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22 JULY 2017 ISSUE 402

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22 JULY 2017 ISSUE 402





04 Technology

12 International 16 Rendezvous



IATA: Strong Air Demand in May

MANAGING EDITOR Mary Kammitsi SENIOR JOURNALIST Ellen Petty JOURNALISTS Maria Sabova Panayiotis Karanicholas Anna Spyrou 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 WORLDWIDE REPRESENTATIVES Representative for North, South & Central America, and the Caribbean: Neil Strickland GlobeTM Tel: +19542969515,

International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that in May, global revenue passenger kilometres rose 7.7 percent over the same month in 2016, which although slower than the 10.9 percent increase observed in April, it is ahead of the five- and 10-year average growth rates.


apacity jumped 6.1 percent year-on-year, while load factor climbed 1.2 percentage points to 80.1 percent. All regions, excluding the Middle East and North America posted record-high May load factors. Alexandre de Juniac, director general, IATA, noted, “[...] We do not foresee any weakening over the busy summer months in the northern hemisphere. But the rising price of fuel and other input costs is likely to see airlines’ ability to stimulate markets with lower fares taper over the coming months.”

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

QAIA Served over 600,000 Passengers in May Queen Alia International Airport

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


as of 20.7.2017




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)



In May, 619,630 passengers passed through Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA), a year-on-year drop of 1.9 percent, while aircraft movements (ACM) rose one percent to 6,268.


his brings the number of travellers served in the first five months of the year to 2.98 million, a 3.8 percent jump over the corresponding period in 2016. Meanwhile, year-to-date ACM declined one percent. In terms of cargo, in May there was a 2.2 percent increase year-on-year, while the year-todate figure fell 6.5 percent. Kjeld Binger, CEO, Airport International Group, commented, “We are pleased to see that we have transcended the 2016 benchmark and hope to continue pushing boundaries and exceeding expectations in the months and years ahead.”

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Etihad Holidays Expands



n extensive range of Etihad Holidays packages are now available, supporting the group’s aim of bringing more business and leisure travellers to Abu Dhabi and the other emirates. Reflecting the company’s growing expertise in providing customers with packages including accommodation, excursions, transfers and Etihad Airways flights, Darren Peisley, managing director, Hala Group, said, “We continue our growth across the region, ensuring a new wave of customers have access to the great range of packages and hotels on offer through Etihad Holidays.”

Hotelbeds Partners with The Big Bus Company

GTA Enjoys Fruitful Cooperation with Geneva Tourism


iming to triple sales in its transfer and activity bank, along with a commitment to expanding its product portfolio, Hotelbeds Group has partnered with The Big Bus Company. The agreement will enable 35,000 clients across Hotelbeds Group brands to access hop-on, hop-off tours as well as walking tours, boat cruises and attraction packages. Commenting on the new partnership, Omid Golshan, executive vice president, global growth, The Big Bus Company, revealed, “We are very excited that Hotelbeds Group values the importance of working with a premium service provider within the open-top sightseeing tours sector. […] Together we should be able to accelerate our growth whilst ensuring customers receive the very best value for their city experiences.”

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he ongoing partnership between GTA Middle East and Geneva Tourism & Conventions Foundation (Geneva Tourism) has proven successful in promoting over 50 of Geneva’s hotels and bringing exclusive benefits to the Middle East travel trade industry. Along with special rates for the accommodation, travel bookers can also take advantage of the opportunity to triple the G Shop points when booking until the end of July. Rami Mashini, vice president, sales and marketing, Africa and Turkey, GTA, unveiled, “Through this partnership, Geneva hotels have already seen an increase in booking generated from GTA GCC […]. This is indicative of both the hard work of the GTA team and the understanding of the Middle East market by Geneva Tourism.”


WEEKLY NEWS TECHNOLOGY Upgrades Services with Amadeus As part of its expansion plans, booking platform has teamed-up with Amadeus, significantly enhancing its search capacity during a period of increased demand.


he partnership will enable the search engine to pre-calculate some 750 million flight combinations through a customised solution fusing instant search technology with the provider’s unrivalled volume of flight search information. Oliver Dlouhý, CEO,, enthused, “Our ambitious plans include multiplying our market footprint by 10, and Amadeus was the only technology partner that was capable of looking into this solution. This is the biggest and most complex data partnership we have with a single company to date, and Amadeus has delivered incomparable speed with unrivalled content and geographical coverage.”

