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28 APRIL 2018 ISSUE 442


W Amman Makes its Jordan Entrance









Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) reached new heights revealing milestone figures from the first quarter (Q1) of this year’s results.

EDITOR Mario Hajiloizis PRESS Efi Rousi Maria Angelica Constantinou Athena Karsera Yiazou CONTRIBUTOR Dominique Christou 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 WEBSITE EMAILS

SAUDIA is set to have 200 aircraft within its fleet by 2020

WORLDWIDE REPRESENTATIVES Representative for North, South & Central America, and the Caribbean: Neil Strickland GlobeTM Tel: +19542969515, Representative for Indian subcontinent: Faredoon Kuka RMA Media Tel: +912229253735,

Representative for UK & Ireland and Scandinavia: David Simpson Simpson Media Tel: +447900885456,


as of 26.4.2018




Bahrain (BHD)



Jordan (JOD)



Oman (OMR)



Qatar (QAR)



Saudi Arabia (SAR)






Algeria (DZD)



Egypt (EGP)



Iran (IRR)



Iraq (IQD)



Kuwait (KWD)



Lebanon (LBP)



Libya (LYD)



Morocco (MAD)



Syria (SYP)



Tunisia (TND)



Yemen (YER)




ith the growth of seat capacity at nine percent, total passenger growth has steadily increased, carrying 8.3 million guests travellers, and a 19 percent increase among international customers. The airline currently flies to 89 destinations across four continents, and as the national carrier of the Kingdom, the land of the two holy mosques, increasingly guests are flying with SAUDIA for Umrah and Hajj pilgrimage. The operations have grown steadily both on the domestic and international fronts, flying 52,000 flights during Q1, an increase of five percent during the same period year-on-year. Commenting on the latest results, H. E. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, director general, SAUDIA, said, “SAUDIA’s growth and transformation has been underway for several years, and the results have shown how the strategic growth plans, new infrastructure and guest experience investments have contributed to the airline’s recent successes.”

QATAR AIRWAYS TAKE JETSUITE MINORITY STAKE Qatar Airways and JetSuite, a leading private US aviation company, announced that Qatar Airways has taken a minority stake in JetSuite, and indirectly in JetSuiteX.

Q The investment is focussed on fuelling the future of private and semi-private aviation

atar Airways has now joined JetBlue Airways, and is expected to increase its investment in both JetSuite and JetSuiteX over time. With this investment, Qatar’s flagship is expected to help fuel the growth of JetSuite’s private aviation business, which currently focusses on light and very light jets. Furthermore, Qatar Airways’ investment is anticipated to enable faster expansion of this fleet and the ability to reach new destinations, including the potential to bring the semi-private model to additional US regions. “JetBlue and Qatar Airways together are a dream team of investors, and they will allow us to execute our vision of offering a superior service to the forgotten short haul US air market even more quickly,” revealed Alex Wilcox, CEO, JetSuite and JetSuiteX.

28 APRIL 2018


The aqua-nursery joins other attractions like King Croc and Shark Feeding

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo Introduce Aqua-Nursery Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo launched an aqua-nursery, designed to provide additional specialised care to newborns.


he nursery not only allows the aquarium’s experts to care for the newborns, but also offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the varying lifecycles and reproductive process for a variety of species. Specifically, visits to the aqua-nursery will also explore peak breeding seasons, gestation periods and the scientific terminologies covering various species, forming a new option of educational entertainment within the aquarium. Furthermore, the aqua-nursery seeks to encourage interaction with the younger audience and teach them about species which are otherwise not accessible. Currently residing in the new nursery are zebra sharks, shovel nose rays, bamboo sharks and blue spotted rays, which have all been born naturally at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo.

KAEC to Establish National Academy of Aviation Technology

Situated on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, KAEC covers an area of 181 km2, approximately the size of Washington D.C.


audi Arabia’s King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), reportedly the world’s largest privately-funded new city, signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a National Academy of Aviation Technology. The academy will be created through a strategic partnership between Economic Cities Authority, Technical and Vocational Training Corporation, Saudi Aviation Club, Saudi Arabian Oil Company, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Ministry of Education, and Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company. According to KAEC, the academy’s first branch will be its headquarters located within the city and where up to 1,000 aircraft technicians and 350 pilots will be trained on an annual basis. The second branch will be located at Riyadh’s Al-Thumama Airport. The academy is anticipated to directly enrich the local aviation market, expected to require 3,000 employees by the year 2023. Fahd Al-Rasheed, group CEO, KAEC, commented, “The academy is a highly prestigious addition to KAEC, where it will provide the highest standards of vocational training to enhance and develop Saudi Arabia’s aviation workforce, thus raising the level of productivity.” 28 APRIL 2018


