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19 DECEMBER 2015
ISSUE 319
The team of Travel Trade Publicationsjoin in saying thank you and wish
you a happy holiday and a prosperous new year.
Travel Trade Luxury is a worldwide luxury
travel trade publication.
Travel Trade Luxury is brought out monthly. It
is published both in digital and printed format.
Its digital readership is based on the 150,000
readers which the Travel Trade Publications
platform enjoys. Readers include agents specialising in individual luxury travel, group luxury
travel, travel counsellors and advisors, luxury
travel DMCs and all other luxury products and
services.
Travel Trade Luxury is also distributed to the
major travel trade exhibitions and specialised
luxury shows and events.
Travel Trade Luxury contains informative current news on luxury destinations and products.
It also includes specialised luxury destination
reports with in-depth analyses of issues related
to the luxury segment.
19 DECEMBER 2015
ISSUE 319
NEW EVENTS VENUE AT
BURJ KHALIFA
ETIHAD AIRWAYS CELEBRATED THE ARRIVAL OF ITS
INAUGURAL AIRBUS A380 SERVICE AT NEW YORK’S
JOHN F. KENNEDY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.
04
REVAMPED SEALINE BEACH
RESORT EXPECTED IN A YEAR
09
IN THIS ISSUE
MARKET UPDATE
02
CRUISE
03
TECHNOLOGY
08
ACCOMMODATION
09
AIR
12
RENDEZVOUS
15
WHO'S MOVED
18
TRAVEL TALK
20
AGENT CORNER
21
PHOTO ALBUM
23
NEWS & EVENTS
24
ETIHAD A380 LANDS IN
NEW YORK
12
MARKET UPDATE
TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATIONS
MANAGING EDITOR
Mary Kammitsi
[email protected]
Double-digit Passenger Growth
at Air Arabia
Some 5.7 million travellers flew with Air Arabia in the first nine months of the year, a
year-on-year surge of 11 percent, leading to an average load factor of 79 percent.
ASSISTANT EDITOR
Maria Kazeli
SENIOR JOURNALIST
Rita Kasziba
T
CONTRIBUTOR
he strong demand helped the company maintain healthy financial
results with net profit standing at AED472 million (USD128.5 million), five percent lower than in the corresponding period in 2014,
while turnover reached AED2.87 billion (USD781.4 million), up two
percent.
As Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani, chairman, Air Arabia, explained, the figures come in face of increased pressure on yield margins, spare
capacity in the market and protracted political uncertainty within the region.
Ana Mladenovic
PRESS
Maria Demetriadou
Pauline Shahabian
Inna Armeanu
DESIGN & LAYOUT
Elena Stylianou
WEB & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
Savvas Kammitsis
DIRECTORS
Andreas Constantinides
Mary Kammitsi
HEADQUARTERS
T.T.W. Travel Trade Weekly LTD
P.O. Box 25255, Nicosia 1308 Cyprus
Tel: +357 22 021607, Fax: +357 22 103670
WEBSITE
www.traveltradeweekly.travel
EMAILS
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
MENA EXCHANGE RATES
As of
DAMAC Profit Reaches USD1 Billion
DAMAC Properties posted a net profit of AED3.67 billion (USD1 billion) for the first nine
months of the year, corresponding to a year-on-year growth of 43 percent.
18/12/2015
COUNTRY
CURRENCY 1USD=
Bahrain (BHD)
Dinar
0.37
Jordan (JOD)
Dinar
0.71
Oman (OMR)
Rial
0.39
Qatar (QAR)
Rial
3.64
Saudi Arabia (SAR) Riyal
3.75
UAE (AED)
Dirham
3.67
Algeria (DZD)
Dinar
107.21
Egypt (EGP)
Pound
7.82
Iran (IRR)
Rial
30,120.55
Iraq (IQD)
Dinar
1,107.12
Kuwait (KWD)
Dinar
0.30
Lebanon (LBP)
Pound
1,506.82
Libya (LYD)
Dinar
1.37
Morocco (MAD)
Dirham
9.91
Syria (SYP)
Pound
188.81
Tunisia (TND)
Dinar
2.03
Yemen (YER)
Rial
215.81
2
DAMAC Maison The Vogue
Currencies shown in blue
are fixed against the US
Dollar
R
evenues reached AED6.77 billion
(USD1.84 billion), while gross profit
margin stood at 60.7 percent.
According to Hussain Sajwani,
chairman, DAMAC Properties, the company’s luxury living experiences and hospitality
projects offer sound investment opportunities to
the international market.
“We believe Dubai is well set for continued
growth, and we expect the city will consistently
outperform more established metropolitan centres around the world,” added Sajwani.
19 DECEMBER 2015
CRUISING WEEKLY NEWS
Sir Bani Yas Island Welcomes Cruise Liners
Two luxury cruise vessels made their maiden calls at Sir Bani Yas Island in mid-November as part of their
international itinerary.
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H
ailed as one of the finest small ships in the world,
Island Sky was the first vessel to visit the Arabian
Gulf’s first cruise beach stopover with 114 tourists, while the 450-passenger capacity Seabourn Sojourn
docked for a daytime holiday.
“We are introducing this new beach stopover to cruise
liners as part of our ongoing efforts to reinforce the emirate’s appeal as a leading cruise tourism destination in the
region. This beautiful beach destination will definitely enrich the itinerary of the visiting cruise ships,” said Mohamed
Juma Al Shamisi, CEO, Abu Dhabi Ports.
Seabourn Sojourn
Sharjah
Welcomes Noble
Caledonia Calls
F
urther consolidating Sharjah’s status as a major international cruise tourism
destination, Noble Caledonia’s
MS Island Sky vessel called on two
key ports of the emirate within
just a few days.
The ship, carrying passengers
mainly from the UK, first visited
Khalid Port and proceeded to Sir
Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi before returning to Khorfakkan Port
on Sharjah’s east coast.
As H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa,
chairman, Sharjah Commerce
and Tourism Development Authority, noted, with its strategic
location and world-class facilities,
the emirate has emerged as an
ideal destination for international
cruise liners.
