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 Issue 176                                                                                                                                                                             June 1, 2009




                               The region’s tourism industry received a reality check at this year’s ATM, but rather than grind business to a halt, it instilled in us a renewed sense of hope
DESTINATION
Hotel openings, early book-
ings, more connections,
planned festivals – all
                               ATM 2009: where optimism became infectious
                               BY ALEXANDRA NORTH
strong indications that


                               T
Lebanon is looking forward              he Middle East’s                                                                                product offering and addi-       numbers here in the Middle
to a summer season of                   premier travel and                                                                              tional routes,” said district    East is testament to the
buoyancy                                tourism event, ATM                                                                              sales manager, Qatar Air-        region’s reputation as one of
                     PAGE 8    2009, closed on a high note                                                                              ways, Rached Arfaoui.            the world’s fastest growing
                               with senior industry figures                                                                                The hotel sector was also     and most dynamic markets.
                               predicting the region would                                                                              full of praise for the event’s   We’re very pleased with the
                               defy current global eco-                                                                                 role in facilitating enhanced    reaction to the 2009 event –
                               nomic conditions to buck                                                                                 business interaction in a        we see it as a very strong
                               worldwide trends in the                                                                                  one-stop setting. “In the        platform towards 2010
                               travel industry to record                                                                                midst of a softening market      where we hope to see a com-
                               solid growth.                                                                                            and weakened demand, the         plete industry recovery.”
                                 This year, the event wel-                                                                              quality and number of visi-         Recovery is very much at
                               comed more than 2,100                                                                                    tors to ATM continues to be      the forefront of the region’s
                               exhibitors and stand-sharers                                                                             high. Just having a presence     agenda, with hotel room
                               from 69 countries, includ-                                                                               at this year’s exhibition is     occupancy levels remaining
                               ing 70 new-to-market rep-       This year’s exhibition welcomed visitors from across 69 countries        positive and helps to raise      strong in comparison to the
ON LOCATION                    resentatives, as well nearly                                                                             brand awareness. The show        rest of the world, according
                               60 national tourist bodies      during the show and it is              although     business    has      is the perfect vehicle to        to tourism, hospitality and
With an Open Skies Agree-      representing six continents.    great to see all these people          exceeded our expectations.”       introduce our new proper-        leisure partner, Deloitte
ment and a re-energised        Across the spectrum of the      committed to the UAE.                     Representatives of Qatar       ties, products and services      Middle       East,    Robert
hotel sector, Tunisia is       tourism industry, exhibitors    Being here gives us a reality          Airways showed a similar          directly to a significant        O’Hanlon, who announced
shaking off its former guise   utilised ATM as a platform      check and now we can see               optimism, especially follow-      segment of our target audi-      the findings of the Middle
as a low-budget destination    to announce new initiatives     business will be very good.”           ing on from the airline’s         ence,” said sales co-ordina-     East Hotel Performance
and instead presenting a       and projects, as well as pro-     This      sentiment     was          launch of six additional          tor, Four Seasons Hotels         Review at ATM.
new, sophisticated look        mote enhanced tourism           echoed by divisional senior            routes in 2009.                   and Resorts, Brennan Berry.         The report found that the
                   PAGE 14     products to the buoyant         vice president – corporate                “ATM is without a doubt           Commenting on the             Middle East was in a fortu-
                               Middle East sector.             communications, Emirates               one of the Middle East’s          strength of visitor numbers,     nate position, showing a
                                 CEO, flydubai, Ghaith Al      Airline, Boutros Boutros.              most high profile travel and      group exhibition director,       projected two per cent rise
                               Ghaith said: “ATM is a very     “This year for Emirates                tourism events. The quality       Reed Travel Exhibitions,         in international tourist
UPDATE                         exciting show and it always     Airline, we did some serious           of participants and visitors      Mark Walsh said: “This year      arrivals, comparing favour-
                               reflects the temperaments of    business at the show. It is            is consistently high. This        is very much a watershed         ably with the global reduc-
                               the current business envi-      difficult to compare to last           year, the event has enabled       moment for the industry as       tion of two per cent. “It just
As one of the most sought-     ronment. It’s nice to see       year’s show as we are now in           us to successfully raise          a whole and to see such          shows what a good position
after tourist regions in the   such a positive atmosphere      a different environment,               awareness of our quality          strong exhibitor and visitor     we are in,” he remarked.
world, developments across
the Indian Ocean are set to
further improve its touris-
tic offerings
                   PAGE 16
                               Debuting brands at Dubai Pearl Cuban connections
                               M
                                         GM       MIRAGE       forging world-class partner-           Dubai Technology and                       atari Diar Real         develop and manage an
                                         and Pearl Dubai
                                         recently announ-
                               ced plans to develop
                                                               ships with premium brands
                                                               that are renowned for their
                                                               operational excellence.”
                                                                                                      Media Free Zone, is set to
                                                                                                      become a pedestrian-friend-
                                                                                                      ly, 24-hour living city with
                                                                                                                                        Q        Estate Investment
                                                                                                                                                 Company (QDRE
                                                                                                                                                 IC) has concluded a
                                                                                                                                                                         island resort hotel and spa
                                                                                                                                                                         located 30 minutes by plane
                                                                                                                                                                         from Havana, on an esti-
                               Bellagio, MGM Grand, and           The agreement includes              a spectrum of commercial,         joint venture agreement for      mated 29 hectares parcel of
                               Skylofts hotels, as well as     the development of Bellagio            retail, residential, hospitali-   a $75 million investment         land in Cayo Largo del Sur.
                               branded      residences   at    branded residences, in addi-           ty and leisure components.        with Gran Antilla, owned         Cayo Largo del Sur is
                               Dubai Pearl, the $4 billion     tion to featuring dining,                Boasting a 2,000 seat per-      by the Cuban Ministry of         scheduled to open in 2012
                               fully integrated develop-       entertainment, spa and                 forming arts theatre, the         Tourism, to develop a five-      and will consist of some 450
                               ment in Dubai.                  convention options. “The               development is also due to        star resort in Cuba.             guestrooms. “Cuba offers a
                                 Pearl Dubai is set to own     project’s entertainment ele-           play host to top retail             During a recent visit to       good market that we look
ANALYSIS                       and finance the 250-room        ments will help complete               brands and include sky            Cuba, CEO, QDREIC,               for a strong presence in,
                               Bellagio hotel, the 350-        the vision of making the               palaces with pools and land-      Ghanim bin Saad Al Saad          therefore these agreements
Following the success of       room MGM Grand hotel,           Dubai Pearl a true landmark            scaped gardens, as well as        signed two agreements on         give us the opportunity to
The Bride Show Dubai,          and 30-suite Skylofts hotel,    that will deliver an unfor-            luxury branded apartments         sustainable tourism invest-      invest in Cuba’s emerging
coupled with packages that     while MGM MIRAGE                gettable experience,” con-             and condominiums.                 ments in the country. As         tourism and economy,”
are sweeping across the        Hospitality will manage and     tinued Al Fahim.                         President, MGM MIRA-            the first major joint venture    commented Al Saad.
region, it seems that the      provide technical services         The association between             GE Hospitality, Gamal             between Qatar and Cuba,             Furthermore,       another
weddings and honeymoons        for the three new ventures.     the two companies will see             Aziz, said: “Our properties       this key partnership will        agreement between Qatari
industry is a market that      Chairman, Dubai Pearl,          the Dubai Pearl project wel-           will inspire travellers and       aim to cement two close          Diar and Habaguanex
will stay with us through      Abdul Majeed Ismail Al          coming Dubai’s first MGM               residents with a sense of liv-    visions of a quality commu-      Compania Turistica was
sickness and in health         Fahim said: “Our alliance       MIRAGE-branded         hotel           able luxury that infuses          nity resort.                     concluded and is expected
                   PAGE 18     with MGM MIRAGE                 and residence. The project,            energy and excitement with          Gran Paraiso, the joint        to involve the development
                               reflects our commitment to      located in the heart of the            sophisticated service.”           venture company, is set to       of a hotel in Havana.
               R Hotels R Airlines R Spas R Meetings R Conferences R Exhibitions R Cruising R Airports R                                                                             www.ttgmena.com




                                Targeting corporates Unveiling a new look and feel
    Sound
    Bites                       C        ORP
                                         Hotels
                                                   Executive
                                                     recently
                                         secured a new
                                agreement to manage the
                                86-room       CORP       City
                                                                 to massive economic activi-
                                                                 ty attracting investors and
                                                                 professionals in large num-
                                                                 bers to cities like Riyadh. It
                                                                 has naturally pushed up the
                                                                                                  C
                                                                                                          ome August, local
                                                                                                          residents and hotel
                                                                                                          guests at The Four
                                                                                                  Points by Sheraton Bur
                                                                                                  Dubai will be welcomed by
“We are very optimistic         Centre Riyadh located in         demand for quality hotels.       a new look and range of sig-
about this year, and we         the commercial hub of               “CORP City Centre             nature Four Points facilities
predict we will witness a       Riyadh and due for comple-       Riyadh will cater to the         as the hotel undergoes a
big boom this summer –          tion in July.                    stringent quality and stan-      major renovation.
tourist arrivals are predict-      Owner, CORP City              dards expected by interna-          The $6 million invest-
ed to attain more than          Centre Riyadh, Nasser Al         tional travellers.               ment will see the hotel close
1,700,000 by the end of         Subeaei said: “Saudi Arabia         “Our intention is to offer    all of its 125 guestrooms
the year.”                      is being built for business      intelligent value-for-money      until July 15 to facilitate the
                                and we are confident that        with no compromise on            renovation works. The
                     Page 8     the CORP Executive Hotel         comfort and service,” he         FITOUT and IDStudio
                                will offer unique advantages     continued.                       have both been commis-
Director general, Ministry      to corporate travellers visit-      “As part of the group’s       sioned to transform the gue-
of Tourism, Lebanon,            ing the country.”                long-term strategy, we are       strooms, incorporating all             The $6 million investment will see the enhancement of the hotel’s 125
Nada Sardouk                       CEO,        HMH          –    exploring multiple business      signature elements of the              guestrooms
                                Hospitality Management           opportunities and have           Four Points brand.
                                Holdings, Michel Noblet          some exciting projects lined        “The upgrade of the                 Points Family Room and              of-the-art conference facili-
“The Middle East contin-        added: “Saudi Arabia has         up for CORP across the           rooms will complement our              Club Lounge both offering           ties and smaller function
ues to be at the top of our     been making bold moves in        GCC. The new agreements          other facilities and well-             communal space, maximis-            rooms        accommodating
global business agenda          terms of business tourism        will help to expedite the        known service culture,                 ing guest interactions and          between two to 200 people.
and, although we believe        development. This has led        development process.”            ensuring that we continue              relaxation,” said general           Meanwhile,        recreational
the strength of our                                                                               to exceed guests’ expecta-             manager, Four Points by             facilities include a fully
regional       commercial                                                                         tions. In addition to the              Sheraton     Bur      Dubai,        equipped gymnasium, out-
proposition holds us in
good stead in terms of
profitability, we aren’t
                                Development on Yas                                                guestrooms, the lobby and
                                                                                                  two food and beverage out-
                                                                                                  lets, La Terrace and The
                                                                                                                                         Sanjeev Gohlan.
                                                                                                                                           The hotel’s other two
                                                                                                                                         food and beverage outlets,
                                                                                                                                                                             door swimming pool and
                                                                                                                                                                             Jacuzzi.
                                                                                                                                                                                Situated in the midst of
resting on our laurels.”               otana         recently    close to Sheikh Zayed Road       Promenade, will also under-            Antique Bazaar Indian               Dubai’s commercial and

                    Page 13     R      announced that the
                                       first two Centro
                                Hotels by Rotana, Centro
                                                                 and Dubai Financial Centre.
                                                                    President, Rotana, Selim
                                                                 El Zyr said: “We are
                                                                                                  go renovations and refur-
                                                                                                  bishment.
                                                                                                     “New facilities which will
                                                                                                                                         Restaurant and The Viceroy
                                                                                                                                         English Pub are set to
                                                                                                                                         remain open throughout
                                                                                                                                                                             banking hub, Four Points
                                                                                                                                                                             by Sheaton Bur Dubai is
                                                                                                                                                                             located in close proximity to
Commercial      manager,        Yas Island in Abu Dhabi          extremely thrilled about the     be introduced with the                 the renovation period.              Dubai International Airport
Middle East, British            and Centro Barsha in             opening of the first two         change will be the Four                  The hotel also offers state-      and Jumeirah Beach Park.
Airways, Paolo De Renzis        Dubai are set to open in         properties under our exciting
                                September 2009.                  new brand, which will cer-

“Tourism is a key element
of the Tunisian economy,
                                   Centro Yas Island, Abu
                                Dhabi adjoins with Yas
                                Island Rotana Hotel, pro-
                                                                 tainly meet the demands of a
                                                                 new generation of traveller
                                                                 seeking finesse and function-
                                                                                                   Reaching higher benchmarks
and its development is fun-     viding guests access to          ality at reasonable rates.”
damental to maintaining         both facilities. The proper-        Business travel for the                                                                                  recently showcased its lead-
high growth rates and low-      ty comprises 259 rooms           budget-conscious executive                                                                                  ership in Internet marketing
ering unemployment.”            and is centrally located         is an increasingly important                                                                                at Internet World in
                                within the southern dis-         market in the Middle East                                                                                   London – one of Europe’s
                    Page 14     trict of Yas Island, a few       and the Centro Hotels by                                                                                    longest running events for
                                minutes away from the            Rotana concept is specifi-                                                                                  digital     marketing      and
Sales manager – MICE,           Formula 1 race track and         cally designed to cater to                                                                                  online business.
Radisson Blu Resort &           the Links Golf Course.           this market.                                                                                                  A case study was presented
Thalasso, Djerba, Katia            As for Centro Barsha,            “We are redefining the                                                                                   by Gulf Air illustrating how
Maammar De Lorenzis             Dubai, the property is locat-    conventional concept of eco-                                                                                traffic to its website has sig-
                                ed close to the business dis-    nomical comfort and offer-                                                                                  nificantly increased and sales
                                tricts of Media City and         ing affordable superior class                                                                               have grown thanks to innov-
“The Maldives is well-          Internet City. The hotel fea-    accommodation and hospi-                                                                                    ative methods in the field of
known as one of the most        tures 246 rooms and is also      tality,” commented El Zyr.                                                                                  Internet marketing, namely
desirable archipelagos in                                                                                                                                                    Pay-Per-Click, advertising in
the world.”                                                                                       The national carrier of Bahrain is reaching new heights                    search engines, search engine

                    Page 17     Improving tracking                                                    n a continuous effort to           tained work towards achiev-
                                                                                                                                                                             optimisation and the pio-
                                                                                                                                                                             neering work on social

President, Asia Pacific,                ravelport GDS rec-       and significantly improve        I   provide enhanced cus-
                                                                                                      tomer service, Gulf Air
                                                                                                                                         ing performance excellence,
                                                                                                                                         faster check-in and checkout
                                                                                                                                                                             networks, such as Gulf Air
                                                                                                                                                                             fan page on Facebook.
Hilton Hotels Corpo-
ration, Martin Rinck            T       ently announced the
                                        introduction of a
                                programme to offer Galileo-
                                                                 tracking and collection of
                                                                 hotel commissions. The
                                                                 programme facilitates access
                                                                                                  has reached a new milestone
                                                                                                  by setting a new record of
                                                                                                  85 per cent in its fleet punc-
                                                                                                                                         – all this has contributed to
                                                                                                                                         this achievement.
                                                                                                                                           “We would like to assure
                                                                                                                                                                               The carrier has achieved
                                                                                                                                                                             an increase in online sales
                                                                                                                                                                             of over 300 per cent last
                                connected travel agents in       so that agents can transfer      tuality during the first four          our time-conscious business         year despite a negative
“I continue to set new chal-    the Middle East reduced          booking data from the            months of 2009.                        travellers that we are a per-       trend across the industry.
lenges and goals for myself     fees for its hotel commission    Galileo GDS to Pegasus,             “Punctuality is one of the          formance-driven and a cus-          This year’s sales are follow-
and my staff to ensure that     processing services.             which will then process, rec-    key factors that attract cus-          tomer-focused airline and           ing the same steep trend,
we are constantly progress-        The initiative follows an     oncile, consolidate and          tomers towards an airline              this record demonstrates            especially from Bahrain,
ing and developing, and I       agreement that Travelport        make weekly payments to          and is an important service            our commitment to this,”            Kuwait and the UAE.
encourage my peers to do        signed with Pegasus Solu-        agents who have signed on.       differentiator,” said CEO,             Näf added.                            Head of e-Commerce,
the same.”                      tions enabling the GDS             “Travelport’s     initiative   Gulf Air, Björn Näf.                     The airline currently offers      Gulf Air, Nicola Simionato
                                provider to extend favour-       with Pegasus empowers               Gulf Air has shown a con-           over 940 flights per week           said: “We have invested
                    Page 23     able prices on its commis-       agencies in the Middle East      sistent performance in                 through its network provid-         extensively in its online sales
                                sion processing services,        to boost their revenues and      punctuality by achieving 86            ing connectivity between            capabilities,      continually
General manager, Kem-           resulting in better hotel        helps     Galileo-connected      per cent in January, 84 per            Bahrain and the rest of the         improving and expanding
pinski Hotel Mall of the        commission rates for agents      agents maximise their com-       cent in February, 86 per               world as well as faster check-      the service we offer our cus-
Emirates, Holger Schroth        booking through Galileo.         missions by leveraging the       cent in March and 84 per               in and checkout.                    tomers. Our efforts are cer-
                                   The arrangement intends       best solution in the market-     cent in April. “This new                 Meanwhile, with a focus           tainly reaping dividends
                                to enable Galileo agents in      place,” said vice president,     punctuality record is a sig-           on its commitment to con-           with online sales rocketing,
                                the Middle East to more eas-     Travelport GDS – Middle          nificant improvement in our            tinually developing its             resulting in substantial sav-
                                ily reconcile hotel bookings     East, Rabih Saab.                fleet performance. Our sus-            online systems, Gulf Air            ings for the airline.”

2                                                                                                                                                                                            June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com          R Hotels R Airlines R Spas R Meetings R Conferences R Exhibitions R Cruising R Airports R


HOTEL CHECK
Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek
  Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek is exactly what you might expect from          Location: (Out of 20)                                       18
  a five-star hotel: spacious, clean and well run. This of course is what we have
  all come to expect from the hotel industry and we take it in our stride.             Front Desk: (Out of 20)                                     19
     Now, hotels try to pull us in by housing a dozen varieties of restaurants,        Service: (Out of 20)                                        19
  bars and IT facilities, which the Radisson DC also does to great effect. So
                                                                                       Room: (Out of 20)                                           17
  why the Dubai Creek? Service, Service, Service!
     This property has what I call a ‘Subliminal Personal Service’ mentality:          F & B: (Out of 20)                                          17
  it’s the small things which go unnoticed at first that make your stay such
  a pleasure. All staff, from management to housekeeping seem genuinely
  happy to see you – and not in that slightly aloof manner that strains many           TOTAL (Out of 100)                                          90
  a hotelier’s smile. Happy faces and ‘Good morning sirs’ are par for the
  course in a day at this hotel.
     The ability of housekeeping to notice your habits and needs and then
  adapt their service to those needs is done without intruding on your pri-
  vacy or personal space, and unlike many of the top grade hotels of the                                                    Chris Christou
  world, this hotel does all of this with such a matter-of-fact ease, that at
  the end of a hectic day running around the city, it’s a pleasure to come
                                                                                        TTG staff and correspondents grade services used by them. We
  ‘home’ to Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek.
                                                                                      report the results, which are based on a one-time experience only
                                                                                                         and view services from a customer perspective.
  Verdict: Hoteliers of the world take note: gimmicks are great and luxury is
  expected, but at the end of the day what we, the consumers, really notice
  and what we require is efficient service with a genuine smile. My sincere
  thanks to all the staff – it was my pleasure to meet you all.