WEEKLY NEWS Reel Team Up with Guy Fieri for Dine-In Cinema


eel Cinemas, Emaar Entertainment’s cinema brand, has teamed up with Food Network star chef, Guy Fieri, to launch the Middle East’s first Dine-In Cinema featuring his American Kitchen concept. Guy Fieri’s Kitchen & Bar and Dine-in Cinema by Reel Cinemas at Jebel Ali Recreation Club will deliver dishes from the American Kitchen to the table of cine-goers, as they enjoy blockbusters with Dolby Atmos and Barco Flagship Laser projection that assure exceptional audio-visual quality. Combined, the theatres will have 14 dine-in screens, with session tickets covering not just the film but also a sumptuous meal comprising of an appetiser and main course. “Reel Cinemas is setting new benchmarks in providing moviegoers with unprecedented entertainment experiences,” commented Damien Latham, CEO, Emaar Entertainment. “The new concept delivers more than just a big screen; comfort, entertainment and a unique food and beverage offering are at the heart of what we deliver at Reel Cinemas.”

Ras Al Khaimah to Host Challenge Tour Grand Final


oosting the UAE’s golf scene, Ras Al Khaimah has been announced as the destination for the pivotal event of the European Challenge Tour season. Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final aims to mark the climax of the European Challenge Tour season at Troon Golf-managed Al Hamra Golf Club from October 31 – November 03. “Sports and adventure tourism is key to Ras al Khaimah’s tourism development strategy and this golf event is an important addition to our events calendar,” explained Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. The Challenge Tour Grand Final is anticipated to offer competitors the chance to graduate to the European Tour, as well as offer a prize fund of USD515,000. The Challenge Tour’s season-long rankings will now be known as the Road to Ras Al Khaimah with players competing throughout the 29-event season to try to win a spot. Only the top 45 ranked players will be eligible for the season finale. Those players are due to be promoted to play on European Tour while an additional Road to Ras Al Khaimah Bonus Pool of USD100,000 is to be divided between the top three ranked players.

From Left: Nick Tarratt, director, European Tour International Dubai Office, with Mattar after Challenge Tour discussions

Sociable Earth Survey Reveals Muslim Traveller Preferences


total of 35,000 Muslim travellers participated in a survey that was arranged by Sociable Earth. According to the survey, 61.3 percent of respondents said non-Muslim countries should increase their variety of halal food at hotels, 61.1 percent listed being nearby to mosques as important, 55.2 percent prefer to be close to halal restaurants, and 14 percent ideally would stay at locations that offer private pool villas. The survey also found that with almost 30 percent of the vote, Dubai was the most popular holiday destination, followed by Turkey (16 percent), Maldives (12 percent), Malaysia (nine percent), and Mauritius (six percent). Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the UK each polled 5.6 percent with the US on 5.5 percent. In another interesting result, more than 78 percent of respondents select their holiday destination as a family, with only 1.5 percent leaving the decision solely to their children. Omar Ahmed, CEO, Sociable Earth, said, “We felt there was a great need to understand Muslim travellers. Certainly, the halal travel market has graduated from its niche status to become an industry-shaping force, in its own right.”


Abu Dhabi’s Real Estate Market Prepares for Growth


32.8 percent voted that close proximity to masjids, or mosques, was a top priority

hile the first quarter of this year has recorded a slowing rate of capital value declines across the UAE, developers of Abu Dhabi’s high-end homes appear to be sensing a bottoming of the market and are pressing ahead with new schemes, according to Cluttons, an international real estate consultancy. Faisal Durrani, head, research, Cluttons, explained, “This year looks set to be a better year for the UAE economy as a whole, with GDP expected to expand by 2.6 percent, from a seven-year low growth rate of 1.7 percent in 2017. This is, in turn, expected to help support more stable rates of job creation and increased government spending as confidence levels improve.”

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Mahfouz says Elaf Group aims to strengthening ties through better client – hotel communication

Elaf Group Inaugurates All-Female Call Centre Elaf Group, a travel, tourism and hospitality services provider, recently opened a new Jeddah, Saudi Arabiabased all-female staffed call centre.


laf, part of SEDCO Holding Group, said the move was part of the group's continuing efforts to provide Shari'a compliant travel, tourism and hospitality services to all its customers. The new facility has been inaugurated to allow customers easy access to key services like hotel network e-booking, customised packages and exclusive offers and promotions. Elaf described the service as a key driver when helping address the needs of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims by helping them arrange for a fully planned pilgrimage with an end-to-end package. “The Elaf Group remains steadfast in its commitment to provide our customers with a diverse range of high-quality services and contribute to the growth of the hospitality and tourism sectors, which falls in line with the objectives of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 to promote tourism, specifically religious tourism and increase the industry's economic role in the country's move towards development,” said Ziyad Bin Mahfouz, CEO, Elaf Group. The Elaf Group currently owns and operates 13 hotels within destinations such as Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

