Our card members love to travel, and they depend on us to not only make their journey more comfortable, but also make travel more seamless,” explained Janey Whiteside, senior vice president, charge and benefits, American Express.

Sentient Jet Unveils Mobile Booking App

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mall ship cruise liner, UnCruise Adventures has updated its profile with a new logo and the removal of the dash in its name. To promote the changes, the company launched a contest, Define your Unness, giving travel agent partners the chance to win a Mexican cruise. UnCruise Adventures has also released its 2017/2018 brochure, presenting 10 new routes to the Galápagos Islands, offering passengers two days in Quito before a seven-day cruise aboard La Pinta. Nature enthusiasts will also be spoilt with two land tour extensions, including a four-night Amazon journey and a six-night post-cruise tour to Machu Picchu. The operator has also updated its itineraries, and in December 2017, will launch a Costa Rica beach and jungle experience.

NOVEMBER 2016

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s part of its brand redesign, Sentient Jet has presented its new smartphone booking application, enabling Jet Card holders to instantly and efficiently reserve their journeys. Users will now be able to fully manage their account through the platform that also includes a round-the-clock live chat feature, the ability to manage passenger information, flight details as well as local recommendations and offers. The announcement follows the aviation company’s best-performing sales summer since 2007 and its greatest summer flight volume in seven years. Private flights are becoming increasing popular with sales of Sentiment Jet’s Jet Card amounting to USD104 million in the first half of the year.

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TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

AMERICAS

MIR Launches Arctic Explorer Journey

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eattle-headquartered MIR has unveiled a 12-day Arctic Explorer itinerary aboard opulent private train, Golden Eagle. The tour, which begins in St Petersburg, transports travellers across the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights in Norway while also experiencing some of Russia’s top offerings. The trip includes visits to Kirkenes Snowhotel, St Isaac’s Catherdral, Kizhi Island’s UNESCO-listed open-air museum as well as Moscow’s Red Square and Golden Ring towns of Vladimir and Suzdal. Other highlights of the journey, which is due to commence on December 29, include the opportunity to ride a dogsled, meet reindeer and traverse on a hovercraft.

BITS OF BLISS

Crystal AirCruises Presents Custom Luxury Jet

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rystal AirCruises has revealed its exclusive designs for the first fully customised aircraft in its collection, a Boeing 777-200LR. From autumn 2017, 84 guests will be able to embark on 14-, 21- and 28-day itineraries to some of the world’s most exotic destinations while enjoying the perks of a private jet and first-class accommodation. The jet will boast fully reclining seats, a spacious social lounge with a bar, large flatscreen televisions as well as fine dining offerings and concierge service. Edie Rodriguez, CEO, Crystal Cruises, commented, “Even the savviest travellers [...] will relish brand-new opportunities to explore places impossible to reach by water, all with Crystal’s signature personalised service and the highest standard of luxury at every point of travel.”

Norway

Crystal AirCruises Boeing 777-200LR

New Statue of Liberty Museum Design Revealed Rendering of the Statue of Liberty Museum

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he Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation has presented plans for a new 2,400m2 museum, set to open in 2019. The new destination, to be built with materials native to Liberty Island, will be the highlight of a beautification project that also involves landscaping and lighting. John Piltzecker, superintendent, Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, noted, “With state-of-the-art exhibitions and iconic artifacts, including the statue’s original torch, the new Statue of Liberty Museum will ensure that future generations know, understand and appreciate all that Lady Liberty represents in America and around the world.” Currently, only a handful of the landmark’s 4.3 million visitors can gain access to the existing museum due to its location inside the monument.