In the 2014/2015 season, 35
international cruise calls were registered, bringing around 80,000
visitors to Sharjah.
19 DECEMBER 2015
Norwegian
Unveils Latest
Vessel
N
orwegian Cruise Line has
created a Norwegian Escape
infographic to celebrate the
launch of the newest ship in its fleet.
The 164,600 gross tonne ship
will be carrying 4,200 passengers
from Miami to tropical destinations
including St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands;
and Nassau, Bahamas.
The infographic highlights the
experiences guests will benefit
from, including 236 dishes in the
specialty restaurants, 810 minutes
of complimentary Broadway entertainment per seven-night cruise
and 50 spa treatments.
Norwegian Escape
3
WEEKLY NEWS
New Events Venue at Burj Khalifa
The Annex, Burj Khalifa, Level 11
Emaar Properties unveiled The Annex, Burj Khalifa, Level 11, hailed as
Dubai’s most prestigious events venue.
4
S
panning 2,500m2, the avantgarde facility can be customised
to suit any theme and concept,
from art exhibitions to fashion events and
high-profile get-togethers.
Located in Dubai Downtown, the venue offers sweeping views of The Dubai
Fountain and some of the city’s iconic
landmarks.
Abu Dhabi Targets Luxury
European Market
L
eading Abu Dhabi hotels and resorts joined Abu Dhabi Tourism &
Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi)
at the annual International Luxury Travel
Market (ILTM) in Cannes, France to highlight the emirate’s credentials in attracting five-star focussed visitors.
The delegation, however, was not
eyeing only French travellers, who surged
four percent year-on-year in the first nine
months of the year.
“We are not just targeting the French
market [...] as Europe is a hugely important source market to us for those visitors looking for five-star luxury breaks.
We have a stunning array of properties to
meet these demands,” explained Mubarak
Al Nuaimi, director of promotions and
overseas offices, TCA Abu Dhabi.
19 DECEMBER 2015
WEEKLY NEWS XX
Saudi and Serbian Relations Enhanced
F
ollowing a visit to Serbia by H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz,
president, Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage (SCTH), the
authority expects the development of strong cooperation between the
two countries.
Bin Abdul Aziz commented that the Kingdom is preparing to receive a joint
delegation from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time, to discuss
appropriate ways to develop economic cooperation in the areas of heritage and
tourism.
“Saudi Arabia considers the Balkan states important due to their significant
and strategic location, and we consider Serbia as a crucial state in the Balkan
region and Europe,” he added.
H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz
Dubai Parks and Resorts Gearing Up to Open October 2016
W
Riverland Dubai
ith 85 percent of procurement, 71 percent of
projects structure works and 50 percent of
resort-wide infrastructure completed, Dubai
Parks and Resorts remains on track to launch in late 2016.
Announcing the company’s third quarter results, Raed
Al Nuaimi, CEO, Dubai Parks and Resorts, said, “Cumulative
spend reached AED4.8 billion (USD1.3 billion) at the end of
this quarter and we look forward to opening the gates to
the public in just under 12 months’ time.”
He added that over 11,000 workers are on site and 34
contractors are working to bring the region’s largest theme
park destination to life.
Czech Visa Centre Launched in Kuwait
V
FS Global opened a new visa application office for the Czech Republic
in Kuwait, where travellers can submit their documentation and enrol for biometrics in a centrally-located environment in the country’s
capital.
Martin Vítek, ambassador to Kuwait, Czech Republic, commented that
historically, the European state has been a tempting destination for Kuwaiti
visitors.
“Specifically, medical and spa facilities in the Czech Republic have been
treating Kuwaiti clients to high quality standards over many years. We are
pleased to register an increasing demand from Kuwaiti citizens,” he elucidated.
6
Launch of the new office
19 DECEMBER 2015
WEEKLY NEWS
Egyptian Red Sea Coast to Welcome Golf Course
kn
u
o
y
d
i
D
ow. .
T
homson Perrett & Lobb won the right to design a resort-style golf course on Egypt’s Red Sea
coast.
The 18-hole facility is envisioned as the centrepiece of a new hotel and residential community at Soma Bay Resort.
“The Soma Bay peninsula is a stunning location, surrounded on all sides by the Red Sea, and our
goal is to create a golf course that focusses on strategic and fun play, has family-friendly options and
is accessible to all,” commented Tim Lobb, principal, Thomson Perrett & Lobb.
New Baggage
Handling System
in Abu Dhabi
S
iemens is adding new baggage conveyor lines and a
fully automated hold baggage screening system, along with
explosives trace detection equipment in Abu Dhabi International
Airport’s Terminal 1.
The new setup, which will be
operational by early 2016, replaces
the current manual screening in the
lobby of Terminal 1 and Terminal
1A, opening up space for departing passengers as well as new retail
facilities. Meanwhile, in Terminal
3, upgrades include doubling of
check-in capacity and expansion of
baggage sorting areas.
“The upgrade to the baggage
handling system is another key
initiative being completed to ensure efficient flight operations and
convenient passenger experience,”
explained Ahmad Al Haddabi,
chief operations officer, Abu Dhabi
Airports.
19 DECEMBER 2015
Soma Bay rendering
tion
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c
The e golf co n in
i
h
g
of t t to be
is se 2016?
City Sightseeing Sharjah Expands Services
C
ity Sightseeing Sharjah joined
forces with City Sightseeing
Dubai to add more value to tickets purchased through the company.
Travellers who hold a 48-hour validity pass purchased in Dubai or Sharjah
have been able to access any of the City
Sightseeing tours in the two destinations since January. In addition, passengers can now also make use of the free
shuttle service running between the
emirates.
In response to strong demand, seven daily departures are now scheduled
from Sharjah and eight from Dubai.
City Sightseeing Sharjah
SCTH Conducts Tourism Bylaw Workshop
S
audi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage’s (SCTH) Al Baha branch recently conducted a workshop on the new regulations for
tourism, antiquities, museums and urban heritage.