New Sabre Red Workspace Rolls Out


abre Corporation, a travel industry technology provider, is encouraging travel agency customers worldwide to upgrade to the new Sabre Red Workspace, the company’s intuitive point-of-sale tool for travel agencies. According to Sabre, the solution is currently rolling out in English, German, Spanish and Japanese languages. French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese will be coming soon. The new product is designed to make a travel agent’s job easier while increasing productivity. The solution delivers a differentiated value to customers by

focussing on three core areas; adding industry-leading content, providing data-driven insights, and taking the work out of the workspace. The new product release follows an extensive pilot and testing phase with selected customers. “The initial feedback from our early customers is fantastic, and we are eager to release the new Sabre Red Workspace globally with regional language versions,” elaborated Wade Jones, president, Sabre Travel Network. “This groundbreaking solution will change the way travel agents work by combining rich content with flexibility, simplicity and ease of use.”

roomsXML and getabed Merge Their Businesses

B roomsXML and getabed both have UAE-based offices


2B accommodation specialists’ roomsXML and getabed announced a merger of their businesses. Under the new structure, current management of both roomsXML and getabed will continue to run the combined business, with Ruchir Bang, executive director, roomsXML, as CEO, and Matt Stuart, managing director, getabed, as chief commercial officer. The remaining senior leadership roles will be announced soon. The joint business will provide benefits and scale, which will then be passed on to their customers and suppliers. As a result of the merger,

they now offer a global business with deep penetration into the travel agency space across the Middle East, India, Australia and Europe. “We currently are in a very interesting phase within the travel wholesale industry and certainly see a great future if we have the right mix of passionate team, user-focussed technology and strong financials,” enthused Bang. Stuart, added, “With the accommodation wholesale market evolving rapidly, we needed to ensure that we remain relevant. Our shared passion, ethos and vision was clear, so merging made complete sense.” 28 APRIL 2018

TECHNOLOGY Travelport and Extend Partnership

Emirates Hits One Million Wi-Fi Connections During March

Phocuswright: Mobile Fuel Soaring Online Bookings




ravelport, a leading travel commerce platform providing solutions for the travel and tourism industry, and, a commercial website for finding discounted rates of travel-related purchases, announced a long-term renewal agreement. Travelport is anticipated to continue providing pricing, booking and ticketing technology and content to According to the company, Travelport is committed to support with their search and pricing capabilities, as well as offer new technologies that offer faster connections, greater content and more relevant choices. The renewal comes approximately 20 years after the two companies signed their first agreement.


mirates set a new record with over one million Wi-Fi connections made onboard its flights during March this year. In total, 1,037,016 Emirates customers connected to the Internet during their flight. The connections were mainly made over mobile devices with over 94 percent of users connecting with a smartphone, twice as many connections were made on an iOS mobile phone as compared to an Android mobile, and about two percent with a tablet. The remaining connections were made with laptops and other devices. Wi-Fi connectivity is available on over 98 percent of the Emirates fleet, including all Airbus A380s, Boeing B777-300ERs and Boeing B777-200LRs.

he Middle East's young population, 38 percent below 20 years old and 27 percent millennials, and a high Internet penetration of 74 percent, are helping to drive double-digit growth across the region's online travel market, according to a report by Phocuswright, a provider of travel, tourism and hospitality market research. While the older generation tends to be driven by comfort and well-established habits, millennials are more adventurous and eager to visit new destinations. Overall, regional travellers are venturing out more often with new low-cost carrier routes and visa agreements opening up a range of destination options. Specifically, new outbound destinations, such as Central Asia, have become popular for quick breaks. For longer hauls, Southeast Asia and the Far East remain top choices, as do Europe’s capitals and Turkey.

28 APRIL 2018


W Amman is located within the heart of Amman’s up and coming new downtown neighborhood, Abdali

EgyptAir Selects Maintenance WSafran Amman

Jazeera Begins Kochi Service

Makes its Jordan Entrance



he hotel boasts 236 rooms and 44 suites, including four WOW Suites and an Extreme WOW Suite which offers views of Amman’s landscape, an in-room DJ deck, amplified entertainment system, and private Jacuzzi. Food and beverage options at the hotel feature; Enso, the hotel’s signature Pan-Asian restaurant; Mesh which provides international cuisine; Aura offering signature beverages and delicious bar bites W Amman also includes WET Deck (pool deck), which is designed to bring a new vibe to the city’s party scene. Guests can enjoy cocktails or listen to live performances at the rooftop space. For wellness experiences there’s AWAY Spa, a modernFIT gym, and for social and business gatherings a 780 m2 space is available, including a 629 m2 Great Room and four fully equipped, stylish Strategy and Studio rooms.