Phocuswright: APAC Leads Mobile Booking

Travelport Launched Hotel Retail


ccording to Phocuswright, the Asia Pacific (APAC) region leads the way in terms of mobile bookings, which are projected to grow from 24 percent of the online travel market in 2015 to 37 percent this year. The combined mobile gross bookings of China, India and Japan are set to reach USD105.9 billion by 2020, 325 percent more than 2015. In the region, online travel agencies are at the forefront of mobile innovation, development, marketing and distribution relative to suppliers. Meanwhile, mobile travel shopping across Southeast Asia has varied in the past 12 months, with more than half of Indonesian and Thai online travellers booking via smartphone, thanks to numbers mobile-only prices and discounts. Yet, mobile travel booking is less popular in Malaysia and Singapore.


iming to assist agents to deliver personalised customer experience while enabling increased hotel attachment rates with simplified steps, Travelport has launched Hotel Retail. Fully integrated into the travel commerce platform, the new tool provides Travelport Smartpointconnected agencies efficient and seamless access to multiple rate types, hotel details, amenities and location information. Commenting on the launch, Niklas Andreen, vice president, global hospitality and digital, Travelport, explained, “[…] Hotel Retail is a real timesaver for agents, providing productivity and workflow benefits as they no longer need to rely on multiple rate searches in multiple places nor websites and mapping applications outside their workflow to locate the most relevant hotel with the best rates for their customers.”

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Enhanced Passengers Experience at Dubai Hub

Sharjah Airport Highlights Smart Gates


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Sharjah Airport Authority (SAA) has launched a month-long awareness campaign to introduce Sharjah International Airport’s 16 Smart Gates in July. Sharjah International Airport

iming to enhance the overall customer experience at Dubai International’s Terminal 3 (T3), Emirates, Dubai Customs, Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Dubai Police and Dubai Airports, have agreed to introduce biometric technology and One Gate. Using a facial recognition solution integrated with UAE Wallet, travellers will now be able to register and store their biometric data through the use of registration kiosks placed at checkin areas and Emirates Lounges. Moreover, One Gate, new generation smart immigration gates will be installed at T3, offering an automated border control system.


he initiative aims to inform passengers on the importance of the facilities in saving time and will provide them with all the details required to register. To date, around 850,000 travellers have passed through the gates since their implementation in October 2016. The system scans passport information and captures biometric data which it then compares with registered information. H.E Ali Salim Al Midfa, chairman, SAA, commented, “The Smart Gates have proven to reduce the passenger rush during peak hours, ensuring a smooth travel experience; passengers are now able to complete passport control within 20 seconds.”



Park Regis to Set Foot in Bahrain A license agreement signed between StayWell Hospitality Group and VKL Holdings and Al Namal group of Companies marks the launch of Park Regis brand in Bahrain, with the Juffair district of Manama set to welcome Park Regis Lotus hotel in the third quarter of this year.



he anticipated upscale address will boast 164 guest rooms, six food and beverage outlets including a 1,000-people capacity ballroom, a swimming pool and a gym. Simon Wan, CEO, StayWell Hospitality Group, emphasised that following the recent agreement for 550-key Park Regis Resort in the UAE, this partnership reflects the company’s commitment to grow the presence in the region, including further future openings in the Kingdom.

Mövenpick Aqaba Unveils New Wellness Facilities

Ramada Ajman Created Guest Happiness Committee

Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba



iming to ensure consistent and satisfactory service for customers, Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman and Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman have recently launched a Guest Happiness Committee. Created by members from the executive office, sales and marketing, and front office departments, the new team will be responsible for monitoring feedback from different review websites while also taking the necessary actions to reinforce high standards of service. Both properties are already recipients of various reviewbased recognitions including TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and Travelers’ Choice Award. With the new initiative, the addresses will ensure that each customer’s comment is taken seriously into account, and prompt the concerned departments of both the commendations and complaints from the reviewers.

Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman


övenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba has upgraded its wellbeing offerings for guests who can now enjoy healthy activities on the beachfront with the addition of a boot camp, jogging track and yoga zone. To complement the resort’s health complex comprising the award-winning ZARA Spa Tala Bay and extensive fitness centre, the new facilities aim to attract guests wishing to be immersed in wellness, fitness and healthy lifestyle choices. With this in mind, the property has designed various programmes at the new facilities, such as a combination of cross-fit and circuit exercises in the boot camp, a new shape, sculpt and relaxation programmes using the 250m long jogging track, along with relaxation yoga sessions in secluded garden.

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Ibis Styles Expands in Mecca

Atlantis, The Palm to Get New Face


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O Atlantis, The Palm

iming to respond to high demand for economy hotel options in Mecca, AccorHotels has recently partnered with Alesayi Group to open Hotel ibis Styles Makkah. Featuring 286 rooms, the economy-branded property was opened ahead of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr to cater to Saudi Arabia’s growing religious tourism segment. Among other amenities, the new address boasts an in-house mosque, two restaurants alongside a lobby lounge offering international buffet and à la carte options. Located in the Al Aziziyah area, in close proximity to the Holy Masjid Al Haram and with easy access to El Mashaer in minan, the property is expected to become a popular choice for guests visiting the city while also further boosting Saudi Arabia’s religious tourism.

n the back of satisfactory operating results this year, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai has announced a three-year refurbishment project which will see the upgrade of its 1,539 rooms, scheduled to be completed in 2019. To ensure seamless guest experience during the onsite developments, the iconic five-star property plans to revamp 50 rooms and suites every six weeks, bringing a fresh look and feel with improved design, which will also gradually see renovations of the property’s dining outlets. Serge Zaalof, chief operating officer, Atlantis Resorts & Residences, explained, “[…] Such a positive start this year is encouraging and with our continued efforts to enhance the guest experience we are confident that the rest of the year will be successful.”