Among the topics reviewed and discussed at the
event were the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Program for Caring of Kingdom’s Cultural Heritage
and the Tourism and Heritage Comprehensive Development Program.
Furthermore, Faisal Al Fadil, director general, legal affairs, SCTH, offered a presentation on tourism
regulation, highlighting in detail the new provisions
and discussing some of those which are associated in
relation to partners.
7
WEEKLY NEWS TECHNOLOGY
Sabre Shares Future Technology Trends
Sabre unveiled the top technology trends shaping the future of
travel in Oman and Egypt at industry events held in Muscat and
Cairo for local travel professionals.
O
nline, mobile, personalisation and big data are among the areas driving the transformation of travel and traveller experience. The company’s experts elaborated on how
these factors could be integrated into current agency systems in both countries.
Daniel Naoumovitch, CEO, Middle East, Sabre Travel Network, noted that consumer behaviour is changing rapidly and industry players should embrace technology to meet the increasing
demand of these tech-savvy travellers.
flydubai to Enhance Reservation Methods
f
lydubai and technology expert Indra signed a strategic partnership agreement for development services to further improve the capabilities of the airline’s reservations system.
For three years, Indra has been working with the low-cost
carrier on evolving its booking engine, and over the next three
years, the two companies will focus on the transformation of the
reservations platform in order to enhance the travel experience.
Indra will support flydubai’s strategy of managing its own
passenger service system, which will provide the airline with
greater flexibility and efficiency for its information technology
solutions.
8
AirAsia Slashes
Cost of Agency
Bookings
A
irAsia signed an agreement
with eNett International to
enable agents to purchase
flights through the online payment
provider’s Virtual Account Numbers
(VANs) at significantly lower prices.
The solution, to be rolled out in
Australia in early 2016, will see travel
professionals using VANs forego current surcharges applied to traditional
credit card payments. It will initially
work for AirAsia X flights, before extending to other brands and markets
globally.
Rayner Teo Kheng Hock, group
head, sales, AirAsia, noted, “Reducing
the cost of booking means agents can
use these savings to offer the lowest
prices to their customers. It also means
we can reduce the cost of processing
payments and incentivise agents to
book with us [...].”
19 DECEMBER 2015
ACCOMMODATION WEEKLY NEWS
Revamped Sealine Beach Resort Expected in a Year
Sealine Beach Resort
Sealine Beach Resort, hailed as Qatar’s first leisure destination, continues its complete transformation that
includes renovations, expansion and service enhancements.
T
he three-phased project, that began this August, will consist of upgrading the existing resort rooms
and developing an entirely new wing with 20 villas. Upon completion towards the end of 2016, the
luxury property, owned by Katara Hospitality, will feature a total of 97 rooms, suites and villas.
Throughout the facelift, the resort will remain fully operational. Once completed, the establishment will
be renamed Sealine, a Murwab Resort, managed by Murwab Hotel Group.
Grand Hills A Luxury Collection
Hotel & Spa, Broumana
Grand Hills to Unveil New Spa
G
rand Hills, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa,
Broumana is gearing up for the launch of its
renewed spa section.
As Rudolh Karam, director of sales, Grand Hills, A
Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa, Broumana, revealed,
the spa is expected to start operating under the Evian brand in the first quarter of 2016.
“This will help us position the hotel on the tourism
map and on the luxury travel [scene],” added Karam.
Following extensive renovations that lasted over a
year, the property reopened its doors this July as part
of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide’s prestigious
collection.
19 DECEMBER 2015
9
WEEKLY NEWS ACCOMMODATION
ACCOMMODATION
Moroccan Bath Concept at Novotel
Abu Dhabi
Shangri-La to Debut in Saudi Arabia
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Novotel Abu Dhabi Gate
S
hangri-La International Hotel Management and Assila Investments signed a contract for a new 236-room hotel and
serviced residences project in Jeddah.
Slated to open in early 2018, Shangri-La Hotel, Jeddah will
be the first for the brand in Saudi Arabia and will be housed in
a 65-storey development facing the Red Sea. It will feature four
restaurants, function areas totalling 2,118m2, luxury spa and fitness areas, a swimming pool, children’s club and several lounges.
“By partnering with such a respected investor as Assila, who
clearly supports our growth strategy, we are taking a significant
step in strengthening our brand in the Middle East region,” said
Greg Dogan, president, Shangri-La International Hotel Management, describing Jeddah as an important commercial hub.
..
T
o promote a healthy lifestyle and treatments,
Novotel Abu Dhabi Gate launched a new concept of Moroccan Bath at its spa, InBalance
Wellness by Novotel.
The hotel now provides four recreational models
surrounding the latest offering: traditional Moroccan
Bath, special Moroccan Bath, royal Moroccan Bath,
and the InBalance signature Moroccan Bath.
Nicola Hochgruber, general manager, Novotel
Abu Dhabi Gate, noted that the new treatments add
to the property’s facilities and seeks to overlap luxury
with business at the hotel.
Banana Island Resort Receives
HACCP Certification
B
anana Island Resort Doha by Anantara was awarded the HACCP certification, reaffirming the property’s commitment to operating in line with the top health and hygiene regulations for
hospitality services.
Thomas Fehlbier, general manager, Banana Island Resort Doha by
Anantara, commented, “Food safety and hygiene is of paramount importance to us and we have continuously strived to deliver as per our
guests’ expectations and more. Our food and beverage department
worked incredibly hard to ensure everyone was familiar with their
duties regarding HACCP, both in its adoption and implementation.”
10
19 DECEMBER 2015
ACCOMMODATION WEEKLY NEWS
SCTH’s Ethlib Desert
Camp Underway
J
umeirah Group held its GCC road show alongside Dubai Department
of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
Hotel group officials met with regional travel trade partners, sharing updates from properties and revealing future plans.
The event also brought the group’s Stay Different brand promise to life
and highlighted its 23 luxury hotels, resorts and residences across 12 destinations.
Mana Al Suwaidi, regional director, Middle East and subcontinent,
DTCM, noted, “We are very pleased to launch this road show, which gives
us the opportunity to meet our partners and other officials in the local
tourism sector in the Gulf countries.”