Marriott International Reveal MEA Growth Plans

Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts Expand North Africa Presence

Wyndham Garden Enters UAE




arriott International recently announced growth plans for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region following signings of more than 30 properties and over 5,000 rooms over the last 12 months. The signings put Marriott on track to increase its regional portfolio to nearly 370 hotels, an increase of more than 50 percent over the next five years. This will amount to more than 80,000 rooms across 21 brands, including the introduction of brands such as EDITION, Element and AC Hotels by Marriott to the region. Additionally, the company and its property owners expect to add 30,000 new jobs over the next five years across the region. “It is a really exciting time for the Middle East and Africa region’s travel and tourism sector,” said Alex Kyriakidis, president, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “With clear and ambitious visions set out by regional governments the industry is thriving more than ever.” 28 APRIL 2018

teigenberger Hotels and Resorts is expanding its North Africa portfolio by signing an agreement for a hotel in Luxor, Egypt, and having recently opened a new hotel in Tunisia. Steigenberger Resort Achti is to be located on the East Bank of the Nile, and is expected to open for business during the third quarter of this year. The property includes 281 rooms, suites and bungalows, while also boasting six restaurants and bars serving up a range of culinary offerings. Further highlights will include an outdoor pool, a separate pool within the bungalow area complete with Jacuzzi, a business centre and a meeting room. Steigenberger guests have also been enjoying Steigenberger Marhaba Thalasso, Tunisia which officially opened on April 01.

Steigenberger Resort Achti joins the group’s Egypt portfolio that currently features 14 hotels

Hotels, the hospitality management division of Ajmanbased R Holding, has announced the debut of Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche, the UAE’s first Wyndham Garden property. With sweeping views of the Arabian Gulf, the four-star hotel features 179 rooms and suites, all facing the beachfront. Other amenities include an executive lounge on the top floor, and state-of-theart leisure facilities including a modern spa, fitness club, outdoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi, and kids’ club. Dining options include Seascape, a seafood speciality restaurant; Gourmet Garden all-day dining venue; R Café at the lobby; and Waves pool bar. Sumair Tariq, managing director, R Hotels, stated, "We are confident that the hotel will deliver the highest standards of service to all the guests, with its seasoned and professional team.”



RJ Expands Codeshare Agreement for Dhaka with Qatar Airways Royal Jordanian (RJ) expanded its codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways, giving its passengers access to Dhaka, Bangladesh on the Qatari national carrier’s flights.


The first flight departure from London to Sulaymaniyah is scheduled to be on March 28

Gulf Air Plan Bahrain – Casablanca Flights



ordan’s flagship carrier is expected to market Qatar Airways’ route to Dhaka International Airport as of April 01. Stefan Pichler, CEO, RJ, noted, “Our codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways is opening up a larger number of weekly flights between Doha and Amman, in addition to numerous new connections beyond Hamad International Airport.” Pichler, added, “We invite our guests to make use of these convenient connections and travel to many points they desire. We always work on enhancing our route network by partnering with other airlines through codeshare agreements to offer our passengers the best travel options they could possibly find.”

ulf Air plans to launch five direct weekly flights between Bahrain and Casablanca, Morocco, from an anticipated date of June 11. Gulf Air’s Casablanca route will be operated by incoming Boeing B787-9 Dreamliners which will be outfitted with new, best-in-class products and services. “We have scheduled our Casablanca operations to serve regional travellers with convenient connections through Bahrain, providing excellent connectivity for travellers flying from the GCC, Indian Subcontinent and Asia,” outlined Krešimir Kučko, CEO, Gulf Air.

28 APRIL 2018


Emirates Add Additional Daily Service to Prague

E Air Cairo to Operate Alexandria – Milan Route


ir Cairo unveiled plans to commence a weekly service from Alexandria’s Borg El Arab Airport to Malpensa Airport, Milan. Set to be operational from April 29, flights from Alexandria are scheduled to be operated on Sundays at 17:45, while return flights will be operated on the same day at 22:30. The low-cost carrier is expected to operate flights using Airbus A320 aircraft on both inbound and outbound flights. From June this year, the Alexandria – Milan route is expected to increase to twice weekly. According to OAG, a UK-based air travel intelligence company, the airline also operates services from Marsa Alam – Milan Malpensa and Sharm El Sheikh – Milan Malpensa.

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mirates revealed it will add a second daily flight between Dubai and Prague, expected to come into effect on July 01. The additional flight was introduced to meet the increasing demand for both inbound and outbound travel, according to the airline. The second daily flight will be operated by a Boeing B777-300ER which provides a capacity of 360 seats, boosting inbound tourism through the additional 262,800 seats a year it will provide. Emirates’ flight EK137 is scheduled to leave Dubai at 15:30 and arrive into Prague at 19:55. The return flight EK138 is expected to leave the Czech capital at 21:35 and arrive back home at 05:30 the following day (all times local). The airline also announced it will offer a complimentary chauffeur driven car to and from the airport for business and first class passengers, as well as access to Emirates’ exclusive airport lounges worldwide, including Premium airport lounge access on departure at Prague Airport.




