Page 1

Don’t miss out on our e-book issues

Online every Saturday Middle East and North Africa Edition Tel: +35722820888

INVESTIGATION: LOW COST AIRLINES Low cost airlines (LCA), or low cost carriers (LCC) are the fastest growing segment of the aviation industry. According to industry experts, there are plenty of opportunities for future growth in this popular sector.

Efforts to boost infrastructure, trade and tourism appear to be paying off in the northern emirates. Already popular with leisure tourists from within the Middle East and Europe, the region is now stepping up its development initiatives to attract global MICE markets.

5 ONSITE: CHINA The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is emerging as one of the world’s most desirable destinations and most lucrative source markets. However, the country’s long history of independence from the rest of the world has made it difficult for outsiders to scratch the country’s surface. Local sources provide insight into this growing market.





2 3 5 6 8 10 14 16 17 18 20 21 22 24


RAK & Um Al Quwain


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY Deputy Editor Laura Warne Journalist Louis Dillon Savage

ADIA Buys Stake in Hyatt Hotels


overeign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) has bought 4.8 million Class A shares in Hyatt Hotels Corp. The US-based hotelier floated on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in November 2009. While ADIA’s purchase made up 10.9 percent of Hyatt’s offering of Class A common shares, its overall stake in the company will be considerably lower, as the Pritzker family holds the bulk of Class B shares,

Design & Layout Elina Pericleous Sales & Marketing Joy Hadjivarnava Jane Davidson Danielle Bragg Directors Andreas Constantinides Mary Kammitsi Headquarters P.O. Box 25255 Nicosia 1308 Cyprus Tel: +35722820888 Fax: +35722318958

giving it voting control over the company. A spokesperson from ADIA anounced that the fund intended to remain a minority shareholder. Hyatt’s worldwide portfolio exceeds 400 hotels, including properties in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman and the UAE. The Hyatt at Capital Centre, Abu Dhabi is expected to open in the last quarter of 2010, as part of the new Capital Gate building connected to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

Grand Hyatt Dubai

Website Emails Printed in Cyprus Cyprint Plc P.O. Box 58300 CY-3732, Limassol Cyprus Tel: +35725720035 Fax: +35725720123 Email:

MENA Exchange Rates Accurate as of 18/12/2009

Global Forecast Positive for 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)


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

1USD= 3.67 5.49 3.75 1501 0.37 0.7 45.5 0.28 3.64 0.38 1.3 7.79 10.06 205.7 72.17 1.23

The annual ITB World Travel Trends report has predicted global GDP will grow by 3.1 percent in 2010, but may trend downwards early in the year. Other predictions include an improved year for airlines, as companies have been forced to improve operational efficiency by the difficulties of 2009. According to ITB, the fiscal crisis has encouraged airlines to adopt new technologies and practices, while retiring outdated, inefficient aircraft. Tourist arrivals are also expected to improve in 2010, bouncing back from 2009’s five percent loss to grow by between one and two percent worldwide.

Despite exhibiting persistent growth for the last 15 years, global GDP was estimated to have contracted by one percent in 2009, with advanced countries averaging productivity losses of three percent. According to the ITB report, unprecedented stimulus packages have revived GDP growth, but a second dip into recession should be anticipated in early 2010. This decline is expected as governments begin to withdraw support from stimulus packages, and markets return to unassisted operation. Despite initial unsteadiness, the report indicated that though modest, growth will return to the global economy in 2010. JANUARY 2010

Dubailand Partners with Royal Caribbean to Boost New Cruising Itinerary Global cruise line Royal Caribbean International and Dubailand, a member of Dubai Properties Group, have launched a joint product offering to boost Royal Caribbean’s new cruise itinerary from Dubai.


oyal Caribbean’s Arabian Gulf cruises will begin on January 18, taking in Dubai, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Oman. Dubailand’s key attractions will be featured in the pre- and post-cruise tour packages and shore excursion programmes. Attractions include the Dubai Autodrome, Dubai Outlet Mall, Global Village and Dubai Sports City. Khalid Al Malik, CEO of Dubai Properties Group, said the partnership would boost Dubai’s economy and increase visitor numbers to the region. “Combining some of Dubailand’s exciting destinations with the excellent Royal Caribbean product will provide a wealth


of entertainment options that will attract repeat visits from tourists and residents alike,” said Malik. “We are confident that this exciting development will contribute to the growth of regional and international tourism.” Rama Rebbapragada, regional vice president of Royal Caribbean International said the cruise line had seen good levels of interest from the Middle East, as well as global travellers. “We are gearing up for the launch of our first dedicated Arabian season and we have received an excellent response for Brilliance of the Seas’ first ever sailings in the Gulf region from our key global source markets, the UK, North America and Germany,” said Rebbapragada.

Royal Caribbean ship, Brilliance of the Seas


ATP Travel Management Company Enters the Middle East Following a franchising deal struck with UAE travel agent Orient Travel, travel management company ATP will open its first offices in the Middle East, starting with the UAE.


he deal will see ATP open and operate corporate travel offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Orient Travel will also have first option on extending the partnership to all other nations in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Graham Ramsay, CEO of ATP said that the Middle Eastern offices were part of a global strategy. “These new ATP offices will cement our position as a major international travel management company. The Middle East offers considerable growth opportunities for us - as well as handling

Jazeera Joins GDS

existing ATP clients locally we will be better placed to seek out new clients," Ramsay said. Sheikh Faisal Bin Khaled Al Qasimi, president of Orient Travel said that Orient would use the ATP franchise to assist its own expansion across the Middle East. “[ATP] have carved out an enviable position as an international travel management company and we plan to leverage this strength across the UAE and beyond,” Al Qasimi announced. ATP has a yearly turnover of more than EUR500 million (USD718 million) and already has offices in Belgium, UK, US, France, Norway, and the Netherlands.

