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INVESTIGATION: BUSINESS TRAVEL Corporate travel budgets are shedding fat and, with improving teleconferencing and webinar technology, it is easy to worry for the segment’s future. Reformation can be revolution however, and according to industry experts, business travel is fighting fit and heading in a new direction.

Abu Dhabi has embarked on a massive development plan in the past few years, boosting its hotel capacity, MICE facilities and attracting a number of high-profile international events. Despite new interest from source markets across the world, GCC tourists remain the most important visitors to the UAE’s capital, with domestic demand growing by 26 percent over the past 12 months.

10 ONSITE: HONG KONG Hong Kong offers a unique gateway to the Chinese mainland and the burgeoning Chinese economy. This proximity, combined with the region’s relatively liberal visa policy, makes Hong Kong one of the most desirable business destinations in the world.

InMARKET ThisUPDATE Issue NEWS INVESTIGATION: Exhibitions VISIT: Abu Dhabi EXCLUSIVE: Business Travel EXPLORE: Cyprus ONSITE: Hong Kong TRAVEL TALK TRAVEL TIPS TOUR: France WHO’S MOVED RENDEZVOUS LONG HAUL: Houston NEWS & EVENTS FEBRUARY 2010

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Abu Dhabi & Al Ain

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www.traveltradeweekly.travel


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Deputy Editor Laura Warne Journalist Louis Dillon Savage Design & Layout Elina Pericleous

Amadeus Studies Middle East’s Chance of World Domination

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Sales & Marketing Jane Davidson Marianna Tsiamas Danielle Bragg Directors Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi Headquarters P.O. Box 25255 Nicosia 1308 Cyprus Tel: +35722820888 Fax: +35722318958 Website www.traveltradeweekly.travel Emails info@traveltradeweekly.travel editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel sales@traveltradeweekly.travel Printed in Cyprus Cyprint Plc P.O. Box 58300 CY-3732, Limassol Cyprus Tel: +35725720035 Fax: +35725720123 Email: cyprint@cytprint.com.cy Cover image supplied by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA)

lobal distribution system (GDS) company Amadeus has commissioned a report to examine the Middle East’s potential to become the world’s dominant travel hub. The report will assess the airline, travel agency and hotel sectors across the GCC, including interviews with senior business figures, industry bodies and government officials. According to Antoine Medawar, MENA vice president at Amadeus, the report will consider the infrastructure and technology requirements, as well as business, social, cultural and environmental impacts. “Asking the question about whether the Middle East can fulfill its potential as the world’s most important global hub is vital,” said Medawar. “Across the region there are so many important players involved and many complexities to address; we thought it was important to help draw all the threads together to enable a clear view to be obtained.” He added that it was particularly timely to make the review now in light of the impact of the global economic downturn. The importance of the GCC region for

worldwide travel will be analysed in comparison with other emerging travel hubs, such as those in Asia. The report will be compiled by consultancy firms Insights Management Consultancy and h2c Consulting.

Antoine Medawar

Travelport to Go Public Travelport Holdings Ltd, a global distribution systems (GDS) provider, has floated on the UK and US stock exchanges, the company has declared. The sale is expected to raise nearly USD1.8 billion and to close in the first quarter of 2010. According to Travelport, the offering was initiated in an attempt to address the indebtedness of the company. Following the sale, Travelport Holdings will be renamed Travelport PLC.

MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 25/1/2010 Currencies shown in red are fixed against the US Dollar COUNTRY UAE (AED) Egypt (EGP) Saudi Arabia (SAR) Lebanon (LBP) Bahrain (BHD) Jordan ( JOD) Syria (SYP) Kuwait (KWD) Qatar (QAR) Oman (OMR) Tunisia (TND) Morocco (MAD) Iran (IRR) Yemen (YER) Algeria (DZD) Libya (LID)

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CURRENCY Dirham Pound Riyal Pound Dinar Dinar Pound Dinar Riyal Rial Dinar Dirham Riyal Rial Dinar Dinar

1USD= 3.67 5.44 3.75 1501 0.37 0.7 45.75 0.28 3.64 0.38 1.31 7.98 10.0 204.75 73.15 1.23

FEBRUARY 2010


An Upgrade As Big as The Ritz The Ritz-Carlton Dubai will begin renovations in April, aiming to double its inventory of rooms by early 2012. Andrew Nasskau, general manager of the hotel, said that the renovation was intended to keep pace with future demand. “Since the resort's opening 11 years ago, our number of guests has increased annually,” he said. “This major project is part of our goal to meet our guests’ requirements in the coming years.” He said that projects in the hotel’s vicinity were also expected to increase demand for the hotel. “With the development of The Walk and Dubai

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai

Etihad’s New Golf Club Etihad Airways has launched a new club designed to provide members of its guest rewards programme with a range of exclusive golf events, services and promotions. The Etihad Golf Club will include special golf holiday offers; member events in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and London; expert tuition under renowned golf instructor Claude Harmon; and discounts on top golfing products. Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer for Etihad Airways, said golf tourism was popular with Etihad customers. “Many of our members are keen golfers and we are pleased to launch an exciting product that connects them with golf clubs in Abu Dhabi and in key destinations worldwide,” said Baumgartner. “We are committed to offering innovative and unique benefits to our Etihad Guest members.” Members will be able to redeem Etihad Guest miles or pay cash for products and services in the new Etihad Golf Club.

FEBRUARY 2010

Andrew Nasskau

Marina, we are predicting even higher visitor interest in The Ritz-Carlton at the completion of this expansion programme,” he said. As well as additional accommodation, the new wing will include an 800 square metre grand ballroom, a boardroom and three multi use function rooms, for a total of 1,160 square metres of function space. New swimming pools, a new spa and fitness centre, and new food and beverage facilities will also be added. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai

New Cruise Terminal Set for February Opening Dubai’s upgraded cruise terminal will open in February and the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) predicts that the facility will boost the regional cruise market. Designed to handle four ships simultaneously, the terminal has been built to both encourage and facilitate an increase in cruise traffic to Dubai, according to DTCM. The terminal will include information kiosks and processing facilities for customs and immigration authorities.

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ExhiBiTiONS

All for Show Exhibitions are sprawling, exciting, exhausting affairs, bringing together industry representatives from around the world to meet, network, buy and sell. According to the Bahrain Exhibition and Conference Authority, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions/events (MICE) account for an estimated USD56 billion in revenue per year worldwide.