AccorHotels Sign Strategic Agreement with Mantis Group


ccorHotels has announced a strategic partnership with South Africa-based Mantis Group. The partnership has seen AccorHotels acquire a 50 percent stake in the Group, which features a collection of privately owned, managed and branded five-star properties and lodges located around the world. AccorHotels stated that the deal resonated with the Group’s Planet 21 conservation platform. The strategic partnership is accompanied by the launch of Community Conservation Fund Africa, a non-profit organisation which aims to amplify both groups’ commitment towards preventing the decline of Africa’s wildlife. It also brings together three international conservation organisations, namely Wilderness Foundation, Tusk Trust and African Parks.

Victoria Falls Airport Reports Growth

First Mövenpick for Kenya



ictoria Falls International Airport reported an increase in its capacity utilisation and a boom in tourism-related business. Significantly, the airport enjoyed a rise of five percent, from 21 percent to 26 percent, in the airport’s capacity utilisation, and a 20 percent increase in tourism-related business. According to the airport, its recent success is due to the renovations commissioned in 2016 which have enabled it to raise its capacity to accommodate widebodied aircraft and 1.5 million passengers per annum. Other reasons could include new routes which have been opened and Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe encouraging more airlines to fly into the country.

övenpick Hotels & Resorts made its Kenya debut with the opening of Mövenpick Hotel & Residences Nairobi on April 09. The hotel offers 276 rooms with one- and two-bedroom residences, which are ideal for families or longer stay guests, and range from 97 m2 to 121 m2 sizes, also offering a separate living room and fullyequipped kitchen. The property offers five distinct dining experiences, the Latino-themed La Mesa bar and lounge on the 15th and 16th floor; Baluba’ The View which offers 360-degree panoramas of Nairobi City; Kijani bar, next to the outdoor pool; and lobby café. For events, the hotel offers 14 state-ofthe-art venues with natural daylight and high ceilings.

From Left: Bezin and Gardiner welcomed the partnership as being beneficial to both their groups

Dams Boost Botswana's Tourism Goals


ocal stakeholders anticipate the new Shashe Dam, Tonota, Botswana and similar projects will increase the country’s tourism opportunities. Botswana Tourism Organisation, in partnership with Water Utilities Corporation, over March 31 – April 01, opened Shashe Dam for leisure and recreational activities to diversify Tonota’s tourism offerings. Shashe Dam is part of Botswana’s wider dam tourism project which also includes dams in Gaborone, Thune, Letsibogo, Shashe and Ntimbale. SATOA reported this diversification was expected to include the development of lodges, campsites, cycling, horse riding and fishing facilities, amongst others, attracting local and international tourists.

African Countries Embrace UNWTO Biodiversity Plans


frican tourism administrations have undersigned the Declaration of Kinshasa which fosters tourism as a driver of biodiversity and environmental protection. According to World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the declaration is considered a major result of regional action created through UNWTO/Chimelong Initiative on Wildlife Conservation and Sustainable Tourism. The declaration was undersigned during a recent wildlife and biodiversity protection experience exchange and capacity building conference in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The regional conference served to summarise itinerary training workshops conducted throughout 2017 to encourage local communities and tourism stakeholders to act as champions of biodiversity conservation and environmental protection.


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Canada Tourism Growth Outpaces Economy

Delta Air Lines Unveil Biometric Check-in Solution for its Club Members


anada’s travel and tourism sector grew 50 percent faster than the country’s wider economy during 2017, according to newly released World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) research findings. The total contribution of travel and tourism to the Canadian economy in 2017 was CAD138.8 billion (USD107.49 billion), taking into account all the direct, indirect and induced benefits. This represented a rise of 4.5 percent against growth of three percent for the wider economy. Additionally, WTTC noted that travel and tourism supported 1.6 million jobs in Canada during 2017 (8.6 percent of total employment) and that, by 2028, almost two million jobs were forecast to be dependent on travel and tourism.


elta Air Lines’ Sky Club members can now use their fingerprints to enter all 50 of its US locations from March 26 with the launch of Delta Biometrics Powered by CLEAR, a technology that speeds passengers through the long line for ID checks, and guides them to the screening line. Delta Biometrics Powered by CLEAR is made possible through the technology provider, which allows eligible customers to forego a paper or mobile boarding pass, or club membership card, by securely verifying customer identity when they place two fingers on the designated fingerprint reader.

American Airlines Expands Americas Services

A Canada has the 13th largest travel economy globally – WTTC

EVEN Alpharetta to Join IHG

merican Airlines is growing its Mexico, Caribbean and Latin America presence with the addition of four new destinations. From winter, the airline is scheduled to offer access to Georgetown, Guyana; Pereira, Colombia; Cordoba, Argentina and Oaxaca, Mexico. Also, American plans to introduce a new service to Buenos Aires from its West Coast hub at Los Angeles International Airport. American also recently announced a new service between its Philadelphia International Airport hub and Mexico City, beginning July 05.