 First step in Cairo marketplace Dedicated to all round excellence
        airo’s hotel industry    HMH’s continued commit-          and infrastructure of world-                                                                                             Further to showing its

C       is soon set to wel-
        come Coral Cosmo-
politan Hotel – the first
                                 ment to the hospitality
                                 industry in the Middle East
                                 and look forward to a suc-
                                                                  class hotels in the region and
                                                                  other emerging markets
                                                                  worldwide,” Noblet said.
                                                                                                                                                                                        long-term commitment to
                                                                                                                                                                                        growth, Qatar Airways
                                                                                                                                                                                        recently reinforced its dedi-
venture for Coral Hotels &       cessful partnership and             Overall, Coral Hotels &                                                                                            cation to Corporate Social
Resorts in Egypt.                improvement of business and      Resorts has 15 fully opera-                                                                                           Responsibility (CSR) with
   This development was          tourist infrastructure here.”    tional hotels across the                                                                                              continued environmental
announced at a signing cer-        According       to     CEO,    Middle East and five more                                                                                             efforts to reduce carbon
emony held at the recent         HMH, Michel Noblet, the          poised to open soon. One                                                                                              emissions.
ATM and is part of HMH’s         industry is bracing for chal-    such hotel is Coral Martini                                                                                              The airline recently
plan to develop 100 hotels       lenging times given the slow-    Aleppo, Syria, which is slat-                                                                                         joined the Aviation Global
by 2012. Commenting on           down in both business and        ed to open by mid-2010.                                                                                               Deal (AGD) Group – an
the new property, owner,         tourist travel as a result of    Located some 20km from                                                                                                industry-wide body made
Coral Cosmopolitan Hotel,        the credit crunch, but Coral     the city’s main airport, the                                                                                          up of a selected few airlines
Abdel Aly Aziz said: “We are     Hotels & Resorts’ philoso-       hotel will feature 149 rooms                                                                                          which aims to help develop
extremely excited to be the      phy of providing five-star       and span over an area mea-                                                                                            a global policy for tackling
first Coral hotel in Egypt.      accommodation at afford-         suring 5,000m². The prop-                                                                                             aviation emissions. “The
This new property is a defi-     able prices was paying off.      erty is set to offer all             The national carrier of Qatar has shown its commitment to growth follow-         state of the global aviation
nite boost to the range of         “Coral Cosmopolitan will       categories of rooms includ-          ing significant orders for new aircraft and the addition of new routes           industry amid the current
accommodation now avail-         give us a strategic edge in      ing single, double, twin,                                                                                             economic situation and
able in Cairo. With 85           Egypt and will prove to be       and junior suites as well as a                oha-based      Qatar                 to try out Qatar Airways’          concerns over global health
rooms, two restaurants and
two meeting rooms, Coral
Cosmopolitan will offer
                                 our gateway for expansion
                                 within the region. The fact
                                 that we are choosing to go
                                                                  dedicated club floor featur-
                                                                  ing the 140m² royal suite,
                                                                  which will comprise a mas-
                                                                                                       D        Airways summed
                                                                                                                up its presence at
                                                                                                       this year’s ATM by reaffirm-
                                                                                                                                                     fully flat business class seats,
                                                                                                                                                     currently deployed on the
                                                                                                                                                     airline’s Boeing-777 long-
                                                                                                                                                                                        concerns are understand-
                                                                                                                                                                                        able,” said Al Baker.
                                                                                                                                                                                           As part of the airline’s
outstanding facilities for       ahead with our expansion         ter bedroom, a standard              ing its commitment to                         haul fleet.                        growing CSR drive, the air-
both business and leisure        plans shows we are not just      bedroom, a meeting room              growth with more than 200                        Indian dances also took         line’s partnership with the
travellers, and is set to open   building for today but for       and a dining room. Club              new aircraft on order – nine                  place by the stand to raise        AGD Group, demonstrates
in the last quarter of 2010.     tomorrow. We are commit-         floor guests will also have          of which are set to be deliv-                 awareness of Qatar Airways’        the momentum that is now
   “I am heartened by            ted to investing in the growth   access to the VIP lounge.            ered by the end of this year                  new soon-to-be-launched            building to develop an indus-
                                                                                                       – six new routes planned                      flights to Amritsar and Goa.       try position on how emis-
                                                                                                       over the next six months                      Moreover, other show per-          sions from the sector could

Regional growth on the cards                                                                           which include further
                                                                                                       expansion in the European
                                                                                                       arena, and $1 billion worth
                                                                                                                                                     formances reflected the
                                                                                                                                                     airline’s new Australian
                                                                                                                                                     destination of Sydney and
                                                                                                                                                                                        be tackled under a global deal
                                                                                                                                                                                        on climate change.
                                                                                                                                                                                           “We are delighted to have
   n recognition of its          ing, and human resources         2020. “Couple that with              of infrastructure improve-                    Melbourne, while to keep           joined the Aviation Global

I  mounting presence in the
   Middle East and its antic-
ipated expansion in Africa,
                                 for five of Marriott Inter-
                                 national’s hotel and resort
                                 brands in the Middle East
                                                                  the global spotlight and you
                                                                  have the foundation for
                                                                  amazing growth.”
                                                                                                       ments
                                                                                                       International Airport.
                                                                                                          Furthermore,
                                                                                                                      at       Doha

                                                                                                                               Qatar
                                                                                                                                                     up the momentum of Qatar
                                                                                                                                                     Airways’ recent launch of
                                                                                                                                                     daily flights to Houston in
                                                                                                                                                                                        Deal Group, working with
                                                                                                                                                                                        our peers across the industry
                                                                                                                                                                                        to tackle what is a serious
Marriott         International   and Africa.                        Moreover, Fuller elabo-            Airways celebrated its par-                   Texas, the carrier’s third US      environmental issue.
recently announced that it          “We are positioning our-      rated on the growth of Mar-          ticipation at the four-day                    city, dance performances              “Society worldwide is
will open a new regional         selves to take full advantage    riott’s portfolio of hotels in       event in Dubai by taking                      were inspired by basketball.       becoming ever more con-
headquarter in Dubai on          of     the    unprecedented      the Middle East and Africa,          home three awards at two                         “Qatar Airways’ partici-        scious on the impact of cli-
January 1, 2010.                 growth in tourism that the       which has increased since            ceremonies attended by                        pation at ATM yet again            mate change on our daily
   The office will expand its    region is predicted to attract   the company opened its first         leading figures from across                   proved a show-stopper with         lives,” he continued.
current area operations in       over the next decade,” said      hotel in Riyadh, Saudi               the regional and global trav-                 the fabulous line-up of               “It has affected, is affect-
the region and its opening       president       international    Arabia in 1980. “Today, we           el industry – the Middle                      entertainment and news-            ing and will continue to
coincides with the 30th          lodging, Marriott Inter-         operate 22 properties span-          East’s Leading Business                       making headlines as we             affect the world – and the
anniversary of Marriott’s        national, Ed Fuller.             ning five lodging brands.            Class Airline award, the                      continued to strengthen our        onus is very much on the
participation in the region’s       According to Fuller, the      We expect to more than               Best Cabin Crew award in                      message as a rapidly grow-         corporate world to ensure
hospitality industry. The        future of the Middle East        double our presence in the           the region, and the Best                      ing airline despite the cur-       we strive towards zero car-
new regional office will be      tourism industry looks           region over the next 36              Economy Class in the                          rent economic climate,”            bon emissions to make the
responsible for the opera-       strong, with some 68 mil-        months as we add approxi-            Middle East.                                  said CEO, Qatar Airways,           world a safer and cleaner
tions, finance, sales, market-   lion arrivals expected by        mately 30 hotels,” he said.             Visitors also had a chance                 Akbar Al Baker.                    place,” concluded Al Baker.

June 1, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                                         3
                                                                                                               www.ttgmena.com




Marking a presence Entering the region
       est Western Interna-       Premier Creek Hotel, both

B      tional Asia has an-
       nounced its strategic
plan to expand into the
                                  located in Bur Dubai. In
                                  addition, the brand has
                                  sealed deals with two prop-
Arabian Gulf region, with         erties in Oman, one in
the target of introducing 25      Qatar, one in Kuwait, and is
hotels by 2010.                   positively looking towards a
   The group initially entered    further three more hotels in
the Middle East in 2008 in a      Dubai as well as another
bid to drive Best Western         two in the Kingdom of
hotels, its value-for-money       Saudi Arabia by the end of
accommodation, and its Best       this year.
Western Premier brand.               Most recently, Doha Seef,
   “Despite the current           located in Qatar, underwent
recession, we see the crisis as   the rebranding process to
an opportunity that fits          become a member of the
with our products for the         Best Western family. “This
Middle East. With Best            will be the first Best Western
Western and Best Western          hotel in Qatar. This is the      A management agreement for Doubletree Suites by Hilton Ras Al Khaimah
Premier brands, we are able       only international hotel         was signed recently
to cater for both mid-scale       chain that has not existed


                                                                   H
and upscale markets. The          yet in Qatar,” sales and                   ilton Hotels Corporation has announced the entry
overall strategy of offering      marketing manager, Best                    of the Doubletree by Hilton brand into the Middle
high-quality accommoda-           Western Doha Seef Hotel,                   East with the signing of a management agreement
tion and services with rea-       Shamsa Ali told TTG.             for Doubletree Suites by Hilton Ras Al Khaimah, set to
sonable price is one that fits       “Everything is already in     open in the first quarter of 2010.
well at any time, especially      place. We will be using the         “Our belief is that guests and investors should be able to
now that everyone is look-        Best Western online system       choose between a multitude of brands, each offering a dif-
ing for extra value,” said        and will therefore need to       ferent product for a different market segment and invest-
vice president international      train our people. It is some-    ment risk profile. Hence, we are delighted to further the
operations,      Asia,    Best    thing different for our staff    growth of the Hilton Family with the first Doubletree by
Western         International,    and they will be proud to        Hilton agreement in this region, and the first branded all-
Glenn de Souza.                   be a part of an internation-     suite hotel product in Ras Al Khaimah. The Doubletree
   The signing of the             al hotel.”                       brand offers distinctively designed full-service upscale
group’s first two Best               With a target to become       hotels and suites,” said area president, Hilton Hotels,
Western Premier properties        the region’s largest interna-    Middle East and Africa, Jean-Paul Herzog.
in the Middle East was            tional hotel chain, Best            The new-build Doubletree Suites by Hilton Ras Al
recently announced and            Western International aims       Khaimah will feature 112 apartments fitted out in a con-
include the 320-room Best         to have 200 hotels with          temporary style with innovative guest technology including
Western Premier Dhow              50,000 rooms across Asia         an Internet package and stereo speaker connectivity for
Palace Hotel and the 222-         and the Middle East by           MP3 and CD players. Additional facilities planned for the
rooms       Best       Western    next year.                       hotel include an all-day dining restaurant and bar, a board-
                                                                   room, business centre, swimming pool and a fitness centre.
                                                                      “Doubletree by Hilton is one of today’s most dynamic

New luxury in Al Ain                                               upscale hotel brands in the travel industry providing
                                                                   upscale accommodation and personalised guest experience.
                                                                   It is exciting to launch this brand in a market that is young,
    umeirah Group has             venues, as well as a spa cen-    vibrant and filled with potential. With the support of the

J   signed a management
    agreement with Abu
   Dhabi’s      Al      Farida
                                  tre. With the corporate
                                  traveller in mind, meetings
                                  and events will also be well
                                                                   dedicated Doubletree team and strong local alliances, we
                                                                   look forward to evaluating new build and conversion
                                                                   opportunities to develop the Doubletree brand further in
Investments Company to            catered for by what will be      the Middle East,” said global head, Doubletree brand,
manage Jumeirah Al Ain, a         hailed as Al Ain’s largest       Hilton Hotels, Rob Palleschi.
new five-star luxury hotel        fully serviced banqueting
located in the heart of Al        hall, capable of accommo-
Ain city.
   Scheduled to launch in
2011, Jumeirah Al Ain will
                                  dating over 1,400 guests
                                  and delegates at one time,
                                  and a state-of-the-art con-
                                                                   Showcasing potential
be part of the Al Ain Mall, a
distinctive landmark cur-
rently under redevelopment.
This development aims to
aid the emerging destination
                                  ference centre.
                                     “By joining hands with
                                  Jumeirah Group, Al Farida
                                  Investments is pursuing its
                                  objective of developing Al
                                                                   E      laf Group joined the
                                                                          10th     International
                                                                          Tourism and Invest-
                                                                   ment Forum which was
                                                                   held in Egypt recently,
                                                                                                       tional tourism. It also
                                                                                                       allowed us to affirm our
                                                                                                       leadership in the Saudi mar-
                                                                                                       ket and our favourable sta-
                                                                                                       tus in the Arab tourism and
in becoming recognised as a       Ain as a major tourist desti-    where it exhibited its hospi-       hospitality sectors. It was
tourism centre alongside its      nation and enhancing its         tality and tourism-related          particularly rewarding to
fellow emirates.                  hospitality    infrastructure.   products and services while         interact with existing and
   Key features of the cos-       The Jumeirah Al Ain Hotel is     affirming its market leader-        prospective partners in
mopolitan site will include       a natural complement to the      ship in the Kingdom of              Egypt,” said president, Elaf
an Arabian-inspired souk          well-established Al Ain Mall,    Saudi Arabia.                       Group, Ziyad bin Mahfouz.
and traditional spice market,     turning this integrated,           Elaf Group’s marketing               The 10th International
with a variety of casual din-     mixed-use development into       team prepared two plat-             Tourism and Investment
ing concepts scattered amidst     a truly authentic leisure,       forms complete with video           Forum highlighted the
landscaping, in keeping with      retail and luxury hotel desti-   and audio equipment to              tourism potential and rich
the local environment.            nation,” said CEO, Al Farida     showcase its products and           cultural heritage of Arab
   Jumeirah Al Ain, com-          Investment Company, H.E.         services. The event provided        states, and encouraged
prising 220 guestrooms and        Sheikh Hamed bin Ahmed           a good opportunity for Elaf         industry development of
suites as well as luxury          Al Hamed.                        Group to widen its under-           specialisations in travel and
chalets and lofts, will adjoin       Executive       chairman,     standing of the latest market       pilgrimage. It also promot-
the Al Ain Mall through a         Jumeirah Group, Gerald           needs of the travel and             ed the significant role being
span of newly-developed           Lawless added: “Jumeirah         tourism industry.                   played by tourism in
high-end retail outlets.          Al Ain will be a welcome           “The Forum was an excel-          enhancing mutual under-
Features of the hotel itself      local addition to our portfo-    lent venue to explore and           standing between people
will include four unique          lio as we continue to expand     unveil the latest develop-          and      improving       Arab
dining and entertainment          around the world.”               ments in Arab and interna-          economies.

                                                                                                                       June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com




Strategic move in Cairo Providing for events
                                                                            amra Hotels and            Hamra         Convention

                                                                   H        Resorts has announ-
                                                                            ced the opening of
                                                                   Hamra Convention Centre
                                                                                                    Centre boasts a pre-func-
                                                                                                    tion foyer for receptions,
                                                                                                    which leads to a double-
                                                                   and Hamra Marina Yacht           height ballroom that can be
                                                                   Club in Ras Al Khaimah.          separated into three inde-
                                                                      The Hamra Convention          pendent conference rooms,
                                                                   Centre, located adjacent to      each with its own state-of-
                                                                   the Al Hamra Fort Hotel in       the art audiovisual and
                                                                   the emirate, has been            lighting system. Spread
                                                                   designed to cater for large      across two floors, the facili-
                                                                   events, seminars and confer-     ty also has a business centre
                                                                   ences and can accommodate        with six boardrooms.
An agreement was signed recently for the management of The Ritz-   up to 1,200 persons.                For smaller meetings,
Carlton Cairo, Palm Hills                                          Meanwhile, Hamra Marina          Hamra Marina Yacht Club
                                                                   Yacht Club aims to provide       also offers unique facilities,


T
        he       Ritz-Carlton    very best from the hospitali-     luxury leisure club facilities   according to Timani. “The
        Hotel Company has        ty industry in order to offer     and overlooks the Al Hamra       Hamra Marina & Yacht
        signed an agreement      the highest quality of service    Marina, which can accom-         Clubhouse will provide
with         Palm       Hills    to our residents and guests.”     modate up to 150 yachts.         superb services including
Developments to manage              Each of the 160 gue-              Vice president, sales and     two restaurants, a fully
The Ritz-Carlton Cairo,          strooms will feature spacious     marketing, Hamra Hotels          equipped meeting facility,
Palm Hills and a Jack            accommodation with unin-          & Resorts, Elia Timani           and a 24- hour security and
Nicklaus-designed 27-hole        terrupted panoramic views         said: “Hamra Convention          an information counter at
golf course and clubhouse,       of the pyramids.                  Centre will provide out-         the lobby.
set to open in 2012.                A host of dining options       standing services for event         “The club house also has
  Situated within the Palm       will be available featuring       organisers at very low costs     shops selling yacht mer-
Hills October community          regional and international        that match the current mar-      chandise and equipments,
in the new cosmopolitan          cuisine, while guests will        ket situation. The centre is     as well as locker rooms, a
6th of October City, the         also be able to avail of an       equipped with high stan-         bar, Marina Lounge and
property is approximately        array of treatments in the        dard facilities and high-end     the Birds Eye rooftop view-
45 minutes from downtown         1,115m² spa facility. A           finishings and can accom-        ing platform.”
Cairo and within 20 min-         health club and two out-          modate up to 1,200 peo-             According to Timani,
utes of the pyramids of Giza.    door swimming pools will          ple.” In addition to this,       Hamra Hotels and Resorts,
  “Our partnership with          provide additional recre-         Timani stressed that the key     which currently has five
Palm Hills Developments is       ational areas.                    attraction of the convention     hotels under its portfolio in
a very exciting one that sees       With corporate guests in       centre is its location which     Ras Al Khaimah, continues
the continuation of The          mind, the resort will boast       is in close proximity to three   to show robust performance
Ritz-Carlton journey to one      sizeable meeting and func-        five-star hotels providing a     with an average occupancy
of the most captivating cor-     tion spaces to include a          total of 1,000 rooms.            level of 86 per cent.
ners of the world,” said         1,400m² grand ballroom,
president, The Ritz-Carlton      and a junior ballroom, as
Hotel Company, Simon
Cooper. “The opening of
The Ritz-Carlton Cairo,
                                 well as five multi-purpose
                                 function rooms.
                                    Palm Hills Golf Club
                                                                   A personalised service
                                                                   R
Palm Hills is a key strategic    and Resorts is an exclusive                affles Hotels &         Restaurant will celebrate
move to expand our pres-         community encompassing                     Resorts           has   culinary delights influenced
ence across the Middle East      a world-class golf course                  announced that it       by the flavours of Eastern-
and North Africa.”               and deluxe homes. This            will be managing a new           Mediterranean while the
  CEO, Palm Hills Deve-          gated neighbourhood is sit-       hotel in Makkah, in the          all-day dining restaurant
lopments, Yasseen Mansour        uated adjacent to the com-        Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.         will offer cuisine from Asia
added: “Our partnership          pany’s flagship project,             Benefiting from a prime       and the Middle East. A
with The Ritz-Carlton fur-       Palm Hills October in 6th         location, the all-suite hotel    highlight at the all-day din-
ther demonstrates Palm           of October City, and con-         is set to be the jewel of the    ing restaurant will be a
Hills Developments’ com-         sists of 480 villas. It also      prominent Abraj Al Bait          chocolate room where chefs
mitment as a company that        features Egypt’s first 27-        Complex and will boast           will prepare pralines and
seeks to partner with the        hole golf course.                 suites as well as a spacious     truffles, customised to suit
                                                                   outdoor dining terrace over-     each patron’s preference.
                                                                   looking Al Masjid al                His and hers only fitness
                                                                   Haram. Within three min-         centres, a beauty parlour
 Expanding portfolio in Sharm                                      utes, guests will be able to
                                                                   access the holy site, the
                                                                                                    and grooming salons, as
                                                                                                    well as access to an adjoin-
                                                                   Kaaba, within the Al Masjid      ing retail mall and Raffles
                                                                   al Haram.                        Amrita Spa will aim to com-
                                 hotel features 340 rooms             Occupying levels 11 to 26,    plete the range of facilities
                                 and suites. Key elements of       Raffles Makkah Palace will       and services available at
                                 the property include its          feature 198 suites. With an      Raffles Makkah Palace.
                                 swim-up rooms with pri-           average of three staff for          COO, Fairmont Raffles
                                 vate pool, five restaurants,      every suite and complement-      Hotels International, Chris
                                 five bars, a spa centre, a        ed with round-the-clock          Cahill commented: “Raffles
                                 diving and water sports           butler service, residents at     Hotels & Resorts is very
                                 centre, a 2,070m² pool, a         Raffles Makkah Palace can        pleased that we have been
 Cyprus-based Louis Hotels       heated pool, an amphithe-         expect to receive the highest    entrusted with the most
 has announced that the          atre, tennis and multipur-        standards of attentive service   prestigious development in
 five-star    Louis     Tiran    pose courts and a kids’           that has become a signature      Makkah, Saudi Arabia, a city
 Sharm, located on the           club. This new project by         style at Raffles’ hotels and     of such significant impor-
 shores of a lagoon in           Louis Hotels forms part of        resorts around the world.        tance within the global
 Sharm El Sheikh’s Nabq          the previously announced             The property will offer a     Muslim community.
 Bay, is back in its portfolio   strategy by Louis Group to        wealth of dining options            “The Middle East is also
 and set to open in July.        expand its operations to          including a tea lounge at        a region of strategic priority
 Built on a total land area of   new and emerging markets          lobby level and a Raffles        for Raffles Hotels & Resorts
 80,000m² directly on a          over and above those of           Creamery, which will offer       and we are delighted to
 private 1,500m beach, the       Greece and Cyprus.                personalised blends of ice-      be able to grow our presence
                                                                   cream. The Levantine             here,” concluded Cahill.

June 1, 2009
                    FINANCE                                                                                                                                                                       www.ttgmena.com




Taking on the world Multipronged approach Net profit increased
V
         ice Versa Inter-               be another exciting mile-                                                                                              ir     Arabia       has        “While Air Arabia is not
         national (VVI), the
         management com-
pany of the instant reward
                                        stone in our quest to
                                        become an international
                                        brand, recognised, trusted
                                                                                                                                                       A
                                                                                                                                                       three
                                                                                                                                                               announced its finan-
                                                                                                                                                               cial results for the
                                                                                                                                                                  months      ending
                                                                                                                                                                                           insulated from the fallout of
                                                                                                                                                                                           the global financial crisis,
                                                                                                                                                                                           we are extremely pleased to
card for travellers and a               and accepted by quality                                                                                        March 31, demonstrating             have been able to continue
provider of smart card loy-             partners and premium                                                                                           the strength of its business        our own positive momen-
alty programmes, recently               travellers in some of the                                                                                      model despite the global            tum in the first quarter of
launched its international              world’s most exciting cos-                                                                                     economic conditions.                2009, as today’s announce-
franchise concept and is                mopolitan cities,” remarked                                                                                       The Sharjah-based airline        ment demonstrates.
ready to work with fran-                co-founder, VVI, Ole Milan.                                                                                    achieved a net profit of $28           “Travellers    everywhere
chisees to implement their                 Vice Versa has been                                                                                         million for the first three         increasingly see the appeal
instant cash reward pro-                adopted by the tourism                                                                                         months of this year, mark-          of low-cost services in gen-
gramme for visitors in other            body of Dubai as a caring                                                                                      ing an increase of 32 per           eral and those of Air Arabia
cosmopolitan cities.                    initiative on behalf of the                                                                                    cent compared to $21 mil-           in particular,” he continued.
   Based on the Vice Versa              city which set out to                                                                                          lion during the same period         “Through our ongoing
fundamentals utilising tech-            become the first multi-des-         Marriott International unveiled the Sales Revolution Initiative aimed at   of 2008.                            organic growth strategy and
nology to create concepts               tination card that makes            drumming up business in the region                                            The carrier also posted a        operational excellence, Air
that generate high value for            sure that visitors always feel                                                                                 turnover of $126 million in         Arabia will remain the mar-