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he MICE model has taken firm hold of the Middle East and the sector continues to grow with more and bigger exhibitions and conferences announced for the region on a regular basis. According to Astrid Ehring, press officer for ITB organiser Messe Berlin, exhibitions are also among the most reliable barometers of the world economy. “Major international trade shows are a reliable indicator of the state of the industries that they represent,” she said. Ehring said that the future of the MICE industry remained uncertain and conflicting reports abounded. “We are unsure as to what the future holds,” she said. “That is hardly surprising, with so many surveys, expert forecasts and figures appearing daily in the media contradicting themselves.” However Graeme Barnett, exhibition director of GIBTM, was positive about the future of the MICE industry in the Middle East. “The meetings industry, despite still being in its infancy in the Gulf, is set to make major strides in the coming year,” he said. “The enthusiasm of national governments to recognise the increasing economic benefits and potential of business tourism has put the meetings industry right at the heart of strategic planning.” Barnett underscored the emergence of Abu Dhabi as a premier meetings destination, saying that the Yas Island developments had caused significant excitement in the industry. According to Barnett, the MICE industry is set for continued growth in the region and will go hand in hand with the continued development in the Gulf hospitality sector. Technology Social networking has been picked as the technological advance set to have the greatest impact on the way exhibitions operate. According to Bob Offutt of PhoCusWright Connect, and a report released by the European 4

Graeme Barnett

Meetings and Exhibitions Conference (EMEC), the social web is altering both the expectations and behaviour of attendees. “People go to conferences for more than just learning,” he explained. He said that the need for people to meet and mingle had outweighed the conveniences offered by technology, and that technology had actually given new demographics access to exhibitions. According to the EMEC report, live interaction is the next step for conferences and exhibitions. Attendees will post their seminar questions in real time, allowing speakers to view them as they are generated and letting participants post their own responses. Similarly, event-specific social networks will generate new modes of interaction and networking, as exhibition delegates communicate with each other beyond the constraints of face to face meetings and share the content of interactions by way of live forums. The increasing interconnectivity of businesses via the social web means that interested parties will be able to track the attendance of their clients and affiliates and select events to attend accordingly.

Astrid Ehring

Online communities will continue to generate pressure towards face to face meetings and exhibition attendance, as online interactions motivate users to come together. Social media is also expected to engender new approaches to event marketing, with campaigns leveraging the viral distribution of sharable content proposed as one possible direction.

Bahrain Exhibition City Bahrain has responded to the Middle East MICE boom with plans to expand its facilities with a near tenfold increase in exhibition space. Scheduled to be fully operational by 2013, Bahrain Exhibition City will feature 145,000 square metres of floor space across 50 chambers; 5,000 car parking bays; and 1,200 hotel rooms, ranging from three to five stars. It is estimated that the new facility will contribute USD306 million to the Bahraini economy, compared to the country’s current MICE revenue of USD154 million. FEBRUARY 2010


ABu DhABi AND Al AiN

Heart of the UAE

Abu Dhabi has embarked on massive development in the past few years, boosting its hotel capacity, MICE facilities and attracting a number of high-profile international events. Despite new interest from source markets across the world, GCC tourists remain the most important visitors to the UAE’s capital, with domestic demand growing by 26 percent over the past 12 months. Laura Warne writes

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ccording to figures from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), UAE tourists account for 42 percent of hotel guests in Abu Dhabi. Visitors from other Arab countries make up a further 10 percent of the market. This local tourism has been a boon to Abu Dhabi in recent times, according to Lawrence Franklin, director of policy and strategy for ADTA. “Strong growth in domestic demand has made a strong contribution to our ability to weather the international tourism downturn, which has largely been based on the global financial crisis and the H1N1 virus,” said Franklin. He added that spillover tourism was also a major contributor to visitor numbers. “There is no doubt about the complementary relationship which exists between Abu Dhabi and the other UAE emirates,” said Franklin. “Although we position ourselves differently in the market, day trips between the emirates are common and multi-emirate overnight stays are becoming more prevalent. “Recent movements in accommodation demand and supply trends wherein there is greater parity in costs will in all likelihood increase this trend.” Outside the UAE, Abu Dhabi’s main source FEBRUARY 2010

markets include the UK, USA, India, Germany, Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia and Italy. Emerging markets, including Russia, China and Asia are also becoming significant for Abu Dhabi. “Markets in South East Asia have shown strong recent growth benefiting from the entrance into the market of longer haul low cost carriers,” said Franklin. “Australia [which accounts for 21,970 visitors per year] is also an important point to point and stopover market. “Many of these markets are serviced by our

expanding international office network and Abu Dhabi is showcased in 17 major trade and consumer shows, based in many of these markets.” Supply and Demand Overall accommodation capacity in Abu Dhabi increased from 12,800 to 17,500 during 2009. The recent room additions have created a more competitive environment, which the ADTA believes will lead to better value for business travellers and more fertile ground for the next big phase of leisure tourism development. 5


Gearing up For GiBTM The Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) 2010 is scheduled for March 29 to 31 in Abu Dhabi. Participants in this year’s event include ADTA, Egyptian Tourist Authority, InterContinental Hotels Group, Qatar Tourism Authority, Etihad Airways, Jumeirah Group, Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, Silversea Cruises and Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development. Graeme Barnett, exhibition director for GIBTM, said that the event was driving the development of the meetings industry at a time of unprecedented expansion. “One only has to witness the excitement and anticipation generated by Yas Island to recognise the enormous potential offered to the meetings industry,” said Barnett. “It is predicted that 300,000 jobs will be created in the next ten years in the hospitality sector alone in the Middle East; 20 percent within the meetings and event sector.”