Sheik Faisal Bin Khaled Al Qasimi signs franchise agreement with Peter Bost of ATP

Dubai Information Screens Provide Daily Transport News

Jazeera Airways has signed an agreement with Travelport to make the airline’s flights available via the Galileo and Worldspan global distribution systems (GDS). The agreement marks the first time that Jazeera flights will be available through a GDS, having been previously available only by direct sale. The Kuwait based carrier has announced its intention to operate 82 routes across the Middle East within the next five years. Stefan Pichler, CEO of Jazeera, said that the Travelport partnership would increase in importance as the airline grew. “Travelport will provide us with an important distribution channel that will help make Jazeera fares more accessible to our guests,” said Pichler. “Travelport is a valued distribution partner and will become even more so as our route network expands.” Daily travellers in Dubai, including tour operators and drivers, will now have ready access to detailed information on traffic conditions, detours, roadworks and major transport projects. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has installed 112 LCD monitors at 76 locations in the emirate as part of a new promotional campaign to highlight transport projects and services. The monitors have been placed at popular public sites to make the accessible to the largest number of people, according to Peyman Younes Parham, director of marketing and corporate communication, RTA. “The platforms provide information about the existing transit services and those planned in future together with future campaigns relating to driving laws, traffic safety and Dubai Metro services, in addition to information related to the traffic conditions in the emirate, emergency cases, roads opened and detours associated with road works,” said Parham. Locations for the screens include free zones, Dubai International Airport, shopping centres, driving institutes and educational institutions. 4


LOW COST AIRLINES Low cost airlines (LCA), or low cost carriers (LCC) are the fastest growing segment of the aviation industry and according to Mario Hardy, vice president in the Asia Pacific region for leading airline consultancy firm OAG, opportunities for continued growth abound.


CCs are popularly understood as being airlines that offer cheap fares and finance their activities by selling ancillary products; that is, by charging extra for services that traditional airlines include in the price of a ticket. However, according to Hardy, the difficulty faced for anyone talking about LCCs is the large variety of businesses covered by the term. OAG defines an LCC by certain operational parameters, including a point-to-point rather than hub-based flight network; direct online ticket sales, instead of selling through global distribution systems (GDS); and the absence of codeshare agreements. According to Hardy, this definition is shared by the majority of airline industry organisations, yet it remains conspicuously silent on the topic of operating costs and air fares. The result is a confused term that lumps full service boutique airlines, such as Bangkok Air, with genuine low cost operators, offering a nofrills, skeleton-crew style product. What is more, the segment has continued to evolve since its inception by Southwest Airlines in 1971, and many modern operators have strayed from the archetype. For instance, Air Arabia (AA), the Middle East’s first and largest LCC according to Adel Ali, CEO of AA, operates its network on a hub model. It has recently opened its second hub, with the launch of Air Arabia Maroc in Casablanca, Morocco.

Who Flies LCC? According to Ali everyone flies LCC. “Passengers on LCCs vary greatly and are not necessarily those of a lower income bracket, but those who want to make the most of their money,” he said. “Everyone wants a good deal and most prefer to spend extra money on a better hotel or more activities during their trip than on a two hour flight. During the economic crisis, more and more passengers– including business passengers –are choosing low cost travel solutions and the concept is gaining recognition as a viable alternative to traditional airlines.” JANUARY 2010

Further, various LCCs have begun to drift towards traditional distribution methods, with Air Asia listing its flights on the Abacus GDS.

Sometimes you can nearly afford to finance another holiday with the price difference between LCCs and legacy carriers However, according to Hardy, although LCCs will continue to look for ways to differentiate themselves (Air Berlin offered free shipping of Christmas trees in December 2009), certain mainstays of the segment will always hold. “Sales will be dominated by the direct, online channel and you aren’t about to see low cost airlines offering their ancillary charges as inclusive,” Hardy said. Both Hardy and Ali noted that the recent economic turmoil had been beneficial to the LCC sector. Hardy pointed out that the figures speak for themselves. “In 2009 you had a year of many LCCs posting record profits, while many legacy carriers were reporting record losses,” said Hardy.

It is human nature to enjoy a good bargain Adel Ali said that travellers had been attracted to the lower fares offered by the LCC sector. “The economic crisis has given sceptical passengers the opportunity to further experience low cost travel; it is likely they realise that the benefits outweigh the costs. It is human nature to enjoy a good bargain,” he said. Hardy pointed out that the low cost segment was likely to retain many of the corporate clients it had gained through the crisis. “Some clients are likely to switch back, but this will be a small percentage,” he said. “Once corporations get used to making savings, they like to stick to them.” Similarly, he said leisure travellers had been drawn to the savings offered by LCCs.

“Sometimes you can nearly afford to finance another holiday with the price difference between LCCs and legacy carriers,” Hardy said. As for the future, Hardy projected strong potential for the LCC sector in emerging markets, such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. As LCCs begin to target the large worker diaspora and burgeoning middle classes of developing countries, the potential for new passengers is high. “The remarkable thing about LCCs is that they have not only attracted customers away from the legacy carriers, but much more importantly, they have reached out to markets not available to the more expensive airlines in the past,” Hardy enthused.

LCCs have reached out to markets not available to more expensive airlines 5


Pearl of the Desert Qatar’s Ministry of Economy and Commerce boasts that the country is the Arab world’s richest per capita, a testament to it’s bustling economy. Qatar is on a mission to diversify that economy and establish itself as the Middle East’s premier luxury destination. Louis Dillon Savage writes


llready a strong destination for business tourism, Qatar’s central location makes it an ideal hub for GCC business. This centrality has been flagged by Qatar’s Department of Tourism as the key to the future of tourism in the country. Qatar’s interconnectivity with its neighbours is expected to improve with the completion of its new airport and over-sea causeway to Bahrain in 2011. The Qatar Department of Tourism has reported that it expects tourism to increase by 20 percent by 2012 and is planning to increase hotel capacity by 400 percent in order to meet growing demand. However, in 2009, Ahmed Al Nuaimi, chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) warned hoteliers that a shake up of the lodging industry would be required in order to attract new travellers. “When I invited companies and individuals with whom I have personal contacts to come to Qatar (to hold events or open offices), they were quick to point out that the high price here was a deterrent,” he said. Al Nuaimi urged hotels to ground their prices in contemporary realities, saying that the golden age of inflated rates was over. Though the golden age of room rates may have gone the way of El Dorado, a flood of hotel 6

The Pearl Qatar

Ahmed Al Nuaimi, chairman of QTA

development is just beginning in Qatar. Capacity in the country is expected to top 29,000 available luxury rooms and apartments by 2012; 10,000 of these rooms are expected to become available before the end of 2010. Other developments in Qatar include the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) and the Pearl Qatar, a reclaimed island incorporating residential, retail and luxury lodging options. Hotels A number of new properties are scheduled for Qatar, with several brands reaching into the country for the first time.