RAK Properties’ Mina Al Arab Project Finalised


Mina Al Arab rendering

AK Properties has announced the delivery of Bermuda Villas in Mina Al Arab, adding 157 completed luxury units to its diverse portfolio. Meeting the growing demand for residential units in Ras Al Khaimah, each of the two- to six-bedrooms villas and townhouses boast supreme comfort while combining the developer’s signature quality standards and style. Mohamed Al Qadi, CEO, RAK Properties, commented on the achievement, “[…] We believe that the remarkable demand for these units reflects our clients’ confidence in our developments and proves our ability to fulfill our promise to continue delivering luxury real estate products to the local market.”

Carlson Rezidor Expands in Saudi Arabia



ollowing extensive renovations, Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino has reopened with refreshed public spaces, revitalised dining concepts and a vibrant aesthetic with modern interiors. The hotel’s 326 fully upgraded rooms and suites now feature a blend of modern design with a warm palette. Guests can also enjoy an extensive fitness centre, a swimming pool and a fully equipped wellness area. In terms of food and beverage, the property boasts six venues offering authentic and unique experiences, such as a New York Italian style restaurant and a local inspired outlet. Alex Kyriakidis, president, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, explained that the transformation reinstates the group’s commitment to Egypt as a strategic growth market.

Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino

Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Al Sahafa


n a bid to expand its portfolio of hotels in the GCC region, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has recently announced the launch of Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Al Sahafa, scheduled to open in 2019. Marking the company’s 36th address in Saudi Arabia, the property will feature 163 rooms and suites, a restaurant, as well as 900m2 of meeting and events space. The hotel will be located close to Riyadh’s new King Abdullah Financial District, which is also scheduled to open later this year. Remaining on track to achieve its target of more than 100 hotels across the Middle East by 2020, Carlson Rezidor Group is also planning to launch Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter, later this year.

Revamped Sheraton Cairo Relaunched

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Emirates Launched Nonstop Flight to Hanoi Aiming to expand its long-haul offerings while providing better connection between the Middle East and Asia, on July 01 Emirates launched its inaugural direct flight from Dubai International to Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport.



ow providing passengers another seamless route to Vietnam, travellers will no longer stop in Yangon, saving a great amount of time. Operated with a Boeing 777-300ER, featuring more than 2,500 channels of entertainment including movies with Vietnamese content, the itinerary confirms the airline’s commitment to continuously enrich its offerings bringing customers new and exciting destinations. Expected to enhance connectivity for Hanoi and its neighbouring areas, the new route will provide faster connections and additional opportunities for inbound tourism and regional products.

Qatar Airways offers Direct Flights to Nice

EgyptAir and Aegean Extend Cooperation


iming to offer better connections between Doha and France, Qatar Airways has recently announced the launch of five weekly direct flights between Hamad International Airport and Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport, operated with a Boeing B787 Dreamliner. In addition, the airline has partnered with Monacair, to provide passengers the opportunity to seamlessly connect onto a Monacair helicopter flight to Monte Carlo. H.E. Akbar Al Baker, group CEO, Qatar Airways Group, revealed, “[…] The new route is a sign of our continuous commitment to improving the travelling experience for our passengers, both in France and around the world. With five weekly flights operating between the two cities, passengers from the South of France can now connect to more than 150 destinations world-wide through Doha’s Hamad International Airport.”

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Gulf Air Presented Plans to Partners


gyptAir and Aegean Airlines have expanded codeshare collaboration to offer new routes and enable passengers to enjoy enhanced connectivity from Cairo International Airport and Athens International Airport. Based on the partnership, both carriers will benefit from combined networks with extra schedules to new destinations, encouraging quick and seamless travel, while the flyers will enjoy reciprocal frequent flyer programmes, mileage accrual and redemption rewards, along with the convenience of travelling with one ticket and one single check-in at the first boarding gateway. The customers of Egypt’s national airline will also be able to experience the services of the Greek carrier, which was recognised for the seventh consecutive year as the Best Regional Airline in Europe by Skytrax World Airline Awards 2017.

trengthening the ties with its key travel trade stakeholders in Saudi Arabia, Gulf Air has hosted a networking event in Dammam, to provide information on the company’s latest developments, as well as expressing appreciation of the partners’ longstanding support. During the occasion, the Bahraini national carrier showcased its recently launched passenger facilities, such as prepaid seat selection, excess baggage and lounge access, as well as new online flight status information and online group booking features. The airline also revealed its anticipated upcoming programme Gulf Air Holidays, marking its entry to holiday services sector, while the planned online visa facility this summer is set to ease the process of short term visit visa to Bahrain and attract broader spectrum of travellers.