Abra Water Hopping Service
Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Dubai
U
nder the patronage of H.R.H Prince
Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz,
president, Saudi Commission for
Tourism & National Heritage (SCTH) and
H.R.H. Prince Faisal bin Slaman bin Abdul
Aziz, governor, Al Madina, the foundation
stone of Ethlib Desert Camp was laid in the
Al Ula municipality.
An investment contract for the development was simultaneously signed between SCTH and a local national tourism
company to oversee the project.
The development, set for completion within the next three years, is spread
across five hectares and will boast 50 villas designed for families, in addition to a
two-story separate building comprising 60
residential rooms for tourist groups and individuals.
Marriott Executive Apartments Dubai Creek
Jumeirah Road Show Targets the GCC
The Ajman Palace Hotel
Ajman Place Accommodates UAE
Football Groups
T
he Ajman Palace Hotel recently hosted three of
the UAE’s top football teams; Sharjah Football
Club and Emirates Football Club in November
for the second time, and Baniyas Sports and Cultural
Club in December for the fourth time.
Ferghal Purcell, general manager, The Ajman Palace Hotel, commented, “We are absolutely thrilled to
welcome back the country’s most famous and successful football players. Our outstanding location in close
proximity to Ajman Football Club, world-class facilities,
alcohol-free, safe and relaxing environment and distinguished hospitality are some of the factors that make
us a preferred address for these prestigious clubs. We
will do our utmost to make their stay truly comfortable
and enjoyable.”
19 DECEMBER 2015
11
WEEKLY NEWS AIR
ACCOMMODATION
Etihad A380 Lands in New York
Etihad Airways delegation
Etihad Airways celebrated the arrival of its inaugural Airbus A380
service at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
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“T
he revolutionary products found onboard Etihad Airways’ fleet of A380s
completely reimagine commercial aviation standards and we are proud to
bring them to our guests travelling between the US and Abu Dhabi,” commented James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways.
Passengers flying on the carrier’s first A380 route to the US can take advantage of
The Residence by Etihad service, hailed as the only commercially available three-room
suite in the sky.
Oman Air
Hosts Global
Conference
Turkish Airlines
Commences
Durban Flights
M
ore than 50 airport
managers from around
the world attended
Oman Air’s Airport Service Managers Conference, held in Muscat under the theme To Become the Best.
The three-day event offered
team-building workshops and
presentations by various departments and strategic business units
from the Sultanate and from within
Oman Air’s wider global network.
Saleem Amanulla, general
manager, airport operations,
Oman Air, commented that a
highlight was the awards presented to participants.
“Not only did they reward the
outstanding work undertaken
by the recipients, but they also
provided additional motivation
amongst the participating airport managers and the airports
represented by them to become
the best,” he enthused.
12
Durban
D
urban has become Turkish Airlines’ 46th destination in Africa.
The South African city is being served four times a week
from Istanbul via the capital city,
Johannesburg, further consolidating the carrier’s presence on
the continent and expanding its
global reach to over 280 key tourist and business domestic and
worldwide locations.
19 DECEMBER 2015
WEEKLY NEWS AIR
Crystal Luxury Air Takes
to the Skies
C
rystal Cruises has purchased a Boeing
Business Jet B777-200LR, offering an
array of global itineraries through its
expanded brand extension, Crystal Luxury Air.
The aircraft will be redesigned to accommodate 88 guests with flat-bed first class
seats and an appointed lounge and bar. From
2017, it will offer 14- and 28-day around-theworld services.
Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman, Crystal
Cruises, noted, “Our mission is to make Crystal the core of what will become the world’s
premier luxury hospitality and lifestyle brand
collection, not only for the immediate future,
but for years to come.”
Boeing Business Jet B777-200LR
14
T
he Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw Al Bateen
Executive Airport welcoming race teams and fans from around the
world, with Abu Dhabi Airports estimating a 20 percent year-onyear increase in aircraft movements during the week leading up to the
competition.
Ahmed Al Haddabi, chief operations officer, Abu Dhabi Airports, said,
“Al Bateen Executive Airport understands the specific needs of executive
jet passengers […]. Following the recent upgrades to the airport’s infrastructure, we are confident we [have exceeded] expectations of new and
returning passengers, providing them with the highest possible levels of
comfort and service.”
Al Bateen Executive Airport
I
n its 24th annual Global Business Aviation
Outlook, Honeywell Aerospace forecasts
up to 9,200 new business jet deliveries, worth USD270 billion, between 2015 –
2025, with a three to five percent reduction
over the value noted in the 2014 prediction.
The report further found that 2016 deliveries are projected to be slightly lower reflecting weaker emerging market demand,
and of the total new business jet purchase
plans, 19 percent are intended to occur by
the end of 2016.
Additionally, operators will continue to
focus on larger-cabin aircraft classes, ranging from super mid-size through ultra longrange and business liner, which are expected to account for more than 80 percent of
all expenditures on new business jets in the
short term.
Al Bateen Airport Embraces Racing Season
PJC Brokers Aircraft Management Deal
P
rivate Jet Charter (PJC) sealed a joint venture deal
with Jet Connections at the recent Dubai Airshow.
The agreement will offer aircraft management
services to the Middle East’s fleet of 395 business jets, and
will later also expand to parts of Europe and Africa.
Through its regional headquarters in Dubai, the two
companies will team up to cover all aspects of aircraft management, including maintenance, catering, staffing, clearance at airports, as well as purchases, trading and selling
of aircraft.
Dubai Airshow
Honeywell Expects Strong
Business Jet Growth
19 DECEMBER 2015
RENDEZVOUS
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What makes
ibis Styles the perfect fit for the UAE?
MUHAMMAD MUJTABA HAIDER: The
ibis Styles brand has a character that is
simple yet warm, stylish, youthful and
relaxed. In addition, ibis Styles hotels are
in accessible locations, which are within
or in close proximity to the city centres.
The presence of ibis Styles in the
UAE provides customers, both residents
and tourists, with a budget-friendly accommodation without worrying about
the quality and comfort.
