Page 1

14 JANUARY 2017 ISSUE 375





05 Cruising

18 International 19 Travel Talk



Positive Growth for Turkish Airlines

MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi JOURNALIST Ellen Petty CONTRIBUTOR Dominique Christou Panayiotis Karanicholas Stella Alexandrou 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 WEBSITE EMAILS WORLDWIDE REPRESENTATIVES Representative for North, South & Central America, and the Caribbean: Neil Strickland GlobeTM Tel: +19542969515,

Turkish Airlines has reported growth in various categories for the period of January – November, 2016, in comparison to the same period in 2015.


vailable seat kilometres in 2016 reached 157.2 billion, a 13.6 percent increase from the 140.4 billion achieved in 2015 with domestic and international figures showing a six percent and 14.7 percent growth respectively. Revenue passenger kilometre also increased 7.8 percent increase from 109.7 billion to 117.2 billion with the domestic and international lines achieving a respective growth of 4.7 percent and 7.2 percent. Emre Ismailoglu, general manager, Dubai and Northern Emirates, Turkish Airlines, commented, “Our aim for this year and for the many years to come is to continue our growth among all the categories to help maintain our customers’ satisfaction, while also showcasing our commitment to the market.”

Representative for Indian subcontinent: Faredoon Kuka RMA Media Tel: +912229253735,

Carnival Cruise Line 2016 Earnings Revealed

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


as of





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)



Carnival Cruise Line denoted healthy results for the year 2016, with net income having soared along with the diluted earnings per share (EPS) in comparison to 2015.


S Generally Accepted Accounting Principles net income for the full year of 2016 was USD 2.8 billion, or USD3.72 billion diluted EPS, compared to 2015 at USD1.8 billion. Adjusted net income for 2016 peaked USD2.6 billion, or USD 3.45 billion adjusted EPS. Revenues for the full year 2016 reached USD16.4 billion, significantly higher than that of 2015. Arnold Donald, CEO, Carnival Corporation, noted, “We achieved the most profitable year in our company’s history as well as record fourth quarter earnings.”

14 JANUARY 2017


Abu Dhabi International Welcomes 1.9 Million Travellers


his represents a passenger traffic increase of 5.3 percent with consistent growth throughout 2016, with an overall traveller rate of 22 million passengers denoted from January to December 2016. Moreover, traffic to and from Saudi Arabia saw a large surge compared to 2015, with a significant increase of 43.5 percent. Meanwhile cargo services experienced growth of 1.3 percent in November 2016 compared to November 2015.

GSN 6 Aerodrome Auditing and Compliance Course in Muharraq

14 JANUARY 2017

VIP Terminal Officially Opened in Dubai


n another remarkable first for Dubai the UAE witnessed the inauguration of the VIP Terminal at Dubai South by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, advisor to president of UAE, and H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan. The 5,600 m2 VIP Terminal is located minutes away from Al Maktoum International and features all the necessary amenities. The first private jet take-off took place in April 2016, and since then the terminal has witnessed 1,000 flight movements which are numbers anticipated to grow to 4,000 movements in this year. Speaking on the occasion, Al Maktoum said, “The launch of the VIP Terminal at Dubai South’s Aviation District is yet another significant step towards realizing Dubai’s vision of becoming the aviation capital of the world […]”

Al Maktoum International Airport


ahrain Airport Company (BAC), held a GSN 6 Aerodrome Auditing and Compliance course at the Movenpick Hotel, Muharraq, as part of a Global Safety Network Diploma Programme offered by Airports Council International. BAC, Civil Aviation Authority, Bahrain Airport Services, and Bahrain Aviation Fueling Company staff participated in the event, which was conducted by BAC’s human resources and administration division. The course provided aerodrome safety and compliance staff with the necessary knowledge and skills to audit their own safety procedures, infrastructure and equipment, as well as those of other organisations operating at their aerodrome. The course combined classroom activities with practical exercises on-site at an airfield, allowing delegates to experience auditing techniques under real conditions.

Abu Dhabi International Airport

Abu Dhabi International Airport received close to 1.9 million passengers in November, 2016, representing a 4.4 percent increase in airport traffic compared with the same period in 2015.



Yas Island Introduce New Virtual Apps Through the introduction of a new smartphone app and 360º virtual map tour that coincide with its recently revamped website, Yas Island is looking to enrich users’ experience and help them better plan their stay on the island.


Yas Island App

he new application was designed for location-based exploration of the island, helping users track exclusive offers and experiences available only through the app. Adding to its uniqueness, is its customisable feature whereby users can filter experiences by mood, allowing them to discover various attractions, dining options, hotel and retail options, among others. Gerardo Llanes, executive director, Yas Island Destination Management, stated, “We believe these channels will enable us to connect with every type of visitor, and satisfy each of their unique needs through customisable and compelling high-tech features.”

Improving Egypt’s Ports

Khalifa Port Set to Expand



bdel Fattah El Sisi, president, Egypt, has pressed for action to complete a plan to upgrade six ports in the Suez Canal region by June 30, 2018. In a meeting with Dalia Khorshed, investment minister, Egypt, and Mohab Mamish, chairman, Suez Canal Authority (SCA), El Sisi directed that the SCA coordinate efforts with the private sector to make use of empty platforms at the ports in the Suez Canal region. Under the plan to upgrade the six ports; namely East Port Said, West port Said, Sokhna, Arish, Tor and Adibiya, new platforms should be established in the Suez Canal region and an electronic system should be applied at the six ports, according to Mamish. The plan is set to improve services offered at the ports in order to lure new navigation lines.