Air Arabia Launches Flight to Sohar

Oman Air Enhances Links between Muscat and Salalah



ith the Kareef season approaching, Oman Air is expanding both the frequency and capacity of its service between Muscat and Salalah in order to meet the high demand for better connections between the two Omani cities. The airline increased the number of its daily flights from nine to 13, thus boosting also its capacity by 57 percent to 1,616 seats available daily. Considered to be one of the most important tourist seasons in the region, Khareef began on June 21 and will last until September 21. During the period, many locals, residents, and tourists flock to Dhofar, claimed to be the only area in the Gulf region where visitors can enjoy greenery, a forest-like environment and seasonal showers.


n a bid to improve connections between Oman and the UAE, Air Arabia has recently added Sohar in its network. Having started on July 09, the itinerary will operate three times a week, on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays, marking a significant milestone for the airline while also demonstrating its continuous efforts to bring customers new and exciting destinations. Complementing Air Arabia’s existing operations to Muscat and Salalah, the new route is expected to boost travel and trade opportunities between the two countries, providing hassle-free travel options to the residents of Sohar. Filled with historical and religious significance and due to the strategic location of its port, Sohar is a popular destination for both leisure and corporate travellers.

Emirates Adds Brussels Service

Brussels Airport



mirates has announced the launch of an additional service to Brussels Airport from Dubai International, enhancing the itinerary to a double-daily route from October 29. On the back of a rising demand for seats demonstrated by over a half million passengers carried on the route since its 2016 inauguration, the new schedule will offer passengers travelling from the Belgian capital the option to reach over 70 destinations in the carrier’s network across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australasia, which are not served directly by any airline operating from the Brussels hub. The extra link is also set to significantly boost the Belgian economy, which currently receives some USD24 million annually from the airline’s direct expenditures.

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Emirates Enhances Onboard Wi-Fi


mirates has revamped its in-flight Wi-Fi scheme with immediate effect, bringing passengers more convenient onboard connectivity options. As part of the improved service, all Skywards platinum and gold members can enjoy free unlimited Wi-Fi, regardless the travel class, a privilege that also applies to all reward subscribers in first and business classes. For economy class guests and non-Skywards members, the carrier now offers 20MB of free data usage within the first two hours of log in. “Emirates has made significant investments in our in-flight connectivity. Today, Wi-Fi services are available on over 200 of our aircraft, and it is a service that Emirates continues to subsidise heavily,” said Adel Al Redha, chief operations officer, Emirates.

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Gulf Air’s IT Data Centre Awarded Tier 3 Certification


n line with its commitment to implementing industry best practices in the field of technology, Gulf Air has recently achieved Tier 3 standard compliance classification for its renovated IT Data Centre. The accomplishment fits into the carrier’s wider digital transformation vision that was recently underscored by becoming the world’s first airline to achieve seven International Standards Organization certifications in information technology. Commenting on the achievement, Jassim Haji, director, information technology, Gulf Air, stated, “Gulf Air has renovated its IT Data Centre to satisfy the requirements and comply with the world renowned Tier 3 standard and achieving this classification confirms our compliance with best practice and standards as we continually strive to improve the airline’s business sustainability, continuity and commitments.”


INTERNATIONAL: ASIA PACIFIC Costa Cruises Announced Winter Asian Itineraries


iming to create new and innovative vacation options for travellers, Italian cruise line Costa Cruises has recently announced a variety of exciting new Asian destinations for 2017-2018 winter season including Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia on board Costa Victoria and Japan, Taiwan and South Korea on Costa neoRomantica. Massimo Brancaleoni, senior vice president, worldwide sales, Costa Cruises, commented, “[…] We are confident that these new options will even further enrich and diversify our selection of winter cruises – and that our past guests and those new to cruising will find very appealing when planning upcoming holidays. As an added benefit, it is always important for us to provide our trade business partners with a larger portfolio of opportunities.”

FIT Ruums Joins Forces with Rail Europe


IT Ruums has joined forces with Rail Europe to enable travel agents in South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan to book train tickets with 35 rail networks across Europe. During the second phase of the agreement, Rail Europe’s products will be made available to FIT Ruums’ trade partners in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, China and India. The demand for rail journeys among Asian travellers is booming, in the first five months of the year 1.05 million Asian tourists rode on European trains, a year-on-year surge of 9.6 percent. Daryl Lee, director, WebBeds FZ, commented, “With more and more Asian travellers discovering the joy of European rail travel, this is a great time to be partnering with Rail Europe.”

