Category Archives: Associations

HSMAI hosts maiden ‘Revenue Optimization Conference’ in Dubai

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For the first time, over 180 sales and marketing professionals in the hospitality industry came together at the Madinat Jumeirah for the region’s inaugural ‘Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC)’ hosted by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association (HSMAI). This was ROC’s fifth global event of the year, with other ROC locations including The United States, The Netherlands, Singapore, and Brazil. The conference brought together revenue management, distribution, sales and marketing executives in the hotel industry with a programme comprising education, collaboration and innovation. Robert A Gilbert, CHME, CHA, President and CEO, HSMAI, said, “The Middle East is one of the most rapidly expanding markets for hospitality and we’re pleased to bring timely insights into revenue optimisation to the region’s hotel professionals.” The conference featured an opening keynote presentation on global consumer trends by Lorraine Sileo, SVP, Research and Business Operations, PhocusWright. Other programmes throughout the day included panels on pricing strategy, digital marketing, key revenue management topics, and did not miss on covering MiCE and the value proposition of hotel restaurants and bars. HSMAI ROC Middle East also featured an impressive partner showcase; Gold Partners included Almosafer, Cendyn and Duetto; Silver Partner included Illusions, iWTX, Jumeirah and Tajawal; among other 19 Bronze and support partners. Mona Faraj, Managing Director, HSMAI Middle East Chapter, said, “HSMAI is delighted that ROC has been so well received by both our regional and international attendees, and we are excited to showcase an even more compelling line up of speakers and discussions next year. HSMAI is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners, and we are the industry’s leading advocates for intelligent and sustainable hotel revenue growth. We look forward to further engaging with the …

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RAK hosts AITO Annual Conference

ICONS of Rugby 2018

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) recently hosted the UK’s “Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO)” annual conference. The conference welcomed 120 of the UK’s top specialist travel companies to the UAE’s northern Emirate and introduced them to the destination with its diverse and spectacular offering. The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) is an umbrella organisation that represents Britain’s best independent tour operators. Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said, “The United Kingdom has held its position as one of the top four key source markets for Ras Al Khaimah Tourism over the past few years and continues to show huge potential for further growth. In the first ten months of 2018, Ras al Khaimah saw visitors from the UK increase by 11 per cent over the previous year. RAKTDA aims to increase the number of the UK visitors in 2019 by 20 per cent through increased marketing and trade partnerships.” Derek Moore, Chairman, AITO, commented, “We’re thrilled to have been invited by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourist Development Authority (RAKTDA). It has been particularly exciting for AITO members to visit such a fascinating destination that is on the cusp of change in terms of tourism.” Gemma Antrobus, Chair – AITO Specialist Travel Agents, commented, “This is a destination with enormous potential for AITO Specialist Travel Agents, who are always on the lookout for somewhere a little different from the mainstream. It offers the perfect balance of beach, activity, history and culture, providing the variety that many of our discerning clients seek and that AITO agents enjoy selling!”

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dnata expands operations in the United States

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dnata has launched operations at Los Angeles International Airport and now provides quality and reliable ground handling and cargo services at 20 airports in the country. To establish operations in Los Angeles, dnata has invested $8 million in infrastructure and resources, creating more than 350 local jobs. Serving six airlines, including Austrian Airlines, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines and Qantas, dnata will initially handle 4,600 flights a year. The company commenced ground handling and cargo operations in the United States by the acquisition of industry players in 2016. Since then, it has invested more than $35 million in facilities, equipment, training and technology. Having won over 45 new contracts in the past 12 months, dnata now serves over 60 airlines in the United States. David Barker, Chief Executive Officer, dnata USA, said, “We are thrilled to be launching operations at one of the world’s leading international airports. Adding Los Angeles International Airport to our growing network underlines our strong commitment to the US market, where we have significantly expanded our operations through massive investments in our facilities and resources in the past two years. We see an opportunity to create a step change in service excellence for our customer airlines at this important gateway.” Joerg Mnich, Vice President, Commercial Airport Infrastructure, Lufthansa Group, said, “As a premium airline, the Lufthansa Group is excited to grow the North American relationship with dnata into other major hubs like Los Angeles. With our positive service experience from destinations like Boston, New York-JFK, San Diego and Tampa, we are looking forward to providing first-class service to our customers with our handling partner at Los Angeles International Airport.”