Khalid Al Yahmadi

Suez Canal


uscat National Development & Investment Company (ASAAS) has announced its third major project in Oman, a multi-cluster 1.5 million m2 entertainment and leisure destination to be built in Barka. Promoting domestic and international tourism, this mega-project has been specifically planned to complement and enhance Oman’s existing tourism attractions. As the first development of its kind and scale in Oman, this national asset will boast an integrated theme park, a wildlife and waterpark, an equestrian centre and edutainment centre as well as multiple hotels, a residential zone, retail areas that will offer a range of retail, leisure and dining. Commenting on the development, Khalid Al Yahmadi, CEO, ASAAS, said, “It will, without a doubt, add new vitality and impetus to Barka and the surrounding area but the immense scale of the destination means that its impact will extend well beyond the immediate vicinity of its operations.”

14 JANUARY 2017


Norwegian Cruise to Sail to Cuba

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises will operate a collection of voyages this year, including calls to Havana, making Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings the first US cruise operator to have multiple brands approved to operate in Cuba.


he company’s inaugural cruise to the destination will set sail from Port Miami on Oceania Cruises Marina in March, including multiple day calls allowing guests to explore Havana. Seven Seas Mariner, member of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet, will call in Havana during two cruises in April, while Norwegian Sky will also offer a selection of four-night journeys that will dock overnight in Havana in May.

Burgess announced ICE 68m

Rendering of ICE 68m


14 JANUARY 2017

ue to be delivered in 2018, ICE 68m, Burgess custom super yacht, built by CNN Yachting in cooperation with Turkish shipyard AES yacht, delivers supreme comfort options without compromising on performance. Defined as part of the explorer range, the liner delivers cruising speeds at 12 knots and a respectable maximum speed. The yachts deck space includes a range of culinary options and relaxation areas, a swimming pool, a huge beach club and a touch-and-go helipad forward whilst the interior boasts accommodation for 12 guests across six cabins. The owner’s area, occupying the entire upper deck, hosts a gym and massage room. The main deck consists of three largely sized VIP cabins and one twin room as well as an additional assistant cabin with attention given to the owner’s privacy, offering direct access to the sky lounge business meeting room located on the exterior tender arrival position.



Sharm El-Sheikh to Bring Back International Tourism

I Sharm El-Sheikh

n an attempt to bring back foreign tourism levels to Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt began operating four direct flights from Geermany in December 2016. According to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, the move coincides with Egypt's winter tourist season, which previously saw large numbers of visitors from Europe. At the end of October, 2016, German travel companies along with a number of European airlines also resumed direct flights to the popular South Sinai tourist destination, including companies from Turkey, Belgium and Poland. According to the state's official statistics body CAPMAS, it was noted hat Western Europe sent the highest number of visitors to Egypt in October, 2016 at 36 percent. Germany contributed 38.8 percent of all Western European tourists to Egypt for the corresponding month.

Dollar Rent A Car New Branch Welcomed

Enhancing Ties Between UAE and Egypt


Delegation in Abu Dhabi


ollar Rent A Car announced the opening of a new branch in Oman to service customers at Muscat International Airport. The branch is staffed with professional agents who can recommend the best vehicle for both business and leisure travellers looking for short- or long-term leases of a wide selection of transport. Marwan Al Mulla, general manager, Dollar Rent A Car, UAE and Oman, commented, “This new branch is another example of Dollar Rent A Car’s commitment to rapid expansion into the region. The Muscat International Airport is expected to have a capacity to handle approximately more than 12 million passengers every year so this is indeed the perfect opportunity to get a share of these passengers.”


irvana Travel and Tourism, together with Fly Egypt, welcomed a group of Egyptian media delegates to the UAE, in line with the launch of the direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Alexandria. The tour included visits to Abu Dhabi’s leading cultural and travel destinations such as Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Saadiyat Cultural District. Alaa Al Ali, CEO, Nirvana for Travel and Tourism, commented, “Our unique collaboration with Fly Egypt will allow both companies to meet the growing tourism demand between the UAE and of Egypt.”

14 JANUARY 2017


Success at Yas Island

Al Noor Island Celebrates Storytelling


14 JANUARY 2017


Storytelling event

as Island ended 2016 with a recordbreaking festive season, with its month long Winterland Festival and New Year’s Eve celebrations concluding with great success. From traditional carnival rides like carousels and roller coasters, to a winter market showcasing the trendiest retailers in the UAE, the festivities catered to people of all interests and ages. New Year’s Eve saw British rock band Coldplay entertain over 30,000 fans with a sold-out show at du Arena, along with a firework show and more. Mohammad Al Zaabi, CEO, Miral Asset Management, said, “Each year, we strive to raise the Yas Island experience to unprecedented new heights, as we work with our partners to deliver an array of memorable events, activities and entertainment designed to exhilarate visitors. This past year has been no different.”

n an effort to revive the practice of traditional storytelling, Al Noor Island is hosting Sharjah’s first International Storytelling Festival, themed Tales on the Island. Held in the last three weekends of January, the event showcases storytellers from across the Middle East as well as the UK, Europe and Southeast Asia. Performers celebrate heritage and cultural diversity through story walks, live music and visual art, without the use of books, screens or microphones. Marwa Obaid Al Shamsi, manager, Al Noor Island, commented, “As the cultural capital of the Arab world, we in Sharjah feel every bit responsible for reviving and preserving an age-old tradition that will not only enrich our society but will contribute to the culture of storytelling around the world.”