Tasmania Welcomed 1.26 Million Tourists

Tourism Authority of Thailand Upgrades Apps


iming to provide local and international tourists with accurate and timely travel information, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has recently upgraded its mobile applications. Commenting on the enhancements, Yuthasak Supasorn, governor, TAT, explained, “New innovations have been incorporated into Amazing Thailand and Tourism Thailand, two of our four existing mobile apps, which give travellers instant facts and data on general tourist information or more niche services. This is part of our drive to improve the visitor experience whether they are here for sightseeing, shopping, dining or health. We aim to constantly adapt to the way modern travellers seek services online and meet their expectations.”

Shanghai Disney Marks One Year of Success



n June 16, Shanghai Disney Resort marked its first anniversary with a spectacular celebration. Among other activities, attendees were entertained by the Mandarin version of When You Wish Upon a Star and enjoyed photos and video highlights of the year projected on the façade of Enchanted Storybook Castle. Commenting on the occasion, Bob Iger, CEO, The Walt Disney Company, enthused, “We are grateful to the people of China for making this unique destination a tremendous success – more than 11 million guests have already visited, and we look forward to welcoming many more in the years to come.”

Shanghai Disney Resort

O Tasmania

n the 12 months to March, Tasmania welcomed 1.26 million visitors, a yearon-year increase of seven percent, as revealed in Tasmanian Visitor Survey. The total nights spent in the state rose five percent to 10.88 million nights, while expenditure jumped 11 percent to AUD2.23 billion (USD1.69 billion). The number of interstate visitors to the Australian destination climbed five percent to 1.06 million, while international arrivals soared 16 percent to 250,300. The majority of travellers visited the island for holidays, 620,900 in total which is 13 percent more than the corresponding period ending March 2016. A further 201,500 arrivals were on business, while 32,900 travelled to attend a conference or convention, down 24 percent.

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Latest Developments Showcased at Hong Kong Hub

Philippine Airlines Invests in Bombardier’s Q400


t International Paris Air Show, Bombardier announced that it has signed an agreement with Philippine Airlines for the seven Bombardier Q400 aircraft. Valued at approximately USD235 million, the purchase rights will bring the carrier’s total firm order to 12 jets. The flag carrier is expected to take delivery of the world’s first dual-class, 86-seat aircraft in July. Commenting on the agreement, Fred Cromer, president, Bombardier, stated, “The Q400 aircraft have helped airlines around the world expand their networks, and capture new opportunities. We are delighted that Philippine Airlines is growing its fleet with more Q400 aircraft, and are confident that the airline will benefit from the aircraft’s outstanding economics and performance.”

Hong Kong International Airport

Qantas Chose AVRO Accelerator Participants

Bombardier Q400


irport Authority Hong Kong has unveiled a series of enhancements to Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to increase handling capacity while also providing a vibrant experience for passengers. The upgrade projects include the expansion of Terminal 1, alongside the addition of extra 1,400 parking spaces, as well as premises for the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy and HKIA Preschool. Further enhancement projects will be completed in phases in the coming few years, with the final completion scheduled for 2020. These will include a sky bridge, more seats, shops and catering outlets in the expanded arrivals hall on the landside, a new outdoor garden, and recreational zones, to name a few.

Exceptional May for Vietjet


antas Airways has recently announced the inaugural group of six start-ups and six scale-ups selected to participate in AVRO Accelerator programme. The group of entrepreneurs includes a mix of emerging and established businesses across travel technology, digital advertising, financial technology, revenue management and data industries from Australia and the US. Targeting high growth scale-up companies, the programme enables the cohort to have direct access to Qantas Group offerings, while also uncovering potential commercial and investment partnerships. During the next several months, the selected companies will work closely with industry-leading mentors and technology partners, with unique access to the scale and global reach of the airline’s brands and associated businesses.

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SpiceJet Orders 50 Bombardier Q400 Jets


n May, Vietjet maintained its high load factor of over 88 percent, carrying more than 1.5 million passengers and achieving revenue of VND8.35 trillion (USD3.6 billion), a rise of 44 percent compared to the same month in 2016. In the first five months of the year, the carrier carried 6.5 million travellers, a year-on-year increase of 29 percent, and operated 39,100 flights. Furthermore, the airline received three new aircraft, launched its new Da Nang – Seoul itinerary, as well as opened sales for the Hanoi – Yangon flight. Vietjet also announced that it will increase frequency on its Hanoi – Taipei route to 11 return flights a week from July 21 and on its Hanoi – Seoul schedule to 14 return trips a week from August 02.

t International Paris Air Show, SpiceJet signed a letter of intent with Bombardier for up to 50 Q400 airliners, including 25 Q400 turboprops as well as purchase rights for an additional 25 aircraft, all together worth USD1.7 billion. When concluded, this fleet expansion will enable the airline to grow profitably and leverage the robust demand forecast in India, one of the world’s fastest growing regional aviation market. Commenting on the occasion, François Cognard, vice president, sales, South Asia and Australasia, commercial aircraft, Bombardier, highlighted, “The Q400 is the largest turboprop aircraft available on the market and the 86-seat configuration will support SpiceJet develop its domestic operations from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities across India.”