Approximately 20km north of the main business district of Doha, the Pearl Qatar is a 40km² artificial island, built on an erstwhile pearl diving site. Three five star hotels will be built on the island, with a total room count of 800. The development will operate as a freehold, open to foreign investment, and will include three marinas, various residential estates, retail outlets and dining options. The first residents occupied their properties in May 2009, the Porto Arabia marina opened in November 2009, and construction is projected for completion in 2011. The developers, United Development Company, have announced plans to open 200 top tier eateries by the end of 2010. A Four Seasons hotel will occupy a smaller island in the centre of the Pearl’s artificial bay and Kempinski has also announced a property for the development. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts has chosen Doha for the site of its first Ramada Encore property in the Middle East, due to open in the second quarter of 2010 and targeted at business and corporate travellers. JANUARY 2010

Kempinski has announced its first hotels in the country. The first, Kempinski Residences and Suites Doha, is due to open in March 2010. Starwood will open two properties by 2012, with St Regis and Le Meridien hotels opening in Doha in August 2011 and January 2012 respectively. The Hilton Doha will launch in Q3 2010, followed by the Hilton Doha Residence in Q2 2012. Marriott has announced the novelty of simultaneously opening three hotels; Renaissance, Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott Executive Apartments are all due to open in the Doha City Centre development in June 2010. The second InterContinental Hotel in Qatar will open at West Bay in 2011.

The New Doha International Airport (NDIA) Described as a cornerstone of Qatar’s economic development, NDIA will replace Doha’s existing airport in July, 2011. According to the NDIA, at 22km², the airport will be nearly 10km² larger than London Heathrow and will equal nearly a quarter of Doha’s total area. When opened, the airport will be equipped to handle 24 million passengers per year, with capacity expanding to 50 million passengers and two million tons of cargo upon completion. A space of 10km² adjoining the airport has been reserved for accompanying business activities. The area will incorporate a free zone, a retail mall, a business park and hotel developments. NDIA will be the first airport to have been built with fittings specifically designed for the Airbus A380 superjumbo. It will include a mosque large enough for 500 people at a time, spread across two segregated spaces.


Kempinksi Residences and Suites Doha

MICE Business travel to Qatar is one of the mainstays of the country’s tourism industry and according to the Qatar Tourism Authority, the country will continue to upgrade its MICE facilities. The country already boasts a 15,000m² convention centre, with plans to add 95,000m² in meeting space across two venues by 2011. Qatar already hosts annual international PGA golf and ATP tennis championships, and has managed to secure one of the world’s largest petroleum industry events with its new facilities. Qatar will host the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in December 2011. The triennial event brings together representatives of oil producing nations as well as private oil and gas interests. According to Mohamed Al Namaar, deputy CEO of the Qatar MICE Development Institute (QMDI), Qatar is set to become the most important global hub for the oil and gas meeting industry. “Qatar promises to be the most influential meeting place for the petroleum sector, with many of the world's most prominent figures in the industry gathering to set out the way forward for the global oil and gas industry,” he said. Rashid Al Naimi, chairman of QMDI concurred, saying that the WPC was the OAG industry’s most significant MICE event. “This is the most important event on the global petroleum industry’s calendar and it gives us great pleasure to be a part of it. QMDI has the skills and the experience to make this event a memorable one for Qatar," Al Naimi declared. 7

LUXURY HOTELS The luxury hotel sector has been one of the most resilient market sectors during the global economic downturn, according to hotel industry sources. However, the true nature of luxury remains a matter of debate and greater consumer empowerment means that many luxury providers are refocusing their efforts to add value and personalise service.


he Middle East is a market built on luxury tourism, famously pioneering the self-appointed seven star hotel rating for Jumeirah’s Burj Al Arab property. STR Global’s latest construction pipeline report shows that luxury still dominates the market; in late 2009, a total of 29,332 luxury rooms were recorded in the active pipeline for the Middle East and Africa. However, in an increasingly price-conscious market, the nature of luxury travel may be changing. Guy Barnes, major account manager for EAME, IDeaS Revenue Optimisation, works with luxury brands that include Jumeirah, Shangri-La, Hilton, Kempinski and Mandarin Oriental. He said that while the luxury sector continued to trade favourably, worldwide markets that demonstrated oversupply were suffering. “There is no doubt that the choice in the luxury sector in the Middle East is huge and there can be some real differences,” said Barnes. “The hotels in this sector will need to make sure that they offer real differences that will positively impact choice. “While hotels continue to come online, competition will remain tough, providing challenging times ahead for the foreseeable future.” At the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) in December 2009, luxury operators said that consumers were not willing to give up their travelling habits, but had grown bolder when it came to demanding extra value. Tom Storey, president of Fairmont Hotels, said that luxury was in the eye of the beholder; his suggestions for luxury travel included offering an authentic experience and creating memories with warm and engaging staff. Quality is an enduring requirement for luxury hotels, but the importance placed on interior and exterior design continues to increase, particularly for hotels wanting to stand out from the crowd. According to Glenn Pushelberg, partner of luxury interior design studio Yabu Pushelberg, hoteliers have placed greater emphasis on design that evoke particular feelings among guests. “The quality of the space has always been and is 8

Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay

still important, however it is now about making the space romantic,” said Pushelberg. Sonu Shivdasani, founder of Six Senses Resorts and Spas, suggested that as well as emotions and sensations, luxury travellers were looking for properties that gave them a feeling of individual destinations. Shivdasani gave the example of using local stone in the production of the Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay property in Oman. He added that local employees also provided an authentic feeling for guests. Looking to the future, Storey said it was important for luxury hoteliers to create scarcity through uniqueness of product. “It’s about finding the intersection of value and scarcity,” he explained. Paul Jones, president of One&Only Resorts, said his company planned to focus on experiential travel and tailoring experiences to individual clients. In terms of global source markets, India, China and Russia were helping balance out the diminished US luxury market, according to luxury hoteliers. This trend is expected to continue, as is the growth of Generation Y as a key market for luxury travel. Jennifer Fox, InterContinental Hotels chief operations officer for managed operations in

Continental Europe, said younger generations took a different approach to their elders, demanding value-added packages, rather than discounts. Similarly, industry experts have flagged a paradigm shift in the way travellers choose their destinations. According to the ILTM panel, consumers are becoming more socially responsible, and the luxury segment should consider an emerging trend towards local travel as a result. Burj Al Arab



Northern Lights Burning Bright Efforts to boost infrastructure, trade and tourism appear to be paying off in the northern emirates. Already popular with leisure tourists from within the Middle East and Europe, the region is now stepping up its development initiatives to attract global MICE markets. Laura Warne writes