Global Commercial Avionics Systems Set to Rise


ccording to a recent report released by Transparency Market Research, the global commercial avionics systems market is expected to show fast growth in the coming years. Primary drivers for this are set to be a boost in demand for systems that calculate real time data for the aviation industry, coupled with the rate at which the aviation industry is evolving within the developed economies of North America and Europe. There is further room for improvements and development, yet there are barriers due to the high costs of system maintenance making aviation vehicles more susceptible to online hacks. The global commercial avionics systems market is expected to reach USD31.07 billion by the end of 2024, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 3.5 percent within a forecast period from 2016 to 2024. At the end of 2016, the global commercial avionics systems market is expected to reach USD25.34 billion.

Showcasing Saudi Products

Spain’s International Tourism Fair Returns



Fitur 2016, Spain


NWTO has prepared a number of events to be held at FITUR, starting with the presentation of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. Also, on January 18, the 13th Edition of the UNWTO Awards on Innovation and Excellence in Tourism will commend some of the best examples of sustainable tourism around the world. Preceding the ceremony on January 16, the awards Forum will serve to present the 12 projects shortlisted from 139 initiatives that were received from 55 countries. In addition, more than 20 ministers of tourism from Africa will debate the opportunities that the sector can bring to the continent. The Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa (INVESTOUR) will focus on the role of sustainable tourism to foster social inclusion and prosperity. The forum, organised in cooperation with Casa Africa, will this year include two round tables, technology and design of new touristic products and capacity development for youth and women in tourism.

any young Saudi entrepreneurs are taking part in a weekly market organised by Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) in Jeddah. Until May, traders at the seasonal Basta Market, with over 240 booths that opens to customers on Fridays, showcasing a range of products including food, gifts, fashion accessories and art. Different activities for children are also organised at the venue, which is a 5,000m2 plot in Al-Ruwais district. Over 800 young Saudi men and women are expected to take part in the trading event, in addition to many families. According to Faiz Al-Harbi, board member, JCCI, the ongoing event is aimed at finding a platform for youth to showcase their products.

14 JANUARY 2017

UAE Attracting Indian Guests


n a bid to attract a bigger share of Indian visitors to the UAE, the team at Golden Sands Hotel Apartments took part in a successful road show in Pune. The team visited India together with Orient Tours and met with more than 150 top agents from the city. The initiative is in line with the fact that the property receives a monthly average of 25 percent to 30 percent of total hotel guests from this market. “The Indian market is in our top three visitor [bracket] because we offer good value for their money and because of our ideal location, thus we are expecting an increased number of guests [from this market] this year, both from our loyal and new guests,� said Mohammed Khoori, general manager, Golden Sands Hotel Apartments.

14 JANUARY 2017


Opportunities for Young Jordanians Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa and DoubleTree by Hilton Aqaba have announced their partnership with Tamweelcom.


his initiative is to empower young Jordanian entrepreneurs from 18 to 35 years old through provision of training, funding and mentorship needed to create and sustain their startup businesses. Shortlisted candidates from an application will be admitted to an intensive one month training programme on business development skills and tools, after which, they will present their business plans in front of a judging committee who will choose the winner. In addition to the financial grant, the winner will also be matched with a professional mentor who will be shadowing the young entrepreneur throughout the first year of the business offering advice, best practices and business insights to ensure sustainability.

Hilton and Tamweelcom team







he Dubai property is the first international one for DUKES, which has been popular with GCC visitors in London for decades. Following the soft opening, bedrooms on the first six floors of the 15-floor property are in service, as well as the hotel’s signature Great British Restaurant and DUKES Bar. The hotel, once fully completed early this year, will boast 273 guestrooms including 64 suites, with a ladies-only Liberty Duchess floor featuring 20 rooms, as well as 227 fully furnished hotel apartments and six dining outlets.

Oryx Rotana Welcomes Club Rotana

Oman Hotel Awarded for Safety


Oryx Rotana



ryx Rotana has launched Club Rotana, providing maximum comfort, personalised hospitality services and superior facilities, thereby offering one of the best business and leisure experiences for all guests. Club Rotana mumbers will be entitled to a private and personalised check-in and checkout at Club Rotana lounge. They will be offered welcome drinks upon check in as well as amenities in the room, in addition to assistance with any requests and bookings. Lana Jwainat, director, marketing and communications, Oryx Rotana, said, “We are honoured to announce the official opening of Club Rotana at Oryx Rotana, which will add an additional outstanding experience to businessmen, guests and travellers.”

ark Inn by Radisson Hotel & Residence Duqm, Oman has been awarded for its level of safety and security by Safehotels. In order to receive this certification, the hotel was evaluated for security and safety levels regarding hotel facilities and safety services process, procedures, training and management, security equipment, fire equipment fire procedures and training risk prevention, and crisis and recovery management. Nuno Neves, cluster general manager, Park Inn Muscat and Park Inn Duqm, said, “Safety and security has always been under the supervision and responsibility of the hotel business. Being a hotel does not necessarily mean you get the international certification right away. To get it, a hotel has to be well-structured, well-organised in terms of almost all aspects - from the engineering, to the security team even the staff and management.”

Park Inn Duqm receives Safehotels certification

14 JANUARY 2017


Ramada Ajman Hosts Conference

Elaf Group to Rent Saudi Property


n line with its continuous advocacy of sustainability, Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman and Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman organised the International Roundtable Conference for future leaders on the topic of climate change. Students, aged between 12 to 16 years, from 21 different nationalities took part in the interactive discussion, which aimed to gather insights, identify the ecological challenges, and share the best practices that are being carried out by their respective countries to address the pressing subject. H.H. Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi also aided the event by offering his expertise on environmental missions. Sumair Tariq, managing director, R Hotels, and Ignace Bauwens, regional vice president, Middle East and Africa, Wyndham Hotel Group, were also among the guests for the conference.

