Shivani DDPPL

Two Seasons Hotel donates school bags to Dar Al Ber Society

For most children, the first day of school is an exciting time complete with new clothes and back-to-school gear. But for kids in families where money is tight, the experience can be just opposite. To make a difference to deserving children at the start of the new school year, Two Seasons Hotel & Apartments Dubai will donate 100 colourful new backpacks containing essential school supplies to Dar Al Ber Society. Dar Al Ber is considered one of the first charities in UAE. It was established in Dubai in 1979 as a charity, cultural & social firm. Dar Al Ber Board of Directors has been formed according to the directives and decisions of His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. “Supporting the students and communities where our hotels operate is an important element of who we are as a brand, that’s why we have partnered with a number of charities to support our goal of changing lives. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to go to school with dignity and hope” said Freddy Farid, Managing Director of Two Seasons Hotel Management. “We hope that this small act will help them put a smile on their faces knowing that someone cares. Our aim is to continue to strengthen our commitment and solidarity to the local community through such activities. The hotel is keen to implement community initiatives on a regular basis,” he said. Mohamed Abbas, the Director of Human Resources, represented Freddy Farid in handing over the school bags to Dar Al Ber Society team.  

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Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi appoints Rene Mayer as Director of Sales and Marketing

Rene Mayer has been appointed Director of Sales and Marketing at Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Residences Emirates Pearl. Educated at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, New York, he has been involved in the hotel industry from the age of 17. He established his career with several leading hotel groups in Europe, and eventually attained management positions at international companies such as InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kempinski Hotels and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. After moving to Asia in 2011 to assume the position of Director of Sales and Marketing at Sofitel Hanoi, he became the Director of Global Sales for Regent Hotels & Resorts in Taipei. Mayer spent the past five years with Fairmont Hotels in Indonesia, including Fairmont Sanur Beach Bali and Fairmont Jakarta. During that time, he was awarded the Sales Hotelier of the Year 2016 for the Asia-Pacific region at the BMW Hotelier Awards and the hotelier distinction as the Best Marketing Department in Indonesia and Asia Pacific at the International Hotelier awards. In addition, he was recognised by Linked-In in its 2017 “Power Profiles” awards as the most searched hotelier profile in Indonesia. “We are excited to have Mayer as part of Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi & Residences Emirates Pearl. I’m confident that our hotel will continue to grow under his leadership in the Sales & Marketing Department,” says Julien Gonzalvez, General Manager, Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Residences Emirates Pearl.

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Gallery Suites & OYO Rooms partner to manage 10,000 premier holiday homes in Dubai

Gallery Suites Vacation Rentals, a subsidiary of the UAE-based IBC Group,  has joined hands with OYO Rooms for a deal valued at US $5 billion (Dh18 billion) to furnish and manage 10,000 premier holiday homes in Dubai. The partnership will manage a portfolio of elite properties in Dubai as uniquely furnished holiday homes that address a growing demand for exceptional short-term rental experiences in the Emirati city. According to a report released by Skift Research, the cumulative bookings market for short-term rentals will rise to an estimated $115 billion in 2019, up seven per cent  from about $107 billion in 2018. Gallery Suites and OYO Rooms seek to emerge as the service providers of choice for the exclusive end of this burgeoning market in Dubai. The properties being furnished and managed by the partnership are focused within locations rated ‘high’ in the ‘occupancy heat map’ used to illustrate demand, in the recent ‘Dubai Holiday Homes Market Review 2019’ report released by Knight Frank – including the Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah and other exclusive addresses in the city. The alliance between the two heavyweights comes at an opportune time. Globally, travellers are increasingly seeking out the ‘home away from home’ experience that short-term leasing offers, while aspiring to affordable luxury. The partnership aims to offer a rich pool of high-quality holiday homes, in high-price locations, at affordable rates, to the international travellers visiting Dubai.