RIU Hotels Install 100 Classrooms Following Mexico Earthquake



nterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and hospitality developer Epelboim Development Group have broken ground for a new EVEN Hotels property to enter the Alpharetta, Georgia, hospitality market. Set to open during the third quarter of 2019, the new-build construction continues the expansion of the brand’s footprint across the Southeast of the US and marks the first metro Atlanta location. It follows the brand’s recent openings of two EVEN Hotels located at Sarasota, Florida and Eugene, Oregon. The new six-story EVEN Hotel Alpharetta is being designed to feature 132 rooms, four suites, flexible public workspaces, 70 m² of meeting space, a business centre, onsite dining options and a 111 m² athletic studio.


RIU chose to work with UNICEF because of its focus on children

ix months after a devastating earthquake shook Mexico on September 19, RIU Hotels & Resorts, with a contribution to United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF), has installed 100 temporary classrooms and facilitated the return to school activities to more than 4,000 Mexican children from Chiapas and Puebla. RIU Hotels decided to donate USD400,000 to UNICEF for the installation of the classrooms, as well as to provide furniture and supplies needed. The most important part is that the children have been able to resume their education immediately, in good conditions and with guarantees of safety and hygiene.

28 APRIL 2018

The Melbourne Hotel, Perth Reopens Following Refurbishment


ollowing a major refurbishment, the heritage-listed The Melbourne Hotel, located within Perth’s Central Business District has been transformed. The hotel has turned into a seven-storey, four-star hotel with 73 new or refurbished rooms. The original grandeur of the hotel’s 1897 design has been retained, with the addition of a new modern architectural build. The hotel includes a gym, function space, boardroom, conservatory and Old Melbourne pub, now called De Baun & Co. The hotel also offers new food venues including Grand Orient, a modern Cantonese inspired restaurant and two firsts for

28 APRIL 2018



Australia; the famous Keisuke ramen noodle bar and Hattendo, serving Japanese cream buns that mix sweet and savoury.

The Melbourne Hotel also features a rooftop lounge and bar

GlobalData: Brands Should Embrace WeChat


s Chinese tourists are anticipated to number almost 191 million by 2021, GlobalData, a data and analytics company, suggested that global tourism brands should embrace tools such as China’s popular WeChat app. WeChat is a Chinese multi-purpose social media mobile application software, developed by tech giant Tencent. GlobalData suggests WeChat presents a promising channel for global tourist players looking to tap into the massive Chinese travel market. Konstantina Boutsioukou, associate analyst, travel and tourism, GlobalData, elaborated, “WeChat, with almost one billion active monthly users, has become embedded into the daily interactions and activities of Chinese people. Global tourism players must capitalise to raise brand awareness and drive sales.”





TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How and when did Lebanon transition into a regional hub for fashion culture and tourism? JOYCE MOUAWAD: Lebanon was and always will be a hub for culture. We are lucky to have a unique heritage and this is our main strength. We have pillars that allow us to stand strong when facing any storm; tourism is flourishing year-after-year. However, time is always needed to gain the trust of several markets, nevertheless, despite that, Lebanese expats are always tremendously contributing when enhancing the tourism sector. Fashion is part of this country’s diversified culture and this is best demonstrated through famous Lebanese designers who have gained international recognition. This place is the hub of several designers who host their fashion collection here and showcase them to all visitors, mostly from the Gulf, Europe and US. Add to that, designers from the Gulf are also regularly exhibiting their collections here to showcase their beautiful work.

it was created by a divine power, an act of God that is not explainable. Yes, you can find organised and tidy countries but you can never find the spirit of Lebanon anywhere else. To feel it you have to live it. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Describe the overall national and local climate during the annual Beirut Fashion Week? JOYCE MOUAWAD: During Beirut Fashion Week we feel that this beautiful event is crowned by the presence of the positive vibes and energy that empower the client to purchase; the media to create the buzz and the designer to be proud of his creation. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What actions are being undertaken to further improve and develop Lebanon's fashion tourism industry? JOYCE MOUAWAD: Lebanon is not adequate for mass tourism and this is due to its capacity to host a certain number of visitors. In addition to that, this

land was always known to host famous and wellknown talents. Fashion is very important in terms of hosting international designers who are ready to exhibit in such a beautiful environment. We are ready and always have been since we have amazing places where fashion shows can be held. Our visitors will always have and feel true Lebanese hospitality. No matter when and where, we are ready. This beautiful hospitality emanates from the heart. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How is Lebanon's tourism industry promoting the country's fashion culture across the wider MENA region? JOYCE MOUAWAD: Lebanon’s Ministry of Tourism is very active when promoting Lebanon as the place to be for fashion, culture and nightlife, while always insisting on the true Lebanese experience. Its not only about fashion, its about the things that you might do when here, while feeling happy and wanting to stay longer to do more.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Specifically, where are regional travellers coming from who visit the country for its fashion and culture industry? JOYCE MOUAWAD: Travellers’ are coming from the Gulf and Arab countries and we also have expats from different parts of the world. They love Lebanon because this country might be chaotic and unorganised with a bad reputation related to its political climate, but what is unique and really different is the spirit that we have. This can never be exchanged or purchased and I believe Le Royal Beirut