Q & A with
Muhammad
Mujtaba Haider
HOTEL MANAGER, IBIS STYLES JUMEIRAH, DUBAI
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are
ibis Styles Jumeirah’s unique selling
points that will ensure healthy performance levels in the long run?
MUHAMMAD MUJTABA HAIDER: The
brand is distinct for its all-inclusive package, which is comprised of the room,
buffet breakfast, high speed Wi-Fi connection and a host of little extras. In addition, we feature a self-help hospitality
corner for in-house guests, interactive
terminal in the lobby, kids’ corner in the
restaurant, sweet bed concept and different leisure amenities including an indoor swimming pool and fitness centre.
There are meeting rooms and banquet
facilities for small-sized meetings, gatherings and special occasions.
The different artwork in the rooms
and corridors, and the doors of the rooms
showcasing photographs of the various
landmarks of Dubai, add flare and personality to the overall hotel ambience.
Another major selling point is the
hotel’s location, along the intersection
of 2nd December Street and Al Mina
Road in Jumeirah. Its central location provides easy access to top tourist spots like
Downtown Dubai with Burj Khalifa and
The Dubai Mall, Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach, and the heritage districts with
The Dubai Museum, The Gold Souk and
Deira Creek. It is also close to the business
districts including World Trade Centre and
Dubai International Financial Centre.
On top of all these features and the
location is the unparalleled service delivered by our friendly and dedicated
staff, who will guarantee to make the
stay in ibis Styles memorable.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How would
you describe the typical ibis Styles
guest? What are these travellers’ priorities and preferences? What markets will you be focussing on?
19 DECEMBER 2015
MUHAMMAD MUJTABA HAIDER: ibis
Styles caters to all types of travellers,
from families and solo tourists to corporate and leisure travellers, who are looking for a cost-effective hotel. For the
source markets, we will focus on Europe
– particularly Eastern Europe – the GCC,
Latin America, Iran, China, India and the
CIS countries.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: With a plethora of developments coming up in
the emirate, including a number of
theme parks, Dubai is becoming a
“
WE INVITE
EVERYONE TO
EXPERIENCE
THE IBIS STYLES
HOSPITALITY
bucket-list destination for many. In
your opinion, what are the key points
and strategies that hoteliers like
yourself need to keep in mind and
apply in order to successfully compete in the market?
THE RECENT LAUNCH OF IBIS STYLES
JUMEIRAH MARKED THE BRAND’S DEBUT IN
THE UAE, AND ACCORDING TO MUHAMMAD
MUJTABA HAIDER, HOTEL MANAGER, IBIS
STYLES JUMEIRAH, THE CONCEPT WILL BE
RAPIDLY EMBRACED BY VISITORS.
MUHAMMAD MUJTABA HAIDER: Diversification is very important to keep
any business alive. In ibis Styles, our team
is ready to adapt and cater to the changing preference of the guests. To be in line
with the market trends, we will merge our
room rates with the customised packages
like free drop-off and pick-up from theme
parks, discounted lunch boxes, discounted rates for theme parks, etc.
We invite everyone to experience
the ibis Styles hospitality.
ibis Styles Jumeirah, Dubai
15
WEEKLY NEWS INTERNATIONAL
Four Points Announces 2016
Singapore Debut
S
H
yatt House New Orleans/Downtown
opened its doors on November 17, celebrating the brand’s debut in the city.
Owned by Hyatt affiliate Waypoint NOLA, the
194-key hotel is located near the central business,
arts, sports and entertainment districts and the
new BioDistrict, and is connected to Hyatt Regency
New Orleans via a second-floor sky bridge.
Jane Tebbe Shute, general manager, Hyatt
House New Orleans/Downtown, enthused, “With
spaces that fit the needs of our guests and the hotel’s prime location, we are poised for success and
are excited to contribute to the ongoing economic
success of New Orleans.”
Riverview Hotel
Hyatt House New Orleans/Downtown
Hyatt House New Orleans/Downtown
Launches
Southeast Asia to Welcome
New Retail Outlet
16
F
Kuala Lumpur
Johannesburg
Four Seasons Johannesburg Unveils
New Guide
our Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, Johannesburg
has launched thisisjoburg.com, a visual interactive guide that unlocks a wealth of experiences
the city has to offer – from the hippest galleries to the
exhilarating urban renaissance and hot air ballooning.
Extensively illustrated and easy-to-use, the guide outlines all essential information for 18 must-do experiences
of the destination. It also shows the convenient distance
and travel time of each of these from the hotel.
“As South Africa’s biggest and buzz-iest business
hub, Johannesburg is not just all work and no play,” noted Sebastien Carre, general manager, Four Seasons Hotel
The Westcliff, Johannesburg.
ingapore will welcome its first Four Pointsbranded hotel by the end of 2016 with the
opening of Four Points Singapore, Riverview.
Located by the Singapore River, the property
will launch after the strategic conversion of the city’s
former Riverview Hotel. Following a SGD25 million
(USD17.8 million) renovation and redesign, it will feature 476 guest rooms, several food and beverage options, a fitness centre, an outdoor pool and 876m2 of
meeting and ballroom space.
“The signing of Four Points Singapore, Riverview
underscores Starwood’s multibrand growth strategy
in the country,” emphasised Rajit Sukumaran, senior
vice president, acquisition and development, Asia Pacific, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
M
alaysia Airports Holdings Berhad and Mitsui
Fudosan penned a deal for the development of
Mitsui Outlet Park Kuala Lumpur International
Airport under their joint venture company, MFMA.
Given the re-evaluation of Kuala Lumpur’s commercial
market potential in regards to the increase in population,
income level and tourist numbers, the firm has expanded
the scale of the first phase of the project as the initial plan
consisted of approximately 140 shops spanning 2.5ha,
with an opening date scheduled for early this year.
However, the final master plan for the first stage and
details of the following leg have yet to be announced,
though 260 shops are expected over 4.63ha.