An overhaul of the hotel classification system in Abu Dhabi in 2009 received positive response, from the industry, according to Franklin. He pointed out that the new system made it easier to sell Abu Dhabi to the global tourism industry while ensuring that customers received the class of accommodation that they expect. “Until quite recently Abu Dhabi had probably been in some respects a victim of its own success,” said Franklin. “An imbalance in accommodation demand and supply created shortages and led to high average occupancy and room rates. “As an industry and an agency, we need to keep a strong eye on accommodation demand and supply trends to ensure a healthy environment for visitors, operators and investors.” Franklin added that the ADTA was committed to supporting new and existing hotels. More than 5,000 new hotel rooms are scheduled to open in 2010. Starwood has two Abu Dhabi properties in the pipeline: The Westin Hotel and Spa Abu Dhabi; and The St Regis Saadiyat Island. Both hotels are expected to open in October, 2011. Fairmont Marina City is scheduled to open in 2012, as part of the Marina City Development, 6

Until quite recently Abu Dhabi had probably been in some respects a victim of its own success which will overlook the Abu Dhabi Corniche. Along with the hotel, the Marina City project will feature residential towers, commercial office space and dining outlets. Hyatt at Capital Centre will open in the last quarter of 2010, as part of the new Capital Gate building, connected to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Rotana is opening nine new hotels in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain over the next two years. The upcoming Abu Dhabi properties include: Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, mid 2010; Saadiyat Rotana Resort, 2011; Centro Capital Centre, 2011; Centro Airport Road, 2011; Capital Centre Rotana, 2011; Capital Centre Arjaan by Rotana, 2012; Al Seef Rotana, 2012; and Marina Mall Arjaan by Rotana, 2012. In Al Ain, the company will open Hili Rayhaan by Rotana in 2010. The former Al Ain Zoo was rebranded in 2009 as the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort (AWPR). A three-phase development plan has been

launched and the completed project will occupy a total area of around 900 hectares. Phase one is currently under construction, with a scheduled completion date of November 2011. It includes a resort hotel, residential cluster, desert learning centre, restaurants and an amphitheatre. Phase two and three will be unveiled in November 2012 and 2013, respectively, with new features to include AWPR’s World Deserts development, wildlife safaris and a family resort. Infrastructure Development “No one can be in any doubt over the substantial strides which have been made in the development of infrastructure of all types, from the expansion of airport capacity, exhibition and meeting space, iconic hotel development (including Emirates Palace, Yas Hotel, Desert Islands, and Qasr Al Sarab to mention a few) and overall capacity,” said Franklin. FEBRUARY 2010


The development of complete precincts, such as Yas Island and Saadiyat Island are key features of the Abu Dhabi government’s vision for tourism, said Franklin. Over the next year, new developments include the opening of the Ferrari World theme park on Yas Island and two new golf courses – a Gary Player designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Course and a new Links course on Yas Island. The gradual opening of the Saadiyat Island Cultural District is scheduled to begin in 2013. Partnerships with travel trade professionals and international organisations, are also for ADTA. “Trade shows, international offices, agency/media inbound familiarisation visits and airline partnerships all contribute to a distribution strategy which creates a global distribution sector engaged with and keen to sell the destination,” said Franklin.

Yas island

“More recently, influential third party endorsements have become the norm, including the top ten places to visit recommendation from two of the world’s most influential guides, Frommers and Lonely Planet.” However, Franklin insisted that despite the

plethora of big projects underway, Abu Dhabi’s target markets were still focused on traditional experiences, such as the historical centre of Al Ain, the Empty Quarter and community events such as the Camel Festival and Date Festival.

2010: A Year of Events in Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi’s government and tourism organisations have committed themselves to pursuing an intensive schedule of local and international events. January saw the popular Al Ain Aerobatic Show and the World Future Energy Summit, which drew some of the world’s leading experts in the energy sector.

Etihad Airways F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Some highlights for the rest of the year include: Gourmet Abu Dhabi February (www.gourmetabudhabi.ae) A lifestyle gastronomic extravaganza, featuring a cast of Michelin-starred chefs and special guests, free master classes, industry insights from hospitality experts and gourmet dinners hosted by a range of the city’s top hotels.

Abu Dhabi Yacht Show February (www.abudhabiyachtshow.com) The only exhibition in the Arabian Gulf dedicated to SuperYachts. Held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC), organised by The Informa Yacht Group with ADTA as headline sponsor. 8

GIBTM March (www.gibtm.com) A leading international exhibition dedicated to the MICE and business travel industry in the Gulf. Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival March/April (www.admafestival.com) Featuring world-class performances from the likes of the Bolshoi Ballet, Andrea Bocelli and Sir James Galway, the festival spans 20 concerts over 13 days in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

Middle East International Film Festival October (www.meiff.com) Ten days of cinema screenings and events include more than 150 films and 180 screenings, shown in various Abu Dhabi venues. Etihad Airways F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix November (www.yasmarinacircuit.com) The finale of the Formula 1 season, to be held on the new 5.6km circuit on Yas Island - a world-class FIA sanctioned racetrack. World Green Tourism Congress December (www.worldgreentourism.ae) The first of its kind in the Arabian Gulf, the World Green Tourism Congress – with supporting exhibition – will be a forum for key industry leaders and associations to discuss the environmental challenges facing the tourism industry, highlighting green initiatives, technologies and solutions.

FEBRUARY 2010


BuSiNESS TravEl

Economical Realities Corporate travel budgets are shedding fat and, with improving teleconferencing and webinar technology, it is easy to worry for the segment’s future. Reformation can be revolution however, and according to industry experts, business travel is fighting fit and heading in a new direction.

Cutting Back It is easy to see that times are tough, Professor Richard Scase, keynote speaker at the Business travel and meetings show, told Travel Trade Weekly. With JAL barely maintaining cruising speed and British Airways struggling to cut costs, it is easy to see the impact of corporate travel budget cutbacks, according to Scase. “In the current economic climate there is simply less recognition of the importance of meetings and onsite visits,” he pointed out. Bob Offut, Senior Technology consultant for PhocusWright Connect, said that he thought it unlikely that business travel would rebound to historical levels in either frequency or expenditure.