Banyan Tree Al Wadi


ccording to Leo Gonzalez, newly appointed editorial manager for Oxford Business Group’s (OBG) Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) operations, 2010 will see RAK secure its position in the global spotlight. “OBG has long reported that the government’s move to establish RAK as a regional hub for investment, industry, trade and tourism would bring positive results,” said Gonzalez. Nearly two dozen five star hotels, along with several premium hotel and hotel apartment operators are expected to open in the northern emirate within the next five years, according to RAK Tourism. The new hotels will more than double the emirate’s current supply of hotel rooms as the government gears up to accommodate a 10

projected 2.5 million tourists by 2012. Attempts to position the emirate as a business tourism destination continue, but leisure visitors currently make up the majority of hotel guests. While 2009 figures are still being finalised, RAK Tourism recorded 235,000 hotel guests in 2008, indicating a 10 percent increase on 2007 figures. According to RAK Tourism, European tourists account for 75 percent of visitor arrivals to RAK. However, this figure does not reflect day trippers or visiting family and friends from other emirates within the UAE. Pascal Eppink, general manager of the upcoming Banyan Tree Al Wadi in RAK, pointed out that local tourism was a very large market for the region. “We are definitely expecting high traffic from the Middle East region due to the increasing popularity of short-haul travel and the trend of

short weekend getaways favoured by travellers from the UAE and GCC,” said Eppink. However, he also acknowledged the continuing importance of the European market. “Increasingly, more European visitors are choosing RAK as a base to explore the UAE from,” said Eppink. “Most travellers come from countries such as Germany, Italy and Russia and there is still room for targeting markets such as France, UK and Scandinavia.” Three European charter operators began direct operations to RAK International Airport in late 2009, to run through to March 2010. Transavia Denmark, on behalf of Atlantis Rejser from Copenhagen operates one weekly flight; Primera Air, in conjunction with Bravo Tours, operates two weekly flights from Stockholm; and NEOS Spa operates a weekly service from Italy. JANUARY 2010

Mina Al Arab RAK Properties, supported by the Government of Ras Al Khamiah, is developing a USD3 billion waterfront project, Mina Al Arab. The project will combine protected coastal wetlands with luxury residential properties and hospitality and leisure facilities, including a marina and shopping district. According to RAK Properties, Mina Al Arab will be a major contributor to the UAE’s tourism portfolio. Hilton Mina Al Arab Resort is one of several accommodation projects planned for the development. Two eco-resorts have also been planned for the Mina Al Arab project.

Banyan Tree Al Wadi

Banyan Tree Al Wadi

Hilary McCormack, manager of RAK Tourism, said the emirate offered an alternative to Mediterranean beach holidays for the European market. “Its beaches are generous, sandy and un-spoilt and its clear blue waters make it a match for any Mediterranean resort,” said McCormack. Eppink added that visitors to RAK often wanted to experience authentic and traditional Middle Eastern culture. Historical landmarks in RAK include Dhayah Fort, Sheeba’s Palace, Falayah Tower and the National Museum. According to RAK Tourism, the Al Hajjar mountains are popular with more active visitors, as the diving spots that feature shipwrecks and coral reefs along the coastline. However, history and nature are not the only tourism drawcards, with major developments underway to target leisure and business travellers. JANUARY 2010

According to Eppink, RAK in particular has displayed strong resilience in the face of the global economic downturn. “I feel that RAK has not been adversely affected in comparison to other countries,” he said. “It did not stop its growth plans and there are several upcoming and ongoing projects featuring residential, leisure and hospitality developments.” According to OBG, the RAK Free Trade Zone enjoyed steady growth throughout 2008 and 2009, defying global recessionary trends. Hotel Developments Acacia Hotel, reputedly RAK’s first dedicated business hotel, opened in December 2009. Situated adjacent to the RAK Free Zone, Acacia offers 216 rooms, 54 suites and 103 self contained apartments. 11

Banyan Tree Al Wadi is expected to open in January, with 101 private pool villas set on a dedicated nature reserve. This will be the first UAE property for the luxury spa brand. The Palace Ras Al Khaimah is scheduled to open in June, featuring 345 rooms and suites and 63 studio apartments. The Palace, set along 1.2km of private beach, will also offer 14 restaurants and bars. Hilton Hotels has two properties under development in RAK: the 400 room Hilton Mina Al Arab Resort, opening date to be confirmed; and the 112 room Doubletree Suites by Hilton Ras Al Khaimah, to open in the second quarter of 2010.

Court Sinks America’s Cup Dreams RAK’s successful bid to host the 33rd America’s Cup sailing competition was quashed in December, 2009, after a legal battle between the two competing teams. The defending team, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), had chosen the emirate as its preferred destination for the race. However, the decision was overturned after challenger BMW Oracle contested the destination on the basis of regulations laid out in the America’s Cup Deed of Gift. The New York Supreme Court, which adjudicates America’s Cup disputes, ruled that with the single exception of Valencia, Spain, a location in the southern hemisphere was compulsory. The race was expected to attract tourists from around the world and boost RAK’s reputation as a destination for major global events. The America’s Cup will now be held in Valencia in February. Banyan Tree Al Wadi

Further Afield Other developments in the RAK pipeline include the man-made Dana Island; Gateway City, covering 11.5 million square metres; RAK Convention and Exhibition Centre, comprising three hotels and five exhibition halls, located at the entrance of Gateway City; and RAK Financial City, a hub for the offshore financial operations of regional business, comprising 12 mixed use towers. Um Al Quwain is significantly quieter on the development front, with a small offering of accommodation providers and tourism attractions. Existing hotels include Barracuda Beach Resort, Flamingo Beach Resort and Palma Beach Resort. The emirate is popular with local tourists and expats, who frequent Dreamland Aqua Park.

Island Life on Al Marjan

The Palace Ras Al Khaimah

Government-backed property developer Rakeen has set itself the ambitious goal of creating RAK’s first man-made island project. Al Marjan Island will consist of a cluster of four artificial islands, extending over 2.7 million square metres of reclaimed land and reaching 4.5km into the sea. More than two million pieces of natural rock have been laid as the foundation for breakwaters. The rock is expected to attract marine life, including coral, that Rakeen hopes will form a new natural reef formation. Al Marjan Island will eventually feature waterfront homes, hotels, resorts, leisure facilities and commercial areas. Land reclamation was finalised in early 2009 and infrastructure works are continuing. Bab Al Bahr Resort, a residential and hotel development at the entrance to Al Marjan Island, is Rakeen’s current flagship development. The project will feature six residential apartment buildings, a hotel, retail and office space, and private beach fronts. Other plans for the areas surrounding Bab Al Bahr include a golf course, additional hotels, schools and hospitals. Handover of the first phase of residential development is scheduled for mid 2010.