19 DECEMBER 2015
RENDEZVOUS
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What is
Kurdistan Tour Guide, and what is its
main purpose?
DOUGLAS LAYTON: Prior to the [regional turmoil], Kurdistan was beginning to take its place as a top adventure
tour destination. In 2011, [it] was named
by [several newspapers] amongst the
top 20 tour destinations in the world.
[After] June 2014, tourism became almost non-existent in the area even
though Kurdistan itself remains a safe
destination. People do not distinguish
Kurdistan from the rest of Iraq […].
We published the guide at this time
to be used as a tool to educate the general public and decision-makers in particular, and make the call for assistance
easier. The guide will, of course, serve
as a valuable tool for those wishing to
visit the region now or later. It is the
first and currently the only comprehensive guide to the region. In 2016,
we will publish [it] in a half dozen other
languages.
Q & A with
Douglas Layton
FOUNDER, KURDISTAN IRAQ TOURS
“
KURDISTAN
[...] IS OPEN
FOR BUSINESS,
AND READY TO
RECEIVE GUESTS
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What inspired you to engage in such a
project?
DOUGLAS LAYTON: In 1991, I founded
a relief organisation in Nashville to assist Kurdish refugees resettling in the
city. […] At the same time, my brother
was named deputy director of Operation Provide Comfort in Kurdistan.
He invited me to visit for two weeks.
I arrived on January 4, 1992, for two
weeks, and 25 years later I am still
working there. As a historian, the land
fascinated me as the cradle of civilisation and a nation with more historical
and archaeological sites than any other
in the world. Having a background in
relief work with experience in dozens
of countries, the region [...] challenged
me. Most importantly, the incredible
people captured my heart.
In 1992, I wrote a brief ancient history of the region as part of a book I titled Searching For Democracy. That work
became the foundation for this guide.
From that time, it was my desire to produce a comprehensive guide for the
region, sharing this incredible land with
the world. [The Kurdistan Tour Guide] is
more than a guide, but a history and
expose on an incredible land that has
consumed much of my adult life.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How was
19 DECEMBER 2015
that there is a war going on in Kurdistan and that it is like the rest of the
tumultuous Iraq. That is far from the
truth. About 10 years ago I conceived a
public relation campaign titled Kurdistan: The Other Iraq. Kurdistan is not like
the rest of Iraq in terms of security and
beauty and that is still the message today. The guide is meant to portray that
Kurdistan [...] is open for business, and
ready to receive guests from around
the world, as always. I feel much safer
in the capital of Kurdistan, Erbil, than
I do in any major city in the world. Mi-
ami, near my home, is far too dangerous to walk around at night. New York?
Detroit? London? Paris?
[…] So all in all, Kurdistan is far safer than most of the rest of the world.
[…] The problem for Kurdistan is one
of perception, not fact, and the guide
is meant to address that issue.
HAVING DEVOTED A GREAT PART OF HIS LIFE
TO PROMOTING KURDISTAN TO THE REST OF
THE WORLD, DOUGLAS LAYTON, FOUNDER
AND CO-OWNER, KURDISTAN IRAQ TOURS,
NOW PROUDLY UNVEILS KURDISTAN TOUR
GUIDE, MORE DETERMINED THAN EVER TO
FIGHT THE MISCONCEPTIONS SURROUNDING
THE REGION.
Kurdistan Tour Guide received by
your audiences?
sia, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Brazil, to name a few.
DOUGLAS LAYTON: The response has
been overwhelmingly positive. The
book has received 100 percent fivestar reviews on Amazon and has been
purchased by people in diverse countries throughout the world, including
the US, UK, Japan, Netherlands, Malay-
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How challenging is it to promote Kurdistan as
a destination in light of the ongoing
circumstances in Iraq?
DOUGLAS LAYTON: The greatest obstacle we face is the mistaken idea
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are
your hopes for Kurdistan as a destination, and what are your expectations for the next couple of years?
DOUGLAS LAYTON: It is our hope that
the current crisis will quickly pass and
Kurdistan can resume its path to [become] one of the most exciting adventure travel destinations in the world.
[…] With 25 years of experience in the
region, we have seen a lot of crises
come and go and this one will as well.
We are in this for the long term and
will weather the current storm. Things
are already looking up as people begin
to realise that most of what they see
on [TV] is happening outside of the
region and that Kurdistan is as safe a
destination as any in the Middle East,
and far more so than some. We expect
this trend to continue. The region is
too fascinating and full of exciting destinations to be ignored by the explorers of the world.
17
WHO'S MOVED
RODDY
GORDON
Roddy Gordon continues as
TIME Hotels Management’s
new vice president of sales
and marketing.
Having worked on three continents, Gordon has almost
three decades of experience in
sales and marketing. He is a recognised specialist in strategic
revenue activation with a track
record of successful sales leadership in changing global markets. He also has extensive experience in hotel pre-openings.
Gordon’s professional career
has taken him around the
world with Hyatt, and to the
UAE with Atlantis The Palm,
Rosewood Abu Dhabi and
Tamani Hotels & Resorts.
RASHED
AL SHARJI
Gordon has extensive
experience in hotel
pre-openings
DUSHAN
GUNARATHNA
Al Sharji moves
to Cairo from
South Korea
Dushan Gunarathna has
joined TIME Hotels Management as director of revenue.
Gunarathna brings strong ecommerce expertise and a
solid reservation background
to the role, as well as in-depth
knowledge of the region.
He joins the company from
another UAE-based brand, Rotana, where he fast-tracked his
career path, progressing from
reservations agent to area edistribution manager in just
five years.
STEPHEN
SHURROCK
Gunarathna has in-depth
knowledge of the region
18
Rashed Al Sharji has been
appointed to the role of assistant airport manager for Etihad
Airways in Cairo.
Al Sharji has been part of Etihad Airways’ team since 2009,
when he joined the company
as a ground services agent
looking after VIPs as well as
Hajj and Umrah operations at
Abu Dhabi International Airport. He was then assigned
as airport duty manager in
Incheon in South Korea, before
moving to Cairo and being appointed to his new post.