Ziyad Bin Mahfouz, CEO, Elaf Group (left) and Aymen Bin Hamza Saeed, CEO, Al Aqeeq Real Estate Development (right) during the signing ceremony


laf Group has entered into a strategic lease partnership agreement with Al Aqeeq Real Estate Development to rent the Al Majeedi Residential Center situated in front of Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi. The agreement comes in line with the support of the Saudia Arabia’s government efforts to boost the domestic travel and tourism sector in line with

the country’s economic diversification scheme. Under terms of the agreement, the Al Majeedi Residential Center will be renamed as Elaf Al Majeedi Hotel. The new hotel is expected to accommodate the growing number of tourists who visit the country for religious purposes such as Hajj and Umrah as well as to see religious sights and its rich cultural traditions.

Enhancing Projects on Al Marjan Island

Al Marjan Island

E 14 JANUARY 2017

maar Properties has signed an agreement with Al Marjan Island to develop 85,000m2 of mixed-use projects including high-end residential, hospitality and retail components on Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. Emaar Properties will pilot the first phase of its project on the man-made island, which will feature a five-star luxury hotel and serviced residences along with a world-class retail zone. The agreement predicts the development of several hospitality and retail projects in Al Marjan Island, which extends over 4.5km2. Commenting on the initiative, Mohamed Alabbar, chairman, Emaar Properties, said, “Through the agreement, we will create a new magnet for investments in the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors supporting the vision of the government to boost the tourism sector and create jobs.”



Dubai Welcomes Direct Service from Chengdu Dubai International Airport welcomed Sichuan Airlines’ first direct flight from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport with a traditional water salute.



he airline offers two direct weekly flights on its Airbus A330, an important move from the previous service from Dubai to Chengdu which was via Yinchuan Hedong International Airport. This initiative is a significant addition to Dubai International Airport’s connectivity which spans 240 destinations across six continents.

Connecting Addis Ababa and Stockholm

Emirates Denotes a Year of Growth



thiopian Airlines is revising its air traffic schedule to Scandinavia and will begin flying non-stop from Addis Ababa to Stockholm Arlanda Airport. The carrier currently makes a stopover on the European continent on route to Stockholm, but beginning in March, Stockholm will instead be the stop on route to its final destination, Oslo. Ethiopian Airlines already flies between Addis Ababa and Stockholm via the European continent, but passengers will now no longer have a stopover. Travel to Stockholm will be smoother, and the journey will be one hour shorter. The airline will fly the Addis Ababa-Stockholm-Oslo route four times a week beginning on March 26 and on May 29, traffic will increase to five departures a week.



nding 2016 on a positive note, Emirates denoted a consecutive year of growth underlined by fleet and network expansion, as well as customer focussed product investments. Growth emerged from the scaling up of its fleet with the addition of 36 new aircraft via seven new passenger points and one cargo destination, rounding off the year with 154 destinations in its global network, whilst investing in a series of product developments and service enhancements, both in the air and on the ground. Commenting on 2016, Tim Clark, president, Emirates Airline, said, “[…] Emirates will continue on our strategy of organic growth, leveraging on the geo-centricity of the UAE, and Dubai’s dynamic developments in tourism and commerce. We will also continue to invest in our product and services so as to offer our customers an outstanding experience and value proposition while they discover the world.”

14 JANUARY 2017


Etihad Airways and Montenegro Airlines Collaborate

Gulf Air Alters Flight Schedule

14 JANUARY 2017



tihad Airways and Montenegro Airlines have signed a codeshare agreement that provides travellers with enhanced connectivity when flying between Southeast Europe and the Middle East. The agreement will see Etihad Airways placing its EY code on Montenegro Airlines’ flights between Belgrade and two destinations in Montenegro, its capital Podgorica and the town of Tivat on the Adriatic coast. Montenegro Airlines will, in turn, enhance access to Etihad Airways' network by placing its YM code on the airline's daily flights between Belgrade and Abu Dhabi. Gregory Kaldahl, senior vice president, network, Etihad Airways, said, “Travellers in Montenegro can now reach our Abu Dhabi hub with a convenient one-stop connection in Belgrade, from where they can access key destinations in our global network with greater ease. In turn, Etihad Airways will expand its travel offer to Montenegro, an increasingly popular business and tourism destination.”


rom January 19, Gulf Air will implement a modified daily flight schedule to and from Beirut in response to passenger demand from across the GCC region. Catering to weekend leisure and business travellers, the airline’s Beirut flights will now include Thursday departures from Bahrain and the Saturday flights which will now depart Bahrain in the morning. Commenting on the modified flight schedule, Ahmed Janahi, chief commercial officer, Gulf Air, said, “Our new flight timings on Thursdays and Saturdays cater to weekend passenger movement between the GCC, Bahrain and Beirut, giving travellers more convenient travel times and better connectivity across the region.”