                                                                            T
all stakeholders, the fran-             that they are getting the                   he Marriott Interna-          proactive strategy to stren-         the first quarter of 2009,          ket leader across the MENA
chise opportunity consists              recognition they deserve.                   tional Global Sales           gthen our relationships with         up 21 per cent compared to          region and beyond.”
of an end-to-end business                  Based on the number of                   Office (GSO) has              our customers.”                      $104 million during the                Recently, the carrier offi-
platform that will hope to              visitors, more than 40              announced that it regis-                 Marriott     International        corresponding period of             cially launched Air Arabia
enable future franchisees to            potential new Vice Versa            tered a 20 per cent growth            recently launched a Sales            last year.                          Maroc, an Air Arabia joint
become part of the Vice                 destinations have been              in sales for 2008 across the          Revolution Initiative, un-              Air Arabia served a total        venture company, which
Versa family with ease.                 identified and dialogue has         Middle East and Africa.               veiled by Daqqaq, aimed at           of 951,000 passengers in            operates from the carrier’s
   A limited investment                 already been established               The increase in sales has          drumming up business in              the first quarter of 2009, an       second hub in Casablanca,
means that the franchisee               with the tourism boards in          been attributed to a 42 per           the region during the tough          increase of 26 per cent             Morocco. Air Arabia also
can focus on growing their              many of these countries.            cent surge in online book-            economic slowdown. The               compared to 757,000 pas-            recently introduced services
local business, while VVI                  “Over time, more cities          ings as well as an increase in        initiative   involves     the        sengers during the same             to two new destinations –
provides the brand and infra-           will be targeted, together          reservations through the              group’s hotels across the            period in 2008, while aver-         Goa, India, and Athens,
structure support needed to             with the increase in the            Marriott Global Reserva-              entire Middle East and               age passenger seat load fac-        Greece – increasing the car-
hit the ground running.                 number of visitors or if jus-       tions Centre. Egypt contin-           Africa, and the Marriott             tor stood at 81 per cent for        rier’s award-winning net-
   “Launching Vice Versa                tified by expected syner-           ued to be the favoured                Global Sales network. As             the first quarter of this year.     work to 46 destinations
in the next destination will            gies,” continued Milan.             leisure destination, closely          part of the initiative, Sales           “Globally, the aviation          across the Middle East,
                                                                            followed by Dubai. Vice               Blitzes are organised every          industry faced extraordinar-        North Africa, Europe,
                                                                            president, Marriott Global            Tuesday to customers in              ily difficult market condi-         South and Central Asia.
                                                                            Sales – MEA, Samir Daqqaq             each city. Dressed in                tions in the first three               The airline achieved a
                                                                            said: “In these very challeng-        Marriott Sales Revolution            months of this year, primar-        record annual profit of
                                                                            ing times for businesses              outfits, participants high-          ily due to the worldwide            $139 million in 2008 and
                                                                            across the globe, we have             light the latest promotions          financial crisis and its direct     distributed a 10 per cent
                                                                            achieved      a     significant       across the various markets.          impact on the travel habits         cash dividend to the compa-
                                                                            increase in sales, which epit-           “We have focused on               of both business and leisure        ny’s shareholders, allowing
                                                                            omises the innovative way of          aggressively moving forward          passengers,” said CEO, Air          them to share in Air
                                                                            doing business at Marriott.           on our sales blitz during the        Arabia, Adel Ali.                   Arabia’s success.
                                                                            Our multi-pronged ap-                 economic turmoil so that
                                                                            proach helped us provide the          we are ready to take advan-
                                                                            sales impetus and maximise            tage of the opportunities             Currencies                       $ 1              C 1
                                                                            our efforts – our Sales               when the economy bounces
Vice Versa is poised to grow on an international level                      Revolution Blitz reflects our         back,” Daqqaq added.
                                                                                                                                                         Algeria (DZD)                   72.9              98.1
                                                                                                                                                         Bahrain (BHD)                   0.37              0.51
Exploring prospects Expansion strategies                                                                                                                 Egypt (EGP)                     5.61              7.56


G         lobal
          developer
                      property
                        Emaar
          Properties has post-
ed first quarter 2009 revenue
of $421 million, compared
                                         approach to ensuring sus-
                                         tained growth,” he said. “We
                                         have therefore streamlined
                                         our efforts to shore up con-
                                         sumer confidence while
                                                                            A        bu Dhabi National
                                                                                     Hotels (ADNH), the
                                                                                     UAE-based hospital-
                                                                            ity group with interests in
                                                                            hotels, tourism, transporta-
                                                                                                                 450-room Jumeirah Beach
                                                                                                                 Sofitel Hotel, the 64-suite Al
                                                                                                                 Diar Hotel Apartments – Al
                                                                                                                 Barsha, and the 78-suite Siji
                                                                                                                 Hotel Apartments residence
                                                                                                                                                         Iran (IRR)
                                                                                                                                                         Iraq (IQD)
                                                                                                                                                                                         9,862
                                                                                                                                                                                         1,168
                                                                                                                                                                                                           13,274
                                                                                                                                                                                                           1,572
                                                                                                                                                         Jordan (JD)                     0.71              0.95
to first quarter 2008 revenue            implementing stronger mea-         tion and catering, has report-       in Fujairah.
of $687 million and fourth               sures internally to optimise       ed net profits of $41 million           ADNH is also developing              Kuwait (KD)                     0.29              0.39
quarter 2008 revenue of                  resource utilisation.”             for the first quarter of this        three five-star hotels in Abu
$499 million.                               Alabbar added that the          year, representing a 10.4 per        Dhabi, namely JW Marriott               Lebanon (LBP)                   1,503             2,02
   The profits for the first             company has leveraged the          cent increase over the corre-        Resort and Spa, the 314-
three months of the year                 efforts of the government to       sponding period of 2008.             room Park Hyatt Hotel and               Libya (LYD)                     1.24              1.67
stood at $65 million, com-               boost investor sentiment.             The financial report for          Villas, and Capital Centre
pared to profits in the first            “Dubai has implemented a           the period of January 1 to           Hotel, as well as two new               Morocco (MAD)                   8.3               11.2
quarter of 2008 of $244                  range of initiatives to            March 31 also showed an              Yotel hotels in Abu Dhabi,
million and net operating                strengthen liquidity levels        improved performance of              thus introducing the Euro-              Oman (OMR)                      0.38              0.52
loss of $179 million in the              and boost consumer confi-          the group’s non-operational          pean hotel brand to the
fourth quarter of 2008.                  dence. These initiatives are       profits, which increased to          Middle East.                            Qatar (QAR)                     3.64              4.90
   According to chairman,                now yielding results, and we       $4.1 million, up from $1.3              Chairman, ADNH, H.E.
Emaar Properties, Moha-                  expect the real estate sector to   million in the first quarter         Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri                  Saudi Arabia (SAR)              3.75              5.04
med Alabbar, the company’s               demonstrate greater stability      of last year.                        said: “Abu Dhabi and the                Syria (SYP)                     46.1              61.9
growth strategy for 2009 is              in the coming months.”                The news comes as                 UAE continue to offer unri-
focused on strengthening                    Proof of Emaar Properties’      ADNH announced that it is            valled opportunities for the            Tunisia (TND)                   1.38              1.86
investor confidence by com-              commitment to develop-             moving ahead with an                 world and the region, and as
pleting existing projects                ment, during the first quar-       aggressive expansion strate-         the trendsetter in the                  UAE (DHS)                       3.68              4.95
while simultaneously ex-                 ter of 2009, the company           gy, adding more than 750             region’s hospitality sector,
ploring growth opportuni-                strengthened its presence in       hotel rooms to its portfolio         ADNH is committed to act-               Yemen (YER)                     200               270
ties in new markets. “The                Egypt with the well-received       by the end of 2009.                  ing quickly and decisively to
tough economic environ-                  launch of Mivida, a master-           The expansion will see            expand its portfolio and dri-
ment globally calls for tough            planned community in New           three new properties open in         ving the market forward at
measures and a strategic                 Cairo City.                        the second half of 2009; the         all times.”                                                      Prices correct as at May 18, 2009

6                                                                                                                                                                                                        June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com                                                                                                                                            INTERNATIONAL


Blu boutique luxury Stellar performance                                                                                                              International News Round-Up

                                                                                S
                                                                                      ingapore continues to
                                                                                      attract record numbers                                       *Cape Town: Coral Hotels & Resorts has announced that
                                                                                      of Middle East visitors                                      Coral International Cape Town is on schedule to open later
                                                                                with 30,000 travellers arriv-                                      this year. Group CEO, Cii Holdings – owner of the prop-
                                                                                ing in the first quarter of                                        erty – Hamza Farooqui said: “We are proud to say that
                                                                                this year.                                                         Coral International Cape Town will be open as planned
                                                                                   This figure represents a                                        well in advance of 2010 FIFA World Cup. Managed by
                                                                                five per cent increase over      Singapore continues to welcome    Coral Hotels & Resorts, it has been designed to offer the
                                                                                the same period in 2008,         strong regional visitor numbers   ultimate comforts and facilities.” South Africa continues to
                                                                                with its key markets – the                                         be a major attraction for tourists with foreign visitor num-
                                                                                UAE and the Kingdom of           the 2009 Reasons to Enjoy         bers for 2008 showing a substantial increase from the 2007
                                                                                Saudi Arabia – witnessing        Singapore campaign, which         figures. Tourist spending was also up in the country with
                                                                                stellar growth of 10 per cent    aims to position Singapore        business tourism numbers climbing sharply. *Prague:
                                                                                and 23 per cent respective-      as a vibrant, value-for-          Waldeck Capital, the developer of The Augustine, handed
                                                                                ly. “We are pleased to have      money destination.                over the keys of the property to operator The Rocco Forte
Free and unlimited WiFi Internet access is available across the hotel’s rooms   begun 2009 on a strong             This summer, Middle             Collection prior to its May 14 opening. The 101-room
and suites                                                                      note despite the economic        East visitors will be able to     hotel has been created from a complex of six historic build-
                                                                                downturn affecting the           take advantage of the Great       ings including a former brewery and the 13th century
    n a prime position oppo-            manager, Radisson Blu Le                global tourism industry,”        Singapore Sale or indulge in      Augustinian St. Thomas’ Monastery. The Augustine’s main

I   site the Eiffel Tower,
    Radisson Blu Le Metro-
politan Hotel is Paris’ newest
                                        Metro-politan Hotel, Alex-
                                        andre Fougerole.
                                           The 10 suites and 38
                                                                                said area director, Middle
                                                                                East and Africa, Singapore
                                                                                Tourism Board, Jason Ong.
                                                                                                                 Singapore delights with the
                                                                                                                 free Singapore Food Sam-
                                                                                                                 pler during the Singapore
                                                                                                                                                   196m² function room is housed in a double-height
                                                                                                                                                   vaulted hall and the hotel also has four private meeting
                                                                                                                                                   rooms for a range of exclusive events, dinners and meetings.
luxury boutique hotel.                  rooms offer free and unlim-                “With great-value pro-        Food Festival.                    *Macau: City of Dreams, an integrated entertainment
   Ensconced within a for-              ited WiFi Internet access,              motions on offer and new           According to Ong, total         resort located in Macau and being developed by Melco
mer 19th century private                40-inch LCD widescreen                  attractions coming on            visitor arrivals are expected     Crown Entertainment Limited, was due to open today,
residence, Radisson Blu Le              televisions with video-on-              stream, Middle East trav-        to soar. “Our vision is to        June 1. The initial opening phase of City of Dreams will
Metropolitan Hotel aims to              demand, an alarm radio                  ellers visiting Singapore will   reach a total visitor arrival     feature a 420,000ft² casino and a range of accommodation
offer its guests high levels of         with iPod dock and a                    continue to be greeted with      number of 17 million by           including the 300-room Crown Towers and the 300-room
comfort and facilities. “The            Nespresso coffee machine.               unique and exciting experi-      2015,” he confirmed to            Hard Rock Hotel. Furthermore, the lifestyle precinct The
Metropolitan is the Parisian               In a bid to cater to the             ences throughout the year,”      TTG. “Despite the current         Boulevard, operated by leading travel retailer DFS, will
pied-à-terre for a discreet             leisure traveller, the hotel            he added.                        time, there is still demand       comprise restaurants, bars, and retail brands, as well as The
and stylish clientele, provid-          boasts a quarter devoted to                Renowned as a top family-     for the destination – it is the   Bubble theatre. President, City of Dreams, Greg Hawkins
ing intimate surroundings               relaxation and pampering                friendly and cosmopolitan        number one destination for        said: “Diversity is the key to City of Dreams. It is diverse by
and satisfying those who                and includes a swimming                 destination, Singapore has       events. And meetings and          the nature of its dynamic mix of dining, shopping, leisure
expect prompt and unobtru-              pool, hammam and wellbe-                further enhanced its tourism     exhibitions still have to take    and entertainment offerings. What we offer is distinct and
sive service,” said general             ing area.                               offerings with the launch of     place,” he added.                 different to anything else in Macau.”




June 1, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                                    7
    DESTINATION Lebanon                                                                                                     www.ttgmena.com




                                         Golden era revived



      New hotel openings, early bookings, refurbishment programmes,
      increased flight connections, planned festivals and events – all
      strong indications that Lebanon is looking forward to a summer
      season of buoyancy and re-emergence. Claudio Saghbini reports



                                                              n the backbone of a year which saw tourist arrivals reach 1.4 million and increase

                                                     O        31 per cent from 2007, Lebanon is accelerating into the summer season of 2009
                                                              with a renewed sense of confidence, and is already boasting considerable pre-sum-
                                                     mer growth in all sectors of the tourism and hospitality industry.
                                                       Director general, Ministry of Tourism, Lebanon, Nada Sardouk commented: “We are
                                                     very optimistic about this year, and we predict we will witness a big boom this summer –
                                                     tourist arrivals are predicted to attain more than 1,700,000 by the end of the year.”
                                                       President, Association of Travel and Tourist Agents in Lebanon (ATTAL), Jean Abboud
                                                     added: “Lebanon has started to take a breath of fresh air. Whether it is the incoming, out-
                                                     going or ticketing sectors, all areas of the tourism industry have shown dramatic improve-
                                                     ment, and we are expecting a very promising summer season.”
                                                       The upbeat sentiments about Lebanon 2009 have rippled to all corners of the globe; The
                                                     New York Times recently declared Beirut as the number one place to visit in the world in
                                                     2009, while business advisory firm Deloitte recently confirmed that the city was the desti-
                                                     nation that achieved the strongest growth in 2008 from all others across the entire Middle
                                                     East region, reporting a 101 per cent leap in RevPAR to $95.
                                                       In a recent report, WTTC predicted that Lebanon’s travel and tourism economy is fore-
                                                     casted for future growth of three per cent per year in real terms between 2010 and 2019,
                                                     and ranked Lebanon’s travel and tourism economy at 19th among 181 countries in terms
                                                     of its contribution to GDP in 2009.

                                                     Vigilance needed

                                                     Moving into the summer season, confidence in Lebanon remains high amongst professionals
                                                     in the industry, with most projecting that tourism will achieve a 20 per cent growth over last
                                                     year. Beirut has over the past few months been witnessing average hotel occupancy levels of
                                                     up to 95 per cent, according to Abboud, with summer bookings already looking promising.
                                                       He stressed however that the growth should be measured and vital steps taken to secure
                                                     the wellbeing of all sectors and to allow for flexibility. According to Abboud, one of
                                                     ATTAL’s primary functions is to protect the interests of travel agents and tour operators in
                                                     the country, and the association has been committed to providing as much security and
                                                     protection as possible to its 200-strong IATA-accredited members, as well as to the other
                                                     non-accredited members alike.
                                                       “We have been very active in the past couple of years, but the most important achieve-
                                                     ment has perhaps been the Default Insurance Policy which will enable all travel agents in
                                                     Lebanon to withdraw from the bank guarantee that has become very heavy for them, and
                                                     replace it with an insurance plan. This will be implemented as of June 1 and we consider it
                                                     as an important development for travel agents and tour operators.”
                                                       Among ATTAL’s IATA-accredited members is Wild Discovery Travel & Tourism, one of
                                                     the most established travel and tourism providers in Lebanon which runs a network of
                                                     agencies across the country and region. The company recently announced that it would
                                                     open three new branches in Lebanon in the shopping area of Furn el Chabback, on the
                                                     Zalka highway, and in the Zahle Boulevard area, adding to its existing four retail travel
                                                     agencies in Lebanon, in addition to its dedicated B2B corporate and agent desk.
                                                       “Our internal expansion is justified by the dynamism of the Lebanese travel market on
                                                     both outbound and inbound levels,” senior marketing executive, Wild Discovery Travel &
                                                     Tourism Lebanon, Johnny Modawar told TTG.

8                                                                                                                                   June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com                                                                                                                          DESTINATION Lebanon


   “As part of our expansion, Wild Discovery has also collaborated with the leading Saint              Centre, as well as international festivals in Byblos, Tyre, and Beiteddine, and more local fes-
Joseph University to launch the annual Sales Training Programme in Lebanon – an initia-                tivals in the cities, villages and mountains across the country.
tive which every year helps the most capable fresh graduates to join us, and this year’s edi-
tion is currently running in Lebanon for the third year in a row and in Damascus for the               Connecting Lebanon to the world
first year. Both trainings gather every year a total of 40 people.
   “In terms of promotion, we have set a wide range of summer offers to please every profile           Strengthening its aerial ties with the rest of the world, Lebanon’s aviation sector is moving
of clients,” continued Modawar.” We have pay-and-stay promotions and great deals for short             forward with the addition of new destinations by the national carrier, as well as the launch
breaks, however, our best deal remains the discounts applicable on packages booked and paid            of direct flights to and from Beirut by European and regional carriers.
by certain dates. This is our recurrent summer offer that aims to encourage early bookings,               Commenting on the developments, Abboud told TTG: “There is the feeling of a ‘green
which is also the best way to find the lowest ticket fares and availability at the chosen hotels.”     light’ to Lebanon from all over. Our national carrier has increased capacity by 12,000 seats
                                                                                                       a week, while others are increasing their services as well. For instance, now we are having
Meeting demand                                                                                         more flights to Paris, and there are increased flights to Cairo, Jordan and important Gulf
                                                                                                       destinations wherever there are Lebanese communities.”
Commenting on the availability of hotel rooms in Beirut, Abboud stressed that if tourism                  Dubai’s first low-cost airline, flydubai, recently announced that flights would commence
demand continues to grow at its current pace, there will be an urgent need for additional              by June 1 with a daily service to Beirut, in a bid to cater to the large number of Lebanese
hotel rooms in the city. “Infrastructure and supply has to increase in parallel with growth;           expatriates in Dubai and the UAE, as well as to the Lebanese wanting to visit Dubai.
the more tourists we receive, the more will have to be invested in resorts and infrastructure.”           CEO, flydubai, Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “We are offering a low-cost alternative to residents
   The country already boasts a promising pipeline, with new hotel and resort properties to            of Dubai and Lebanon who want to travel for leisure or visit relatives and friends more often.”
include the forthcoming 158-room Hilton Beirut, as well as the 230-room and suite Four                    Meanwhile, following the launch of a daily service to Lebanon on March 1, Kuwait-based
Seasons Hotel Beirut, the latter of which is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2009           Wataniya Airways recently announced that it was set to launch double daily flights to Beirut
in the new Beirut Central District.                                                                    in order to cater to the growth in demand for flights during the summer period.
   “Four Seasons Hotel Beirut will represent the today and the future of this great city,” vice           “Beirut is an important pillar in our strategy of providing preferred destinations along
president, sales and marketing, Europe and Middle East, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts,                 with convenient schedules and a premium service to our guests,” said chairman, Wataniya
David Crowl told TTG. “The architecture is futuristic in style and the interior design                 Airways, Abdulsalam Al Bahar. “This expansion of our network and services will help meet
embraces a French influence but with a contemporary edge – but most importantly, we will               increased demand for both first class and premium economy seats to popular destinations
strive to offer sincere, friendly and intuitive levels of service.”                                    during the peak summer period.”
   Elsewhere in Beirut, upcoming openings include the 101-room Coral Suites Hotel Beirut                  Middle East Airlines (MEA) itself revealed intensified frequencies to destinations where
scheduled to launch on July 15, as well as the 87-room Le Gray Hotel Beirut, set to open               there is big demand for tourism to Lebanon, such as from Arab countries and some
at the end of June in the historical Downtown area of Beirut’s Central District.                       European destinations, particularly those with connections to North Atlantic traffic,
   Director of sales and marketing, Le Gray Hotel Beirut, Hala Hachache commented: “With               according to head, commercial, MEA Airliban, Nizar Khoury.
an exceptional location in the heart of Beirut, Le Gray Hotel Beirut will really stand out from           The airline was set to launch a service to Berlin as of June 1, as well as Copenhagen and
what already exists in Beirut. It is the perfect timing to open the hotel as Beirut needs addi-        Nice during the summer. “Frequency has also been increased to twice daily to Amman,
tional capacity to respond to the demand and the expected brilliant summer season.”                    Cairo and Dubai. There are also four flights per week to both Rome and Milan, and we
   Existing properties have themselves been proceeding with confident investments includ-              will start a daily flights service to Geneva starting from June 15 up to September 20, as well
ing Grand Hotel Kadri, which has undergone several upgrades and has stepped up its efforts             as daily flights to Frankfurt. Summertime will also see 11 flights per week to both Riyadh
with festival organisers and winery associations to provide unique experiences for its guests.         and Jeddah, starting from June 15 until October 24,” explained Khoury, adding that traf-
   Located in Zahle, some 55km east of Beirut, the hotel is introducing a new garden and               fic in and out of Lebanon has been increasing yearly at around 20 per cent.
has upgraded its suites as well as its conference and ballroom facilities, which can now                  “MEA passenger traffic in 2008 reached a total of 1,390,000. As for 2009, we have an
accommodate all kinds of workshops, seminars and incentive programmes. Director of sales               increase of nearly 55,000 passengers over 2008 for the same period,” concluded Khoury.
and marketing, Grand Hotel Kadri, Sandra Haddad told TTG: “Grand Hotel Kadri
believes that tourism is about more than just accommodation; it is about creating an engag-
ing experience. Renovation is an ongoing issue that makes us the pioneers in the region.”
   Haddad further noted that the hotel will also be relaunching the Baalbeck International
Festival in collaboration with the festival’s organisers. After two slow years, the festival is aim-
ing to regain top status with events set to be launched in June and which will be held regular-
ly until the end of August, according to Haddad, who added that the hotel has been the main
host for Baalbeck International Festival since 1999, with many artists staying at the hotel.
   Sardouk added that other events in Lebanon are set to include the International Tourism
Fair of Islamic Countries from June 26 to 28 at Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure




June 1, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                        9
www.ttgmena.com                                                                                                                                        DESTINATION Lebanon


