Kuwait unveils massive tourism masterplan
TOURISM is one of Kuwait’s new priorities in the post-Saddam era, the country’s assistant under-secretary for tourism, Nabila Al-Anjari told TTN at the Arabian Travel Market.
The country unveiled a 20-year master plan to promote visitor travel and business investment at the event. The plan, being implemented by next year, is being developed in concert with the World Tourism Organisation and the UN Development Prog-ramme, and will include major developments in Kuwait's hotels and resorts, leisure and recreation and scientific, ecological and technological exhibits.
“It’s the perfect time for people to visit Kuwait and we are at the threshold of a new era of tourism and development,” Al-Anjari said, pointing out that the tourism strategy will will diversify the national income and create new jobs for locals.
While the government deregulated visa requirements for 34 countries earlier this year, its new Foreign Investment Law allows for 100 per cent foreign ownership within the tourism and other sectors, directly impacting the economy.
Already, 20 new hotels and 17 other projects are being built, including malls and entertainment complexes.
Accor planning 27 new Mideast hotels
THE Accor Hotels Group is planning to add 27 more properties in the Middle East to its existing portfolio.
The properties will feature a total of 10,671 rooms, including a 450-room tower in the Jumeirah Beach Residence owned by Abu Dhabi National Hotels. Other new hotels in Dubai will be at the Deira City Centre, Dubai Internet City and Al Riqqa Street.
Rezidor’s Cerruti for
REZIDOR SAS, whose portfolio includes Park Inn, Country Inn, Radisson SAS, Cerruti and Regent, will open two Hotel Cerruti properties in the Middle East.
Cerruti Dubai will open early in 2005 at Dubai's Media City. The hotel will have 137 individually-designed spacious rooms, a wine and cocktail bar, contemporary trattoria, outside pool with terrace bar, boardroom facilities and parking.
The 350-room Cerruti, Kuwait is expected to open mid-2006 and will be located in the city’s exclusive new Salmiya development.
Hotel Cerruti is Rezidor SAS' new lifestyle brand. A joint initiative with the international fashion house of the same name, it will deliver a new kind of hotel experience for a new kind of audience. This brings the collection of these individually designed hotels to a total of five, with projects already under development in Vienna, Dusseldorf and Brussels.
Hyatt aims at 10 properties
BY 2006, Hyatt International aims to operate ten properties across its portfolio in the region, double the current number.
Thierry Bertin, area director of sales and marketing, Middle East, said these would include four properties in Egypt, three in Dubai and one each in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Beirut. The brand’s third Dubai property, the Park Hyatt, will have 238 rooms on the Dubai Creek and will open next June as part of the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. The hotel will also host 92 exclusive four-bedroom villas overlooking the golf course.
Globally, Hyatt will have six more properties in Asia Pacific by 2005, including China and Saigon. It will also open one hotel each in Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Cairo, Zurich and Tokyo. These will be across the group’s Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency brands.
“The climate is better for tourism worldwide and the booming economies of China and India have opened new windows of development,” said Bertin. “Expansion is often destination-driven and as Doha emerges a regional alternative to Dubai, many chains will be opening there.”
Pan-regional tourism, new airlines and new routes will all contribute to the hotel business, he added.
Fairmont to add three Mideast properties
FAIRMONT Hotels & Resorts (FHR) has announced three additional properties in the Middle East. FHR has entered into agreements to manage The Fairmont Cairo, Nile City, The Fairmont Palm Hotel & Resort in Dubai and The Fairmont Abu Dhabi Resort & Villas, all scheduled to open in 2006.
In a strategic alliance with Kuwait-based international Financial Advisors (IFA), the group will open a 300-room luxury resort with 460 vacation ownership residences located on the Dubai’s Palm, Jumeirah. FHR and KHI will each invest approximately $15 million for a 15 percent equity interest each in the project. The Fairmont Palm hotel and resort is scheduled to open in late 2006.
The entire complex, including a retail area and five beach clubs, will be located on the Southwest side of the trunk portion in close proximity to the Palm island’s core features. The Cairo property is a joint venture with Nile City Investments to manage a 552-room luxury hotel currently being developed on the Nile River in central Cairo. FHR and Kingdom Hotel Investment Group (KHI) will each invest about $10m for an equity interest of approximately 15 percent each in the property, which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2006.
FHR, IFA and KHI are also exploring other resort projects in the Middle East, East Africa and South Africa.
The Fairmont Abu Dhabi Resort & Villas will be the group’s first Abu Dhabi property, the result of an agreement with the National Investment Corporation of Abu Dhabi. It will be a 265-room luxury property modelled on an Arabian palace and will open late 2006.
MENA Travel Awards proves to be a winner
IT was a night of surprises and delights at the MENA Travel Awards as over 400 of the industry’s leading lights gathered at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel to celebrate the winners of this prestigious awards event.
A total of 53 awards given out in 17 different categories (each further divided into silver, gold and platinum sub-categories) that included four- and five-star hotels, airlines, spas (separately located or within hotels), golf clubs, car rental, duty free, conference and convention locations and tourism projects. TTN was one of the event’s sponsors.
The list of platinum winners is as follows:
Best four-star business /corporate hotel: Towers Rotana Hotel, Dubai; Best five-star new hotel for 2003: InterContinental Garden Reef Resort, Sharm El Sheikh; Best car rental – international brand: Hertz UAE; Best conference /convention hotel: Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, Dubai; Best duty free: Dubai Free Duty, UAE; Best environmental four-star hotel: Towers Rotana Hotel, Dubai; Best golf club: J W Marriott Cairo, Egypt; Best four-star leisure hotel: Bin Majid Beach Hotel, Ras Al Khaimah; Best Middle East and North African Airlines: Gulf Air; Best environmental five-star hotel: Sheraton Miramar Resort, El Gouna, Egypt; Best four-star new hotel for 2003: Golden Tulip Resort, Khasab, Oman; Best car rental – local brand: Diamondlease, UAE; Best five-star leisure hotel: Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai; Best price value hotel: Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, Dubai; Best spa: The Ritz Carlton Dubai; Best tourism project: Orascom Hotels Holding, El Gouna, Red Sea; and, Best five-star business/corporate hotel: Intercontinental Dubai.