Emirates SkyCargo to Serve Fort Lauderdale

Etihad Airways and Lufthansa Enhance Ties



tihad Airways and Lufthansa have concluded a codeshare agreement, whereby the German airline will place its LH code on Etihad Airways’ twice daily non-stop flights between Abu Dhabi and Frankfurt and its twice daily non-stop services between Abu Dhabi and Munich. The UAE’s national airline will, in turn, put its EY code on Lufthansa’s longhaul, non-stop intercontinental services between Frankfurt and Rio de Janeiro and Bogota. Moreover, Lufthansa’s point-to-point carrier Eurowings and Austrian Airlines, have signed an agreement to wet-lease 38 aircraft from airberlin, in which Etihad Airways holds a 29 percent stake. Of these, 33 will be operated for by Eurowings Group and an additional five aircraft are to be flown by Austrian Airlines. The agreement has a term of six years and will become effective from February.


mirates SkyCargo has expanded its network of cargo destinations in the US with the launch of a new daily service to Fort Lauderdale, Florida which commenced December 15, 2016. Fort Lauderdale is Emirates SkyCargo’s 13th destination in the US and its second in Florida. The route is operated by a boeing 777-200LR which offers a total cargo capacity of over 330 tonnes per week, allowing trade opportunities and providing additional connectivity to its cargo customers in South Florida and the broader region. Customers will be able to access global markets and connect to trade partners through Emirates SkyCargo’s network consisting of 150 destinations, spanning across 82 countries in six continents.

Launch of Flights from Doha to Tbilisi

Etihad Airways Signs Codeshare with Precision Air




tihad Airways announced that it has entered into a codeshare agreement with Precision Air, Tanzania’s domestic airline. Under the new codeshare agreement, Etihad Airways will place its EY code on Precision Air flights between Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Mtwara, Nairobi, Zanzibar, Pemba, and between Nairobi and Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. Precision Air will place its PW code on Etihad’s daily services between Dar es Salaam and Abu Dhabi, strengthening ties between East Africa and the UAE. Flight bookings were available from December 21, 2016.


atar Airways now offers direct flights to Tbilisi from Doha, with four weekly services. Operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, the new direct scheduled flight time, of just over three hours from Doha, sees overall journey times drop significantly across the airline’s global network to and from this increasingly popular tourist destination. Commenting on the new service, Akbar Al Baker, group CEO, Qatar Airways, said, “As both an economical and cultural hub, our new shorter flight times will attract many business and leisure passengers alike.”

14 JANUARY 2017

WEEKLY NEWS AIR Increase in Cargo Operations

Etihad Set to Bring 1,000 Chinese Tourists to Morocco


he airline announced the 1,000 Chinese Visitors to Morocco campaign in partnership with Beijing Yougo World International Travel Service (Uniway), hailed as the largest Chinese tour operator specialising in outbound tourism to the Middle East and Africa. Etihad Airway is also working closely with the Moroccan National Tourist Office to support plans to attract 100,000 Chinese visitors each year by 2018. Aiding this movement is the visa exemption policy for Chinese tourists, which was effective from June, 2016. Uniway expects to carry 1,000 Chinese travellers with Etihad Airways to Morocco between February and June this year. Commenting on the initiative, Daniel Barranger, senior vice president, global sales, Etihad Airways, said, “We are delighted to see the obvious increase in demand and the great interest from Chinese tourists to visit Morocco.”

New Baggage Concept for Oman Air


atar Airways Cargo has announced that it will launch freighter operations to four new destinations in the Americas, starting February 02. Boeing 777 freighters will fly twice a week to the South American cities of Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Quito and the North American city of Miami. The twice weekly freighter service will depart from Doha via Luxembourg, the cargo carrier’s European hub, with stops at Sao Paulo in Brazil, Buenos Aires and Quito in Ecuador. On the return leg, the freighter will stop in Miami and Luxembourg before arriving in Doha.

Air France to Reach Marrakech and Porto


man Air has introduced a new baggage pricing concept which will help the airline standardise, and in many cases, reduce the charges currently in place for additional luggage. All passengers will receive one 30kg piece of checked-in baggage, with business and first class passengers being permitted one extra bag with a maximum weight of 20kg. This will increase to 30kg for travellers with valid Gold and Silver Sindbad cards. Passengers travelling in economy with valid Gold and Silver Sindbad cards will also be permitted one extra bag a maximum weight 20kg. Oman Air’s current pricing model for additional baggage will be replaced with an additional concept whereby passengers will be able to purchase additional pieces of luggage with a maximum weight of 20kg per piece to be checked-in. Additionally Oman Air will introduce pricing for specialist luggage which includes items such as pets and sporting equipment.

14 JANUARY 2017

s of March this year, Air France will be offering new routes to Marrakech and Porto on board three new weekly scheduled flights departing from Paris-Charles de Gaulle. The flight will be served by the latest medium-haul travel cabins via the Airbus A320. Air France will connect Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Marrakech on Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays and serve Porto on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.



Q & A with

operators as it can directly regulate the revenues and ADR. [...] Though the rising numbers of inventory is a big concern, our expertise in budget segment, propagated brand value, necessary and timely tweaks keep us, as always, ahead as leaders in the budget segment.


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What will be the impact of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the industry in Qatar? Given that the number of hotels are expected to continually rise until the 2022 FIFA World Cup, what are you doing to stand out from competition? JAYA BHUSHAN PATNAIK: The 2022 FIFA World Cup is a blessing in disguise, not only for Qatar but also for its travel and tourism industry. This renowned event will take Qatar further ahead and place it as a preferred choice on the global destination map, this would subsequently help Qatar to sustain [arrivals] even after 2022 event by itself. I am quite confident that the Qatar government has a very clear road map ahead of 2022, since 2022 is not the end of an era, rather it is going to be the beginning of the golden era for Qatar, [as the country’s] mission 2030 implies. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What services or facilities will you offer to maximise football fans’ experience? JAYA BHUSHAN PATNAIK: The 2022 FIFA World cup is one of the biggest achievements that Qatar has ever got,