Big Travel in Little China

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is emerging as one of the world’s most desirable destinations and most lucrative source markets. However, China’s long history of independence from the rest of the world has made it difficult for outsiders to scratch the country’s surface. Louis Dillon Savage writes


ccording to Peter Danford of the China Guide, a westernoperated Beijing travel agency, language and culture barriers in China are particularly distinct, meaning that visitors are especially reliant on travel professionals. Unlike many countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, English cannot be relied on as a lingua franca in China; although international hotel chains will usually have English speaking staff, taxi drivers, shopkeepers and most hotel staff are unlikely to speak languages beyond China’s many native dialects. Because of these barriers, Danford said, inbound tourists are often more dependent on guides than in other destinations. “If you want to travel around, a guide can help you make better use of your time. If you don’t have one, unless you speak Chinese, you won’t get much out of it,” he said. As a result, package tours are more popular in China than in other countries, meaning that travellers originating from the Middle East are likely to pursue itineraries similar to other demographics.Popular attractions include the Great Wall of China, silk markets, the Forbidden City, and the terracotta warriors at the tomb of the first emperor. According to Danford, these are must-see 14

attractions for visitors to China. He added that it was common practice for companies to provide private sightseeing tours for visiting businessmen. A number of Middle Eastern airlines operate flights to and from the country. Qatar airways has a strong presence in the country, operating 21 flights per week to various cities. The airline was voted best business class airline in China by a poll held at the China Incentives and Business Travel Exhibition (CIBTM) in 2009. Etihad has flown to Beijing since 2008, and will launch a new route to Nagoya, Japan via Beijing in February 2010. Emirates also operates a large number of flights in the country, operating from the Beijing, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou hubs. Development The PRC has emerged as a global economic powerhouse, with GDP increasing tenfold since the economy was restructured in 1978. As one of the BRIC group of nations, along with Brazil, Russia and India, China is considered one of the world’s future economic leaders. China’s boom times have attracted international attention in spades, as foreign businesses flock to the country seeking both investors and investment opportunities.

International lodging brands have swarmed China in pursuit of the lucrative business travel market and to court the burgeoning class of nouveau riche that has emerged since the relaxation of restrictions on property and entrepreneurship. According to the Chinese National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the PRC offers over 5,200 hotels, totalling 1.41 million beds across the country. Approximately half of the hotels are star rated and the CNTA counts 186 five star hotels currently operating. However, these figures do no justice to the volume of upcoming development in the country, with major brand pipelines full to bursting and a chart of upcoming properties sprouting more flags than a Labour Day parade. JANUARY 2010

Accor has come out strong in the economy market, opening 18 Ibis hotels across China in 2009, with eight more planned for 2010. Fairmont opened its first Chinese property at Yangcheng Lake in 2009 and will open one hotel per year for the next three years. The Fairmont Beijing will open in 2010, while the centennial Peace Hotel in Shanghai will finish renovations to open under a Fairmont flag in 2011. Finally, in 2012 the brand will open its first Chinese resort with the Fairmont Haitang Bay Resort on Hainan Island. In addition to a chain of hotels, Kempinski operates the Tangula Luxury Trains concept, offering private suite-carriages with wireless internet, VOIP telephony and a personal butler on call 24 hours per day. The luxury brand is planning to add a series of properties; its next opening is scheduled for spring 2010, with the 360 key Kempinski Hotel Yinchuan. Kempinski hotels will open at Guiyang and Huizhou in early 2011, with 350 and 450 rooms respectively.


Later in 2011, Kempinski will open its 620 room Shanghai property as well as the 39 storey, 430 room Kempinski Xiamen. Hotels at Chongqing and Tianjin are planned for 2012. Marriott has four hotels scheduled for the first half of 2010, with two properties opening in Hangzhou and two in Shanghai. The Courtyard Hangzhou Wulin will open its 300 doors in February, with its upscale counterpart, the JW Marriott Hangzhou opening with 330 rooms in April. The Renaissance Shanghai Putuo will open with 340 rooms in March, while the Marriott Changfeng Park will offer 500 rooms and open in March 2010. Hyatt already operates 16 properties in China but the company appears to be following a conservative approach to future development. The Hyatt Regency Tianjin is planned to open in 2011 and is the only upcoming Chinese hotel in Hyatt’s portfolio. With the recently opened Hilton Beijing Wangfuking, Hilton added its tenth Chinese property, but has yet to list any future developments in the country.

Starwood has recently opened its fiftieth Chinese hotel, plans to open its hundredth by 2012, and has a total of 64 properties scheduled to launch by the end of 2014. The company’s portfolio will grow by three hotels in the first month of 2010 alone, with Westin properties opening in Tianjin and Nanshan on January 1, followed by a Le Méridien in Xiamen. 27 Starwood openings are planned in China over the course of 2010.

Quick Look: China Currency: Chinese Yuan (CNY) Capital: Beijing Languages: Mandarin (Official), Cantonese, Shanghainese, Minbei, Minnan, Xiang, Gan, Hakka Dialects, various minority languages.


Carol Maddison Marketing Manager Middle East, VisitBritain “The UK’s luxury offering is one of the main reasons for the year on year UAE visitor increase and we are delighted to see more travellers from the Middle East holidaying in different parts of Britain. This winter season will no doubt be an ideal time for travellers from the region to visit, enjoying first class shopping and dining, while revelling in the winter holiday theme currently on display across England.”

We are delighted to see more travellers from the Middle East

Joost den Hartog Regional General Manager for North Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, Etihad Airways “Etihad is very pleased to be coming back to Sri Lanka and looks forward to the successful resumption of flights in January 2010. We have an enormous opportunity to make a real contribution to the growth of trade and tourism as Sri Lanka re-establishes its position in the global arena.”

We have an enormous opportunity to make a real contribution

Duncan Weir

Graeme Barnett

Director of Golf Development at golf governing body, The Royal and Ancient “In the past, the golfing season was generally considered to start with the US Masters. Nowadays you could say that the Middle East championships have taken this role. The region is a great place to play golf, with a superb climate and courses of the highest calibre.”