However, he pointed out that the segment was generally considered necessary and was much more likely to change, than to disappear. “The need to meet will always be there, but the patterns will change,” he said. Scase was more optimistic, anticipating future growth of the segment to be driven by emerging markets with cultural predispositions towards face-to-face business. According to Robert Daykin, director of the Corporate Travel Partners consultancy, non revenue generating travel such as internal meetings had been affected most in terms of outright elimination. However, according to both Offutt and Scase, companies were focusing on downgrading rather than eliminating travel, wherever possible. Downgrading Corporate travel buyers are increasingly opting for economy over business class, and in many cases, low cost carriers over legacy airlines. The trend is particularly focused on shorter flights and varies from firm to firm, region to region. Similarly, many companies are moving away from full service accommodation, preferring budget accommodation for shorter stays. Daykin stressed that the tendency remained

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sector specific. According to Daykin, top end travellers are unlikely to surrender their travel privileges. “Unless their clients start to turn the screw on costs, I can’t see high-flying legal, financial and mergers and acquisitions people doing much of this,” he said, and Scase agreed. “In certain areas, there remains a kind of business class snobbery,” Scase said. Technology Although cost cutting initiatives have so far focused on downgrading, the question remains just how long can the business travel market prevail, if faced with a viable telecommunications alternative? “Whilst there seems to have been limited impact in the short term, the use of desktop technology and high quality visual/audio conferencing for business interaction is the future,” Daykin said. “Having just implemented travel agency services for a client in a wide range of countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific areas, without one face-to-face visit, it just shows what can be done.” Although technology as an alternative to travel has its proponents, Scase and Offutt were both quick to stress that corporate cost cutting was only one piece of the puzzle. FEBRUARY 2010


“The twenty-first century belongs to places like Asia and the Middle East,” Scase said. “And there is the understanding in many countries of the developing world that there are certain things that cannot be ascertained by email.” Scase called attention to the preferences of many cultures for face-to-face business, saying that the importance of personal relationships in business would remain central in the future. It was this preference, for what Scase called the soft side of business, that he said would be responsible for the ultimate growth of business travel. Offutt added that the meetings industry had actually been boosted by technologies offering remote access. “By offering online access to our PhoCusWright convention, we boosted our market rather than diminishing it,” he said. “Ten years ago there was a lot of talk about how technology would make business travel unnecessary,” Scase said. “Obviously we can see now that this has just not become the case.” In fact, far from supplanting business travel, technology is increasingly augmenting it. Oman Air has introduced the world’s first three-

FEBRUARY 2010

class, in-flight WiFi and mobile service to its Airbus A330 fleet, while Etihad Airways has added iPod, USB and RCA connectivity to its business class seats. Hotel chains such as Hilton are also taking advantage of mobile advances to help business travellers save time with pre-arrival services. The self check-in model that has proven so successful for airlines has also begun to filter into accommodation. Aloft at Abu Dhabi’s ADNEC convention centre offers contactless travel options, allowing guests to self manage their stay and save precious time on whistle-stop business trips.

Future According to Scase, technology can maintain and enhance conversations, but there are benefits to face-to-face mingling that cannot be substituted. Though technology may supplant travel in certain areas of business, the intangible benefits of physical meetings are too important to ignore. Nevertheless, the future of business travel remains unclear as the global economy shifts its centre of balance and a new generation comes of age. While the preference for more personal business experiences in the economies of the future has been attested to, Generation Y, or Generation iPod as Scase prefers, remain difficult to predict. Worldwide, the young are simultaneously driving the dominance of internet technologies, while affirming their preferences for experience and excitement. Scase stressed that it remained uncertain whether the preference for convenience or experience would ultimately win out. Scase said he thought the smart money was on the youth market continuing to travel for business. “The question is, would they rather go to Beijing, or would they rather do it online?” he said. “I rather suspect they would prefer to go to Beijing.”

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CYPRuS

Aphrodite’s Island Beckons As the closest European destination to the Middle East, Cyprus is a traditional meeting point of cultures. Along with the popular Mediterranean beach holiday, the island nation offers luxury resort accommodation, golfing holidays and a wealth of historical tourism options. Laura Warne writes

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ccording to the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), tourists from the Middle East make up 2.5 percent of total arrivals into

Cyprus. In 2009, there were 53,507 visitors from the Middle East, which represented a 13 percent increase on the previous year. Vassilis Theocharides, director of CTO’s Middle East and Arabian Gulf Office, said the island was mainly popular with families and couples, although it also attracted a younger Lebanese market. “Cyprus offers proximity, mild climate, excellent beaches, modern infrastructure, safety and a great getaway for short breaks,” said Theocharides. “Hoteliers have had good experience with our [Middle East] market and are starting to adapt by offering Muslim visitors halal options and prayer rooms.” Jochen Niemann, general manager of the Londa Hotel in Limassol, said the island had benefited from increased flight connections to the Middle East. “The better the connection, the more tourists,” he said. “Emirates is flying daily, Etihad has started recently, you have Cyprus Airways, Gulf Air and one direct flight from Kuwait, so the connection is there.” 12

“I believe there is great potential for the Middle East market, especially with the expats as well as the local market; the numbers can definitely be increased.” He added that the recently opened new airport in Larnaca would further improve visitor arrivals. Londa Hotel was voted the Mediterranean’s leading boutique hotel at the World Travel Awards in 2009. Niemann said the property, which largely focuses on young couples, takes much of its inspiration from the latest European trends, with modern eclectic cuisine and a personalised spa offering. “The feedback from expat couples [in the Middle East] is fantastic,” he said.

“You are in European culture and you have almost the same climate as the Middle East, but it is not so hot in summer; it is home, without giving up too much of the lifestyle from Dubai.” Basic Brands For brand-conscious travellers, Cyprus offers a select few options. Hilton has two properties in the capital city Nicosia; InterContinental Aphrodite Hills is a haven for golfers; and the coastal city of Limassol offers a Four Seasons and Le Méridien. Chris Laghoutis, sales and marketing manager of Le Méridien Limassol, said his property had a distinct advantage, being the only internationally FEBRUARY 2010


branded chain hotel on the beach in Cyprus. “There is more brand awareness nowadays; Starwood has preferred guests who are very loyal to Starwood brands and being the only Starwood brand in Cyprus, we do benefit from that,” he said. Profiling the Middle East Stelios Kiziz, general manager of Columbia Hotels and Resorts in Cyprus, recently conducted a research and sales trip to the Middle East, in order to profile potential visitors. “We know now that our guests may come from the Middle East in order to play golf, because it’s too hot there for three or four months of the year,” he said. “There is also a high percentage of expats who like to take short trips, but Europe is too far from the Middle East. “So our idea is to offer Cyprus as a short weekend break. As a destination, we offer luxury hotels, golfing hotels, nightlife, beach clubs – it’s quite an interesting destination for the Middle East market. “In a nice weekend break, a customer could cover a lot of different activities if they wanted to, or just spend time at their hotel.” Kiziz said there was immediate interest from the market. Tournament Hopes According to Kiziz, an international golfing tournament or other major sporting event would cement Cyprus’ position as a top tourism destination. “Our target markets visit countries just for these events, but many will then return for holidays, or tell their friends about the destination,” he said. Kiziz said the island was well equipped to host an international event in terms of infrastructure, accommodation and flight connections. However, he added that the government needed to consider sponsorship options in order to present a competitive offer to major brands. FEBRUARY 2010

“The events aren’t going to come to Cyprus and pay for it when other governments are offering sponsorship,” he explained. Coming Up Following after the opening of the island’s new airport, further infrastructure updates are on the way. Hoteliers in Limassol are expecting a new marina, now underway, to create a revitalised

entertainment district along the seafront. There are also plans for a new convention centre, also in Limassol, and rumors of new golf courses in the next few years. Tour operators are also looking beyond the usual activities to bring in a new action-focused market. “Cyprus has a reputation that it is only good for sand and sun, but [the industry] is now focusing on other tourist interests,” said Niemann. He listed agritourism, extreme sports, mountain climbing and kite surfing as popular new options for tourists.