this world class event has certainly helped Qatar to reshape in every aspect. From the day Qatar won the bid, it placed itself in the world map and the tourism sector. [The country is] taking a big stride and not looking back in terms of the leisure segment, besides Qatar being a predominant business destination. Travelling football fans are a distinct sub segment of leisure-based tourism with sport orientation; hotels can always arrange and manage to cash this upbeat by offering a few extra perks such as customised tour packages, shuttle services to the venues and airport, customised mobile apps for live updates, match summaries and venue information. [Properties can also provide] a big screen displaying matches, hassle-free visa assistance and desert living. To enter the market ahead of time by adapting to their basic common needs like comfortable and secured accommodation, hassle-free reservation, changes to the menus to suit their taste buds, as well as facilitating them with multilingual staff. Customising their accommodation along with travel needs to ensure all the sports fans get maximum safety and comfort. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What does the future hold for La Villa Hospitality? JAYA BHUSHAN PATNAIK: Consolidation, expansion, market penetration, standardisation of services, desert living, concept development and service incorporation, enhancing the guest’s stay experience by offering value added services.


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How pleased were you with business in 2016? JAYA BHUSHAN PATNAIK: The three factors that have affected the travel tourism and residential occupancies for the year 2016 were regional [events], the crude oil price slump and over supply. Our group could overcome and sustain the crisis and [was] able to manage with slight difference in occupancy and average daily rate (ADR), down 10 percent and QAR15 (USD4.12), respectively, though the intensity of the damage is much higher in terms of revenue. As mentioned above, the oversupply in the market has been a concern to hotel


La Villa Palace Hotel

14 JANUARY 2017



n the last quarter of 2016, Villa Premiere Boutique & Romantic Getaway concluded its extensive renovation. The USD 3.8 million dollar revamp saw the resort, situated in Puerto Vallarta, establish a more contemporary look. The main pool was refreshed as well as an additional deck and lounge spot can be found on the beach, as well as additional roof and honeymoon terraces. Culinary offerings have been upgraded substantially with the La Ceiba restaurant’s new panoramic second floor and extended terrace at Gourmet Restaurant Murales. Enhanced new kitchen facilities have reached the highest of standards, ensuring quality, taste and adhering to health and safety regulations.

Detroit Metro Airport Welcomes Radisson Hotel

The Luxury Collection Adds Five Hotels


14 JANUARY 2017

The Wellesley, London

Detroit Metro Airport


ollowing a USD10 million overhaul, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced the opening of Radisson Hotel Detroit Metro Airport. The property boasts 272 guest-rooms and suites, offering high-speed Internet, with additional perks including pull-out sofa beds. Included are indoor and outdoor pools, a 24-hour fitness centre, Metropolis branded dining options with room-service, along with nearly 1394m2 of meeting space featuring eight rooms with audio-visual equipment, supplemented with full-service catering. The Great Lakes Ballroom is ideal for larger events, as it can fit up to 520 guests for receptions. It can also be divided for smaller events. Located just minutes from the airport, travelling is made easy with the hotels complimentary shuttle service and parking.

Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway

Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway Opens

he Luxury Collection has announced the signings of five flagship properties namely, the internationally-renowned boutique hotel The Wellesley and the exclusive The Westbury in London, Hôtel de Berri, a new alluring hotel in the heart of Paris, Cristallo Resort & Spa in Cortina, Italy, the first ski resort of the collection, and The Alexander in Yerevan, marking the brand’s debut in Armenia. These illustrious additions to the portfolio will further strengthen the brand’s presence in Europe, with the year on target to be another milestone year for The Luxury Collection brand.,



Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort

KSL Invests in Outrigger


n affiliate of KSL Capital Partners (KSL) has completed the acquisition of Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, which comprises of all the hotel chain’s holdings, including its portfolio of 37 multi-branded hotels, condominiums and vacation resort properties throughout Hawaii and the Asia Pacific - Indian Ocean region. Outrigger Hotels and Resorts will continue operating business as usual across its holdings, providing guests throughout the world with its signature Ke Ano Wa'a hospitality. “We are honoured to have the opportunity to invest in Outrigger and further enhance its focus on providing exceptional, authentic and localised guest experiences. As we move forward with this new era for Outrigger, we are optimistic that it will continue global growth in iconic resort destinations and achieve even greater success,” commented Marty Newburger, partner, KSL.

LEGOLAND Beach Retreat to Open its Doors

Hyatt Opens Andaz Delhi


H Andaz Delhi in Aerocity

LEGOLAND Beach Retreat rendering


EGOLAND Beach Retreat in Florida is set to welcome its first guests on April 07. Designed with attention to detail and kid-centric features, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat is a village-style vacation resort with 83 beachthemed bungalows offering 166 separate rooms, each with LEGO décor inside and out. Each bungalow includes an outdoor play area with fun and challenging elements, all within view of the bungalows’ shaded patios. Located about a 0.8 km from the theme park entrance, the site also features a central swimming pool and sandy play area, a buffet restaurant, pool bar, a giant LEGO inspired lighthouse with a real rotating beacon and views of Lake Dexter.

yatt Hotels Corporation announced the opening of Andaz Delhi in Aerocity. The 401-key address offers 45 suites and two dining choices comprising a European food hall, AnnaMaya, and Andaz Deli with a heated swimming pool and sun deck. The hotel offers 3,484m2 of event spaces comprising of one of the largest indoor luxury wedding spaces in Delhi and can accommodate up to 1,500 guests. The property will also feature 129 serviced apartments and a fully furnished gym with the latest equipment, expected to open this year along with the opening of the Hong Kong Club, a Cantonese evening destination with a bar, club and lounge.