Distinctive offerings A distinguished summer A getaway in the city
H
         abtoor Hotels in              Noujaim expressed to                                                                                                   oral Beach Hotel &         tion, facilities and services,
         Lebanon,      which
         boasts the 195-
room Habtoor Grand Hotel
                                       TTG. “Elsewhere, the Mall
                                       is uniquely themed and ten-
                                       ants from a carefully select-
                                                                                                                                                      C       Resort – Beirut
                                                                                                                                                              recently announced
                                                                                                                                                      the re-opening of its out-
                                                                                                                                                                                         Coral Beach Hotel &
                                                                                                                                                                                         Resort – Beirut is ideal for
                                                                                                                                                                                         business and leisure trav-
Convention Centre & Spa                ed range of brands will                                                                                        door resort area in time for       ellers. The resort has a spec-
and the 183-room Metro-                assure a shopping experi-                                                                                      the summer season, a period        tacular view of the
politan Palace Hotel, has              ence of exceptional variety,                                                                                   which marketing manager,           Mediterranean Sea, which
announced new develop-                 while at La Plage, guests can                                                                                  Coral Beach Hotel &                offers a wide range of leisure
ments at its Beirut premises.          enjoy the Pool bar, unique                                                                                     Resort,      Rana       Younes     and sports activities such as
   Habtoor Grand Hotel                 treatments at the outdoor                                                                                      believes will be very success-     jet skiing, water skiing,
Convention Centre & Spa                massage room, and partici-                                                                                     ful for the property.              basketball and volleyball,”
has introduced a Mall as               pate in Aqua aerobics or pri-                                                                                    “The summer season               she added.
well as La Plage on the first          vate swimming lessons.”               Mouawad: The hotel is a main provider of mountain tourism and offers a   looks very promising for              Among its offerings, the
floor of its 3,500m2 Elixir               At      the      adjoining         stress-free environment away from the city                               Coral Beach, especially as         hotel consists of 24 fully-
Spa, an area that includes a           Metropolitan Palace Hotel –                                                                                    we have already been run-          furnished chalets, 500 cab-
heated outdoor swimming                Beirut, open since 2001,                  nterContinental Mzaar Lebanon, located in the moun-                  ning at full occupancy. The        ins, two large swimming
pool, heated Hydro pool
with waterfalls, and an out-
door 100m jogging track.
                                       business continues to be
                                       strong, according to Nouj-
                                       iam, thanks to its range of
                                                                             I   tainous area of Mzaar just an hour’s drive from Beirut,
                                                                                 is promising a summer filled with events and packages,
                                                                             as well as further product enhancement following hotel-
                                                                                                                                                      recreational facilities offered
                                                                                                                                                      by the hotel during the
                                                                                                                                                      summer period make it a
                                                                                                                                                                                         pools and a children’s pool,
                                                                                                                                                                                         as well as an array of meet-
                                                                                                                                                                                         ing facilities and a flexible
   According to operations             facilities which include its          wide remodelling.                                                        very attractive location for       ballroom. The resort area,
manager in charge of PR                reputed conference and ban-              According to director of sales and marketing,                         families      and        leisure   La Rotonda, boasts a view
and        communications,             queting amenities. These              InterContinental Mzaar Lebanon, Cyril Mouawad, the                       tourists,” Younes told TTG.        over the seashore, is
Habtoor      Hotels,    Rita           include eight meeting rooms           resort’s optimistic vision for 2009 has motivated the initia-              “With its splendid loca-         designed for outdoor wed-
Massad Noujaim, the 32-                and one grand ballroom –              tion of a refurbishment programme which started on May                                                      dings, special celebrations
floor hotel already holds              the Dubai Hall, all which             1 and is set to end on June 15; a period during which the                                                   and cocktail receptions, and
claim to being the highest             are adaptable for any kind            hotel is closed to public.                                                                                  boasts a capacity of up to
hotel in Lebanon, and                  of occasion.                             The project includes a partial renovation of the lobby, an                                               1,800 people.
boasts the Emirates Hall,                 The hotel also presents a          overhaul of the main building levels 3, 4 and 5 with gue-                                                      The hotel, which is locat-
the country’s biggest ball-            range of recreational facili-         strooms’ refurbishment, an update of the Fire Life Safety                                                   ed close to Beirut Inter-
room at 2,200m². “The                  ties with a gymnasium,                measures, and the addition of an indoor ballroom and five                                                   national Airport and Beirut
Emirates Hall is the biggest,          swimming pool, sauna,                 adjacent meeting rooms following the hotel’s proclaimed 48                                                  Central District, as well as
highest and best-decorated             Jacuzzi and steam bath in its         per cent increase in occupancy from the MICE market.                                                        major shopping and enter-
ballroom in Lebanon,”                  Dimension Health Club.                   “Driving through 2009 with innovation and profession-                                                    tainment areas, has also
                                                                             alism, InterContinental Mzaar is very proud to stay up-to-                                                  recently opened the Tiny
                                                                             date and offer its clientele the utmost in heritage and                                                     Town, which consists of a
                                                                             comfort through the latest expertise,” Mouawad told TTG.                                                    safely-designed children’s
                                                                                “InterContinental Mzaar Lebanon is the only hotel in                                                     playground where special
                                                                             Lebanon that offers such a diversity of leisure indoor and                                                  amusement activities, pro-
                                                                             outdoor activities, as well as direct access to 85km of ski                                                 grammes for children and
                                                                             slopes, a stress-free environment away from city noise and                                                  birthday parties are offered
                                                                             pollution, the most diversified restaurant complex in the                Younes: The summer season looks    under the supervision of
                                                                             area, MICE facilities, a 1,200m² health spa, a 121-seat                  very promising for Coral Beach     qualified caretakers.
                                                                             auditorium, and it is an ideal destination for romantic get-
                                                                             aways with our choice of honeymooners’ packages.”
                                                                                According to Mouawad, summertime at the hotel and
                                                                             region of Mzaar is set to include cultural and traditional
                                                                             exhibitions including the Mzaar Summer Festival in
                                                                                                                                                      On a whole new level
                                                                             August, while the hotel has designed several summer pack-                       nastasia Travel, an         Anastasia Travel, Aline
                                                                             ages which aim to combine wellbeing, outdoor activities
                                                                             and pleasure.                                                            A      established tour opera-
                                                                                                                                                             tor in the Lebanese
                                                                                                                                                      market since 1992, has
                                                                                                                                                                                         Ghanem told TTG: “To be
                                                                                                                                                                                         the biggest is not just about
                                                                                                                                                                                         volume, it is about the qual-
                                                                                                                                                      announced its implementa-          ity of service. Our system

Among the facilities at the two adjoining hotels, Habtoor Grand Hotel fea-
tures what is proclaimed as the largest ballroom in the country
                                                                              Investing in upgrades                                                   tion of a new online system
                                                                                                                                                      as well as a new website, both
                                                                                                                                                      of which are interlinked and
                                                                                                                                                                                         upgrade and new website
                                                                                                                                                                                         allows us to provide a better
                                                                                                                                                                                         and higher quality service to


                                                                             G
                                                                                      efinor       Rotana           The hotel’s rooftop pool          now fully functional.              our clients, and will make
                                                                                      Beirut moves into          and terrace garden have re-             Bought from the US and          life easier for travel agents.
Adding more value                                                                     the summer season
                                                                             boasting a series of hotel-
                                                                             wide enhancements, as well
                                                                                                                 opened for the summer,
                                                                                                                 while the open-air Aquarius
                                                                                                                 Pool Bar will broadcast live
                                                                                                                                                      customised to the Lebanese
                                                                                                                                                      and Middle Eastern market,
                                                                                                                                                      the system supports all the
                                                                                                                                                                                         It takes Anastasia Travel to a
                                                                                                                                                                                         whole new level.”
                                                                                                                                                                                            According to Ghanem,
       s a result of continual enhancements, Edde Sands                      as being the recent recipient       sporting events. In October,         services that Anastasia            the booking engine has

A      Beach Resort & Wellness – located in Byblos some
       40km from Beirut – is preparing for a busy summer
season that will give guests added value for their money.
                                                                             of the acclaimed Hazard
                                                                             Analysis Critical Control
                                                                             Point Certificate (HACCP).
                                                                                                                 plans are also underway to
                                                                                                                 start a lobby renovation
                                                                                                                 which will include a new
                                                                                                                                                      Travel provides, which
                                                                                                                                                      includes hotel reservations,
                                                                                                                                                      activities, car rentals, enter-
                                                                                                                                                                                         been plugged into the com-
                                                                                                                                                                                         pany’s new website and is
                                                                                                                                                                                         addressed to the B2B mar-
  Changes at the resort include a new beach bar which is set                    According to assistant           design and increased capaci-         tainment, restaurants, and         ket, but by the end of the
to open this month, according to sales and marketing man-                    marketing and communica-            ty for the all-day dining            group bookings                     year will be geared towards
ager, Edde Sands Beach Resort & Wellness, Mayssa Sfeir, as                   tions manager, Gefinor              Olive and Oil Restaurant                Operations        manager,      the B2C segment as well.
well as a new lodging concept which will be named Les                        Rotana Beirut, Jeanine              and Rumours Bar.
Villas and will comprise cabanas for day and evening use.                    Aoun, the hotel has intro-             Further to this, the hotel
  Following the introduction of a new ballroom at the begin-                 duced flatscreen LCDs to            has been awarded the
ning of the year, Edde Sands Beach Resort & Wellness is also                 all its suites and Club             HACCP certificate for its
set to introduce VIP areas which will be able to host private                Rotana rooms, and plans to          efforts to ensure high levels
dinners as well as weddings of up to 150 persons, with the                   extend this to all rooms by         of food quality and safety,
added value of priority parking and personalised service.                    early 2010.                         and proclaims itself as the
  Commenting on the developments, Sfeir told TTG: “The                          “In-room     technologies        first hotel in Lebanon to
best is always expected from the best, and at Edde Sands we                  have advanced, and now is           become HACCP certified.
are simply responding to the market demands and the great                    the right time to invest in         General manager, Gefinor
improvement of Byblos as a destination.”                                     upgrades to keep apace with         Rotana      Beirut,     Mark
  A variety of new membership programmes have been                           the new hotels that will be         Timbrell said: “It demon-
introduced at the resort which include wellness and health                   opening in Beirut. Flat-            strates our commitment to
packages and programmes that will be made available to the                   screen LCD technology is            our customers and puts us
public as of June, according to Sfeir, yet the resort still                  fast becoming an expecta-           in line with the high stan-
remains open to customising packages according to the                        tion of the frequent trav-          dards that Rotana hotels
guest’s individual needs and desires.                                        eller,” Aoun told TTG.              have established.”

June 1, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                                       11
                DESTINATION Lebanon                                                                                                                                              www.ttgmena.com




A good time to invest in hotel enhancements Lebanese atmosphere
          onroe Hotels, operator of two properties in Beirut      that can cater for up to 25 people and which, as per its sis-

M         and one in Brummana, has revealed to TTG its
          confident pre-summer developments aimed at
enhancing its properties across Lebanon.
                                                                  ter property in Beirut, again boasts the latest AV equipment
                                                                  that has become expected of the discerning business guest.
                                                                     Further east of Beirut in Brummana, Printania Palace
  Flagship property Monroe Hotel, located in the heart of         Hotel has undergone a renovation of all of its rooms, and
the central Beirut district and overlooking the Solidere          was set to introduce a new outdoor area in June for wed-
Marina Yacht Club, has introduced its fifth and newest            dings and private dinners for up to 500 seated people,
meeting room – The Blue Sky Room; a space which,                  according to Morcos.
according to sales manager in charge of sales and marketing,         Commenting on the developments at the three proper-
Monroe Hotels, Chady Morcos, can host up to 50 people             ties, Morcos told TTG: “We felt that it was a good time to
and features the latest AV equipment. The hotel has also          further invest in enhancing our hotels, as there appears to be
undergone a renovation of its outdoor pool, which is set to       very high demand and it is important to maintain a good
open in June for all in-house guests.                             image and product offering amongst our customers.
  Meanwhile, Markazia Monroe Suites, located within                  “Summer bookings have shown big progress from previ-
walking distance from the major Solidere attractions and          ous years and we have experienced a lot of materialised busi-
nightlife, recently enjoyed a renovation at the majority of its   ness until the end of 2009, so this has made us confident in
81 hotel suites, and has introduced a new meeting room            our properties and in the country,” concluded Morcos.            Riviera Beach Lounge is open for the summer


                                                                                                                                           iviera Hotel Beirut          aside from the recent re-

                                                                                                                                   R       has announced that
                                                                                                                                           its Riviera Beach
                                                                                                                                   Lounge has opened its
                                                                                                                                                                        opening of the beach, all
                                                                                                                                                                        rooms are set to be fitted
                                                                                                                                                                        with new LCD television
                                                                                                                                   doors and will be open for           screens, new carpets, bed-
                                                                                                                                   the remainder of the sum-            ding and mattresses; a
                                                                                                                                   mer season.                          project which is to be
                                                                                                                                     According to director of           completed by July.
                                                                                                                                   sales and marketing, Riviera            “We felt that it is vital to
                                                                                                                                   Hotel Beirut, Rita Aprat             keep upgrading our product
                                                                                                                                   Faddoul, guests are now able         and facilities in order to fol-
                                                                                                                                   to enjoy the renovated               low the latest trends and
                                                                                                                                   Lounge with its ambience             remain competitive. This
                                                                                                                                   and stylish facilities. “They        summer, we are expecting a
                                                                                                                                   will be served in a variety of       lot of visitors and so we feel
                                                                                                                                   outlets, three outdoor swim-         that the timing is ideal as it
                                                                                                                                   ming pools, six private bun-         means we can offer added
                                                                                                                                   galows with Jacuzzis, eight          value to our customers dur-
                                                                                                                                   Turning Beds, a VIP lounge           ing our busy summer sea-
                                                                                                                                   with private Jacuzzi, and            son,” Faddoul told TTG.
                                                                                                                                   The Island, the charming                A second phase of renova-
                                                                                                                                   place for their night enter-         tion, commencing after the
                                                                                                                                   tainment, where everyone             summer, will involve hotel-
                                                                                                                                   has to be seen this season!”         wide changes at all public
                                                                                                                                     According to Faddoul,              and private spaces.



                                                                                                                                   Looking to the future
                                                                                                                                       n a bid to uphold its            efit from contribution to eco

                                                                                                                                   I   loyal customer base and
                                                                                                                                       further implement cor-
                                                                                                                                   porate social responsibility,
                                                                                                                                                                        causes and saved costs.
                                                                                                                                                                        Europe and America are very
                                                                                                                                                                        sensitive to these issues, and
                                                                                                                                   Le Royal Hotel Beirut has            the Middle East should act
                                                                                                                                   introduced a new environ-            immediately in this respect
                                                                                                                                   mental policy as well as a           as well,” said Mouawad.
                                                                                                                                   Royal Club loyalty pro-                 “Since our theme for the
                                                                                                                                   gramme for its business and          year is ‘looking to the
                                                                                                                                   leisure guests alike.                future’, we also wanted to
                                                                                                                                      Director of sales and mar-        honour the children who
                                                                                                                                   keting, Le Royal Hotel               come to visit our the
                                                                                                                                   Beirut, Joyce Mouawad told           Watergate Aqua Park. In
                                                                                                                                   TTG: “Although the hotel             this respect, we are working
                                                                                                                                   business in Lebanon is               on a special programme for
                                                                                                                                   doing well, the travel indus-        children that will highlight
                                                                                                                                   try worldwide is experienc-          their presence, contribution
                                                                                                                                   ing a slowdown, so loyalty           and talents.”
                                                                                                                                   is of prime importance                  According to Mouawad,
                                                                                                                                   during these times.”                 Le Royal Hotel Beirut dif-
                                                                                                                                      Referring to the hotel’s          ferentiates itself from the
                                                                                                                                   new environmental initia-            competition thanks to its
                                                                                                                                   tives, Mouawad added that            tradition of five-star service
                                                                                                                                   the hotel has always been            and unique selling points
                                                                                                                                   active in greening forests and       such as the authentic
                                                                                                                                   conserving energy, but want-         Turkish Hamam, compre-
                                                                                                                                   ed to take these to the next         hensive Royal Spa, and its
                                                                                                                                   level by developing a new            very own water park. “For a
                                                                                                                                   green programme which fur-           cultural, historical, gastro-
                                                                                                                                   ther addressed the ecology           nomic and emotional trip
                                                                                                                                   and environment, both on             that will unveil all sides of
                                                                                                                                   and off the property.                the Middle East at its very
                                                                                                                                      “Guests are increasingly          best, come visit us at Le
                                                                                                                                   demanding         eco-friendly       Royal to truly discover what
                                                                                                                                   lodgings, while management           Lebanon is all about,”
                                                                                                                                   and employees can also ben-          expressed Mouawad.

12                                                                                                                                                                                     June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com                                                                                                                                           INTERVIEW




                                                        Upholding reputations

                                                                Commercial manager, Middle East, British Airways (BA), Paolo De Renzis talks
                                                                to Emily Millett about not resting on your laurels when faced with challenges and
                                                                why BA is not afraid of a little competition




TTG: What challenges do you foresee for BA for the rest of this year? And what                    will redefine our flagship brand and reinforce both its exclusivity and our dedication to
actions will you take in order to meet those challenges?                                          customer service. Embodiment of our new first class cabins on our long-haul aircraft will
                                                                                                  begin immediately.
BA has benefited from its commercial experience and the dedication and expertise of its             Our new Club World product is now embodied on all our regionally-operating aircraft and
staff to deal with many difficulties over the years. We are confident that the changes we are     our Boeing 777’s yet to be fitted with this award-winning product will be complete in 2009.
making to our business and our focus on delivering excellent customer service and value-            On the ground, Terminal 5’s impressive recent performance figures show BA now has a
for-money are the correct responses to the current trading conditions and will prepare us         modern hub at London Heathrow which can service our global network of more than
well for the recovery, when it comes.                                                             150 destinations.
  However, until then no-one is immune and after record financial results in 2007/2008,             By bringing the majority of our Heathrow services under one roof, our primary objective
we have projected to post a loss of over £140 million for the 2008/09 fiscal year.                – to ensure our customers enjoy a smooth, seamless airport experience – has been realised,
  Our CEO, Willie Walsh, recently mentioned the current economic downturn – which                 and Terminal 5 is a valuable asset which is working well.
has led to the worst trading environment the industry has ever faced – will roll on in to
2010. With that in mind, we need to focus on our services, global network, consolidation          TTG: Following the initial problems surrounding the opening of T5, you went on
avenues, competitive fares and our reputation as the airline industry’s product innovators        to welcome a total of 20 million passengers in the first year of operation and
to help get us through these tough times.                                                         received some of the best feedback scores ever – what is in store for its second year
                                                                                                  of operation?
TTG: Can you outline the driving factors behind the recent 35 per cent increase in
services to the Middle East?                                                                      Yes, Terminal 5 is now working well and our customer feedback has been the most positive
                                                                                                  since the £4.3billion [$6.3 billion] facility opened last year.
The aviation industry is experiencing the worst trading environment it has ever faced and           One of Terminal 5’s key successes has been the extensive range of state-of-the-art facilities
no-one is immune from the global economic downturn, not even the Middle East. That                including the Galleries; a luxurious 15,000ft² complex of six lounges with the look of a stun-
said, although the region may not be enjoying the spectacular growth it has seen in recent        ning boutique hotel. Our premium customers, who have exclusive use of the Galleries, have
years, it remains a vitally important market to the airline and one where we are continual-       given us great feedback on the lounges, but we are never completely satisfied.
ly examining expansion strategies.                                                                  Regardless of the economic situation and bleak trading conditions, one of our priorities
   For example, our re-entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will see BA operate          for the next year is to make sure we keep improving all aspects of the Terminal’s operations
five weekly services to stations in both Jeddah and Riyadh, represents a ten-flight contribu-     and ensure our products and services are at the highest quality for our customers.
tion to what is our largest-ever Middle East summer schedule.
   When the aviation market between Britain and Saudi Arabia was recently liberalised, we         TTG: With climate change one of the most pressing and long-term challenges faced
reviewed the possibility of resuming flights to the Kingdom and came to the conclusion it         by the aviation industry, what is BA doing to reduce its carbon emissions?
made commercial sense. We constantly review our network in the interests of ensuring prof-
itability and, with Saudi’s major business and financial development as well as significant       Aviation undoubtedly plays a part in global CO² emissions, but its share is small – less than
inward investment, our May re-entry makes sound financial sense to the airline.                   two per cent. Road transport contributes six times more and power generation 16 times more.
                                                                                                    That said, BA has been taking steps to limit its impact on climate change for longer than
TTG: Are there any future plans for BA to further expand its regional route network               any of our global competitors, and at present we are the only airline in the world commit-
within the Middle East?                                                                           ted to a carbon emissions trading scheme. During this programme, our customers and the
                                                                                                  company have reduced CO² emissions by 23 per cent.
We are continuously reviewing and updating our route network to suit the needs of our cus-          Additionally, only recently BA announced a radical target of halving our net CO² emis-
tomers and ensure we are servicing routes which make commercial sense for the company.            sions by 2050. We will look to achieve this via investment in cleaner aircraft, use of alter-
  Aside from our re-entry to Saudi Arabia, the Middle East continues to be at the top of our      native fuels, more efficient flight routings and the spread of emissions trading from Europe
global business agenda and, although we believe the strength of our regional commercial           to the world.
proposition holds us in good stead in terms of profitability, we aren’t resting on our laurels.     Already, we have improved our fuel efficiency by 28 per cent since 1990, saving a total
We’ll be making more significant regional route announcements before the year is over.            of 60 million tonnes of CO², and have recently set a further 25 per cent improvement in
                                                                                                  fuel efficiency by 2025.
TTG: How do you plan to stay on top of the fierce competition in the MENA region?                   Our carbon offset scheme is user-friendly; customers are able to buy their offset in one
                                                                                                  transaction when they book their flight on ba.com. Among the projects supported by the
Customers look for experience, comfort, leading products and proven track records. With           carbon offset scheme are wind farms and hydro-electric plants in China and Brazil.
over 76 years of operational experience in the Middle East, BA is unrivalled in this respect.       We have recently ordered 12 Airbus A380s and 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are
As I mentioned previously, we are also in a process of modernising our fleet.                     between 17 and 30 per cent more fuel efficient per seat than the aircraft they will replace.
  Elsewhere, the fleet-wide embodiment programme of our new Club World cabin is                   These new aircraft will also provide major environmental improvements in terms of global
almost complete, while later this year we will start rolling out our new first class.             emissions, local air quality and noise.
  If BA remains committed to investing in industry-leading products and services, I see no
reason why competition should worry us. Competition increases consumer choice and as              TTG: What has your own career journey been like with BA?
long as it’s on a level playing field, we are confident our products, services and global net-
work will serve us well in what is an extremely competitive region for the global industry.       I joined BA in 1988 where I entered the sales department after having successfully finished
                                                                                                  my University studies in Law, Business and Commerce. I was appointed business manager
TTG: What steps have been made or are planned for this year to move forward and                   for Italy but after two years I moved to Milan, where I took over responsibility as sales man-
enhance the BA service for customers both on the ground and in the air?                           ager for Northern Italy.
                                                                                                     Eventually I became commercial manager in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, before
Later this year, we will be unveiling a brand new first class product. The new first class        securing my first regional posting in March.