Stephen Shurrock has been
named chief commercial officer and executive vice president at Travelport, effective
from January 4, 2016.
Shurrock joins the company
from Telefonica, one of the
largest
telecommunications
companies globally, where he is
currently CEO of the consumer
division, responsible for both
the consumer business and
digital divisions worldwide.
Earlier in his career, he was the
CEO of O2 Ireland and CEO of
Telefonica’s new digital business and innovation division.
As chief commercial officer,
Shurrock will lead Travelport’s
teams in air, agency, hospitality and digital media around
the world, as well as having
global responsibility for customer engagement, product
strategy, marketing and market research.
19 DECEMBER 2015
WHO'S MOVED
MOHAMED
FAROOQ
ZEKI
OZAL
19 DECEMBER 2015
Mohamed Farooq has been
named assistant director of
sales at Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, Dubai.
With over 14 years of experience in the industry, Farooq
has extensive knowledge
of the UAE market, having
moved to the country in 1998.
His most recent post was at
Copthorne Hotel Sharjah,
where he held the position of
assistant director of sales from
April 2013.
During the course of his career,
Farooq has been associated
with various groups, including
Sharjah National Hotels and
ABJAR International Hotels
Group.
In his new role, he will support
the director of sales in driving
new source markets while developing and strengthening
relations with existing partners and key accounts.
Zeki Ozal has been appointed hotel manager at Jumeirah
Emirates Towers in Dubai.
Ozal has over 25 years of hospitality experience under his
belt and has worked in five
countries.
He began his journey at Sheraton Hotel Istanbul, where
he held various operational
roles and gained solid expertise in the rooms division.
Since then, he has served at a
number of luxury properties
around the globe, including
Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, InterContinental Astana, Jeddah Hilton, Concorde
De Luxe Resort Antalya, The
Presidential Beijing and Pangu Hotel Beijing.
In his new role, Ozal will oversee the operational departments, including food and
beverage, rooms division,
housekeeping and IT.
MAGDI
GAMIL
OMAR
AL MEMARI
Magdi Gamil has been promoted to cluster director of
sales and marketing at FRHI
Hotels & Resorts in Egypt.
Gamil’s scope now includes
the tri-brand Citystars Sharm El
Sheikh complex as well as any
new projects in the country, in
addition to his current role as
director of sales and marketing
at Fairmont Nile City.
He joined the company in
March 2007, and has been
serving as Fairmont Nile City’s
director of sales and marketing since 2011. Over the past
12 years, Gamil has held several posts with Starwood Hotels
& Resorts Worldwide before
joining FRHI Hotels & Resorts
in Egypt. His hard work and
dedication was recognised
with the Fairmont Brands
Award in 2014 as director of
sales and marketing of the
year.
Omar Al Memari has been
selected as Etihad Airways’ airport manager at San Francisco
International Airport.
Prior to his appointment, Al
Memari served as assistant
airport manager at the airfield.
He joined Etihad Airways in
2010, firstly serving as duty
manager in Sydney, Geneva
and Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.
In his new role, Al Memari will
be responsible for the airline’s
day-to-day operations in San
Francisco, ensuring that Etihad
Airways guests receive worldclass services from check-in to
boarding and arrival.
Al Memari has been
with Etihad Airways
since 2010
19
TRAVEL TALK
Once the region is
stable, tourism will
flourish
The team has worked
very hard
PASQUALE
BAIGUERA
General manager,
Mövenpick Hotel
& Resort Beirut
HILAL
SAADE
Director of sales and
marketing, Le Gray
Beirut
“Despite [the] challenges, the
team has worked very hard towards achieving our budget for
this year by tapping into different
markets and creating packages
and promotions tailored to our
customers. We are the only resort
in Beirut with a private beach
which has great facilities to attract MICE and wedding business with a ballroom that can
accommodate up to 300 people,
the Marina Marquis for up to 800
people, outdoor venues in addition to nine meeting rooms, five
food and beverage outlets, a renowned spa and health club and
a large recreational area.”
JOYCE
MOUAWAD
Head of marketing,
Le Royal Hotels &
Resorts
“Lebanon is a complex country and we have the ability to
change it into a heaven […].
Once the region is stable, tourism will flourish, leaving us with
too few hotels, apartments and
restaurants. […] We in Lebanon
are always positive and keep
high hopes that the next year
is going to be better, knowing
deep down that this might not
be the case.”
Le Gray Beirut has
started its Addition
Project
Winning such a
prestigious prize […]
is an endorsement
“Le Gray Beirut has started its
Addition Project to have 18
more rooms, a big lobby and a
lobby lounge, conference and
banqueting facilities, an exhibition space and a private screening room. This will allow us to
increase our market share in the
leisure and business sectors and
cater to the MICE market as of
December 2016.”
“Winning such a prestigious
prize [like the best luxury hotel
in the Middle East accolade at
the World Luxury Hotel Awards]
is an endorsement of the distinguished position of TAMANI
and its passion to provide best
hotel services, pointing out to
the role of awards in drawing
the attention of world to family
tourism industry which is compliant with Islamic Sharia and its
values.”
SHERIF
ELIBRASHY
Director of sales and
marketing, TAMANI
Marina Hotel and
Hotel Apartments
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
[email protected]
20
19 DECEMBER 2015
AGENT CORNER
Agent’s Insight
NAME:
Kapil Goswamy
POSITION:
Managing director / CEO
COMPANY:
Trans India Holidays
LOCATION:
India
WEBSITE:
www.transindiaholidays.com
Amadeus Displays Growth
Momentum
When and how did you get involved in the tourism industry?
I have been in the tourism industry for almost the last 30 years now. I got into it
purely by accident, having joined Oberoi Hotels & Resorts as a management trainee, and from there was transferred to Mercury Travels, where I worked for a few
years, before venturing out to starting my own business, Trans India Holidays, in
1990.
What are the most important attributes of a good travel agent/tour operator?
The ability to understand the customers’ needs and keep abreast with the latest
technologies and updates on travel and tourism products, so as to be able to give
accurate and meaningful advice to clients.
