CRUISE SEMINAR SPEAKERS CALL FOR AGENCY SPECIALISTS TO GROW THE SECTOR OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST
Speaking at the Cruise Seminar in the Arabian Travel Market yesterday, leading cruise line representatives called for the regional travel trade to invest in personnel development to expand the outbound cruising market.
According to moderator, consultant Alan Le Coyte, worldwide passenger numbers were more than 21 million last year with over 400 ships sailing worldwide: “Asia, Australia and South America are among new destinations for cruising, as well as the Arabian Gulf, all of which add up to exciting potential for agents to increase sales … and earn more commission,” he said.
Regional sales & marketing director for Costa Cruises, Dario Rustico stressed that trade support remained crucial for the development of the industry: “Sales via the trade may not be 100 per cent any more but maybe 70 per cent comes through travel agents and they are still essential,” he said.
CEO of The Cruise Portfolio, Daniel Essex said online or face-to-face training was offered by most cruise lines and Royal Caribbean’s Helen Beck suggested agencies should consider investing in training cruise specialists to increase earnings – while cruise manager at dnata –Gulf Ventures, Jasem Zaiton, put the case for themed cruise centres to bring the cruise experience closer to the client.
“Agencies should consider engaging more Arabic speaking staff to promote to the local market,” he said, adding that greater exposure on social media, perhaps featuring local and regional celebrities on a cruise, would emphasis the benefits and experience of cruising as a vacation.
“Eighty-five per cent of GCC travellers stay in the region and this market could be targeted now that the trend to vacation in Lebanon and Egypt has changed due to instability in these countries.”
To support further growth in Gulf cruising, Costa is varying its itineraries next year to offer a ‘slow cruise’ option that will include overnight stays in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat, said Costa’s Rustico, while Helen Beck suggested that in future the Chinese and Indian markets would look to the region as a cruise destination, raising the possibility of bringing in newer and bigger ships in response to increased demand.
Nathalie Visele, Shamal Marketing Communications
+971 50 457 6525
ROSEWOOD HOTELS OUTLINES MIDDLE EAST AND ASIA EXPANSION TO TRAVEL TRADE AT ARABIAN TRAVEL MARKET
Consolidating its position as one of Riyadh’s leading hospitality groups, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is opening a luxury resort just outside the Saudi Arabian capital this year, with a 153 rooms and suites, plus 10 private villas.
Facilities include three outdoor pools, four private pool chalets, separate ladies’ and gentlemen’s spas, tennis courts and a Rosebuds Kids Club, as well as two restaurants and a deli café, palatial ballroom, eight meeting rooms and outdoor event areas.
The group will also launch a hotel in Dubai next year, while other openings include the 283-Rosewood Beijing, its first China property that will debut this summer – located opposite the CCTV Tower, the hotel will offer more landscaped outdoor space than any other Beijing luxury hotel, while its rooms will be among the largest in the city and Rosewood Sense spa will feature five spa suites designed for overnight stays.
In the pipeline are the 205-unit Rosewood at Baha Mar in the Bahamas; Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, Paris, France (2015); Rosewood Phuket, Thailand (2015); Rosewood Phnom Penh, Cambodia (2015); Rosewood Tanah Lot Bali and Rosewood Jakarta, Indonesia (2017); Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand (2017) and Rosewood Sanya, China (2017).
Hotel de Crillon, recently taken over by Rosewood, is undergoing a full restoration and will offer two Karl Lagerfeld designed suite when it reopens next year.
+1 469 352 3462
MORE RAFFLES, FAIRMONT AND SWISSOTEL HOTELS TO OPEN IN THE MIDDLE EAST
FRHI Hotels & Resorts (FRHI), the hotel management company that operates Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts announced at Arabian Travel Market it will open seven new hotels in the Middle East, Africa and India region – aiming to double its regional footprint by 2020.
The group has 19 existing hotels in the region and new developments will debut in key markets including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Nigeria.
In Saudi Arabia, the Raffles Jeddah will have 180 rooms and 188 branded residences as well as special wedding suites, penthouse entertainment suite and a 1,200 sq m spa and fitness club, while the 350-room Swissôtel Jeddah will feature extensive meeting spaceand the Purovel Spa and Sport Centre with indoor and outdoor pools.