NOVEMBER 2016


DISCERNING TRAVELLERS, INCLUDING ROYALTIES CHOOSE TO STAY AT RIYADH'S AL FAISALIAH HOTEL

MIDDLE EAST


TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

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ACCOMMODATION

The Domain Hotel Joins Preferred Hotels & Resorts

The Domain Hotel and Spa

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referred Hotels & Resorts has accepted The Domain Hotel and Spa into its LVX Collection, joining an elite portfolio of more than 650 distinctive addresses around the world. Located at the heart of Manama’s business district, the property boasts modern suites and a sky lounge on the 36th floor, offering sweeping views of the Bahraini city. Additionally, a five-star spa and state-of-the-art fitness equipment and training gear await guests. Those staying at the establishment will now be able to collect points through Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ rewards programme, iPrefer, which offers a bouquet of benefits such as complimentary Internet at more than 550 member hotels worldwide.

Emirates Palace Hosts Caviar Masterclass

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ayad restaurant at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi offered foodies a unique chance to learn about the techniques and tricks of caviar making. The AmStur Caviar Masterclass took students on a caviar journey and taught them all about the surprising nuances of eating the delicacy, such as the unexpected delight of enjoying it straight from the purlicue of one’s hand, or the webbing between the thumb and index finger. After the caviar sampling, all participants were rewarded with a four-course meal with grape and bubbly pairings prepared by Tomas Closa, chef de cuisine, Sayad.

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Emirates Upgrades Loyalty Scheme

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mirates has revamped its corporate loyalty programme, Emirates Business Rewards, to provide greater value and added perks to customers. The new scheme has been simplified and made more competitive to allow for easier redemptions and upgrades, even on last minute bookings. Thanks to the enhancements, passengers can now use their Business Rewards Points to book any commercially available seat at any time, improving cost-effectiveness and flexibility for business travel. Additionally, the introduction of the guest traveller function means that organisations can include non-company persons, such as consultants or clients who travel on behalf of the entity, and still earn Business Rewards Points.

Etihad Surprises Passengers with Luxury Packs

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ithad Airways has introduced its new first class amenity kits, conceived in collaboration with fashion designer Christian Lacroix and skincare brand Omorovicza. A grey wash-bag, which also functions as a tablet storage, will be offered to men, while female travellers will receive a plum-coloured embossed clutch. In addition to comfort essentials such as shaving, sleep and dental accessories, both kits will contain products from Omorovicza’s Gold collection, including a lip balm, a hydrating cooling facial moisturiser, a hand cream and cleansing wipes. Initially, the bags will be available on Airbus A380 flights between the carrier’s Abu Dhabi hub and London, New York, Sydney, Melbourne and Mumbai, before being rolled out on all itineraries in 2017.

Etihad Airways first class

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MIDDLE EAST

DISCOVER: SAUDI ARABIA

BUSINESS LEADING THE WAY Saudi Arabia’s luxury properties continue to receive high volumes of business travellers who arrive to the country with high expectations and the Kingdom’s hotels are determined to ensure the best experiences in all fronts.

Al Faisaliah Hotel, Riyadh

MARY KAMMITSI WRITES

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ccording to Fflur Roberts, head of luxury goods, Euromonitor International, luxury travel has entered a new phase in which conspicuous consumption is giving way to more meaningful and authentic experiences. Growing demand and substantial investment, with a strong focus on high-end hotels, are drawing much attention to the Middle East with Saudi Arabia being one of the most

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significant contenders. As stated by Alexander Blaire, general manager, Al Faisaliah Hotel, Riyadh, with several international companies establishing head offices in the Kingdom, supported by the government’s vision to turn Saudi Arabia into a major conference and exhibition destination by 2020, notable strides are being made to ensure that

NOVEMBER 2016


DISCOVER: SAUDI ARABIA

MIDDLE EAST

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Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre

the country appeals to both businessmen as well as holiday-makers . “Business travellers tend to stay for shorter periods of time, and seek to have everything under one roof [...]. Rooms and suites [at Al Faisaliah Hotel] offer unmatched views of Riyadh’s iconic skyline and our signature restaurants serve a plethora of the city’s most devoured international cuisines,” commented Blaire. Underlining the business segment’s invaluable contribution, Gerrit Graef, general manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, revealed that 66 percent of the clientele represent corporate travellers, with 23 percent of these guests arriving from the US, 21 percent from the UAE, five percent from Lebanon and 4.5 percent from Germany, with the remaining bookings coming from the domestic market. “Our customers’ expectations are constantly evolving as their travel experiences change over time,” commented Graef. “Our MICE guests expect seamless services that assist them to deliver at work while also enjoying their personal time at the hotel.” As Tarek Bekheit, regional director, marketing, Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre, noted, business travellers have always accounted for the lion’s share, and years of experience has helped the property’s team anticipate and fulfill the unique needs of these valuable guests. “The location of Four Seasons Riyadh, in the centre close to the city’s diplomatic quarter, the elegant furnishings and advanced technology […], coupled with world renowned, personalised customer services, all contribute to making our hotel the destination of choice for executive travellers,” claimed Bekheit. According to Graef, Saudi Arabia is a luxury destination in its own right, and with the authentic Saudi warmth, plus a booming hospitality sector which continues to attract new high-end entrants, the country is on its way to become a top regional MICE destination for discerning travellers. “The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh is a perfect location that showcases both luxury experience and world-class MICE products and services,” added Graef.

NOVEMBER 2016

The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh

As Blaire noted, Saudi Arabia, and specifically Al Faisaliah Hotel, is an amalgamation of all the elements and nuances that create a luxurious experience. “From the Prince Sultan Grand Hall, which has hosted several pivotal meetings, conferences and even royal weddings, to the Al Faisaliah Spa […], Saudi Arabia is an ideal luxury destination for leisure and MICE guests,” stated Blaire. In conclusion, Bekheit admitted that it is no secret that there is more competition now than ever before in the hospitality market. “We believe that in order for hotels to keep up with this developing sector, they should work on differentiating themselves not only with the product [...] but also by customising the guest experience,” said Bekheit. 

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Middle East Private Jet Demand on the Rise

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ust five months after its inauguration in the UAE, Rakjet has already registered promising results, fuelled by a developing customer portfolio. “With 60 years of experience, our company has been launched in the UAE to address a specific need of comprehensive private aviation solutions, [with] the UAE holding the second-biggest fleet of business aircraft in the GCC countries,” explained Hugh Courtenay, founder, Rakjet. According to Middle East Business Aviation Association, by 2020, the regional sector’s value is set to reach USD1.2 billion, with a fleet comprising 1,200 private aircraft. As Zaher Deir, managing director, Rakjet, noted, the main reasons behind opting for a private jet include enhanced levels of comfort, privacy, safety and practicality of flying to smaller airports closer to meeting points.

Giorgio Armani Brings Luxury to Qatar Airways Giorgio Armani female amenity kit

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atar Airways, in partnership with fashion giant Giorgio Armani has launched its newly-designed range of luxurious Giorgio Armani fragrance and beauty amenity kits, available to first class passengers on select Airbus A380 flights. Designed exclusively for the Doha-based airline, the packs embrace the timeless signature black colour and golden accents of the fashion house. Ladies travelling with Qatar Airways will receive a stylish beauty kit that doubles as a make-up or jewellery bag, while men can take home a smart travel bag made with a ribbed fabric that reflects the latest trends.

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NOVEMBER 2016


SURROUNDED BY THE CALMING SOUNDS OF WAVES WITH SUNSEEKER

EUROPE


TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

EUROPE

ACCOMMODATION

The Peninsula Paris Becomes a Palace

The Peninsula Paris

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he 200-room The Peninsula Paris was awarded the highly prestigious Palace distinction by the French Tourism Development Agency (ATOUT France). The organisation carries the mandate to promote and enhance France’s tourism landscape, with the Palace title being designated for hotels exhibiting extraordinary service standards and design aesthetics that exceed the five-star ranking. Only eight properties in Paris carry the elite rating, with Dohabased Katara Hospitality owning two of these addresses. “This accolade underpins Katara Hospitality’s ongoing commitment to creating and preserving iconic heritage hotels in key travel destinations across the world,” commented Hamad Abdulla Al-Mulla, CEO, Katara Hospitality.