INTERNATIONAL: AMERICAS Hawaiian Islands Present Hospitality Upgrades


awaii Visitors and Convention Bureau has revealed the islands’ seasonal highlights, inviting visitors to experience revamped accommodation options and culinary venues. Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel is preparing its upcoming renovation, during which it will stay open. Meanwhile, guests of Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort can now indulge in a new lineup of complimentary experiences including ukulele lessons. Furthermore, Anaeho'omalu Bay has welcomed Marriott International’s Waikoloa Ocean Club, sharing amenities with Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. The Hawaiian culinary scene has been enriched with Champagne Hale at Cliff House introduced by Montage Kapalua Bay on Maui, and a new eatery The Street by Michelin-star chef Michael Mina.


New Mexico’s Tourism Sector Thrives


uring her speech at AndersonAbruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, Susana Martinez, governor, New Mexico, revealed that 34.4 million trips were taken in the state during 2016, shattering 2015’s record of 33.4 million. Moreover, 2,600 leisure and hospitality jobs were added in 2016, 2.8 percent more compared to 2015. Commenting on the success of the state’s New Mexico True marketing campaign Rebecca Latham, cabinet secretary, Tourism Department, stated, “[It] brings attention to what is true about our state’s vibrant culture and heritage; the things that set us apart from every other state in the country. Through the use of breathtaking imagery and stunning videography, we are able to showcase the experiences that consumers are hungry for [...].”

Travel Oregon Invites Grant Applications


ravel Oregon has announced the opening of two matching grant programmes with a combined value of USD358,000, available for projects that will contribute to the development and improvement of the tourism economy in communities throughout the state. The scheme is set to support initiatives which will assist the organisation’s mission of improving the lives of Oregonians through strong and sustainable local businesses. The first cycle has USD200,000 ready to be allocated, with up to USD20,000 available to each eligible project. An additional USD158,000 will be administered through the Oregon Wine Country Plates Matching Grants Program, which will contribute USD50,000 for individual wine and culinary tourism initiatives.

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We want to make a significant contribution to the success of Royal Jordanian

“We look forward to a successful partnership with Royal Jordanian and are thankful for the airline’s confidence in us. With our technical knowhow and our competitive cost structures, we want to make a significant contribution to the success of Royal Jordanian in the important, rapidly growing Middle East aviation market.”




“Happiness guarantee! We would also like to thank our staff and guests for making it [...] possible [for us to achieve TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence]. We will definitely continue to provide better services to all our guests.”




We will definitely continue to provide better services

I would like to commend the team for all their continuous efforts

“We are honoured to receive the highly popular Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. I would like to commend the team for all their continuous efforts, hard work and relentless enthusiasm in providing high standards of service for our esteemed guests. This will further inspire us in our daily tasks as hospitality professionals.”

We will wow our guests and exceed expectations

“We had very strong five months that significantly exceeded our expectations. April was our strongest month to date since the opening. Such a positive start of this year is encouraging and with our continued efforts to enhance the guest experience we are confident that the rest of the year will be successful. Our aim is to constantly innovate with the new room offering as well as the redesign of restaurants and bars, we will wow our guests and exceed 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

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60 percent, a strong foundation of our business success.

Q & A with

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How has the business been so far this year? And what are the projections for upcoming months?



MICHAEL KOTH: Contrary to our expectations, the luxury hotel business in Amman is still in gradual decline. The first quarter [of this year] has been affected by reduced occupancy and accelerated pressure on selling prices. Thus, market projections for the second quarter [indicate a drop in RevPAR of ] 13 percent versus the previous year and still trending negative by three percent for the full year as per Colliers International MENA Hotel Forecasts 2017. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What proportion of guests are visiting the property for business versus leisure and what shifts have you observed? MICHAEL KOTH: Our leisure guest share has been around 25 percent mostly travelling and booking independently. The group leisure market – predominantly from East Asia – has shifted preferences towards the resorts in Petra and the Dead Sea in combination with touring the religious sites in Jerusalem. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What facilities and services does your establishment provide to MICE travellers? What would make your hotel an ideal choice for business guests? MICHAEL KOTH: InterContinental Jordan is an institution with 54 years of market presence and endless worldclass events hosted or catered by us. With 440 rooms and suites and more than 2,913m² of event space, we are the largest and most experienced provider of meetings and conferences in Amman. We are also the leaders in social events with world-class outside caterings and more than 330 weddings annually, we ensure that our guests leave satisfied.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How important is the business segment to your hotel?

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are the current trends and requirements among business travellers in relation to accommodation, catering, technology and entertainment?