Another Swissôtel hotel is to open in a mixed-use development close to Dubai International Airport – the Swissôtel Jaddaf will have 276 rooms, meeting space and spa and be the first of the brand in the Lower Gulf.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, FRHI has a mega project with Citystars ongoing in Sharm-El-Sheikh that will comprise three hotels, a boutique desert resort with 80 ‘tent’ units and a signature golf course.
In a phased opening, a Fairmont property with 457 rooms and 232 residences will launched next year, followed by the first Swissôtel in Egypt offering 400 rooms and 400 residences overlooking the Crystal Lagoon and then Raffles Citystars Sharm-El-Sheikh which will have 250 rooms and 50 residential villas plus a 2,500 sq m event and conference island and Colin Montgomery 18-hole championship golf course.
In Nigeria, the first Fairmont in Lagos will feature 220 rooms, 50 residents, extensive meeting space and a Willow Stream Spa.
Ilhame Mounaouir, PR Director
+971 56 224 56 63
FLYNAS ANNOUNCES DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM JEDDAH TO CAIRO- BOOSTS DESTINATION NETWORK IN EGYPT TO SEVEN CITIES
Saudi Arabian low cost carrier flynas, will launch daily non-stop flights from Jeddah to Cairo starting June, bringing the total number of destinations it serves in Egypt to seven – other services to the country fly in to Alexandria, Assiut, Sohag, Luxor, Sharm El Sheikh and Aswan.
The carrier also signed a strategic MOU agreement with Egyptian carrier Nesma Airlines at Arabian Travel Market aimed at solidifying its presence and reach in Egypt and North Africa. The agreement is expected to boost air links for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims to Saudi Arabia from Egypt as well as cover high traffic demand between Egypt and Saudi Arabia - commencement dates of the flights are expected to be revealed soon.
“Since the last ATM, flynas has achieved exceptional milestones – including a major rebrand and change in fleet livery, significant recent investments in enhancing our fleet with the acquisition of Airbus A330 aircraft, and the much-anticipated launch of our Global Flight Routes programme that extends our network to Europe, Asia and North Africa,” said ceo, Raja Azmi.
The carrier recently announced the launch of long-haul flights to Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, London Gatwick, Manchester, Paris, Casablanca, Lahore and Islamabad as part of its new expansion plan.
“In the past year, flynas has pioneered an innovative business model – the Low Cost Carrier Plus (LCC+) which is set to change the image of the traditional Middle Eastern carrier. We have upgraded our inflight offering to include a 12-seat business class cabin and invested in smarter onboard entertainment technologies and comfort-boosting services, all of which are poised to see flynas soar to new heights both regionally and internationally,” added Wael Al Sarhan, flynas marketing & communication director.
+966 5638 63615
AL TAYYAR TRAVEL BEEFS UP BUSINESS AT ARABIAN TRAVEL MARKET
Following a meeting at Arabian Travel Market between Dr Nasser Al Tayyar, deputy chairman & president of Al Tayyar Travel Group and the Egyptian minister of tourism, Hisham Zaazou, the two signed an agreement today (May 7) encompassing initiatives to enhance travel and tourism in Egypt.
Acording to Dr Nasser Al Tayyar, the group is in the process of expanding its presence in various international locations: “Our presence in the ATM 2014 reinforces our strategy of providing customers across regions, the opportunity to be served by talented and skilled travel professionals who are aligned to their end user experience and life time value.”
The group has outlined aggressive growth plans for the GءCC region and recently initiated a restructuring of operations in UAE with plans for greater expansion that will include new retail locations – it has already invested in UK which is one of the biggest travel destinations for the Middle East customers and is currently looking at expansion in Turkey, France and Austria.”
Al Tayyar Travel Group has recently acquired Al Hanove from Egypt and Thomas Cook owned luxury tour operator Elegant Resorts in the UK – it has more than 350 branches including 28 outlets at local and international airports in KSA and 32 global branches, plus 400 outlets in Saudi Arabia, the GCC, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Malaysia, the UK and Canada.
Gopi Krishna, Tarteeb
+971 440 4830 Ext 311