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Over 1150 senior industry specialists meet for 57th ICCA in Dubai

Helal Saeed Almarri

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) is hosting its 57th chapter in Dubai. Running till November 14, the four-day conference is being attended by over 1,150 senior industry professionals and association meeting planners from across 75 countries. Congress delegates have descended on the city from across the world to experience a dynamic programme of education, networking and business opportunities. ICCA and Dubai Business Events have collaborated to create an exciting offering of forward-thinking education sessions, site visits to Dubai’s most innovative enterprises and a social programme showcasing the best of Emirati cultural delights and local hospitality. Welcoming delegates to the congress, His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, said, “Business events are a crucial part of not only our tourism strategy, but our wider economic development. Whether through the year-round calendar of home-grown trade shows or major congresses like the ICCA congress that we successfully bid for – we understand and use the power of meetings and conferences to facilitate the rapid transition to a knowledge economy, and to grow scientific advancement and key industry sectors in Dubai and the UAE.” Nina Freysen-Pretorius, President, ICCA, said, “I would like to once again thank ICCA for selecting Dubai to host this congress, and to the Local Host Committee and all stakeholders involved for their role in planning. Our thanks also go to all the sponsors and supporting organisations of this event. The number of international association meetings has doubled every ten years since the establishment of ICCA 55 years ago, and we have identified the Middle East as an important growth area. In fact, we now have a dedicated seat for the region on our board, a permanent regional …

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RAKTDA to showcase Sustainable Tourism Vision at the 12th UNWTO-PATA Forum

Haitham Mattar presenting at the UNWTO- PATA conference

In its 12th edition, an event is being organised by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in partnership with Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), providing a platform for global tourism practitioners and policy makers to share best practices, analyse and explore opportunities and challenges that will affect the future of sustainable development goals. As part of the event, Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAKTDA, delivered his address on “Sustainable Tourism Development – an overview and vista towards 2030”, where he delved into the key areas of focus and implementations that Ras Al Khaimah is undergoing. Ras Al Khaimah’s journey towards being a sustainable tourism destination was formally communicated in January 2016 – when RAKTDA launched Destination 2019, a detailed tourism strategy for the Emirate which was produced after extensive research and analysis. In partnership with the Waste Management Authority, RAKTDA has put recycling guidelines in place for the Emirate’s hotels, as part of the Emirate-wide initiative to reduce landfill waste by 75 per cent by 2021.

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AITO’s annual conference to be held in Ras Al Khaimah from November 22-25

2. Thomas Cook to open in Ras Al Khaimah

The UK’s Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) annual conference is set to be held in Ras Al Khaimah from November 22-25, 2018. Derek Moore, Chairman, AITO comments, “We’re thrilled to have been invited by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourist Development Authority (RAKTDA). It is particularly exciting for AITO members to visit such a fascinating destination that is on the cusp of change in terms of tourism. We are also pleased to be flying with Emirates to the conference – its vast network of airports in the UK will make travel to Ras Al Khaimah so convenient for our members who are spread across the country.” Gemma Antrobus, Chair, AITO Specialist Travel Agents, said, “This is a destination with enormous potential for AITO Specialist Travel Agents who are always on the look-out for something different. Ras Al Khaimah offers the perfect balance of beach, activity, history and culture, providing the variety that many of our discerning clients seek and that AITO agents enjoy selling!”