MICHAEL KOTH: The business travellers are of utmost importance to our hotel. Whether individually or for conferences and events, they form, with more than

MICHAEL KOTH: The current trend is more likely a continuation of the global


mainstream developments. Technology, connectivity and the seamless integration of your personal devices is critical. In your home you enjoy high speed Internet, large flat TV screens; you should expect nothing less from a luxury hotel. The ability to effortlessly stream or download your favourite sports event or TV series becomes the norm. The short pleasure when travelling and exploring authentic local experiences reduces the gastronomic inhouse consumption to often not more than breakfast. The affiliation to hotel loyalty programmes and its associated benefits are key influencers. And most importantly but least talked about is the safety and security provided by the hotel. Uncertain times and travelling to less familiar places put high priority on personal safety and food hygiene, clearly influencing the travellers booking preference. TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are the latest efforts to attract more business travellers and MICE influencers to the country? How do you foresee the development of the segment in the years to come? MICHAEL KOTH: We are closely collaborating with the Jordan Tourism Board, the newly founded Conference Bureau and the Ministry of Tourism to promote the destination of Jordan and particularly Amman. Resulting from a widespread perception of Near East travel in general, the past few years were dominated by domestic business. This is gradually changing and the growing interest of European and Gulf originated business requests are growing. Jordan has proven over time that safety is at the forefront of everything we do, and in combination with our historical significance, natural beauty and diversity, exceptional climate and great hospitality I am confident about our future MICE growth. Amman is already a leading destination for events of the world community and non-governmental organisatons. [...] Our commitment to collectively focus on the GCC outbound business and Far Eastern markets is paying off. Increasingly we see pharmaceutical and technology companies returning to Jordan with a MICE nature. Incentives may still take a little longer but for corporate pan-Arabian events and conferences, our seven InterContinental hotels have already crossed the valley and are confidently climbing up. 22 JULY 2017


Jaguar Cars to Safeguard Bahrain’s Races Jaguar XF Portfolio

Al Ain to Host FIFA Club World Cup Celebrations


n order to celebrate the 14th edition of The FIFA Club World Cup, which will take place at Zayed Sports City Stadium and Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on December 06 – 16, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority in partnership with MBC Group, Alchemy Project, YAK Events and Oberoi Middle East Event organised two exclusive mobile road shows at Al Ain’s Bawadi Mall. Taking place on July 06 – 08 and August 03 – 05 the road shows provide a wide range of engaging activities for individuals and family members of all ages captivating residents and visitors while also preparing them for the premium sport event.


ahraini automobile importer Euro Motors has announced that three Jaguar-branded vehicles have been selected by Bahrain International Circuit as safety cars on the track for local and international racing events throughout the year. Deployed during 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in April, the vehicles will continue serving the motorsport races, utilised to limit or control the speed of drivers on a racetrack, among other safety tasks. Sherif Elmahdy, commercial director, Bahrain International Circuit, said, “[...] We have absolute confidence in the performance of any Jaguar vehicle since we have witnessed them in all its glory during many of the previous collaborations we have had.”

Dubai Duty Free Sponsors Young Athletes


uring The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, held for the first time at Portstewart Golf Club on July 04 — 09, Dubai Business Internships (DBI) and Sports Challenges Life Foundation launched a collaboration to offer two exceptional post-graduate athletes to study and contribute to sports initiatives in Dubai. The partnership was a result of The Rory McIlroy Foundation’s vision for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open as a driver of new opportunities for young people. James Maughan, director, DBI, revealed, “We are thrilled to partner with the Sport Changes Life Foundation to bring elite-level sports graduates into the DBI programme, which aims to foster future global leaders with the business acumen, cross-cultural understanding and innovative mind-set to transform industries […].”

A EWS-WWF Moves to The Sustainable City The Sustainable City

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s part of its three-year partnership with Diamond Developers to reduce green house gas emissions and to promote the uptake of renewable energy, Emirates Wildlife Society in association with World Wildlife Fund (EWS-WWF), has relocated its offices to The Sustainable City in Dubai. Designed by Diamond Developers with several low carbon and sustainable features, the development sets a new benchmark for sustainable living in a desert environment. Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, director general, EWS-WWF, stated, “[...] This partnership will enable the two of us to identify best practices for sustainable living, and to demonstrate how a lowcarbon business model can be a transformational element for real estate development in the UAE, both of which positively contribute to more diversified national economic growth.”



Bangkok Airways Promotes Conservation

Food is Priority for American Travellers


he findings of OpenTable’s Will Fly for Food survey has uncovered that 66 percent of Americans would choose a travel destination based solely on its culinary offerings, while 52 percent have already visited a location for its cuisine. Some 58 percent of respondents significantly associate a country’s culture with its dining scene and customs, with 78 percent preferring restaurants that offer authentic local flavours. Furthermore, 75 percent of those questioned reported that they had booked a reservation prior to embarking on a leisure trip. In terms of the most sought after cities for food, Paris was the most desired, followed by Florence, Barcelona, New Orleans and New York City.


iming to encourage its staff and local communities to contribute to sustainable, natural and environmental preservation, Bangkok Airways launched Mangrove Conservation and Restoration with Bangkok Airways, an environmental campaign under the theme Love Earth Save Earth. Taking place at Trat’s Black Sand Beach and Mangrove Forest Ecotourism Centre, the project included activities such as the release of aquatic animals, mangrove forest planting, and learning how to utilise mangrove herbs. Commenting on the initiative, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, president, Bangkok Airways revealed, “Bangkok Airways has recognised the importance of environmental issues. […] The aim is to cultivate a consciousness of natural resources conservation and cherish valuable resources of the country to employees, young people, and people in communities.”