Culinary Offerings over 70 Years

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ichelin star and awardwinning chefs working at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts properties around the globe have given insights into the extensive efforts required to ensure guests experience the very best luxury dining during their stay, as part of the brand’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Over the years, 81 million meals have been served, 27 million pastries have been made for guests, 500,000 bottles of champagne have been popped and 400kg of honey has been produced by bees at hotels flying the InterContinental flag. Currently, the oldest bottle of vintage wine available for guests to order is 166 years old and there are nine Michelin star restaurants across the portfolio.

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NOVEMBER 2016


TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

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PICTURE: LONDON

LONDON AT ITS PRIME Hailed as the second most visited city in the world, London is growing in all fronts as affluent global travellers take full advantage of its offerings.

MARY KAMMITSI WRITES

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he UK capital’s profile as an attractive international tourism destination has been significantly elevated in recent times with visitor volumes to the city skyrocketing 70 percent over the last 15 years, according to a study by hospitality intelligence specialist, HotStats.

Based on the report, over the same period, total revenue levels at London hotels rose 25.3 percent, compared to an average increase of just 7.6 percent at regional UK accommodation establishments.

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In light of recent developments, it comes as no surprise that the world’s elite has greatly contributed to this growth. Chris Gottlieb, chief marketing and communications officer, London & Partners, referred to figures released in the 2015 International Passenger Survey (IPS), that indicate that based on spend, the list of top countries for London included Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Taiwan, China, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Singapore and Oman. Speaking about the destination’s clientele, Andrew Love, deputy chairman, The Ritz London, said, “The largest geographical markets at The Ritz London are the

NOVEMBER 2016


TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

EUROPE

UK, and then the US. However, Asia, Australia, Russia, the Middle East are also important.” As Love further pinpointed, demand from Asia has shown a notable improvement throughout 2015 and well into the current year. As the IPS figures revealed, for the past five years, out of all markets with the most significant spending power for the destination, the UAE has sent the most visitors to London and the Middle Eastern country also retained its top spot in 2015, followed by China and Singapore, underlining the steadily growing interest from Asia. LUXURY ON THE GROUND AND IN THE AIR Having recognised the high demand for premium services, especially from the Middle East and Central Asia, British Airways has introduced a plethora of highend offerings and luxury products over the past 12 months.

PICTURE: LONDON

Throwing the spotlight on the distinguished offerings of the city, Gottlieb added, “London is an ideal luxury destination with a wealth of options to cater for luxury travellers, including high-end hotels, Michelin star restaurants, celebrity hangouts, luxury shopping, spas and chauffer services.” International guests are largely visiting London for leisure, with shopping being a top activity of choice. According to details provided by Value Retail, Bicester Village, the Middle East is a key source market for the venue, with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar being among the top 10 strategic sources that have shown growth this year. Due to this particular segment’s high expectations, Bicester Village has developed exclusive VIP amenities that include Arabic-speaking concierge, a personal shopper, multilingual boutique staff, a VIP lounge with Halal catering and many more. Even though the highest spend per visit by guest is from the Middle East, Chinese and southeast Asian markets are not lagging behind either. Commenting on the destination’s appeal to shoppers, Gottlieb referred to London’s world-class shopping strip, the famous Bond Street, renowned for its

British Airways first class

To offer higher levels of comfort and convenience, the carrier will start deploying its newest aircraft on the Abu Dhabi – London Heathrow itinerary later this month. “The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is fitted with the FIRST suites that reflect a new generation in premium travel. The first cabin will have just eight seats in comparison to the 14 available on other British Airways long-haul aircraft, giving even more exclusivity and privacy to customers,” commented Paolo De Renzis, head of sales, Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, British Airways. Reaffirming the airline’s firm commitment to the valuable Middle East region, in July, the Dreamliner was also introduced on the London – Jeddah service, following consistently strong bookings on the route since its inauguration in 2014. London is a city of extravagance and discerning travellers heading to the destination expect nothing but the most outstanding products and experiences, suggested Love. “At The Ritz, we pride ourselves on offering the very best levels of service and on ensuring that the Ritz hallmark of excellence is delivered to every single guest,” emphasised Love, adding that The Ritz London is in fact the first and only property to have received a Royal Warrant from H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