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Etihad issues travel advisory for hassle-free journey this summer

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Etihad Airways has issued travel advice for summer holidays to ensure that the airline’s guests enjoy a convenient travel experience during the period. It has a number of travel tips and reminders to save time: Early Check-in; for the convenience of those guests who live downtown, early check-in is available at the Abu Dhabi City Terminal for AED30 per guest. Guests should arrive at Abu Dhabi International Airport at least three hours before take-off, accounting for extra road traffic. Moonlight Check-in will be available for guests to check-in early at Abu Dhabi Airport. Guests using Etihad’s Moonlight Check-in will receive 2,500 Etihad Guest miles per guest, 5kg additional baggage per guest, as well as an Abu Dhabi Airports discount and offers voucher on Duty Free and Food & Beverage. Moonlight Check-in guests will have the option to purchase access to one of the Etihad Business Class lounges at Abu Dhabi Airport with a special 50 per cent discount offer. Moonlight check-in will operate at Abu Dhabi Airport Terminal 3, counters 75 to 80, between 4am and 6am, and again between 4pm and 6pm during the following periods: 4pm-6pm Wednesday, June 27 to 4am-6am Monday July 9 and 4pm-6pm Thursday, July 12 to 4am-6am Sunday July 14. Check-in and Boarding Times – Economy Class check-in for non-US flights opens three hours before departure and closes one hour before departure. Economy Class check-in for US flights opens five hours before departure and will close two hours before departure.

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Workshop to promote Dubai’s marine and leisure sector

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As part of the Dubai Maritime City Authority’s (DMCA) efforts to promote Dubai’s marine and leisure tourism, RASEINA Maritime Domestic & Leisure Working Group (one of DMCA initiatives) recently held a workshop for its members at the Address Dubai Marina hotel. The attendees discussed DMCA’s services to promote local marine and leisure tourism, including yacht registration, and also current and potential locations for marine entertainment activities. They also looked into the implementation of best practices to address the current and future challenges facing Dubai’s marine and leisure tourism sector. Amer Ali, Executive Director of DMCA, said, “We are constantly developing and regulating Dubai’s maritime sector in line with globally recognised standards. We are particularly committed to showcasing the role of the local marine and leisure tourism sector in boosting Dubai’s reputation as a global tourist destination. The workshop aimed to discuss industry-related issues and highlight the services provided by DMCA, while exploring all aspects of marine and leisure activities and improving the offered services to overcome the challenges and obstacles.”

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Philippines to host UNWTO Tourism Statistics Conference

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The Philippines is all set to host top tourism officials from 156 countries for the 6th United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) International Conference on Tourism Statistics next month. The conference will be held from June 21-24 at the Marriot Hotel Grand Ballroom of the Resorts World Manila in Pasay City. This conference, bearing the theme “Measuring Sustainable Tourism”, will be highlighted by a ministerial roundtable of Tourism Ministers, Environment Ministers and Chief Statisticians. The opening ceremony will be presided by Dr Taleb Rafai, the UNWTO Secretary General; Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo, Secretary, Department of Tourism, Philippines and Ernesto M. Pernia, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, National Economic and Development Authority, Philippines. In addition to the government representatives from 156 member countries, expected in attendance are more than 1500 affiliate members representing the private sector, educational institutions and tourism associations.

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‘Tourism Leadership Program’ by UAE and UNWTO

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The Ministry of Economy will hold its ‘Tourism Leadership Program’ from October 30 to November 3, 2016, in collaboration with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Themis Foundation. The programme falls under the framework of the Emirates Host initiative launched recently by the Ministry which aims to enhance the capabilities of the tourism sector and support the preparation of a strategic integrated five-year development plan. The plan will raise the efficiency of the UAE’s tourism workforce, improve service levels, and build local capacities. H.E. Eng. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said: “The development of the tourism sector and the enhancement of its contributions to the national economy are among the main pillars supporting economic diversification and promoting policies for a post-oil economy.” The Minister also emphasized that the Ministry will continue to work on developing a national tourism strategy that covers plans, initiatives and programs at the federal and local levels over the next five years. The strategy will promote and market UAE as a Tourism destination by creating a unified destination identity and supporting and strengthening each emirate’s unique tourism potentials. For his part, H.E. Mohammed Khamis Al Muhairi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Economy, added that the Ministry is coordinating with the UN World Tourism Organization and Themis Foundation, which is responsible for implementing training and education programs, to prepare an extensive tourism training plan during the coming period which will include many of the training programs and interactive workshops tailored for citizens working in the tourism sector. The Tourism Leadership Program is an intensive training course focused on strengthening the foundations of leadership and communication in tourism through theoretical and practical approaches.

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