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DXB welcomes China Eastern’s inaugural flight from Xi’an

Dubai International (DXB) welcomed China Eastern’s inaugural flight from the city of Xi’an, home of the world-famous Terracotta Army, in the early hours on August 29. The airline will operate three weekly flights between the two cities, on the A330-200 aircraft. This is China Eastern’s third non-stop service to DXB after Shanghai and Qingdao. China is one of DXB’s most important and among the fastest growing destination countries in terms of passenger numbers, which topped 1.8 million in the first half of 2019. Following the launch of the new service, DXB is now connected to 247 destinations by 70 international carriers.

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Tracey Oliver takes reins as Cluster General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton RAK

Tracey Oliver has been named as the General Manager for The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert and Al Hamra Beach, three of the most important properties in Ras Al Khaimah. Joining in July 2019, Oliver brings with her a wealth of successes in leading luxury hotels. She previously managed leading hotels and resorts such as Hotel de la Paix in Thailand and Hotel de l’Opera MGallery Collection in Vietnam, after having worked as the Director of Operations at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico. Starting her career as a management trainee at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner in Virginia in 1999, Oliver developed her leadership skills when she became part of the management team at The Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach and South Beach in Florida. After working in numerous properties across the USA, and Asia, Oliver has now returned to The Ritz-Carlton, cultivating her knowledge of the brand and pursuing her passion for leadership and hospitality management. Oliver  says, “I am delighted to move to the Middle East region and join the ladies & gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert and Al Hamra Beach. Together, I am positive that we will create unforgettable memories for all our guests who stay at our stunning properties located at the Al Wadi Nature Reserve and on the Arabian Gulf.”

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VFS Global’s Visa At Your Doorstep for prompt service

Athletes and coaches from all around the world regularly criss-cross their region, country, or continent as they travel to one major sporting event after another in order to participate and compete. We spoke to Omar Al Souma, Saudi-based Al Ahli football player about the planning and preparation he needs to undertake for his travel. He has been playing football for almost two decades – his popularity skyrocketed in 2007 when he travelled from Syria to Dammam to participate in the Asian Youth Cup and lead his team to victory. Al Souma says that he has travelled frequently since and requires a visa for most countries he visits. Earlier, he had to visit the visa application centre to submit his application and biometric information but that has changed since he started using VFS Global’s new Visa At Your Doorstep service. The technology-enabled service brings the visa application process directly to the applicant, and that too at their preferred time and location. Recounting his experience, Al Souma said, “I have been playing matches all over and the visa process can be time consuming. Visa At Your Doorstep proved to be the best decision I could have taken for this process as I travel regularly – it not only enabled me to apply for my Schengen visa to France in comfort, but the team was professional, competent and consistently responsive to any questions I had.” “Throughout my Schengen visa application, VFS Global provided a personalised approach which suited my needs perfectly. The application that the French consulate received was very detailed and complete, which I feel was the reason why the whole experience was smooth and most importantly, brief,” he added.  

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Turkish Airlines adds Mexico City and Cancún to its flight network

Turkish Airlines, flying to more countries that any other airline, continues to enhance its flight network. The flag carrier has launched scheduled flights to Mexico City, the second biggest city of Latin America and capital of Mexico along with Cancún, one of the favorite holiday centres of Central America. The flights to Mexico City and Cancún, the 18th and 19th destinations of Turkish Airlines in Americas, will be operated three days a week on Istanbul-Mexico City-Cancún route starting from August 21, 2019. With these flights, Turkish Airlines adds Mexico, the biggest country of Central America, to its flight network, thus offering a connectivity opportunity to a greater area from Istanbul Airport. During the press conference held in Mexico City International Airport for the Mexico City and Cancún inaugural flights, M. İlker Aycı, Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, Turkish Airlines, said, “We continue to expand the borders of our flight network within the framework of our growth strategy. Following Bali, we are happy to be able to connect these two important cities of Americas to 125 countries around the world. Our guests travelling to Mexico City and Cancún will be able to fly with the comfort of Turkish Airlines. We believe our new flights will strengthen the ties between Turkey and Mexico in every way.”  