Snapshot of Cyprus Capital: Nicosia Currency: Euro Language: Greek (English widely spoken) Tourist hotspots: Agia Napa, Limassol, Paphos, Larnaca

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hONG KONG

Asia’s World City

Hong Kong offers a unique gateway to the Chinese mainland and the burgeoning Chinese economy. This proximity, combined with the region’s relatively liberal visa policy, makes Hong Kong one of the most desirable business destinations in the world. Louis Dillon Savage writes

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or the Middle Eastern market however, Hong Kong is primarily a leisure destination and the MENA leisure market is being actively targeted by the region’s tourism authorities and private operators alike. According to Sue Gan, marketing director of the InterContinental Grand Stanford, Middle Eastern travellers fill an important gap in the Hong Kong market. Though the district’s mainstay source markets originate in Europe and the Americas, the high season for these travellers focuses on the northern winter. Middle Eastern travellers, who Gan said were undeterred by the summer heat, are being wooed by Hong Kong tourism interests to fill out occupancy in the down season. Conveniently, according to Gan, the down season for Hong Kong is well matched to the peak travel period of tourists from the Gulf and many companies cater specifically for Arabic travellers in the months of June, July and August. Simon Mills, director of Middle Eastern operations at the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), said that promotions in the Middle East were leisure focused and that MICE travel from the region was sporadic. He added that encouraging MICE travel from the Middle East would become a priority in the future, however. 14

One Country, Two Systems Along with Macau, Hong Kong is one of two special administrative regions under the control of the People’s Republic of China. Administrated by the UK until 1997, the majority of residents are English speaking and the island follows a traditional capitalist economy. The major advantage of the two system policy for tourists is that Hong Kong remains visafree for over 100 nations, making it much easier to visit than the more authoritarian mainland regions of China. The island boasts several other beneficial legacies of British rule, including diverse cuisine and architecture, as well as a first rate public transport system. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region comprises Hong Kong Island, the New Territories (a portion of the Chinese mainland), the Kowloon Peninsula and more than 200 offshore islands. The Hong Kong International Commerce Centre (ICC) is scheduled for completion in 2010; a development that Mills said would boost the importance of Hong Kong as a MICE destination. The ICC will incorporate office space, meetings facilities and two six star hotels; the Ritz-Carlton

Hong Kong and the W Hong Kong. According to Mills, the Ritz-Carlton will be the highest hotel in the world upon completion. Arabic families and Arabic youth will be targeted by HKTB promotions in 2010, Mills said, which will emphasise the safe, family friendly nature of Hong Kong, as well as the edgier side of the city for the younger market. Mills highlighted that standards of service and accommodation in Hong Kong were very high and were comparable to those found in the FEBRUARY 2010


Macau Middle East, which he said was a major selling point for Gulf tourists. Shopping and theme parks were named as the major pursuits of Middle Eastern visitors by both Gan and Mills. Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park are the biggest theme park attractions in the area, while the night markets, ladies markets and various luxury chain stores cater to visitors interested in shopping. The Mandarin Oriental, Grand Stanford, and Island Shangri-La hotels were picked out by Mills as particularly well equipped to handle Middle Eastern preferences. Gan pointed out that her hotel imported a halal chef from Bahrain during summer months, as well as an Arabic speaking guest relations officer from Kuwait. Local cuisine was seen as a sticking point for the Arabic market by Mills and Gan, but both were positive about the progress that the local market had made. “A lot of Middle Eastern people don’t like the food here, because in Hong Kong we eat a lot of pork,” Gan said.

FEBRUARY 2010

Mills emphasised that there were many more halal options in the city than in the past, and Gan said the Grand Stanford had met with significant success in promoting its halal offerings. “When we held our promotion for our halal chef, we had Arabic guests from other hotels coming to eat here,” she said. The Habibis’ Egyptian restaurant and café, both located on Wellington St in central Hong Kong were recommended as stand out halal offerings for the Middle Eastern market. Upcoming developments in Hong Kong include an expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland and a new cruise terminal to open in 2013. “There’s something for everyone in Hong Kong - that’s the message,” said Mills.

Macau, the second special administrative region in the PRC, lies a short ferry trip from Hong Kong across the Pearl River Estuary. According to Sue Gan of the Grand Stanford, the journey to Macau is one of the best side trips available for visitors to Hong Kong and can be undertaken in a single day. Administered by the Portuguese from the sixteenth century until 1999, the region shares the relative autonomy of its better known neighbor, but offers a different cultural heritage and atmosphere. Just as Dubai has been called the Las Vegas of the Middle East, Macau is known as the Las Vegas of China, according to Gan, and the city features such well known hospitality names as MGM Grand and The Venetian. However, the area is moving to rebrand itself as a MICE and resort destination, with a series of new multi-use developments planned and a focus on attracting international sporting and entertainment events The Cotai Strip is one of the major developments in the area, lying 15 minutes outside downtown Macau, and is currently under construction by Las Vegas Sands. The resort development will feature international hotels by Shangri-La, Raffles, Sheraton and Traders. Though the development had been put on hold due to funding difficulties, Las Vegas Sands announced the successful refinancing of the project in November 2009. A causeway to link Hong Kong to Macau is tentatively scheduled to commence in 2011, according to the Hong Kong Highways Department, and is expected to further integrate the two destinations. 15


Khalifa Al Mazrouei Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) “Route development is the lifeblood of any airport, airline and related industries and, with Abu Dhabi International one of the fastest growing aviation hubs in the world today, we are very happy to have been selected to host the world’s leading air transport forum and event [Routes – The World Route Development Forum 2012]. The winning bid is a collective achievement for Abu Dhabi as a whole, not just for the aviation sector, and provides an opportunity to showcase the UAE’s capital city and the wider emirate to the world.”