28 APRIL 2018


Qatar Airways staff across the airline’s network wore blue, the official colour of Autism Awareness Month

Qatar Airways Reveal Initiatives for Autism Awareness Month

SAA Supporting Age Friendly City Programme Sharjah Airport Authority (SAA) has recently signed a Document of Commitment to the Care of the Elderly, an initiative within the strategic plan of Age Friendly City. This step supports the vision of H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, ruler, Sharjah, on making the emirate an age-friendly ideal environment where residents avail best services, achieving their happiness and welfare. H.E. Ali Salim Al Midfa, chairman, SAA, noted, “Signing such a document is a part of SAA’s commitment to its social responsibility and keenness to make Sharjah an age-friendly ideal environment and to provide best services, programs and infrastructure achieving happiness and welfare for all different categories of society.”

Qatar Airways announced a month of initiatives and special events to take place as part of Autism Awareness Month, which is held every year on April 02. This year’s programme included a series of seminars and training conducted by Hamad Medical Cooperation (HMC) specialists with the aim to ensure that the flag carrier’s cabin crew and ground staff are prepared to support autistic passengers with a better understanding of the disorder. An information kiosk was set up at Qatar Airways’ operations centre where medical representatives from HMC distributed informative brochures about the disorder.

City Centre Rotana Doha Organises Campaign with Tayf

Clothes, shoes, and bags were collected from staff and loyal guests

Reinforcing its commitment to charity efforts, City Centre Rotana Doha, in collaboration with Qatar Charity’s Tayf programme, recently organised a donation campaign where guests and staff donated generously. This campaign was the hotel’s first cooperation with Tayf. City Centre Rotana Doha collected several clothes, shoes, and bags from staff and loyal guests, who actively took part in the initiative. According to the hotel, the donation drive was part of their corporate social responsibility programme, which seeks to support initiatives that will make an impact on the lives of vulnerable communities in Qatar and around world.

SAA will also provide additional services as a part of its expansion project

Radisson Hotel Group Partners with SOS Children’s Villages

Saudia Reduce Ticket Prices for Medical Passengers

Radisson Hotel Group announced its new global partnership with SOS Children’s Villages, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to building loving, stable families for vulnerable children, during its Americas Business Conference, Orlando, Florida. Radisson Hotel Group aims to have its 1,100 operational hotels sponsor the upbringing and education of at least one child per hotel and help establish meaningful local relationships with SOS Villages worldwide. “The creation of Radisson Hotel Group created a unique opportunity for us to align our company’s commitment to a common global cause that truly will help make a difference in the world, especially for our children and youth,” said Federico González, president, The Rezidor Hotel Group.

Enhancing its national role and community responsibility, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has issued a 50 percent ticket price reduction for passengers accompanying cancer patients and other medical tourists. New discounted prices feature certain categories, such as; providing citizens with organ transplantation a reduction of 25 percent for internal tickets, three tickets per year, and for two years. Additionally, the tickets are renewable for another year depending on the patient's medical condition.

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For kidney donors, Saudia revealed that prices have been reduced by 50 percent, for three tickets per year on domestic and international sectors. Disabled passengers are given a 50 percent discount on flights, with an unlimited number of discounted tickets available to Saudis and residents on both domestic and international sectors. Saudia issued an internal bulletin circulated to all its stations and sales offices to keep guests and staff informed of the new pricing for medical passengers.







I expect this project to be a catalyst for further growth “This hotel [Hilton Rabat] signals our return to Rabat which will be part of the city’s most important master project. Wessal Bouregreg is set to install Rabat as the cultural and entertainment centre of the region and drive significant demand for upscale international accommodation. Last year we took a decision to install a permanent development presence in North Africa, and have recently successfully opened two hotels in Tangier, with three hotels under construction in Al Houara, Taghazout Bay and Casablanca.”

We always work on enhancing our route network “Our codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways is opening up a larger number of weekly flights between Doha and Amman, in addition to numerous new connections beyond Hamad International Airport. We invite our guests to make use of these convenient connections and travel to many points they desire. We always work on enhancing our route network by partnering with other airlines through codeshare agreements to offer our passengers the best travel options they could possibly find.”





We believe this solar farm will pave the way for a greener Jordan “As a major operator in the local transport sector, we at Airport International Group (AIG) have long planned to establish a solar power plant at the airport as a means to minimising our carbon footprint and becoming the largest solar-powered airport in the MENA region. This agreement represents a step in the right direction, towards us achieving carbon neutrality and environmental sustainability here at Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA). We believe that this solar farm will also respond to Jordan’s National Energy Strategy 2020,.”