Graeme Barnett Exhibition Director, Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) “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. That’s 60,000 meeting professionals.”

300,000 jobs will be created in the next ten years

Joost den Hartog

The Middle East region is a great place to play golf

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 16


Eastern Wisdom With one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and the largest population of any country, China is a source market that the travel industry cannot afford to ignore. According to Professor Wolfgang Arlt, director of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, the Middle East is ideally situated to take advantage of this increasingly lucrative segment. However, operators seeking to attract the Chinese market must be aware of the particular expectations and motivations of Chinese travellers. Who Travels? Arlt said that Chinese tourists were drawn from a very small demographic, representing the wealthiest three to four percent of the population.

Chinese travellers are usually highly educated, wealthy, and are more often male than female. Because tourists from China are mostly top-tier businesspeople, Arlt said the sector was made up from extremely time poor individuals. “Chinese tourists usually limit their trips to two weeks as a maximum.” What do they want? Prestige and safety are the primary concerns of Chinese tourists, along with access to Chinese speaking tour guides. Arlt said that travellers from China were more interested in bragging rights at home than experiences overseas, leading to behaviours of watching rather than doing. “It’s not really about having an immersive experience. A Chinese tourist might like to have his photo taken sitting on a camel, but would find a desert safari frustrating,” he said. Cruises are considered very prestigious in China, making them a favourite of the demographic. According to Arlt, the Chinese focus on luxury and prestige made the Middle East ideal for Chinese travellers. As a relatively new destination, the Middle East has the potential to attract travellers looking for somewhere new, but learning to accommodate Chinese tastes will be crucial to maintaining interest.

Wolfgang Arlt

A Chinese tourist might like to have his photo taken sitting on a camel, but would find a desert safari frustrating

Luck of the Irish Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, is a destination to watch, according to James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways. “Dublin has been one of our most successful ever destination launches, with more than 300,000 people flying on these services since launch [in July, 2007] and an average seat factor of 80 percent,” said Hogan. Etihad will increase its current daily service to Dublin in March, when it will offer 10 flights per week. The airline is also planning a new lounge at Dublin Airport, to open in 2010.

Cruise for Customers The cruise market in the Middle East is steaming ahead and inbound cruise ships offer an opportunity to showcase local attractions to large numbers of new visitors. According to Saeed Al Dhaheri, information service manager for Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), watching out for cruise ship arrivals is a good way to anticipate incoming tides of customers. “Cruise ship arrivals give us an excellent platform from which to demonstrate all Abu Dhabi has to offer, from its deep rooted traditions and Arabian culture, its iconic landmarks such as Emirates Palace and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to the modern vibrancy of the city’s many restaurants and shopping centres,” he said.




When in Rome… Italy offers a diverse market for tourists, attracting lovers of art, fashion, food and history. It is a firm favourite with Middle Eastern travellers, particularly couples, and offers a different experience for each season. Laura Warne writes


ccording to UNESCO, Italy has more sites on the World Heritage List than any other country in the world. For the Middle Eastern market, spa tourism is a major drawcard; the country’s many natural thermal spas attract millions of visitors from around the world. Italy is also home to Europe’s first seven star hotel - Town House Galleria in Milan. Located in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the exclusive hotel offers a private butler for each of its seven suites. According to Rahul Pradan, tours manager at BCD Travel in Dubai, Italy attracts couples more than any other market from the Middle East. “Milan and Venice are the popular destinations,” explained Pradan. “Milan is popular with travellers looking for fashion and shopping, while Venice of course offers more for romantic trips and honeymoons.” Pradan added that the cruising market has started to pick up in Italy, with sailings from Rome and Venice boosting tourism within the country. However, he suggested that the destination could attract greater numbers if it boosted promotional activities.

“I still feel there is a lot more that Italy can take on and the Italian tourism board needs to initiate this with marketing and destination awareness efforts,” said Pradan. Coming Up The InterContinental Milan Grand Hotel

Winter Wonderland Emirates Holidays promotes Italy is a diverse ski holiday destination, catering to avid skiers as well as those more interested in après ski activities. According to Dina Al Herais, vice president of commercial operations at Emirates Holidays, expectations for winter breaks have changed, becoming more sophisticated. Al Herais said the fashion crowd expects designer shopping to be close at hand, as well as unique spa treatments for holiday pampering. In Italy, Emirates Holidays recommended Sestriere and Cortina d’Ampezzo as good winter destinations for the Middle Eastern market. Sestriere, an alpine village in the province of Turin, was the host of the 2006 Winter 18

Olympics and is recommended for families as well as individuals. Sumit Acharya, managing director of BCD Travel, agreed that the facilities and infrastructure at Sestriere were world class. Acharya added that while Italy’s ski resorts were not as popular as those in Switzerland or Austria, the country offered a unique experience in terms of culture, food and people. For a more relaxing destination away from the holiday crowds, Emirates Holidays named Cortina d’Ampezzo as one of the best holiday destinations in Italy. Cortina d’Ampezzo attracts regular, up-market travellers, offering shopping and leisure facilities as well as ski options.

Duomo is scheduled to reopen in 2011, following a significant renovation of its original 1860 marble structure. The hotel is known for hosting famous guests, including The Beatles, Ernest Hemingway and Giacomo Puccini. It features 137 guestrooms, including 17 suites. Hilton Worldwide plans to open its second hotel in Venice, Hilton Garden Inn, by summer 2010. Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president development for Hilton Worldwide, said the Garden Inn brand was experiencing strong growth in Italy. “This latest hotel will be the ninth Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Italy, six of which are already open,” said Fitzgibbon. For the MICE industry and business travellers, Sheraton Milan Malpensa Airport Hotel and Conference Centre is scheduled to open in July, 2010, with 440 guest rooms and 2,000m² of conference and events space.

In Brief Capital: Rome Currency: Euro Language: Italian JANUARY 2010

Kumar De Silva

Richard Roth

Etihad Airways has appointed Kumar De Silva as country manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives. De Silva will re-establish the airline’s office in Colombo. De Silva has worked with Etihad for five years, during which time he has set up three new operations in Colombo, Tehran and Kathmandu. He has also held senior management positions at Singapore Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines and Thai Airways.

Yuliya Anipchanka Yuliya Anipchanka has been appointed as a sales manager at the Arabian Park Hotel Dubai. Anipchanka has worked in the Middle East region since 2007. She has previously held positions at Play Land in Doha, Qatar and Quality Tours in Dubai, UAE.

