In Brief


Luxury air division takes off
DNATA Travel Services has announced Luxury Air Travel, the division that will represent private jet charter operators and offer customised, discreet services to meet the growing demand for luxury, bespoke air travel solutions in the Middle East.

Leigh Cowderoy, manager, Luxury Air Travel by Dnata, said: “There is significant demand in the marketplace for private jet charters. It is a truly aspirational concept, yet attainable for a growing number of customers - customers who appreciate the privacy, convenience and luxury of travelling this way.” The Middle East charter market has grown at 23 per cent per year over the past two years and is now estimated to be worth around $500 million annually. IATA forecasts predict the Middle East will be the fastest growing region for international traffic over the next few years, with increases expected to be around seven per cent annually, well ahead of the world average of 4.8 per cent.

Fingers needed for visas
All non-Europeans applying for Schengen visas through the French consulate in Dubai have to have their fingers scanned for the purpose of visa issuing. In an attempt to tighten security and eliminate fraud, the French consulate in Dubai was the first diplomatic mission of a Schengen member nation in the UAE to introduce this in February. Biometrics equipment is now in place following a directive by the French government, and will be in all French missions around the world by 2009. All EU member countries are expected to follow suit in the next few months where all non-Europeans would need to submit biometric data before crossing Europe’s frontiers.

EMEC turns green
The European Meetings & Events Conference co-created by MPI and taking place in London at ExCeL from April 18 to 20, 2008 will implement the BS 8901 Sustainable Event Standard with certification from an independent 3rd party. MPI’s intention is to manage its annual European conference in order to minimise negative social, environmental and economic impacts while meeting the event objectives and maintaining a high quality experience for all delegates. This initiative, made possible by sponsorship from the MPI Foundation Europe and the Rezidor Hotel Group, will be led by MPI to ensure the objectives for sustainability are given significant weight.

ALTM gears up for Shanghai
Asia Luxury Travel Market (ALTM) 2008 will be held in Shanghai from June 16 to19, 2008, at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre. Following the success of the inaugural ALTM 2007, the organisers are promising an even better show in terms of business. The appointments system and the business focus taken by the organisers coupled with high growth in the luxury travel sector in Asia Pacific, is making ALTM a must attend event for those wishing to succeed in the region.  “Companies and brands that have started life in Europe, the US or Middle East, such as St. Regis and Jumeriah are now looking to Asia, with its growing economy and increasingly wealthy inhabitants, as a place to diversify and expand their brands,” says Jay Martens, event director ALTM.