Emaar Raises Awareness of ALS


n support of research related to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease, Emaar Foundation has launched its organisation-wide campaign #CHALLENGEALSDXB. The corporate social responsibility arm of Emaar Properties also conducted a charity Iftar and an art auction to further reinforce the cause, with the proceeds donated to Al Jalila Foundation. With over AED20,000 (USD5,445) raised to date through an SMS donation line across the developer’s network, the campaign is set to continue throughout the summer. Abdul Kareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO, Al Jalila Foundation, said, “Emaar’s initiative is truly noble, as it not only helps support people with ALS but also enables more medical research into the condition.”

Etihad Empowers Through Football



tihad Airways has recently partnered with Manchester City Football Club to support a week-long summit, offering cutting edge training to more than 50 young leaders around the world. Taking place for the third consecutive year, Cityzens Giving Young Leader Summit saw leaders from different parts of the world participating in a variety of workshops in order to enhance their community football leadership and coaching skills. As the official partner, Etihad Airways connected young people from the Emirates Foundation with their peers by flying them to Manchester. Patrick Pierce, vice president, marketing partnerships, Etihad Airways, stated that the initiative represents another powerful example of using the medium of football to tackle a wide range of social problems.

22 JULY 2017


Dubai Airports gathered experts and airport stakeholders during 10X Hack Week to discuss futuristic airport innovation concepts

Modhesh the ever smiling mascot of Dubai is back to entertain families and children at Dubai World Trade Centre until August 12

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Al Bustan Centre and Residence organised a blood donation campaign

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Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority has successfully concluded the STACK event, held in collaboration with LEGO, at the Bahrain International Exhibitions and Convention Centre

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Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai was named Best Airport Hotel at Arabian Travel Awards 2017

Ramada Downtown Dubai has been hailed by Luxury Travel Guide as the Luxury Boutique Hotel of the Year – Dubai – UAE in its 2017 Awards


NEWS & EVENTS Abu Dhabi Hosted Sixth Edition of SIIMA


he sixth edition of South Indian International Movie Awards (SIIMA) was held for the first time in Abu Dhabi, on June 30 – July 01. Sponsored by Etihad Airways as the official airline partner and Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi as the hospitality partner, the event was organised in association with Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and welcomed many Bollywood superstars. Commenting on the event, Mubarak Al Shamsi, director, Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, TCA Abu Dhabi , stated,“ […] Our famed hospitality, the welcoming nature of our emirate and our world-class facilities were all big factors in SIIMA deciding to hold this year’s event here in the capital […].”

EVENTS THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON TOURISM AND BUSINESS Lucerne, Switzerland August 31 – September 01 The second edition of the event will see the presentation of research related to the tourism and hospitality sectors.

22ND UNWTO GENERAL ASSEMBLY Chengdu, China September 04 – 09 World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) annual meeting will bring together tourism officials and private sector leaders.

Abu Dhabi to Welcome GOV HR Summit


esigned to deep dive into human resources (HR), the 5th Annual GOV HR Summit, will open its doors on October 30 – 31 in Abu Dhabi, welcoming leaders from government, semi-government and state owned entities across the GCC. Organised by QnA Global, the summit, themed Turning the biggest challenges into the greatest opportunities, will feature powerful keynote presentations, panel discussions and round table sessions examining crucial topics such as innovative ways to inspire and motivate the workforce. The two-day conference will end with The GCC GOV HR Awards, which recognises excellence, professionalism and outstanding achievement of governments, business organisations and individuals who have raised the benchmark of people performance across the region.


OTDYKH LEISURE Moscow, Russia September 20 – 23 The 23rd edition of the exhibition will be held alongside its events focussing on MICE, luxury as well as medical tourism, spa and health.

IFTM TOP RESA Paris, France September 26 – 29 More than 31,000 trade visitors are expected to attend the multi-target event with dedicated programmes for the leisure, business and MICE sectors.

22 JULY 2017

Profile for Travel Trade Publications

Travel Trade Weekly, 22 July 2017, Issue 402  

AGENTS NEWS Etihad Holidays expands in the GCC (pg 03) AIRPORTS NEWS Sharjah airport highlights Smart Gates (pg 05) ACCOMMODATION NEWS Par...

Travel Trade Weekly, 22 July 2017, Issue 402  

AGENTS NEWS Etihad Holidays expands in the GCC (pg 03) AIRPORTS NEWS Sharjah airport highlights Smart Gates (pg 05) ACCOMMODATION NEWS Par...