June 1, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                 13
                ON LOCATION Tunisia                                                                                                                                         www.ttgmena.com




                                                                     Refining an identity

                                                                         With the implementation of the long-awaited Open Skies Agreement, a
                                                                         healthy investment climate and a re-energised hotel sector, Tunisia is
                                                                         preparing to shake off its former guise as a low-budget destination and
                                                                              instead present a new, sophisticated look, finds Emily Millett




W
            ith the current investment climate in Tunisia proving favourable, it is no surprise    Quality versus quantity
            that its tourism sector, which accounts for some seven per cent of its GDP, is
            now widely recognised as the country’s largest foreign currency earner, repre-            “Tunisia is known for cheap prices and it is also known for low-quality levels. For the last
senting 17 per cent of the total and providing jobs for an estimated 450,000 people.               few years, more and more hotels such as Le Sultan are working hard on improving the qual-
   “Tourism is a key element of the Tunisian economy, and its development is fundamen-             ity standards and targeting a high service level. Some international brands are now present
tal to maintaining high growth rates and lowering unemployment. As the country develops,           in the country including Radisson, Mövenpick, and Sheraton,” general manager, Hotel Le
it will need to move up the value chain and increase efficiency levels,” sales manager –           Sultan, Mehdi Allani told TTG.
MICE, Radisson SAS Resort & Thalasso, Djerba, Katia Maammar De Lorenzis told TTG.                     After hosting a series of top championships, Tunisia is rapidly gaining a reputation as a
   Governmental prioritisation on the travel and tourism industry coupled with their gen-          higher quality holiday destination with activities geared specifically towards targeting
erous investments into the sector and the running of effective destination marketing cam-          this market.
paigns have earned Tunisia a high ranking place on the 2008 World Economic Forum                      Emerging as one of the Mediterranean’s foremost golfing destinations, Tunisia has a
Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, which positions the country first in Africa and          number of first-rate golf courses that, thanks to the dependable warm and sunny climate,
second in the Arab world out of 130 nations – preceding the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt,           are open all year round.
Mauritius and South Africa.                                                                           “Tunisia is developing the major infrastructure and also sports activities including a num-
   “The index is not a beauty contest or a statement about the attractiveness of a country         ber of new golf courses. We did spend many years doing small investments and getting
but rather, it measures factors that make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism          small results. We have noticed a total change over the last three years now and I am sure the
industry of the particular country,” continued De Lorenzis.                                        results will follow,” continued Allani.
   In recent years, niche forms of tourism have begun to emerge, allowing Tunisia to further          While Tunisia is retaining its legacy as a long-time favourite destination for sea lovers and
promote its product in terms of attracting select target markets. Proving an increasing pop-       desert enthusiasts, in diversifying its appeal and promoting itself as a top-of-the-range des-
ular feature on the country’s tourist scene is the advent of spa and medical tourism.              tination, the country aims to meet the needs of this new genre of consumer.
                                                                                                      Commercial manager, British Airways (BA) – Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, David
World-class wellness                                                                               Fordham explained to TTG: “More recently, the authorities have turned towards new types
                                                                                                   of tourism, such as ecotourism, thalassotherapy and spas, medical tourism and golf. BA is
According to former Minister of Tourism, Tunisia, Ahmed Smaou, the medical tourism                 working closely with the Tunisian tourist board to facilitate the promotion of the variety of
industry in the country has a great future; a prediction that has been reinforced by Tunisia’s     holidays to be found in this unique part of the world.
positioning as second in the world’s leading sea-water therapy destinations, behind France.           “Tunisia 2008 was an excellent year for BA. We started operating on March 30, 2008
   While the natural elements already in place have undoutedly worked in Tunisia’s favour          with five flights a week. Between April to September 2008, demand on flights between
on its climb up the ladder of success to reach this leading position, the quality of its infra-    Tunisia and London was far beyond expectations. Consequently, BA introduced a daily
structure, treatments, centres and staff have also played an imperative role in attracting         operation on the route this summer,” Fordham concluded.
regular customers and health tourists.
   As the country emerges from the shadows of its previous image as a low-budget, low-qual-        Opening the skies
ity destination, and increasing numbers of tourists become enlightened to the world-class
thalasso and wellness facilities available, hotels around Tunisia are being forced to step up      With air traffic expected to continue rising, the implementation of the long-awaited Open
their game to keep up with the competition.                                                        Skies Agreement has come at an opportune time. The agreement now allows European,
   Hotel Thalassa Monastir is currently undergoing a rebranding initiative to open in              American, Canadian and Arabic airlines to operate freely in Tunisian airspace. Managing
November as Radisson Blu Resort & Thalasso. Amongst other leisure amenities to be fea-             director, Experience International, Steve Worboys said: “The confirmation of the Open
tured in the hotel, the new Radisson Blu will have two new spa’s spread over 12,000m²              Skies Agreement can only be good news for Tunisia. We have seen tourism demand rise sig-
comprising pools, saunas, hammams and treatment rooms as well as 20 unique spa suites              nificantly over the last couple of years and now holidaymakers will find it even easier and
ranging from 70 to 250m². Thalasso treatments will be at the epi-centre of the spa’s focus         more affordable to visit this beautiful country.”
using the sea to benefit the body.                                                                    In line with this growing demand, it is unsurprising that Tunisia’s Enfidha International
   “Thalassotherapy still remains an important emerging market within the tourism indus-           Airport is taking strides to accommodate the increase in services and ease the passenger expe-
try in Tunisia with the European markets especially showing a strong tendancy and demand           rience. Work on the construction of the airport is moving ahead as planned according to
for this. More recently, medical tourism has begun to emerge here with the main feeder             CEO, Tepe Afken Ventures (TAV) – the Turkish holding company in charge of the building
market being Libyan tourists who come to Tunisia for surgery and recuperation,” market-            and management of the new Zine El Abidine Ben Ali Enfidha Airport – Mustafa Sani Sener.
ing director, Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa Hotels, Maryse Zine told TTG.                                  “In spite of the current global crisis, building works are moving ahead as planned and in
   Not only serving effectively as a magnet for both local and international visitors to the       good conditions. The project will be completed within the set deadline of October 2009
country, thalasso and wellness tourism is also acting as a catalyst to spark a change in Tunisia   and possibly before.”
from a cheap, sun and fun holiday destination to a cultural melting pot offering a range of           Originally designed for a capacity of seven million passengers annually, it is expected that
top-end facilities.                                                                                the airport will be able to accommodate up to 20 million travellers per year by 2020.

14                                                                                                                                                                                 June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com                                                                                                                                      ON LOCATION Tunisia


 Emphasising Tunisian culture A new star in the Mediterranean
        unisia’s capital city, Tunis is set to       $60 million, with 50 per cent of the money                            övenpick Hotels &

T       soon welcome the country’s first
        Culture City, a project which, when
finished in November 2009, intends to
                                                     going towards the building itself and the
                                                     remaining 50 per cent on buying equip-
                                                     ment and training staff.
                                                                                                                M          Resorts has recent-
                                                                                                                           ly signed a man-
                                                                                                                agement contract with
highlight and emphasise the rich cultural               Designed in a bid to give the Tunisian cul-             Compagnie Tunisienne de
heritage that the North African country has          ture and cultural heritage the place it                    Développement Touristique
enjoyed for centuries.                               deserves on a national and international                   for a new resort and confer-
   The project, which is finally coming to           scale, the Culture City has been built in                  ence property at the
conclusion after some 10 years of ongoing            phases with the first phase involving the                  Tunisian holiday destina-
planning and development, will cover an              construction of the theatre, three cinemas                 tion of Sousse.
area spanning some nine hectares between             and a shopping mall as part of a plan to ren-                 Mövenpick Resort &
Mohamed V Avenue and the Arab                        ovate and modernise the capital’s central                  Thalasso Sousse will mark
Maghreb Boulevard.                                   district. Later stages will include the con-               the Swiss hotel group’s sec-
   Upon completion, the Culture City will            struction of the art and civilization museum,              ond resort in Tunisia and will
be hailed as Africa’s largest cultural complex       three large auditoriums and a media library.               comprise 627 rooms. This
housing an opera house capable of seating               As one of the country’s most vibrant sec-               beachside hotel is located in
1,800 people, a theatre with a capacity of           tors and a factor of balanced development,                 the heart of the city along the
400 seats, auditoriums, seven recording              likely to better anchor the country’s nation-              corniche and is scheduled to
music studios and an art gallery. Additional         al identity, it is hoped that by placing fur-              open in July 2009.
features include a 22,000m² museum of civ-           ther prominence on Tunisia’s cultural ties,                   Comprising 588 rooms
ilizations showcasing the country’s millenary        the country will be in a better position to                and 39 suites, Mövenpick
history through modern audiovisual and               withstand the effects of the globalisation                 Resort & Thalasso Sousse
ICT-based communication devices, and a               process. According to Minister, culture,                   will feature various food         Mövenpick Resort & Thalasso Djerba, Tunisia, will be joined by a second
60m-tall Culture Tower boasting bird’s-eye           youth and entertainment, Tunisia,                          and       beverage      options   Mövenpick property in July
views across the greater Tunis area.                 Abdelbaki Hermassi, the project is set to                  including six restaurants
   Backed by the Ministry of Culture, the            become the greatest cultural complex in the                and five bars, while leisure         “With the Swiss hotel                 Tunisienne de Dévelop-
cost of the site stands at an approximate            Mediterranean.                                             facilities will include a         group we have found the                  pement Touristique, who are
                                                                                                                Thalasso Centre with an           right partner for this unique            renowned and experienced
                                                                                                                indoor seawater swimming          holiday resort. Together we              professionals with extensive
Entering medical tourism market                                                                                 pool, a health and fitness
                                                                                                                club and over 40 treatment
                                                                                                                rooms. Sports and enter-
                                                                                                                                                  will pursue our objective of
                                                                                                                                                  becoming the first choice
                                                                                                                                                  for accommodation in
                                                                                                                                                                                           knowledge of the tourism
                                                                                                                                                                                           and hospitality industry.”
                                                                                                                                                                                             Located some 130km
    n line with the country’s    cialised private clinics, is            them from the Maghreb                  tainment          programmes      Sousse,” said CEO, Comp-                 south of Tunis, Sousse is

I   aim to become a leading
    medical tourism destina-
tion, Tunisia’s first private
                                 also the world’s second des-
                                 tination for thalassotherapy
                                 after France.
                                                                         region (Algeria and Libya)
                                                                         and Europe.
                                                                           Active in its aim to attract
                                                                                                                include tennis courts, ani-
                                                                                                                mation programmes and a
                                                                                                                lifestyle venue with night-
                                                                                                                                                  agnie Tunisienne de Dév-
                                                                                                                                                  eloppement
                                                                                                                                                  Omar Jenayah.
                                                                                                                                                                   Touristique,
                                                                                                                                                                                           renowned for its Mediterra-
                                                                                                                                                                                           nean coastline, beaches and
                                                                                                                                                                                           year-round mild climate.
hospital built by Japanese         The new state-of-the-art              even higher numbers of                 club will also be available.         Senior vice president,                The new resort is situated
group Tokushukai Medical         hospital, which cost approx-            foreign visitors and become               Once operational, the          Mövenpick       Hotels     &             on the beach, in the imme-
Corporation is set to soon       imately $50 million, is                 a privileged destination for           resort will also offer business   Resorts, Africa, Josef Kufer             diate vicinity of the town
be operational in the capi-      expected to employ some                 medical tourism, Tunisia               and MICE customers a              continued: “With Sousse, we              centre. Moreover, Monastir
tal, Tunis.                      750 staff, most of whom                 abolished VAT on medical               modern conference and             are proud to consolidate our             International Airport is a
   Developed in a bid to         will be Tunisian medical                treatments for non-resi-               banquet hall for over 800         presence in Tunisia, a coun-             20-minute drive away while
improve the local offering       professionals. Moreover, the            dents in 2005 in an effort to          participants suited for events    try with huge prospects,                 North Africa’s largest inter-
in the field of medical          multidisciplinary hospital’s            increase its competitiveness           of all kinds. Further to this,    outstanding hospitality, a               national airport is due to
tourism, it is hoped that the    initial capacity is estimated           as a new medical tourism               the three executive board-        rich culture and stunning                open in Enfidah, 30 min-
new hospital will attract an     at 400 beds.                            destination within the                 rooms will be fitted with         landscape. We are delighted              utes from Sousse, in
increase in both European          According to figures                  Mediterranean and in the               state-of-the-art equipment.       to partner with Compagnie                November 2009.
and Arab patients who will       released by the Tunisian                wider region.
also be able to enjoy spa        Health Ministry, some                     This project furthers this
procedures together with
the medical treatment in the
facility. The country, which
                                 72,000 foreign patients
                                 were treated in Tunisian
                                 private clinics and public
                                                                         motion with an end goal to
                                                                         promote Tunisia as a world
                                                                         medical tourism and thalas-
                                                                                                                United by international tourism
boasts a number of spe-          hospitals in 2006, most of              sotherapy centre.                              unisia recently played

                                                                                                                T       host to the 15th
                                                                                                                        annual International
Recruiting university graduates                                                                                 Mediterranean         Tourism
                                                                                                                market (MIT) from May 14
                                                                                                                to 16 at the International


T
        he Tunisian hotel and                                                                                   Exhibition Centre CIFCO
        travel agents federa-                                                                                   in La Charguia, Tunis.
        tion is currently pre-                                                                                     Organised under the
paring to recruit a total of                                                                                    theme of The Mediterranean
1,000 unemployed universi-                                                                                      United by Tourism, MIT
ty graduates for permanent                                                                                      2009 brought together some
positions in the travel and                                                                                     120 exhibitors representing
tourism industry.                                                                                               Algeria, Libya, Syria, Saudi      While steeped in history, Tunisia is still able to cater to modern exhibitions
  After meeting with hotel                                                                                      Arabia, Yemen, Turkey,
and travel agent union offi-                                                                                    France, South Africa, the         an integrated product.                      Director of the organis-
cials in Tunis, Tunisia’s                                                                                       US, Mauritania, Burkina             MIT is held in Tunisia                 ing company, Taknes, Ali
tourism and employment                                                                                          Faso, and Morocco.                each year following its wide-            Chebli indicated that the
ministers have announced                                                                                           In a bid to assert a specif-   ly acknowledged status as a              exhibition intended to
that a preliminary training                                                                                     ic Mediterranean identity         major destination of the                 allow decision-makers and
session of 400 hours will                                                                                       and strengthen exchanges          future and as a capital of               entrepreneurs the opportu-
prepare the graduates to         University graduates are currently being recruited into Tunisia’s travel and   among these bordering             international tourism.                   nity to meet, build partner-
meet the needs of the sector.    tourism industry                                                               countries, the fair aimed to        Meanwhile,         Tunisia             ships and create joint
  The operation is in line                                                                                      become the shop window of         recently joined Libya, Egypt             investment projects.
with the new employment          integration of young people             to promote the integration             Mediterranean         tourism     and Turkey in participating                 “The objective of the
plan decided by President        in the private sector.                  of young job seekers in the            with a complete overview of       at the second edition of the             exhibition is to make North
Ben Ali on January 2 to            On his part, Minister,                tourism sector and those               the different tourism desti-      International Tourism Ex-                Africa which has an abun-
promote employment espe-         employment and profes-                  with a high employability              nations and their compo-          hibition of Tripoli from                 dance of great tourist
cially among university grad-    sional insertion, Tunisia,              potential. He also evoked              nents and products while          May 9 to 12, attended by                 attractions, known through
uates. A list of some 20,000     Slim Tlatli called on profes-           the many incentives offered            contributing to the promo-        around 45 local and foreign              the promotion of tourist
job seekers was recently set     sionals in the tourism sector           to economic enterprises to             tion of the image of              companies       from      the            potentials and hot spots,”
up to ease the professional      to seek appropriate solutions           recruit young people.                  Mediterranean tourism as          tourism industry.                        said Chebli.

June 1, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                                                15
               UPDATE Indian Ocean                                                                                                                                           www.ttgmena.com




                                  An ocean of wonders




                Priding itself as one of the most sought-after tourist regions in the world, the Indian Ocean’s numerous
                scattered islands offer visitors a myriad of choice, while developments in the pipeline and materialising
                  marketing campaigns are set to further improve its touristic offerings, discovers Stefanie Saghbini



          ome to some of the world’s most primitive tribes         The year 2010 will also mark a return to the Indian Ocean,           as a unique holiday destination, Emirates Airline and the

H         and boasting wildlife endemic to the region, the
          Indian Ocean, which comprises countless islands
dotted throughout its waters, stands today as one of the
                                                                   where Costa Cruises is set to be the only cruise line to home
                                                                   port from Mauritius. Costa Romantica will be positioned
                                                                   from there for the first time, offering 14-night sailings to
                                                                                                                                        Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) joined
                                                                                                                                        forces in March to promote the island in four key cities
                                                                                                                                        across the Middle East over one week. The Middle East
most popular tourist destinations in the world.                    Seychelles, Kenya and Madagascar from December 2009                  roadshow, which kicked off in Kuwait, travelled to Riyadh
  Engulfed by Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Indian            through to March 2010. The ship will then offer a reposi-            and Jeddah before making a final stop in Dubai. The four
Subcontinent, Indonesia and Australia, the Indian Ocean            tioning cruise to Singapore with stops in Maldives, India,           cities had been carefully selected by Emirates Airline and
remains a binding force which interconnects the eastern            Thailand and Malaysia.                                               MTPA due to their strong potential for travel.
borders of the world. A popular destination in itself, the                                                                                 Commenting on the roadshow, Lahad said: “Emirates has
Indian Ocean is also used as an integral transit route for sev-    Mauritius on a role                                                  always played a catalytic role in developing the tourism
eral airlines carrying passengers across its shores.                                                                                    links between Dubai and the destinations that it serves. By
  Particularly popular among the Middle Eastern market,            With marketing strategies already in line this year to pro-          organising these roadshows, Emirates has taken one more
tourists opting for a tropical holiday can benefit from regu-      mote Mauritius, the well-established tourism hub looks set           significant step in its endeavour to promote Mauritius as a
lar flights to the Indian Ocean by regional airlines such as       to increase its tourism numbers in 2010. Having attracted            luxurious destination. Emirates is a strong advocate for
Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways, which both offer ser-          some 4,100 tourists in 2008 from the Middle East alone,              Mauritius and throughout the years we have worked in
vices to Seychelles and Maldives, with Emirates Airline also       campaigns are being set as an objective and challenge to             association with MTPA to help raise awareness of the
servicing a route to the Republic of Mauritius (Mauritius).        double tourist arrivals to reach 8,000, according to vice            incredible facilities the destination has to offer.”
  While travel by air to the region remains the most popu-         prime minister, Ministry of Tourism, leisure and external               Duval added: “The Middle East is to be considered as a
lar mode of transport, cruise lines have also been making          communications, Mauritius, Xavier-Luc Duval.                         market which is geographically close to the Mauritian des-
efforts to widen travel options for visitors willing to sail the     Regional manager, Kuwait, Emirates Airline, Nadim Lahad            tination. Mauritius is well served by Emirates throughout
seas, with stopovers in other various cities before reaching       explained: “Campaigns have taken the form of roadshows,              the year. A special terminal at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam
their Indian Ocean destination. Costa Cruises, a leading           press trips, travel agent familiarisation trips as well as special   International Airport is dedicated to private jets.
Italian group in tourism which carried some one million            features in Emirates Airline’s inflight magazine. These actions         “The Middle East is a prosperous market and Mauritius
passengers in 2008, has recently introduced new sailing            have resulted in creating and sustaining the visibility of the       already welcomes numerous Arab families who come on
routes scheduled for the beginning of 2010.                        destination in new and emerging markets, more particularly           vacation to the island. The Mauritian destination is also
  Costa Deliziosa is to set sail on her second cruise on           the Middle East and East European countries.”                        open to the expatriate community residing in the big cities
February 25, next year, from Dubai to India and Maldives.            Part of a long-term marketing plan to promote Mauritius            of the Middle East who have a high purchasing power,” he

16                                                                                                                                                                                  June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com                                                                                                                            UPDATE Indian Ocean