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Salalah Khareef Festival 2019 attracts 631,582 tourists to Dhofar

The Ministry of Tourism, Oman, revealed that there has been a significant increase in the number of tourists who flocked to Dhofar during this year’s Salalah Khareef Festival. According to the Ministry, tourist arrivals to the governorate reached 631,582 between June 20 and August 16, 2019. UAE nationals accounted for 7.6 per cent of the total number of tourist arrivals, while tourists from other GCC countries accounted for 9.2 per cent. Saleh bin Ali Al Khaifi, Director of Promotion and Marketing department, Oman Ministry of Tourism, said, “The Dhofar Governorate is one of the leading and most preferred tourist destinations for visitors from the GCC countries. Its unique nature and cool weather make it a perfect summer destination, apart from many historical attractions and diverse recreational activities. We are keen to organise a series of promotional tours to promote exclusive offers and tourist activities that are specifically designed for visitors seeking to escape the sweltering summer heat experienced in various GCC countries, while also engaging in fun activities.” The Salalah Tourism Festival is held annually and features a busy schedule comprising art and culture performances and folk markets, as well as cooking shows that offer tourists opportunities to enjoy traditional Omani dishes.

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Umrahme.com showcases travel solutions at Hajj & Umrah Forum 2019

Umrahme.com showcased specialised travel solutions for Muslims at the Hajj & Umrah Forum. The official signing of the MOU between Umrahme and the Ministry of Hajj & Umrah Forum was done by  Abdulrahman Fahd Shams, General Supervisor of Maqam Hajj & Umrah Global Distribution System.  The forum was held from August 26- 28 at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Events and brought together hospitality professionals, tour operators, travel and tourism professionals and airlines across the GCC region. Headlined by the Minister of Hajj & Umrah, Dr. Mohammad Saleh Bin Taher Benten, the forum was inaugurated by HRH Prince Khalid Al Faisal bin AbdulAziz Al Saud, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Governor of Makkah Region and Chairman of the Central Committee for Hajj and attended by a number of government officials. Umrahme.com has created a special purpose offering geared for Umrah travellers from all over the world. The portal is designed to help Muslims book and plan their Umrah trip with ease and from the comfort of their homes. The signing of the MOU with the Ministry of Hajj & Umrah, allows the portal to have direct interface with not just the customers, but with around 3,700 global travel agents and around 700 Umrah operators. Speaking at the forum, Mohammed Mahfouz Salem BinMahfouz, Founder and CEO, Umrah Business, Umrahme.com said, “We believe in minimalism and ease, hence Umrahme has been created with the idea of having a simplified and unified portal for all details regarding booking an Umrah trip from anywhere in the world.” As an approved and licensed Umrah OTA, Umrahme.com is also the first online travel agent offering e-visa support for Umrah, simplifying the …

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Sabre to power virtual travel payments in the Middle East

Apiso and Sabre Corporation announced a long-term partnership to increase virtual payments adoption in the travel industry across the Middle East region. The partnership, and resulting technical integration between Apiso and Sabre, will promote Apiso’s unique product offering as the preferred payment solution for Sabre Virtual Payments’ customers in the fast-growing Middle East. It will also enable Sabre to scale the volume of payment transactions processed through its global distribution system (GDS) and other technology solutions globally. “Sabre’s virtual payment technology and its extensive distribution reach coupled with Apiso’s advanced technical solutions and payment integration will enable us to jointly deliver compelling products to help regional and international travel companies to optimise their payments workflow, drive revenue and profitability,” said Andrew Sims, Director, Apiso. “We are excited about this partnership that will provide advanced, reliable, secured and flexible virtual payment solutions to the region.” Sabre Virtual Payments’ network of strategic banking partners enables it to effectively meet specific regional needs while providing a comprehensive global solution. “Sabre Virtual Payments continues to expand our strategic partnerships to ensure a comprehensive solution that optimises travel payments globally,” said Salman Syed, Vice President, Sabre EMEA. “Our partnership with Apiso helps us deploy Sabre Virtual Payments with flexible facilities such as multi-currency and multi-channel options, increase the value of our regional offerings in the Middle East and provide customers with a global payment solution that meets their specific payment needs.” Apiso works with back-end financial services providers that are members of the global payment schemes to automate the provision and administration of virtual cards for B2B supplier payments across multiple industry segments.

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