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exclusive and designer brands. Moving on to London Luxury Quarter, the historic area has become synonymous with world-class luxury, providing generations of exceptional services and hundreds of years of heritage and exclusive experiences. Home to over twothirds of the top celebrated high-end labels, the area hosts 18 luxury five-star hotels and 23 Michelin star restaurants, just to name a few of what awaits discerning visitors. Speaking of the unique services, Lucy Bell, global marketing manager, London Luxury Quarter stated, “We have designed a VIP programme for international guests called By Appointment which allows behind the scenes access to meeting the makers and key personalities in London, as well as the best of bespoke product offerings”. As De Renzis noted, London is home to well-known landmarks, a vibrant arts and theatre community and is also renowned for its world-class shopping experiences. Bell concurred, “From leading art institutions and heritage sites to Michelin star dining, luxury fashion, five-star hotels, night life and entertainment, there is truly something for everyone.” 

NOVEMBER 2016


TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

AIR

EUROPE

BA to Launch First Wing Pathway

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Lounge Receives Makeover

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edium-haul passengers can now enjoy a new contemporary lounge following refurbishments at Paris-Charles de Gaulle’s terminal 2F. The updated facility includes upgraded catering options with an improved buffet service and redecorated bathrooms, while a new range of furniture is expected in 2017. Additionally, customer services have been also overhauled. Upon arrival passengers have the option of interactive kiosks or a reception desk staffed by Air France employees equipped with digital tablets. Later this year, the terminal 2F1 lounge will also be renovated in anticipation of the construction of a larger single unit at the terminal.

Rendering of First Wing

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ritish Airways (BA) is set to open First Wing, a dedicated walkway at Heathrow Airport’s terminal 5, for first and gold executive passengers and oneworld emerald members. Due to be inaugurated in April 2017, the footpath will feature an exclusive check-in zone and dedicated security lanes, leading customers to BA’s Galleries First lounge and Concorde Room. The two additional security paths will improve fast-track services and quicken the experience for Club World members. Speaking about the new facility, Mark Jennings, head of premium services and fast track, Heathrow Airport, noted, “[ It] underpins our commitment to improving the experience of our premium passengers and supports our vision of providing the world’s best airport service.”

Nice: Top Private Jet Destination Nice

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ice has been Air Charter Service (ACS)’s most in-demand location so far this year, with more than 100 private jet charters registered at the French holiday spot. On the other hand, bookings to previously popular Olbia continue to decrease. According to Andy Christie, group director executive jets, ACS, the 25 percent rise in demand to Nice is attributable to the destination’s proximity to other favourites such as Saint-Tropez and Monaco, both easily accessible by helicopter. Commenting on the five most sought-after locations, Christie added, “Perennial favourites, Ibiza and Palma come in second and third places, respectively. But with Cannes in fourth, the Côte D’Azur as a whole still beats the Balearics in popularity. Malaga in Southern Spain completes the top five.”

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BITS OF BLISS

EUROPE

Windstar: 22 New European Itineraries

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etween May and November 2017, Windstar Cruises will offer 22 unique journeys across Europe on more than 120 cruises. The liner will introduce two new itineraries with calls at the increasingly popular destinations of Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro. Additionally, capacity on the Around Iceland cruise has been doubled to meet the fast-growing demand. Windstar Cruises operates a fleet of six boutique and all-suite yachts that visit 150 ports across 50 countries. The ships are known for their intimacy and in total feature 1,242 passenger berths.

Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze

BA Celebrates British Artists in First

TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

Exploring the British Isles from the Sea

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ravellers onboard Hebridean Princess can access the highlands and islands of Scotland, and experience the lochs and remote main land

areas. Carrying just 50 guests, the ship has gained a reputation for exceptional service, fine food and wine as well as the warm welcome extended by its crew of 38. The vessel has 30 well-appointed cabins, 10 of which have been designed for solo travellers, Guests on Hebridean Princess can explore the best of the British Isles, from castles, lochs and seldom-visited anchorages. A range of guided walks in the hills and mountains are also on offer. Cruises range from four to nine nights, departing mainly from Oban.

