Important snapshots from ATM 2014

It is impossible to put in all the expansion announcements that came with this year’s Arabian Travel Market, with hotel chains, airlines and governments showing a burgeoning interest in investing in the region. Here are the main highlights, with many more spread across other pages in this issue of TTN:

• The Trade, Tourism and Investment Office of Peru formed their first national pavilion at the show. The South American country, which according to Ernst & Young, is ranked among the world’s ten most preferred destinations, has also enjoyed a recent influx of Middle Eastern travellers with 50 per cent choosing the South American country as a top travel destination.

• Ayla Hotels & Resorts’ second property in Al Ain is all set for opening this month. The Ayla Bawadi Hotel, a four-star property, will have 90 rooms and suites and target both business and leisure travellers in Abu Dhabi’s second city.

• CEO and board member of Gulf Hotels, Aqeel Raees, announced that the Bahrain-based hospitality group acquired land for the construction of a five-star, 230-room hotel in Business Bay, Dubai, which will open in 2017. There are plans for a second site in Dubai and a new serviced apartment facility in Juffair, Bahrain, the third addition to the Gulf Residence chain of luxury serviced apartments operated by Gulf Hotels. A 3,100 sqm spa facility has been announced at the flagship Gulf Hotel in Bahrain.

• The 230-room Mövenpick Hotel Heraa Jeddah – will be the group’s third property in the city. During the course of the next 12 months, Mövenpick will launch seven new additions spread between Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. As well as opening the 137-room Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul Golden Horn this summer, a 184-room hotel will be launched in Casablanca and a 380-room hotel in Marrakech early next year. A 167-room hotel in Kochi, India, plus a new resort in Pattaya, Thailand, will open early in 2015.

• Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced the first member hotels of Quorvus Collection – The Symphony Style Hotel Kuwait, The May Fair Hotel London, and the G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh.

• Sabre launched three new data-driven products –‘Customer Experience Manager’, ‘Guest Connect Upsell’ and ‘TripCase Corporate’ – to enable travel companies to customise travel experiences. It also signed an agreement with Akbar Travel to implement its state-of-the-art technology including online booking engine, real-time data analysis tools that provide rich insights into corporate contracts, tools that automate ticketing, refunds and exchanges, and mid-office solutions in its Middle East business.

• Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Company’s Anjum Hotel, which will open its doors this month, is the first and largest hotel within the Jabal Al Ka’aba project in Makkah, offering 1,743 rooms and suites, along with a wide range of hospitality services at par with the international standards.

• Global Hotels Management launched Ramada Hotel & Suites Ras Al Khaimah, a boutique hotel with 38 luxury suites in a franchise agreement with Wyndham Hotel Group to introduce the Ramada hotel brand to the emirate.

• Wyndham Group also announced the opening of Super 8 Riyadh, the first of the economy hotel brand’s properties to open in the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean (EMEAI) region. It is the first of 20 Super 8 hotels planned in Saudi Arabia over five years.

• The Middle East’s first Wyndham Garden hotel, the four-star, 153-room Wyndham Garden Doha, has also been announced with an expected opening in 2017.

• Best Western International announced rapid expansion in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This year alone, the company intends to launch eight new hotels in Saudi Arabia, representing all three of its hotel products.

• Millennium & Copthorne launched three new brands in the Middle East – Studio M, M Hotel and Millennium Executive Apartments – to address new market segments, with a target of 50 properties by 2017.

• Qatar Airways launched two new routes to the United States. It will begin operations to and from Miami on June 10 and Dallas/Fort Worth on July 1 this year.

• Luxury Hotels Group made its Middle East debut. The Luxury Hotels Group currently represents 126 properties across three collections – Luxury Hotels Collection, Luxury Boutique Collection and Luxury Residences Collection – and offers reservations, sales, marketing and PR, revenue management and IT solutions for independent hotels. Through its global reach and market presences, Luxury Hotels Group enables hotels to reach a global audience in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

• In other news, Al Safir Hotel & Tower’s director of sales and marketing Stephen J. Daniel accompanied by operations manager Mohammed Al Sayed presented mementos to top online travel agencies, travel partners, and local and international tour operators in appreciation for having successfully supported the hotel’s business during the year 2013.