Shivani DDPPL

Bahwan Travel Group chooses Sabre as its strategic technology provider

Bahwan Travel Group, the leading travel company in the Sultanate of Oman, has chosen to renew its technology agreement with Sabre Corporation. Under the new agreement, Bahwan Travel will benefit from Sabre’s latest technology and solutions to accelerate business growth in Oman and the region. This renewal provides Bahwan Travel with continued access to Sabre’s portfolio of innovative technology across the region, including its industry-leading Sabre Red 360 agency solution and the latest data analytics, personalisation and automation capabilities. “As online travel is growing year-over-year, it is imperative for us to invest in our online platform, and provide our customers with a more personalised and seamless travel shopping experience,” said Gururaj, General Manager, Bahwan Travel Group. “Sabre by far is the most advanced technology provider in the travel industry; its global expertise in online travel, impressive dedication, and scale of cutting-edge technology made it a logical choice to help us grow our business, be more efficient, and add value for customers.” “As travellers’ expectations rise in line with technology adoption, Bahwan Travel Group understands the role of technology in serving its tech-savvy travellers,” said Abdul-Razzaq Iyer, Vice-President, Sabre Travel Network Middle East. “Bahwan Travel has a strong vision for growth in the online space and we are working with the team to provide technology, expertise and best practices to build its competitive advantage as a leading online travel agency in the region.” Bahwan Travel Group will have access to Sabre’s marketplace of more than 420 airlines, 750,000 hotel properties, and hundreds of tour operators, rail, car and cruise providers, enabling it to sell personalised travel packages from suppliers all over the world. The agency accesses the marketplace through the new …

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Rihaala.com dynamic booking engine dedicated to halal travel content launched

Rihaala.com, the world’s first dynamic booking engine dedicated to halal travel content, has been launched. The new Online Travel Agency (OTA), which empowers Muslim travellers to hand-pick and book every aspect of their trip, including flights, hotels, excursions and transfers, is the latest brand from the team behind halal travel specialists Serendipity Tailormade and Luxury Halal Travel. Rihaala, which means ‘journeys’ in Arabic, targets tech-savvy Muslim millennials who want the freedom to curate their own journey and to be inspired by a content-rich experience. The website offers them a choice of more than 1,500 properties in 40-plus destinations worldwide, all selected based on their halal-friendly amenities and services, as well as the chance to explore more. “Rihaala meets the demands and expectations of modern Muslim consumers who not only want to create their own travel packages online, but to be inspired by like-minded travellers through rich visual content on social feeds that paints a true picture of a destination,” said Nabeel Shariff, the founder of Rihaala.com, Serendipity Tailormade and Luxury Halal Travel. Rihaala has been launched in English with an Arabic-language version to follow soon. A travel agent portal will also be available to select partners, enabling them to create halal-friendly travel packages for their clients. In the United Kingdom where the company is headquartered, Rihaala will be the market’s first one-stop portal for Umrah travel, responding to the growing demand for a ‘Do-it-yourself Umrah’ enabling UK travellers to book their flights, accommodation and visa application online. “As travel technology has moved on, so have pilgrims, and we’re listening to consumers and how they want to book and experience travel in the future,” Shariff said.  

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Wego partners with Oman Ministry of Tourism to increase visitors from the GCC

Wego, the largest online travel marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), announced its partnership with Oman Ministry of Tourism, to promote Oman as the destination of choice for GCC travellers and drive more visitors to the country. The partnership will facilitate activities in the GCC region to promote tourism to Oman with the spotlight on the trending destinations in Oman, including Muscat, Salalah, Sohar, Khasab and Duqm. Through this collaboration, Oman Ministry of Tourism will generate brand and destination awareness positioning Oman as a friendly, beautiful, cultural and one of the top historic destinations in the region. Wego will also present an informative guide of the accessible places in Oman during the summer period and highlight some of the hidden gems to explore.  From sightseeing to the historical forts and castles, diving and snorkeling, the mesmerising beaches in Musandam and the beauty of Salalah, Oman ensures to have activities for families, couples, adventurers and explorers. Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director, MENA and India, Wego, said, “We are delighted to partner with Oman Ministry of Tourism, to showcase what Oman offers from a wide array of activities, adventure and wonderful experiences to discover all year round. We’ve been witnessing an increase in the number of searches in Q1 2019 compared to 2018 from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and India. We will be working closely with Oman Ministry of Tourism through this campaign to expand the searches from GCC market.” Salim Bin Adey Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotion, Ministry of Tourism, said, “Our latest partnership with Wego is the result of our efforts to connect with a platform that is capable of effectively promoting Oman’s tourism …