Abu Dhabi based Royal Jet has appointed Richard Roth as chief financial officer. Roth has more than 20 years of experience in the financial and aviation sectors. He was a member of easyJet’s executive management team between 1999 and 2005, working on the acquisition of a number of smaller airlines. He was promoted to business development manager with easyJet in 2003, where he designed and delivered the company’s largest cost reduction programme. In 2006, Roth started consultancy firm, Consulting 4 Aviation, which provided strategic direction to start-up and established airlines.

Shihan Suhood

Shihan Suhood

Yuliya Anipchanka

Arabian Park Hotel Dubai has appointed Shihan Suhood as a sales manager in its extended sales and marketing team. Suhood has worked in the hospitality industry for more than nine years. He has worked at several hotels in the Middle East region, including Jebel Ali Hotels and Resorts and Habtoor Grand Resort and Spa, both in Dubai.

Abdul Karim Al Atiq Abdul Karim Al Atiq has been appointed as the new general manager of Coral International Hotel, Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia. He has 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry and has worked for Sheraton Riyadh Hotel and Towers, InterContinental Hotels Group and Saudi Hotels and Resorts Co. With an educational specialisation in business administration and human resource management, he also holds a number of certificates in management training, development and leadership. Abdul Karim Al Atiq 20

Richard Roth

Troon Golf Troon Golf has made several additions and promotions to its Europe, Middle East and Africa team. Saeed Elgazar has been appointed general manager at The Allegria, Egypt. Saeed has moved from his previous role as assistant general manager at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Lil Strika has taken the position of sales and marketing manager at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi. Kurtis Clement has been appointed as assistant professional at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Clement has strong experience in the management of golf operations and spent many years living in Saudi Arabia. Cesar Burguiere has taken the position of office manager, Troon Golf EMEA. Burguiere is a PGA professional with multi lingual skills and experience in golf resort operations at many levels. Burguiere is a graduate in business administration from the University of Valencia, specialising in tourism. JANUARY 2010

Q&A with Adel Ali Air Arabia introduced the low cost airline concept to the Middle East in 2003. Since then, the carrier has achieved enormous success; Adel Ali, CEO of Air Arabia, shared some insights with Travel Trade Weekly. Travel Trade Weekly: Air Arabia is the largest low cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East. How have you risen to the top? Adel Ali: Not only is Air Arabia the leading LCC in the region, but it is also the very first. The idea was conceived at a time when the market emphasis was on luxury travel and the needs of ordinary people were left unaddressed. Not everyone wanted five star meals and leather seats during short flights – many just wanted an ontime, reliable and cost-effective carrier to take them from one place to another. Air Arabia offered them just that. The perfect idea at the perfect time, combined with a customer-centric attitude, a robust business model and friendly prices have all contributed to our success. Adel Ali

Travel Trade Weekly: The LCC sector is growing rapidly; who are your main competitors, and how do you expect increased competition to affect Air Arabia? Adel Ali: Competition is always healthy and we thrive on it at Air Arabia. It ensures that we constantly strive to remain relevant to our passengers whether by launching new destinations or establishing new hubs. The launch of other LCCs has also helped the credibility of the concept. To really penetrate the low cost carrier network it is good to have more LCCs, as it shows customers that it is a viable alternative.

Travel Trade Weekly: How does Air Arabia differentiate itself from competitors? How can an airline offer points of difference, while conforming to a no-frills model? Adel Ali: Every airline, low cost or otherwise, has its own principles. At Air Arabia, we take immense pride in our products and as such, have developed an impeccable reputation over the past six years. We never compromise on customer service, we respect our passengers' schedules and therefore strive to ensure that our services are reliable and we endeavour to keep our prices as low as possible. It is this sense of responsibility that sets us apart. Airlines need to ensure that their priorities are in focus – whether it's price, customer service or the range of products available – and hone these priorities to perfection. A distinct identity is what sets every airline apart. JANUARY 2010

The global financial crisis has had a positive effect on the LCC market Travel Trade Weekly:Please tell me about Air Arabia’s new hub in Morocco: how does Air Arabia Maroc fit in with Air Arabia’s main operations? Adel Ali: Maroc is Air Arabia’s second hub and the new LCC is a member of the Air Arabia family, focusing on offering comfort, reliability and value for money air travel to and from the Moroccan city of Casablanca. The Kingdom’s newest carrier provides Moroccobased passengers with extremely cost-effective options to travel across North Africa and Europe, while offering excellent value for money opportunities for regional travellers to visit the country.

Travel Trade Weekly: What would you say are the most important markets for Air Arabia? Adel Ali: As you know, Air Arabia is a pioneer in the LCC market and at present, the Middle East is our focus while we continue to establish the market in the region and perfect our business model. Within the Middle East, all markets are equally important for Air Arabia and present opportunities in their own right, which is why we are constantly looking to expand our presence in the Middle East and North Africa and why we recently opened a second hub in Morocco.

Travel Trade Weekly:How has the economic downturn affected the LCC market? Has the effect been positive or negative? Adel Ali: Every cloud as a silver lining and the global financial crisis has had a positive effect on the LCC market as more customers seek cost effective alternatives to every aspect of their lives. The downturn has also had an impact on airlines’ bottom lines. Yields had been put under increasing pressure as a result of over capacity.

Travel Trade Weekly: What are Air Arabia’s future plans? Adel Ali: Air Arabia's future is bright. In September 2009, we announced the signing of a joint venture agreement with the Travco Group to launch a new low cost carrier based in Egypt, serving the Europe, Middle East and Africa markets and representing the carrier’s third hub after the UAE and Morocco. Additionally, the construction of our 300 room, three star Centro Hotel at Sharjah Airport will be complete by April 2010. We hope to continue to deliver creative, diverse services throughout the coming year. Going forward, we will continue to grow as a company, based on our promise of value for money fares, service innovation and extensive geographic reach. 21