Route development is the lifeblood of any airport, airline and related industries

(l-R) Wayne Pearce, chief planning and strategy officer of Etihad; Mike howarth, founder of Routes Development Group; Ahmed Al haddabi, senior vice president of ADAC; and Ahmed hussein, deputy director general of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority

Abdul Salam Al Bahar Chairman of Wataniya Airways “Our team managed to do remarkable things in a brief period, gaining our guests’ trust and satisfaction by providing an extraordinary experience, launching flights to eight different destinations with more to be announced soon and becoming one of the few airlines in the world to launch a frequent flyer programme in its first year of operation, with our own Wataniya Diwan. This would not have been possible without the tremendous support we got from our guests and the community in Kuwait and we thank them for that.”

(l-R) Abdul Salam Al Bahar; and George Cooper, CEO of Wataniya Airways

Our team managed to do remarkable things in a brief period BurJuman Arjaan by Rotana

Naeem Darkazally Area Director of Sales and Marketing, Rotana Dubai and Northern Emirates “We can feel the recovery and indeed we are very optimistic for 2010. I am glad to announce that our properties in Dubai will be running at 100 percent occupancy rates during the Dubai Shopping Festival 2010, which we officially supported this year with 11 hotels in Dubai.”

Our properties in Dubai will be running at 100 percent occupancy Travel Talk is your space – this is a casual forum for travel industry professionals to discuss current issues and share stories. We want to hear from you, so send your comments, questions, frustrations and observations to editorial@traveltradeweekly.travel 16

FEBRUARY 2010


Tips for Selling to Corporate Clients Corporate clients have particular needs, demands and expectations. In a time of ever-tighter belts and closely watched pennies, it can be difficult to attract lucrative corporate travel accounts.

The Corporate Travel Partners is a consultancy firm committed to offering advice to corporate travellers, independent of the supply chain. Robert Daykin, director of the company, offered Travel Trade Weekly his insights into the buyer’s side of corporate travel. What’s Changed? “With more organisations getting to grips with travel and the chief purchasing officer (CPO) taking a greater interest in the travel category as a whole, the traveller is becoming less important than was the case a few years ago,” he said. “A greater sense of realism seems to be working its way through.”

Cheap is not the goal; value and return on investment is This means that the purchasing officer, rather than the traveller is the one to watch and the leading trend for corporate travel buyers is downgrading, according to Daykin. He said that downward pressure would continue throughout 2010 and the corporate sector would

continue to focus on pruning unnecessary trips, while replacing travel with technology wherever possible. So, in an increasingly parsimonious market, how do you sell to corporate clients? Work With It “Be open, honest and realistic - some things that we see too little of,” said Daykin. “Don’t promise the moon and then find that delivery is a bit of a problem!” Daykin stressed the importance of developing partnerships and fostering long term trust. “Partnerships are not to be entered into lightly. Be absolutely sure that the customer can actually deliver what they say they are going to do and be very sure that you can deliver what you say you are going to do,” he said. “Nothing leaves a worse taste than failure to deliver. Walk away from a client who you cannot trust or you feel is just saying what you want to hear, just as we advise our clients to do when a supplier tries to pull the wool over the customer’s eyes. “Get all the cards out on the table for everyone to see. Make sure any deal is measurable by both parties – a deal is not done until it is delivered. Trust is critical, delivery vital.”

Robert Daykin

Nothing leaves a worse taste than failure to deliver Daykin also pointed to a shift in corporate travel buying practices and gave his hints on adjusting to the change. He said that corporate streamlining had led to a deficit of specialist knowledge in travel purchasing. “There has been a move to pure procurement in organisations with a consequential loss of category specialists, leaving the corporations vulnerable,” he said. “This also leaves the supply chain having to deal with people who don’t necessarily understand the category and all its foibles and peculiarities. “Understanding the art of the possible is vitally important in optimising the travel programme. It’s not just about cost per se, it’s about delivering real value to the organisation. “There is a relationship between cost and benefit. Cost minus benefit equals value. Cheap is not the goal; value and return on investment is.”

FEBRUARY 2010

17


FraNCE

Beyond the City of Love France is wooing big spenders from the Middle East as part of a strategic plan to increase high yield tourism and highlight the country’s lesser known regions. Laura Warne writes

W

ith an average of 80 million visitors per year, France is the world’s most visited tourism destination, according to figures from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Middle East travellers, while only making up two percent of the total tourism arrivals, are one of the country’s most lucrative markets. According to Karim Mekachera, director of the Middle East office of Atout France, tourists from the Middle East are some of the biggest contributors to the country’s tourism yield. “The biggest problem of France is not the number of tourists, it is the quality of tourists,” said Mekachera. “Many people stay a very short amount of time, so even though our numbers are high, our yield is lower than countries such as Spain that have fewer tourists per year. “So, in terms of importance, visitors from the Middle East are a major priority.” Mekachera said the average Middle Eastern tourist will spend 11 days in France, compared to four or six days for tourists from other countries. “The fantastic thing about the Middle East is the way that people travel,” he said. “The average traveller has a minimum of four outbound trips per year, of 10 to 30 days each – no other region in the world travels like that.” Atout France is the tourism development agency of France, covering everything from hotel classifications and travel agent accreditation to international promotion and marketing. Promotion in the Middle East was previously managed by Maison de la France, but a 2009 merger with ODIT France, a tourism engineering agency, led to the creation of Atout France, which is now the sole national organisation for the tourism sector. Regional Delicacies “Unfortunately, most Middle Eastern tourists are only interested in Paris and the French Riviera,” said Mekachera. “France has 22 regions, but so far 90 percent of tourists go to Paris. “So our next step is to open up the regions; we have 18

developed the French Alps as a destination and there is the potential to market luxury ski holidays there.” He added that Bordeaux also had great potential as a tourist destination, because of its iconic architecture. “Our challenge is the couple to right people with the right products and to go beyond Paris and the French Riviera – there are so many things to discover,” said Mekachera. Islamic Travellers According to Mekachera, France is no stranger to Islamic travellers. “There are nearly four million Muslims living in France, so people know about halal diets, service and hospitality requirements for travellers from the Middle East,” he said. However, he added that, while many hotels offer excellent services and facilities for Muslim travellers, there is still more that could be done. “People are aware of it, now the second step is to make it widespread in the industry,” he said. “It is compulsory; if we want to increase business from this part of the world, we must adapt.” Icons France’s capital, Paris, is home to some of the world’s most visited tourism sites, including: the Eiffel Tower; the Louvre Museum; the Arc de Triomphe; the Cathedral of Notre Dame; and the art district of Montmartre. The stunning Palace of Versailles is another popular destination within the greater Paris metropolitan area.