Camper & Nicholsons Welcomes Superyachts

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ritish Airways (BA) commissioned sculptor Alex Chinneck to create a piece of art to feature on the front cover of First, the airline’s in-flight magazine for premium travellers. Sandcastle is a life-size sandcastle made of concrete and then industrially chromed in silver to add a layer of sophistification. First class passengers will also be able to view the artwork in Concorde Room at Heathrow Airport’s terminal 5 over a period of four months. Sandcastle

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amper & Nicholsons has added new superyachts to its fleet. Firstly, the 53.8m Perini Navi Parsifal III joined the company’s sales portfolio, and the 41.1m Okko is also new on the list. Offered for sale for the very first time, the Mondomarine-built motor yacht presents herself in immaculate condition and is commercially registered. The last yacht in the Mangusta 108 series, the 33.48m Kimochiii offers accommodation for up to nine guests in four sophisticated en suite cabins. The 30.8m Pamalama and the luxurious 30.7m Pokrov II are now also listed for sale.

NOVEMBER 2016

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TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

INTERVIEW

INTERVIEW WITH

Paolo De Renzis HEAD OF SALES, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA AND CENTRAL ASIA, BRITISH AIRWAYS

With the UK boasting some of the world’s most visited landmarks, along with a plethora of exclusive experiences, the destination remains a firm favourite for affluent travellers as Paolo De Renzis, head of sales, Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, British Airways, explains.

Travel Trade Luxury: What makes London an ideal destination for affluent travellers? Paolo De Renzis: The city of London is home to well-known landmarks, a vibrant arts and theatre community and is renowned for its world-class shopping experiences. Once in London, tour the city and take in the many famous attractions from a double-decker bus. Travellers can admire the breath-taking views from one of the 32 high-tech glass capsules of the EDF London Eye and see Big Ben towering above the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. Visitors can discover more with the London Sightseeing Pass as it provides entry to over 55 top attractions […]. Some luxurious attractions in London include the West End, Oxford Street, Thames cruises and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Travel Trade Luxury: How does British Airways cater for discerning passengers? Paolo De Renzis: It is our entire passenger experience, which really differentiates us from other airlines. Our aim is to give passengers the best of British hospitality experience […]. We achieve this through our highly trained cabin crew and customer service staff, award-winning products and great connections through our hub at Heathrow terminal 5 (T5).

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Once passengers touch down, the time spent at Heathrow Airport’s terminal 5 can be just as enticing as the flight itself, with six lounges to choose from. There is also a vast array of shops giving you the chance to make some sophisticated purchases while you await departure. It is not for nothing that T5 has been named the best airport terminal in the world. T5 is an extremely important part of British Airways’ customer offering, and over the last few years, we have been striving to perfect our state-of-the-art facilities and service to ensure a seamless travel experience. In line with the airline’s continued investment in elegant lounges, new aircraft, smarter cabins, new technologies and in new products and services aimed at making life more comfortable in the air and on the ground for customers, British Airways opened a brand new lounge at Dubai International’s Concourse D at terminal 1. The new dedicated lounge is the second location after Singapore to offer the airline’s new Concorde Bar […]. This followed upgrades to British Airways’ Club World Galleries South at T5A and First Lounge at Heathrow Airports earlier this year. There has been a significant development in regards to the airlines’ customers’ on-board experience in the past 12 months; one of the key developments is the addition of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to the airline’s fleet. […]

In April 2017, the airline will be opening a new dedicated walkway, from check-in to its lounges in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 for its First and Gold Executive customers. The First Wing will create an enhanced private check-in zone where customers will be guided through two new dedicated security lanes to access British Airways’ Galleries First lounge and Concorde Room to relax before their flight. Travel Trade Luxury: What kind of benefits are available for business and leisure travellers alike? Paolo De Renzis: British Airways is one of the world’s largest airlines carrying approximately 40 million passengers every year. The airline has launched in 2015 its revitalised On Business loyalty scheme, which will help their ever-growing small and medium sized enterprises passengers make even more of their travel budgets. The improved programme, which already saves customers GBP30 million (USD36.8 million) a year on flights, now rewards points based on spend rather than distance travelled or number of flights. […] For those seeking pleasure, during the past 12 months British Airways has launched a further nine new routes from its London Heathrow hub to […] Santiago, San Jose, Lima, and Costa Rica. The new routes are additional to 14 others which have been added to its various airports across the UK.