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IHG reveals Atwell Suites

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has revealed its new all-suites brand, Atwell Suites, to thousands of IHG owners and operators at its Americas Investors & Leadership Conference in Las Vegas. The new upper-midscale hotel brand will target an estimated $18 billion industry segment with strong guest and owner demand. The Atwell Suites brand builds on IHG’s heritage of pioneering new growth opportunities for hotel owners and operators that better serve travellers. Through this strategy, IHG has successfully cultivated a dynamic portfolio of unique midscale and upper-midscale brands across the mainstream category including Holiday Inn Express, one of the industry’s fastest-growing brands catering to shorter, smarter stays; avid hotels; and best-in-class extended stay brands Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites, catering to stays of a week or more. Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer, IHG, commented, “The Atwell Suites brand is tailor-made to meet the significant demand in the upper-midscale segment for a new all-suites brand. Our newest offer gives owners and guests something different to what’s out there today – a stylish suite with the flexibility for guests to work, socialise or explore over a four-to-six-night stay. As we focus on accelerating our growth, the brand will further extend our leading position in the mainstream space.” Elie Maalouf, Chief Executive Officer, Americas, IHG, commented, “IHG continues to be an industry leader in purposeful and effective hotel brand innovation that anticipates the needs of the market, owners and guests – ultimately delivering long-term value and high guest satisfaction. The Atwell Suites brand is the latest example of how we identify a new growth opportunity from deep traveller insights and collaborate with our owners to develop a new brand customised to better serve guests. This …

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Spectrum of the Seas debuts in the Arabian Gulf

Dubai has welcomed the innovative cruise ship, Spectrum of the Seas into Port Rashid, marking its debut into the Arabian Gulf. In celebration of this significant occasion, a traditional ‘Plaques and Keys Exchange’ ceremony was hosted on board in the presence of the ship’s captain and key industry stakeholders from Dubai Cruise Committee. Reaffirming Dubai’s position as the ‘Cruise Hub of the Region’, Spectrum of the Seas arrived in port on May 4, bringing almost 4,000 tourists to the emirate in a single day. Weighing 168,666 gross tonnes, Royal Caribbean’s new Spectrum of the Seas will be the largest and most advanced cruise ship to port in Dubai.  The cruise brand revealed several new innovations and features on board the ship, displaying ‘first-at-sea’ activities such as the Sky Pad, a virtual reality bungee trampoline,  RipCord by iFly sky diving simulator and North Star observation pod that offers guests astonishing panoramic views more than 300 feet above sea level.  In addition, the ship’s interiors offer world-class facilities including a variety of cuisines from around the world, a music hall and SeaPlex; the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex with bumper cars, roller skating and basketball. Jamal Alfalasi, Director of Dubai Cruise Tourism, said, “It is with great honour that we welcome the guests of Spectrum of the Seas, one of the largest and most revolutionary ships to the emirate.  This visit strengthens Dubai’s position as the established Cruise Hub of the Region; a key component of our strategic development.” Spectrum of the Seas represents a leap forward in ship design and innovation offering experiences that are specifically tailored towards Chinese guests. The inaugural cruise, 16-night Suez Canal repositioning itinerary, sails from Barcelona …

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City Sightseeing Sharjah announces tour timings during Ramadan

City Sightseeing Sharjah (CSS) has announced changes in the timings of its city sightseeing buses during the Holy month of Ramadan. The CSS Leisure Tours will be available from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. daily during Ramadan. The duration of the tours will be one and a half hours and buses will leave every 45 minutes, till the end of May. There will be 13 stops on Leisure Tours: Central Souq 1; Palm Tree Oasis; Al Noor Mosque; Al Majaz Waterfront; Al Majaz Amphitheatre; Flag Island and Al Montazah; Al Khan Beach 1; Al Khan Beach 2; Sharjah Aquarium; Al Qasba; Sahara Centre; Sharjah City Centre; and King Faisal Road. Likewise, CSS Culture Tours will also be available from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm every day during Ramadan, at a frequency of one hour and 15 minutes. The trips will last one hour and 15 minutes, with 10 stops that include: Central Souq 1; Central Souq 2; Fish Market; Heart of Sharjah; Sharjah Islamic Museum; Rain Room; Radisson Blue Resort; Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort and Spa; Cultural Square; Mega Mall; and Al Mahatta Museum. CSS will also conduct Night Tours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Buses will leave every 30 minutes and the tours last an hour. The Night Tours will take in: Central Souq 1; Palm Tree Oasis; Al Noor Mosque; Al Majaz; Al Majaz Amphitheatre; Flag Island and Al Montazah; Al Khan Beach 1; Al Khan Beach 2; Sharjah Aquarium; and Al Qasba. CSS has also announced Ramadan promotions, which include one additional day pass when you buy a one-day pass. Children aged between 6 to 12 years get to travel for …

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Etihad extends free two-night Abu Dhabi getaway through agents