However, according to Mekachera, these sites may not be high on the lists of many travellers from the Middle East. “The local Middle East travellers are high spenders, looking for shopping, amusement parks, urban tourism and cities; they are not usually focused on culture,” he said. The exceptions, however, were tourists from Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, who were more likely to seek out cultural attractions such as museums and art galleries. The Happiest Place in Europe Disneyland Paris is a major drawcard for tourists from the Middle East, especially families, according to Mekachera. He added that there have also been recent calls for new theme parks, particularly with authentic French themes. For the time being, however, Disneyland Paris remains the main attraction. The extensive complex comprises two theme parks, seven Disney hotels and the Disney Village precinct for shopping, dining and entertainment. Disneyland offers regular packages and incentives for Middle Eastern guests, including free accommodation and park entrance for children under 12. For older visitors, the resort is next to the La Vallee Village Outlet Shopping complex, which features 90 designer outlet boutiques. Disneyland Paris has a dedicated Arabic website and several VIP or private lounge facilities. FEBRUARY 2010


Marriott international Management Team

The Ritz-Carlton, Doha

As part of its global restructuring, Marriott International has created a new Middle East and Africa regional management team, based in Dubai. Jeff Strachan has been promoted to vice president of sales and marketing. Strachan was previously area marketing director for the region. He has worked for Marriott Inernational since 1996. Volker Heiden has been appointed vice president of finance; he was previously regional vice president and chief financial officer of Marriott’s western region in the US. Heiden joined Marriott International in 1997, after working with Hyatt International since 1988. Paul Downing has stepped into the new role of area vice president for Africa and regional operations vice president for the Middle East and Africa. Downing was previously based in London as Marriott’s regional vice president of operations for the UK, Middle East and Africa. He joined Marriott International in 1982 at the Amman Marriott in Jordan. Nihad Kattan has been appointed area vice president for the Middle East. Kattan has worked with Marriott International since 1981 at a range of hotels across the US, Middle East and South America. Gary Dodds is now regional vice president of human resources for the Middle East and Africa. He previously held the same role for the UK, Middle East and Africa, based in London. Dodds joined Marriott International in 2002.

Pep Lozano has been appointed as the new general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Doha in Qatar. Lozano has previously worked at Ritz-Carlton properties in Spain, the US, Germany and Portugal. He speaks fluent English, Spanish and French. The Ritz-Carlton Doha has also appointed Belal Al Kadry as director of sales and marketing. Al Kadry has a degree in hotel management and marketing and has worked with several major hotel brands across the Middle East, including Sheraton, Hilton, Le Méridien and Marriott. Pep lozano

Thierry Szewc

20

Jeff Strachan

volker heiden

Nihad Kattan

Gary Dodds

Accor Hospitality Middle East has appointed Thierry Szewc as general manager of ibis Amman. Szewc was previously manager of ZamZam Hotel in Saudi Arabia. He has worked with the Accor Group for 35 years.

Thierry Szewc

FEBRUARY 2010


Q&A with Oliver Schmaeing Oliver Schmaeing has recently joined Hilton Worldwide as the new regional director of marketing for the Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean. Here, he discusses his new role, Hilton’s expansion plans in the region and his 2010 strategies for staying ahead in a competitive market. Travel Trade Weekly: What does your new role entail – what brands, properties and regions will you be covering? Oliver Schmaeing: As regional director of

We are planning promotions targeting early bird bookers, travel agents, the meetings and summer holiday markets.

marketing for Hilton Worldwide, I am responsible for all marketing activities for the Hilton Worldwide brands in the Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean region. My primary responsibilties entail developing marketing guidelines for Hilton Worldwide brands and tailoring them to the country markets we are targeting. In this regard, I lead the planning, coordination and implemetation of the various marketing activities across the region. The Arabian Peninsula is more complex than most other markets; it requires an in-depth knowledge of the market/industry, cultural sensitivities and business ethics as well as attention to detail. Part of my job also involves overseeing the correct application of global brand standards across the various Hilton Worldwide brands.

The Arabian Peninsula is more complex than most other markets

Travel Trade Weekly: What does Hilton Worldwide’s current presence in the Arabian Peninsula consist of? Oliver Schmaeing: We currently operate 19 hotels, amounting to 5,328 rooms, across the Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean (i.e. UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Mauritius, Seychelles). We introduced one new brand to the region in 2009 – Hilton Garden Inn – and will introduce another – Doubletree by Hilton – in 2010, whilst signing a number of management agreements and expanding our geographical presence tremendously. We have an opening pipeline of 10 hotels (3,068 rooms) in the Arabian Peninsula.

Travel Trade Weekly: What is your view of the tourism and hospitality in the Arabian Peninsula? Do you expect competition to be strong? Oliver Schmaeing: At present, the Arabian Peninsula is one of our best performing markets in the world, achieving high occupancy, average room rate and revPAR. The region’s strong performance can be attributed to its geographical position, mix of source markets, growing importance as an aviation hub and the size of investments in the region – all helping ensure a brighter, long term future. The region will continue to attract big players and the competition has raised quality standards within the industry. We were one of the first entrants here and, due to our sound knowledge of the region supported by our global network, as well as our focus on standards and creativity, we’re well positioned to cement our strong position and continue to grow in this market.

We’re well positioned to cement our strong position and continue to grow

Travel Trade Weekly: How will you Travel Trade Weekly: What Unique Selling promote the Hilton Worldwide brands in the propositions does Hilton Worldwide offer in region? the region? Oliver Schmaeing: Clear strategic objectives Oliver Schmaeing: Three of our biggest USPs are key to promoting the Hilton Worldwide brands and we have put in place a series of promotional activities spaced throughout the year, in order to build up and maintain a healthy booking base. FEBRUARY 2010

in the region are our global reputation and standards, our range of products and brands as well as the breadth and reach of our incentives, in particular our loyality programme Hilton HHonors.