14 JANUARY 2017


“We are a very multi-cultural and diversified talent base focussing on making our guests experience one-of-akind. At Nikki Beach we like to be unique and offer services that are rarely found elsewhere. We are the first Nikki Beach resort with a beach club on its premises launched in the region, offering guests the option of choosing between a vibrant beach club atmosphere [...] as well as relaxing in the tranquillity of a beachfront or a more private garden villa with special features to suit preferences of our GCC guests and families.”



We have to maintain our excellence

At Nikki Beach we like to be unique



Through travel, we gain understanding, tolerance and empathy


“[...] Tourism is a sector of hope. Not only is it one of the most resilient economic sectors, but it also unites people across backgrounds, cultures and continents every day. Through travel, we gain understanding, tolerance, and empathy for our fellow man – essential in the globalisation era, where our global village can only prosper through harmonious living. The tremendous hope that our sector provides should inspire us all to act for the good of people and planet.”




“Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award in tourism sector adds further responsibility, as we have to maintain our excellence of services over par, doubling and upgrading our efforts in providing the finest hotel services, as well as we are proud that Tamani has been the only hotel chosen for this award from the UAE.”

We are constantly preparing and planning

“[Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival] will feature a variety of live cooking stations specialising in Khaleeji food such as Luqaimat and Harees as well as beverage stalls that will be located around the whole festival site. Preparations are in full swing and the AFOC&H kitchens will be used for food preparations along with the multiple live cooking stations at the event. We are constantly preparing and planning for events as our aim is to continually exceed the expectations.”

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

14 JANUARY 2017



SEAN MENKE has been named president, CEO and member of the board at Sabre Corporation. Since first joining Sabre in 2015 as executive vice president, Menke contributed to major business opportunities such as gaining an increased global market share and under his leadership, the company extended multi-year agreements with some of the world’s biggest travel organisations. He also led the innovation that enables the sale of customised fares and ancillary products. Prior to this, Menke served as CEO of Frontier Airlines and held senior executive position at numerous airlines, including Air Canada. In his new role, Menke will lead the team to capitalise on Sabre’s strategic vision.


DAGMAR SYMES has begun her new role of general manager at Phoenicia Hotel and Le Vendome Beirut, where she will focus on quality control across all touch-points, and create memorable experiences for guests through a people oriented approach. Symes has more then 20 years experience in the luxury and hospitality sectors, including companies such as BVLGARI and Louis Vuitton where she was responsible for expanding boutiques across France and Austria. Furthermore, she held the position of hotel manager at Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski in Munich, where she achieved record turnover and profit levels in 2010. Since 2013, Symes was general manager a Kempinski Summerland Hotel & Resort Beirut.





STEPHEN MEREDITH has been unveiled as the new general manager at Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay, Dubai. Meredith has accumulated more than 26 years of management experience for a range of international brands across Europe, Africa, SouthEast Asia and the Middle East. He first joined the hotel as executive assistant manager in May 2016. UK-born Meredith joined the address from Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi, where he achieved great success as the property's director of food and beverage. In his new role, Meredith will be responsible for some 350 rooms and suites, upholding the five-star property’s high quality offering and level of service.

SANJEEV AGARWALA has rejoined Al Habtoor Group as chief operating officer at Habtoor Hospitality and Al Habtoor Investment. He joins the group from Meraas Holding where he lead the initial public offering and rights issue of Dubai Parks and Resorts. Ahead of that, Agarwala held a number of roles at Al Habtoor Group over a period of 17 years, including group chief financial officer and director strategy and business development in addition to a variety of positions at Habtoor Hotels.

Agarwala previous held a number of roles at Al Habtoor Group

14 JANUARY 2017


Tripadvisor Sees Enhancements via Expedia Following the announced agreement between Tripadvisor and Expedia, a select hotel inventory will be added to the Tripadvisor instant booking platform.


s part of the initial test, the refined hotel inventory courtesy of Expedia will be available to book on the Tripadvisor US desktop site. Both transaction and customer services will be handled by the partner. Commenting on this initiative, Aaron Price, senior vice president, global marketing, Expedia, said, "With this new agreement, we are interested to see how we can drive additional customer acquisition given the product and customer experience enhancements instant booking has made."

Shop Bahrain Roadshow Announced

Demand360 Gives Solutions to Hospitality Professionals


14 JANUARY 2017


Hospitality Professionals

heikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa, CEO, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), took part in the Gulf wide event held to announce the details pertaining to third edition of Bahrain shopping festival, Shop Bahrain. The press conference was held at the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh and was attended by Saudi media representatives. The Shop Bahrain roadshow, which will also take place in Doha and Kuwait, aims to introduce the residents and visitors coming from the neighboring countries, on the festivals new and various events and activities as well as showcase the kingdom as a touristic family destination regionally. The festival, co-organised by the BTEA and Tamkeen, is held in cooperation with the partners from the public and private sector such as Gulf Air, Batelco and YK Al Moayyed & Sons. The 30-day event, aimed at celebrating the kingdom’s hospitality and tourism offering, will kick off on January 19 and will run until February 18.

ravelClick announced the launch of its Demand360 business intelligence solution, hailed as the only competitive market intelligence product available to the hospitality industry that provides future visibility into markets and share performance across all distribution channels and segments in Finland. The solution connects directly with property management system interfaces and reservation management systems, eliminating the need for manual data submissions. Hoteliers can use Demand360 to not only optimise revenue management strategies and profitability, but also to adjust distribution strategies with a more comprehensive picture of hotel demand over time. “Our customers can develop a deep understanding of the hospitality industry through these insights and use it to their advantage moving forward,� concluded Mattias Green, sales manager, Finland and Norway, TravelClick.