What is the most frequently asked question that your company receives from
customers?
Business-to-business clients of course want to know who else we work with, how
are our relationships with hoteliers and other suppliers, and very importantly, everyone seems to want to know how we differ from their existing agent.
What are the must-visits and must-dos in India that no one should miss?
You cannot visit India without going to Agra and seeing Taj Mahal. Likewise, you
cannot visit India and not go to a Tiger Reserve to try and spot a Royal Bengal Tiger
in the wild. Also, experiencing Indian food first hand is a must do.
Which destination is on your bucket list?
I have personally already travelled to almost 70 countries, but my bucket list still
includes driving through the Tuscany region in Italy, visiting the Serengeti during
the migration time, and closer to home, travelling to Bhutan to see the Paro festival.
19 DECEMBER 2015
A
madeus reported year-onyear financial and operating results for the first nine
months of the year, indicating an
adjusted profit increase of 9.6 percent to EUR611.9 million (USD656.5
million).
The rise was driven by a 14.7
percentage point boost in revenue
to EUR2.96 million (USD3.18 million)
and a 10.6 percent growth in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, excluding acquisition costs.
Both of the company’s core business lines continued financial and
operational improvements, as its distribution segment of total air travel
agency booking surged 9.4 percent
resulting in 389.7 million bookings,
and in the informational technology
solutions business, passengers numbers rose 8.2 percent to 562.3 million.
21
TRAVEL CHANNELS
FBQ Museum Inaugurates New Expo
Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum (FBQ Museum) opened its doors to a conservation-themed
exhibition at Shahaniya, the newly furbished temporary gallery, in November.
H.
E. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani,
founder, FBQ Museum, opened
the event and toured the exhibits
along with diplomatic heads from
over 25 countries. Titled Recovered
treasures from the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani
Museum Collection, the show will remain open for
visitors until December 31.
“The exhibition includes several items from my
diverse and special collection and gives all visitors
an exclusive opportunity to view rare artefacts that
is accounted for their high cultural value,” Al Thani
noted.
Inauguration of the exhibition
SCTH Advocates Agrotourism Initiatives
T
he Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage (SCTH) approved 12 new memberships to the Aryaf programme of agricultural
and rural tourism projects covering five provinces in the Kingdom, including Mecca, Hail, Tabuk, Najran, Al Qassim and Al Ahsa governorate.
With this, the total number of farms that have joined the programme
reached 76 across various parts of the country.
This initiative offers trips to agricultural and rural areas, during which a
tourist visits a farm and enjoys activities and services on the land. Studies
have indicated that these projects are economically feasible and bear the risks
during operation, besides the relatively high earnings.
GBTA: Chinese MICE a Large Opportunity
U
pon assessing the Chinese MICE market for the first time ever, GBTA
Foundation found that in 2014, there were 138.5 million domestic trips made for MICE purposes, with these travellers spending
USD110 billion while on the road.
MICE-related trips accounted for 42 percent of total domestic business
travel volume in the country and 45 percent of total business spending. The
majority of trips were to Shanghai (27 percent), Beijing (25 percent), Guangzhou (24 percent), Hong Kong (11 percent) and Macau (six percent).
Joseph Bates, vice president, research, GBTA Foundation, enthused,
“The MICE segment presents a large opportunity for travel suppliers and we
expect it to continue to grow at a rapid pace as China’s economy expands.”
22
19 DECEMBER 2015
PHOTO ALBUM
Take a Shot!
Share with us the latest images of your activities and let your colleagues
know what you have been up to.
Send your photos to [email protected]
Because a picture is worth a thousand words...
Al Bustan Centre & Residence bagged the major
awards at Inter-Hotel Sports Fun Day at Zabeel Park
Germania celebrated five years of services to Beirut
Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel Dubai participated in Beat Diabetes Walk
Al Manshar Rotana hosted bookers gathering
19 DECEMBER 2015
Emirates marked the UAE’s national day
Blood donation drive at Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai
Fin the Shark joined the national day
celebrations at Atlantis The Palm and
Dubai Airport Free Zone
23
WEEKLY
NEWS
& EVENTS
NEWS XX
Exhibition Forum
in Dammam
T
he third Saudi Convention and
Exhibition Forum took place in
Dammam alongside an accompanying expo for event organisers.
According to Abdul Rahman Al Etaishan, chairman, Dammam Eastern Province
Chamber of Commerce, the programme
was an effective economic medium. The
exhibition sought to introduce visitors and
participants to key convention and exhibition centres and the latest technologies
used in registration, website management
and smart application programming.
New Records at
IMEX America
EVENTS
MEETINGS MOROCCO
Marrakech, Morocco
January 14 – 15, 2016
www.meetings-morocco.com
Designed to ensure the
promotion of all the country has
to offer for professional event
organisers, at both local and
international levels.
BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL
AIR SHOW
Sakhir, Bahrain
January 21 – 23, 2016
bahraininternationalairshow.com
A focussed global aviation
event providing its elite list of
aerospace business participants
with an opportunity for highlevel networking in exclusive
surroundings.
T
his year’s IMEX America has
proved to be the biggest in the
show’s history, having attracted
over 10,730 industry professionals.
Overall booth space grew five percent
with 3,100 exhibiting companies representing 150 countries.
Some 3,030 hosted buyers and more
than 2,050 trade attendees visited the
three-day programme, while the number
of prescheduled one-to-one appointment and booth presentations had risen
seven percent to an all-time-high 57,000.
3RD ANNUAL AFRICA HOTEL
EXPANSION SUMMIT
Lagos, Nigeria
January 28 – 29, 2016
africa.hotelandresortsummit.com
For the third consecutive year,
Noppen is organising the
Africa Hotel Expansion Summit,
bringing together hotel chains,
developers and architects with
hospitality institutions.
IBTM ARABIA
Abu Dhabi, UAE
February 09 – 11, 2016
www.ibtmarabia.com
With a new format, the event
is ideal for meetings, events
and incentives industry
decision-makers to meet for
global business adventures.
24
19 DECEMBER 2015