Etihad Airways announced it is extending its free Abu Dhabi stopover campaign to the end of the year due to the popularity of the special offer in its opening month. Travellers flying through the capital of the UAE with the airline are invited to enjoy a free two-night hotel stay to break up their journey and explore the city’s vibrant and diverse attractions. Abu Dhabi offers visitors the chance to explore cultural highlights, impressive architecture, world-class theme parks as well as striking beaches and desert landscapes. Etihad is offering two free nights of hotel accommodation in Abu Dhabi for all guests booking flights to and from all Etihad destinations via Abu Dhabi. Guests can choose from a range of hotels located across the city including the five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Intercontinental Abu Dhabi and Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, as well as the Pearl Rotana, Courtyard by Marriott WTC, Crowne Plaza and Radisson Blu. The free Abu Dhabi stopover promotion is available for bookings online through etihad.com or via a travel agent made by December 1 for travel until December 31, 2019. Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said, “We are extremely pleased that our Abu Dhabi stopover has appealed to so many of our guests and exceeded our expectations in the first month since it launched.” Etihad guests booking online should select a multi-city flight and will be directed to the stopover booking page once the booking is confirmed. Guests then have the option to choose a hotel package with one of the many hotel partners operating this promotion. With the Extraordinary Abu Dhabi Pass, visitors to Abu Dhabi can use their Etihad Airways boarding pass to …

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TIME Hotels new loyalty programme for guests

UAE-headquartered TIME Hotels has signed an agreement with Dubai-based Plan B Solutions, to offer its guests the opportunity of enrolling in the TIME Elite Club Membership. The cobranding loyalty programme has two tiers, the first being a complimentary level where would be members can enroll for free, by simply downloading the eliteclub mobile app and registering. Members can earn two points for every one US dollar spent in any participating TIME hotel and points can be redeemed, through the eliteclub e-commerce platform against gift certificates, retail products or cash vouchers, which can be spent at any TIME Hotel. “Elite Club is all about adding value to our proposition. Guests can earn points every time they stay or dine with us, which can be saved and redeemed at a later stage. Although we already have a very loyal customer base, we thought this was another way of saying thank you for their continued loyalty,” said Mohamed Awadalla, CEO, TIME Hotels. The executive tier of the programme comes with an annual membership fee of AED 990, but opens the door to a world of advantages, including unlimited discounts of up to 50 per cent on F&B, free upgrades and up to 20 per cent discounts on rooms; AED 1,600 worth of complimentary voucher packages, containing free accommodation and breakfast, plus free access to 100 swimming pools and beach resorts for two people, at all hotels enrolled into the eliteclub loyalty scheme. “This loyalty programme also allows members to take advantage of considerable discounts and value-led offers, not only from TIME Hotels but from an extensive collection of bars, restaurants and experiences, as well as another 30 branded hotel partners across the globe,” …

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New check-in location for GoAir travellers departing from Abu Dhabi

GoAir passengers travelling from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) are invited to take advantage of Abu Dhabi Airports’ new remote check-in location at the City Terminal in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s business district, located on 10th street opposite Abu Dhabi Mall in the Tourist Club area. From May 10 onwards, GoAir passengers are invited to check-in 24 hours in advance at the City Terminal. This provides GoAir passengers with the flexibility of checking-in at a time convenient for them, before departing for their flight from AUH. Abu Dhabi International Airport is one of the few airports in the world to offer remote check-in facilities. The City Terminal welcomes travellers to check-in between 24 and four hours before their flights. The facility also offers retail baggage services including sealing and wrapping to all passengers. Maarten de Groof, Chief Commercial Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “Last month we welcomed GoAir’s inaugural flight from Kannur to Abu Dhabi and this month we are delighted to welcome GoAir travellers to stop by our easily accessible and conveniently located City Terminal facility. India is an important market for us. Abu Dhabi Airports and we look forward to introducing travellers to our world-class services and unique brand of Arabian hospitality.” Bakul Gala, Vice-President PR and Marketing at GoAir, said, “GoAir is happy to invite its customers to avail themselves of Abu Dhabi International Airport’s City Terminal check-in service. The City Terminal not only provides passengers with the flexibility of checking-in at their convenience but also offers a range of additional services. We hope our passengers will greatly benefit from this service.”

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Guangzhou to join RwandAir’s network in June 2019

RwandAir, the flag carrier of the Republic of Rwanda, announced that it will commence flights to Guangzhou, the provincial capital of Guangdong and the third largest city in China, effective from June 18, 2019. RwandAir will fly to Guangzhou three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Guangzhou will be tagged to the existing Mumbai route and will be operated by our Airbus A330 with triple class cabin and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, Wi-Fi onboard, in-flight entertainment and comfortable seats with more legroom making it very convenient for long haul flights. Commenting on the upcoming launch of the Guangzhou route, Yvonne Manzi Makolo, the CEO of RwandAir, said, “With the increasing volume of trade between African countries and China, the need to meet the high demand of businessmen and traders travelling between Africa and Guangzhou is strongly felt. This new route will open new business opportunities and also increase our passenger and cargo traffic”. Guangzhou, well known as the “Canton City” is an expansive port city northwest of Hong Kong on the Pearl River. The city, which is one of the major shopping destinations for merchants also features popular tourist attractions such as the iconic Canton Tower and Guangzhou Chimelong Tourist Resort which offers an amusement park, international circus, water park, safari park, a bird park and a hotel. Guangzhou will be RwandAir’s second destination in Asia following Mumbai, which has been operational since April 2017. This new route will extend RwandAir’s network to 28 destinations.

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