TTN felicitated with two awards at ATM
ALSO picking up awards at ATM was Travel & Tourism News Middle East (TTN).
Rotana Hotels and Resorts gave away the group’s 2004 Media Award to TTN Editor Shafquat Ali and TTN Publishing Director Kim Thomson, with Daniel Hajjar, vice-president, Marketing, making the presentation. Mِvenpick Hotels and Resorts recognised TTN for its excellent achievements and production in collaboration with the group for the year 2003/4. Andreas Mattmüller, senior vice-president, Middle East, presented the award to Kim Thomson.
RCI Mideast targets new developers
THE RCI Middle East presence at ATM opened up talks on a number of new timeshare developments within the region, according to Yehia El Nowalem, general manager at RCI Middle East. “The response we have seen so far has been overwhelming and has lead to a number of serious talks on the development of additional timeshare properties within Dubai to add to the IFA Hotels and Resorts project on The Palm, Jumeirah,” El Nowalem explained. “We are also having talks with developers from different parts of the Middle East.”
Hyatt Regency Dubai in refinement process
Hyatt Regency Dubai, one of Dubai's first and most established five star hotels, is implementing a major refinement project this year, further improving and developing the facilities and interior of the already higly successful property.
The refinement project was activated on April 1 and involves structural changes to the interior of the hotel, including a newly-appointed lobby, uniquely designed rooms and suites, an additional outlet, refinement of several of the existing outlets and further conference facilities. The process will be completed by mid 2005.
Dnata set to expand regionally
LEADING UAE-based retail and corporate travel services provider Dnata has announced plans to expand its network in the region.
The organisation, part of the Emirates Group, will see the set-up of several retail outlets in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, including the first “ladies-only” travel hub in the region.
The move will see Dnata raise Dh100m in the next 24 months in infrastructure to establish call centres in both Kuwait and Saudi, as well as put in place state-of-the-art operational and IT systems. Dnata also plans to introduce its sub-brands – World of Events, AXIS Holidays, CompanionPoints with their various specialist offerings, to retail and corporate customers across the region.
Swiss turnaround on track for 2005
Swiss International Air Lines (Swiss) has completed 60 percent of its turnaround initiative in its third year of operations, putting it on track towards profitability by 2005.
Swiss confirmed that the Middle East accounts for a robust 17 per cent of total revenue. Harriet Siebenpfeiffer, general manager for sales and marketing, intercontinental markets, Swiss International Air Lines, said, 'On the whole we experienced a very successful year. Just last month our annual results were announced with a better-than-expected financial position thanks to the progress in our restructuring programme and the gradual recovery in the markets we serve.'
Mِvenpick holds successful workshop
LEADING up to ATM 2004 Mِvenpick Hotels & Resorts (MH&R) held a workshop at the Mِvenpick Hotel Bur Dubai at the end of April.
The annual workshop brought together 65 participants from 16 countries as part of the ongoing training programme for sales and marketing of the Switzerland-based hotel chain. Key items on the agenda included public relations, MICE and consortia business and revenue management.
One of the main challenges the hotel chain is currently facing is the standardized corporate image of all Mِvenpick Hotels, and with this issue in mind a separate branding workshop was held.
Following ATM, a sales and marketing team is planning an extensive 20-day roadshow to further promote MH&R in the region.
New travel products from Galaxy
Galaxy Travel Distribution System Ltd, which specialises in online global travel distribution systems for ground services, introduced three new online travel products.
The products include Galaxy’s GroundServices, a system allowing operators to automate the sales, procurement, delivery and invoicing functions, and Galaxy’s Travel Distribution System, a product enabling retail travel agents to immediately access, book, confirm and settle payments on-line.
The Galaxy Billing and Settlement Program
is the industry’s first such programme offered for ground services, providing an efficient global billing and settlement mechanism
to all participating suppliers of ground
services inclusive of a comprehensive credit risk insurance cover as well as a quick
BITM proves massive hit at ATM
REPRESENTATIVE from Rising Star Exhibitions, The UK based exhibition organiser of the Beijing International Travel and Tourism Market (BITTM), 20–23 April 2005, reported back to London from attending ATM.
The team, headed by Adrian Tapping, vice president of Rising Star Media Group, shareholder in Rising Star Exhibitions, chose the event to introduce BITTM to a number of destinations taking significant space at ATM.
ITE-HK public website launched
THE 18th International Travel Expo HK (ITE HK 2004) launches its public website today. The URL address is www.itehk.com/public.
The website includes basic show information of ITE HK 2004 and event exhibitors as well as recommendations on specialty travel. Visitors can obtain a complimentary ticket by answering a simple questionnaire on-line.
ITE HK 2004 runs from June 10 to 13, the first two being trade days, the last two being open to the public. The event will be held at Hall 5 of the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Indian travel show announced for Delhi
POST a successful inaugural event, the second World Travel India (WTI) was officially announced at ATM 2004 by organisers Kinex Log.
Scheduled to take place in New Delhi between January 14 and 16, 2005, the event will focus on India’s key markets, with special emphasis on European, Middle Eastern and African markets. This year the MICE sector will get special attention through a designated pavilion and focussed business sessions. The hosted visitor prog-ramme again promises to bring selected represent-atives from state tourism boards, tour operators and other vendors together with overseas buyers.