In brief


Causeway system linked to insurance firm

Saudi Arabia-Bahrain King Fahd Causeway's computer system has been connected with the private network of United Insurance Company to make vehicle-related transactions smoother for travellers. The integrated system allows officials access to past records at the touch of a button. Bahrain traffic director-general Brigadier Shaikh Daij bin Khalifa Al Khalifa made a visit to the traffic section of the causeway to view the latest developments and make sure things are wo king smoothly. He was accompanied by United Insurance company chairman Abdulrahman Fakhro, general manager Salman Radhi Al Mousawi, traffic affairs director Lieutenant Colonel Khalid Al Absi and administration and finance director Lt Col Khalid Buali.

BA launches products in Oman

MUSCAT: British Airways has launched new facilities for flights to and from Oman. The new 'next generation' facilities include six-foot beds for Business Class travellers and a new premier e conomy class cabin. British Airways now offers four classes of travel on its long-haul destinations. The service is now available on all Muscat-Abu Dhabi-London, Kuwait-London and Dubai-London routes. The new advanced products are part of a $953 million investment plan to upgrade the airline's portfolio worldwide.

Manama club to open in March

MANAMA: Manama's first private beach club will open in March. Work on the BD2 million ($5.3 million) Palm Beach Club, located next to the Marina Club, is nearing completion. Construction work continued at full pace throughout Ramadan, said owner Promoseven Holdings president and chief executive Akram Miknas. He said the clubhouse interior fittings will begin next month and that the 10,000 metre facility will be operational by early spring. Miknas said the Palm Beach Club will be Bahrain's first five-star beach facility.

Chef wins award

DUBAI: Uwe Micheel, regional executive chef of the InterContinental Dubai, was elected as the best chef in a hotel operated under a corporate hotel brand by a majority of votes from the Hermes Awards of the World jury in France. Through this vote, the jury wished to distinguish a chef who despite his experience still has the inquisitiveness of a child that he shares with his customers.

Entertainment curbs hit hotels

MANAMA: Hotels in Bahrain suffered a 60 per cent decline in Eid bookings this year compared with 2001, media reports said. Many hotel owners blamed the losses on the latest measures announced by the Information Ministry's Tourism Directorate, said a report in Akhbar Al Khaleej. Other hoteliers believe the lack of special Eid entertainment and musical programmes and the absence of star Arab singers is responsible for the slump. The report claimed that a Saudi businessman who invested over BD7 million ($18.5 million) in Bahrain tourism had decided to put his business up for sale and move to Qatar.

Cairo airport cuts costs

CAIRO: Cairo International Airport has stopped supplying its toilets and water closets with toilet paper and soap to decrease costs. Airport officials said the decision was also applied to VIP bathrooms and first class lounges, media reports said. The company managing the airport said employees and travelers complained against the company's decision.

Registration for carnival opens

DOHA: Registration of outlets interested in participating in the forthcoming Qatar Winter Carnival has begun and will continue through January 10, a General Tourism Authority (GTA) official said. Commercial establishments can take part in the carnival which runs from January 23 to February 14.

Istanbul tourism fair to draw 800 firms

ISTANBUL: More than 800 companies from 40 countries are expected to take part in a major travel and tourism exhibition to be held in the Turkish city of Istanbul. The seventh edition of EMITT - Eastern Mediterranean International Travel and Tourism Exhibition, will take place in Istanbul from April 3 to 6.