Movenpick signs management dealQatar National Hotels Company (QNH) has signed an agreement with Movenpick Hotels and Resorts to manage two of its properties - the new 154-room Doha Corniche Movenpick Hotel, which opens in September and the existing Sealine Beach Resort at Mesai'eed, a report said. Al Habtoor to open luxury hotel in Beirut DUBAI: Dubai-based Metropolitan Hotels International group, a part of the Al Habtoor Group, is expanding its presence in the region with the opening of a new Metropolitan Palace Hotel in Beirut in September.The hotel includes 225 guest rooms and 15 suites offering full facilities for international businessmen. Swiss hotel offers dinner cruise getaway DUBAI: The Beau-Rivage Palace hotel in Lausanne on the banks of Lake Geneva is launching a spectacular dinner cruise on a deluxe steamer "Le Montreux", as part of a specially tailored two-night package for Middle East travellers aiming to escape to Europe to beat the summer heat. The dinner cruise offer also includes two-nights accommodation in a superior room ($714 for two people) or deluxe room ($937 for two people) at the world renowned hotel plus other benefits. Fairmont to manage new Dubai hotel DUBAI: American luxury hotel group Fairmont has been appointed to manage the newest luxury business hotel coming up in Dubai. The management agreement was announced by the private office of Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi Ruling Family, who owns the 393-room luxury business hotel on Dubai's busy Shaikh Zayed Road. US training for 3 Saudi youths RIYADH: Three Saudi youths will attend an 18-month training course covering all aspects of the hotel industry in the United States, courtesy of their employer, the Riyadh Marriott Hotel. The course which will focus on areas such as food and beverage, housekeeping, room service and kitchen and restaurants will be conducted at the Marriott Hotel in Houston, Texas. 'Stay for seven, pay for five' offer from Dusit DUBAI: The new five-star Dusit Dubai hotel is offering a market leading 'Stay for Seven Nights, Pay for Five' offer this summer for both single and double rooms valid till the end of August. Dusit Dubai summer rates are Dh250 ($68) for a deluxe single or double room. The rates are subject to an additional 10 per cent tax and 10 per cent service charge. Guests also have the option of an all- inclusive rate with breakfast at Dh360 net for a single and Dh420 net for a double. Radisson SAS moves to Merseyside DUBAI: Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts is to manage a 200-room, first-class hotel in Liverpool, UK, home to the Beatles and one of the world's most famous football teams. Work on the new-build property, which will be in the city's central business district and Prince's Dock, is due to start within the next six months and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2003. Meanwhile, Radisson SAS has also been picked to run a new luxury hotel to be built at Zurich airport in Switzerland. The hotel is due to open in 2005. Landmark hotel spotlights Jordan's appeal CAIRO: The landmark Hotel Inter-Continental Jordan in Amman is spotlighting the kingdom's appeal as a fascinating travel destination this summer through a holiday programme offering families attractive discounts and extra benefits until September 30. The Summer Options programme gives a choice of one of three value-added options - a fourth night free when staying three nights, an additional guest room at half price, or full buffet breakfast. Room charges start at $90 per room per night. Gefinor wins top class rating The Gefinor Rotana Hotel in Beirut has been awarded a five-star international rating by Lebanon's tourism ministry, the highest classification under the Lebanese rating system. General manager Daniel Hajjar recently celebrated the award with a cocktail party at the poolside which was attended by senior tourism ministry and hotel industry officials. Jeddah Hilton proves a big hit JEDDAH: The Jeddah Hilton hotel attracted more than 5,000 visitors and guests in the first week of its opening last month. A hotel spokesman said the figure was well in excess of the management's initial predictions. The multi-million dollar hotel offers 414 luxury rooms including 44 suites, six restaurants and three major conference halls. Muscat airport traffic climbs MUSCAT: Passenger, aircraft and freight traffic at Oman's Seeb International Airport edged higher in the first six months of this year, Air transport director Abdullah bin Nasir Al Maskari said. He said passenger traffic increased by 2.83 per cent to 1.38 million passengers in the first half from 1.34 million a year ago; freight export surged by 6.4 per cent to 15.64 million kilograms and imports increased by 8.55 per cent to 21.4 million kilograms. Civil aircraft movements increased to 19,631 flights from 19,064 flights. Oman to give no-visa stopover at ports MUSCAT: Oman will allow tourists on ships which anchor in the country's ports for less than 24 hours to disembark without visas. Colonel Said bin Hilal Al Kindi, director-general of Passports and Residency Department, said the decision will be applied to the Sultan Qaboos Port and other legally approved sea ports, a report said. Saudi Arabia launches Umrah web portal RIYADH: Saudi authorities have launched a web portal to speed up the paperwork for Muslims registering to take part in round-the-year pilgrimages to Islamic holiest sites. "Bab Al Umra will facilitate the ministry of Haj's supervision of the performance of local Umrah establishments and their foreign agents and the quality of services being provided to visiting pilgrims," portal manager Tareq Hefni said. Dubai Golf honours four beach hotels DUBAI: Dubai Golf, the marketing arm of the Emirates and Dubai Creek golf clubs, has honoured four beach hotels - Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Royal Mirage Hotel and Le Meridien Jumeirah Beach - for their total commitment to the golf leisure travel and Dubai Golf. The Jumeirah Beach hotel took the top prize with the highest number of golf rounds booked last season. Sharjah targets Gulf tourists SHARJAH: Sharjah has launched a campaign among people in the UAE and neighbouring Gulf states to promote itself as an ideal destination for a summer vacation. Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority officials, quoted by UAE media, said "Where Else but Sharjah" is the slogan of this year's summer campaign which is designed to promote the emirate as a city and tourist destination. Hertz UAE launches loyalty card DUBAI: Hertz UAE has introduced a new customer loyalty programme, the Hertz Advantage Card, offering car rental users a range of value-added benefits. Customers will be given the Hertz Advantage Card when making their car rental booking at any of the nine Hertz locations in the UAE, entitling them to upgrades and free car hire for the next four times they rent a car from Hertz. Qatar scraps airport departure tax DOHA: Qatar has cancelled the QR20 ($5.5) airport departure tax under a decree issued by Amir Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The tax was introduced in 1996 and aimed to raise QR13 million. The move was warmly welcomed by expatriates. Dubai Duty Free sales jump 22pc DUBAI: Sales at Dubai Duty Free (DDF) increased by 22 per cent in the first half of this year to Dh461.3 million ($125.6 million) over the same period last year, according to Dubai Civil Aviation Department president Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Gold continues to retain the top position in the DDF's highest selling category with a 17.5 per cent increase in sales to Dh56.6 million. Bigger turnout forecast at AIBTM 2002 MANAMA: Organisers expect to more than double the number of exhibitors at next year's Arab International Business Travel & Meetings Show in Bahrain, the only dedicated meetings and incentive show for the Middle East market. ITE Middle East said it expects to attract 125 exhibiting companies, with Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, the UAE, Malaysia, Britain, Cyprus, Malta and many of the leading hotel groups all expressing a wish to get involved in AIBTM 2002. Gulf Air offers more Miles with Hilton MANAMA: Gulf Air and Hilton International have teamed up to offer more benefits to their respective frequent flyers and frequent guests. Under the agreement, members of Gulf Air's Falcon frequent flyer programme will earn Falcon Miles when staying a Hilton Hotel. And, members of Hilton's HHonors frequent guest programme will earn both Hilton points and Falcon Miles when staying at a Hilton hotel under a 'double dipping' formula. Lufthansa offers summer deals to Europe DUBAI: Lufthansa has introduced new holiday packages that offer variety and choice to UAE travellers for rates as low as Dh3,650 ($994). Lufthansa general manager, passenger sales for UAE, Wolfgang Klaws, said passengers looking for special deals with great value could make their vacation special by considering packages to destinations such as Vienna and Munich which include return economy airfare, hotel accommodation for seven nights with a choice of three, four and five-star hotels, breakfast and airport transfers. The offer is valid for two seasons until November this year. London Eye goes online LONDON: The British Airways London Eye, the UK's top paid-for visitor attraction, has gone on-line. Visitors can now check availability and book to experience the world's biggest observation wheel, on www.ba-londoneye.com. At the same time a new telephone booking system has been introduced, British Airways said in a statement. The new system offers an on-screen calendar that allows customers to immediately click on to the time and day they want to visit. BA launches new Ethiopia route LONDON: British Airways will launch a brand new service to Ethiopia and increase services to Azerbaijan, the airline said. These flights will be operated by British Mediterranean Airways, an independent franchise partner, using Airbus 320-200 aircraft. Flights will depart from Heathrow on Mondays and Thursdays. Return flights will depart from Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport on Tuesdays and Fridays. British Mediterranean will also be increasing its services to Baku, from six flights per week to a daily service, from October 29. Singapore Airlines orders 10 Airbus A380s PARIS: European commercial planemaker Airbus has said that Singapore Airlines had formally signed an order, announced last year, for 10 A380 superjumbos. Singapore will be the first carrier to use the 555-seat A380-800, with delivery scheduled for the first quarter of 2006. It has options on a further 15 aircraft. So far Airbus has 67 orders or intended orders for the A380, whose operating costs it says will be 15 to 20 per cent lower than existing large planes. The aircraft has a catalogue price of around $230 million. Iran airline launches Muscat flight MUSCAT: Iran's Mahan Airlines Company has launched a new direct Muscat-Tehran-Muscat flight. The inaugural Airbus flight carrying 240 passengers including 23 in the business class, carried Ali Redha Mandhary, deputy chairman of civil aviation in Iran, and a number of Omani and Irani passengers. Mandhary said Mahan was looking at a third station to connect to the Muscat-Tehran trip. Jet flies to a new landmark MUMBAI: India's domestic airline Jet Airways attained a new landmark when it recently flew its 25 millionth passenger. The passenger, M Sangardas, who returned to Mumbai from Hyderabad by Jet Airways flight 9W 452 was received by the airline's chief executive officer Steve Forte, vice president - sales and marketing Anita Goyal and other officials. He was presented with a certificate, a commemorative gold coin, a two night and three-day hotel package to Goa and two complimentary air tickets. Tunisian airline sets up joint venture TUNIS: Tunisia's privately owned charter airline Nouvelair has set up a plane maintenance joint-venture with European Aernoautic Defence & Space Company NV's (EADS) Sogerma Services, officials said. The venture, named EADS Sogerma Tunisia, has an initial capital of 2.8 million dinars ($1.89 million). EADS Sogerma Services has a 50.1 per cent stake and Nouvelair owns the remaining 49.9 per cent, they added. Tickets worth $13,000 sold at Net auction JEDDAH: Tickets worth more than $13,000 were sold at cut-price rates during Lufthansa's recent Internet auction held for Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Jordan, the German airline said. About 320 online customers placed over 1,440 bids for tickets to destinations in Europe and the Americas, ensuring that up to 50 per cent was slashed off the market rates. One hundred and ninety three people joined in the auction from Saudi Arabia, with one customer snapping up a Riyadh-Los Angeles flight for just SR2,528 ($674).