                                                                   the south of the Maldives archipelago.                             given to numerous projects designed by Seychelles Tourism
                                                                      Set in a turquoise lagoon, the resort’s facilities will com-    Office Middle East in a bid to target niche markets and
                                                                   prise an over-water glass duplex wine cellar built around          increase tourist arrivals. Informing TTG about this year’s
                                                                   cheese and delicatessen rooms, while other food and bever-         marketing strategies, account manager, Seychelles Tourism
                                                                   age options will include an internationally-inspired restau-       Office, Middle East, Mohammed Rashid Bastonie said:
                                                                   rant, an organic restaurant, an ice parlour, a café, and a bar     “Key strategic priorities which we are focusing on are:
                                                                   with live entertainment.                                           increasing brand awareness, educating both the consumer
                                                                      Accommodation will consist of 100 villas comprising 22          and the travel trade of the diversity and uniqueness of the
                                                                   beach villas, 75 over-water villas and three water villa           Seychelles islands; further developing our niche segments,
                                                                   suites. Nestled in the tropical gardens, the beach villas will     including weddings and honeymoons, diving, sailing, fish-
                                                                   have individual access to a sandy beach, while the 75 over-        ing, golf and spa segments; developing new markets and
                                                                   water villas and three water villas suites, built along three      segments, continuing our very successful education pro-
                                                                   jetties, will feature glass dining tables to provide views to      grammes with universities and colleges allowing the desti-
                                                                   the coral and marine life below the deck. They will also           nation to become part of the curriculums and developing
                                                                   include upper-deck terraces, outdoor rain showers, water           joint projects; promoting our events in Seychelles, such as
                                                                   gardens, private sundecks and outdoor seating areas. A Six         the Sailing Cup, SUBIOS and the Creole Festival; and the
said, adding that the Mauritian tourist product is in line         Senses spa, a key element of the resort, is to be located          development of new Arabic tools for the travel trade and
with what this clientele is looking for.                           ashore, with stilted treatment areas interconnected with           the consumer.”
   “We offer a warm welcome, security, luxurious hotels,           rope and plank bridges.                                               Moreover, the report also revealed that 92 per cent of the
food which is adapted to the Arab clientele and we are only           Furthermore, Hilton Hotels Corporation recently                 visitors in March this year were on holiday while seven per
a few hours away by air from the main cities of the Middle         announced its first Waldorf=Astoria Collection property in         cent visited for business purposes or had combined a business
East,” Duval concluded.                                            the Asia Pacific region located at the northern tip of             trip with leisure. A breakdown of the tourist statistical figures
   Further campaigns have seen Mauritius team up with the          Maldives. The Beach House, which is scheduled to join the          show that the highest numbers of visitors arriving to the
2010 FIFA World Cup to join Botswana, Mozambique,                  Waldorf=Astoria Collection on November 1, 2009, has                island came from Europe, while 11 per cent came from
Namibia, Swaziland and hosts, South Africa, in a line-up of        been in operation as a private resort for the past year and        Africa, six per cent from Asia, and four per cent from the US.
accommodation providers.                                           will be joining other renowned hotels and resorts worldwide           Continuing to cater for the international market across
   The initiative, which was announced on May 10 on the            to form a global collection.                                       the Indian Ocean by expanding its brand, Four Seasons
occasion of the 2009 Tourism INDABA in Durban by                      President, Asia Pacific, Hilton Hotels Corporation,             Hotels & Resort has announced the opening of its doors to
Duval, CEO, 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising                         Martin Rinck commented: “The Maldives is well-known as             the public in the Seychelles’ capital Mahé, the largest of the
Committee, Danny Jordaan, and CEO, MATCH – FIFA’s                  one of the most desirable archipelagos in the world, and the       republic’s 115 tropical islands.
servicing partner for accommodation – Jaime Byrom, forms           success of our Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is testament            The resort, which features 67 secluded villas and suites
part of FIFA’s and the organising committee’s objective to         to both the allure of this location and the uniqueness of the      arranged high on stilts amongst the tropical canopy over-
host an African World Cup and assure the entire Southern           resort. In addition to welcoming The Beach House to the            looking the private sandy bay of Petite Anse, is the fourth in
African region benefits from the global football showpiece.        Waldorf=Astoria Collection, we are delighted to have also          the Indian Ocean, with another property in Mauritius and
   “The government and the people of Mauritius are very            signed an agreement with Sun Hotels & Resorts to manage            two in Maldives. Standard villa features include a large
excited to become an integral part of the 2010 FIFA World          a Hilton property in the Maldives, which will open in July         infinity-edge plunge pool, an open-air shower, a glass-
Cup. The excellent quality of our accommodation, our pic-          this year.”                                                        walled bathroom and private outdoor living space. The
turesque environment and wonderful beaches, together                                                                                  resort also includes 28 Four Seasons private residences with-
with the warm and inviting hospitality of the Mauritian            Endless options in Seychelles                                      in its 170 acre expanse.
people, will give an added experience to the fans,” under-                                                                               Designed to showcase the island’s culture and Creole
lined Duval.                                                       While the tourism industry looks set to improve through-           heritage, the resort will feature a hilltop spa which offers
   Jordaan added: “Mauritius signing up to the squad fur-          out the Indian Ocean, another all-year-round tourism spot          traditional Seychellois therapies incorporating indigenous
ther underlines the strong commitment by the entire                seeking to better its product is Seychelles, after recording a     practices and ingredients into customised health and body
Southern African region for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.               drop in visitor arrivals relative to last year.                    treatments. Facilities include two restaurants and two
The geographic proximity and quality of its hotels is ideal           Seychelles welcomed 37,864 tourists to its shores between       lounge bars, a function room, a wedding venue, an outdoor
to develop packages to allow fans to fully explore the unique      the months of January and March this year, recording a 14          swimming area that combines four pools in one, a water
diversity of the Southern African region.”                         per cent decrease in comparison to the same period last year,      sports pavilion offering snorkelling, swimming, sailing,
                                                                   according to tourism numbers revealed in April 2009’s edi-         windsurfing, fishing and boat tours, a comprehensive fitness
Developing Maldives                                                tion of Seychelles’ National Statistics Bureau report.             centre, a jogging trail, hair salon, library, art gallery, and
                                                                      Records also showed that during the month of March this         play areas for children.
Also proving to be a worldwide popular destination, as well        year alone, some 14,000 visitors arrived on the island                Commenting on the new resort, general manager, Four
as for the Middle Eastern market, is Maldives, which man-          including travellers on transit, reflecting a decrease of 15 per   Seasons Resort Seychelles, Markus Iseli said: “The resort
aged to retain stable tourism numbers with only a slight           cent compared to March 2008, while visitors stayed for an          feels like a private island. Our location in Petite Anse is one
decline, according to statistical data provided by the depart-     average of 10.1 nights compared to 10.3 nights during the          of the republic’s best kept secrets: a sandy horseshoe punc-
ment of immigration and emigration in Maldives.                    same month last year.                                              tuated by lush vegetation and impressive boulders to create
   Records show that Maldives experienced a mere 10 per               In the face of declining numbers, great focus is being          an intimate haven of intimacy and serenity.”
cent drop in total tourism arrivals during the first three
months of 2009 in comparison to the same period last year.
Some 200,000 visitors landed on the shores of Maldives
during the first quarter of 2008 while approximately
182,000 people travelled to the island between January and
March this year. Tourism numbers from the Middle East
region also remained stable during the first quarter of 2009
with an estimated 1,700 having visited Maldives during this
period – marking a two per cent drop relative to the same
quarter last year. While Kuwaitis travelling to the island
have reduced in number, visitors from Saudi Arabia remain
the strongest from the Middle East region recording 552
tourists during the first three months of 2009.
   Despite the decline in tourist arrivals, many hotels are
still currently under development across the island, such as
Six Senses Latitude Laamu and an additional property
from Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, which, in March,
announced the signing of an agreement for a resort to be
built on a private island off the coast of Maldives in the
next 12 months.
   “Mandarin Oriental, Maldives, will be a unique and extra-
ordinarily private hideaway retreat that offers our guests tran-
quillity and seclusion in a stunning, natural setting. We look
forward to bringing Mandarin Oriental’s renowned levels of
service to this important leisure destination,” said group
CEO, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Edouard Ettedgui.
   The popular tourist island is set to further expand its
accommodation options with the upcoming Six Senses
Latitude Laamu’s scheduled for October 1 this year – a date
which was extended as a result of several challenges in the
design and concepts, together with a pioneering location to

June 1, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                       17
               ANALYSIS Weddings and Honeymoons                                                                                                                                www.ttgmena.com




                                                                              A debonair business

                                                                                                       Following the success of The Bride Show Dubai, coupled
                                                                                                       with a plethora of packages that are sweeping across the
                                                                                                       region, it seems that the Middle East weddings and
                                                                                                       honeymoons industry is indeed a market that will stay with
                                                                                                       us through sickness and in health. Alexandra North reports




                                                                                                           ndicative of a blossoming weddings industry in the region, the recent The Bride Show

                                                                                                       I   Dubai – held from April 8 to 11 at Dubai International Exhibition Centre – welcomed
                                                                                                           more than 30,000 visitors through its doors from across the Middle East, Indian
                                                                                                       Subcontinent and Europe, and featured some 300 exhibitors from 17 countries.
                                                                                                          The current downturn may have forced many in the global tourism industry to behave
                                                                                                       more cautiously in recent times, but The Bride Show Dubai took a bold turn as suppliers
                                                                                                       presented their products with more bling and glitter than ever before.
                                                                                                          “The Bride Show Dubai has always showcased the most sublime products and services
     Storybook Setting                                                                                 available for VIP weddings and events,” said exhibition manager, The Bride Show Dubai,
                                                                                                       Daphne Cota. “We knew 2009 was going to be an interesting year, and while we were opti-
     El Gouna, Red Sea                                                                                 mistic that the luxury sector was going to be relatively unaffected, we are incredibly pleased
                                                                                                       that our exhibitors enjoyed such a lucrative show.”
     El Gouna provides a breathtaking backdrop for your dream wedding.                                    According to research conducted by IIR Middle East, the UAE weddings industry is bur-
     Whether you prefer to say “I Do” on the beach or at a choice location                             geoning, as couples continue to expand their guest lists and spending power. A survey of vis-
     with magnificent views of the sea, we have the perfect setting for your                            itors to The Bride Show Dubai revealed that some 34 per cent would spend between $27,000
     ceremony. Follow that with endless possibilities for your honeymoon,
     from your choice of 5-star hotel to romantic dinners couples massage
                                                                                                       and $68,000, which marks a 26 per cent increase over 2007 figures. Furthermore, 43 per cent
     packages or duo diving in the sea, this is a honeymooner’s paradise.                              of visitors indicated that their invite lists would stand between 500 and 750 guests.
     Check our special offers for travel trade professionals!                                             “Our exhibitors reported strong sales from Dubai and its sister show in Abu Dhabi in
                                                                                                       February,” remarked Cota. “This research is incredibly welcoming but surprising given the
                                                                                                       state of the global economy. It goes to show once again that Dubai and the UAE as a whole
                                                                                                       is bucking the trend, emerging as a market leader in one of the most lucrative industries
                                                                                                       in the world.”
                                                                                www.designbyicon.com




                                                                                                          Confident of the profitability and resilience of this sector, The Bride Show is moving full
                                                                                                       steam ahead towards its next edition in Abu Dhabi which will be held from February, 10
                                                                                                       to 13 next year, followed by the return of the Dubai showcase from April 14 to 17.
                                                                                                          Bridal exhibitions are flourishing on an international scale it seems, as Sri Lanka prepares
                                                                                                       to host its annual Bridal Fair at Sri Lanka Exhibition & Convention Centre from July 9 to
                                                                                                       12. Organised by Pico Events, and heading into its 13th consecutive showing, Bridal Fair
                                                                                                       2009 aims to gather together industry pioneers and reputed product and service suppliers
                                                                                                       under one roof, facilitating exhibitors with the opportunity of reaching a captive audience,
                                                                                                       according to executive director, Pico Events, Shanti Outschoom. This year, the event is set
                                                                                                       to be glamourised by an array of fashion shows, demonstrations and competitions.

                                                                                                       Delivering the goods

                                                                                                       As the weddings industry continues to thrive, destinations are putting their heart into vying
                                                                                                       for pole position. Nestled between lagoons and a dramatic desert backdrop, El Gouna aims
                                                                                                       to provide the perfect location for a one-of-a-kind ceremony with a romantic setting cou-
                                                                                                       pled with its ability to offer the wide range of services needed for such events.
                                                                                                          The weddings market is indeed a growing niche market for Orascom Hotels and
                                                                                                       Development, according to PR manager, Orascom Hotels and Development, Sherine Sennara.
                                                                                                       “It is an emerging and promising market segment,” she told TTG. “El Gouna is already one
                                                                                                       of the leading wedding destinations among the niche Egyptians and foreign residents.
                                                                                                          “As for it being a honeymoon destination, El Gouna is a true romantic getaway given
                                                                                                       its romantic secluded setting between the sea and mountains and featuring over 20
                                                                                                       islands,” she said, adding that its ideal location with easy access to different parts of Egypt
                                                                                                       also acts as a magnet.
                                                                                                          “We have great weather here with 365 days of sun; there are a myriad of leisure facilities
              Experience El Gouna             www.elgouna.com                                          on site including golf, diving, shopping and bars; it has lively classy nightlife with some-
                                                                                                       thing to do every day of the week; there is a 10km beach; and the accommodation facilities
                                                                                                       can meet every budget and inclination.”
                                                                                                          The local market is currently the strongest feeder for Orascom Hotels and Development’s

18                                                                                                                                                                                     June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com                                                                                          ANALYSIS Weddings and Honeymoons


weddings business which is available throughout the year,          which includes, among others, local champagne and flowers       Stranger than fiction
but the UK is picking up interest, according to Sennara.           on arrival, a one hour full body massage for two, a candlelit
Boasting facilities that can cater to both traditional and         dinner, special VIP amenities and health club usage. Sister     With the tourism industry clearly working hard to ensure
untraditional weddings, the team receives a broad range of         property, Taba Heights Marriott Beach Resort, offers a          happy couples the world over can enjoy a stress-free day, it
requests and treats them all with equal importance. “Any           Charming Romance package which also includes a massage,         seems that the weddings business is indeed a serious affair.
request is seen as a high priority, and we are happy to attend     as well as a limo pick-up, as does Sharm El Sheikh Marriott     However, it is not always without its eccentricities, as
any request. We always do our best to provide our guests           Red Sea Resort’s Honeymoon package.                             strange requests become less and less uncommon.
with an unforgettable stay,” she told TTG.                           Hotels, such as Al Diar Siji Hotel, Fujairah, have taken      According to Papakonstantinidis, Capsis Hotel excelled so
  Also in Egypt, and able to cater well to this specialised        note that access to spa facilities has increasingly become a    well at catering for one wedding reception that the client
market is Madinat Makadi, a tourist village of contrasts           ‘must’ on newlyweds’ check lists, and as a result are meeting   came back for a second. “I remember when one family
ranging from the convenience of a five-star resort to pure         this requirement within their packages.                         organized two wedding receptions in the same year; one for
Egyptian adventure in the heart of the desert. Located con-          This summer, couples will be able to avail of Al Diar Siji    the daughter and one for the son. The family members were
veniently in close proximity to Hurghada International             Hotel’s wedding package that comes with a complimentary         very pleased with the services offered to them at the first
Airport, Madinat Makadi offers honeymooning couples the            honeymoon suite, with special room setup including luxu-        wedding reception that they did not think twice to organ-
opportunity to relax in its spa, which is hailed as one of         ry spa amenities, a candlelit seafood dinner, breakfast in      ise a section reception at Capsis. Isn’t it the best proof of
Egypt’s most sophisticated spa facilities with 23 treatment        bed, a seven-layered cake and late check-out. With this         having done an excellent job?” he told TTG.
rooms and a fully comprehensive menu.                              package, newlyweds have access to the property’s renowned          In spite of the credit crunch biting down hard on the
  The five million m² resort benefits from a prime location        Olympia Health Club & Spa, which features a range of            global travel and tourism industry, it seems that couples
on the Red Sea, and features nine hotels for couples to            facilities including a gym, sauna and steam bath, tennis        worldwide are not losing heart, rather, uniting more than
choose from, with plans in the pipeline to increase the room       courts and swimming pool.                                       ever in the face of challenging times.
inventory further. The hotels are managed by Travco’s hos-
pitality brands Iberotel, Sol Y Mar and Jaz Resorts, each
with a unique personality and flair.

Be distinct

Having a distinct stamp – whether in terms of facilities or
services offered – is becoming crucial for hotels that are
looking to capitalise on the weddings and honeymoon mar-
ket. As this niche segment blossoms further, it is no wonder
that hotels are increasingly employing specialists to co-ordi-
nate procedures to ensure couples have their perfect day.
   Le Méridien Limassol Spa & Resort’s wedding co-ordi-
nator, Jenny Orphanou talked to TTG about her role in
ensuring a couples’ day runs seamlessly. “The wedding co-
ordinator is the single contact person of the wedding cou-
ple or wedding planner from the furst request up to the
wedding day itself. The co-ordinator organises everything
that takes place within the premises of the resort, such as
meal reservations, food and beverage requirements, the
wedding cake, floral decorations, transfers, bridal hair and
make-up, and spa treatments.”
   According to Orphanou, the weddings market at Le
Méridien Limassol Spa & Resort is on the up. “Due to the
various wedding ceremony, reception and dinner venues
and amazing facilities such as the award-winning spa and
eight dining options to please every palate – not forgetting
the impeccable service – the weddings and honeymoons
business is very popular and getting even stronger for the
upcoming year.”
   Instead of the more traditional weddings staged at the
hotel’s chapel, couples are increasingly looking for alternative
settings, which includes the beachfront or hotel pier. “There
is simply no other place one would rather be. Cyprus’ only
five-star internationally-chained hotel and its attentive staff
are dedicated to making each guest’s visit the most relaxing
and memorable, and often welcome wedding and honey-
moon couples back to celebrate their anniversaries.”
   Also recognising the importance of having a specialist on
the team to deal with wedding requests is Capsis Hotel,
Thessaloniki in Greece. Since last year, the hotel has boast-
ed its own dedicated weddings co-ordinator, Iakovos
Manes, whose responsibilities include the overall presenta-
tion of any single detail such as the room, music, menu and
decoration, and who is also present at the hotel’s wedding
receptions, according to communication and marketing
manager, Capsis Hotel, Stavros Papakonstantinidis.
   In order to boost the number of wedding receptions host-
ed at the property, plans are in place for enhancements to
the main function area. “The Capsis Conference Centre in
Thessaloniki hosts a wide range of events from small gath-
erings to international conferences. The plan to renovate
the hotel’s largest hall, Theodora, includes a new marketing
and sales plan to increase the number of wedding receptions
organised at Capsis Hotel,” Papakonstantinidis told TTG.
   Traditionally, the city itself hosts some 450 weddings
every year, with most planned for the summer months. In a
bid to capitalise on this business, Capsis Hotel has posi-
tioned itself well with a reputation for quality dining and
personal attention. “Capsis Hotel’s competitive advantages
are its own people and the high quality of food which is pre-
pared by our awarded chefs,” he added.
   Cuisine is often at the top of couples’ check lists when
deciding on their wedding venue – as is the provision for
wellness and relaxation – and as a result, hotels are rolling
out a host of special packages. Hurghada Marriott Red Sea
Resort is currently promoting its Magical Romance package

June 1 , 2009                                                                                                                                                                               19
                 SUMMER PROMOTIONS                                                                                                                                                       www.ttgmena.com




 Extensive dining extravaganzas                                                                    Special offers across Jordanian portfolio

T
        his summer, Radisson Blu Hotel,           sine, diners are recommended to visit                                                                                            or more at Petra Marriott.
        Dubai Deira Creek is set to offer         Minato restaurant and for Italian pasta or                                                                                          Guests staying for three
        diners the chance to Dine for Less at     pizza they can try one of Dubai’s most fash-                                                                                     nights or more at both
the hotel with a voucher redeemable at any        ionable Italian restaurants, La Moda.                                                                                            Amman Marriott Hotel and
of its 11 dining venues.                             Meanwhile, the Fish Market restaurant                                                                                         Jordan Valley Marriott
   There is something for everyone at             allows visitors to enjoy the freshest seafood                                                                                    Resort and Spa can enjoy
Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek             and choose to have it cooked to their pref-                                                                                      significant reductions in
from well-cooked steak to Chinese, authen-        erence, and furthermore, diners are invited                                                                                      rates per room per night.
tic Persian, Italian or fresh seafood. The        to soak up the traditional English pub                                                                                           These rates can be booked
hotel features a 24-hour international            atmosphere and food at The Pub or cruise                                                                                         via both of the properties’
restaurant, Boulvar, a contemporary               along the creek with a full service bar                                                                                          official websites.
Noodle bar, Yum!, and a Chinese gourmet           featuring an extensive traditional Arabic                                                                                           Visitors to the Marriott
dining experience, The China Club restau-         buffet aboard the Al Mansour Dhow for                                                                                            hotels can avail of especially
rant, as well as Dubai’s fist Japanese bar-       nightly dinner cruises.                                                                                                          exclusive discounts in place
beque yakiniku style restaurant, Sumibiya.           The summer offer of a food and drink                                                                                          at local water parks, horse
   Diners can also experience live jazz and       voucher which can be used at any of the          Visitors to the Marriott properties will also be able to take advantage of      riding centres, go-karting
world-class service at the Palm Grill con-        Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek’s          discounts at local attractions including go-karting                             tracks, paintball, shopping
temporary steakhouse or traditional Persian       10 restaurants or Dhow Dinner Cruise is                                                                                          malls and many other
hospitality in Shabestan. For Japanese cui-       valid from June 1 until September 18, 2009.               arriott hotels in              citizens and residents alike, as        attractions.


Benefiting from more room nights
                                                                                                   M        Jordan are proud
                                                                                                            to announce the
                                                                                                   launch of their exciting
                                                                                                                                           well as foreign tourists.
                                                                                                                                           Jordanian citizens and resi-
                                                                                                                                           dents can claim 50 per cent
                                                                                                                                                                                      These special discounts
                                                                                                                                                                                   are available in addition to
                                                                                                                                                                                   the series of free in-house
                                                                                                   package of summer offers to             off their entire bill when they         entertainment being organ-
                                                                                                   promote their three five-star           reserve their room through              ised at each of the Jordan
       ocated in the heart of Singapore City’s    alised service including four Arabic televi-     hotels in the Kingdom,                  the hotel’s website, while              Marriott hotels including

L      Marina Bay district with a multitude
       of shopping and dining offerings, The
Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore considers
                                                  sion channels, namely Abu Dhabi TV,
                                                  Kuwait Space Channel, Saudi Arabian
                                                  Satellite TV and Sharjah TV; an in-room
                                                                                                   valid from June 1 through
                                                                                                   to September 15, 2009.
                                                                                                     Petra Marriott Hotel is
                                                                                                                                           non-Jordanian visitors from
                                                                                                                                           overseas can receive 50 per
                                                                                                                                           cent off their second night
                                                                                                                                                                                   free movie screenings,
                                                                                                                                                                                   complimentary
                                                                                                                                                                                   sessions and many more
                                                                                                                                                                                                          workout

itself as the ideal address for family vaca-      dining menu with a page dedicated to over        offering deals for Jordanian            when they stay for two nights           activities for all the family.
tions or romantic getaways this summer.           12 Middle Eastern dishes; amenities with
   With Stay 3, Pay 2, guests area able to        Arabic flavours such as dates, nuts and
enjoy a special room rate including a com-
plimentary third night’s stay from now
until September 23.
                                                  Baklava; Arabic coffee pots, Oud burners
                                                  and Persian rugs; a Holy Quran and prayer
                                                  carpet; and Qiblah directional arrow placed
                                                                                                    Attention all golfing enthusiasts
   With views of the Marina Bay and the           in all rooms and suites.


