In Brief


Voting under way for MENA Awards 2005
Nominations for the MENA Travel Awards 2005 ‘The Spirit of Hospitality Awards’ have all now been received and voting is under way for the second Travel Awards of its kind for the Middle East & North Africa tourism industry.

All entrants have now received voting cards for their company, which will be distributed to their selected end users, guests, customers and clients.  Each entrant will be allowed a maximum of 150 voters per category entered. The final consolidation will be carried out through the especially-designed electronic programme systems, which is audited, inspected, and evaluated by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Voting closes on April 5 and the top six nominees, of which the top three winners (platinum, gold and silver) will be determined, and will be announced two weeks before the event. In order to assure the integrity of the voting system, a random 20 calls per entrant will be made to voting customers to ensure that fair and balanced results are maintained.

KCRC in deal with ITE HK 2005
KCRC provides intercity through train services between Hong Kong and Mainland China while the most popular Guangzhou-Kowloon Through Train (GZTT) will again serve as the “Official Rail” of ITE, which will be held at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, from June 9-12 this year, and sponsor through train tickets for hosted buyers from China to attend ITE, particularly those from Southern China. In addition, GZTT will also support promotions to recruit more Chinese travelers to visit ITE during the public days. A special leaflet incorporated with free admission ticket during ITE’s public days will be jointly developed by KCRC and TKS, organiser of ITE. KCRC will assist to distribute this leaflet to its passengers from the Mainland.

Sheraton hotels in Egypt invite top MICE tour operators
As a part of Starwood policy to support the Egyptian government efforts and encourage MICE tourism, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts in Egypt organised in coordination with Emeco Travel, Egypt Air and the Egyptian Tourism Authority a trip for the top tour operators that organise MICE trips from United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy. Thirty top tour operators accompanied by press delegations from Germany and the UK came to Egypt and visited historical sites and other places of interest in Cairo as well as Gouna and Soma Bay by the Red Sea. The objective of the trip was to further promote Cairo, Soma Bay and El Gouna as incentive and meeting destinations in the UK, German, Italian and French markets.

Horeca 2005 moves up to June
Originally set for May, the Horeca 2005 exhibition to be held at BIEL, Beirut Central District, Lebanon, has been moved up to June 21-24 in order to ensure another spectacular year, after 12 years running, in the face of the latest political challenges. “Although almost all of the exhibition space is booked, we’re moving the exhibition forward to ensure maximum international participation,” said Joumana-Dammous Salamé, managing director of organising company Hospitality Services. Salamé sees the exhibition as a way to re-launch the hospitality sector in the face of recent developments. “There is no question that Lebanon will bounce back very shortly. With all the network opportunities and events such as the Salon Culinaire, Horeca’s mission this year is to stimulate the sector after this setback,” she adds.

Festívale 2005 to show the way
A highly-effective and profitable “festival industry” has emerged in the Middle East with the annual staging of cultural and shopping extravaganzas attracting millions of visitors and dollars to the region, according to Saeed M Al Nabouda, chief executive officer of the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises.
The region’s central location, attracting visitors from Africa, Asia and Europe, combined with the professional way festivals are managed, will ensure that the Middle East is able to compete with Europe’s largest festivals, Al Nabouda will claim in a major speech during Festívale, the Middle East’s first convention for event organisers and destination management professionals, from April 24 to 26 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. “Festivals staged in the Middle East are as well organised and as comprehensive as anywhere else in the world,” said Al Nabouda, who will deliver his speech on “Developing a Festival Culture” during Festívale 2005. More than 30 speakers from around the world, including Rod McGeoch, chief executive of Sydney’s winning Olympic Games bid will address the convention.