Quality not Quantity With a government committed to low-impact, high yield tourism, Tanzania’s reputation as an expensive destination has stymied tourism in the current economic climate. However, a new commitment to the high-end Middle East market is expected to draw new revenue sources in 2010. Laura Warne writes


espite being home to Mt Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Park, industry professionals say Tanzania has long been the poor cousin of Kenya when it comes to tourism numbers. The destination is overwhelmingly focused on the leisure market; according to the Tanzania Tourist Board, of the 696,683 visitor arrivals in 2008, between 80 and 90 percent were leisure travellers. Of those, 10,377 visitors originated from the Middle East. Omani travellers made up the largest Middle East source market with 5,747 arrivals, followed by 1,433 arrivals from the UAE. Vinay Sapra, general manager of Kearsley’s Travel and Tours, said awareness of Tanzania in the Middle Eastern market was particularly low. Furthermore, Sapra said budget-conscious travellers were unlikely to find bargains in Tanzania, making the destination less appealing in the current economic downturn. “Tanzania is an expensive destination compared to other east African countries,” he said. “[The government promotes] a low-impact, high-yield policy towards maintaining tourism in Tanzania, hence a safari or a holiday in Tanzania is not cheap.” However, Sapra insisted that Tanzania had more to offer tourists than some of its more popular neighbours. “Our national parks are bigger, our beaches are pristine, we have a strong history of cultural diversity and overall Tanzania is proud to have a conducive business environment and a peaceful history of governance,” he said. Sapra, who is also the interim managing director of the new destination and event management company Eos Visions Tanzania, said the main source market for the country was the US, followed by the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. From the Middle East, expat travellers made up a decent number of visitors, with safaris, beaches, mountain climbing and cultural tourism high on the list of attractions. 22

Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair

According to Sapra, there is also a strong client base of Arab nationals who visit Tanzania for luxury safaris, beach holidays and trophy hunting. Stepping Up Sales Tanzania Tourist Board is increasing its presence in the Middle East market, with active participation at Arabian Travel Market and World Travel Market. “Tanzania Tourist Board has stepped up its marketing campaigns in the Middle East,” explained Sapra. “I’m confident this will bring great awareness to the people in the Middle East and boost business to Tanzania.

Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair was originally created to promote Tanzania, but has expanded to include regional delegates from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. The exhibition attracts more than 250 exhibitors, including accommodation providers, safari operators, tourist boards and tour operators. It is a joint initiative of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, Tanzania Tourist Board and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. The three day fair is held in the open Magereza grounds in Arusha, Tanzania. The event is open to international travel agents and organisers say they would like to increase the relatively small Middle Eastern presence in the future. Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair will be held on June 4-6, 2010. “The response has been slow from the Middle East market, although we do get ad-hoc clients coming in; there is a growing market.” Sapra added that although the tourism industry in Tanzania was struggling, operators predicted an upward curve in business for 2010, offering a promising view of the future. JANUARY 2010


Hotel Development Hilton Hotels recently chose Tanzania as the spot to launch its first Doubletree by Hilton properties in Africa, in partnership with Opulent Hotel Group. Doubletree by Hilton Dar Es Salaam, Oyster Bay opened in December, 2009 and Doubletree by Hilton Resort Zanzibar, Nungwi is currently in its opening stages. Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president of


development for Hilton Hotels in Europe and Africa said Tanzania was ripe for development, despite the current downturn. “Tanzania as a whole has seen an increase in international tourist arrivals, as well as domestic and intra-regional travel, leading to high demand for quality hotel accommodation,” said Fitzgibbon. “We look forward to strengthening our relationship with the Opulent Hotel Group as more opportunities arise in East Africa.”

The semi-autonomous Zanzibar Archipelago lies between 25km and 50km off the coast of Tanzania. With historical links to the Arab world and a focus on luxury accommodation, Zanzibar is already a popular destination for Middle East tourists. According to Sapra, this is the hot spot to watch in Tanzania. “In terms of new developments, Zanzibar is developing very fast with a minimum of three to five hotels and resorts coming up every year,” said Sapra. “Zanzibar has grown from an extension of Tanzania into a multi-faceted beach destination similar to Seychelles and Mauritius.”

Tanzania In Brief Capital: Dodoma Languages: Swahili, English Currency: Tanzanian shilling


GIBTM Expands for 2010 with New Partners A host of new hotels have joined as official partners of Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM), to be held on March 29-31, 2010. Joining the official hotels from the 2009 event are newcomers Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Al Raha Beach Hotel, Traders Hotel, The Yas Hotel, Yas Island Rotana, Crowne Plaza Yas Island, Aloft Abu Dhabi Hotel (linked to GIBTM’s venue ADNEC), Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel and the Park Rotana Abu Dhabi. The event programme has also been extended, with increases made to the education programme, association support and trips for hosted buyers. Graeme Barnett, exhibition director for GIBTM, said

Al Raha Beach Hotel

the Gulf was witnessing 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. Many major industry players have already committed to the event, including Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), Costa Del Sol Tourist Board, Cyprus Tourism Organisation, Egyptian Tourist Authority, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Seoul Tourism Organisation, Qatar Tourism Authority, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development, Etihad Airways, Jumeirah, Movenpick Hotels and Resorts, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, Silversea Cruises and Toerisme Vlaanderen.

Events Food and Hospitality Expo Manama, Bahrain, January 12-14 ( Hospitality technology, systems and equipment, along with exhibitors from international food companies.

Travel Technology Europe London, UK, February 9-10 ( Educational and trade event centered on sales, operational, and marketing technology.

Moroccan Travel Market Marrakech, Morocco Jan 14-17 ( International fair for tourism professionals.

EMITT Istanbul Istanbul, Turkey, Feb 11-14 ( Exhibition for travel professionals in the east Mediterranean and Eurasia.

FITUR Madrid, Spain, Jan 28 - Feb 2 Spanish travel show targeted to the business travel market.

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

Middle East Exclusive 2010 Dubai, UAE, Feb 2-4 ( Luxury brand and travel retail exhibition.

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

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

Meetings Africa 2010 Johannesburg, South Africa, February 24-26 ( Business tourism exhibition showcasing meeting venues, destinations and industry support services.

Business Travel and Meetings Show 2010 London, UK, February 9-10 ( Formerly the Business Travel Show, this event caters to consumers and suppliers of corporate travel services.

GIBTM Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 29-31 ( International event for the business travel and meetings industry in the Gulf and Middle East region.

Not a member yet? Visit our website for your FREE online subscription P.O. Box 25255 Nicosia 1308 Cyprus Tel: +35722820888 Email:



Travel Trade Mena January 2010 issue 3  

Travel Trade Monthly is a leading news provider for travel industry professionals in the Middle East and North Africa, delivered every month...

Travel Trade Mena January 2010 issue 3  

Travel Trade Monthly is a leading news provider for travel industry professionals in the Middle East and North Africa, delivered every month...