Oliver Schmaeing

As a truly global organisation, Hilton Worldwide brings global standards and rich pedigree to the hospitality industry here. Our presence has been instrumental in fostering a level of trust in the quality of the industry regionally. We have also continued to evolve over the years and have brands that span the luxury and upscale to the mid-market and budget segments, catering to a wide spectrum of the world’s travellers who come to the region. Finally, there is our Hilton HHonors loyalty programme, one of the few programmes that allows you to double dip by collecting points as well as air miles. The programme is supported by several of our promotional activities and provides our clients here with perks and benefits, many of which can be redeemed anywhere in the world. 21


hOuSTON

The Eagle Has Landed… These words, taken from the most famous phone call the city of Houston has ever received, were spoken by Neil Armstrong as he became the first human to set down on earth beyond our own; securing Houston’s place as one of the greatest travel hubs in history. Louis Dillon Savage writes

M

ore than a historical footnote, however, Houston is the fourth largest city in the US and the self proclaimed energy

capital of the world. The city hosts more Fortune 500 company headquarters than any city outside New York and, with a prominent oil and gas presence, Houston boasts strong business ties to the Middle East. So much so that locally based energy giant Halliburton chose Dubai for the site of its second global headquarters in 2007. The affinity stretches back to the mid twentieth century, when Houston’s bustle and cosmopolitanism was compared the legendary mercantilism of old Arabia; earning the city the nickname of Baghdad on the Bayou. Though that name has since been reapplied to New Orleans, relationships between Houston and the Gulf remain strong, ensuring a steady stream of business travellers and increased interest in the city’s leisure offerings. According to Lindsey Brown, of the Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau (GHCVB), the Middle Eastern market is a significant one for Houston, with the business sector accounting for the majority of visits. “Direct flights from Dubai and Doha continue to be successful and Houston is also working with 22

our airline partners and business contacts from the region to increase business travel [from the Middle East],” said Brown. Direct flights are currently operated by Emirates and Qatar Airways, with various other airlines offering connecting flights via hubs in Europe. Houston also functions as a major hub for travel to the rest of the US, with direct flights to virtually every other major city, according to Brown. The city has developed quickly in recent times, Brown said, and has more than doubled its hotel room count since 2001. New properties continue to open, with Aloft and Hotel Sorella properties launching in 2009, and the new Embassy Suites Downtown planned for early 2011. Other projects include the recent gentrification of Washington Avenue and the upcoming Houston Pavilions multi-use development. Brown recommended the St Regis Hotel, Four Seasons Houston and Hotel Granduca for MENA travellers, saying that these properties were the best equipped to cater for Middle Eastern preferences. “These hotels have the staff and experience to service this market,” she said. According to the GHCVB, the best luxury shopping is found at The Galleria mall, complimented by the family friendly atmosphere offered by the Memorial City Mall.

Space City USA Antecedent of modern space travel initiatives such as Ras Al Khaimah’s upcoming spaceport, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Space Centre is the historic home. Largely responsible for the preponderance of aerospace technology firms in the area, which themselves draw large volumes of business travel, NASA’s operational base is open to the public and is considered a must-see attraction by the GHCVB. General access tickets are available as part of bundled access to Houston’s main attractions, but behind-the-scenes tours are also available to those willing to pay a premium.

CityPass Houston offers a variety of family friendly attractions, the majority of which are bundled into a single-ticket system. For USD39 per adult, or USD29 per child, visitors gain access to: the LBJ Space Centre Houston; Downtown Aquarium; the Houston Museum of Natural Science; and Houston Zoo. Tickets can also be augmented with access to the Museum of Fine Arts; the Children’s Museum and the George Ranch Historical Park; or the Health Museum. FEBRUARY 2010


Qatar Tourism Authority Behind inaugural Food Festival The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) will organise the first Doha Food Festival, to be held from February 4 to 6. Ahmed Al Nuaimi, chairman of QTA, said the family event, named the Taste and Fun Food Festival, would give hotels and restaurants the opportunity to showcase their culinary offerings. “We are pleased to organise this event as part of the celebration of Doha as the Capital of Arab Culture 2010,” said Al Nuaimi. “The first Doha Food Festival is organised as a celebration of history, food and culture. “Not only will visitors enjoy good food and fun entertainment, they will have the opportunity to taste dishes from other cultures which will promote cultural exchanges and awareness.” The festival will feature live music, a raffle draw, and a children’s play area. A grand prize will be announced at the end of the festival, naming the restaurant with the best food, as judged by public interest.

Ahmed Al Nuaimi, chairman of QTA

Events Middle East Exclusive 2010 Dubai, UAE, Feb 2-4 (www.middleeastexclusive.com) Luxury brand and travel retail exhibition.

Gulfood Exhibition 2010 Dubai, UAE, Feb 21-24 (www.gulfood.com) Food and beverage exhibition.

SME Expo and Conference 2010 Dubai, UAE, Feb 2-4 (www.smeexpo.com) Exhibition and conference for small and medium enterprises.

Jordan Travel Mart ( JTM) Dead Sea, Jordan, February 21-23 (www.jordantravelmart.com) Showcase of the Jordanian tourism industry.

Business Travel and Meetings Show 2010 London, UK, February 9-10 (www.businesstravelshow.com) Formerly the Business Travel Show, this event caters to consumers and suppliers of corporate travel services. Travel Technology Europe London, UK, February 9-10 (www.traveltechnologyshow.com) Educational and trade event centered on sales, operational, and marketing technology. EMITT Istanbul Istanbul, Turkey, Feb 11-14 (www.emittistanbul.com) Exhibition for travel professionals in the east Mediterranean and Eurasia. ETOA Hoteliers European Marketplace London, UK, Feb 12 (www.etoa.org/hem.aspx) Workshop event for tour operators, online intermediaries, wholesalers and hoteliers.

Meetings Africa 2010 Johannesburg, South Africa, February 24-26 (www.meetingsafrica.co.za) Business tourism exhibition showcasing meeting venues, destinations and industry support services. ITB Berlin Berlin, Germany, March 10-14 (www.itb-berlin.com) A combination of trade exhibition, public exhibition and professional convention for the travel trade industry. GIBTM Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 29-31 (www.gibtm.com) International event for the business travel and meetings industry in the Gulf and Middle East region.

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FEBRUARY 2010

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