Michigan to Undergo Economic Regeneration

Aquabike Class Pro Circuit World Championship Concludes

H. Michigan state


ocussing on continued economic progression, Michigan Strategic Fund board concluded its final meeting for 2016. A range of projects and developments were approved, revitalising and enhancing support for the community generating an expected total of USD450 million capital investment and 1,893 jobs. These projects include, an Amazon large volume product fulfillment centre in the city of Livonia, Ford Land Development Corporation build living spaces and numerous other investment and improvements. “Today’s projects, including major investment announcements in Southeast Michigan and community revitalisation projects around the state, demonstrate that our states’ economy continues to expand and diversify,” said, Rick Snyder, governor, Michigan. He further added, “The commitment and innovation of these companies, combined with the high quality of Michigan’s talent, will keep our state moving forward.”

E. Sheikh Khalid bin Essam Al Qassimi, chairman, Department of Civil Aviation, Sharjah, crowned the winners of the UIM-ABP Aquabike Class Pro Circuit World Championship and the Grand Prix of Sharjah on December 21, 2016, at Khalid Lagoon. The second UIM-ABP Aquabike Class Pro Circuit World Championship was organised by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority on December 19 – 21, 2016. It included a Jet Ski race that attracts the world’s best riders for highspeed racing in addition to aerial acrobatics in its freestyle category.

Qatar Airways Entertains Kids


atar Airways, in partnership with Hasbro has updated its range of plush toys, children’s activity kits and inflight lunch boxes designed to entertain and delight the airline’s youngest travellers. Plush infant toys Elefun and Mr. Potato Head are joined on board by classic favourites such as Clue Junior, Guess Who, Monopoly Here and Now World Edition and The Game of Life for older children. The airline’s specially prepared children’s meals feature new Pictureka or Monopoly designed lunch boxes that young flyers can take home. The new additions are currently available on Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380 services between Bangkok, Guangzhou, London, Paris, Sydney, and Doha, and will be rolled out across the entire network this year. Rossen Dimitrov, senior vice president, customer experience, Qatar Airways, said, “We are committed to ensuring we provide the very best customer experience to families flying with us, […].”

First Bluetooth-Beacon Technology at LAX



new digital system has been launched at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) to improve response times for wheelchair services. Halied as the first airport to apply bluetooth-beacon technology for wheelchair tracking and dispatch. The results reveal improvements in response times for travellers requesting wheelchairs, and better communications and operational efficiency. Introduced just a few years ago, bluetooth-enabled beacon technology is rapidly being deployed by retail stores and malls to increase sales by tracking shoppers and sending tailored sales pitches to their smartphones. The following technological enhancement is set to address the growing number of wheelchair requests from the 38 foreign air carriers operating in the terminal. In 2015, LAX received over 970 thousand requests for wheelchairs across all terminals, 28 percent were at TBIT. Aero Port Services says it is currently receiving an average of 900 requests daily.

14 JANUARY 2017

Hamad International Airport welcomes key players from FC Bayern Munich for a meet and greet session with 50 lucky guests

PHOTO ALBUM rates Qantas Airlines as the safest airline yet again

Take a Shot! Share with us the latest images of your activities and let your colleagues know what you have been up to.

A World as Big as Your Imagination by Sharjah Children Biennial

Dubai Harbour set to be developed as the Middle East and Northern Africa ’s largest marina

14 JANUARY 2017

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

Burj Al Arab broke the Guiness World Record for the heaviest tin of caviar

Dubai Duty Free celebrated 33 years of business



A Successful Tasty Festival


he Abu Dhabi Food Festival which took place on December 05 – 23, 2016 saw great success, with having welcomed over 29,000 visitors. Organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the food festival provided foodies and families who attended the various events across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia. They were offered a variety of experiences with celebrity chef appearances, food trucks, organic markets, themed dining experiences, and dedicated stations and cooking activities in malls across the emirates. Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting executive director, tourism sector, TCA Abu Dhabi, said, “Abu Dhabi Food Festival has become one of the significant offerings on our annual calendar of events and we are adding more elements to it annually to further distinguish what we will offer.”

Abu Dhabi Invitational Presents Paul McGinley


o be held on January 28 – 29, Ryder Cup legend Paul McGinley will lead a group of star guests at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Invitational at Yas Links on Yas Island. The Irishman, who played in three consecutive victories for Europe and famously led the side to glory in 2014, will captain a Professional Golfers’ Team against a Celebrity Team in an exciting change of format for the second Abu Dhabi Invitational event. This tournament, has established itself as a world-class competition where pro golfers, the GCC’s leading amateurs, sporting celebrities, leading business executives and entrepreneurs come together to play tournament golf and raise funds for charity. This year’s edition will comprise an Amateur Championship on January 28 with invited sponsor and stakeholder guests before the main Invitational on January 29. Both days are open to the public.


FITUR Madrid, Spain January 18 – 22 The 37th edition of the travel trade fair for both inbound and outbound Ibero American markets.

EMITT Istanbul, Turkey January 26 – 29 Industry professionals from more than 70 countries are expected to attend the exhibition focussed on the East Mediterranean.

IBTM ARABIA Abu Dhabi, UAE February 07 – 09 One of the leading international events for the Arabian meetings, incentives, conferences and events industry.

14 JANUARY 2017

Travel Trade Weekly, 14 January 2017, Issue 375  

Travel Trade Weekly Middle East & North Africa is the first and only weekly virtual publication of its kind in the MENA region. Top Stories...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you