This partnership will offer more opportunities to explore Abu Dhabi

“Etihad is delighted to partner with Miral and Aldar to offer these fantastic Abu Dhabi short breaks to residents of GCC countries. This partnership means that together are able to provide guests with even more choices and opportunities to explore Abu Dhabi and its numerous attractions. We look forward to building on this partnership and cooperation with Miral and Aldar in this area going forward, and to continue to offer visitors to Abu Dhabi with unique travel experiences.”

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Take a Shot! Share with us the latest images of your activities and let your colleagues know what you have been up to. The countdown has begun for next year's Middle East Film & Comic Con, following the success of this year's April 05 -- 07 event in Dubai

Qatar Airways signed a multi-year partnership agreement with Italian football club AS Roma, with the airline’s logo to adorn the team’s shirts through to the 2020-2021 season

Bahrain's national carrier, Gulf Air, displayed its new branding at this year's Arabian Travel Market

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Send your photos to Because a picture is worth a thousand words...

Qatar Airways was the Official Airline Partner of the 2018 CBMM Niobium Rome E-Prix presented by Mercedes EQ in Rome Italy on April 14

flydubai mascot Maya having a bit of fun at their ATM exhibit featuring seats that will be seen onboard their Boeing B737 MAXs


NEWS & EVENTS EVENTS AIRPORT SHOW DUBAI Dubai, UAE May 07 – 09 Airport Show is an annual B2B platform providing Middle East, Africa and South Asia’s aviation authorities access to emerging trends.


Oman Attracts Interest at Riyadh Travel Fair


man Ministry of Tourism announced its pavilion attracted huge interest at Riyadh Travel Fair 2018, which took place at Al Faisalah Tower Hotel on April 10 – 13. Oman Ministry of Tourism’s pavilion also featured leading local travel and hospitality providers, such as; Arabian Experience, Jabal Al Akhdar Resort by Anantara, and Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara. The ministry noted that the response from visitors reflected the country’s strategic edge as an ideal holiday destination for Saudi Arabia and other GCC markets,

further boosting its efforts to surpass its 2017 achievement of recording more than 1.59 million arrivals. Oman has a wide array of initiatives being developed to further enhance the country’s top-rated attractions. The initiatives fall under Oman Tourism Strategy 2040 which is aiming to attract 11 million regional and international tourists to the Sultanate. Saleh Al Khaifi, director, tourism awareness department, Ministry of Tourism, commented, “Through these projects, we hope to meet our goal to strengthen the Sultanate's leadership globally."

Amman, Jordan May 07 – 09 AdventureNEXT Near East aims to connect the international travel trade with regional suppliers and discover new adventures in the Near East region.

The ministry’s attendance occurred during a time when Oman is witnessing a massive hospitality boom

SCTDA Looking to Attract More Kazakh Tourists

I IMEX – FRANKFURT Frankfurt, Germany May 15 –17 IMEX opens its doors to 5,200 global decision makers with qualified buying power, including the valuable German outbound market.

ILTM - ASIA PACIFIC Singapore May 21 – 24 Targeting the Asia outbound market, ILTM Asia Pacific will bring international suppliers face-to-face with the very best regional buyers and key international agents.


n line with Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority’s (SCTDA) efforts to promote the emirate’s offerings among Kazakh tourists, a delegation from the emirate headed to Kazakhstan International Tourism and Travel Fair – KITF 2018 for this purpose. The event was held from April 18 – 20 at Almaty International Exhibition Centre. SCTDA utilised KITF’s strategic platform to support its efforts to increase the influx of international

tourists to Sharjah. H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, chairman, SCTDA, emphasised the importance of the authority’s participation at KITF, as it reflects the commitment to make the emirate the ideal family destination. He added that the participation opened new horizons to support the emirate’s tourism goals by attracting more Kazakh tourists and coincides with the recent decision to exempt them from pre-entry visa requirements to enter the UAE.

Etihad Engaged with Youths at Think Science Fair


tihad Aviation Group took part at this year’s Think Science Fair, Dubai on April 16 – 18. Etihad’s involvement was part of its commitment to encourage youths across the UAE to engage with science and technology and pursue an aviation career. Emirati pilots, cadets and engineers from Etihad were present at the event, promoting the aviation industry and its various career opportunities. Visitors to Etihad’s stand were able to experience firsthand some of the experimental technologies, which include bag measurement and cargo container loading using augmented reality. The stand also offered visiting students the chance to experience what it is like to pilot an aircraft on a flight simulator.

According to event organisers, Think Science Fair welcomed 52,000 young visitors over the past five years

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Profile for Travel Trade Publications

Travel Trade weekly, 28 April 2018, Issue 442  

ACCOMMODATION NEWS W Amman makes its Jordan entrance (pg09) WEEKLY NEWS Ras al Khaima to host challenge tour grand final (pg04) AIR NEWS A...

Travel Trade weekly, 28 April 2018, Issue 442  

ACCOMMODATION NEWS W Amman makes its Jordan entrance (pg09) WEEKLY NEWS Ras al Khaima to host challenge tour grand final (pg04) AIR NEWS A...