                                                                                                   D
city skyline from all guestrooms and sites,          Guests staying at the hotel can also                  ubai Creek Golf &               clude a shared golf cart and            three course, individual golf
Middle Eastern guests will find the com-          indulge in suites that feature perks such as             Yacht Club is invit-            unlimited range balls seven             lessons, equipment use, and
forts of home complimented by person-             the Ultimate Sleeping Experience.                        ing people to make              days a week.                            use of the digital V1 swing
                                                                                                   the most of the summer                     A series of golf academy             analysis system.
                                                                                                   with golf promotions that               summer promotions are                      On top of these special
 Focus on families and children                                                                    include unlimited use of the
                                                                                                   18-hole       championship
                                                                                                   Dubai Creek Golf Course
                                                                                                                                           also available from June 1 to
                                                                                                                                           September 30 with an
                                                                                                                                           assorted choice of member-
                                                                                                                                                                                   summer golf promotions,
                                                                                                                                                                                   the club is bringing back its
                                                                                                                                                                                   popular seafood summer
                                                                   from Busy Bees will take        and unlimited use of the                ship levels with respective             promotion at the Aquarium
                                                                   care of the children, and a     nine-hole floodlit par three            allowances and benefits                 with a three-course choice
                                                                   dedicated secured area in       course and practice facilities.         including unlimited use of              menu, glass of wine and
                                                                   the hotel has been assigned       Rates for the 18-hole and             the floodlit driving range,             tea/coffee, all for the price
                                                                   to the Kids’ Summer Camp,       nine-hole experiences in-               short game areas and par                of the main course only.
                                                                   which is open to children
                                                                   aged between five and 12.
                                                                     The many activities that
                                                                   children at the Kids’            Refreshing summer offers in UAE
                                                                   Summer Camp will experi-
                                                                   ence include visits to local        ebel Ali International              year’s ATM.                             Golf Resort & Spa, Hatta
                                                                   places of interest; baking
                                                                   with the chefs; going on
                                                                   treasure hunts; and making
                                                                                                   J   Hotels, the hospitality
                                                                                                       company that manages
                                                                                                     several of Dubai’s most
                                                                                                                                             The Refreshing Summer
                                                                                                                                           Offers campaign features a
                                                                                                                                           range of dining and
                                                                                                                                                                                   Fort Hotel, Oasis Beach
                                                                                                                                                                                   Tower, Al Sahra Desert
                                                                                                                                                                                   Resort and Bateaux Dubai.
                                                                   art works. Every week has a     established        properties,          overnight stay promotions                  Group director of sales
                                                                   different interesting theme     launched a series of summer             for local UAE residents.                and marketing, Jebel Ali
Grand Hyatt Muscat is hosting a plethora of summer options         designed to help children       offers to the local and inter-          The offers cover the group’s            International          Hotels,
                                                                   learn while they play.          national markets at this                portfolio including Jebel Ali           Andrea Greybanks said: “In


T
        he Grand Hyatt           diners can enjoy brunch           Children of guests staying at                                                                                   addition to the summer
        Muscat is welcom-        served at their table, com-       the hotel are welcome to                                                                                        offers for local residents, we
        ing the forthcoming      plete with Moët &                 join the Kids’ Summer                                                                                           also launched a free half-
summer season with a series      Chandon champagne at the          Camp at no cost and every                                                                                       board upgrade to interna-
of promotions at its five-star   Peppercrab restaurant.            day     of     the     week.                                                                                    tional tour operators for all
property in Oman.                   Dine In by Hyatt, the loy-     Furthermore, children aged                                                                                      bookings in June and July at
  Monday evenings will           alty programme of Hyatt           up to 12 eat for free at any                                                                                    both Jebel Ali Hotel and
give diners the opportunity      hotels in Dubai are shaving       restaurant at Grand Hyatt                                                                                       Palm Tree Court & Spa.”
to enjoy high quality steaks,    a significant 25 per cent off     Muscat when dining with                                                                                            Jebel Ali International
along with a choice of free      the bill for all members of       their paying parents.                                                                                           Hotels also promoted its
side dishes and salads and       the programme in any of the         The Family Summer                                                                                             new status as exclusive food
selected red wines at the        28 outstanding restaurants        Promotion 50 per cent dis-                                                                                      and beverage caterer for
Manhattan Grill, while veg-      and bars eligible for the offer   count offers GCC residents                                                                                      The Palladium at ATM.
etarians can indulge in a        until September 30.               staying at the hotel for a                                                                                      With years of outside cater-
variety of vegetarian and           Grand Hyatt Muscat             minimum of two nights a                                                                                         ing experience looking after
vegan dishes every Tuesday       ensures the perfect summer        second room at a 50 per                                                                                         major events such as the
at iZ restaurant. On             for the whole family with         cent discount when they                                                                                         Dubai Desert Classic,
Wednesdays, The Grand            family promotions includ-         book a Grand Room. The                                                                                          Dubai World Cup and
Seafood package at the mar-      ing the Busy Bees for a Kids’     offer includes breakfast,                                                                                       more recently Dinner in the
ket café gives diners the        Summer Camp available             with early check-in and late                                                                                    Sky, Jebel Ali International
opportunity to indulge in        from June 20 every weekday        check-out. This offer is                                                                                        Hotels continues to grow its
an all-you-can eat seafood       for eight weeks. The profes-      valid from June 1 to            Jebel Ail Golf Resort & Spa is also participating in the company’s Refreshing   reputation for catering and
buffet, while on Fridays,        sional and hands-on team          September 22.                   Summer Offers campaign                                                          events management.

20                                                                                                                                                                                               June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com                                                                                                                                 SUMMER PROMOTIONS


 Tailored savings for smart bookers Culinary experiences in Qatar
S
      tarwood Hotels &
      Resorts in the Asia-
      Pacific region recently
announced the launch of its
Smart Savers promotion,
                                                                                                               S      harq Village and Spa is
                                                                                                                      inviting guests to
                                                                                                                      escape from the bustle
                                                                                                               of everyday life and retreat
                                                                                                               into its oasis this summer
                                                                                                                                                in the chilled pools, sip on
                                                                                                                                                an iced beverage on a sun
                                                                                                                                                lounger or simply to dine
                                                                                                                                                on fresh bounties from the
                                                                                                                                                sea at Al Dana.”
                                                                                                                                                                                to December 30, guests may
                                                                                                                                                                                embark on culinary jour-
                                                                                                                                                                                neys at the hotel’s signature
                                                                                                                                                                                beachfront seafood restau-
                                                                                                                                                                                rant Al Dana, the all-day
available from now until                                                                                       with a series of special get-      Guests who take advan-        dining café Al Liwan, the
October 31.                                                                                                    away packages.                   tage of this special summer     Cigar Lounge, or sample
   The       Smart      Savers                                                                                   An overnight stay any-         promotion may enjoy a           hearty barbeque fare at Al
Promotion rewards trav-                                                                                        time from June 1 to August       complimentary       breakfast   Seef.     Diners may then
ellers who book from seven                                                                                     20 will give guests the          for one, 25 per cent off all    receive a special rebate of
to 30 days in advance by                                                                                       opportunity to experience        food and beverage meals in      their bill which may be used
offering them generous sav-                                                                                    the Arabic hospitality of the    the hotel, and delightful       at their next visit.
ings on the room rates as                                                                                      resort as well as recreational   summer in-room amenities.          To stay connected with
well as complimentary                                                                                          facilities such as the Six         In addition, Sharq Village    friends, family and the
breakfast during their stay.                                                                                   Senses Spa. General man-         and Spa is introducing offers   favourite online portals, the
This offer is tailored to trav-                                                                                ager, Sharq Village and Spa,     up to 25 per cent savings       resort is now offering free
ellers today who are booking                                                                                   Hoss Vetry said: “This is the    with the newly launched         wireless Internet access at
their trips at the last minute                                                                                 ideal opportunity to take        Sharq Riyals.                   the Lobby Lounge, Al Jalsa
with the anticipation of get-     The St. Regis brand is participating in the group’s Smart Savers promotion   delight with a languid dip         Meanwhile, from May 15        and the Cigar Lounge.
ting better rates the later
they book. Smart Savers           Pacific throughout more                Sheraton, St. Regis, The
allow bookers to enjoy such
savings while having the
peace of mind of having a
                                  than 20 countries including
                                  many popular travel desti-
                                  nations such as China,
                                                                         Luxury Collection, Four
                                                                         Points by Sheraton, W and
                                                                         Le Méridien. Bookings can
                                                                                                               Providing aerial views of Dubai
room booked in advance.           Japan, Indonesia, Thailand,            be made by contacting                         uests at Renaissance Dubai can tour      chocolate eggs as a welcome gift at arrival,
   The Smart Savers promo-
tion is now available at
more than 140 Starwood
                                  Vietnam, India, Australia,
                                  New Zealand and Fiji.
                                    Participating      brands
                                                                         Starwood Customer Contact
                                                                         centres worldwide, the par-
                                                                         ticipating hotels, or by the
                                                                                                               G       Dubai above sea level on a sea plane
                                                                                                                       on a Dubai Costal sightseeing tour
                                                                                                               with the hotel’s Easter Fly High Dubai
                                                                                                                                                                complimentary transportation to some of
                                                                                                                                                                the major Dubai Malls, beach access to
                                                                                                                                                                Dubai Marine Beach Resort and transfers
Hotel & Resorts in Asia-          include     aloft,  Westin,            group’s official website.             package valid until September 21.                to Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa.
                                                                                                                 The package gives guests the opportunity          Further to this unique package, from
                                                                                                               to take an aerial Dubai sightseeing tour         September 21 guests at the hotel can avail
Adding more value to packages                                                                                  during the day and then in the evening,
                                                                                                               relax at the poolside or at the Hero’s Health
                                                                                                               Club with additional added value benefits
                                                                                                                                                                of the Grand Golf Package which includes
                                                                                                                                                                accommodation in a deluxe room, as well as
                                                                                                                                                                the special Dubai Mall Shopping package
       empinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates           dation package created by Kempinski Hotel                 such as a stylish deluxe room with daily         allowing guests to enjoy the newly-opened

K      is looking forward to a busy summer
       thanks to its plethora of new holiday
packages and special offers with an exciting
                                                     Mall of the Emirates to perfectly compli-
                                                     ment the summer months include the
                                                     grand deluxe room deal whereby guests
                                                                                                               breakfast at Sails Restaurant, a box of Easter   development.


array of added values and benefits.                  wishing to relax within the room can avail
  General manager, Kempinski Hotel Mall              of a gift voucher for a visit to Magic Planet
of the Emirates, Holger Schroth said:                plus two tickets to Ski Dubai’s popular
“Recent financial climate changes have               snow park.
certainly played a role in the restructure of          Guests wishing to indulge in the comfort
our strategy for the year 2009 and we are            of luxurious ski chalets or an executive
mindful of the need for appealing and                grand deluxe room will receive a shopping
value-for-money holiday options for our              voucher to spend at Mall of the Emirates
guests during this time.                             and a Magic Planet gift voucher for two to
  “At this year’s ATM, we unveiled our new           the snow park at Ski Dubai, plus a voucher
innovative accommodation package in time             to spend on food and beverage at any of the
for summer that will undoubtedly aid us to           hotel’s famed dining destinations. With this
maintain our strong position in the market”          Superb Summer Accommodation package
he concluded.                                        for a minimum stay of four nights, a plea-
  This year’s ultimate summer accommo-               surable summer escape awaits.


Enjoying Egyptian summer benefits
      gypt prides itself on       any of the Hilton Hotels               and entertainment parks as

E     the ability to offer
      something for every-
one and, designed to make
                                  will be able to enjoy addi-
                                  tional value added benefits
                                  this summer.
                                                                         well as discounts on daily
                                                                         boat trips, desert safaris and
                                                                         go-karting.
the country even more                Such benefits include a               Senior director, business
appealing,    the     Hilton      complimentary Royal Meet               development,           Hilton
Family of Hotels in Egypt         and Assist programme on                Hotels – Egypt, Jordan,
has added a range of value        arrival, with transfer by luxu-        Lebanon and Africa, Azza
added benefits valid from         ry limousine to any one of             Serry said: “The value
May to September.                 the nine Hilton properties,            added benefits that Hilton
  The beaches of Sharm El         room service breakfast on              Family of Hotels is offering
Sheikh and Hurghada host          offer until 3:00pm without             in Egypt this summer really
four Hilton Worldwide             an extra charge, complimen-            do add value to our guests’
Resorts while culturally          tary cinema tickets and an             vacation. Not only that, but
curious visitors need look        array of shopping discounts            for every seven night stay in
no further than the Hilton        from      Ramses       Hilton’s        Cairo, guests can enjoy an
Alexandria Green Plaza in         Galleria. Meanwhile, Hilton            extra night free at a resort.”
Alexandria. For golf-loving       World-wide Resort guests in              Amogst the hotels in
guests there is Pyramids          Sharm El Sheikh and                    Egypt that are offering the
Golf Resort in Cairo in con-      Hurghada can enjoy free                summer benefits are Con-
venient     proximity     to      entrance to or special dis-            rad Cairo, Ramses Hilton,
Egypt’s capital city, Cairo.      counts at local hot spots.             Hilton Sharm Fayrouz
Here, there are an addition-         Hilton Family of Hotels’            Resort, Hilton Pyramids
al three Hilton Family            summer surprises are offer-            Golf Resort, Hilton Hurg-
Hotels from which to enjoy        ing families free or dis-              hada Resort, and Hilton
the vibrant city. Guests at       counted entrance to water              Sharm Waterfalls Resort.

June 1, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                             21
               COMMENT                                                                                                                                   www.ttgmena.com




Editor’s Letter
Where to next?
       he team here at TTG Middle East & North

T
                                                                                                                       aviation sector that spearheads developments and
       Africa is currently looking towards compiling                                                                   makes a destination into an emerging one. For those
       next yearʼs editorial schedule.                                                                                 of you who are involved in this sector, perhaps you
  Be assured that the old favourites will still be there,                                                              could explain to us how you reach the decision to
and that each and every destination we cover in the                                                                    enter a new destination. It surely canʼt be as simple
region – from Morocco to Iran – will be given its own                                                                  as looking for the availability of slots.
dedicated report. Likewise, our ever popular people                                                                       So, what do you look for? Is it the positive eco-
pages and interview sections will remain, as will the                                                                  nomic development of a country? Do you monitor
up-to-date regional and international news pages.                                                                      these countries over a long period of time – for exam-
  This year, we have been placing the spotlight on                                                                     ple, just how long was Houston on Qatar Airwaysʼ
emerging destinations, specifically East Africa,                                                                       books before it came to fruition? Or are you actually
Vietnam, and Central Asia – each of which have gen-                                                                    looking at a different destination altogether, but need
erated a spark of interest amongst you. The aim of                                                                     a hub that will enable you to connect to it?
these reports has been to introduce new destinations                                                                      I should imagine there are throngs of people
to the MENA traveller, and to inform you, the travel                                                                   working behind the scenes, day and night, frantically
trade, of their tourism potential.                                                                                     tapping away at their calculators, checking and
  My question to you is, what do you think the next                                                                    rechecking demographics – living, eating and breath-
emerging destinations will be for 2010, with specific                                                                  ing statistics until the final decision is made.
reference to the MENA traveller? For instance,                                                                            We would love to learn about the thought process
should we be turning our attention west to watch The                                                                   and the behind-the-scenes action that goes into mak-
Americas more closely, or should we be gearing our                                                                     ing such decisions. Perhaps you are one of those
focus northwards on the CIS countries?                                                                                 unsung heroes that compiles all the necessary analy-
  The global travel and tourism industry seems to be                                                                   ses and statistics to ensure the right decision can be
getting smaller and smaller, especially as the aviation                                                                reached. Whatever your involvement in this process,
sector closes the miles between us. Therefore,                                                                         we are waiting for your story, so please drop me a
maybe you feel that, actually, there are no more                                                                       line at ANorth@ttgmena.com
emerging destinations left – other than the North or
South Poles!                                                                                                                                                        Editor
  Generally speaking, it is the formidable force of the                                                                                                    Alexandra North




 Letters to the Editor                                                                               Have your say on any travel-related issues that concern you.
                                                                                                     Drop us a line at editor@ttgmena.com



                                                            will be delighted to participate in the proposed feature
             STAR LETTER                                    [On Location India, July 1 issue].
                                                                                                                                Question Time
 We just received the latest TTG Middle East & North        Director, corporate communications, The Oberoi Group,
 Africa magazine yesterday and I was thrilled to            Ketaki Narain
 find my postcard :-)) Thanks a lot for having print-                                                                   With the credit crunch biting at our purse
 ed it! And by the way, I also enjoyed the article                                                                      strings, many of us are having to cut back
 about Central Asia – that’s really one of my               Greetings from Beijing!                                     on the number of vacations we can make
 favourite destinations.                                      I have been receiving your publication for a while
                                                                                                                        each year.
                                                            now and enjoy reading updates in the Middle East &
 Marketing & PR manager, Steigenberger Al Dau               North Africa.
                                                              We are starting to look towards the Middle East as an     Bearing this in mind, are our children
 Resort, Hurghada, Stefanie Glasser
                                                            emerging market for us.                                     shaping the future of the leisure travel
                                                                                                                        industry more than ever?
It was indeed a pleasure to have met you a few days         Director of marketing communications, The Westin
back during what turned out to be another amazing           Beijing Chaoyang, Hilda Looi                                Whether your perspective is as a travel
week for the hospitality industry. I hope you had an                                                                    industry professional or a parent, we
enjoyable and a successful time too.                                                                                    would love to hear your thoughts.
                                                            Sunny greetings from the world’s most beautiful
CEO, Layia Hospitality, Daniel Hajjar                       islands…Seychelles!
                                                                                                                        Please do not hesitate to drop us a line at
                                                            Manager, public relations & communications, Air             editor@ttgmena.com
Thank you for your interest in The Oberoi Group. We         Seychelles, Glenn Pillay


22                                                                                                                                                              June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com                                                                                                                                                  COMMENT




                                                               Treating the family
                                                                     General manager, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Holger Schroth talks
                                                                     to TTG about embracing the challenges that the current climate is presenting,
                                                                     and recognising the power that children have when it comes to booking holidays




Riding the waves                                                      worldwide between now and 2012, our goal is to excite our         guest, every room will feature special Kid-Cierge amenities
                                                                      travel partners and give them further reasons to continue         including mini bathrobes, slippers, special penguin toi-
I have been in the industry for over two decades now, and             recommending the unique Kempinski experience to their             letries, and a glass of warm milk served with cookies before
even with all my experience, I continue to set new chal-              clients, plus this will open up new and rewarding career          bedtime. We can arrange for baby-sitters upon request.
lenges and goals for myself and my staff to ensure that we            paths for our many employees, providing them with superb             Our hotel is a popular choice for the GCC market, and
are constantly progressing and developing, and I encourage            training and talent development.                                  they tend to travel with their family and in large numbers,
my peers to do the same.                                                                                                                and they are very eager to visit places like Ski Dubai and
  I see what is before all of us as a brilliant challenge; it pro-    The importance of family                                          Magic Planet to entertain the children. With these great
vides the opportunity to lead the hotel and further boost its                                                                           facilities at our doorstep, parents can have peace of mind
position as one of Dubai’s preferred luxurious leisure desti-         At this particular time, children are in a sense dictating        and relax on their vacation and go shopping, knowing that
nations. The Middle East continues to evolve as a thriving            where and when families will go on vacation. Therefore,           their children are entertained.
tourism hotspot that still holds such promise for future              promoting children’s packages does help drive more busi-             With both Mall of the Emirates and Ski Dubai connect-
growth, even in the midst of the many financial challenges.           ness to the property. It assists parents to plan their vacation   ed to our hotel, we are one of the preferred properties for
  Prior to the global crisis, focus was indeed on new mar-            with ease and choose the right place to stay during their         family’s who travel for leisure. Generally speaking, the
kets, but I think that efforts now are best spent on the              vacation so that all the family can enjoy themselves and par-     families staying with us have three to five kids, and it is
markets that we already have. Focus should also now be on             ents can have a peace of mind and relax knowing that their        essential for us to cater to their needs and the needs of their
service issues and training. At Kempinski Hotels, we are              children’s needs are catered for.                                 children by providing facilities and services to add comfort
grooming our own people and have fast-track programming                 As a luxury property, many guests may prefer not to have        and entertainment to their stay.
at department head levels.                                            children running around, and so we keep a balance in terms
                                                                      of not compromising on offering this sense of luxury, while
Back to basics                                                        at the same time allowing children the freedom to enjoy
                                                                      themselves. Our Kid-Cierge programme offers activities
Recent financial climate changes have certainly played a role         especially catered to kids to keep them occupied and enter-
in the restructure of our strategy for the year 2009 and we           tained with fun activities at both Ski Dubai and Magic
are mindful of the need for appealing and value-for-money             Planet, along with different fun activities in Sezzam.
holiday options for our guests during this time.                        When it comes to mealtimes, all dining outlets through-
  As part of our new strategy for 2009, we are mindful of             out the hotel serve an impressive selection of kid’s cuisine
our need to appeal on a broader level, therefore we are               including all-time favourites such as burgers, fish fingers,
focusing on accommodation packages with value-added                   sandwiches and sweet treats. For the comfort of each little
extras, along with special offers at our superb dining desti-
nations, Softouch Spa and Dessange Hair Salon. We have
recently unveiled new innovative accommodation packages
in time for the summer that will undoubtedly aid us to
maintain our strong position in the market.
  Kempinski Hotels in the Middle East and Africa is set for
a 50 per cent growth in 2009 alone, thanks to this continu-
al growth and our restructuring plan to boost efficiency,
improve strategies and capitalise on synergies.