NOVEMBER 2016


AT YOUR SERVICE

TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel Launches Library

Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel

Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel has collaborated with independent bookshop, Belgravia Books to curate a library in the property’s recently renovated Map Room and in Lowndes Bar & Kitchen. Every book in the lending library celebrates local life and literature. Additionally, guests wanting to take their favourites home can request new copies through the concierge. Ian Richardson, general manager, Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, enthused, “Belgravia’s cobbled streets, hidden mews, ancient pubs and grand town houses are full of stories and we hope that the Belgravia Lending Library will bring some of these to life for our guests.”

New Pyjamas for Qantas Travellers Qantas has unveiled its new Martin Grant designed pyjamas and slippers for first class passengers, offering a luxurious and comfortable sleeping attire. The new Qantas First pyjamas are the continuation of Martin Grant’s elegantly edgy fashion influence and introduce a new luxury element to the Australian national carrier’s first cabin. Grant has also designed stylish male and female amenity kits in the same navy hues as the pyjamas. The packs feature a range of bespoke spa products, the brand’s signature travel socks, dental kit, ear plugs and deodorant. A special eye mask designed by Grant also comes with the bag ensuring maximum comfort and total light block out.

AmaWaterways Featured in Rolls-Royce Yearbook

AmaWaterways has been included in Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club (RROC)'s official yearbook, Strive for Perfection. The 296-page publication not only celebrates the car manufacturer’s vehicles and pursuit of excellence, but also showcases a selection of luxury brands. The book launch took place at RROC’s 64th annual meeting, a week-long event that attracted more than 1,000 enthusiasts from across the US. Commenting on the feature, Kristin Karst, executive vice president, AmaWaterways, said, “AmaWaterways is a luxury brand that caters to customers who expect style, elegance and comfort, and we are excited to have been selected as a perfect fit for this beautifully designed publication.”

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TRAVEL TRADE LUXURY

EVENTS

Exhibiting Million Dollar Toys

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his year’s Big Boys Toys Exhibition will showcase luxury products that surpass a net worth of USD450 million. As Biju Jayaraaj, CEO, Artaaj Events, revealed, more than 250 companies from 42 countries are expected to head to Abu Dhabi for the show. “Big Boys Toys prides itself on contributing to the UAE’s vision for 2021, where the directive is to transform its economy into a model where growth is driven by knowledge and innovation. These products are the epitome of innovation and scientific advancement and we hope to pique the interests of the people of the UAE and the GCC,” he added. The seventh edition of the Big Boys Toys Exhibition will take place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre between November 23 – 26.

Burgess Showcased at Monaco Yacht Show

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EVENTS

he headlining closing act of the Mediterranean season, Monaco Yacht Show, celebrated the most luxurious superyachts from around the globe This year marked the 26th edition of the programme with more than 120 superyachts from 25m to 100m exhibited at the annual event. With an average attendance of 34,000 visitors, Monaco Yacht Show is considered the biggest professional showcase of its kind in the calendar. To promote its offerings, globally renowned Burgess exhibited an attractive line-up of world-class yachts.

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THE LUXURY TRAVEL FAIR London, UK November 03 – 06

Monaco Yacht Show

ILTM CANNES Cannes, France December 05 – 08

MASTERS OF LXRY Amsterdam, Netherlands December 08 – 12

NOVEMBER 2016

Travel Trade Luxury, November 2016, Issue 9  

Top Stories: China (pg 08) Saudi Arabia (pg 22) London (pg 28)

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