The era of the roadshow

Roadshows are an integral part of running a successful
hotel; they strengthen our business ties with travel trade
partners and permit us to showcase the many facets of our
luxurious property.
  We remain optimistic about preserving growth in this
region and that is in part thanks to the support provided by
our travel trade partners, with whom we have established
very good relations through the pursuit of roadshow and
sales blitzes.
  Bannered by our existing portfolio of luxury properties in
exotic destinations, as well as 53 properties due to open

June 1, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                       23
                                                                                                                                                                              www.ttgmena.com




                                  Kitchen recruitment                                                People on the move
                                                                                                                                                               Felipe Gotor
                                 Chef, Elysium Hotel, Paphos – Cyprus, John Botha
                                 tells TTG about the challenges faced in kitchen                     InterContinental Phoenicia and Inter-           tencies are in the fields of
                                                                                                     Continental Le Vendome, Beirut recently         sales and marketing, cor-
                                 staffing and what recruiters should look for                        welcomed onboard their new cluster sales        porate strategy, yield
                                                                                                     and marketing director, Felipe Gotor. Having    management and interna-
                                                                                                     graduated with an MBA from Université du        tional co-operations. With
                                                                                                     Québec à Montréal, Canada, Gotor is a           more than 16 years of
                                                                                                     marketing and business development              experience in the industry, Gotor has been in
                                                                                                     professional with extensive management          the capacity of sales and marketing director
                                                                                                     and consultancy experience. His core compe-     since 2003.
      s the hospitality and food sector enters     ability and style. In many ways I agree that

A     a new phase in the global economic
      downturn, hotels and resorts have
been looking more closely at saving money.
                                                   you should ‘try before you buy’, but tastings
                                                   can be very limiting to the scope of an appli-
                                                   cant’s knowledge. It’s great to examine a
More and more, we are seeing that the              chef’s style and tastes, but in the kitchen
sector is recruiting with cost at the forefront    there’s more to a person than what they can
of proceedings, and less emphasis being            show you in a few hours and you need to                               Carsten Fritz
placed on absolute quality.                        remember that you require an ‘across-the-
   F&B managers and executive chefs are            board’ person to take up the position.                               The Ritz-Carlton Company     international level. These roles have included
finding themselves under growing pressure            This is also important as the operation of                         has recently announced       hotel manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia,
to hire less qualified staff in order to combat    the kitchen needs to be running to its opti-                         the     appointment     of   Singapore, general manager of The Ritz-
                                                                                                                        Carsten Fritz as general     Carlton, Country Club Seoul, and hotel man-
overspending, as well as more multi-func-          mum and you need to be constantly sup-                               manager of The Ritz-         ager of The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka, Japan.
tional kitchen personnel who can do more           ported while you are trying to get and train      Carlton, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Fritz brings   Boasting such a vast career within the
than one job in order to save on wages.            people into these positions.                      with him some 19 years of experience to his     industry, Fritz’s experience is expected to
   Yet there is a clear danger that you will                                                         new post and has held several executive         help support the growth and success of The
sacrifice quality when doing so. Of course         What to look out for                              posts within The Ritz-Carlton Company on an     Ritz-Carlton, Sharm El Sheikh.
this is not always the norm for certain sec-
tors such as luxury hotels or Michelin-star        An excellent understanding of all aspects of
restaurants, yet even when working at that         kitchen operations is essential, and during
level, personnel will often accept lower pay-      the interview applicants need to be able to
ing jobs in return for the recognition of work-    prove their experience in a range of areas.
ing in that establishment.                            As executive chef, you need to be a good
   As a chef, I am fully aware of the difficul-    administrator i.e. ordering, costing, training,
ties of overall kitchen organisation as com-       purchasing, human resources, HACCP, and
pared to other departments in a hotel. In          unions. Focusing on all these areas will                                                                       Adam Roy
other departments, if a candidate shows            ensure a smooth running operation and an
some aptitude it may not be as difficult to        ability to improve the business and reach the     Malaysia’s Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort      star hotels in Germany
teach them the skills needed for the work,         overall goals of the establishment.               and Spa in Penang has appointed Adam Roy        and Switzerland, as well
i.e. to carry a plate, check in a guest, or           Looking at an applicant’s character and        as executive sous chef to man the helm at the   as with large internation-
                                                                                                     renowned Feringgi Grill. Prior to joining the   al cruise ships and inter-
adapt their appearance. However, in the            interaction skills is also vitally important.     resort, Roy, an American native, was execu-     national hotels in Thailand. A certified sous
kitchen, staff should be hired mainly on per-      Your kitchen team needs to run as harmo-          tive sous chef at Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah   chef by the American Culinary Federation, and
formance and ability.                              niously as possible, and keeping that in          Resort and Spa in Oman, where he started his    a well travelled professional, Roy has gained a
   The range of positions necessary to cover       mind when recruiting will increase your           career with the Shangri-La group. Born and      vast knowledge of the culinary business as
                                                                                                     raised in Chicago, Roy has worked with five-    well as a passion for culture.
the kitchen’s daily operations is extensive,       chances that the applicant will gel with your
from kitchen porters to butchers to executive      existing staff and ensure a pleasant and
chefs. And within each position there are sub-     motivated environment.
positions making the complexity of place-             Language barriers are of course always a
ment and recruiting apparent. The challenge        common challenge in hiring and training
in keeping an eye on all positions, maximis-       these positions, but there are ways for
ing their output, and hiring suitable staff to     hotels to combat this by providing extra
replenish the stock of staff is enormous.          lessons in order to create a more cohesive
                                                   kitchen team.
Identifying who’s who                                 Always keep in mind that all kitchen posi-
                                                                                                                        Ersin Manaz
                                                   tions are challenging, and recruiters should
The first step is to understand the attributes     always look for flexible and hard workers,
                                                                                                                      In an effort to consolidate    Parksa, Istanbul, where he spent several years
of a culinary professional: commitment to          and for those who are capable of learning                          its regional market proposi-   before joining Radisson SAS in Bahrain. Prior
service; sense of responsibility; and sound        and supporting others.                                             tion, The Rezidor Hotel        to taking this role, Manaz, who joined
judgment. It is vital to identify suitable can-       Positively hiring the correct staff and con-   Group has made an addition to its Middle East   Radisson Blu in 2005, held the position of
didates that appreciate and are dedicated to       tinuously building on their experience will       management team with the appointment of         group sales manager at Radisson Blu Dubai
                                                                                                     Ersin Manaz as regional sales manager. With     Deira Creek. In his new position, Manaz will
utmost quality. When hiring, you are not only      gain support from your staff and ultimately       over ten years experience in the hospitality    be responsible for leisure and MICE sales
looking for personnel to fill both manage-         grow you business in the correct way.             sector, Manaz began his career at Hilton        across the Middle East.
ment and creative positions, but you need to       Always look to your ultimate goal for your
fill functional positions as well.                 business before contemplating hiring.
   Within the kitchen, the variety of posi-
tions to fill is large and there are varying
levels of ability. The easiest way to explain
this is to present the classical kitchen hierar-
chy structure:

        Executive chef
        Executive sous chef
        Sous chef                                                                                                                                        Fernanda Makhoul
        Chef de Partie
        Cooks                                                                                       Recently appointed as PR manager of The         Three years later, she was
        Kitchen helpers                                                                             Address, Dubai Mall, Fernanda Makhoul is a      transferred to Grand
                                                                                                     graduate in social communications. She          Hyatt, Dubai where she
        Trainees                                                                                    began her career in 1998 as an advertise-       built her career as assistant marketing com-
        Kitchen porters                                                                             ment co-ordinator at Portfolio Publicity in     munications manager. In her new role,
                                                                                                     Sao Paolo, Brazil. Following this, Makhoul      Makhoul will focus her efforts in positioning
When hiring for positions above a cook’s posi-                                                       joined Grand Hyatt, Sao Paolo, as marketing     The Address, Dubai Mall hotel as a premiere
                                                                                                     communication assistant where she devel-        shopping destination complemented by a
tion, employers will generally request a tast-                                                       oped herself in branding and copywriting.       choice of restaurants, lounges and a spa.
ing before hiring to see the chef’s cooking


24                                                                                                                                                                                    June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com




                                                                                                      Top Shop:
  Amadeus has promoted Ghislaine Merhabi to
  the position of director of sales to drive mar-
                                                           Ghislaine Merhabi

                                                    executive in 1999, Mer-
                                                    habi has held several key
                                                                                                      Alexandria,
  ket share in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. In her new
  role, Merhabi will be responsible for outlin-
  ing, implementing and achieving growth and
  market expansion goals in Abu Dhabi and Al
  Ain. She will lead marketing and sales sup-
                                                    positions within the com-
                                                    pany including head of
                                                    marketing and sales where she was involved
                                                    in implementing product life cycles, go-to-
                                                    market initiatives and tactical planning.
                                                                                                      Egypt
  port including overseeing business and com-       Merhabi will continue to carry out her former
  munications strategies. Having started her        role in addition to identifying new business
  career with Amadeus as sales and marketing        opportunities in her current capacity.
                                                                                                      Telephone Request: A two-week, low-budget trip for a
                                                                                                      young couple to Kerala, India, landing at Kozhikode
                                                                                                      International Airport
                                                                                                                                              TTG staff and correspondents grade services and report the
                                                                                                                                                   results based on a personal one-time experience only.
                                                                                                                                              They view services exclusively from a customer perspective.
                       David O’Hanlon

                      Swiss-Belhotel      Inter-
                      national has recently
                                                    recent position was as hotel manager of
                                                    Royal Wing and Spa, Royal Cliff Beach Resort      Harty Tours – Alexandria
                      appointed a new gener-        in Thailand. O’Hanlon boasts a strong opera-
                      al manager for its Swiss-     tional background in the food and beverage         I was pleased that the very first person to answer my call at Harty Tours was available to
 Belhotel Borneo, namely Irish-born David           segment, and is fluent in both English and         listen to and deal with my request. Speaking perfect English, and with a genuine open-
 O’Hanlon. He has garnered over 20 years of         German. With his vast experience, O’Hanlon         ness and kindness in his voice, the agent listened with care and I sensed that the phone
 experience in the five-star international          will be an asset to the group and will contin-
 hotels and resorts sector having held posts in     ue working towards the success of Swiss-           call would be an enjoyable one.
 Europe, the Middle East and Asia. His most         Belhotel Borneo Samarinda.                            Although he was not too familiar with Kerala and its main cities, I did not mind wait-
                                                                                                       ing while he did some background research, filling in the gaps of silence with polite con-
                                                                                                       versation. I was given the flight options from Egypt to Kozhikode International Airport,
                                                                                                       the best of which was a Qatar Airways flight to Doha, followed by a codeshare flight with
                                                                                                       Air India to Kozhikode.
                                                                                                          The agent remained clear and easy to talk to at all times, and I was pleased by how
                                                                                                       comfortable I felt chatting with him.
                                                                                                          Overall, a highly commendable service which left a lasting impression.
                                                               Asaad Farag

  Malta-based CHI Hotels & Resorts has herald-      siderable     experience,
  ed the arrival of Asaad Farag as its new gen-
  eral manager of the renovated and upgraded
                                                    flair and acumen to our
                                                    senior general manage-                            Nasco Tours – Alexandria
  five-star Corinthia Hotel St Petersburg,          ment team. With the renovation phase now
  Russia. Farag joins CHI following a long inter-   nearing completion, Asaad’s immediate task        Calling Nasco Tours involved the all-too common route of my phone call being trans-
  national career in senior hotel management        will be to develop the hotel’s key marketing      ferred to different departments, yet the representative to finally attend my call was pre-
  positions. Farag’s most recent appointment        strategy and to establish the property as one     pared and eager to help.
  was that of general manager of the 770-           of the finest examples of hospitality and ser-
  room InterContinental Hotels Group property       vice in the gateway city of St. Petersburg.”        Following a series of questions about my proposed trip, it became clear that there was
  in Time Square New York. “Asaad brings con-       said CEO, CHI Hotels & Resorts, Tony Potter.      no immediate knowledge of Kerala as a destination, but my confidence was soon restored
                                                                                                      in the agent when he found a good range of flight options sorted by price, as I had
                                                                                                      requested. The findings, which once again included Qatar Airways and Air India con-
                                                                                                      nections to Kozhikode, were accurate and timely.
                                                                                                        On the whole, while the agent was not too chatty on the phone, he remained profes-
                                                                                                      sional and friendly at all times, and emailed me a few hours later as I had been promised.


                       Remko Kroesen

                       VIE Hotel Bangkok, a         the hotel and resort as a result of his distin-   Travco Travel – Alexandria
                       member of the MGallery       guished career which has seen him manage
                       Collection,     recently     high-profile hotels in Australia and Southeast    Upon calling Travco Travel’s branch in Alexandria, I was finally put through to an agent
                       appointed Remko Kroe-        Asia. Meanwhile Wanida Tardivel joins VIE         who kindly asked for all my requirements. A professional and sociable attitude from the
                       sen as its general man-      Hotel Bangkok and V Villas Hua Hin as             assistant combined with a sheer enthusiasm to help me was enough for me to pardon his
  ager. Kroesen will also oversee operations of     director of business. Having worked with          lack of knowledge about Kerala.
  the beachfront resort property, V Villas Hua      international hospitality brands since 1992,
  Hin, located in the renowned royal resort         her recent appointment reflects her commit-          Upon listening to my requirements, the agent insisted that he study the case instead of
  town of Hua Hin. Kroesen brings with him a        ment and experience. Tardivel will be             keeping me waiting on the phone, and despite my many efforts to prolong our conver-
  wealth of experience in the hospitality           responsible for sales, marketing, revenue         sation, he insisted on calling me back or emailing me in order to best serve me. All-in-
  industry and is set to be a valuable asset to     and public relations.                             all, a short but sweet conversation with an agent who was undeniably eager to help me.
                                                                                                      Further to this I received information in an email soon after.




                                                            Fabien Martinez

  Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort has wel-        dishes Pettinau will be
  comed onboard Fabien Martinez as executive        adding. Finally, Borra-
  chef, Massimo Pettinau as Italian chef, and       dori, together with the
  Aramis Borradori as assistant food and bev-       food and beverage man-
  erage manager. Bringing with him over 18          ager, will be in charge of
  years of culinary experience, Martinez will be    the food and beverage
  in charge of the kitchen operations for the       outlets of the hotel
  272 rooms, 10 food and beverage outlets           including room service and banquet opera-
  and six meeting rooms. Meanwhile, Pettinau        tions. In addition, he will be implementing
  will be in charge of La Mamma Restaurant.         new food promotions that will aim to create
  Its fresh and authentic Italian menu will be      a unique guest experience for the clientele
  further enhanced by the home-made pasta           of Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort.


June 1, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                           25
             PEOPLE                                                                                                                               www.ttgmena.com




         A day in the life of… Mohammedine Ali Mohammed
                                       Having travelled to the Middle East from his home town in Sudan, bellboy, Radisson
                                       Blu Resort Sharjah, Mohammedine Ali Mohammed talks to TTG about his move and
                                       how positive thinking can help anyone overcome the challenges they face at work


Tell us a little bit about yourself.                  He then asked what my credentials were and eight          any type of challenge, one has to have the ‘yes I
                                                      months later I got an offer from Sharjah Continental      can’ attitude which the hotel trains us to continu-
I was born in Kutton, Sudan on January 1, 1956, and   Hotel, which is now Radisson Blu Resort, Sharjah.         ously have – this is the positive thinking one must
I am married with two children – one son, Abdul                                                                 have in order to overcome the challenges they face.
Bagi who is 21 years old, and one daughter, Neddal    What is your average day like?
who is 22 years old.                                                                                            What do you enjoy most about your job?
                                                      On an average day, I get out of bed, come to work
Why did you move to Sharjah, and do you like          and then go back home to be with my roommates             The things I enjoy most about my job is talking to
living there?                                         who are also my colleagues. Sometimes we stay             the guests, helping them as much as possible, deal-
                                                      at home to cook our native food if we feel like it, but   ing with their inquiries patiently, and giving correct
Before moving to Sharjah I was living in Baghdad,     most of the time we eat in the hotel as we are given      information.
Iraq. I moved to Sharjah because I feel safe and at   free meals three times a day. I get one day
peace here, plus I have a good job in a good com-     off a week which I spend doing household chores           What advice would you give to someone wanting to
pany which I like.                                    such as washing my clothes and cleaning up my             do the same job?
                                                      room. Once a month I go and visit some friends
How did you get your job at Radisson Blu Resort,      around the city.                                          The job is very interesting, but you need a lot of
Sharjah?                                                                                                        patience and enthusiasm. It is when you help others
                                                      What are the biggest challenges you face in your          that you feel relaxed and fulfilled in this job.
Prior to coming to Sharjah, I was working at Le       job, and how do you overcome them?
Méridien, Baghdad where I met an official of the                                                                Where would you like to be in five years time?
Sharjah government who, at the time some 20           The greatest challenge I face at work is with those
years ago, was having a conference. I approached      guests who are never pleased. The more you offer          I would love to go back home to Sudan and serve
him and asked him if he could take me to the UAE.     them the more they are not content. To overcome           my country, as well as be with my family.




  A postcard from New Zealand




  Kia ora! We’ve just spent another incredible family holiday in Aotearoa the ‘land of the
  long white cloud’, and what an incredible place New Zealand is. Being married to a
  New Zealander I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to visit my husband’s home and                     JUNE 1, 2009
  family seven times in the last 11 years.
    On this three week trip, we spent a glorious week staying on the beach overlooking
  Lake Taupo. Centrally located on the north island, Lake Taupo covers an area from
  Orakei Korako in the north to Tongariro National Park in the south. Lake Taupo is the
  site of the world’s largest volcanic eruption in the last 5,000 years. The results of its
  earth-shattering creation can be seen everywhere with active volcanoes proving a
  daily source of wonderment for our four year old daughter, Saffiya.                                     Sarah Johnson
    This was my second trip to Taupo. I really love its relaxed pace of life – a welcome
  change from the hustle and bustle of life in Dubai. It’s a vibrant and friendly place with              Managing partner
  a buzzing café and restaurant scene.
    The outdoor lifestyle here is second-to-none with easy access to the bush, lake and
  mountains. For us, time away is about enjoying the simple things in life and Taupo                      Couture Media
  certainly delivers these. Taupo must do’s include a trip to New Zealand’s most visited
  natural attraction, The Huka Falls, and upstream from the falls in surely one of the                    Dubai
  world’s best retreats, The Huka Lodge. Built in 1937, the picturesque Owner’s Cottage
  is virtually completely hidden from sight offering guests the highest standards of com-                 UAE
  fort and hospitality, all overlooking the beautiful Waikato River.
    For us though, nothing beats fish and chips on the lakefront, eating alfresco, watch-
  ing the world go by as the sun sets behind the spectacular mountains.



26                                                                                                                                                       June 1, 2009
www.ttgmena.com                                                                                                                                       CALENDAR


Editor
Alexandra North
ANorth@ttgmena.com
                                           Exhibition calendar
Journalists
Claudio Saghbini
Stefanie Saghbini                           June 4 – 7
Emily Millett                               The 22nd Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA) 2009, Seoul, Korea
                                            www.kotfa.co.kr/eng
Production Manager
Elena Stylianou
                                            June 7 – 9
Designer                                    Wellness and Spa Middle East 2009, Dubai, UAE
Christos Ioannides                          www.wellnessandspas.com

Executive Director
Katherine Savvides                          June 11 – 14
                                            The 23rd International Travel Expo Hong Kong, China
Sales and Marketing Manager                 www.itehk.com
Tony Fields

Area Sales Manager
                                            June 15 – 18
Dubai & Abu Dhabi
                                            Asia Luxury Travel Market, Shanghai Exhibition Centre, Shangai, China
Eleni Fulton
                                            www.altm.com.cn
Sales Executives
Adrian Exley
Maria Demetriadou                           June 15 – 16
Natalie Kaplanian                           City Break 2009, Gothenburg, Sweden
Joy Hadjivarnava                            www.citybreakexpo.com
Nicola Smith
Beryl-Adolphs N. Esembe
Hilde Antoniades                            June 15-18
                                            The 3rd Iran Hotel, Travel & Tourism International Exhibition 2009, Tehran, Iran
Administration                              www.iranhtt.com/htt2009.htm
Chris Christou

Credit Control                              September 8 – 10
Stalo Antoniades                            China Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings (CIBTM), Beijing, China
                                            www.cibtm.travel/en08
Headquarters
33 - 37 Michael Parides Street,
Pallouriotissa Industrial Estate,
1041 Nicosia, Cyprus
                                            September 17 – 20
                                            JATA World Tourism Congress & Travel Fair, Tokyo, Japan
                                                                                                                                               EXPO UPDATE
Tel: +357-22-459666
Fax: +357-22-349966
                                            www.jata-wtf.com                                                                   Wellness and Spa Middle East 2009: The significance of pro-
Email: INFO@ttgmena.com                                                                                                        moting personal wellness throughout the Middle East will be
Website: www.ttgmena.com                                                                                                       tackled at the upcoming Wellness and Spas Middle East exhi-
                                            September 22 – 25                                                                  bition, due to take place from June 7 to 9 at Dubai
Representatives Worldwide                   International French Travel Market-Top Resa, Paris, France
                                            www.iftm.fr
                                                                                                                               International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Benelux Ray Lampard International,
Fax: 32-10-229930
                                                                                                                                  Exhibitors at the show will demonstrate the latest products
China TTG China,                                                                                                               in aerobic, resistance machines and exercise equipment,
Fax: 852-2806-0646                          October 21 – 23                                                                    showcasing the benefits of a good workout in order to main-
France Ray Lampard International,           ITB Asia, Singapore                                                                tain the optimum body weight. The trade fair will also dis-
Fax: 33-1-40263433                          www.itb-asia.com                                                                   play the recent spa products in an aim to help stimulate per-
Germany IMV GmbH,
Fax: 49-89-4395751
                                                                                                                               sonal wellness in the region.
Hong Kong TTG Asia,                         October 26 – 27                                                                       Senior show manager, Wellness and Spas Middle East,
Fax: 852-2806-0646                          The Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference, St Petersburg, Russia                Elaine O’Connell believes that this focus on fitness and slim-
Italy TTG Italia,
                                            www.russia-cisconference.com                                                       ming will benefit the many thousands of consumers across
Fax: 39-11-4366500
                                                                                                                               the region that are taking an avid interest in leisure-related
Japan Pacific Business Inc.
Fax: 813-3661-6139
                                                                                                                               health activities. “Obesity is fast becoming a real issue for
Malaysia Raffles Int. Media Sdn. Bhd.,
                                            October 27 – 29                                                                    the 4.9 million people living in the UAE. Figures indicate that
Fax: 603-704-2285
                                            9th International Hospitality Forum, Amman, Jordan                                 60 per cent of Emirati nationals are overweight and this fig-
                                            www.ihfjordan.com
Nepal Globex Representative,                                                                                                   ure is broadly in line with the obesity levels within the expa-
Fax: 977-1-421179
                                                                                                                               triate community. It is a problem for the whole region; in
Philippines ESB Marketing Services,
Fax: 63-2-740-1654
                                                                                                                               fact, the UAE has the second highest rate of type-two dia-
Singapore TTG Asia,                                                                                                            betes in the world, and the Middle East, as a whole, is under
Fax: 65-6536-2972                                                                                                              a serious obesity epidemic,” explained O’Connell.
Thailand Public Major Media Ltd,                                                                                                  Wellness and Spas Middle East will take place along side
Fax: 662-314-4863
                                                                                                                               Beautyworld Middle East. In 2008, the twin exhibitions attract-
                                                                                                                               ed 850 exhibitors representing 1,650 brands from 50 countries.
TTG Worldwide Titles*
TTG Asia
                                                          Stay up to date                                  Stay up to date     ITB Asia 2009: Aiming to follow in the footsteps of its sister
TTG China                                                   www.ttgmena.com                                  www.ttgmena.com   event, ITB Berlin, ITB Asia 2009 will take place in Singapore
TTG Czech Republic                                                                                                             from October 21 to 23 and is set to feature hundreds of
TTG Hungary
TTG Italia                                               June 15                                          July 1               exhibiting companies from the Asia-Pacific region, Europe,
TTG Poland
                                                                                                                               the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, covering not only
TTG Russia                                  DESTINATION OMAN                                DESTINATION MOROCCO                the leisure market, but also corporate and MICE travel.
TTG UK & Ireland                                                                                                                  According to general manager, Messe Berlin Singapore,
                                            ON LOCATION KOREA                               UPDATE THAILAND                    Whey Whey Ng, whose company is organising the show,
* For information on these publications,
                                            ANALYSIS SPORTS TOURISM                         ON LOCATION INDIA                  bookings from the Middle East are already up on last year,
please contact us at:
                                                                                                                               with Dubai Tourism planning to expand its presence and Gulf
INFO@ttgmena.com
                                            SPOTLIGHT TRAVEL AGENTS AND                     ANALYSIS ECOTOURISM
                                                                                                                               Air also making its ITB Asia debut with a large pavilion.
Printed in Cyprus by                        TOUR OPERATORS                                  RAMADAN & EID PROMOTIONS              “Companies who are serious about the Asian travel
J G Cassoulides & Son Ltd.,
                                            TECHNOLOGY                                      INTERVIEW                          industry need to be at ITB Asia. We don’t want anyone to
PO Box 21980, 1515 Nicosia, Cyprus
                                                                                                                               miss the boat,” she said, adding that the event is receiving
Tel: +357-22-843600                                                                         TOP SHOP
                                            FORUM                                                                              strong support from leading travel industry brand names
Fax: +357-22-348835
                                            SUMMER PROMOTIONS                               A POSTCARD FROM...                 from around Asia and the world, despite global economic
                                                                                                                               challenges. From the hotel sector, Starwood Hotels &
                                                                                                                               Resorts has pledged to support to ITB Asia for five years,
                                                                                                                               while Fairmont Raffles Hotels International and WORLDHO-
                                                                                                                               TELS are also participating.


June 1, 2009                                                                                                                                                                              27

				
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